Chickasaw Bluffs Factory was a Federal Government-run trading house on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River on the site that was later to become the city of Memphis. The factory was established in 1802 by order of President Thomas Jefferson for the purpose of trade with the Chickasaw Indians. From 1795 to 1822 these Government-operated trading posts with the Indians, known as factories, began operation under the immediate supervision of the Secretary of War. The government trader, or factor, was to provide goods (tools, clothing, tobacco, utensils, and sometimes weapons and ammunition) to the Indians in exchange for animal skins and fur. The Chickasaw Factory received goods from Philadelphia by way of the Ohio River while skins and pelts collected by the factory were sent downriver to New Orleans. In 1818 the Factory was relocated to the Spadre Bluff on the Arkansas River. The newly created Office of Indian Trade, which later became the Office of Indian Affairs, took over administration of the factories in 1806,. The factory system was abolished by the federal government in 1822. This ledger or paybook covers a two year period from 1806 to 1808.
Page 148 of August 1885 from a ledger recording the materials and tools used, vendor names, monthly wages paid, and other costs during construction of the custom house in Memphis, Tennessee, between 1876 and 1886. The ledger has been digitized and is available. The custom house on Front Street facing Madison Avenue was designed by U.S. Treasury architect James G. Hill in the Italian Villa style comprising a three-story stone structure including two towers. The site was donated by the city in 1876. Work began in August 1876 but was almost immediately suspended because of an error in the description of the land which was corrected in February 1877. In May 1877, excavation for the foundations began. In 1879, construction stopped because of the yellow fever epidemic. Work stopped again in 1880 because of problems with the supply of marble from East Tennessee. This continued to hinder progress so that completion and occupation was not effected until the summer of 1885. The building cost $520,500 plus $50,000 to build a retaining wall along the river ("A History of Public Buildings Under the Control of the Treasury Department", Washington: GPO, 1901). The construction was supervised by Colonel S.L. Fremont until his death in May 1886 and then George S. Jordan. The building housed various federal agencies, including the custom office, courts, and a post office. An addition was built on the west side in 1903. In 1929-1930 the building was completely remodeled in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style with a new façade and the removal of the two towers. The building was renovated to become the University of Memphis Law School in 2010.
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