Skip to main content

William Alfred Dockery Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-507

Scope and Contents

The William Alfred Dockery family papers document the establishment and management of William Alfred Dockery’s cotton plantation in the town named after him: Dockery, Mississippi. Most of the collection consists of family correspondence from 1887 to 1906 and undated, particularly between Dockery and his wife, Hughla Rice Dockery. There is a great deal of content about the business of managing a large farm. The letters also contain numerous references (many disparaging) to Dockery’s African-American workers. Miscellaneous materials include biographical information, newspaper clippings, articles, and photographs.


  • 1881 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1887 - 1906


Access Restrictions

Open to all researchers.

Use Restrictions

Any requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce materials from this collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian for Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Mississippi State University as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical Information

William Alfred “Will” Dockery was born November 10, 1865, at Love’s Station in DeSoto County, Mississippi, to Thomas Covington Dockery (1826-1911) and Mary Atkins. After attending Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (1880-1881) and graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1884, Dockery worked as a bookkeeper for Dockery Brothers in Hernando. He was promoted to his own branch of the company in Cleveland, Mississippi, in 1888. In 1890, Dockery began planting cotton and was successful enough over the following years to purchase thousands of acres of land and to marry Hughla McKay Rice (1870-1919) in 1896. He was instrumental in transforming the area of Dockery into a thriving community with a railroad connection. William Alfred Dockery died in Baltimore in 1936, leaving two children: Frances, and Joe Rice (1906-1982) who had become his father’s business partner. His first son, William Alfred, Jr., died in a tragic fall in Chicago at age five.


1 Cubic Feet (: 1 record carton; 1 SMO folder; VMP; SMOP )

Language of Materials



Series 1. Biographical Information-Box 1 Series 2. Family Correspondence-Box 1 Series 3. Miscellaneous-Box 1; Small Oversize Box 41 Series 4. Photographs-Box 1; Visual Materials: Photographs Box 3; Small Oversize Photographs Box 2

Processing Record

Processed by DeeDee Baldwin, February 2010.

William Alfred Dockery Family Papers
DeeDee Baldwin
February 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Repository