W. Keats Sparrow Papers, 1836-1977

Manuscript Collection #13

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: W. Keats Sparrow Papers
    Creator: Sparrow, W. Keats (Wendall Keats), 1942-2009
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1836-1977) including genealogical materials, clippings, census materials, clippings, speeches, travel diary and correspondence, etc.
    Extent: 0.22 Cubic feet, 30 items , photocopies of genealogy typescripts, clippings, census records, book and magazine articles, speeches, and travel diary; typescript of Bible records concerning Sparrow genealogy and Dr. Patrick J. Sparrow; and correspondence.
  • Description

    The collection consists of several family histories, notes on the Maryland Sparrow ancestors of Johns Hopkins, Bible records of Isaac E. Sparrow (1822-1885) of Lenoir County, N.C., and papers concerning the Rev. Patrick Jones Sparrow, D.D., (1802-1867). The Strouds family history gives some information on the background of the Stroud name, supplies incomplete data on nineteenth century members of the family, and includes a genealogical chart. Lapierre, Fordham, and Rouse: Eastern North Carolina Families, compiled by Lois Smith and W. Keats Sparrow, contains information concerning John La Pierre, his son-in-law Benjamin Fordham, and the Fordham and Rouse descendants of Benjamin Smith and Sparrow also compiled Rouse Family History, which contains data on the descendants of Richard Rouse, Sr., of Lenoir County. The genealogy, Daniel Croom of Virginia: His Descendants in North Carolina, traces the Croom descendants from the death of Daniel in Virginia in 1734 to various twentieth century Croom families living in eastern North Carolina.

    Rev. Sparrow, of Lincoln County, N.C., was a well-known Presbyterian minister who taught and preached at churches in Lincoln and Rowan counties, N.C., Prince Edward County, Va., Alabama, and Florida. He was one of the founders of Davidson College (1837) and was chosen the first professor of languages to teach there. He left Davidson in 1840 and later served as president of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia (1845-1847). He died in Cahaha, Alabama, on November 10, 1867. Material concerning Rev. Sparrow includes photocopies of clippings, census records, letters, book and magazine excerpts; his 1836 travel diary; and speeches given by him while associated with Davidson College. The collection also contains History of the First Presbyterian Church of Pensacola, Florida 1837-1940 where Rev. Sparrow was pastor from 1856 until 1862.

    Rev. Sparrow's travel diary (March 29-May 25, 1836) documents his travels from north central North Carolina (Rockingham and Caswell counties) through Virginia to Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York City; and finally to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he apparently attended a Presbyterian General Assembly meeting. Included is an account of stage, steamboat, meal, and tavern expenses in North Carolina and Virginia. Descriptions of steamboat travel on the Potomac (April 15) and Delaware (April 21, 28) rivers, stage travel (March 29), and train travel (April 20) to Baltimore from Washington are found. Brief descriptions are provided of Milton, N.C. (March 29); Fredericksburg, Va. (April 15); Mount Vernon (April 15); Baltimore, Md., sights such as the Catholic Cathedral, the Washington Monument, and the lottery offices; the Peale Museum in Philadelphia (April 20, 21); New York City (April 28, May 1 and 8) sights, especially Broadway Tabernacle; and Holidaysburg (May 14) and Pittsburgh (May 17), Pa. Sparrow refers to circuit preaching and attending various Presbyterian church services along his trip. The diary's last pages appear to describe a Presbyterian General Assembly gathering with references to Old and New school parties.

    Rev. Sparrow's most vivid and lengthy description, however, is of U.S. House of Representatives and Senate meetings he attended on April 18, 1836. The physical appearances and speaking styles of Congressmen John Quincy Adams and Henry Alexander Wise, Vice President Martin Van Buren, and Senators Judge Hugh Lawson White, Felix Grundy, Daniel Webster, John Caldwell Calhoun, and Henry Clay are graphically depicted. Senators are pictured in a debate over using railroads to transport mail. On April 19, 1836, Rev. Sparrow visited Senators John C. Calhoun and William Campbell Preston and recorded their appearances in more relaxed surroundings.

    Two additional Sparrow family-related papers are an article excerpt concerning Lemuel M. Sparrow and a clipping concerning Rev. Patrick J. Sparrow's son John. Lemuel Sparrow was connected with Talladega Institute and served as principal of Eastaboga Academy in Alabama in the 1850s. John Sparrow (1859-1924) was editor of the Birmingham Daily Ledger (Alabama) and worked in the advertising business.

    Items not pertaining to the Sparrow family include a letter (Jan. 19, 1977) from author Thad Stem, Jr., and a letter (Aug. 4, 1966) from poet Walter Blackstock.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    September 26, 1967, 30 items; Genealogical histories entitled The Strouds; Lapierre, Fordham, and Rouse: Eastern North Carolina Families; Rouse Family History; and Daniel Croom of Virginia: His Descendants in North Carolina.

    October 31, 1977, 23 items (copies); Census records, news articles, and printed material pertaining to Dr. Patrick J. Sparrow and Sparrow family genealogical material.

    June 3, 1984, 2 pp., typescripts; Bible records of Isaac E. Sparrow of Lenoir County, N.C.

    October 29, 1984, 2 items; Letters from Walter Blackstock (1966) and Thad Stem, Jr. (1977). Gift of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, Greenville, N.C.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    W. Keats Sparrow Papers (#13), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Elmore, December 1984

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

Preliminary Inventory

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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