Edward Merritt McEachern Jr. Collection

Manuscript Collection #25
McEachern, Edward Merritt
Physical description
0.65 Cubic Feet, 283 items , including correspondence; deeds, statements, promissory notes, will, inventories, and other legal papers; poems; clippings; photographs; pamphlets; certificates; and miscellaneous items.
Preferred Citation
Edward Merritt McEachern Jr. Collection (#25), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Collection (1794-1951, 1971, undated) including correspondence, deeds, statements, promissory notes, will, inventories, legal papers; poems, clippings, photographs, etc. relating to the Banks and Stacey families.

Biographical/historical information

Edward M. McEachern Jr. is a direct descendant of Houston B. Hiatt and of the Banks and Sadtler families of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The patriarch of the Banks family, Judge Thaddeus Banks of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, was father of Delia Cromwell Banks, who married George Washington Sadtler of Baltimore. Sadtler's grandfather, John Phillip Benjamin Sadtler, immigrated from Germany in 1798 and established a leading Baltimore optical and jewelry firm. Kathleen C. Sadtler, daughter of Delia and George W. Sadtler, married Houston B. Hiatt and their daughter, Leora, became Mrs. Edward M. McEachern. For more detailed genealogical information see chart accompanying this description.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence of the Banks-Sadtler-Stacey families covers the period from 1835 through 1925 and constitutes one of the most significant divisions of the collection. A letter (1835) from John C. Reynolds describes Charleston, S.C., including the burning of the Carolina Hotel, the necessity of guarding against uprisings by enslaved people while fighting fire, an all-night party, and the difficulties of overland travel between Charleston and Jacksonville, Florida; ship difficulties off Cape Hatteras, N.C.; and an uprising by Native Americans in Florida. An 1836 letter from the same source gives a detailed account of preparations being made at Fort Brooke [Tampa], Florida, to pursue and attack Native American renegades operating in that state.

Other significant correspondence of the period tells of severe blizzards during the winters of 1780 and 1807-1808 (1842); news of the defeat of local Whig candidates in Hollidaysburg, Pa. (1849); accounts of presidential election returns for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana (1852); the death of Daniel Webster (1852); the Kansas statehood issue, and the position of Stephen A. Douglas with regard to Kansas (1857); and political divisions in the Pennsylvania legislature (1862). One letter of particular note tells of Judge Thaddeus Banks' effort to have his only son released from the army. Banks tells of receiving no satisfaction from lesser officials who eventually referred him to President Lincoln. After a brief interview, the president complied with his request and ordered Cecil Banks discharged (1864).

More recent correspondence tells of storm devastation in Pennsylvania and the deaths resulting from the failure of a dam (1889); social life in New York, with emphasis on the opera (1889); a hurricane in Puerto Rico and the earthquakes, rains, and floods which accompanied it (1889); the attack by rebels upon the town of Jagna on Bohol Island in the Philippines (1901), and the fighting which continued there against the rebels (1903); and the appearance of Jenny Lind in Hollidaysburg (undated). A letter from May B. Stacey at Camp Thomas, Arizona, tells of fears of uprisings by Native Americans and excitement caused at night by frustrated Mexican horse thieves (undated, ca. 1878). Also included are a large number of personal letters telling of love affairs, weddings, deaths, and family genealogy.

Miscellaneous Banks papers include a statement concerning the importation of enslaved people into Kentucky (1794), an advertisement for the sale of a plantation in Delaware (1799), a report of absentees from a Baltimore militia company (1817), estates papers, deeds, a list of wedding gifts, and poems. Also of interest are pictures and clippings concerning various members of the Banks-Sadtler-Stacey family. There are several pictures and articles relating to the stage career of Delia Stacey and her marriage to Charles Burchell. Of equal interest are articles concerning the activities of Col. and Mrs. May Stacey in Arizona (ca. 1878) and of their son, Cromwell Stacey, in the Philippines. Other articles concern family history and the activities of various family members.

The papers of Dr. Houston B. Hiatt make up a second distinct group within the collection. Most of the correspondence is of a routine nature and concerns personal family matters, medical activities, or military service. One letter of particular interest is written from Cuba and gives the author's views on World War II and the part the U.S. should play in the conflict (April 1941).

Business and legal papers belonging to Dr. Houston B. Hiatt include promissory notes, inventories of stock for J.R. Hiatt and Company (1910), deeds, estate papers, the will of Houston B. Hiatt (1934), and miscellaneous material.

During 1916-1917, Hiatt served on active duty from the North Carolina National Guard, and the collection contains military orders, vouchers, and payroll records relating to his service at Camp Glenn, N.C., and Camp Stewart, Texas. A photograph album and a collection of loose snapshots show Hiatt and his associates at the field hospitals at Morehead City, N.C., and at El Paso, Tex., during his Mexican border assignment.

The collection contains a number of medical pamphlets written by Dr. Hiatt. Titles include Read by Title Before the North Carolina Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (1911), Preventive Medicine (1911), Appendicitis in Childhood (1930), and Notes on Cases of Sprue Invalided from the Tropics; Will it Become Endemic Here?, co-authored with W.A. Allen (1914).

Miscellaneous items include a list of the surgeons for Southern Railway System, a preliminary program for the Tri-State Medical Society (1912), copies of the High Point Enterprise, (April 21 and 28, 1922), poems, religious writings, an account of expenses at the University of North Carolina (1902-1903), material concerning H.B. Hiatt Jr.'s activities at Oak Ridge Military Academy (1927-1929) and clippings concerning his death (1929), and the obituary of Houston B. Hiatt Sr. (1941). The oversize folder contains a copy of The Freeman's Journal & Philadelphia Advertiser (Jan. 5, 1808) and a photograph of Delia Banks Stacey (1893).

The addition to the Edward Merritt McEachern Jr. Papers contains letters written by several men serving in the armed forces during World War II. The letters were written to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Merritt McEachern Sr. while they lived in Southport and Charlotte, N.C.

The majority of letters were written by Sgt. John N. Stanley Jr. of the U.S. Army and Major Donald B. Hubbard of the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1942 Sgt. Stanley took basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. In 1942 and 1943 he was stationed at the Air Base at Meridian, Mississippi, as part of the 727th Engineer's Railway Battalion. Letters from 1942 and early 1943 describe aspects of basic training and describe the job of boilermaker. By March of 1943 Sgt. Stanley was stationed in Algeria and his letters from then through July describe native scenes, the effect of American soldiers on the natives, and repairing French locomotives. He spent the remainder of 1943 in Sicily and in Italy. By October of 1944, Sgt. Stanley was living in Lyon, France, where he remained into 1945.

Major Hubbard was stationed in Guam in 1943 and 1944. His letters comment on Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to his base, his feelings towards strikers, the climate in Guam and its resultant problems, a Christmas Day celebration while stationed with the Marines overseas, and his frustration over not having seen his son.

Other correspondents include Pvt. William Duncan who describes the discomforts of bivouacking at Rembert, S.C., in 1943 to build an auxiliary airfield, and Sgt. Harry Bauduin of the Royal Netherlands Navy who describes Malacca in 1946. Mrs. John N. Stanley Jr. wrote a letter in 1942 (?) in which she comments on the hosiery mills strike by boarders in High Point, N.C. (?). A final letter written in 1971 by Mrs. Edward M. McEachern tells how she and her husband knew the correspondents, and what the correspondents were doing in 1971. It also mentions that a contingent of Dutch Marines was sent to Camp Davis, N.C., for training shortly after World War II and tells what criteria was used to determine the members of the contingent.

Miscellaneous materials include a 1943 photograph of Major Hubbard and an undated post card of an aerial view of Camp Beauregard in Louisiana.

Additional family papers are located in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Administrative information
Custodial History

October 2, 1967; Papers of the Banks, Sadtler, and Stacey families of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and of Houston B. Hiatt of North Carolina, who married a descendant of the Banks-Sadtler families. Papers include correspondence, deeds, statements, a will, other legal papers, poems, clippings, photographs, pamphlets, certificates, and miscellaneous items. Given September 2, 1967, by Mr. Edward Merritt McEachern Jr., Winston Salem, N.C., and Mrs. E. M. McEachern Sr., Wilmington, N.C.

February 28, 1972; Letters (1941-1946). Gift of Mrs. E. M. McEachern Sr., Wilmington, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Edward Merritt McEachern Jr.

Gift of Mrs. E. M. McEachern Sr.

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon; M. Elmore, January 1980

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Descriptions updated by Jennifer Overstreet, July 2020

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Douglas, Stephen A. (Stephen Arnold), 1813-1861
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852
Family Names
Banks family
Sadtler family
Stacey family
Corporate Names
North Carolina. National Guard
Oak Ridge Military Academy--Students--Social life and customs
Tri-State Medical Society of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee
United States. Army--Military life
Indians of North America--Florida
Presidents--United States--Election--1852
Slavery--South Carolina
Soldiers--United States--Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945--Algeria
World War, 1939-1945--Guam
World War, 1939-1945--Malaysia--Malacca
World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Area
World War, 1939-1945--Philippines
Camp Glenn (N.C.)
Camp Stewart (Tex.)
Hatteras, Cape (N.C.)--History
Kansas--History--19th century
Kentucky--History--19th century
New York (N.Y.)--Description and travel
Pennsylvania--Politics and government--19th century

Container list
Box 2 Folder a Houston B. Hiatt Papers: Correspondence 1897-1941, undated
Box 2 Folder b Houston B. Hiatt Papers: Deeds, Accounts, Will, and Estate Papers
Box 3 Folder a Houston B. Hiatt Papers: Printed Matter
Box 3 Folder b Houston B. Hiatt Papers: Photographs and Scrapbook
Box 3 Folder c Houston B. Hiatt, Jr. Papers
Box 3 Folder d Correspondence, Miscellaneous 1941-1946, 1971, undated
Folder os1 Photograph of Delia Banks Stacey, 1893; The Freeman's Journal & Philadelphia Advertiser, January 5, 1808; Letters to Delia Banks Stacey 1835, 1836, 1841, 1842, and 1843; Newspaper "The Banner of Gold" removed from 25.1.b