Samuel James Rowell Papers

Manuscript Collection #36
Rowell, Samuel James, 1857-1927
Physical description
0.87 Cubic Feet, 300 items , consisting of correspondence, land records, maps, diary fragments, financial papers, account books, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Samuel James Rowell Papers (#36), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1809-1928) including correspondence, land records, maps, diary fragments, financial papers, etc. of farmer, church leader, and local office holder.

Biographical/historical information

Samuel James Rowell (1857-1927) was a farmer and peace officer in Northwest Township of Brunswick County, N.C. In addition to serving as justice-of-the-peace and deputy sheriff, Rowell was an active leader of Goshen Baptist Church which is still located in the area. See genealogical chart for relationship of various members of the family.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence (1838-1928) in the collection is of limited historical significance apart from the family and personal news it contains. Subjects of interest include an account of current prices in Fayetteville, N. C. (1838); experiences of a Swedish sailor while visiting in Brunswick County and in Wilmington (1884); comments on farming at Blum, Texas (1887); and a description of life near Blanton, Florida, including references to fishing, raising of livestock, and the poverty of the people (1890).

Account books and diary fragments belonging to several generations of the Rowell family cover the period from 1837 to 1919 and reflect a variety of activities. A ledger book (1837-1850) of Samuel Rowell (grandfather of Samuel James Rowell) contains birth and death records, general store accounts, tavern or inn records, records of enslaved people, and comments on the weather, planting of crops, and production of turnpentine. The tavern or inn records include accounts for alcoholic beverages, lodging, and livery stable service. Other ledger books (1852-1859, 1852-1875, 1871-1873) belonged to John C. Rowell and James S. Melvin and contain financial accounts, store records, birth and marriage records, and notations concerning agricultural activities.

Memo books and diary fragments written by Samuel J. Rowell and his wife Mary [Minnie] contain scriptural references and notations, family information, notes of a trip through southeastern North Carolina, and an account of logging activities at Camp High (1907) in Brunswick County.

Brunswick County land records (1809-1928, undated) are concerned primarily with property in the Hood's Creek section of the county. The papers include deeds for sale of land belonging to General Benjamin Smith (1809, 1827), deed (1860) and plat (1916) for Roan [Rowan] Plantation on the Cape Fear River, a quantity of records for land transfers in the Hood's Creek area, and a map showing property boundaries along the upper reaches of this creek [ca. 1800]. The map and plat have been placed in the oversize document case as #36.4os.

Other papers include accounts (1846-1916), receipts (1843-1924), bankruptcy proceedings (1873-1875, 1906), civil suit records (1848-1861), contracts for turpentine tree rental (1871) and for sale of timber (1913), will and estate settlement for John C. Rowell (1915, 1918), and a report on the estate of Samuel James Rowell (1928).

Miscellaneous items include a lumber and log book (published in 1882), a remedy for hog cholera, obituaries, poems, certificates, commission for Grand Lodge of N. C. Knights of Pythias (1920), insurance policies, and a copy of the play The Pull Back, by T. S. Denison (Chicago: T. S. Denison, 1878).

The oversize folder contains the aforementioned Roan Plantation plat and map of property boundaries on Hood's Creek, a certificate of appointment of Samuel J. Rowell as a postmaster (1894), and copies of a pencil sketch (ca. 1860) of Mrs. Sarah Rowell.

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 27, 1967, ca. 300 items and 4 volumes; Papers (1809-1928) of Rowell family of Brunswick County, including correspondence, land records, maps, promissory notes, diary, receipts, accounts, account books, plantation records, bankruptcy papers, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Mrs. Eula Rowell Lennon, Leland, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Eula Rowell Lennon

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon, January 1968

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
Denison, Thomas S. (Thomas Stewart), 1848-1911. Pull back
Rowell, Samuel James, 1857-1927
Smith, Benjamin, 1756-1826
Family Names
Rowell family
Corporate Names
Knights of Pythias
Agriculture--Texas--History--19th century
Classical swine fever
Deeds--North Carolina--Brunswick County--History
Family farms--North Carolina--Brunswick County--History
Logging--North Carolina--Brunswick County
Lumber trade--North Carolina--History--19th century
Plantations--North Carolina--Brunswick County
Prices--North Carolina--Fayetteville--History--19th century
Slavery--North Carolina--Brunswick County--History--19th century
Taverns (Inns)--North Carolina--Brunswick County--History--19th century
Blanton (Fla.)--Description and travel
Brunswick County (N.C.)--Commerce--History
Brunswick County (N.C.)--Genealogy
Brunswick County (N.C.)--History

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, Diary Notes, Land Records, Legal Papers
Box 2 Bankruptcy Papers, Financial Papers
Box 3 Miscellaneous Items, Ledgers