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Nathaniel Dunn Papers, 1855-1889

(Manuscript Collection #158)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Nathaniel Dunn Papers
Creator: Dunn, Nathaniel
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1855-1889) consisting of papers, letters of violated contract, contracts, daybooks, financial records and newspapers.
Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 72 items , consisting of papers (1855-1889), including correspondence, daybooks, financial records, and a newspaper.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

May 16, 1971, 70 items; Papers (1855-1882), including correspondence, daybooks, and financial records.

October 15, 1971, 2 items; Letters (1865). Gift of Mrs. S. D. Dickens, Enfield, N.C.

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

Nathaniel Dunn Papers (#158), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mrs. S. D. Dickens

Processing Information

  • Processed by L. Hardy, October 1971

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Nathaniel Dunn (1823-1907) was born in Cornish, Maine. Dunn moved to Enfield, N.C., before the Civil War and bought land on which he raised cotton, peaches, and vegetables. He also operated a lumber business, a lumber mill, and a general merchandise store in Enfield.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence dating from 1855 until 1882.

The letters for the years 1855 through 1859 deal with a violated contract concerning the hiring of slaves to cut trees for lumber. The correspondence follows the events until a suit for damages is filed in the State court.

There is a lack of correspondence for the war years, but it resumes in 1865. Two letters deal with the political situation in North Carolina immediately following the war. One concerns delegates and issues of the 1865 Constitutional Convention while the other, from Governor W. W. Holden, requests names of prospective political appointees for Halifax County. Other letters for 1865 concern Dunn's coming marriage to Ann Eliza Curtis of Portland, Maine.

Other correspondence for the post-Civil War years is related to business. Dunn proposed to take George Curtis, a member of his wife's family, as a business partner; and much of the correspondence is from Curtis concerning merchandise needed and ordered to expand the enterprise. There are also discussions of prices for supplies, speculation on the market, new equipment being used in the lumber business, and means of transporting goods from the North.

Letters from the year 1872 deal with the Grant-Greeley presidential campaign in Portland, Maine, and debates and rallies are described in some detail. A connection between the Dunn family and Horace Greeley is also mentioned. Other correspondence deals with family affairs, travel in the 1870s, the changes taking place in Portland, a Northerner's reluctance to move South due to hostile Southern opinion following the war, and the problems of finding adequate housing in Maine in 1866.

Also included in the collection are contracts and financial papers dealing with Dunn's business enterprises. There is a contract (1855) between Benjamin Johnson and Nathaniel Dunn for the hiring of slaves to cut timber and a sworn statement concerning the delivery of lumber as contracted to S. G. Bogart for the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The financial papers consist of orders for supplies for the store in Enfield signed by Dunn or George Curtis.

Two daybooks found in the collection record work done in the mill, the supplies bought, and the accounts of store customers for the years 1844 through 1860 and 1864 through 1866.

Miscellaneous items consist of a notice for the Hillsboro (North Carolina) Military Academy in 1877 concerning its courses, charges, and testimonials to its standards; three tintypes; an advertisement for Smith's Illustrated Pattern Bazaar and a Raleigh News and Observer for April 4, 1889.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entries :

  • Maine, Portland
  • North Carolina, Halifax County

Autograph Entries :

  • Conigland, Edward 1865
  • Holden, W[illiam] W[oods] 1865

Subject Entries :

  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--General Stores
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Lumber Trade
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Lumber Trade--Halifax Co., N.C.
  • EDUCATION--PRIVATE SCHOOLS--Hillsboro, N.C.
  • ELECTIONS-- U.S. President--1872
  • MAINE--PORTLAND
  • N.C.--CONSTITUTION--1865
  • RECONSTRUCTION--Politics and Government
  • SLAVERY--Condition of Slaves
  • SLAVERY--Hire of Slaves
  • TRANSPORTATION--Atlantic States
  • TRANSPORTATION--Ships and Shipping--1870

Date Entries :

  • 1865-1869
  • 1870-1874

Newspaper Entries:

Raleigh, N.C.:
  • News and Observer
    • April 4, 1889

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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