Hackett Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #176
Hackett family
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 298 items , papers (1806-1950) consisting of correspondence, accounts, receipts, photographs, newspapers, and miscellaneous published materials.
Preferred Citation
Hackett Family Papers (#176), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1806-1950) consisting of correspondence, letters, receipts, photographs, genealogical information, financial papers, etc.

Biographical/historical information

The Hackett family of Wilkes County, N.C., is among the older and more influential families in the state. Intermarried in the family are members of other prominent families of North Carolina, especially the Bryan, Gray, Williams, Gordon and Grimes families. Early papers included in the collection belong to David Gray and R. F. Hackett, two mid-nineteenth century physicians, and James B. Gordon, a well known store and farm owner. The bulk of the collection consists of the papers of R. F. Hackett's sons, Richard Nathaniel Hackett and James Gordon Hackett. Richard N. Hackett was a graduate of the University of North Carolina (1887), a lawyer in Wilkesboro, an active member of the N.C. Democratic Party (1890-1923), the mayor of Wilkesboro (1894-1896), and a member of the 60th Congress (1907-1909). In 1909 he resumed his law practice. He died in 1923. James Gordon Hackett was a businessman and industrialist who owned a cotton mill and the Wilkesboro Manufacturing Company. He was also quite active in the N.C. Democratic Party, served as mayor of Wilkesboro (1889-1892, 1893-1895), and was a member of the Board of Directors of the State Prison (1901-1907), the Board of Agriculture (1928-1932), and the Highway Commission (1936-1942) where he often expressed a desire to build and improve North Carolina's roads.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence constitutes a large part of the collection. Antebellum letters deal primarily with family affairs although comments are found on camp meetings held in Wilkes County (1844-1848), a grippe epidemic (1848), Christmas festivities (1848), and funeral arrangements for an elderly woman (1860). One letter from the war years refers to the legality of the impressment of provisions by General Jenkins' Cavalry (1863).

Except for a letter commenting on some cases of typhoid fever in Elkin, N.C. (1867), there are no letters for the post war years until the 1880's. These letters concern the treatment of a patient in an insane asylum (1884); the subjects taught at Notre Dame of Maryland, a Catholic Girls' School in Embla, Maryland (1888); and an invitation for James Gordon Hackett to be part of a committee to welcome William Jennings Bryan to Asheville, N.C. (1896).

Letters after the turn of the century are primarily concerned with the political affairs of J. G. Hackett. Much of this correspondence concerns his appointment to the Board of Directors of the State Prison (1901), his chairmanship of that group (1905), and his activities in connection with the State Prison. Of particular interest is a discussion of the use of convict labor to build and repair railroad lines in the state (1907). Another letter concerns Richard N. Hackett's nomination to run for Congress (1906). Letters from the 1920's and 1930's concern James Gordon Hackett's proposed air line from Elkin to Boone, N.C. (1922), the possibility of George Gordon Battle of North Carolina running for President since the "Tea Pot" investigation may harm the front running candidates (1924), and James Gordon Hackett's appointment to the Board of Agriculture (1928). Other letters throughout this section concern genealogical information of the Hackett, Gordon, and Grimes families.

Correspondence of the 1940's deals with the history of the Masonic Lodge in Wilkes County (1942), Army life at Camp Wheeler, Georgia (1942) and Fort Myers, Florida (1944), and suggestions that a U.S. rehabilitation hospital be built in the Bushy Mountains section of North Carolina (1943). Other items of interest include an excerpt of the eulogy to the last Confederate soldier in Watagua County, Jesse Elihu Luther (1946); a tribute to Josephus Daniels (1941); and a tribute to Governor Zebulon Vance (1942). Also of interest are comments on Hoey's campaign for the U.S. Senate (1943), a suggestion that a road be built up Bushy Mountain (1946), and genealogical information on the Allen, Stokes, and Gordon families of Wilkes County.

Legal papers consist mainly of receipts of payments to witnesses in Wilkes County law cases for 1848 to 1851. Other items include the guardianship of Richard N. Hackett granted to James G. Hackett (1886), notes of settlement (1857-1861, 1886), receipts (1857-1864), and a list of notes belonging to J. B. Wodson (1882).

Financial papers consist mainly of orders for supplies from a Philadelphia firm (1854), a list of doctor's fees with a description of treatment rendered (1848-1853), and promissory notes (1806-1863) belonging to James Bryan Gordon and his estate.

Miscellaneous papers include an authorization to pay a teacher for teaching in a common school (1859); a note of termination of an indenture (1874); an extract from theAnnual Report on the Rivers and Harbors of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina (1897); numerous newspapers from northern North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia (1886-1903); a copy of the resolutions of the Wilkes County Democratic Mass Meeting (1910) and handbills of North Wilkesboro and Wilkes County (1923, 1928). Other items of interest are a copy of the biennial message of Angus W. McLean (1927), an article on vivisection (1947), notes on how to dye wool or silk red, a eulogy to William Austin Sydnor, Jr., and numerous photographs of Grimes, Bryan, and Williams family members.

Oversized materials include newspapers from Henderson, North Wilkesboro, Pittsboro, and Raleigh, N.C., and Richmond, Va., for the 1880's and 1890's; appointment certificate (1901) to the Board of Directors of the State Prison; and an 1859 list of pupils and authorization for a teacher's payment in Wilkes Co., N.C.

For related collections see: Grimes-Bryan Papers (#16), J. Bryan Grimes Papers (#54), John Herritage Bryan Papers (#147), and Robert F. Hackett Papers (MF0005).

Administrative information
Custodial History

July 29, 1971, ca. 250 items; Consisting of papers (1806-1950), including correspondence, accounts, receipts, photographs, newspapers, and miscellaneous published material. Deposited by Mr. B. Grimes Williams, Raleigh, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. B. Grimes Williams

Processing information

Processed by L. Hardy, April 1972

Encoded by Apex Data Services

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
Battle, George Gordon, 1868-
Hackett, James Gordon
Family Names
Hackett family
Corporate Names
Democratic Party (N.C.)
Freemasons--North Carolina--Wilkes County--History
North Carolina. State Prison
United States. Army--Military life
Convict labor--North Carolina
North Carolina--Politics and government--20th century
Wilkes County (N.C.)--Genealogy
Wilkes County (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century

Container list
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence, 1900-1939
Box 1 Folder c Correspondence, 1941-1950
Box 1 Folder d Legal papers, 1848-1887
Box 2 Folder a Bills and receipts, 1848-1870
Box 2 Folder b Promissory notes, 1806-1863
Box 2 Folder c-e Miscellaneous material; and photographs
Folder os1 Appointment (1901) to the Board of Directors of the State Prison; 1859 list of pupils and teacher's payment in Wilkes Co., N.C.; and newspapers