George Howard Papers

Manuscript Collection #197
Howard, George, 1829-1905
Physical description
0.87 Cubic Feet, 321 items , consisting of correspondence, ledgers, deeds, wills, indentures, legal papers, photographs, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
George Howard Papers (#197), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1831-1937) consisting of correspondence, ledgers, deeds, wills, indentures, legal papers, photographs of Spanish-American War.

Biographical/historical information

The Howards were a prominent Tarboro, N.C., family. There were four George Howards: the first George Howard lived until 1863. His son, George Howard, Jr. (1829-1905), was a prominent attorney, a judge of Superior Court (1859-1865), a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1868 and 1880, publisher of the Tarboro Southerner, president of the Pamlico Banking & Insurance Company, president of the Tarboro Land & Trust Company, and a cotton mill director. His sons, George Howard III (1863-1925) and W. Stamps Howard, were businessmen, and in addition W. S. Howard was an attorney and a cotton mill director. In the legal documents in this collection, George Howard III is referred to as George Howard, Jr. The fourth George Howard was born in 1893.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence covers the years 1859-1907, with emphasis being on the period from 1859 to 1871. Correspondence prior to the Civil War concerns the courtship of George Howard and Anna Stamps of Milton, N.C., who by 1862 were married. The Civil War correspondence is between Howard, who travelled frequently because of his duties as a judge and businessman, and his wife. Of particular interest is a letter detailing a train ride from Petersburg, Va., to Welden, N.C., that illustrates the problems with travelling in a war zone (May 22, 1862). During the summer of 1863, Howard wrote several letters that discuss the Civil War and its effects on the people of eastern North Carolina. Howard discusses the demoralization of area people (May 21, 1863), rising inflation and the naval blockade's effects on business (May 26, 1863), fears of a Union raid (July 5, 9, 1863), and an accident involving Confederate troops who were being transported to Goldsboro, N.C., by wagon (July 9, 1863). Howard's attempts to sell slaves are mentioned (July 12, 14, 1863), as are suspicions that a pregnant slave suffered a drug induced miscarriage (July 12, 1863), and his fears that a Union raid would result in the loss of his slaves (July 15, 1863). Other letters discuss a Federal raid on Tarboro and Rocky Mount, N.C., the destruction of property, the good behavior of the slaves, and fears for the safety of family members serving in the military (July 15-22, 1863).

Post-war correspondence discusses the murder trial of John Tayler and Jim Knight (Sept. 14, 1867); a black man bringing a forged order to Howard (Aug. 15, 1871); business undertakings of Howard (1880-1907); and President Grover Cleveland and the gold-silver parity question, and the inability of Cleveland to solve the problem (Feb. 16, 1895).

The remainder of the collection is composed primarily of legal and financial records, including documents relating to the settlement of the George Howard, Jr., estate. In addition, there are ledger books (1894-1895--1898-1899) which include a list of the stockholders of the Tarboro Cotton Factory (Nov. 1899) and accounts of the Pamlico Insurance & Banking Company (Jan.-Aug., 1899).

Much of the collection is composed of land records. The deeds involve the Howard family (1859-1937) and other parties (1850-1935). In cases where other people are involved, George or W. Stamps Howard functioned as an attorney for the case. Most of the deeds concern land in Edgecombe County, but there are also deeds from Wilson, Halifax, Beaufort, Pitt, Lenoir, and Nash counties. In addition, there are indentures that involve both the Howard family and other parties (1831-1929). Among the area families that are consistently referred to in the records are the Norfleets, Peppers, Penders, Bridges, and Battles. The Wilmington and Welden Railroad and the Wilmington, Columbia, and Augusta Railroad are also involved in land transactions. Other legal papers in the collection are contracts and arrangements, loans, leases, and land plats.

Miscellaneous items include a patent issued in 1879 to David W. Bullock of Tarboro, N.C., for improvements in cotton-sack protectors, a railroad bond issued by the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company in 1887, a muster roll of Company I, 2nd Regiment, N.C. Volunteers during the Spanish-American War, seven typed sheets of children's songs, and newspaper clippings of wedding and obituary announcements. Of additional interest is a clipping from a 1940's newspaper that reprints North Carolina Governor Charles B. Aycock's 1901 address to North Carolina blacks at the opening of their State Fair, in which Aycock gives his ideas for racial co-existence.

There are seven photographs of different members of Company I, 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers, taken at an army camp during the Spanish-American War.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 16, 1972, 250 items; papers (1831-1937), consisting of correspondence, deeds, ledgers, photographs, legal papers, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mr. Romaine Howard, Tarboro, N.C.

April 22, 1980, 38 items; Correspondence (1859-1871), and miscellaneous. Gift of Miss Mary F. Howard, Tarboro, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Romaine Howard

Gift of Miss Mary F. Howard

Processing information

Processed by G. Massey, March 1986

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
Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908
Family Names
Howard family
Deeds--North Carolina
Lawyers--North Carolina--Tarboro
Railroads--North Carolina
Silver question
Slavery--North Carolina--Edgecombe County
Spanish-American War, 1898--North Carolina
Trials (Murder)--North Carolina--Edgecombe County
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Economic aspects
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives

Container list
Box 1 Folder b George Howard Wills
Box 1 Folder c Ledger, 1894-1895
Box 1 Folder d Ledger, 1898-1899
Box 2 Howard Family Deeds, 1859-1937
Box 3 Howard Family Land Indentures (1834-1922), Loans, Leases, Non-Family Deeds (1880-1935)
Box 4 Folder a Non-Family Indentures, 1831-1929
Box 4 Folder b Land Plats, 1845, 1889, undated
Box 4 Folder c Miscellaneous Legal Documents, 1857-1927
Box 4 Folder d Miscellaneous, 1879-1923
Box 4 Folder e Photographs
Folder os1 Oversize material