Arthur Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #235
Arthur family
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 325 items , consisting of correspondence, estate papers, land records, financial papers, a cipher book, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Arthur Family Papers (#235), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1798-1929) consisting of estate papers, land records, financial papers, letters, genealogical notes, petition, etc.

Biographical/historical information

The collection primarily concerns the nineteenth century Craven County family of Michael and Sidney Gatlin Arthur and their seven children. Michael and Sidney Arthur were married in 1825 and during the next thirteen years they had six sons and a daughter. The Arthurs lived near present day Ernul in the Little Swift Creek District of the county.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence consists of four letters covering the period between 1843 and 1880. The first letter (1843) is from Michael Arthur's brother in Alabama. The letter reflects family matters, crop conditions, pressures of an uncertain economy, their brother's estate, and plans to move westward. The second letter (1859) is from another brother, this one living in Tennessee. He comments on his ownership of land in Knox County, Tennessee, farm crops, religious life, and family movements. A third letter (1863) is from Colonel Cherry of the 15th North Carolina Reserves stationed in Greenville, N.C. The colonel comments on Negroes joining the Union cause, lack of Union bravery, Confederate troop movements in Pennsylvania, the siege of Vicksburg, Lee's motives for moving northward and the results on the South if he is successful, Confederate deserters, and Union faith in "buffaloes" and Negroes.

Financial papers (1804-1929) constitute a major segment of the collection. Included are records of the purchase and hire of slaves (1806-1812), promissory notes, debt contracts, teacher's salary receipts (1860), school tuition receipts, music class agreement (undated), and receipts for state and local taxes (1804-1889). Also of interest are estate and guardianship records for the estates of John Arthur (1836), Elizabeth Arthur (1845), Ephrian Arthur (1845), Nancy Arthur (1846), and Michael Arthur (1873).

Although considered as miscellaneous materials, there are several items of an educational nature which are worthy of special note. These include the constitution, speakers' list, and speeches of the Little Swift Creek Debating Society (1859); a cipher book; a record of division of school committee money between white and black schools (1876); and an application for a state teacher's certificate (1918). The oversize materials include the above mentioned teacher's certificate application and a promissory note.

Miscellaneous items include family genealogical notes, land records, petition for work on the public roads of Craven County (1855-1871), marriage certificate for Ephrain Arthur and Nancy Gatlin (1827), and poems.

Administrative information
Custodial History

July 18, 1973, 325 items; Papers (1798-1929) of a Craven County, N.C., family, including correspondence, estate papers, land records, financial papers, a cipher book, and miscellaneous. Loaned by Mrs. Nancy Opphile, New Bern, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Loaned by Mrs. Nancy Opphile

Processing information

Processed by C. Joyner, May 1974

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
Family Names
Arthur family
Public schools--North Carolina--Craven County
Roads--North Carolina--Craven County
Slavery--North Carolina--Craven County
Craven County (N.C.)--Genealogy
Craven County (N.C.)--History
Pennsylvania--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Desertions
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African American
Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863