Heath Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #276
Heath family
Physical description
0.79 Cubic Feet, 501 items , papers (1730-1928) of Jeremiah Heath of Craven County, N.C. and his descendants, containing correspondence, court records, land records, financial papers, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Mr. Ivey L. Heath, Jr., Fayetteville, N.C.
Preferred Citation
Heath Family Papers (#276), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1730-1928) of surveyor and Baptist pastor, including correspondence, court records, land records, financial papers, promissory notes, bills, land grants, indentures, Civil War orders, etc.

Biographical/historical information

The papers in this collection are concerned mainly with the career of Elder Jeremiah Heath (October 4, 1793-February 22, 1867), his son, William T. Heath, and grandson, Jeremiah Heath. Elder Jeremiah Heath was a prominent surveyor in Craven County, North Carolina, and served as pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church, New Bern, North Carolina. In addition, Heath served as a member of the School Commission of District Five, Craven County and in other local activities.

Scope and arrangement

Most of the correspondence in the collection falls between 1843 and 1868. It consists primarily of letters directed to Elder Jeremiah Heath concerning requests for surveys, inquiries about deeds, land disputes, and religious matters. One interesting patent dispute between William T. Heath and George Daughtry had the effect of upsetting the church (1868). Some correspondence deals with the schism in churches of Lenoir and Greene Counties (1843), and the consolidation of the United And Free Will Baptists in Georgia (1852). Also included is a message to the General Conference in Lenoir County, North Carolina, from the Free Will Baptist Church in New Bern appealing to that body for help in settling a minister dispute (1852).

A significant segment of the correspondence was written by relatives in Alabama and Tennessee. One letter written from Alabama has information concerning the condition and cost of land in that state (1846). A second letter comments on improvements in Choctaw County, Alabama and describes the crops, economy, work, and pay of overseers (1858). Letters from Tennessee deal with the price of food and cotton (1850), the supply of wild game, the development of Memphis, the plight of settlers (1858), and the wilderness conditions in Tennessee (undated).

Other letters contain information on Negroes such as the hiring out of a slave (1852), the hanging of a Negro (1860), and the kidnapping of some Negroes (1862). Civil War letters comment on the difficulty of raising a company (1861), and the philosophy of the men to "... fight to protect freedom or die," (1861). From a camp near Greenville, North Carolina, one letter discusses a friend who was wounded in Richmond, Virginia (1864).

Various financial papers contain promissory notes which were written by both Jeremiah Heaths for rents and values received (1840-1928). Receipts from payment of bills and promissory notes (1818-1880, 1925) are mainly from William P. Biddle for land purchases by Heath. Included also are receipts for payment of taxes (1829-1920), Superior Court fees, bills, and miscellaneous.

The bulk of the collection contains land grants, deeds, indentures, and surveying records for Craven, Dobbs, and Jones Counties. The land grants are primarily from 1730 to 1779, and 1807 to 1907. A number of grants concern Richard Blackledge property on the south side of the Neuse River and William P. Biddle land in Craven County. There are also grants to the various members of the Heath family: Jeremiah Heath, William and Mary Heath, and Daniel T. Heath in the Core Creek area of Craven County. In the oversize file are grants of the 1700's, some of which were granted under the reign of King George III of England.

Among the surveying papers are undated maps of Blackledge, Carmack, Sutton, Hall, Forvielle, Green, Nixon, McCoy, and Stewart lands. Warrants for Jeremiah Heath to survey in Craven, Jones, and Onslow Counties are included. Reports from warrants (1820-1866) and land surveying records (1760-1851) pertain mainly to the Core Creek and Neuse River area of Craven County.

Other papers include legal documents such as court summonses (1845-1859), state marriage licenses (1832-1861), Civil War military orders (passes), certificate of oath of allegiance, affidavit for family supplies, deed for slaves (1852), estate of a Negro (1866), and a certificate of appointment to School Committee District Five, Craven County. The wills of Rigdon Heath (1799) and Mary Heath (1886) are also among the papers.

Some miscellaneous papers include poems, cures, pamphlets, and The Masonic Journal. Among the articles are "Minutes of the N.C. Original Free Will Baptist General Conference," Pitt County (1864). This gives the names and churches of delegates, names of ministers, and statistics for the different churches. The "Financial Bill" speech of Honorable Charles R. Thomas of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives (1899) gives a history of the gold standard question and the probable results of passage of this bill. Of particular significance is a report "The Common Schools of Craven County" (1854) which contains a financial outline of the common school funds and a list of the teachers with date of their license.

Administrative information
Custodial History

February 19, 1975, 501 items; Papers (1730-1928) of Jeremiah Heath of Craven County, N.C. and his descendants, containing correspondence, court records, land records, financial papers, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Mr. Ivey L. Heath, Jr., Fayetteville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Ivey L. Heath, Jr.

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon

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
Heath family
Corporate Names
Free Will Baptists (1727-1935)--Clergy
Land grants--North Carolina
Surveyors--North Carolina--Craven County
Southern States--Economic conditions--19th century
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives