Thomas A. Person Papers

Manuscript Collection #303
Person, Thomas A., 1874-1943
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 185 items , including correspondence, financial papers, programs, certificates, a bond, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Thomas A. Person Papers (#303), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1924-1948, undated) of a prominent Greenville, NC tobacconist, including correspondence, financial papers, programs, certificates, a bond, debt, letters, annual statements, etc.

Biographical/historical information

Thomas Arrington Person (1874-1943) was a prominent Greenville tobacconist. He was born in Northampton County and raised in Franklin County as one of at least six children: Thomas, Arthur (later of Louisburg), Priestly (of Wake Forest), Joseph M. (of Enfield), Eugene (of Macon, Ga.) and Abiah. Person attended an academy affiliated with Louisburg College, where many of his relatives had been educated in the mid-1800s. He married Annie Mason, of Portsmouth, in 1898, and in 1906 moved to Greenville, where he founded T.A. Person and Company, a subsidiary of JP Taylor Tobacco Company. In 1915 he became president of the Person-Garrett Tobacco Company; he retained this post until his retirement in 1921. Person served as a steward of Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church from 1933 to 1935, and as a trustee of Louisburg College from 1939 to 1942.

Scope and arrangement

Personal correspondence in the collection (1924-1948, undated) is of limited historical interest, as it consists mainly of letters from Person's brothers and friends requesting loans. Other correspondence mentions concern about the health of his mother and discusses the rental of various properties that Person owned. Two letters of interest (Oct., 1936; Sept., 1937) concern the reconstruction of a road serving summer cottages on Atlantic Beach. This file also contains letters from state historical organizations and correspondence concerning Mrs. Person's execution of her husband's estate. Another personal file includes Thomas A. Person's obituary and family registration and membership cards.

During the 1930s Louisburg College suffered a tremendous debt. Papers in the collection include a letter concerning the reduction of this debt (June, 1943), a debt settlement statement (Oct., 1938), a redeeming bond in Person's name (Mar., 1938), a pamphlet about the "Living Endowment" program, and several financial statements of Louisburg College (1939, 1940). The file also contains a letter and an invitation to Walter Patten's inauguration as president of the college in 1940. Letters concerning theF.A. Person Scholarship Fund (1943) are present, as is a pithy pamphlet of "Pungent Paragraphs from the new Lousiburg College."

Financial papers include Universal Leaf Tobacco Company annual statements (June, 1922-June, 1932) as well as proxy statements and several letters to shareholders. The financial papers also contain a list of recorded sales on the Richmond Stock Exchange (July-Oct., 1927), a price report for tobacco in eastern North Carolina (1942), and a U.S.D.A. statement of special allotment crops. Also included is a comparative statement of condition for Guaranty Bank and Trust Company (1941, 1942) and information about the liquidation of The Hood System Industrial Bank (1934), both of Greenville.

Church-related material includes letters referring to the application of Person's sister for employment at the Methodist Orphanage in Raleigh, lists of stewards of Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church (1933-1935), a letter about that church's building fund (1948) and some general church correspondence, as well as two pamphlets about the 1931 World Conference on Stewardship and Church Finance in Scotland. The most interesting item in this file is a letter (undated) discussing the movement of and additions made to the church owned by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Conetoe, N.C.- probably in 1933 or 1934.

Administrative information
Custodial History

April 30, 1976, ca. 50 items; Personal files of Greenville, N.C., tobacconist. Gift of Sam B. Underwood, Jr., Greenville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Sam B. Underwood, Jr.

Processing information

Processed by C. Cook, January 1982

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
Person, Thomas A., 1874-1943
Corporate Names
Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church (Greenville, N.C.)--History
Louisburg College--Finance
Tobacco industry--North Carolina--Greenville
Tobacco--North Carolina--Greenville