Although primarily personal in nature, correspondence (1849-1903) in the collection, nevertheless, touches on a variety of subjects concerning eastern North Carolina during the nineteenth century, including agriculture, education, health, religion, society, and domestic life.
With regard to agriculture, correspondents discuss crops, weather, farm failure, and loss of property, or give instructions on the preparation of crops for market. In correspondence (October 5, 1870) from Pasquotank County, one correspondent worries that the opening of free schools will ruin private institutions. Another letter (September 17, 1881) notes the prevalence of diphtheria in and around Plymouth, N.C., which had caused the death of many black children. Interesting also is a letter (April 22, 1868) referring to an upcoming visit by an Episcopal bishop to Plymouth.
A letter (September 11, 1861) relates the efforts of eastern North Carolinians and the Confederate Army to "blockade Roanoke Island against the Yankees." An authorization (August 20, 1863) from Col. S. L. Freemont, chief engineer and superintendent of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, to James H. Hill for purchase of food stuffs is also included.
Financial records (1859-1866) consist of accounts, receipts, warrants, an insurance premium notice, charges for tuition and board at St. Mary's College in Raleigh (1901), and an 1877 common school teacher's certificate.
The collection contains an 1872-1873 catalogue of the Camden Male and Female Academy, Camden, North Carolina, which lists the various curricula, textbooks, and fees then in force. A folder of miscellaneous items includes a patent medicine book (ca. 1890) and two copies of the
North Carolina Farmer (March and November 1881), which provide advice on plowing, the effectiveness of various fertilizers and medicines, and the cultivation or raising of cotton, tobacco, fruits, rice, corn, jute, cattle, poultry, and sheep. In addition, there are several Civil War and romantic poems as well as a list of books to be read.