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Guide to the Jesse W. Grainger Papers, 1891-1918

Manuscript Collection #352

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Jesse W. Grainger Papers
Creator: Grainger, Jesse W., 1845-1910
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1891-1918) including correspondence, legal materials, financial records, ledgers, estate papers, real estate records, political material, letters and miscellaneous.
Extent: 6.38 Cubic feet, 2650 items, including correspondence, legal materials, financial records, ledgers, estate papers, real estate records, political materials, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

January 19, 1978, ca. 2,500 items; Papers (1891-1918) of Lenoir County, N.C., tobacconist and businessman, including correspondence, ledgers, financial papers, legal records, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Miss Pat Crawford, Kinston, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Jesse W. Grainger Papers (#352), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Miss Pat Crawford

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Boccaccio, June 1987

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Jesse Willis Grainger (1845-1910) was educated at Hookerton Academy and Trinity College. In 1864 he entered the Reserves of the Confederate States Army and rose to the rank of Captain. He married Sallie Lucretia Coward in 1868 in Greene County and remained there until he moved to Kinston in 1879. Grainger's first wife died in 1883 and he later married Clara Albritton Dixon. A member of the Methodist church and a leader in the economic and political life of Kinston, Grainger was a very successful truck farmer, Vernon Farm being his principal holding. He was also a moving force in developing the tobacco market in Kinston, giving local farmers the first seed and opening the first warehouse, the Kinston-Carolina Warehouse, in the fall of 1885. Interested in education, Grainger donated half the cost of the first high school site in Kinston. Involved in real estate in Lenoir and Guilford counties as well as Norfolk County, Virginia, Grainger laid out a new section of Kinston that hastened its growth. As a man of many interests, he was at various times a member of the Lenoir County Finance Committee, president of the Kinston Board of Trade, president of the Chamber of Commerce, vice president of two Kinston banks and one New Bern bank, president of the State Mutual Life Insurance Company, president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, and owner of the Kinston Free Press. Grainger was also the Lenoir County representative to the General Assembly in 1885, chairman of the Lenoir County Democratic Executive Committee, and a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The major portion of the collection relates to Grainger's activities as a truck farmer in Lenoir County and as an agent for various agricultural products and equipment companies, including Baugh and Sons, Thornhill Wagon Company, Griffith and Turner Disc Cultivators, and International Harvester.

Correspondence largely concerns Grainger's orders, sales, and accounts. From 1896 through early 1910 he ordered bulk quantities of potato, cabbage, and tobacco guano, crates for various truck farm products, engines, wagons, buggies, saws, cotton seed meal, potato seed, lime, and cotton presses. Correspondence for 1901 with Baugh and Sons concerns a federal inspection of a shipment of cabbage guano. Other correspondence concerns territorial conflicts between Grainger and other guano agents (1901, 1904), the impact of cotton prices on the wagon business (1905), and the status of cotton crops across the South (1906).

Grainger's correspondence reflects his dealings with a variety of commission merchants to sell his truck products including Scheur Brothers of Cleveland, Ohio (fruits and vegetables), Wm. Gamble and Company of New York (Irish potatoes), John H. Short of Scranton, Pennsylvania (cabbage), E. B. Redfield and Company of Philadelphia (cantaloupes), Chapin Brothers of Boston (fruit and southern truck), and C. E. Snyder of Richmond (southern fruit and vegetables).

Ledgers give corresponding daybook pages and list accounts for Vernon Farm, Grainger's purchases from the various companies he dealt with as an agent, sales of these goods as well as his truck farm sales, lumber accounts, accounts for houses and buildings he built, salaries, and Grainger's personal and business expenses.

Other aspects of Grainger's personal life are highlighted in the correspondence. A 1907 letter and resolution from the Knights of Harmony concern a lodge donation for the hospital, a letter from L. J. Mewborne includes a resolution of thanks for a piece of land Grainger donated for a town park, and a copy of a letter (June 1907) from M. J. Westbrook to Gov. Robert B. Glenn urges that the East Carolina Teachers' Training School be located in Kinston.

Correspondence with P. M. Pearsall (1908-1909), lawyer for the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, concerns a claim against the government, Pearsall's fees for litigation, the leasing of the A. and N. C., coupons on bonds, and the move of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad into Goldsboro station.

Correspondence after Grainger's death reflects on his vice presidency of the Norfolk and Southern Realty Company and his purchase of several lots in Virginia. Other letters (1910-1913) concern the settlement of the estate and efforts to sell lots in Greensboro as well as the Virginia property. Estate records contain a valuation of land holdings and list insurance on property and equipment from 1908 through January 1910. Tax records show holdings in Onslow County in 1905 and the Norfolk County property beginning in 1906. A file of real estate records shows Grainger selling lots in Kinston from 1892 on.

Other files contain records of the bankruptcy of Gay Lumber Company (1904), a political broadside concerning a school board of trustees election controversy (1909), a merchant's license (1902), and contribution records for the St. Louis Exposition (1903) and the Methodist Orphanage (1904).

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entry :

  • North Carolina, Lenoir County

Autograph Entries :

    • Pou, James H[inton] 1906
    • Simmons, Furnifold [McLendel] 1905

Subject Entries :

    • AGRICULTURE— Cotton
    • AGRICULTURE— Equipment
    • AGRICULTURE— Fertilizer— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • AGRICULTURE— Financial Records— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • AGRICULTURE— Lenoir Co., N.C.— 1891-1910
    • AGRICULTURE— Truck Farming— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Commission Merchants
    • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Lumber Trade— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Truck Farming— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • COMMUNICATION— Telephone— Carolina Telephone Company— 1892-1902
    • EDUCATION— COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES— East Carolina University
    • EDUCATION— PUBLIC SCHOOLS— Lenoir Co., N.C.
    • GREENSBORO, N.C.— Real Estate
    • KINSTON, N.C.— Real Estate
    • TRANSPORTATION— Railroads— Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad
    • TRANSPORTATION— Railroads— Norfolk and Southern Railroad
    • VIRGINIA-NORFOLK CO.— Real Estate

Date Entries :

  • 1891-1899
  • 1900-1909
  • 1910-1918

Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

AGRICULTURE— Equipment
Description: Deering Pocket Memoranda containing advertisements for and pictures of binder twine
Call Number: logo-352.2.e

AGRICULTURE— Fruit Culture
Description: The Riverside Nurseries
Location: Greenville, NC
Date: 11/18/1902
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

AGRICULTURE— Truck Farming— Lenoir Co., NC
Description: Vernon Truck Farm, J.W. Grainger, Proprietor, Henry French, Manager
Location: Kinston, NC
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Animal Industry
Description: D.B. Barrus, Dealer in Horses & mules
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 1905
Call Number: logo-352.3.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Carriage Industry
Description: Edgerton & Hollowell, Dealers in Horses and Mules, Buggies, Wagons, etc./ A.C. Copeland & Co.
Location: Goldsboro, NC/Kinston, NC
Date: 3/23/1905; 1903
Call Number: logo-352.1.b; 352.2.c

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Carriage Industry
Description: C.T. Randolph, Manufacturer of Carriages, Buggies, and Ladies' Phaetons
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 5/23/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Commission Merchants
Description: Hall & Pearsall, Wholesale grocers and Commission Merchants
Location: Wilmington, NC
Date: 2/18/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Cotton
Description: W.C. Fields, Dealer in Cotton and Fertilizers
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 9/6/1902
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Cotton
Description: L. Harvey & Son, Cotton, Insurance and Fertilizers
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 12/27/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Cottonseed Oil Mills
Description: Lenoir Oil and Ice Company, Manufacturers of Cotton Seed Products and Pure Crystal Ice/Moseley Bros., Cotton Insurance, Real Estate
Location: Kinston, NC/Greenville, NC
Date: 12/04/1905; 5/28/1910
Call Number: logo-352.1.b; 352.1.e

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Equipment
Description: B.W. Canady & Co., Dealers in Hardware of Every Description
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 8/31/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Feeds
Description: Hooker, Churchill & Co., Meal, Grain, and all kinds of Feed stuff, also Phaetons
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 7/10/1905
Call Number: logo-352.3.e

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Fertilizer
Description: E.H. and J.A. Meadows Co., Manufacturers of Meadows Special Guanos
Location: New Bern, NC
Date: 2/12/1901
Call Number: logo-352.1.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— General Stores
Description: J.W. Grainger, Dealer in Engines, Gins, Separators, Mills, Buggies & Wagons, High Grade Fertilizers for cotton and tobacco
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 5/30/1902
Call Number: logo-352.1.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— General Stores
Description: M.B. Steed & Son, Dealers in General Merchandise
Location: Richlands, NC
Date: 9/20/1907
Call Number: logo-352.1.c

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Grocery Trade
Description: L.G. Moore, Fine Groceries, Teas and Coffees
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 9/19/1904
Call Number: logo-352.2.h

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Grocery Trade
Description: Morrison Produce and Provision Co./ A.W. Kennedy, Dealer in Groceries, Tobacco, Snuff, Fruits, Confectioneries, etc.
Location: Statesville, NC/La Grange, NC
Date: 5/24/1906; 5/30/1906
Call Number: logo-352.1.b

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Insurance
Description: Piedmont Fire Insurance Co.
Location: Charlotte, NC
Date: 11/10/1904
Call Number: logo-352.1.d

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Lumber Trade
Description: Hines Bros. Lumber Company/Seth West, Pine and Hardwood Lumber, Cabbage and Fish boxes
Location: Kinston, NC/Dunn, NC
Date: 11/15/1902; 2/20/1904
Call Number: logo-352.2.a; 352.2.h

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Lumber Trade
Description: Greenville Lumber & Veneer Co./J.B. Blades Lumber Company
Location: Greenville, NC/New Bern, NC
Date: 8/6/1909; 2/19/1910
Call Number: logo-352.1.d

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Lumber Trade
Description: Parrott and Crabtree, Manufacturers of Ash, Oak and Sweet Gum(Hazel Pine) Lumber/Henry Clay Parrott & Son Lumber Manufacturers
Location: Dover, NC
Date: 48/281906; 10/24/1907
Call Number: logo-352.1.b-c

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Manufacturing— Brickmaking
Description: Abbott & Jones, Manufacturers of Brick
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 3/16/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Music
Description: Slaughter Bros., Talking Machines, Pianos, Organs, Sewing Machines and supplies
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 8/20/1907
Call Number: logo-352.3.g

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Tobacco
Description: W.H. Clayton, Manufacturer of Tobacco Flues
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 4/23/1901
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Tobacco— Warehousing
Description: Coward, Hocker & Company, Proprietors, Star Warehouse for the Sale of leaf tobacco
Location: Greenville, NC
Date: 7/24/1905
Call Number: logo-352.1.b

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Wagons
Description: Piedmont Wagon Co., Manufacturers of Farm and Road Wagons/ W.G. Garris, Manufacturer of Carts and Wagons and Tobacco Flues
Location: Hickory, NC
Date: 9/16/1901; 1/11/1902
Call Number: logo-352.2.a

EDUCATION— COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES— Barton College
Description: Formerly Atlantic Christian College
Location: Wilson, NC
Date: 9/23/1902
Call Number: logo-352.1.a

EDUCATION— PRIVATE SCHOOLS— Southern Summer School for Social Service and Christian Workers
Location: Watauga Co., NC
Date: 8/9/1918
Call Number: logo-352.1.e

HOTELS, INNS AND TAVERNS— The McAdoo
Location: Greensboro, NC
Date: 10/21/1910
Call Number: logo w/ picture-352.1.e

LAW AND LAWYERS— Lenoir County, N.C.
Description: Rouse & Land, Attorneys and Counselors At Law
Location: Kinston, NC
Date: 8/20/1917 Call Number: logo-352.1.e

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 6#0352.6
Ledger, 1891-1896
Box 7#0352.7
Ledger, 1897-1903
Box 8#0352.8
Ledger, 1898-1900
Box 9#0352.9
Ledger, 1903-1905
Box 10#0352.10
Delivery ledger, 1903-1905
Dixon and Hooker account records, 1906
D. V. Dixon account records, 1907-1909
Box 11#0352.11
Delivery ledger, 1906-1910
Box 12#0352.12
Daybook, 1899-1900
Box 13#0352.13
Daybook, 1900-1902
Box 14#0352.14
Daybook, 1902-1903
Box 15#0352.15
Daybook, 1904-1905
Box 16#0352.16
Daybook, 1905-1907
Box 17#0352.17
Daybook, 1907-1909

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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