Joseph M. French Papers, 1833-1898

Manuscript Collection #364

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Joseph M. French Papers
    Creator: French, Joseph M.
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1833-1898) including correspondence, land records, letters, mortgage deeds, financial records, receipts.
    Extent: 0.4 Cubic feet, 80 items , Correspondence, land records, and miscellaneous.
  • Description

    The correspondence within the French papers consists of two series: the correspondence of the French family and that of their relatives, the Montforts. Much of the early correspondence consists of letters between Mary French of Waynesboro, N.C., and her sons William, Henry, and Joseph French. Numerous letters were written by William French, who resided on an unnamed Craven County plantation, and Joseph French, Postmaster of the French Mill Post Office in Onslow County. Topics of discussion center upon family matters, schooling, health, sale of land, and the westward migration of friends and relatives.

    Of particular interest are letters from family friends who had taken up residence in various mid-western states. A letter (April 1, 1838) from and Arkansas farmer describes in detail the geography and personal impressions of the area and the attractions that drew him to it. Letters describe the hazards of overland travel between Philadelphia and Baltimore (July, 1837), labor shortages and high prices in Illinois, and the health advantages of that state (February, 1841). Also discussed is the quality of Mississippi River water, the high price and difficulty of procuring labor, slave labor rates, the quality of soil in Missouri, and the prices of beef and pork. Louisiana residents write of a flood (1849), the advantages and problems of living in Louisiana (1849) and the unhealthiness of the state (1848). The attitudes of Georgians toward land, the fertility of the soil, land prices, and its desirability are subjects discussed in a letter written during August, 1844.

    In the later correspondence, the Montforts wrote primarily of family-related matters and local eastern North Carolina news. Two letters in this group are particularly noteworthy. A letter from Bolden [Baldwin] County, Alabama (May 13, 1873) mentions the opening of a school, refers to the low literacy rate, and comments on the attitudes of Bolden [Baldwin] County residents toward education. The second letter (August [1872]) speaks of the Conservative Democratic Party Redemption and the reactions of Negroes.

    The collection also contains land and mortgage deeds and financial records, consisting basically of receipts.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    June 14, 1978, 82 items; Papers (1833-1898) of Onslow and Craven counties, N.C., family including correspondence, land records, financial records, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. William B. Pearce, Kinston, N.C.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. William B. Pearce

    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

    Joseph M. French Papers (#364), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Terry, April 1979

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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