Reid Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #381
Reid family
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 159 items, consisting of correspondence, financial records, deeds, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Reid Family Papers (#381), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1804-1968) consisting of correspondence, financial records, deeds, records of payments, weighting receipts, taxes, tax lists.

Scope and arrangement

This collection is divided into five main divisions: financial papers and correspondence (1859, 1877-1894) of J. M. Reid, a late-nineteenth-century cotton producer; personal correspondence and miscellaneous items (1883-1922) of Miss Maggie DeCormis(?) from her sisters, nephews, and nieces (1886-1918); the personal correspondence of Joseph K. and Sabrie Williams Reid (1927-1968); the papers, records, and correspondence of Sheriff Joseph K. Reid (1923-1956); and copies of nineteenth-century deeds and miscellaneous items. Most of the items relate to Washington County, N.C.

Receipts and business correspondence (1877-1894) of Jeremiah M. Reid of Plymouth and White Marsh, N.C., reflect dealings with businesses, including cotton factors in Malvern, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Richmond, Norfolk, and Lynchburg, Va.; and Plymouth and Washington, N.C. Although all of this material offers considerable insight into the economic aspects of Reid's cotton business, the receipts and correspondence from "Elliot Bros., Cotton Factors" of Baltimore (1878-1887, 1891) most clearly reflect cotton market variations and the prices of various grades of cotton in the 1880s. An 1891 letter also alludes to notifying an insurance company of the destruction of Reid's property by fire.

Miscellaneous items among the J. M. Reid records include a record of payments from J. P. Newberry (1877-1878); a receipt for land in Washington Co., (1878); invoices regarding Reid and Duke (later J. M. Reid and Son), dealers in boots and general merchandise (1877-1891); and a weighing receipt for the Elliot Brothers from C. L. Prince & Co., "Public Weigher" of Baltimore (1885).

Maggie DeCormis's correspondence is mainly from her sisters, nephews and nieces, and a friend writing from Creswell, Grimesland, and Plymouth, N.C. Generally, all of the letters deal with personal, everyday happenings. Scattered references are made to the millinery trade in Plymouth, N.C. (late 1880s-1900) and to soup kitchens being used to help feed the many people sick during the flu epidemic of 1918. Also discussed are hemorrhagic fever (1900), the "gripps" (1901), the use of morphine to treat a toothache (1900), and treating other illnesses with quinine (1889). One letter (1887) mentions a Negro woman being caught by her husband in adultery with a white man. Miscellaneous items found with the correspondence are a grade report (1883) from Peace Institute in Raleigh, N.C., a commencement program (1919) from F. W. B. Seminary in Ayden, and a concert program (1922) from Oxford Orphanage.

Personal correspondence of Joseph K. and Sabrie Williams Reid consists mainly of love letters (1927) written to and from Sheriff Reid, of Plymouth, N.C., and Sabrie Williams during her business trip to Raleigh, N.C., before their marriage. References are made to the sale of poisoned liquor in Roper, N.C. (Dec. 6); and a prevalence of pneumonia in Plymouth (Dec. 8).

Later letters (1928-1937) are written by Sabrie when she was visiting family in Alabama. In one letter she mentions a bumper crop of cotton (1937). Correspondence from Izola Williams to Sabrie originates in Guatemala (1967) and Mexico (1968). The writer compares Guatemala City's climate with that of Mexico City, explains the Guatemalan monetary system, and mentions attending a Presbyterian church. The letter from Mexico describes an extended family and its sleeping arrangements, and a Presbyterian Bible school. Also included is a broadside (undated) advertising a literary and historical performance to be given at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., by Edmund Alexander of Wilmington, N.C., to benefit the Babies' Hospital.

The Joseph K. Reid material relates primarily to his tax collecting duties as sheriff in Washington County, N.C., (1923-1956). Correspondence concerns life in Reno, Nevada (1924); tax collections in the Albemarle Drainage District (1924); and legislation in the N.C. General Assembly pertaining to sales of personal property to pay for delinquent taxes (1931). A letter concerning a Roper, N.C., man charged with larceny in Baltimore, Md., (1956) accompanies the J. K. Reid correspondence, as do two (1956) from a Central Prison inmate in Raleigh, thanking Reid for helping his family.

Other records among J. K. Reid's papers include lists of property to be sold for delinquent taxes in the Pungo River Drainage District (1923), the Albemarle Drainage District (1923), and in Plymouth, Lee's Mill, and Scuppernong townships (1924); records of taxes collected by W. D. Peal of Creswell, N.C. (1926); a copy of a N.C. House Bill for the relief of Sheriff Reid and Leon S. Bray, the former treasurer of Washington Co., releasing them from liability for taxes deposited in United Commercial Bank of Plymouth which was closed in 1925; statements made before the Washington County Clerk of the Superior Court by a witness and an accused party relating to a Norfolk Va., holdup/murder (1941); and a photograph of a Negro man (with accompanying vital statistics) charged with the "murder of officer."

The final portion of the collection includes copies of deeds for land in Washington County (1806-1881), and Martin County (1850), mainly pertaining to the Walker and Reid families.

The oversize folder contains Washington Co., N.C., drainage district tax lists (1921-1922), a delinquent tax list (1925), and a photographic essay on Wilmington, N.C., which appeared in The Charlotte Observer (1921).

For a related collection, see #293 (Sabrie Williams Reid Papers).

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 14, 1979, 80 items; Originals and copies; Washington County, N.C., family papers (1804-1940), including correspondence, financial papers, land records, and miscellaneous

March 18, 1981, 55 items; Papers of Washington County, N.C., family, including correspondence, financial records, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. Sabrie Reid, Plymouth, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Sabrie Reid

Processing information

Processed by I. Berent; C. Crews, March 1991

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
Reid, Sabrie Williams, 1904-1993
Family Names
Reid family
Cotton trade--United States--History--19th century
Deeds--North Carolina--Martin County
Deeds--North Carolina--Washington County
Influenza Epidemic, 1918-1919--North Carolina--Plymouth
Millinery--North Carolina--Plymouth
Sheriffs--North Carolina--Washington County
Tax collection--North Carolina--Washington County
Guatemala--Description and travel
Mexico--Description and travel
Washington County (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century