Correspondence between the Austin family and their friends and relatives covers the years from 1862 to 1910.
Two letters date to the 1860s but only the March 31, 1862, letter is legible. In it a Tarboro citizen mentions the fear of a Yankee invasion, possible avenues for flight in the event of an invasion, and the plight of a family living in occupied Washington, N.C.
The majority of the letters from the early 1870s are written by Charles J. Austin to his wife before and after their marriage. Fox hunting, illnesses, entertainment in Tarboro, and methods utilized in making and burning bricks are discussed in his letters. Other letters dating to the early 1870s discuss dressmaking in Norfolk, Virginia, school life at Chowan Baptist Female Institute at Murfreesboro, N.C., and a cure for the cold.
Letters dating from the 1880s mention common diseases of the day and discuss land speculation in Swain, Macon, and Graham counties in North Carolina by a company formed by Mr. Robert M. Furman and State Senator Theodore W. Poole.
Early twentieth century letters mention types of entertainment available in Tarboro and in Greensboro, N.C.
Legal records include a partnership agreement (1846) between Robert H. Austin of Edgecombe County and William Jeffreys of Franklin County for a mercantile business in Tarboro, N.C., and articles of agreement (1848) between John H. David, Eaton Cobb, and Jesse Harrell concerning the deepening and maintenance of a canal in Edgecombe County, N.C. Also included is a document concerning the dissolving of the co-partnership of R. H. Austin, Thomas Norfleet, and Joseph Staton in Tarboro (1866); a document acknowledging receipt of items from the estate of William A. Staton by Louisa Staton for her use and the use of her children (1868); and an indenture between R. H. Austin and T. H. Gatlin (1885) relating to the rental of a store and a portion of a brick warehouse in Tarboro, N.C. Land records include a deed for land in Edgecombe County, N.C. (1866); a document acknowledging money received by several Crenshaws and Johnsons of Granville County, N.C., for the purchase of lot #23 in Tarboro, N.C., by R. H. Austin (1887); and a receipt for money obtained in the sale of lot #17 in Tarboro by R. H. Austin (1887). Slave records include two bills of sale (1830, 1858) and a receipt (1830) for the purchase of three Negro slaves by Eaton Cobb of Edgecombe County, N.C.
Miscellaneous items date from 1865 to 1947. Included are an 1865 Confederate bond, an 1867 doctor's bill, tax receipts from the 1880s, a 1910 copy of
Current Events, two United Daughters of the Confederacy programs (1928, 1929) for the William Dorsey Pender Chapter, and obituaries for Mrs. R. J. Walker, Sr. (1939) and Mrs. Harriet Yearby (1940). Other items consist of a picture of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1897, a
History of the Edgecombe Guards During the War Between the States by Emily Semple Austin (1917), a copy of
The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, nineteenth century photographs of a brickyard, and a 1947 article on the history of the Austin Family printed in the
Daily Southerner newspaper.