Austin Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #382
Austin family
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 116 items, consisting of correspondence (1862-1910), legal documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Austin Family Papers (#382), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1830-1947) consisting of correspondence, legal documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters regarding common disease and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Robert Henry Austin (1810-1890) of Tarboro, N.C., and his wife Jannet Jeffreys had children William Henry, Charles Jeffreys, and Elizabeth. Apparently, both Robert and his son Charles operated brickyards in Tarboro. Charles married Emily S. Chisman of Hampton, Virginia, and they lived in Tarboro.

Scope and arrangement

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.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 20, 1979, 91 items; Edgecombe County, N.C., family papers (1866-1929), including correspondence, photographs, indentures, clippings, and miscellaneous. April 30, 1985, 8 items; Edgecombe County, N.C., legal papers (1830-1887). Gift of Miss Mary Howard, Tarboro, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Miss Mary Howard

Processing information

Processed by M. Elmore; M. Boccaccio, November 1990

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
Austin, Charles J.--Correspondence
Family Names
Austin family
Corporate Names
Chowan Baptist Female Institute (Murfreesboro, N.C.)
Brickmaking--North Carolina--Tarboro
Canals--North Carolina--Edgecombe County
Deeds--North Carolina--Edgecombe County
Land speculation--North Carolina--History--19th century
Slave bills of sale--North Carolina--Edgecombe County
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century