This collection consists primarily of correspondence, financial papers and genealogical material concerning the Lewis family of Edgecombe and Pitt counties and the Sharp family of Hertford County, prominent Eastern North Carolina families related by marriage. Prominent members of the Lewis family are Dr. Richard Henry Lewis, Jr., of Raleigh and journalist Nell Battle Lewis.
The correspondence of greatest significance stems from the Civil War period. These were written by Starkie Sharp of Harrellsville (Hertford Co.) to Jane McBride Simpson of Ballards Bridge (Chowan Co.). They were later married and became the grandparents of Lottie Sharp (Mrs. Kemp P. Lewis). Starkie Sharp was a 1st lieutenant in Co. D. 17th Regiment of N.C. Troops in 1862 and surgeon in Lt. Col. James M. Wynn's 15th Battalion of Cavalry from 1863-1864. Described in the letters are the destruction caused by Northern raiders in Franklin, Va. (July 7, 1864); a brief skirmish at Cape Hatteras (July 7, 1864); and camp life at Camp Mangum (May 27, 1862). A letter dated December 26, 1861, comments in general terms on the cruelty of war, the Mason and Slidell affair, and the singing of Dixie by Confederate prisoners in Northern prisons. Among the undated correspondence are two letters of note concerning the Civil War. One alludes to the Confederate attack on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola Bay, Fla (ca. Oct., 1861) and the other describes an unnamed English-made Confederate steamer and its cargo and describes a skirmish at Fort Pickens.
Correspondence of the 1880s and 1890s is mostly from commission merchants in Norfolk, Va., and Baltimore, Md., and discusses cotton prices. Also several letters from July 1892, give a brief sketch of Colorado, especially Denver.
The financial papers (1865-1892) are mainly comprised of receipts for cotton and hardware items. The 1865 receipt is a Commissary Department receipt for bacon and wheat from a Hertford County man.
Genealogical materials include notes, letters, charts, newspaper clippings, a will (Exum Lewis, 1795, Edgecombe Co., N.C.), obituaries, and miscellaneous items pertaining mainly to Eastern North Carolina (especially Pitt and Edgecombe counties), Virginia, and Alabama. The Battle, Blount, Foreman, Kemp(e), Lewis, Plummer, Sharp and Williams families figure greatly in these notes with the Clarke, Harrison, Hoskins, Martin, Skinner, Warner, and other families appearing to a lesser degree.
Miscellaneous items include a college salutatory address (1827) by Richard Henry Lewis, father of Dr. Richard Henry Lewis, Jr., of Raleigh; and three undated brief essays- one on glass (by Lottie Sharp while at Sunnyfield Academy), another on gunpowder (by R. H. Lewis, Jr.), and the third on North Carolina's part in the Civil War.