Richard C. Stokes Papers

1853-1946, 1962
Manuscript Collection #402
Stokes, Richard C.
Physical description
0.431 Cubic Feet, 387 items , consisting of correspondence; legal records; financial records; business memos, receipts and reports; photographs; clippings; and miscellany.
Preferred Citation
Richard C. Stokes Papers (#402), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1853-1946, 1962) consisting of correspondence, legal records, financial records, business memos, receipts, reports, photographs, clippings and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Richard Carter Stokes I, II, and III were Southern tobacconists whose employment with George W. Helme Co. in Lynchburg, Virginia; American Suppliers Inc. in Greenville, N.C.; and a "group" which did business with Nicaragua, respectively, spanned nearly a century. Their ancestry included Lt. Col. William Richard Carter, a nineteenth-century educator and soldier.

Scope and arrangement

The Stokes Papers include business records of American Suppliers Inc. (1937-1946), nineteenth and twentieth-century personal correspondence, financial and legal records, as well as biographical and genealogical data concerning the Stokes's ancestors. Other papers consist of personal correspondence of the Stokes family's relations and in-laws- notably the Laughinghouse family of Greenville. Appended to this description are several family trees which clarify family relationships.

Nineteenth-century correspondence includes a series of letters (1855-1859) from R. C. Puryear of Christiansville, Virginia, to "Smith and Maddux," Richmond, Virginia, relating to transactions for the sale of wheat, corn, brandy, whiskey, bacon, and fertilizer. Other correspondence is from a soldier in Huntersville, Virginia (1861) discussing hard times and the scarcity of writing paper and tobacco. He also expresses his indignation with the "cowardly young" and "old bachelors" who do not enlist. An 1853 form letter gives notice that one John M. Clarke of Washington, D.C., is purchasing land warrants and that his integrity can be attested to by numerous bankers and public officials listed therein. Other nineteenth-century letters are from, or to, relatives: Capt. D. R. Stokes (1877), Mrs. D. R. Stokes (1884), S. Carter (1884), and W. S. Friend (1883). The Friend letter discusses expenses for tuition at "H. S. College" - probably Hampden-Sydney- and"Dr. Whorey's" and relates the advantages of boarding at Capt. Stokes's, "which is about 2½miles from Worsham."

There is twentieth-century personal correspondence of the three R. C. Stokeses, Mrs. R. C. Stokes II, and Dr. and Mrs. Charles O'Hagan Laughinghouse. Of particular note in the letters are the concern of R. C. Stokes I about his pension policy with the Helme Co. (1944), Charles Laughinghouse's lamentations over his old age (1929), and Mrs. Laughinghouse's need for investment advice (ca. 1933). Also noteworthy is a copy of a letter (1962) to R. C. Stokes III and others from Luis A. Samoza, of the government of Nicaragua, giving permission for "the Group to use up to and including 25,000 acres of land for the growth of tobacco" subject to the conditions enumerated therein.

There is also a series of courtship letters (1944) written to Charles L. Stokes while he was at naval bases in Bainbridge and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia. His sweetheart, Miss Ruby Moye, writes of her everyday experiences as a high school senior in Greenville, N.C., her graduation and her summer at home in Maury, N.C. Enclosures include a 1944 graduation program and a photograph, probably of Miss Moye and her mother.

The Stokes Papers' business records contain mainly memos, letters, reports, receipts and miscellany of the American Suppliers Inc. The company- originally called American Tobacco Company- had its central headquarters in New York City. R. C. Stokes II worked at Greenville as a leaf-buying supervisor in the company's Durham division.

The memorandums which he received provide a good representation of the day-to-day coordinating problems of a major Southern tobacco company supplier before, during, and after World War II (1937-1947). The memos relate or discuss buying and shipping instructions, auction/bidding advice (Aug. 15, 1946), explanation of wage and compensation policies, travel expense regulations, certificate requirements for minors (Aug. 21, 1945), employment ceilings (July, 1945), telephone restrictions to centers of war activity (Sept. 1942; Oct. 30, 1942), gas ration coupon policy (Oct. 19, 1942; Aug. 21, 1942), inducted employees policy (Sept. 30, 1940), and Board of Trade membership restriction (Nov. 6, 1941). Other topics include the purchase of tickets for an ad department employee and the promotion of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

A.S.I. yearly buying slates list the names and locations of numerous buyers in the South as well as their bookkeepers and factory men. Georgia and Florida market reports give the names of warehouses and their owners (Aug. 23, 1941) and the number of pounds of leaf purchased and shipped (Sept. 9, 1940) in the two states. An eastern Carolina buying instruction summary (ca. 1946) lists estimated sales, purchases, and distributions by grade.

Stokes's expense accounts and daily eastern Carolina buying records (Oct., Nov., 1942) are interspersed among the papers. Miscellany includes the 1946 office directory and a pamphlet explaining the company's group insurance (1946).

Financial/court records include a receipt for a Confederate States bond (1864), a receipt from a Raleigh, N.C. clothier (1869), a Lynchburg Gas and Light Co. promissory note (1897), a petition by Ned Laughinghouse to the N.C. adjutant general relative to his financial deprivations (1917), various Lunenburg County, Va., deeds (early-to-mid twentieth century), receipts regarding financial support of John Lee (1925), an amortization note from the N.C. Joint Stock Land Bank of Durham (1927), a receipt for guardianship of Mrs. Alice Stokes (1934), and an inventory of the personal property of Mrs. Belle Stokes Conquest (1942). Charles Stokes's records of separation from the U.S. Navy (1944), financial statement to Greenville Country Club stockholders, and miscellaneous records are also included in the collection.

Miscellaneous materials among the R. C. Stokes papers includes a few undated letters; brief genealogical sketches of Stokes ancestors James Craig, Capt. Richard Gregory, Capt. Richard Claiborne and Sharpe Carter; and a biographical sketch of Col. Wm. R. Carther, who was a University of Virginia professor and one of the first soldiers captured in the Civil War. The Carter sketch gives information on school curricula and some battles.

Also amongst the miscellany is an undated American Legion speech with very brief meetings minutes. There are also numerous photographs, probably of the Stokeses, as well as of their home, some boats, and a streetcar.

Numerous newspaper clippings (1930) among the miscellany include Charles O'Hagan Laughinghouse obituary notices and articles dealing with the problems facing the N.C. Board of Health because of Laughinghouse's death. Additional information relative to Dr. Laughinghouse and the Stokeses may be found in Collection #267.

See page 5 for the Craig, Gregory, Stokes, Carter, Laughinghouse, and Lee Family Tree.

Administrative information
Custodial History

April 1, 1980, 261 items; Papers (1855-1883, 1906-1946) of Greenville, N.C., tobacconist and his ancestors, including correspondence, reports, and miscellaneous. Gift of Dr. Joseph W. Congleton, Jr., Greenville, N.C., and David R. Pruette, Greenville, N.C.

April 7, 2008, (addition 1), 1 item, 1 p., 0.001 cubic feet; Commission (2/7/1910) as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, with rank of Colonel, as prescribed by law, of the Commonwealth of Viriginia, issued to Richard Carter Stokes, to rank as such from 1 February 1910; Signed by Governor and Commander-in-Chief William Hodges Mannn and Adjutant General Chas. J. Anderson. Printed form. 13 3/4" x 11. Rec'd 4/7/2008. Donor: Ms. Barbara S. LeFew.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dr. Joseph W. Congleton, Jr.

Gift of David R. Pruette

Gift of Ms. Barbara S. LeFew

Processing information

Processed by I. Berent, March 1981

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
Somoza Debayle, Luis, 1922-1967
Stokes, Richard C.
Family Names
Laughinghouse family
Corporate Names
American Suppliers Inc.
Deeds--Virginia--Lunenburg County
Tobacco industry--Nicaragua
Tobacco industry--North Carolina--Greenville
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Economic aspects
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence and undated miscellany
Box 2 Clippings and A.S.I. Records