Francis M. Manning Collection

1740-1985, undated
Manuscript Collection #488
Manning, Francis M.
Physical description
7.6 Cubic Feet, consisting of correspondence, legal and financial papers, estates papers, and volumes concerning several eastern North Carolina families.
Preferred Citation
Francis M. Manning Collection (#488), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access to audiovisual and digital media is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection (1740-1985) including correspondence, legal and financial papers, estates papers, and volumes concerning several eastern North Carolina families.

Biographical/historical information

Francis Marion Manning (1903-1982) was for many years editor of the Williamston Enterprise, a biweekly, and the Robersonville Weekly Herald. The son of William and Sarah Roberson Manning, he graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1926. Manning returned to Williamston to work on the staff of the Enterprise, which his father and mother had purchased in 1908; his columns on fishing and local characters were regular features of the paper. Active in the North Carolina Press Association, Manning served that group as Vice-President in 1963-64. He also held a position on the Board of Directors of the Eastern North Carolina Press Association. Manning wrote many articles on historical topics and, with W. H. Booker, edited three volumes on Martin County history: Religion and Education in Martin County, 1774-1974 (Williamston, 1974); Martin County History, Volume I (Williamston, 1977); and Martin County History, Volume II (Williamston, 1979). Each of these books contains much useful information on the Martin County families whose papers Manning collected.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence addressed to Manning (1939, 1947-1974) documents his interest in Martin County history and his research on transportation in North Carolina and other southern states. Specific topics discussed include the Albemarle Steamboat Navigation Company and other steamboat firms; railroads serving eastern North Carolina, such as the Atlantic Coast Line, the East Carolina, the Jamesville, and the Jamesville and Washington lines; the history of Dymond City; and street railroads in eastern North Carolina. Several letters are written by Temple Crittenden of Norfolk, Virginia, an historian of local railroads.

Correspondents who discuss general topics include Josephus Daniels (1947), Sen. Sam J. Ervin (1958, 1961), B. Everett Jordan (1964), and Everett McKinley Dirksen (1965). An enclosure to a Manning letter (1964) contains a list of Martin County, N.C., men killed or reported missing in World War II.

Papers of Manning's father, W. C. Manning, Sr., include correspondence from Claude Kitchin (1911) discussing the inconsistent voting patterns of Sen. Furnifold Simmons. Other topics of interest include the availability of Hunt's fish filleting machine and W. C. Manning's service as a U.S. Bankruptcy Commissioner of the eastern North Carolina precinct, Martin Co. (1930-1933).

Among the items relating to F. M. Manning are materials which were published in the Williamston Enterprise. These documents concern various aspects of Martin County history and include a Civil War memoir of the 17th N.C. Regiment by W. H. Wyatt (1957), the construction and use of a telegraph company in Martin County (1882), the building of the ironclad ALBEMARLE (1863), and the construction of the Albemarle and Raleigh Railroad (1880s). Other materials include a brief biography of Reuben Bland, father of thirty-four children; a speech by W. Kerr Scott (1955); letters to the editor; an obituary of F. M. Manning (1982); and articles discussing the dedication of the Francis Manning History Room at Martin Community College (1985).

The bulk of Manning's papers consists of materials related to the history of various Martin County families. These items, mainly financial and legal papers, are arranged alphabetically by family name. A list of the families represented in the collection and descriptions of family papers containing noteworthy material follows: Biggs, Bowers, Clark, Davenport, Dromgoole, Ellison, Etheridge, Gibson, Griffin, Grist, Harrison, Hassell, Hyman, Jewett, Kilby, Mizell, Moore, Pendleton, Riddick, Rife, Slade, Smaw, Staton (Yates), Thorne, Weaver, Weathersby, Yellowly.

Biggs Family

Papers in this series reflect activities of several members of a prominent Martin County family. William Biggs (d. 1816) was a member of the Skewarkey Baptist Assembly in Martin County; in 1801, a William Biggs of Martin County was elected to the North Carolina Assembly. Thomas Biggs, a member of Jamesville Primitive Baptist Church, operated a mill in Martin County during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Joseph Biggs (1766-1844) became a minister in the Primitive Baptist Church, wrote a "History of the Kehukee Association," and probably engaged in mercantile activities in the Martin County area. His son, Asa (1811-1878), practiced law in eastern North Carolina, assisted in codifying the state's laws in 1854, and served as a federal judge. (For more information on Asa Biggs, see William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 1.) Samuel Romulus Biggs, Sr., operated a drugstore and an iron and motor works in Williamston; he also served on many municipal boards and in volunteer organizations in the town. His son, Warren, followed his father in the family drugstore, after studying pharmacy at Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Warren Biggs also collected information on the history of Martin County.

Scattered correspondence of Biggs family members (1830s-1943) deals with a variety of topics. Pre-Civil War letters, including letters from Asa Biggs to various family members and friends, concern sales of agricultural goods, stray cattle, land matters, and other general subjects. Of particular interest is a letter from Civil War POWs William Biggs and Benjamin Hoes from Fort Warren, Massachusetts, pledging loyalty to the United States government (1862).

Later topics of interest include financial concerns; prices for coffins (1903); the S. R. Biggs Iron and Motor Company; Warren Biggs's financial interests, including his certification by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy (1905); a U.N.C. anatomy class (1912); and recuperation at the Westbrook Sanatorium in Richmond, Va. (1916). Mass-produced correspondence from Herbert C. Bonner (1946) and Josiah W. Bailey (1942) to Warren Biggs seeks Bigg's political support. Filed with Biggs family correspondence are two miscellaneous items, a writing lesson (1840s?) done by Lucy E. Biggs and a eulogy (1924) on the life of Sallie S. Biggs.

Items documenting Warren Biggs's activities as a collector and dealer in manuscripts (1938-66, undated) are filed separately, including an item in French (1800-1840s?) concerning travel in Europe. A group of letters contains information about historical research, especially for North Carolina historical markers; collecting Civil War letters and memorabilia; assistance by a U.N.C. professor in translating foreign items; and negotiations with various manuscript repositories concerning sales of documents. Also included are notes taken by Biggs for proposed historical markers; a pamphlet on the November 1939 Highland Games and political celebrations in Fayetteville; and a nineteenth-century riddle, "An Enigma."

Legal and financial papers of the Biggs family (1767-1940s) consist of bills, receipts, promissory notes, estates papers, and other items. This material (most extensive for the 1810s-1830s and 1900s-1910s) documents agricultural, commercial, and legal interests of an eastern North Carolina family as well as revealing the extensive activities of Thomas Biggs as an administrator of and trustee for estates. (These items are bulk-arranged by decade only.) Topics of interest in antebellum material include: education (1810s-1860s); domestic, plantation, and mercantile activities of the Biggs family (1810s-1840s); court cases involving Thomas Biggs and Darling Cherry (1810s-1820s) and Lawrence Cherry and Joseph Biggs (1830s); taxes (1810s-1860s); land transactions (1810s-1860s); eastern North Carolina sawmills (1810s); horse breeding (1810s-1820s); sales and hire of slaves (1810s-1850s); coffin-making (1810s); sales of cotton and other agricultural produce (1820s-1840s); newspaper subscriptions (1820s-1830s); Bigg's activities- especially against Sheriff Edward Griffin- as trustee for the Martin County Wardens of the Poor (1820s); meeting house construction (1820s); costs of medicine (1820s-1840s); ordination of Thomas Biggs; commercial activities of the firms of Biggs and Nelson (1840s); estates of William, Ellen, and Thomas Biggs (1820s-1830s, 1850s-1860s); and timber sales (1850s-1860s).

Post-Civil War financial and legal papers document the changing concerns of members of the Biggs family. Much of the material pertains to business ventures of Samuel R. Biggs, Sr. Noteworthy items concern Biggs' power of attorney over Charles Moore's interests; the sale of merchandise in Dr. Alonza Hassell's Drug Store; his election to the treasurership of Martin County (1880s); his statement of character to the Skewarkey Masonic Lodge (1890s); issuance of a patent for making bricks and paving material (1890s); specifications for fixtures for S. R. Biggs Drug Company (1900-1909); a patent certificate for registering Tonophos, a "Syrup for making non-alcoholic beverages" (1900-1909); settlement of the estate of Joseph W. Cowen (1905) and S. R. Biggs (1900-1910s); and land sales and financial activities of S. R. Biggs Iron and Motor Company (1910s-1920s). Other materials include financial papers of J. D. Biggs and Company (1870s); agreements relating to agricultural production (1870s) and transfers of land (1880s-1940s); stock certificates (1910s); items documenting the construction of Warren Bigg's house (1920s); and papers pertaining to his activities as an examiner of bankrupts' property (1920s) and guardian (1930s-1940s).

One folder of antebellum material (1807-1820s) concerns the estate of William Mackey, for which Thomas Biggs served as administrator. Mackey owned a one-half-acre lot on Main Street in Williamston and married Clara, daughter of William and Milly Biggs. In addition to materials documenting the sale and handling of Mackey's estate are items concerning hire of slaves, tuition costs for his daughter at Williamston Academy, and the production of beeswax.

A group of materials (1861-1909) pertaining to the estate of Dr. William H. Harrell and financial affairs of other members of the Harrell family is included in the Biggs family papers; S. R. Biggs served as administrator of the doctor's estate. Many items concern land transactions, ownership of stock, and insurance policies. Also included are a circular about an upcoming meeting written by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Masons in North Carolina (1878); a list of medical supplies belonging to Dr. Harrell; and charges for the tuition of two boys at Williamston Academy. The Harrell folder also contains materials of the James Edwin Moore estate of which Dr. William Harrell was administrator. These materials include promissory notes (1829, 1849) and a deed for a gift of land and African American slaves from Sarah Moore to her grandson George Burroughs (1859).

Miscellaneous items include a poem composed by Lucy E. Biggs; a composition, "Learning to Say No"; a partial record of marriages, deaths, and baptisms among the Biggs and Crawford families (1851-1898); and various newspaper clippings, including a obituary of Asa Biggs (1878).

Among volumes found in this series is a composition book (1860-1909) containing penmanship practice of Daniel Mann, records of death dates for Biggs family members, and brief journal entries of Ellen Biggs (1862). Among topics discussed are: visits of Union soldiers to Williamston; the bravery of a local woman in refusing to give "the Yankeys" a key to the Williamston post office; and a speech given by "Lincoln's governor," Edward Stanly. Other volumes consist of ledgers (1878-1881) containing accounts for S. R. Biggs's drug store and recording sales of general merchandise and payments for services (1885-1887).

Bowers Family

Items in this group (1864-1866) pertain to E. A. Thorne's executorship of an estate belonging to members of the Bowers family of Halifax County, N.C. Papers concern sales of cotton, tax payments, and agreements concerning employment of freedmen as farm laborers and carpenters.

Clark Family Papers

Material in this group centers around the family of Henry Selby Clark (1809-1869), of Greenville, N.C. Active in state politics, Clark served a single term in the Twenty-Ninth U.S. Congress (1845-1847). He married Alvaney M. Staton in 1835; they had no children. (For further information on Clark, see William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 1).

Correspondence provides information about the legal, business and personal activities of Clark family members. Of significance are numerous letters from Henry S. Clark to his wife, "Allivany," first from Washington, asking that she join him during his term in office (1845-1846), and then from his plantation at Gourdius Depot, S.C. (1861, 1864), discussing food shortages in Charleston, rumors of attacks on Fort Sumter, and plans to leave Greenville under threat of a Yankee takeover. Other noteworthy letters mention Raleigh's need for more lawyers (1866) and the rosin market (1868). Financial papers (1853-1895) consist mainly of receipts for taxes, domestic items, sales of cotton and oats, medical services, and business-related activities. Of interest are an account of several slave sales (1863), a rent receipt for a slave dwelling (1863), and a Greenville and Raleigh Plank Road receipts (1867).

Henry Clark served as a trustee for Abner Boyd, whose papers (1854-1861) are filed with Clark family material. Among the Boyd items are a printed report (1858) from merchant Joseph R. Blossom on commercial activities at Wilmington, records of accounts and debts due, tax receipts, and material pertaining to Boyd's rental of two lots in Greenville.

Miscellaneous legal papers (1833-1887) concern land transfers, debts, bills of sale for slave purchases (1836, 1840-1859), hire of and care for slaves (1865), administration of estates (1869), and other items of a general nature.

Davenport, Dromgoole, Ellison Papers

A group of receipts issued by B. Davenport (1877) documents current prices for shingles and other lumber products. Dromgoole materials concern several Virginia estates and include tax receipts, an exemption from military service (1864), receipts of payment of soldiers' taxes and for work done by a slave on CSA fortifications, and an authorization for settling claims for forage brought against the Confederate government. Papers (1864-1865) concern the estate of Thomas Ellison and document activities of Henry Ellison- Beaufort County sheriff- as the estate's executor. Among transactions are land transfers to W. B. Rodman, papers concerning sales of slaves, receipts for sales of cotton, and a receipt for tuition paid to Salem Female Academy.

W. A. Ellison Papers

Correspondence of W. A. Ellison (1880-1881) discusses the 1880 congressional election, practices of various religious denominations, and activities of friends. Legal papers concern a controversy about clear title to land in Beaufort County that W. B. Rodman II, acting as attorney for the Washington and Vandemere Railroad, wished to purchase from Ellison (1906).

Etheridge Family Papers

Correspondence (1843-1898, undated) is from various Etheridge family members (1843-1898, undated) and is addressed primarily to Kate or Amelia. Among the general topics mentioned are courting; marriage; teaching school in Martin, Currituck, and Jones counties; local politics; and social activities in several eastern North Carolina counties.

Gibson Family Papers

These papers concern the activities of the schooner ALICE GIBSON owned by Henry Gibson. The vessel ordinarily traveled from North Carolina to Baltimore, Maryland. Included are various bills of lading (1859). The bulk of material concerns the impressment of the ALICE GIBSON by the Confederate government (1862). The papers give evidence from various sources about the value of the schooner (1863) and the actual seizure of the vessel.

Grist Papers

James and Allen Grist papers (1817-1860) concern a turpentine business in eastern North Carolina and include a bill of sale and an agreement for continued running of the operation. Other items concern the West Indies sale of lumber products and purchases made for and work done on the schooner HERALD.

Harrison Family Papers

These materials are primarily legal and financial in nature and concern the John Biggs Harrison family and the related family of Hardy L. Whitley (Wheatly). These papers contain tax receipts (1814), land transactions (1830s-1850s), and records for the settlement of the Fannie Harrison Estate (1885). Also included is a hand-carried funeral announcement of Lewis Cushing Harrison (1912) and a brief history of the John Biggs Harrison family.

Hassell Family Papers

These papers concern the activities of Cushing B. Hassell and his family. Hassell (1809-1880), a Williamston resident, was a prominent businessman and held numerous important positions in local government and civic groups. In 1832 he married Mary Davis. Their son, Sylvester (1842-1928), became principal of Williamston Academy and other schools, was a Primitive Baptist minister in the area, and edited the Gospel Messenger for many years. Father and son co-authored a history of the Church of God from its creation to 1885.

Early correspondence (1846-1892) is largely of a general or personal nature. Several form letters from the University of North Carolina (1860-1861) inform parents of tuition, rules, and students' attendance at worship. Other materials refer to events occurring within the Kehukee Baptist Association and Primitive Baptist churches in eastern North Carolina. Particularly emphasized is a land dispute involving the church at Wilson. Of importance are letters from C. B. Hassell in which he describes the attitudes of Kehukee church members towards ministers' requests for money and the church's contact with Masons (1869), mentions research on Kehukee Association history (1876), and notes a new meeting house at Upper Town Creek (1879).

Several letters concern the Civil War period. Among them are letters concerning equal rations to men on the front lines (1861), describing the circumstances of W. M. S. Pettigrew's withdrawal from the North Carolina senatorial race in Williamston (1864), and discussing the condition of troops in Roanoke Swamp and items given to C. B. Hassell from the CSA ironclad ALBEMARLE (1864). An 1864 order names Theodore Hassell an ordnance officer in Gen. William W. Kirkland's brigade.

Other topics discussed in Hassell family correspondence include a school in Columbia, Tennessee (1867); a twelve-inch snowfall in eastern North Carolina; and Sylvester Hassell's application for the chair of Metaphysics and Logic at the University of North Carolina (1868). Included are letters of recommendation from Asa Biggs, J. H. Horner, D. L. Swain, and Braxton Craven. Additional letters concern Asa Biggs' recommendation of Hassell for a position at Cornell University (1868); the desires of eastern North Carolinians to educate their children; the Beta chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of North Carolina; a speaking engagement by "Elder Hassell" with Raleigh Primitive Baptists (1875); and a description of travels to New York and Princeton, New Jersey (1892).

Later correspondence (1905-1925) is mostly addressed to Charles Hassell, son of Sylvester, who served as secretary to Congressman John H. Small (1906-1907). Of interest are correspondence on the letterhead of the "Lotus Club" of Williamston (1906, four letters dealing with publication of the Gospel Messenger (1906-1907), and items involving life at the University of North Carolina (1905-1907). One letter (1907) comments on the people and lifestyles of Northfork, West Virginia. A clipping attached to a letter of 1909 discusses the debauchery of female missionaries in China. An entertaining letter (undated) deals with a trip aboard the steamboat JOHN STYLES from Williamston to Plymouth; it also mentions a hotel at Plymouth. Commentary on a court case involving a Henderson buggy manufacturer (1907) and Governor Robert B. Glenn's speeches on education and Prohibition (1907) are also worthy of note.

One folder of Hassell family material contains handwritten compositions, the majority of which were written by Sylvester Hassell. Topics of interest include gambling and card playing, war, religion, the role of a legislator, and historical subjects.

Financial and legal papers (1819-1902) of the Hassell family are general in scope, consisting in large part of receipts, notes, and deeds; they have been chronologically arranged by decade only. Of interest are materials concerning slaves; receipts documenting medical expenses, cost of publications, and tuition and teachers' salaries at Williamston Academy; a typescript list (undated) of compositions found in the Hassell papers; and information (undated) on the family of Durham Davis. Civil War-era items include numerous requests for food made to C. B. Hassell (1864), presumably on behalf of soldiers' wives and widows; an agreement (1865) dealing with compensation for a Confederate widow; and a pass (1864) for Hassell to return by rail from a Baptist Association meeting in Orange County. Many items reveal Hassell's extensive business interests; papers (1830s) concern the firms of Williams and Hassell, a co-partnership with Joseph Biggs (1845), trust agreements involving C. B. Hassell and Company (1870s), and examination of C. B. Hassell and Company's weights and measures (1876). Other financial and legal papers include records of accounts with New York merchants; receipts for lumber products and tobacco sales; items concerning the estate of Dr. Alonzo Hassell; and an account book (1879) containing work records kept by a member of the Hassell family. Also included is notification of Dr. Alonzo Hassell's appointment (1885) as Martin County Medical Superintendent and the notification of copyright (1885) granted for Elder Sylvester Hassell's History of the Church of God.

A folder of Martin County records contains items collected by C. B. Hassell while he held various public offices. Most of the material concerns his service as Martin County treasurer. Of note are treasurer's reports listing assessments and collection of money for black and white school districts in the county (1876-1879) and a document giving the location of a black schoolhouse within Martin County (1877). Among other records arereceipts documenting Hassell's service as Clerk and Master in Equity (1856), orders to the County Commissioner for distributing funds to soldiers' families (1864), and receipts pertaining to county claims (1876) and county expenses (1878).

Financial and legal papers concerning various Martin County families reveal the activities of C. B. Hassell as an administrator and trustee of estates. These items have been arranged alphabetically by proper name, whether surname of business name. Material within each group of papers has been filed chronologically. Among families and individuals represented by Hassell are Otis Andrews (1866-1868); B. J. Bently (1836-1837); Henrietta Bowers (1866-1867); James Brittain (1837-1840); Durham Davis (1810s-1850s, undated); C. A. Ellington (1848-1850); Mary Hardison (1841-1851); Martha Hassell (1831-1874); Thomas Hawks (1849-1857); George Horswell (1849-1859); members of the Hyman family (1860s); Naomi Lanier (1848-1849); the children of Amos Perry (1830s-1870s, undated); J. H. Rhodes Brothers Company (1868-1879, undated); the Stone family (1832-1833); Jesse Swanner, a former business partner of Hassell (1831-1858, undated); William Weathersbee (1860-1872); Henry Williams (1820s-1870s); Septimus Williams (1840s-1850s); and the heirs of Thomas Yarrell (1830-1855).

Several of these groups of papers contain items of particular interest. Among documents involving members of the Durham Davis family are receipts for blacksmith work, records of payments to Williamston Academy and other institutions for tuition expenses, tax receipts, material pertaining to the sale and hire of slaves, receipts for expenses of and services rendered to the Davis estate, and papers concerning Davis's financial dealings with Edward Griffin and Griffin's estate. Miscellaneous items in Davis estate papers include admittance cards (1854-1855) to medical courses at the Philadelphia School of Anatomy and Jefferson Medical College.

Slave receipts are found in the Hardison (1841), Lanier, and Yarrell (1837, 1839-1842) papers; Stone family papers contain material concerning Hassell's testimony on behalf of a slave who had been unjustly beaten (1833). Included in Perry family papers are a list (1845) of slaves owned by the family, together with the slaves' birthdates, and several items pertaining to the hire of slaves. Hassell, with William Carstarphen and the company of Whedbee and Dickerson, served as trustees for J. H. Rhodes Brothers, a Martin County lumber business. Among papers pertaining to the trusteeship are general records of the company (1877-1879), ledgers recording cash advances to loggers (1884), and records of property sales. Among the Jesse Swanner materials is an apprenticeship record for a two-year-old girl (1838).

Miscellaneous items include Elder Cushing Hassell's autobiography for the years 1809-1840, a certificate to the minister of Skewarkey Primitive Baptist Church (1842), a gradebook for various Hassell family members (1865), and leaflet containing the Articles of Faith of Smithwick's Creek Primitive Baptist Church (1928).

Jewett, Kilby, Mizell, Moore, Pendleton, Riddick, Rife, and Smaw Papers

Items (1839-1848) pertaining to Mrs. M. M. Jewett and Elder D. E. Jewett document costs for tuition, medicine, general domestic purchases, cloth, and notions. Papers (1850-1866) of Virginia attorney John R. Kilby concern an estate and land sales, licensing of a retail business, and general financial matters. Among the scattered financial and legal papers (1832-1913) of the Mizell family is an 1849 fish order annotated by Manning: "could have been Slades Fishery at Poplar Point- Roanoke River." A group of documents (1804-1903) pertains to estates and financial affairs of members of the Moore family, particularly that of Maurice Moore. Other items include receipts concerning education, slaves, and taxes; and a manuscript religious poem, "Blind Bartimeus," by Edward S. Moore. Routine financial papers exist for Captain William B. Pendleton of Louisa County, Virginia (1880-1883), Joseph Riddick (Reddick) of Williamston (1826-1837), members of the Rife family (1830s-1840s), and the estate of Mary and Samuel V. Smaw (1839-1868). Items relating to sales of slaves are also found in Smaw material.

Slade Family Papers

Among documents (1813-1891) concerning members of the Slade family of Martin County are estates papers; a summary (1825) of Martin County taxables made by county clerk Benjamin Slade, which includes a statement of current tax levels; an item documenting a slave sale; brief genealogical notes; a letter (1877) from Columbus, Georgia, discussing Slade's School for Boys, whose principal was James J. Slade; receipts (1911) and a ledger (1911-1912) from Slade, Rhodes & Co.

Staton (Yates) Family Papers

McGilvery Moore Staton (1812-1861) lived near Williamston, N.C. A prominent citizen, he was a brick dealer, farmer, and slaveholder. He married Louisa Biggs (1821-1897), a daughter of Thomas Biggs, around the year 1840. Upon McGilvery Staton's death, his wife became administrator of his estate and retained this position even after her subsequent marriage to Dr. Levi Yates in 1863.

The Staton (Yates) papers contain correspondence (1836-1886), financial records, and legal material. Correspondence contains comments on extravagant spending by the Whig party and its possible effects on the Southern states (1842), gardening tips and the "Cloth of Gold" rose, insurance policies, and the South Eastern Tariff Association.

Financial and business papers (1822-1861, 1870-1910) document fully the operation of the Staton household. Bills, receipts, accounts, and insurance papers concern family taxes, domestic and agricultural concerns, hiring of a slave (1860), slave sales (1842-1851), medical treatment (1849-1858), subscriptions to periodicals, travel expenses (1860), and construction of the Staton home near Williamston, N.C. (1857-1858). Other financial papers relate to the guardianship of Pernina (1838-1842) and Emily Staton (1842-1848). Four ledgers contain sporadic financial information on the Staton estate including ownership and hiring of slaves by members of the Staton family (1861-1865). Legal papers are divided into three groups: Staton legal papers (1817-1858), Staton (Yates) legal and estate papers (1861-1869), and Yates legal papers (1870-1890). Included are records pertaining to a gift of six slaves to Louisa Staton (1845), specifications (1857) for construction of McGilvery Staton's house, and administration of the McGilvery M. Staton estate. Financial and legal items have been interfiled to maintain the integrity of Staton's estate. Of significance are the numerous slave records documenting taxes on slaves, medical attention given to them, and the handling of slave property during the Civil War. Other items concern cotton production (1861-1865), travel expenses from Martin County to Salem, N.C., and the marriage (July 1863) between Levi Yates and Louisa Biggs Staton. Also included is an authorization (1862) to destroy cotton to prevent Union Army seizure, Louisa Yates' Last Will and Testament (1864), outline of property owned by McGilvery Staton (1864), and an insurance policy for the Yates home (1888). Other legal papers primarily consist of land agreements between Louisa Yates and sharecroppers on her land (1873-1875, 1877-1878).

McGilvery Staton served as administrator of or executor for several estates, and material pertaining to his activities have been filed with the Staton family papers. Each of these groups is chronologically arranged by decade only. Papers of the heirs of Lemuel Perkins (1822-1863) include information of guardianships, general expenses of the estate and purchases for Perkins's children; schooling, clothing, and medical expenses; land conveyances; division of slave holdings and hire of slaves; student progress reports for U.N.C. (1855); and tax bills. Papers pertaining to Staton's administration of the estates of Richard W. and J. G. Respess (1852-1862) contain materials documenting the hiring and sale of slaves, tuition at "Dr. Dean's School" and other educational institutions, debts due the estates, and expenses for clothing and other items. Staton also administered the estate of Ruthy Wilson. Receipts and letters (1822-1839, 1869) document tax bills, debts, medicine costs, beekeeping, sale of property, and burial expenses.

Miscellaneous materials include two items pertaining to McGilvery M. Staton's participation in local militia units (1832, 1833), a slave pass (1833), recipes for tomato catsup and sassafras pills (undated), a Washington National Monument Society certificate, a flyer (1856) describing a "manure distributor," and a memorandum book containing both a list of the Roanoke Guards stationed at Camp Mangum at Raleigh during the Civil War and a handwritten copy of the "North Carolina War Song."

For additional genealogical information on the Staton family, see Rev. John Staton, Staton History (1960).

Thorne, Weaver, and Yellowly Papers

John D. Thorne papers (1858-1859) consist of routine financial items. Materials relating to the guardianship of Nancy Weaver (1859-1863) include an inventory for Upper Plantation. Receipts, notes, accounts, legal papers, and other items (1816-1881, undated) document activities of members of the Yellowly (Yellowley) family of Martin County. Noteworthy items include: a permit (1826) to sell spiritous liquors; estates papers for members of the Yellowly family; and receipts concerning hire of slaves, medical services, and costs for lodging.

Miscellaneous Correspondence

Miscellaneous correspondence (1797-1926) is largely general in nature and deals with local concerns among North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas families. Early correspondence describes the numerous advantages and some disadvantages of living in Kentucky (1797), notes the Friends' Yearly Meeting in London (1820), reflects the testing of religious beliefs during periods of mourning (1825), and comments on the experiences of a private in the Alabama cavalry stationed near Charlotte (Mar. 1865). The verso of one item (1864) contains printed verses to a song, "The Death of Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth."

Materials for the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries describe a teacher's salary, students, gardening, and student attitudes at a Northampton County, N.C., school; a soldier's guardhouse duty in Texas (1873); and the "Ham Bleton" (Hamlet, N.C.) gold mine and the need for more workers. World War I items (1918) note activities of airmen at Camp Dick, Texas; an article being written for "Dr. Patton" in the style of a cadet aviator's diary; and activities of the Norfolk, Virginia, War Camp Community Service.

Other material consists of a group of poems by Sarah Whittlesey; miscellaneous genealogical and historical notes; deeds and other materials concerning transfers of land and financial transactions in eastern North Carolina and other states; papers pertaining to shipping; newspaper clippings including an aerial photo of Williamston, N.C. (1960); photographs of a World War II prisoner-of-war camp near Williamston, victims of a Nazi concentration camp, American soldiers during World War II, the Roanoke River Bridge, Blount Hall in Pitt County, Governor Luther Hodges, and a Warren County cemetery; Williamston Academy material; and numerous volumes, including diaries, ledgers, pamphlets, newspapers, and other printed material. Descriptions and lists of particularly significant items follow.

Genealogical/Historical Notes and Miscellaneous Financial and Legal Papers

Brief notes include information on the history of Williamston and Martin County, Martin County veterans of World War II, the Overby family, and Kehukee Baptist Association. Miscellaneous financial and legal papers are divided into Martin County, North Carolina, and other materials. Martin County items concern members of the Jones, Roberson, Rogers, and Bennett families; rights-of-way sought by the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad company; court news for Martin County; and notes on travel through eastern North Carolina.

North Carolina financial and legal papers primarily pertain to Beaufort, Franklin, Halifax, Hyde, Nash, Pitt, and Tyrell counties. Included in these materials are wills and marriage licenses (1772, 1838, 1841) involving members of the Butler, Davis, Tyre, Bryan, and Kul (?) families. Other noteworthy items concern sales of slaves (1801), a ballot for electors for the 1828 presidential election, a Craven County teacher's certificate (1854), slave testimony concerning an attempted murder (1859), newspaper advertisements for vessels sailing for North Carolina (ca. 1859), apprenticeships (1871), and tuition payments made by Captain Appleton Oaksmith for his children (1873).

Other materials include a sermon and meditations on religious topics (1843); clippings about insurance on cotton (1858), populists, and lynchings; an essay (undated) on women; and recipes.

Williamston Academy Minutes

One volume (1816-1885) contains minutes of meetings of the Williamston Academy Board of Trustees; together with manuscript articles (1833) requesting Samuel Eborn to take charge of the academy. These volumes reveal the changing fortunes of the school. The minutes reflect the acquisition of land; subscription of money; plans for and construction of a school building; regulations for trustees, teachers, and students; and examination of scholars. Other topics reflected in the minutes include instruction of classical scholars, formation of a debating society, use of the academy building by the Sons of Temperance, discipline problems, and names of students. A typescript of the minute books is also included, which was prepared prior to Manning's publication of the minutes in the Williamston Enterprise.

Volumes: Manuscript Journals and Ledgers

Diaries and manuscript journals include a notebook (1848) kept by S. L. Graham of Prince Edward Courthouse, Virginia. The volume contains notes on American and European history, anecdotes about the hydrogen microscope, and a Fourth of July toast offered by a lunatic. In the notebook is a journal kept by an unknown woman. She comments on religious beliefs; attendance at Nutbush Church and a "tabernacle" ; travels to southside Virginia; domestic amusements and activities; reading interests; reports of a murder, presumably near Prince Edward Courthouse; and protracted illnesses.

"European Notes: (ca. 1880) contains copious references to and observations on a tour of Europe, which begins off the Irish coast. Among noteworthy observations made in England are comments on English ships, customs inspections, sights and hotels, an organ concert, conditions of Liverpool's working women and poor, and a celebration of the Fourth of July. The writer also comments on the varied national traits of fellow tourists from the U.S. and Europe. In northern Europe, the diarist visited France, Switzerland, and the Rhine Valley. Throughout, he comments on visits to museums, churches, and other tourist attractions, such as the tomb of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. In Italy, the journal-writer notes paintings, buildings, and sculptures; bribery by Venetian hotel owners; a visit by Italian King Umberto to Venice; an audience with Pope Leo XIII; the Catacombs; and Pompeii.

A journal (1910-1939) kept sporadically by Cora Elizabeth Barnes Thurman documents various aspects of her life. Early entries concern a cruise taken down the Mississippi River and along the Florida and Atlantic coasts. Other entries contain information about the Thurman, Barnes, Sullivan, and Jefferies families; a will involving bequests of slaves; the Jefferies homestead in Trenton, Ky; a housewife's reactions to her daily routine and to World War I; and visits (1914, 1939) to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

The collection contains several ledgers concerning eastern North Carolina transportation, businesses, organizations, and families. Records of the Sound Fishery (1848) include names of hands, records of wages, and amounts of fish shipped. A ledger of Bennett Price and Company (1853) lists purchases of lumber goods, sales of general merchandise, and trade with members of the Staton and Hassell families. A volume of miscellaneous records (1854-1865) documents hands' work in the Staton Swamp, accounts for the Hamilton Steam Mill, and weights of Morton and Company machinery. Other volumes consist of genealogical information on the Cherry family (1850s-1870s); records of the Roanoke River Transportation Company (1878-1880), including material on the Hamilton purchases of general merchandise, medicines, and coffins, along with poetry extracts and school lessons (1880-1884, 1890s); a ledger (1869-1872); a doctor's ledger (1891); and a bank book (1901-1903) for the Dennis Simmons Lumber Company. Register of Deeds ledgers 1885-1888, 1887-1891) kept by William Henry Bennett, Martin County Register of Deeds, include accounts with the Martin County Lumber Company and Roper Lumber Company. Two volumes concern the Roanoke and Tar River Steamboat Company (1891, 1900-1901).

Printed Materials

Printed materials include various publications dealing with the Baptist Church, railroads (including handbooks for railroad engineers), political materials (including the N.C. Democratic Handbook for 1908), materials from the N.C. Office of Public Instruction, a roster of North Carolinians who fought in the Mexican War, a history of a home for Confederate women, and a genealogy of the James Salsbury Family.

Oversize Materials

Oversize Materials include a map of North Carolina, newspapers, and an advertising broadside.

Administrative information
Custodial History

February 2, 1984, ca. 2,150 items and 20 vols.; Papers (1801-1965), primarily family papers of Hassell, Staton, Perkins, Biggs, Respess, Yellowley, and other Martin and Pitt County families, consisting of correspondence, minutes, slave records, receipts, accounts, legal records, and miscellaneous.

July 10, 1984, 3 items and 7 vols.; Store ledgers, records of Roanoke Transportation Company (1878-1900) and miscellaneous.

March 18, 1986, 78 items; Papers (1783-1888), including correspondence, Civil War documents, legal and financial records, photographs, and miscellaneous.

December 30, 1986, 250 items; Papers (1831-1909), including correspondence, land records, slave sales records, financial papers, a Civil War memoir, and miscellaneous materials. Gift of Mrs. E. J. Pope, Mt. Olive, N.C., and Mrs. Miles Boyer, Charlotte, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Miles Boyer

Gift of Mrs. E. J. Pope

Processing information

Processed by J. Hesson; C. Carter; M. Elmore, February 1985

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
Manning, Francis M.
Family Names
Biggs family
Bowers family
Clark family
Etheridge family
Gibson family
Grist family
Harrison family
Hassell family
Staton family
Yates family
Agriculture--North Carolina
Families--North Carolina--Martin County
Land use--North Carolina
Railroads--North Carolina
Slaves--North Carolina
Steamboats--North Carolina
Transportation--North Carolina
North Carolina--Genealogy

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Francis Manning Correspondence 1939-1973
Box 1 Folder b W.C. Manning, Sr. Papers, 1901-1947
Box 1 Folder d Biggs Family: General Correspondence 1830s-1946
Box 2 Folder a Biggs Family: Warren Biggs Correspondence, (1800-1840s)(1937-1966, undated)
Box 2 Folder b Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1767, 1785, 1810s
Box 3 Folder a Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1820s
Box 3 Folder b Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1830s
Box 3 Folder c Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1840s
Box 3 Folder d Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1850s-1870s
Box 4 Folder a Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1880s-1890s
Box 4 Folder b Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1900-1909
Box 4 Folder c Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1910s
Box 4 Folder d Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1920s
Box 4 Folder e Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1930s, 1954, undated
Box 5 Folder a Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers - Mackey Family, 1801-1820
Box 5 Folder b Biggs Family: Financial and Legal Papers - Harrell Family, 1861-1909
Box 5 Folder c Biggs Family: Miscellaneous Items, 1851-1900, 1951
Box 5 Folder d Biggs Family: Volumes - Composition Book, 1860-1909
Box 6 Folder a Biggs Family: Volumes - Ledger, 1878-1881
Box 6 Folder b Biggs Family: Volumes - Ledger, 1885-1887
Box 6 Folder c Bowers Papers, 1864-1866
Box 6 Folder d Clark Family: Correspondence, 1829-1886
Box 6 Folder e Clark Family: Financial Papers, 1817, 1836-1870
Box 7 Folder a Clark Family: Financial Papers, 1870s-1890s, undated
Box 7 Folder b Clark Family: Abner Boyd Trusteeship, 1853-1861
Box 7 Folder c Clark Family: Legal Papers, 1833-1887
Box 7 Folder d Clark Family: Miscellaneous
Box 7 Folder e Davenport, Drumgoole and Ellison Papers
Box 7 Folder f W. A. Ellison Papers, 1880-1881, 1906
Box 8 Folder a Etheridge Family Papers, 1843-1898
Box 8 Folder b Henry Gibson Papers, 1858-1863, 1890
Box 8 Folder c James and Allen Grist Papers, 1817-1860
Box 8 Folder d Harrison Family Papers, 1814-1912
Box 8 Folder e Hassell Family: Correspondence, 1847-1892
Box 8 Folder f Hassell Family: Correspondence, 1904-1925
Box 9 Folder a Hassell Family: Compositions
Box 9 Folder b Hassell Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1818-1840s
Box 9 Folder c Hassell Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1850s-1870s
Box 9 Folder d Hassell Family: Financial and Legal Papers, 1880s-1910, undated
Box 10 Folder a Hassell Family: Martin County Public Records
Box 10 Folder b Hassell Family: Andrews, Bentley, Bowers, and Brittain Estates
Box 10 Folder c Hassell Family: Durham Davis Estate, 1810s-1820s
Box 10 Folder d Hassell Family: Durham Davis Estate, 1830s-1850s, undated; Miscellany, 1854-1855
Box 10 Folder e Hassell Family: Ellington, Hardison, M. Hassell, Hawks, Horswell, Hyman, and Lanier Estates
Box 11 Folder a Hassell Family: Perry Estate, 1830s-1870s, undated
Box 11 Folder b Hassell Family: J.H. Rhodes Brothers, 1868-June1878
Box 11 Folder c Hassell Family: J.H. Rhodes Brothers, July 1878-1879, undated
Box 11 Folder d Hassell Family: Swanner, Stone, Weathersbee Estates
Box 12 Folder a Hassell Family: Henry Williams Estate, 1820s-1870s
Box 12 Folder b Hassell Family: S.B. Williams Estate, 1840s-1850s
Box 12 Folder c Hassell Family: Yarrell Estate, 1830-1839
Box 12 Folder d Hassell Family: Yarrell Estate, 1840-1855
Box 12 Folder e Hassell Family: Miscellaneous Material
Box 13 Folder a Jewett, Kilby, and Mizell Papers
Box 13 Folder b Moore Papers, 1804-1903
Box 13 Folder c Pendleton, Riddick, Rife, and Smaw Papers
Box 13 Folder d Slade Family Papers, 1813-1912
Box 14 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Correspondence 1836-1886
Box 14 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1820s-1830s
Box 14 Folder c Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1840-1843
Box 14 Folder d Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1844-1849
Box 15 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1850-1855
Box 15 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1856-1858
Box 15 Folder c Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1859-1867
Box 15 Folder d Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, 1870-1910
Box 16 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Financial Papers, undated
Box 16 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Ledgers, 1845-1866
Box 16 Folder c Staton (Yates) Family: Ledger, 1864-1874
Box 16 Folder d Staton (Yates) Family: Ledger, 1873-1874
Box 17 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Staton Legal Papers, 1817-1858
Box 17 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Staton (Yates) Legal and Estate Papers, 1861-1863
Box 17 Folder c Staton (Yates) Family: Staton (Yates) Legal and Estate Papers, 1864-1869
Box 17 Folder d Staton (Yates) Family: Yates Legal Papers, 1870s-1890s
Box 17 Folder e Staton (Yates) Family: Perkins Estate 1820s-1830s
Box 18 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Perkins Estate, 1840s
Box 18 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Perkins Estate, 1840s
Box 18 Folder c Staton (Yates) Family: Perkins Estate, 1850s-1860s
Box 18 Folder d Staton (Yates) Family: Perkins Correspondence, Miscellaneous, 1855-1859
Box 18 Folder e Staton (Yates) Family: Respess Estate 1852-1862
Box 19 Folder a Staton (Yates) Family: Wilson Estate, 1822-1839, 1869
Box 19 Folder b Staton (Yates) Family: Miscellaneous
Box 19 Folder c Thorne and Weaver Papers
Box 19 Folder d Yellowly (Yellowley) Papers 1796, 1816-1830s
Box 20 Folder a Yellowly (Yellowley) Papers, 1830s
Box 20 Folder b Miscellaneous Correspondence 1797-1926
Box 20 Folder c Sarah Whittlesey Poems
Box 20 Folder d Miscellaneous Genealogical and Historical Notes
Box 20 Folder e Miscellaneous Martin County Land Papers
Box 21 Folder a Miscellaneous Martin County Papers, not land-related, 1793-1918
Box 21 Folder b Miscellaneous North Carolina Financial and Legal Papers, 1740-1839
Box 21 Folder c Miscellaneous North Carolina Financial and Legal Papers, 1840-1896
Box 23 Williamston Academy Board of Trustees Minute Book, 1817-1888
Box 24 Folder a Williamston Academy: Subscription List, 1833; Typescript Minutes, 1817-1836
Box 24 Folder b Williamston Academy: Typescript Minutes, 1836-1848
Box 24 Folder c Williamston Academy: Typescript Minutes, 1849-1869
Box 24 Folder d Williamston Academy: Typescript Minutes, 1870-1890
Box 25 Folder a Manuscript Journals, 1848, ca. 1880, 1910-1939
Box 25 Folder b Staton Swamp and Hamilton Steam Mill Records
Box 25 Folder c Cherry Family Records
Box 26 Sound Fishery Ledger, 1848
Box 27 Bennett Price and Company Ledger, 1853-1861
Box 28 Roanoke River Transportation Company Records, 1878-1900
Box 29 Folder a Account Book, 1880-1884
Box 29 Folder b Martin County Register of Deeds Ledger, 1886-1888
Box 29 Folder c Martin County Register of Deeds Ledger, 1887-1891
Box 29 Folder d Doctor's Ledger, 1886-1889
Box 30 Martin County Board of Education Records, 1884-1901
Box 31 Martin County Board of Education Records, 1901-1923
Box 32 Roanoke and Tar River Steamboat Company Sharebook, 1891-1911
Box 33 Ledger, 1869-1872
Box 34 Folder a Ledger, Accounts for Medicine and Coffins
Box 34 Folder b Roanoke and Tar River Steamboat Company: Subscription List, 1900-1901
Box 34 Folder c Citizens Bank, Tarboro: Bank Book for Dennis Simmons Lumber Company, 1901-1903
Box 34 Folder d Pamphlets and Publications: Religious
Box 34 Folder e Pamphlets and Publications: Masonic
Box 35 Folder a - d Wood Family Memorabilia
Box 35 Folder e Pamphlets and Publications: Railroads, Political, Public Instructions, Misc
Box 36 C. B. Hassell, Church History,1885
Box 37 North Carolina Christian (1920-1927)
Box 38 North Carolina Christian (1925-1933)
Folder os1 Map, Newspapers