Papers (1926-1983) including correspondence, land records, legal materials, financial records, photographs, pamphlets, speeches, editorials, and miscellaneous materials.
Herbert Floyd Seawell, Jr., (1904-1983) was the son of Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr., and Ella McNeill Seawell of Moore County, N.C. He attended Wake Forest College (1922-1926) and as an attorney joined his father in the firm of Seawell and Seawell in Carthage, N.C. In 1926 he was a candidate for Solicitor in Moore County on the Republican ticket. In 1927 he was appointed Referee in Bankruptcy, a position he held until 1941. Seawell was active in his community, serving as a member of the Board of Commissioners for the town of Carthage (1938-1941) and as town attorney (1943). Politically very active in the Republican party from the mid 1920s, he ran for governor on that ticket in 1952. When he lost and was passed over for the position of district attorney, he disassociated himself from that party and became politically more conservative. During the 1960s and 1970s, Seawell was very active as a dinner speaker, editorial writer, and also in his church and national religious organizations. He published two books, Sir Walter, The Earl of Chatham (1959) and Satire in Solid Skitches (1974), made guest appearances with Jesse Helms on WRAL-TV, and was a trustee of Gospel Chapel Mission from the time of its incorporation in 1957. In the early 1970s, Seawell joined the American party and ran for governor on that ticket in 1976. Professionally, he was associated briefly in the practice of law with Edgar T. Chapman (1931), Allen W. Brown (1951), and Percy H. Wilson (1954). After the mid 1960s, Seawell took fewer and fewer legal cases, and finally in 1971 he formed the firm of Seawell, Pollock, Fullenwider, Van Camp, and Robbins. His final years were devoted to religious activities and conservative politics.
The majority of the collection concerns Seawell's legal career, specifically his civil cases, and includes wills, loans, deeds, promissory notes, debts, bankruptcies, divorces, drunk driving, paroles, and workman's compensation cases. Since he was a Referee in Bankruptcy, there are a number of files concerning bankruptcy cases, particularly between 1927 and 1929. An increasing number of workmen's compensationcases appear in the files, primarily involving mill workers and silicosis (1931-1938). Among the unusual cases are ones involving the violation of music copyright by the Dunes Club of Pinehurst and payments to I. T. Cohen (1937-1938), the copyright of the Jugtown Ware trademark and the controversy over the health of Juliana Busbee (1959), a case involving contribution to the delinquency of a minor (1927-1928), and a rape trial involving a male student (1956). Numerous files pertain to legal work for the community. These include work on the incorporation of Pinehurst (1932), the Hemp Sanitary District (1934), road repairs to the local school house (1939), and road improvement in Carthage (1946). There is also some information about the District Soil Conservation Agreement for the Upper Cape Fear region (1946). Other records report Seawell's involvement in the name change of the town of Hemp to Robbins (1943), the Hemp Country Fair in 1931, and the Fayetteville Historical Celebration (1939), where he served as judge at the parade and helped with the Scotch Historical Celebration Committee and the Moore County Committee.
Prior to World War II, a former client moved back to Germany and wrote to Seawell describing Germany's war preparations, the bombing of Freiburg, and the takeover of Norway. During the war years Seawell served on a Registrant's Advisory Board and on the Legal Aid Committee to help draftees with business and debt problems. Entertainment of soldiers (1941), rationing (1943-1944), and the organization of a Red Cross chapter in Moore County (1944) are all wartime topics discussed in this correspondence.
Segregation, integration, and civil rights are topics reflected in a variety of contexts throughout the collection. Many of Seawell's civil cases as well as a number of paroles were for black clients. Other correspondence discusses the Negro vote as a factor in the 1952 Republican campaigns, integration in N.C. prisons, and the success of the prison-education program (1963). In 1954, W. E. Debnam wrote thanking Seawell for a copy of his article, "Treatise on Color" ; in 1964 Sam Ervin commented on the Civil Rights Bill; and in 1983 Seawell received information on KKK rallies.
Temperance as a political topic from 1932-1942 appears in the United Dry Forces campaigns in North Carolina, in a variety of drunk driving cases, in the sale of liquor, and then personally in his religious and family correspondence.
Political correspondence documents Seawell's involvement in the Republican Party (1932-1960), as well as detailing events and activities concerning party organization, campaigns, candidates, precinct activity, primaries, financing, debt, patronage, and party friction. Materials reflect Seawell's candidacy for governor in 1952, his involvement in the presidential campaign for Eisenhower in N.C., and his role in a controversy over an appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District (1953-1954). Seawell's good friend, Theron Lamar Caudle, also had difficulty with the Republican administration and their letters discuss both Seawell's non-appointment and Caudle's trial on charges of conspiracy to defraud the federal government (1953). Seawell became more conservative in the 1960s, and materials reflect his support of Jesse Helms, the Congressional Club, and the American Party (1976).Other topics discussed include Seawell's candidacy for governor on the American party ticket (1976), his support of Beverly Lake, Jr., for governor (1980), and the position of Robert Morgan on the Panama Canal controversy (1978).
A religious series pertains to Seawell's increasing involvement in the Gospel Chapel Mission in Carthage, his financial support of the Chapel, and his activities with the Christian Business Mens Committee and the Full Gospel Business Mens International. There is some correspondence with his son-in-law, Dr. Paul Freed, who was instrumental in the Voice of Tangier, which later became Trans World Radio, broadcasting religious programs throughout the world (1955-1983).
A personal series includes a grade card from Wake Forest, correspondence with his family, information on his mother's and brother's estates, a controversy over letters sent to his niece at Bob Jones University by one of her friends, family genealogy, and Seawell and McNeill legal documents. Personal correspondence includes information on his activities with the N. C. Bar Association, bills, memberships, donations, and income tax.
A folder of miscellaneous materials includes biographical information on Lee County people, a funeral oration for Cleveland Cagle, an article on the "New South" by Henry W. Grady, notes on the Fayetteville Historical Celebration and a copy of Seawell's speech at the presentation of the James McNeill Johnson portrait to the Carthage Courthouse.
Publications include some from the N.C. Bar Association, a Fayetteville Women's Club Yearbook for 1956-1957, and a memorial address by Frank Porter Graham at the presentation of the Aaron Ashley Flowers Seawell portrait to the Supreme Court of N.C. (1953).
Clippings include biographical sketches of prominent Chatham County people from the Chatham News.
An oversize folder includes the February 1897 issue of S.A.L.MAGUNDI (a Seaboard Air Line paper), featuring the town of Carthage. There is a survey of McLendon's Creek (1920) and a 1957 map of Moore County. A 1913 photograph of the N.C. Bar Association in Asheville, political posters, and a political cartoon are included as are his certificate to practice law (1925) and one to continue as a Referee (1931). Finally, there are two larger-than-oversize posters from his 1952 and 1976 campaigns for the governorship.
Gift of Mrs. Betty Jane Freed
Processed by M. Boccaccio, May 1987
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.