ECU | Joyner Library | Special Collections | Digital Collections
ECU Digital Collections Banner

Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr., Papers, 1785-1930

Manuscript Collection #497

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr., Papers
Creator: Seawell, Herbert F. (Herbert Floyd), 1869-1949
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1785-1930) including correspondence, land records, legal materials, financial records, and miscellaneous items.
Extent: 5.64 Cubic feet, consisting of correspondence, land records, legal materials, financial records, and miscellaneous items, 1785-1930.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

November 6, 1984, 1 cubic foot; correspondence (1916-1928), legal files, and miscellaneous materials of Moore County, N.C., attorney. Gift of Miss Meade Seawell, Carthage, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr., Papers (#497), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Miss Meade Seawell

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Boccaccio, January 1986

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Herbert F. Seawell, Sr., the son of Dr. Virgil Newton Seawell and Ella Croom, was born August 8, 1869, in Duplin County, N.C., and died in 1949. He attended Wake Forest College and UNC Law School, and was admitted to the Bar in 1892. He practiced law in Carthage in 1898 with R. L. Burns, from 1916-1917 with C. M. Land, from 1926 until his retirement with his son, Herbert F. Seawell, Jr., and in 1929 with his son, Henry. Seawell served as solicitor for the 7th N. C. Judicial District (1894-1898); a member of the Moore County Board of Electors (1906); U. S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina (1910-1914); and as a member of the N. C. Bar Association Executive Committee (1915-). From 1929 until 1936 Seawell was a judge of the U. S. Board of Tax Appeals. Politically, Seawell was a Populist in 1892 and a Republican thereafter. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1916 and active throughout his career in both Moore County and the state. He was nominated in 1909 and 1922 for the judgeship of the Eastern District of N. C., and in 1926 for the 3rd or Middle District. Seawell started to run for governor in 1928 but withdrew due to illness. Seawell married Ella McNeill in 1895 and they had three children, Ella Meade, Herbert, Jr. ("Chub"), and Henry ("Pen"). In the family correspondence Herbert, Sr., is often referred to as "Captain" and Henry as "Pen" or "Penny."

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Associated collections are the Herbert Floyd Seawell, Jr., Papers, #496, and the George W. McNeill Papers, #492.

The bulk of the collection relates to Seawell's political activities locally, in Moore County, and in the state from 1915-1929. The 1915-1916 correspondence gears up for the Republican National Convention and the upcoming presidential campaign. Various candidates are mentioned, a National Republican League is discussed (1915), as are campaign finances, the book Protectionist and a Republican journal, "Prosperity." Seawell was elected a delegate to the national convention in 1916. In February and March, party infighting was a topic ofdiscussion as was the possibility of Seawell's candidacy for governor. Campaign activities and local, state, and national party politics were the focus of discussions for the rest of the year.

Seawell's father reported a man being arrested in Duplin County for voting Republican in 1917 (April 19), but in general political activity died down during the war years until 1919 when they began to gear up for the 1920 campaign. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association, "The National Republican," and other party publications were frequent topics in 1919, as were everyday campaign efforts. Poll tax, endorsements, and the women's vote were discussed in 1920.

Correspondence for 1921-1924 chiefly concerns Seawell's candidacy for the U. S. Eastern District judgeship or assistant judgeship. Endorsements and local and state politics are the major concerns of most correspondents. A. V. Dockery comments on Judge Henry Groves Connor and the Democrats (Jan. 28, 1923), and Marion Butler discusses the U. S. District Attorneyship (Mar. 25, 1921). William H. Taft explains his support for I. M. Meekins, who, upon the death of Judge Connor in 1924, is nominated for the federal judgeship (Jan. 20, 1925). In January 1925 the creation of a central district judgeship is proposed.

Correspondence for 1926 includes discussions with Marion Butler on the organization of Republican Clubs (Feb. 26), a plan of organization for the party (May 18 and 29), a dinner for judicial candidates to meet William N. Butler and William R. Wood (June 11), and the organizing of unregistered women voters (Sept. 20). County campaigns and speaking engagements are also discussed. In 1927 the central district judgeship became an active issue. While not actively seeking the position, Seawell was nominated and endorsed. Seawell was involved in the Herbert Hoover presidential campaign of 1928, with correspondence concerning a state committee of county leaders and Seawell's appointment as temporary chairman for the state convention. After seven years of service as a U.S. Tax Judge, Seawell was nominated for the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of N.C. in 1938. The 1938-1939 political correspondence is concerned with campaign funds, the status of the party in the state, and Seawell's earlier candidacy for a U.S. District Judgeship. Correspondence for 1940 concerns the campaign for governor and the deficit in the National Republican Party Treasury.

Major political correspondents include Marion Butler, E. C. Duncan, John J. Parker, George E. Butler, Gilliam Grissom, William P. Bynum, Henry A. Page, J. C. Pritchard, I. M. Meekins, Henry G. Connor, Claudius Dockery, O. V. F. Blythe, Robert A. Taft, Charles A. Jonas, and Jake Newell.

The remainder of Seawell's correspondence concerns his legal activities, his prominence in the N. C. Bar Association and membership on its Executive Committee, and personal and family interests. The legal correspondence concerns the sale of land, deeds, mortgages, debts, estates, wills, a settlement for land damages from a Seaboard Railroad fire, cutting timber, stealing timber, and rents from land. Also discussed are a twelve-month chain gang sentence for distilling (Dec. 21, 1917), "colored folks" in Carthage wanting a public school(Aug. 14, 1916), the murder of two Negro jitney drivers in Richmond County (Sept. 26, 1919), interference with a bulk order for Farmers Union and Credit Union members (1919), women lawyers (Oct. 14, 1922), the state guano bill (1923), a depositor's league for the Bank of Hamlet (July 13, 15, and 30, 1926), and H. F. Seawell, Jr.'s, appointment as Referee in Bankruptcy (April 12, 1927). In October of 1919, Seawell gave a paper at the Bar Association meeting on circuit riders which was later published in their journal.

The family correspondence reflects the activities of Seawell's extended family. Through 1926 there is correspondence with his father, Dr. V. N. Seawell, about the family in Duplin County, monitoring his mother's "Greenville business," and activities of his son at Wake Forest College and his daughter Meade, who was teaching in West Virginia. From April 1926 through the end of that year there is correspondence concerning the accuracy/validity of his father's will. Personal correspondence includes requests for contributions to the Baptist State Convention, the cultivation of his orchard and farm, and the renting of some of his land. Also included are a letter from Henry A. Page (1917) about the Council of Defense for Moore County and a pamphlet concerning World War I and prohibition; correspondence with a cousin about peach and dewberry crops in Moore County (1923); and correspondence concerning the Anti-Saloon League campaign for funds (1929).

Seawell's legal papers contain indentures covering the years 1823 to 1928 from Moore, Chatham, Onslow, and Montgomery counties. His legal files include chattel mortgages, surveys, contracts, agreements, court calendars, and wills. A file of the W. L. Hand Medicine Company contains correspondence and stockholders reports related to a legal case in 1924-1925. There is one folder concerning Seawell land holdings in Moore County, dating from 1785, and three folders reflecting McNeill land holdings in Moore County, dating from 1800. A folder on finances includes both his own personal bills as well as those of his clients. Several biographies date through his campaigns for the Eastern and Middle District judgeships. A file on politics includes a list of endorsements for the 1924 campaign and a 1927 welcoming speech to the North Carolina Bar Association meeting at Pinehurst, N.C. Also included are a brochure from his 1928 gubernatorial campaign and articles and talks from the early 1930s.

Miscellaneous materials include a 1917 circular on enlistment in the Quartermaster section of the Reserve Corps; the 1926 grade reports of R. G. Seawell, a brother; a eulogy for H. R. DeFuniak, a resident of Pinehurst; statements of the Bridge and Bond Fund and the County General Fund (1929) for Moore County (?); a resolution against road signs in North Carolina; blueprints for a gas station in Southern Pines; and clippings concerning the federal judgeship, the creation of a middle district, and Union L. Spence, a Carthage lawyer and prominent local Democrat. Biographical sketches of James McNeill Johnson, V. N. Seawell, and A. A. McKeithen are also included, as well as an address given by William P. Bynum, Jr., at the presentation of the portrait of Chief Justice David M. Furches to the Supreme Court of N.C. in 1909.

Folders on Henry Seawell include information on grades, deportment, and tuition at the Porter Military Academy, 1923-1924, in South Carolina. Correspondence mainly references his cases when he worked in the southern part of Moore County.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entries :

  • North Carolina, Moore County

Autograph Entries :

  • Blythe, O. V. F. (2) 1923, 1927
  • Butler, George E. (3) 1916-1926
  • Butler, Marion (9) 1926-1928
  • Bynum, William P[reston] (3) 1919-1922
  • Connor, Henry G[roves] (4) 1919-1922
  • Cowles, Charles H[olden] (4) 1916
  • Daniels, Josephus (2) 1915, 1917
  • Dockery, Claudius (10) 1921-1928
  • Duncan, E[dward] C. (4) 1916
  • Grissom, Gilliam (5) 1916-1919
  • Guthrie, William A[nderson] 1916
  • Hicks, T[hurston] T[itus] 1923
  • Holton, A. E. 1916
  • Jackson, Brownlow (4) 1926-1928
  • Jonas, Charles A. (4) 1938-1939
  • Meekins, I[saac] M[elson] (10) 1919-1928
  • Morehead, John M[otley] (5) 1916-1921
  • Newell, Jake F. (2) 1938-1939
  • Page, Henry A[llison] (2) 1917-1919
  • Parker, John J[ohnston] (4) 1924-1925, 1938-1939
  • Pritchard, J[eter] C[onnelly] 1916
  • Robinson, L[eonidas] D[unlap] 1919
  • Skinner, Harry 1915
  • Taft, Robert A. 1939
  • Taft, William H[oward] 1925
  • Walser, Zeb[ulon] V[ance] (5) 1916-1919
  • Ward, David L[ivingston] (2) 1916

Subject Entries :

  • AGRICULTURE— Fruit Culture
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Lumber Trade— 1910s
  • CARTHAGE, N.C.— Public Schools
  • COURTS— U.S. District Court— 1924-1927
  • COURTS— U.S. District Court— Eastern District— 1921-1924
  • CRIME AND PUNISHMENT— Distilling, Illicit
  • CRIME AND PUNISHMENT— Murder
  • EDUCATION— PRIVATE SCHOOLS— South Carolina
  • EDUCATION— PUBLIC SCHOOLS— Carthage, N.C.
  • ELECTIONS— 1926
  • ELECTIONS— Law and Legislation— 1927
  • ELECTIONS— U.S. President— 1916
  • ELECTIONS— U.S. President— 1928
  • HAMLET, N.C.— 1926
  • HEALTH AND MEDICINE— Operations
  • LAW AND LAWYERS— Carthage, N.C.— 1898-1929
  • LAW AND LAWYERS— Organizations— N.C. Bar Association
  • MINES AND MINING— Gold— 1898-1902
  • MONEY AND BANKING— Hamlet, N.C.— 1926
  • MOORE COUNTY, N.C.— Politics and Government— Republican Party
  • NEGROES— Crime and Punishment— Murder
  • NEGROES— Education— Public Schools— Carthage, N.C.
  • ORGANIZATIONS— Council of Defense for Moore County— 1917
  • POLITICS— Courts— U.S. District Court
  • POLITICS— Populist Party— 1894
  • POLITICS— Republican Party— 1916
  • POLITICS— Republican Party— N.C.— 1915-1929
  • POLITICS— Republican Party— Organizations— Clubs
  • POLITICS— Republican Party— Organizations— Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association
  • POLITICS— Women
  • PROHIBITION— Law and Legislation
  • PROHIBITION— Temperance— 1917-1929
  • RELIGION— Baptist
  • RELIGION— Baptist— Baptist State Convention
  • TAXATION— Poll Tax
  • TRANSPORTATION— Railroads— Seaboard Railroad
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Submarines— 1917
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Reserves— 1917
  • WOMEN— Law and Lawyers
  • WOMEN— Politics and Government

Genealogy Entries :

  • JOHNSON, JAMES McNEILL
  • McNEILL FAMILY— Moore Co., N.C.
  • SEAWELL FAMILY— Duplin and Moore Counties, N.C.

Pamphlet Entries :

Author Entry
  • Butler, Marion.
    • One Way to Republican Victory. (1926)

Date Entries :

  • 1898-1899
  • 1900-1909
  • 1910-1919
  • 1920-1929

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0497.1
Correspondence, 1891-May 1916
Box 2#0497.2
Correspondence, June 1916-May 1917
Box 3#0497.3
Correspondence, Dec. 1917-Sept. 1919
Box 4#0497.4
Correspondence, Oct. 1919-Sept. 1922
Box 5#0497.5
Correspondence, Sept. 1922-Feb. 1923
Box 6#0497.6
Correspondence, Mar. 1923-Dec. 1923
Box 7#0497.7
Correspondence, Jan. 1924-May 1926
Box 8#0497.8
Correspondence, June 1926-Mar. 1927
Box 10#0497.10
Legal Practice: Land Records, 1812-1928
Box 10#0497.10
Land Surveys and Courses, undated
Box 10#0497.10
Legal Files, 1905-1930
Box 10#0497.10
W. L. Hand Medicine Company Records, 1924-1925
Box 11#0497.11
Seawell Family Land Records, 1785-1929
Box 11#0497.11
McNeill Family Land Records, 1800-1905
Box 11#0497.11
McNeill Family Land Courses and Surveys, undated
Box 11#0497.11
Financial records, 1910-1939
Box 11#0497.11
Financial Records, undated
Box 11#0497.11
Seawell Biography; Political Items, 1922-1932
Box 11#0497.11
Miscellaneous Items, 1916-1929.Henry Seawell: School Records, 1923-1924
Box 11#0497.11
Correspondence, 1928-1930
Box 11#0497.11
Miscellaneous Items, 1930-1931
Box 12#0497.12
Legal Files: 1861-1941
Box 12#0497.12
Barton vs McCoy, 1938-1940
Box 12#0497.12
Mary A. Caviness, 1938
Box 12#0497.12
Collins vs Lamb, 1938
Box 12#0497.12
Correspondence, 1931-1939
Box 13#0497.13
Office Docket, 1907-1923
Box 13#0497.13
Tenant Book, 1918-1928

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, please click on the "View Digitized Objects" link, or look for hyperlinks in the container list
ECU Centennial Logo

Finding Aids for Special Collections and University Archives

© 2002-2011 Joyner Library, East Carolina University

Contact Us ° Digital Collections
Feedback Form
Feedback Analytics