Murfreesboro Historical Association Collection: J. T. Lewter Papers, 1857-1887

Manuscript Collection #691-001

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Murfreesboro Historical Association Collection: J. T. Lewter Papers
    Creator: Lewter, J. T.
    Murfreesboro Historical Association
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1857-1887) including patients accounts, medications, hired help accounts, and records of merchandise bought and sold.
    Extent: 15.793 Cubic feet, 7 items , including patient accounts and medications, hired help accounts, and records for merchandise bought and sold.
  • Description

    The ledgers belonging to Dr. Lewter can be divided into three groups: (1) patient ledgers; (2) Negro accounts; and (3) personal merchandise ledgers and a daybook. Each ledger includes some information similar in type to that found in the other ledgers.

    Patient ledgers begin in 1857 and continue through 1885. They are indexed by family name and entries include the date of the visit, name of the family member seen, a description of the visit which occasionally includes medicine prescribed and/or diagnosis, and cost of the visit and method of payment. Entries indicate that Lewter was paid both in cash and in kind. Medical visits to slaves are listed under the owner's family name in the first volume (1857-1869). Weather, time of day, and location of the family visited are mentioned infrequently.

    The first volume (1857-1869) is almost entirely a notation of visits to patients. A perusal of the ledger reveals the medications most frequently prescribed include quinine, cough mixture, morphine, peragoric, bitters, purgative, laudanum, castor oil and magnesia; the most commonly treated illnesses were shingles, chills, worms, croup and diarrhea; and the most frequently used procedures include bleeding, cupping, extracting teeth, delivering babies (including the use of instruments) (pp. 80, 280), reducing the uterus (p. 245), vaccinating children and adults, setting fractures, lancing abcesses, and dressing wounds. Throughout all the patient ledgers, consultation with other doctors is frequently noted.

    The last section of the first ledger (pp. 340-351) includes notations for taxes paid, tuition and board at the Chowan Female Institute (1861-1862) and Greensboro Female College (1862-1863), rents for land (1857-1868), Confederate tax, and payment and clothing for hired slaves (1857-1863).

    A second medical volume (1862, 1865-1875) is arranged in the same fashion as the previous volume and includes notations for similar illnesses. Medications not previously mentioned include iron mixture (p. 57), epsom salts (p. 345), chloroform (p. 279), and iodine (p. 59). Also discussed are obstetrical procedures, including the delivery of placenta (pp. 85, 231). In addition, also noted is a discount for payment in greenbacks (p. 55) and the receipt of cash in greenbacks (p. 91). Unrelated to the medical notations are payment lists for work done by hired help, including washing (pp. 407, 433) and carpentry (1868), and a final entry (p. 440) noting cotton sold to Hymans & Dancy (1871-1872).

    This second volume begins with listings for January - February 1862 (pp. 1-48) of sales of candles, sundries, flour, lard, beef, coffee, bacon, salt, turnips, and sugar to officers of the Confederate Army serving in the area. Also included in this section are purchases by Capt. Edward C. Yellowley of Co. G of the 8th Regiment of N.C. State Troops (pp. 15, 25), the selling of whiskey and sundries to an unnamed hospital (p. 23), the purchase of candles by a guard house (p. 27), cash accounts for Confederate officers (pp. 24-26), and payments received from the State of North Carolina and the Confederate States of America. (pp. 39, 41).

    The final medical ledger (1871-1885) is arranged in the same fashion as those before. Diseases are mentioned by name including diptheria (p. 121) as well as ones previously noted in earlier ledgers. Other notations of interest include a procedure for the surgical removal of a tumor from a tongue (p. 84), vaginal examinations (p. 141), and the use of insurance (1870s, p. 90).

    This third ledger also includes Lewter's personal agricultural accounts with such firms as Elliott Bros. (p. 396) for the sale of cotton and hay; Hymans and Dancy (p. 187) for the sale of cotton; and Vaughan, Barnes & Co. for the purchase of cotton bagging and ties and other agricultural supplies (pp. 400, 403, 442, 468-469); and more locally, the purchase of chickens (p. 477).

    A volume of Negro accounts (1869-1881) is primarily concerned with hired farm help and their families. Family names are indexed and entries combine information on pay for the workers and what they received in terms of food and lodging, and medical accounts for their illnesses and those of their family members.

    The remaining ledgers are a mixture of merchandise accounts (1877-1883; 1883-1887) and a daybook (1881-January 1883) which are concerned with agricultural purchases and sales from such companies as Landreth and Son, and the purchase of medical supplies, medications, and personal items such as cigarettes.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    John T. Lewter was a physician in Hertford County, N.C. Married and a property owner of some stature, he apparently had no children of his own. A will (not found in this collection) and account books indicate he was the guardian (1857-1868) for Lillian Vick, his wife's niece.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    May 10, 1995, 7 volumes; Professional and merchandise ledgers (1851-1887) of Hertford County, N.C., medical doctor. Gift of Murfreesboro Historical Association, Murfreesboro, N.C.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Murfreesboro Historical Association

    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

    Murfreesboro Historical Association Collection: J. T. Lewter Papers (#691-001), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

Container List

Medical Ledgers: 1857-1869; 1862, 1865-1875
Medical Ledger, 1871-1885
Merchandise Ledger, 1877-1883
Negro Accounts, 1869-1881. Daybook, 1881-January 1883
Merchandise Ledger, 1883-1887

This page is only for requesting materials that you wish to view in person in the Reading Room at Joyner Library. It does not permit you to view the materials online or to request their photoduplication. If you would like to request materials for photoduplication, please visit our Copying and Permissions page.

Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

Use the checkboxes to select the boxes/folders you would like to view, then click continue at the bottom of the page.

Container List

Medical Ledgers: 1857-1869; 1862, 1865-1875
Medical Ledger, 1871-1885
Merchandise Ledger, 1877-1883
Negro Accounts, 1869-1881. Daybook, 1881-January 1883
Merchandise Ledger, 1883-1887

Once you have selected all of the boxes/folders you would like to view, click