Fred I. Sutton Papers

1890-1891, 1903-1951
Manuscript Collection #706
Sutton, Fred I., 1886-
Physical description
1.09 Cubic Feet, 721 items, including correspondence, photographs, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Fred I. Sutton Papers (#706), 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.

Papers (1903-1951) including correspondence, photographs, negatives, pamphlets, letters form of radio shows, reading, social events and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Frederick Isler Sutton, Sr., was born in Kinston, NC (1886), attended R. H. Lewis school, Kinston High School (1904), and received an A.B. from the University of North Carolina (1908). Sutton was admitted to the N.C. Bar Association (1910), received an L.L.B. from Harvard University (1911), and opened a legal practice (1913). Elected mayor of Kinston (1913), Sutton remained in office for three terms and during World War I, was a member of the Home Guard and Chief of Intelligence. Sutton was a member of the N.C. General Assembly (1925-1933) and was a state senator (1939-1940). In 1915 he married Annie Gray Frye of Greensboro, NC, and had one son, Fred I. Sutton, Jr. Sutton was an early member of Camp Bryan Hunting and Fishing Club in Craven County, NC.

Fred I. Sutton, Jr., (September 13, 1916-January 15, 1995) was born in Greensboro, graduated from Culver Military Academy (1934), and received an A.B. from the University of North Carolina (1939). Sutton joined the Navy as an apprentice seaman (1940), was assigned to the battleship USS ARKANSAS (BB-33), and was commissioned as an ensign (1941). During World War II, Sutton served on the battleship USS NEW YORK (BB-34) in the Atlantic Theatre, was promoted to lt. j.g. (1942) and took command of the armed guard of the ships SS NORWALK and SS SANTA ISABEL, participated in the invasion of Africa (December 1942), and then was assigned (1943-1945) to the escort ship USS CABANA (DE-260). Sutton took command of the CABANA (January 1945) and was promoted to lieutenant commander in April (1945). Sutton married Helen Sykes Morrison (died December 13, 2006 at the age 87) of Detroit, MI, in March of 1941, had two sons, Frederick I. Sutton III and Frank Morrison Sutton (d. June 11, 1995), and was involved in real estate development.

Scope and arrangement

The collection consists of family correspondence, photographs, negatives, and miscellaneous materials. Early letters detail activities at Washington and Lee University, including two open-air plays and socializing with girls from Bryn Mawr, PA (May 6, 1908. Other early letters concern the death of Lee Sutton, the search for his body after a canoeing accident, and condolences from friends and family (June 1-August 2, 1908). Other topics discussed were malaria (July 25-August 19, 1920); the Christian Science religion (July 8, 1920); a car and train accident that resulted in death (July 29, 1920); a circus in Kinston, NC (August 8, 1920); the shooting of a man by a Negro over back pay (August 14, 1921); a portable victrola and the cost of victrola record books (January undated, August 3, 1920); radio stations (January 7-8, 1925); operations for tonsillitis and thyroid problems (February 2-17, June 2-23, 1926); the preservation of a Greensboro, NC, cemetery (March 11-14, 1929); and vitaphone pictures (March 12-14, 1929). Throughout the correspondence daily activities of the Sutton family are described, and bridge clubs, book clubs, and various forms of entertainment are mentioned (1925-1948).

The bulk of the correspondence focuses on activities during World War II. Discussed are activities on board the USS NEW YORK during the North Atlantic Neutrality Patrol and at the beginning of the war (April 19-September 21, 1941) and on board the USS CABANA in the Pacific Theatre (November 6, 1943-August 19, 1945). Specific topics concern the rescue of survivors of a sunken Norwegian ship in the North Atlantic (July 20, 1941, attached to a letter of July 7, 1941); German prisoners of war at work in a Kinston, NC, tobacco warehouse (August 9, 1944); the shortage of domestic labor in Detroit and the Negro race riots (October 15, 1944); the actions of an anti-submarine group (January 11, 1945); traveling around the Hawaiian Islands (February 2, 1945); religious services on board ship (February 6, 1945); the easing of censorship restrictions (July 31, 1945); and the clearing of Japanese mines in the Pacific (August 19, 1945). Throughout the letters various forms of entertainment including radio shows, reading, social events, and building model boats are mentioned.

Other correspondence concerns the high cost of automobiles (January 3, 1946) and musical performances at Montreat, NC (August 24, 1947). Miscellaneous items include a pamphlet on the gold standard, a list of members of the N.C. General Assembly (1925), Christian Science materials, and newspaper clippings. The collection's photographs consist of hunting and fishing scenes, portraits, group shots, and a number of baseball player Babe Ruth while on hunting and fishing trips to Camp Bryan in Craven County, NC. Also included are family photographs and negatives.

For more information on Camp Bryan, see Carteret Waterfowl Heritage by Jack Dudley, 1993.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 22, 1995, 450 items; Lenoir County, NC, family correspondence (1903-1951), including personal correspondence of U.S. Naval officer on duty aboard USS CABANA (DE-260) in the Pacific during World War II. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Elmore, Greenville, NC.

February 7, 1996, ca. 400 items; Photographs, primarily of hunting/fishing club in Eastern North Carolina. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Elmore, Greenville, NC.

August 18, 2006, addition 1, 1 box, 1 item, 25 p. (ca. 0.25 cubic feet); Photograph album (April 1890-October 1891) containing views of several vacation travels and hunting trips, including to Central Park Zoo and other sites in New York, NY; Quebec, Canada; Western North Carolina; Castle Rock, VA, Salem VA; Atlantic City, NJ; Carolina Beach, NC; and of children Emma and Mary; and farm hands, Napoleon and Uncle Cass. 99 photographic prints. 97 black and white prints. 2 cyanotype prints. Gift of Mr. William E. Elmore, Greenville, NC.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Elmore Gift of William E. "Mickey" Elmore

Processing information

Processed by M. Boccaccio; A. Merriman, October 1999

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
Sutton, Fred I., 1886-
Sutton, Fred I., 1916-1995
Family Names
Sutton family
Corporate Names
Cabana (Ship)
New York (Ship)
United States. Navy--Officers--Correspondence
Families--North Carolina--Lenoir County
Wildlife-related recreation--North Carolina
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Correspondence, 1903, 1907-1908
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence, 1910-1920
Box 1 Folder c Correspondence, 1921-1924
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence, 1925-1926
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence, 1927-1933
Box 1 Folder f Correspondence, 1939-1942
Box 2 Folder a Correspondence, 1943-1944
Box 2 Folder b Correspondence, 1945
Box 2 Folder c Correspondence, 1946-1948, 1951
Box 2 Folder d Miscellaneous material
Box 2 Folder e Photographs
Box 3A Negatives