Timothy Hunter Papers, 1806-1906, undated

Manuscript Collection #748

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Timothy Hunter Papers
    Creator: Hunter, Timothy, 1804-1875
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1806-1906) including correspondence, financial papers, journals, notebooks, legal and business documents, and miscellaneous.
    Extent: 0.65 Cubic feet, 864 items, consisting of correspondence, financial papers, journals, notebooks, and miscellaneous.
  • Description

    The collection primarily concerns aspects of shipbuilding, repair, and maintenance. Among these materials are bills of sale for vessels, itemized statements for outfitting certain vessels, bills from Hunter's suppliers of shipbuilding materials, federal licenses for vessels of larger than twenty tons, vessel enrollments, bills of lading for vessels, towing bills, grocery invoices for vessels, dockage bills, receipts for fines for inspection-law violations, correspondence, and insurance policies. Letters inform Hunter of the recovery near Cape Hatteras of his abandoned schooner Lady Whedbee, request that he retrieve the vessel, and instruct him to inform the owner of the vessel's cargo concerning the ship's recovery (March-April 1859). Other documents concerning the Lady Whedbee include the ruling for the disposition of the vessel's salvage in favor of the finder, Captain James Hobbs (March, 1859), and the ultimate auctioning of the vessel and its rigging (January, 1860). Items of particular interest to the maritime industry include a letter (Feb. 4, 1852) from the U.S. Coast Survey office authorizing Hunter to repair the survey schooner Mason; a letter to Hunter regarding difficulties in getting paid for a vessel in Norfolk (May 28, 1853); a bill of sale (Apr. 8, 1861) for the condemned U.S. lightboat Croatan; a negotiation letter from a prospective buyer of a vessel from Hunter (December 26, 1861); a letter asking Hunter to examine a vessel to determine if it is worthy of repair (August 8, 1865); a letter regarding the three masted schooner Isabella Ellis, which had been chained to one of Hunter's vessels and sunk in the Roanoke River near Plymouth to obstruct navigation during the Civil War (August 1, 1866); and pay slips for crew members on the Camden Union (March 26, 1869). Subsequent correspondence includes letters regarding the reimbursement of Hunter for expenses incurred by the captain of one of his vessels in the matter of a seaman who became ill, died, and was buried (April to May, 1870); a letter from a Keyport, New Jersey, ship owner, requesting an affidavit vouching for his honesty in the documentation of the schooner Key Port (July 10, 1871); and a letter from one of Hunter's debtors making arrangements to settle accounts (undated).

    Slavery is reflected in numerous records, including bills of sale for Negroes and hiring agreements for slave labor. Other items of particular interest include an agreement between a master and a blacksmith to teach the trade to a Negro boy (January 25, 1834), a document giving permission for a free woman of color to keep her bound son with her until he is called for by his owner (February 29, 1840), a court order for Hunter to furnish three able hands to work on a road outside of Elizabeth City (1849), life insurance policies for Hunter's slaves (1853), a bill for boots for Hunter's slaves (October 30, 1854), the conveyance of eighteen Negroes from Timothy Hunter to his wife (October 2, 1858), a medical bill for four years of treatment rendered to slaves (October 3, 1859), and another medical bill for attention to a slave child (June 12, 1861).

    Civil War items reflect the impact of the war on maritime activities. Among these are a bill from Hunter to the Confederate States of America for work on a light boat (September 27, 1861); an acceptance speech of a newly elected Confederate officer (undated); notes (found on a page numbered 477 that is torn from a ledger book) on the August 1861 capture of Hunter's schooner, the San Juan, near Cape Hatteras (January 27, 1862); correspondence regarding the Confederate government's seizure of Hunter's vessel, the Rebel, for the defense of Roanoke Island (January 30, September 20, and November 3, 1862); and a letter from William Nathan Harrell Smith regarding submission of claims for Hunter's reimbursement for the seizure of the Rebel (undated, probably 1862). Instructions for couriers in the Confederate army (February 17, 1862) and an account of Hunter's personal wartime losses (1862) are also included.

    The collection also contains legal and business documents that reflect the frequent transactions necessary for Hunter in his business during the economic turbulence of the nineteenth century. Included in these documents are financial papers; deeds; deeds of trust on schooners, slaves, and land; insurance policies; Masonic Mutual Life Insurance assessments; and promissory notes. One letter (February 20, 1868) reflects the difficulties of the salt trade and other items reflect sheriffs' sales to satisfy judgments for debt. Also included in the collection are receipts for local school, town, poll, turnpike, penitentiary, and educational taxes. One letter of particular interest is from L.D. Starke, offering Hunter an amicable way to resolve Hunter's debts (July 20, 1868). A deed for the sale of property by Hunter's assignee in bankruptcy (January 28, 1870) also appears in the collection. Correspondence (April 19, 1872; March 6, 1873; December 27, 1874) pertains to efforts of a debtor to avoid bills associated with the schooner Luck, accusations of the debtor against a third party, and failure to achieve significant closure in the settlement of the Luck' s accounts. In a letter (May 6, 1870) written from Franklin Depot in Virginia, a man describes meeting former Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Other business and legal items include a widow's annual allowance (January 1, 1873) and an assignment of guardianship of a minor to Hunter (July 18, 1873).

    Other items include bills from dry goods, grocery, and general stores; medical bills; Hunter's marriage license (1826); an agreement between doctors H.L. Weatherly and Elijah Martin to practice medicine together (August 23, 1850); and bills from Chowan Female Collegiate Institute in Murfreesboro, N.C., for the education of Hunter's daughter, with accompanying letters from M. R. Forey (principal) to Hunter (March 5, July 29, 1851). A journal containing essays about affection, liquor, justice, and romance (1853-1854); a bill of sale for the conveyance of household items in the parsonage to the Baptist church in Elizabeth City, N.C. (August 31, 1858); a detailed description of Hunter's personality (1866); and a receipt for reimbursing the state of North Carolina for bringing a bastardy action against a black man (March 24, 1870) are also included. Items concerning Hunter's death are a resolution by the Eureka Masonic Lodge (March 1, 1875), mourning his recent death, and bill for his funeral service from Ziegler Funeral Home in Edenton, N.C. (August 6, 1875). Additional miscellaneous items include balance books belonging to Ann Hunter (1885); a certified tabulation (1906) of the North Carolina Encampment of the International Order of Odd Fellows; and a certificate of W. H. Weatherly as a representative to the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Odd Fellows order (August 9, 1906).

    Items in oversize include a Masonic certificate of admission into Royal Arch status (1806); Hunter's commission (April 17, 1840) in the Albemarle Blues (a naval militia-type organization); an agreement between seamen and the owner of the schooner San Juan for a voyage to Barbados (October 29, 1860); a descriptive list of equipment issued to a private in the 17th North Carolina Regiment (undated), including his service record listing the skirmishes and battles in which he had participated; and an issue of the Biblical Recorder (June 14, 1871).

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Timothy Hunter (1804-1875) was a prominent Pasquotank County, N.C., shipbuilder and businessman. Prior to 1834, Hunter established a shipyard on Riverside Avenue in Elizabeth City at what was known as Dry Point. The first documented construction of a ship by Captain Hunter was in 1837 and records reflect at least thirty-nine vessels that were built, owned, outfitted, or repaired by Captain Hunter between 1837 and 1859. In 1840 Hunter was commissioned in the Albemarle Blues and in 1846 he helped form the Pasquotank Artillerists in response to the Mexican War. In 1861 Hunter was authorized to raise a cavalry unit to defend Pasquotank County from Union invasion. After the turmoil of the Civil War era, Hunter filed for bankruptcy in 1870 and sold the shipyard in 1872.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    October 28, 1997, 864 items; Papers (1806-1908) of Pasquotank County, N.C., shipbuilder and mariner, including correspondence, bills of sale for vessels, slaves, and furniture; vessel licenses; promissory notes; deeds of trust; insurance records on slaves and vessels; financial accounts; journals; bills of lading; receipts; contracts; notebooks; and miscellany. Gift of Mrs. JoAnn Foreman, Elizabeth City, N.C.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. JoAnn Foreman

    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

    Timothy Hunter Papers (#748), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by K. Rouse, March 1999

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

Container List

Correspondence and financial papers, 1826-1856
Correspondence and financial papers; 1870-1906; Notebooks, 1853-1880; Photographs
Oversize vessel bills of sale, licenses, agreements, certificates, and miscellany, 1806-1871

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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.

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Container List

Correspondence and financial papers, 1826-1856
Correspondence and financial papers; 1870-1906; Notebooks, 1853-1880; Photographs
Oversize vessel bills of sale, licenses, agreements, certificates, and miscellany, 1806-1871

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