October 26, 1973, 5 items; Pasquotank County correspondence (1861-1866)
December 7, 1973, 350 items; Papers (1845-1909, undated), including correspondence, financial papers, and miscellaneous. Loaned for copying by Mrs. Doris Fearing, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Gertrude Evans Fearing Collection (#244), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
- Loaned by Mrs. Doris Fearing
The bulk of this collection is family-centered, with correspondence between Bart and Mollie the most dominant. Also playing a significant role in the correspondence are Mollie's parents, Joseph and Emily Commander. After Bart's death (1888) the correspondence is centered around Mollie Commander Fearing.
Correspondence preceding the Civil War and during the war is limited. There are, however, brief comments pertaining to pre-Civil War social and religious life in northeastern North Carolina and the high cost of living in the later part of the war.
Correspondence from the post war years is of particular interest. These letters deal with a variety of subjects including problems of northeastern North Carolina and Tidewater Virginia following the war. There are comments on the effect of the abolition of slavery, conduct of tenants, farming conditions, scarcity of labor, weather, and ability to pay taxes. Also of interest is Mollie Commander's attendance at the Seminary for Young Ladies (1871-1872), a private school in Baltimore, Maryland. Her correspondence with her mother reflects the daily routine, course work, and study habits. Other correspondence in this period reflects religious and social attitudes and activities. They comment extensively on family travel, eating habits, children, diseases and possible cures, and death.
The correspondence of the late nineteenth century continues to be family centered with the letters of Bart and Mollie dominating the period. They write each other continuously throughout the period and in one year (1879) they wrote almost daily "love letters." In addition to their personal relationship, they comment on business trips to Baltimore, Maryland (1879); travel on the Dismal Swamp Canal (1879); trips to Nags Head, including a description of a shipwreck (1886); and religious and social activities. Upon Bart's death (1888) Mollie received numerous sympathy letters from relatives and friends. In addition to the Bart-Mollie correspondence, there is also other family correspondence of interest. The two families comment typically on family relations; trips to Nags Head, including a description of the condition and price of hotels; building of the Elizabeth City-Norfolk Railroad; the earthquake of 1886; the death of pets; eating habits and children.
After 1888 the correspondence is primarily related to Mollie's attempts to pay family debts and to act as guardian for her two sons. Of particular interest is the correspondence from these boys while in school (1898-1900). George at Trinity High School and Pratt at Randolph-Macon Academy comment on school life, course work, and debating societies.
The collection also contain family financial papers consisting of saving account books, school receipts, railroad transportation charges, tax receipts, general merchandise receipts, and bonds for land deeds in Elizabeth City.
Miscellaneous items include a brief Civil War diary of George Fearing (June 21, 1861 to February 8, 1862), dealing with the North Carolina State Guard until its surrender on Roanoke Island; Colonel George Fearing's request and grant for discharge from the Confederate Army for medical reasons (January 20, 1862); advertisements of the Seminary for Young Ladies (1871) in Baltimore, Maryland; and a few poems and religious essays.