Austin Family Papers, 1830-1947

Manuscript Collection #382

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

Title: Austin Family Papers
Creator: Austin family
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1830-1947) consisting of correspondence, legal documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, letters regarding common disease and miscellaneous.
Extent: 0.22 Cubic feet, 116 items, consisting of correspondence (1862-1910), legal documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous.

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

Accessions Information

March 20, 1979, 91 items; Edgecombe County, N.C., family papers (1866-1929), including correspondence, photographs, indentures, clippings, and miscellaneous. April 30, 1985, 8 items; Edgecombe County, N.C., legal papers (1830-1887). Gift of Miss Mary Howard, Tarboro, 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

Austin Family Papers (#382), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Miss Mary Howard

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Elmore; M. Boccaccio, November 1990

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

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

Robert Henry Austin (1810-1890) of Tarboro, N.C., and his wife Jannet Jeffreys had children William Henry, Charles Jeffreys, and Elizabeth. Apparently, both Robert and his son Charles operated brickyards in Tarboro. Charles married Emily S. Chisman of Hampton, Virginia, and they lived in Tarboro.

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

Correspondence between the Austin family and their friends and relatives covers the years from 1862 to 1910.

Two letters date to the 1860s but only the March 31, 1862, letter is legible. In it a Tarboro citizen mentions the fear of a Yankee invasion, possible avenues for flight in the event of an invasion, and the plight of a family living in occupied Washington, N.C.

The majority of the letters from the early 1870s are written by Charles J. Austin to his wife before and after their marriage. Fox hunting, illnesses, entertainment in Tarboro, and methods utilized in making and burning bricks are discussed in his letters. Other letters dating to the early 1870s discuss dressmaking in Norfolk, Virginia, school life at Chowan Baptist Female Institute at Murfreesboro, N.C., and a cure for the cold.

Letters dating from the 1880s mention common diseases of the day and discuss land speculation in Swain, Macon, and Graham counties in North Carolina by a company formed by Mr. Robert M. Furman and State Senator Theodore W. Poole.

Early twentieth century letters mention types of entertainment available in Tarboro and in Greensboro, N.C.

Legal records include a partnership agreement (1846) between Robert H. Austin of Edgecombe County and William Jeffreys of Franklin County for a mercantile business in Tarboro, N.C., and articles of agreement (1848) between John H. David, Eaton Cobb, and Jesse Harrell concerning the deepening and maintenance of a canal in Edgecombe County, N.C. Also included is a document concerning the dissolving of the co-partnership of R. H. Austin, Thomas Norfleet, and Joseph Staton in Tarboro (1866); a document acknowledging receipt of items from the estate of William A. Staton by Louisa Staton for her use and the use of her children (1868); and an indenture between R. H. Austin and T. H. Gatlin (1885) relating to the rental of a store and a portion of a brick warehouse in Tarboro, N.C. Land records include a deed for land in Edgecombe County, N.C. (1866); a document acknowledging money received by several Crenshaws and Johnsons of Granville County, N.C., for the purchase of lot #23 in Tarboro, N.C., by R. H. Austin (1887); and a receipt for money obtained in the sale of lot #17 in Tarboro by R. H. Austin (1887). Slave records include two bills of sale (1830, 1858) and a receipt (1830) for the purchase of three Negro slaves by Eaton Cobb of Edgecombe County, N.C.

Miscellaneous items date from 1865 to 1947. Included are an 1865 Confederate bond, an 1867 doctor's bill, tax receipts from the 1880s, a 1910 copy of Current Events, two United Daughters of the Confederacy programs (1928, 1929) for the William Dorsey Pender Chapter, and obituaries for Mrs. R. J. Walker, Sr. (1939) and Mrs. Harriet Yearby (1940). Other items consist of a picture of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1897, a History of the Edgecombe Guards During the War Between the States by Emily Semple Austin (1917), a copy of The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, nineteenth century photographs of a brickyard, and a 1947 article on the history of the Austin Family printed in the Daily Southerner newspaper.

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 Entry :

  • North Carolina, Tarboro

Autograph Entries :

    • Crowell, John F[ranklin] 1888
    • Furman, R[obert] M. 1887

Subject Entries :

    • BOOKS AND AUTHORS— Reading Interests
    • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Manufacturing— Brickmaking— 1874
    • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Edgecombe Co., N.C.
    • EDUCATION— COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES— University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    • HEALTH AND MEDICINE— Cures— 1874
    • INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS— Canals— Edgecombe Co., N.C.
    • LAND— Deeds and Sales— Edgecombe Co., N.C.
    • LAND— Speculation— 1884
    • RELIGION— Presbyterian
    • SLAVERY— Slave Trade— Edgecombe Co., N.C.
    • SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS— Courtship— 1870s
    • SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS— Entertainment— High Point, N.C.
    • SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS— Entertainment— Tarboro, N.C.
    • SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS— Funeral Rites and Ceremonies
    • SPORTS— Fox Hunting— 1872
    • WAR— CIVIL— Homefront
    • WAR— CIVIL— Units— 1st N.C. Infantry Regiment— Company A

Genealogy Entries :

    • AUSTIN FAMILY— Edgecombe County, N.C.
    • STATON FAMILY— Edgecombe Co.(?), N.C.

Date Entry :

  • 1871-1874

Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

EDUCATION— COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES— University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Description: Austin Building, Normal School
Location: Greensboro, NC
Date: 1898
Call Number: p-382/7

TRADES— Brick-making
Description: Brickyard
Location: Greensboro, NC
Call Number: p-382/2(354)

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.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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