The Albert R. Smith Collection contains the papers of N. T. Ryals and his ancestors, all of Johnston County.
Of considerable interest is the personal journal (1896-1900) of Ryals in which he preserved a daily one-line account of his work, the weather, and occurrences. Among the events noted in the journal are political conventions, congressional nominations, attendance at an 1896 William Jennings Bryan speech in Rocky Mount, "Red Shirt" activity in 1900, and Democratic election victories during each campaign. The journal also contains comments on the weather, marriages, deaths, accounts of income and expenses, and a resumé of agricultural activities.
Other items include a copy of the will of Jacob Woodall (1848), Johnston County deeds and plat (1859-1869), an arbitrator's report, a letter discussing family matters, accounts, receipts, a Confederate twenty-dollar bill, Johnston County teachers certificates (1889, 1890), two newspapers (
The Smithfield Herald, Smithfield, N.C., Sept. 9, 1898, and
The Lash, Moravian Falls, N.C., Jan. 1920), and two copies of a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet entitled
The Peafowl and Their Care (Nov. 1931). Newspapers in the collection are in the oversize folder.