Elihu A. White Papers

Manuscript Collection #14
White, Elihu A.
Physical description
2.17 Cubic Feet, 700 items , including correspondence, speeches, schedules of property, deeds, appointments, clippings, political cartoons, newspapers, financial records, a tax assessment book, publications, certificates, Temperance Society minutes, broadsides, posters, photographs, and miscellany.
Preferred Citation
Elihu A. White Papers (#14), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1830-1931) including correspondence, speeches, property records, deeds, appointments, clippings, financial records, etc. of a Quaker farmer and business leader in Belvedere (NC).

Biographical/historical information

Elihu Anthony White (1824-1900) was a Quaker farmer and business leader from Belvidere, N.C. After serving as postmaster of Newby's Bridge (1858-1861), White was elected as a Republican to the N.C. Senate (1868-1870). He was justice of the peace in 1873 and served on the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners (1873-1878). In 1879 White was appointed collector of Internal Revenue by President Rutherford B. Hayes. He was a delegate to the Republican national conventions in 1884, 1888, and 1896. Also, in 1888, White was reappointed as collector by President Benjamin Harrison and in 1894 he became a member of the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina. In the mid 1890s, White became chairman of the Perquimans County Board of Education.

Scope and arrangement

Politics is a major topic of interest from the 1880s through 1900. Republican interests, patronage, conventions, nominations, and collaboration with the Populist party are discussed. Correspondence from Matthew Quay (1888) discusses the possibility of a recount after White's defeat for the Congressional election. John J. Mott was anxious to have White appointed collector of the Internal Revenue for N.C. (1889) and mentions party interests and state politics. Thomas Settle discusses the importance of patronage in Rockingham Co., N.C., to insure future Republican victories (1889). E.C. Duncan talks about his own recent victory notwithstanding the defection of the Populists (1896). A folder of political items includes an affidavit (1865) signed by White to protect the constitution and support laws concerning the emancipation of enslaved people, an excursion ticket (1889) for a Democratic party cruise "Up Salt River," N.C. House of Representatives Rules for the 1921 session, political cartoons, a draft of an act amending the N.C. Code defining the form of ballots (undated), tariff tracts (1888) in favor of protection, an undated brochure on the provisions of the Force Bill, and political essays and speeches. White's political career is also noted in some of the clippings.

Other aspects of White's career documented in less detail include his appointments as collector of Internal Revenue for the 4th District of North Carolina. There is some correspondence (1889) about appointments for deputy collectors and the need to resurvey because of illicit distilleries in Johnston and Harnett counties. A file of adjusted and supplemental accounts also includes endorsements for White as collector; schedules of records, books, and property that were turned over to him (1879); deputy collectors' bonds; and a receipt for spirits in the warehouse (1883). An assessment book (1868-1869, 1877-1882) notes the name of the assessor and the assessed, city or town, occupation or item assessed, the number in an abstract book, quantity of items, valuation, tax rate, and total tax. A file of tax receipts includes bridge tolls (1873-1876) turned over while White was chairman of the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners.

Education is a constant topic of family interest. Several of White's children attended Guilford College and there is much correspondence between college friends (1889-1920). A basketball game at Bryn Mawr is described (1894) as are trips to visit friends after graduation, weddings, and other activities of daily life. Belvidere Academy was supported by the family and in 1902 a subscription campaign for a new schoolhouse was run. Lists of former graduates and letters from them sending their subscriptions and news testify to the success of the project. White's first wife, Margaret, attended the Friends Boarding School (1852-1853) in Richmond, Indiana. A folder includes poems and notes from school friends. His second wife, Emma H. White, attended Earlham College Preparatory Class (1869-1870) in Indiana and a folder for Earlham includes programs and essays. Other items of educational interest are a high school commencement program (1877) from Knightstown, Indiana, and a certificate from Earlham College Preparatory Department (1891).

Temperance and prohibition were prominent family concerns. The Women's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) minutes (1899-1902) contain the constitution and minutes of their first convention of the 1st District, held in Elizabeth City (1899). Emma H. White was president and Cora White was secretary. Reports from local unions in Bethel, Edenton, Belvidere, and surrounding communities are included. Plans of work, public meetings, and jails and almshouses are also mentioned. The Belvidere Auxiliary minutes note visiting schools, mothers' day meetings, reform schools, and accommodations for the insane (1899-1900). The minute book (1874-1903) for the Temperance Association of Perquimans and Chowan counties includes the constitution and notes meeting locations, membership and, from 1896, work with the W.C.T.U. Other materials include clippings, songs, speeches, handbills, publications, broadsides, and posters. Thomas J. Jarvis, Robert B. Glenn, Edwin Webb, J.Y. Joyner, and Charles B. Aycock all published in favor of prohibition. The W.C.T.U. National Educator (1905) gives selections to be used in their medal contest and the catechism (1903, 1906) details their program. A statement before the N.C. House Committee on Education (undated) is included. Also of interest is a series of W.C.T.U. handbills on suffrage.

One particularly interesting file is that of Lucy White's monthly and annual welfare work reports for the mill towns of White Oak (1916-1917) and Proximity (1918-1929) in Guilford County, N.C. The monthly reports specify children's, mill girls', and women's classes, noting subject taught (normally sewing and cooking), the number in the class, and the average attending. By the mid 1920s, the reports also noted additional activities such as parties, P.T.A. meetings, banquets, neighborhood classes, and yard inspections. A sewing notebook indicates assignments by class group.

Religious material relates primarily to the Society of Friends and includes the proceedings (1906) of their tract association, lists of members of the 1902 home classes, a Friends Academy calendar (1874-1875), a program for the Indiana Yearly Meeting (1874), and some essays. There is also a Friends publication on prohibition. The "Little Folks Paper" (1892-1893), a Sunday School paper for children, is also included. One of the ledgers includes the costs to the yearly meeting trustees for setting up the meeting (1834-1835), while another notes expenses of the committee of the poor (1852-1853) and the building committee (1854).

Much of the early correspondence (1862-1906) is between family members and concerns land holdings in Indiana, Iowa, and North Carolina, discussing rentals, repairs, taxes, and sales. Additionally, deeds indicate land also held in Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri, including executor's releases. Other family topics are diverse. Lucy Haughton (1850) talks about schools in the Beech Grove, Indiana area and her own study of medicine. Elihu White writes to his father in 1862 from Connersville, Indiana, about the father's loan to his other son for a farm. White mentions some conscripts who had been delayed and then finally "skedatled." Lawton, Oklahoma, is described (1902) by a friend who moved there and Emma White's stepmother describes Mineral Wells, Texas (1909), and talks about prices, crops, and weather.

Financial records include a general store ledger for Woodville, N.C. (1830-1833) and Suttons Creek, N.C. (1834); a mill account ledger (1838-1843), which also includes flour, meal, general supplies, and apples sold; and two personal account books (1900-1923), which include notes of family births, deaths and marriages, visits, money loaned, purchases, farm accounts, and labor costs. A journal for the steamer HARBINGER (1879-1894), home ported in Norfolk, Virginia, notes manifest locations, freight, commission and wharfage, and indicates transfers to the Winslow Line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Guano accounts are included for the years 1883-1888.

Advertising cards (1890-1893) include those for foods, cigarettes, soaps, perfumes, thread, and a variety of household products. Photographs are mainly of family members though there is one of the Piney Woods Meeting House. A prospectus (1894) for the Southern Cotton Mill in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and correspondence detail plans of the Roanoke Rapids Power Company to build a canal and two large cotton mills. An oversize folder includes posters and broadsides related to prohibition; certificates; and issues of the North Carolina White Ribbon (1908), the Chowan Baptist (1906-1908), the Contributor (1876), and The North Carolinian (1898).

Administrative information
Custodial History

September 27, 1967, 53 items; Papers (1862-1898) of Elihu A. White, including correspondence, speeches, schedules, deeds, military orders from the Second Military District (1868), an act of relief of soldiers in the Civil War, political appointments, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, political cartoons, and a newspaper.

March 4, 1968, 15 items; Newspaper clippings relating to career of Elihu A. White.

April 23, 1979, 1 volume; Ledger (1852-1855).

September 23, 1981, 1 volume; Daybook (1869-1890).

August 25, 1982, 1 volume; Tax assessment book (1868-1869, 1877-1882).

September 26, 1983, 3 items; Letters of endorsements (1893), House Rules (1921), and directory of state and county officials (1922).

December 12, 1988, 2 volumes; Daybook (1900-1909) and photocopy of the Guilford Collegian (1900).

March 29, 1989, 6 items; Certificates (1879-1889) and a sketch.

May 25, 1989, ca. 650 items and 6 volumes; Papers of Perquimans County, N.C., family, including correspondence (1850-1930); Temperance Society minutes (1875-1901), speeches, fliers, brochures, and other literature; mill village welfare worker's reports (1916-1929); ledgers (1830-1843); and miscellany. Deposited by Rev. Harold White, Belvidere, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Originally loaned by Rev. Harold White

Loan reaffirmed by Charles H. White, son of Rev. Harold White

Processing information

Processed by M. Boccaccio, May 1990

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Descriptions updated by Jennifer Overstreet, July 2020

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
Duncan, Edward C.--Correspondence
Mott, J. J. (John James), 1834-1919--Correspondence
Quay, Matthew Stanley, 1833-1904--Correspondence
Settle, Thomas, 1831-1888--Correspondence
White, Elihu A.
Corporate Names
Belvidere Academy (Perquimans County, N.C.)
North Carolina. General Assembly. House of Representatives--History
Populist Party (U.S. : 1892-1908)
Republican Party (N.C.)--History--19th century
Roanoke Rapids Power Company
Southern Cotton Mill (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.)
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Constitutional amendments--North Carolina
Distilleries--North Carolina--Harnett County
Distilleries--North Carolina--Johnston County
Harbinger (Steamer)
Private schools--North Carolina--Perquimans County--History
Prohibition--North Carolina--History
Schools--Indiana--Beech Grove (Marion County, Ind.)
Slavery--North Carolina--History
Society of Friends--Indiana
Society of Friends--North Carolina--Perquimans County--History
Taxation--North Carolina--History--19th century
Temperance--Societies, etc.
Textile workers--North Carolina--Social life and customs
Women--North Carolina--Social life and customs
Women--Societies and clubs
Women--Suffrage--North Carolina
Lawton (Okla.)--Description and travel
Mineral Wells (Tex.)--Description and travel
North Carolina--Politics and government
North Carolina--Politics and government--Caricatures and cartoons
Perquimans County (N.C.)
Roanoke Rapids (N.C.)--History

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, 1850-1931
Box 2 Folder a Political Material, 1865-1921: Printed Items, Essays, Speeches, Clippings
Box 2 Folder b Tax Collection Material: Accounts, Schedules, Bonds, and Receipts
Box 2 Folder c Women's Christian Temperance Union Minutes, 1899-1902
Box 2 Folder d Temperance Association of Perquimans and Chowan Counties, N.C., Minutes, 1874-1903
Box 3 Temperance Material: Clippings, Essays, Poems, Broadsides, Cards, and Music
Box 4 Folder a Temperance Material: Printed Works
Box 4 Folder b Temperance Material: Tobacco Information
Box 4 Folder c Welfare Work: Reports, 1916-1929
Box 4 Folder d Sewing Notes
Box 5 Folder a Belvidere Academy Subscription Information, 1902
Box 5 Folder b Friends Boarding School Poems and Notes, 1852-1853
Box 5 Folder c Earlham College Printed Material and Essays, 1869-1875
Box 5 Folder e Guilford College Printed Material
Box 5 Folder f Guilford College Essays
Box 6 Folder a Religious Material: Association Proceedings, Membership List, Calendar, Program, Essays
Box 6 Folder b Religious Publications
Box 6 Folder c Essays
Box 6 Folder d Legal Documents, 1859-1894
Box 6 Folder e Tax Receipts, 1856-1879
Box 6 Folder f Receipts
Box 7 Folder a Daybook, 1830-1834
Box 7 Folder b Mill Accounts Ledger, 1838-1843
Box 8 Folder a Ledger, 1852-1856
Box 8 Folder b Daybook, 1869-1888
Box 8 Folder c National Bank of New Berne Bankbook, 1881-1882
Box 9 Folder a Account Books, 1900-1923
Box 9 Folder b Journal of Steamer HARBINGER, 1879-1894
Box 10 Internal Revenue Assessment Book, 1868-1882
Box 11 Folder a Photographs
Box 11 Folder b Belvidere Observer,1886, 1904
Box 11 Folder c Advertising Cards, 1890-1893
Box 11 Folder d Invitations
Box 11 Folder e Clippings
Box 11 Folder f Miscellaneous