George Rountree Papers

Manuscript Collection #140
Rountree, George, 1855-1942
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 121 items , consisting of correspondence, a physician's bill and a corporation report to stockholders.
Preferred Citation
George Rountree Papers (#140), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1921-1925) consisting of correspondence, letters, social events, annual report copies, physician's bill and corporation report to stock holders. 121 items.

Biographical/historical information

George Rountree (b. Kinston, N.C., 1855) was a Wilmington, N. C. attorney, superior court judge and state legislator. A graduate of Harvard (1877) and Judge Strong Law School, he practiced law in Wilmington from 1885 until the 1940's in partnership at various times with J. O. Carr, Louis Poisson, and Thomas W. Davis. Rountree and Carr represented the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company for a number of years. George Rountree was married to Meta Alexander Davis, daughter of George Davis, a Confederate Congressman and prominent North Carolina attorney. The Rountrees had three daughters and two sons.

George Rountree was active in the Democratic Party in North Carolina and served in the N.C. General Assembly (1899-1901). In 1899, he and William Allen, another prominent North Carolina attorney, greatly influenced drafting of the suffrage amendment proposed in the General Assembly.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence in this collection consists, for the most part, of letters written by George Rountree to his son George Jr., while the latter was attending Harvard (1921-1925). Although much of the material contained in the correspondence is personal in nature, the elder Rountree often included comments on the political, commercial, and social events of the period covered.

From a legal standpoint, he discusses a controversy raging in North Carolina in 1922 over incursions made by out-of-state Menhaden fisheries, a 1923 incident of railroad labor violence in North Carolina and a resulting murder trial, and his own complaints about the profession of railroad lawyers. He comments on the tariff question in one letter (1922) and makes reference to a letter which he wrote to Senator Furnifold M. Simmons and which he says was reprinted in part by the News and Observer (Raleigh). In another letter (1923) Rountree records quite frankly his views on democracy, aristocracy, and government in the antebellum South. Late in 1924 he discusses the loss by theDemocrats of the presidential election and comments upon the effects in the South of Charles W. Bryan's vice presidential candidacy.

A reference is made to the accommodations and atmosphere of the Sir Walter Hotel, Raleigh, North Carolina, a new structure when Rountree stayed in it in 1924. Several references are made to a legal controversy aroused when the town of Kinston, N.C., first attempted to install city water (1923).

Copies of a letter from W. N. H. Smith to George Davis and one from Governor Zebulon B. Vance to George Davis are attached to a 1923 letter. The letters involved the appointment of Davis (Rountree's father-in-law) to the North Carolina Supreme Court (1878) and his decision to decline the appointment.

The collection contains one copy of the Annual Report of King's Crosstie Company of New York (1924), which details experiments being conducted by the county in the use of "permanent" crossties. V. R. C. King, President of the company, was Rountree's son-in-law.

Administrative information
Custodial History

August 26, 1970, 127 items; Correspondence (1921-1925). Loaned by Mr. George Rountree Jr., Wilmington, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Loaned by Mr. George Rountree Jr.

Processing information

Processed by E. Matthews, May 1971

Encoded by Apex Data Services

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
Rountree, George, 1855-1942
Smith, William N. H. (William Nathan Harrell), 1812-1889--Correspondence
Vance, Zebulon Baird, 1830-1894--Correspondence
Fishes--Conservation--North Carolina
Lawyers--North Carolina--Wilmington
Presidents--United States--Election--1924
Railroads--History--20th century
Strikes and lockouts--Railroads--North Carolina
Kinston (N.C.)--History
Southern States--Politics and government--1775-1865
Southern States--Politics and government--1865-