William H. Worth Papers

1867-1869, 1885
Manuscript Collection #286
Worth, William Henry, b. 1839
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 3 items, 1 volume , letterpress book and financial records.
Preferred Citation
William H. Worth Papers (#286), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1867-1869, 1885) of Quaker, who refused to serve in Civil War and who became a tax assessor and farmer near Kinston, NC, and state business agent and treasurer for the NC Farmers' Alliance, 1894-1900, consisting of letterpress book, financial records, Republican party politics, security notes and press, store account.

Biographical/historical information

William Henry Worth (1839-19), the son of Hiran C. Worth, was born in Guilford County, N.C. He was a faithful member of the Society of Friends and was educated at New Garden Boarding School (Guilford College). As a Quaker, he refused to participate in the Civil War, and in 1864 he left North Carolina to live in Indiana and Ohio. Returning to North Carolina in December, 1865, he was appointed assistant tax assessor the following month. Worth served as tax assessor for the 3rd District from 1866 to 1869. Subsequently he owned a farm near Kinston in Lenoir County for nineteen years and in 1889 became state business agent for the N.C. Farmers' Alliance. As a Populist, Worth was elected state treasurer in 1894, a post he held for six years.

Scope and arrangement

The sixty-five pages of correspondence in Worth's letterpress book are devoted almost entirely to business activities while living in Fayetteville between 1867 and 1869. Worth apparently served as a commission merchant or wholesaler for the sale of fruit trees, wine, pork, and other products. Correspondence pertaining to the shipment of these products involves firms in New Garden (Greensboro), Company Shops (Burlington, Wilmington, and Baltimore, Maryland).

Several letters are written to Quaker publishers pertaining to the purchase of Friends' Review, The Neighbor, and other Quaker publications.

Perhaps of greatest interest are a series of letters pertaining to Republication Party politics and the office of tax assessor. Worth corresponded with O. H. Dockery, Robert P. Dick, John Pool, Benjamin S. Hedrick, and other Republican officials (December, 1868-June, 1869) in an effort to salvage his position as assessor. He reviews his own background as a faithful Republican, refers to the jailing of Uncle Daniel Worth in 1859 for holding pro-Republican views, comments on patronage practices, and criticizes William W. Holden for his pre-Civil War activities. One letter contains a detailed criticism of the character and career of James Sinclair who had been nominated to replace Worth as assessor. Worth contends that he was removed as assessor due to his support of Daniel Goodloe rather than W. W. Holden. Typed transcripts of all letters are included with the collection.

Miscellaneous material in the collection includes a security note for a cotton gin and press (1867), a general store account (1868), and a receipt (1885). These items appear to be unrelated to William H. Worth.

Administrative information
Custodial History

July 1, 1975, 1 volume and 3 items; A letterpress book (1867-1869) and financial records (1867, 1885). Deposited by Miss Kay Holland Sugg, Kinston, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Miss Kay Holland Sugg

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon, July 1975

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
Worth, William Henry, 1839-
Corporate Names
North Carolina Farmers' Alliance
Republican Party (N.C.)--Party work
Society of Friends--North Carolina
Agriculture--North Carolina--Lenoir County
Quakers--North Carolina
Tax assessment--North Carolina