Papers (1767-1976) of three generations of Beaufort County, NC, lawyers named William B. Rodman, including correspondence, letterpress books, speeches, financial records, legal files, farm records, clippings, printed material, newspapers, photographs, genealogical material and miscellaneous. Originally from New York, the Rodmans married into the prominent Blount family in Beaufort County, NC. The Rodmans also held local and state government offices and were judges.
William Wanton Rodman, a New York merchant, moved to Washington, N.C., in 1810 where he developed various business interests. He subsequently married Polly Ann Blount, daughter of the wealthy and influential merchant John Gray Blount. John Gray Blount and his brothers, William A., Reading, Thomas, Sharpe, Willis, and Jacob, controlled vast tracts of land in North Carolina and Tennessee and became one of the wealthiest landholding families in nineteenth century America.
The eldest son of William Wanton Rodman and Polly Blount was William Blount Rodman (1817-1893). The younger Rodman graduated from the University of North Carolina and studied law under William Gaston. He became a renowned and successful attorney who helped revise the state's legal code in 1854. He served as a Democratic elector for John Breckinridge in 1860 and as a Confederate elector for Jefferson Davis in 1861. During the Civil War he commanded Confederate troops at New Bern, N.C., and Mechanicsville, Va., and subsequently became a military judge for the Army of Northern Virginia. After the war he resumed the practice of law in Washington and, as an Independent, supported the Republican Party in North Carolina. At the Constitutional Convention of 1868 he was a leading figure in drafting legal and judicial portions of that document and subsequently was responsible for passage of a state law to prevent forced collection of debts owed by citizens of the state. In 1868 he was appointed as associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, a post he held until 1878.
The eldest son of Rodman and his wife Camilla Dudley Holliday Croom was William Blount Rodman II (1862-1946). Rodman II attended the University of North Carolina, managed the family farms, became active in the National Guard, and, like his father, became a prominent attorney. Rodman served as mayor of Washington (1891-1894), chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party Congressional Committee (1890-1904), chairman of the Beaufort County Democratic Executive Committee (1898-1904), and a member of the Democratic Party State Executive Committee (1892-1904). As a National Guard officer he rose in rank to colonel of the First North Carolina Regiment. In 1903 he was appointed by the General Assembly to a committee to codify state laws.
Rodman was attorney for the Old Dominion Steamship Company, the Norfolk Southern Railroad, and the John L. Roper Lumber Company. He became division counsel for the Norfolk Southern Railroad in Charlotte (1905-1911), general solicitor for the company in Norfolk (1911-1920), and general counsel (1920-1943) until the railroad went into receivership.
William Blount Rodman III [Jr.] (1889-1976) was born in Washington, N.C., to Rodman II and Adelaide Fulford Rodman. After graduating from the University of North Carolina (1910), he was admitted to the N.C. Bar (1911) and joined the law firm of Small, McLean, Bragaw, and Rodman. He served as a Naval officer during World War I, became mayor of Washington (1919-1920), and was elected to the state Senate (1937-1939). He was president of the N.C. Bar Association (1941), chairman of the Beaufort County Draft Board (1941-1945), member of the N.C. Medical Care Commission (1945-1950), and representative from Beaufort County in the N.C. General Assembly (1950-1955). He served as state attorney general during 1955 and associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court (1956-1965). For additional biographical information on the Blounts and Rodmans see William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Samuel A. Ashe, Biographical History of North Carolina, and North Carolina Manual, 1965.
The scope and complexity of the collection necessitates groupings or divisions of material that complement or overlap each other. Included is (1) a small but highly significant group of papers by various members of the Blount family, followed by correspondence, financial records, and legal files of (2) William Wanton Rodman, (3) William Blount Rodman I, (4) Camilla C. Rodman— William B. Rodman I, (5) Mary Blount Rodman, (6) William Blount Rodman II, and (7) William Blount Rodman III. These are followed by (8) records of Urwald farm, (9) genealogical materials, and (10) ledger books and other financial records of various members of the family. It should be kept in mind that even within the major divisions of the collection there may be overlapping due to the complex nature of the files.
Blount Family Papers
Correspondence (1783-1885) in the Blount segment of the William Blount Rodman Papers pertains primarily to the business and financial interests of John Gray Blount and other members of the family. Ships, shipping, and naval stores receive much attention as do land transactions. Letters concern speculative enterprises in which John Gray Blount and other entrepreneurs were involved, including the capture of the LIBERTY by the brig EDWARD (Nov. 1783).
Letters from Governor Richard Caswell concern shipment of personal merchandise through Blount (1784), arrangement of details for his gubernatorial installation (April 1785), the state debt to Martinique, and efforts to raise funds for settling the debt (1785, 1789). Caswell discusses the relative healthiness of Kinston (Sept. 1785), his support of Willie Jones for appointment to the constitutional convention (Mar. 1787), the failure of naval officers to submit annual returns (April 1787), Indian treaties, and the purchase of barter goods for treaty negotiation (Aug. 1785). A letter from Winston Caswell, son of Governor Caswell, concerns his father's estate and the western land interest of Caswell and others (May 1795).
Much of the correspondence from William Blount, governor of the Tennessee territory and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Southern Department, concerns Indian treaties. Blount represents the views and interests of North Carolina and Tennessee landholders and comments on the progress of treaty negotiations with various tribes; concern for possible negative effects of generous boundary terms on land prices and development; fears of Indian sovereignty concessions; and his belief that barter goods would ensure favorable terms for North Carolina and Tennessee. Letters report a rumor that Spaniards were attempting to array the Indians against the United States. He discusses prices, goods, and the large profits on goods sold to Indians; land speculation activities of himself and other prominent individuals, including William Polk and Richard Caswell (Oct. 1785); speculation on the disposition of public lands as a means of populating Nashville, Tennessee; and rumored intentions to establish Bourbon County on the Mississippi despite the likelihood of Spanish opposition.
Of major significance is correspondence (1787-1805) pertaining to efforts of John Gray Blount to operate a post office and stage routes between Washington and New Bern. Letters from Ebenezer Hazard comment on the postal service and the necessity of replacing the postmaster Blackledge. William A. Blount also comments (1787-1788) on the mail and stage routes, dangers of rerouting the mails, and the need for lightweight stages.
Other comments by William Blount include rumors of commercial advantages offered by the Spanish representative for the abandonment of U.S. claims to Mississippi River navigation rights (Nov. 1785); opinions of William Polk (Oct. 1785); rumors of paper money problems and court closings in Camden and Charleston, South Carolina (Sept. 1785); and the ownership by William Campbell and others of lots in Wilmington, N.C.
Other Blount letters comment on the Philadelphia Association (1787); Tom Blount's romantic activities (1788) and his attendance at Warren Academy [?] (undated); the N.C. constitutional ratification convention (1789); Indian affairs in Georgia (1789); brickyard operation (1817); and land dealings in Orange and Hyde counties, on the Cape Fear, and in Tennessee. A letter (1813) from Tennessee Governor Willie Blount comments on a British raid on Ocracoke and Portsmouth, attempted British provocation of a slave uprising, pro-British views held by Massachusetts Tories, possible U.S. suppression of the Creek Indians, and British encroachments on American sovereignty.
Patsy Baker Blount letters concern financial affairs, genealogical information, and social gossip about Washington, N.C. Her Civil War correspondence comments on clothes and hair styles (Oct. 1863), the fall of Vicksburg, death of Colonel Isaac Avery, rumored capture of 40,000 Yankees, and speculation on the safety of Raleigh. Lucy Olivia Grimes (wife of Bryan Grimes) letters (ca. 1850) mention rumors of Negro insurrections, clothing styles, and a description of Old Point, Va.
Other Blount family records of interest include land records (1744-1854, undated) and legal records (1787-1819, undated) including a copy of a trade agreement (Mar. 16, 1787) between N.C. congressional delegates William Blount and Benjamin Hawkins and Constable, Rucker and Company, concerning tobacco. A late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century scrapbook contains mathematics rules and examples, over which clippings have been sewn or pasted. Clippings include poetry; an account of a drowning; temperance topics; remedies for various ills, especially hydrophobia, cancer, and whooping cough; textile weaving at the Vermont State Prison (June 1818); and a partial account of the capture of the USS WASP by the POICTIERS (Nov. 9, 1812). Also of interest is a notebook (ca. 1755) containing legal precedents, rules and reference notes, and a hand-illustrated miniature one-page newsletter prepared by John Gray Blount.
William Wanton Rodman Papers
William Wanton Rodman letters (1811-1828) are limited in number and are primarily concerned with business and financial matters. Included are commentaries on a proposed shipping firm in Washington, N.C.; difficult economic times in New York; steamboat construction; stage travel from Suffolk to Norfolk, Va., and to Edenton, N.C.; the future of Washington; a white lead business venture; Rodman's candidacy for clerk of court; and the attempted detainment of the ship GEORGE WASHINGTON due to legal claims. Also included are poems commemorating the birth of a son and the death of twin sons.
William Blount Rodman I Papers
William Blount Rodman I files (1825-1893, undated) span a diverse multitude of topics. This segment of the collection is divided into general correspondence (1825-1893), business correspondence (1845-1887), legal correspondence (1843-1892), legal records (1715, 1739, 1808-1899), and miscellaneous files. It should be kept in mind that considerable overlapping is necessary for each division and that correspondence between Rodman and his wife Camilla constitutes a separate major subdivision. Prominent themes include business-legal-financial activities and interests, politics, land-related law practice, secession, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the N.C. Supreme Court, on which he served from 1868 until 1878 Letters throughout concern Rodman land and business enterprises, especially those related to timber.
Although the earliest general correspondence (1825) comments on Saratoga Springs as a health spa, a significant segment deals with his education at the University of North Carolina (1834-1837) and as a law student of Judge William Gaston (1837-1838). Letters contain numerous comments about the University and the Chapel Hill area, university life and affairs, studies, and academic standing. Rodman describes the dismissal of a student, reforms of university trustees, the study of N.C. history, Governor David L. Swain and professors William Hooper and Elisha Mitchell. He also comments on the proprietor of the University hotel, a camp meeting in the Chapel Hill area, and his study of law under William Gaston. Other comments for this period concern an alleged abolitionist plot in Raleigh, the fear of insurrection by western North Carolinians, and the development of the Episcopal school in Raleigh.
Antebellum correspondence (1845-1860) covers a wide range of political, legal, business, and personal activities. These include legal cases involving Major William Clark; property questions for New Bern, Hyde County, Warrenton, and other localities; schooling at Sedgwick Female Seminary in Raleigh; a surgeon's appointment at the Marine Hospital at Portsmouth; life at Fort Moore, N.Y.; and the sale of Negroes with their names and prices. Political-legal discussions reflect George Badger's views on points of law; codification of state laws; illness and expected death of Supreme Court Justice Federick Nash (1858); a slave case involving Governor John Branch; the location of right-of-way for the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad and an investigation of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad; the gubernatorial election of 1860 between John W. Ellis and John Pool; and the ad valorem taxation controversy that developed during that campaign.
The Civil War constitutes a major topic of concern in the general correspondence as it is discussed and reported on from a wide variety of approaches. Commentaries pertaining to life in N.C. and on the homefront concern the attitude of the people toward the war and the South, fears of slaves that they would be sold, abolition, the election of pro-Confederate officials, pro-Union sentiment, the peace movement in Beaufort County and elsewhere in the state, indifference of citizens to invasion, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, congressional redistricting in the state, incompetence and corruption in state government, increased tax levies, price of coffee and other commodities, the relative safety of Greensboro and piedmont N.C., and the hardship and general destitution of life on the homefront. Individuals highlighted for discussion include William Woods Holden, Duncan McRae, General D. H. Hill, Governor Henry Toole Clark, Thomas Sparrow, John Stanly, Judge Richmond Pearson, Governor Zebulon B. Vance, and Bartholomew Figures Moore.
Military topics reflect efforts to raise troops and to clothe them; the danger of Union invasion; the burning of Judge Richard C. Donnell's plantation by federal troops; military activities at Hatteras, Elizabeth City, and Washington, N.C.; unreliability of the militia; construction of breastworks between Wilmington and New Bern; problems of the Quartermaster Corps; and the necessity for a military draft. Units particularly highlighted include the Fourth N.C. Regiment, Fifty-Fifth N.C. Regiment, Forty-Fourth N.C. Regiment, Fortieth N.C. Artillery, and Baker's Cavalry. Out-of-state commentary concerns moves against Washington, D.C., and Newport News, Va.; the government of Maryland; secession of the West from the East; reorganization of the Confederate Quartermaster Department; and the operation of Confederate military courts. Letters concerning public finances include commentary on counterfeiting, rates for state money, tax-in-kind, and N.C. bonds. For additional Civil War commentary see the William B. Rodman-Camilla Holliday Croom Rodman correspondence.
General correspondence (1865-1878) illustrates the frenetic political pace and state of flux characterizing the postwar period in North Carolina and the nation. Commentaries on economic problems, state politics, Reconstruction, court reform, and other issues of the day abound throughout the letter.
For the 1865-1867 period, letters concern political disabilities, prospects for general amnesty, and efforts to receive a presidential pardon. Included are commentaries on Northern political vengeance, the necessity of reorganizing the government and social institutions of the South, disfranchisement, confiscation, Negro suffrage, the lack of adequate labor and the destruction of the labor system, high wages required by the Freedmen's Bureau, emigration of Negroes from the state, widespread crop failures, and consequent destitution. Major topics include fear of racial amalgamation, the demoralization of whites, the Freedmen's Bureau, and widespead reports on imminent black insurrection. Numerous letters comment on such N.C. political figures as W. W. Holden, Sion Rogers, Zebulon Vance, Daniel R. Goodloe, and David Heaton.
Correspondence (1868-1871) is concerned with politics, the 1868 Constitutional Convention, Negro rights, the court system, and the N.C. Supreme Court. Specific references have to do with the formation of Seymour Clubs, existence of the black Loyal League in Washington, popularity of the Republican Party, the Fourteenth Amendment, the ironclad oath, the Ku Klux Klan, the Clingman-Turner brawl, efforts of moderates to control Republicans, efforts at racial harmony in Goldsboro, immigration of a Washington black to Liberia, efforts to attract immigrants to N.C., and the railroad special tax bond scandal. Correspondents include Daniel Russell, Thomas Sparrow, John Pool, Joseph Carter Abbott, and David Heaton.
Letters dealing with constitutional and court reform are numerous and provide indepth insight into efforts to devise a code of civil procedures, election of judges, drafting of legislation for the state penal codes, organization of superior courts in the state, unjust estate laws, efforts to strengthen stay laws and bankruptcy laws, crowding of dockets with Negroes, the struggle for federal judgeships, and efforts by Rodman to limit jurisdiction of the courts. Major participants in these discussions include Victor Clay Barringer, W. H. Bailey, Albion W. Tourgee, Thomas Sparrow, and Rufus Barringer.
Letters dealing directly with Rodman's tenure on the Supreme Court (1868-1878) contain comments concerning other justices on the court and their families, organization of the court, hearing of the University Railroad case, efforts to impeach Chief Justice Richmond Pearson and remove other judges, the railroad fraud commission investigation, the Chattanooga Railroad case, W. W. Holden's view of the court, the awarding of a printing contract to Josiah Turner, and efforts of Rodman to win a seat at the 1875 Constitutional Convention.
Miscellaneous commentaries for the period deal with Reconstruction in Virginia, the future of the N.C. Railroad, the future of the University of North Carolina, and the development of an agricultural college. Of particular note are letters concerning American and European immigration to eastern N.C., fears of prospective immigrants, availability of land, and the organization of the N.C. Immigration Association. Also of interest is correspondence from Victor C. Barringer written from Egypt outlining the organization, function, and procedures of the International Court. He also comments on life and customs in Egypt, impressions of the native population and dress codes; work on the U.S. Code Revision Committee; and the Belknap scandal in Congress.
Business correspondence (1845-1887) illustrates the professional interests of a wealthy, successful Southern planter and lawyer. Many of his financial transactions are with Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York commission merchants, banking houses, or cotton commission merchants. Much of the business correspondence is from the firm of Poole and Hunt, George Page and Company of Baltimore, O. Pacalin, Banking House of Soutter and Company, R. M. Blackwell and Company, and T. M. Robinson and Company.
An equal proportion of business correspondence concerns the landholding and land interests of W. B. Rodman and the Rodman family, consisting of several thousand acres of eastern North Carolina lands. Letters reflect disputes and litigation over boundaries, the drainage of swamps and the upkeep of canals, and subsequent land sales or offers to buy or sell. Many of the land-related letters are inquiries from prospective immigrants concerning Rodman lands advertised in the Southern Cultivator. Commentaries concern efforts to attract newcomers, influx of foreigners into the Greensboro area, and reluctance of immigrants to settle in areas of large black population. A significant amount of correspondence pertains to the management and disposition of lands controlled by the North Carolina Literary Board. Other letters reflect the sale of lands for Rodman by the North Carolina Land Company.
Closely related to the land interests are letters reflecting Rodman's financial and professional interests in lumbering. These are concerned with timbering, staves, and shingling operations; lumbering equipment; and the shipping, buying, and selling of timber.
Rodman's agricultural interests are reflected in the business correspondence. Letters concern cotton-packing presses (1853-1885), crops (especially cassada, rice, corn, and fruits) grown in Liberia (1854), Rodman's search for and employment of an overseer (1853-1858), and a report from Rodman's Fork Farm by the overseer. Other agricultural correspondence concerns the purchase of agricultural implements and equipment (1856-1857); acquisition of an Ayrshire bull and cows (1857, 1870); negotiations for a vineyard keeper (1858); operation of a nursery near Greensboro (1868); problems with Bleak House farm near Greensboro and the local agricultural economy (1865-1869); prices of plows, fertilizer, and cotton seed (1869-1870); the use of shell for fertilizer (1873); the prospect of shipping tobacco to Germany (1878); and possible congressional restrictions on tobacco. Numerous antebellum letters pertain to the hiring of slaves (1846-1857), high prices for Negro labor in Portsmouth (1853), and the condition of Northern laborers (1857).
Other business letters concern the prospective formation of a wholesale jobbing business (1854); negotiations for the purchase of the CAROLINE HOLMES (1854); the selection of officers for a bank (1857); underwriting of bonds by the Banking House of Soutter and Company (1869); sales of North Carolina Railroad bonds (1874); brickmaking (1873); prospect of an insurance company branch office in North Carolina (1858); and a possible General Assembly appropriation for a turnpike (1869).
Social and political comments of note in the business letters concern discord in Kansas (1857), political disabilities, Negro suffrage, the Republican Party, stay laws (1869), chicanery in government, widespread crop failure, a sale of land for taxes, and county representation by blacks (1874).
Legal correspondence (1843-1892) concerns debt collections and compromises, cases in bankruptcy, administration and settlement of estates, and a wide range of law-related topics. Communications from attorneys across the state comprise a significant portion of the letters. The most lucrative claim collections for the Rodman law office were for New York, Baltimore, or Philadelphia banking houses, collection agencies, mercantile associations, and commission merchants such as George Page and Company; Poole and Hunt; Heath and Myers; Foley and Brothers; Fairthorne and Rand; Kirkland, Wylie, and Company; and a host of others.
Much of the legal correspondence pertains to land: titles and deeds, boundary litigation, timber transactions and litigation, speculative enterprises, and the division of lands in estate settlements. Included are discussions of speculation in a land improvement company (1856), disputes over a swamp drainage bond for Flat Swamp in Pitt County (1858), the failure of lumbering operations (1853-1857, 1867), the purchase and sales of land for Northern investors, the Southern Land Company (Daniel Sickles, president), and efforts to attract immigrants and organize a North Carolina bureau of immigration.
Legal correspondence dealing with business and financial matters comprises an important aspect of the Rodman legal files. Letters comment on the conveyance of the brig MARCELLUS in Wilmington (1856); litigation involving the brig RUSSELL (1854); legal interests of the Branch Bank of the Cape Fear (1856-1858); turpentine manufacture in Darien, Georgia (1859); salt manufacturing efforts in Confederate Wilmington (1867); and the lack of profits in the legal profession (1867). Other comments of interest concern the precarious financial condition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad (1867), difficulties of the times, scarcity of money, and financial hardships.
Political comments of interest in the legal files concern a canvass in Greene County, North Carolina, (1856); the attack of Preston Brooks on Charles Sumner (1856); the defeat of the Know-Nothing Party (1856); secession; and speculation that New York will not support the North (1860). Reconstruction material concerns backruptcy and the protection of debtors; the difficulty of debt collections and recovery; general postwar poverty; speculation on the results of a crop failure; confiscation; miscegenation; scarcity of money; alteration of the courts under the North Carolina code revision (1869); and the homestead and stay laws. Bartholomew F. Moore comments on "ultra radicalism" prevalent in North Carolina and the constitutional convention of 1868 (1867), and a Harnett County citizen seeks clarification of portions of the Howard Amendment (1868).
A variety of other topics are reflected in the legal correspondence. Agricultural correspondence (1867-1868) documents widespread crop failures. Slave-related correspondence concerns the hiring and sale of slaves (1857), the suicide of a slave being transported over the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad (1856-1857), and an estate settlement involving slaves (1857). Also included are letters concerning bounties due members of the First Regiment, North Carolina Union Volunteers (1867), legal concerns surrounding the rental of a woman's property by her husband (April 27, 1867), the estate and law library of Judge Richard S. Donnell (1867), and birth and death dates of Latham family members in eastern North Carolina (1878).
Legal briefs of note concern divorce (Gaylord vs. Gaylord, 1857-1858); hire of slaves (McCullough vs. Hodge, ca. 1862); ferries and toll bridges (Washington Toll Bridge Company vs. Beaufort County, 1875-1891); injury to livestock (McDonald vs. the Old Dominion Steamship Company, 1878); and cemeteries (Saint Peter's Protestant Episcopal Church vs. the town of Washington, North Carolina, 1890).
Legal records are filed by county. Beaufort County records include legal instruments; writs; summonses; land and slave deeds; an application (1863) to transport provisions; an order (1867) for the establishment of a ferry; and estates records for the Latham family (1828), William Morton (1842-1846), Elisha Prichitt (1845), Oscar Baily (1860), the Tayloe family (1866), John R. Davis (1830-1845), Ludowick Reddick (1839-1846), the Donnell family, and Gray Gudkins. Similar but fewer items pertain to Carteret, Currituck, Craven, Edgecombe, Greene, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Pitt, and Washington counties. Among the Pitt County records of interest are State vs. Dawson (1879) and State vs. Cox (1880) murder cases. Briefs lacking county identification include a will of Theophilus Slaughter (1850); notes pertaining to the William Mayo family (ca. 1866); will of Joseph H. Laughinghouse (ca 1863); petition of the Briley family (1867); will of Sarah Brickell (1852); notes concerning the Robins family (1866); will of Benjamin Pollard (1877); and notes concerning the Hodges family (1866). Estates records include material for the John S. Peed family (1853) and a will and related estates papers of Benjamin M. Selby (1856).
A trial docket lists cases for Beaufort County courts (1860-1867). Miscellaneous legal records include Rodman's notebook on court decisions and an undated manuscript concerning adverse possession of land.
Circular letters in the Rodman papers include congressional legislation for French Spoliation claims (Feb. 22, 1854); a tract (undated), "Why Is It?" from the American Colonization Society; and a circular letter (Aug. 20, 1868) from farmers of Warren County resolves their support for an immigration society in North Carolina.
Broadsides concern the gubernatorial campaign of 1860 and ad valorem taxation; Civil War desertion and Zebulon Vance; a response from Thomas Sparrow to an allegation of encouragement for Rodman to seek a convention seat (1875); a position paper by Rodman as an Independent Party candidate to the constitutional convention of 1875; Edward R. Stanly's commentary on the proposed consolidation of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and the North Carolina Railroad; an attack on Rodman's role in the constitutional convention of 1868; argument for the merger of the North Carolina and Atlantic and North Carolina Railroads (undated); and an argument for the alteration of constitutional electoral qualifications by the legislature (1875).
Other Rodman I records include Fork Farm records (1867-1880); financial records (1857-1879, undated), including a statement of monies relating to shingle manufacture (1867-1868); land records (1841-1890); personal legal papers, including a list of slaves of Thomas H. Blount (1845); wills of Liberian immigrants Hull and Cherry Anderson with births of members of the Anderson family of Liberia; and slave records (1843-1859, undated).
Miscellaneous files contain speeches including a Reconstruction era speech (Oct., 1865) of General C. C. Andrews, "Suffrage the Armor of Liberty" ; a William Rodman speech to the constitutional convention of 1868 outlining his conversion from secession Democrat to Republican Party supporter; a speech to the N.C. House (1870) presenting recommendations of the Committee to Devise a Code of Civil Procedures; a printed editorial announcing Rodman's willingness to attend the constitutional convention of 1875; and a speech by Rodman (1875) sharply criticizing Vance, urging the ratification of the constitution, and defending the Republican Party (1868).
Pamphlets include a report of the treasurer to the General Assembly (1846); a report of the chief engineer of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad (1855); a public finances excerpt from the N.C. Statist (1858); a pamphlet of Warren Winslow concerning the Code Commission (June 1860); Ad Valorem; or Equal Taxation (1860); Resolutions and Address of the Wake County Workingmen's Association (1859); and Ad Valorem Taxation as proposed in N. Carolina, The Facts and Figures. By an Eastern Whig (1860) by William B. Rodman.
Other pamphlets pertain to the North Carolina militia law, 1861; the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury (1863); claims against the United States (1867); an advertising circular concerning commercial manures (1868); a speech of W. N. H. Smith on the trial and impeachment of W. W. Holden (ca. 1871); a speech of John T. Gilmore delivered before the North Carolina Senate (1859); and a University of North Carolina Commencement address (1859) by Professor William Hooper.
Additional pamphlets include: General order No. 49 from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office (June 1864); Speech of C. C. Pool of Pasquotank County on the Question of Suffrage and the Eligibility to Office (1868); The Policy of Congress in Reference to the Restoration of the Union.... An Act to Provide for the More Efficient Government of the Rebel States (1867); Oratory: An Oration by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher (1876); Governor Caldwell's Message (1871); Speech of A. S. Merrimon on the Currency (1874); Amendments to the Constitution of North Carolina, Proposed (1875); In Memoriam; Theodore Benedict Lyman... Bishop of North Carolina (1894); Inaugural Address of Governor Daniel G. Fowle... (1889); Register of the Members of the Philanthropic Society,... 1795; Address Delivered by the Hon. Edwin Godwin Reade... (1884); Lawrence O'Brian Branch (1884); Life and Character of Hon. William A. Graham (1876); Early Times in Raleigh, (1876) by David L. Swain; and Address Delivered before the Two Literary Societies of the University of North Carolina (1850).
Agricultural publications include issues of The American Farmer (1855, 1870), The Southern Cultivator (1858, 1860), the American Agriculturist (1870), and Hostetter's Illustrated U.S. Almanac (1880).
Miscellaneous items of interest include a statement (Nov. 23, 1861) of expenditures for Rodman's Confederate military company; a U.S. Treasury form (1864), "Certificate of Purchase," and a U.S. "Affidavit for Family Supplies," (1864) both of which are probably from Washington or New Bern under Federal control. Pencil sketches of William B. Rodman include William Blount Rodman II as a boy at "Bleak House," Greensboro (1865), a sketch of a dog made in Petersburg, Virginia (Mar. 1865), sketches of black jurors in Pitt County (1866), and a sketch of Asa Biggs (1866).
Camilla C. Rodman-William B. Rodman Papers
Correspondence (1859-1883, undated) of Camilla Holliday Croom Rodman (Mrs. William B. Rodman I), formerly of Greensboro, Ala., includes a letter from a former slave seeking financial assistance (1867) and letters from a relative in Alabama. He writes in 1874 about business failures, difficulties in farming, and the emigration of labor, and in 1883 about the burning of his gin house and the near-lynching of a Negro suspect, the severe drought, and the burning of other gin houses.
Some of the most significant correspondence consists of letters between Rodman and his wife, which span the period just before the Civil War until 1881. The letters contain innumerable comments on persons and activities in and around the Beaufort County and Washington, North Carolina, area. Letters throughout the period until 1865 pertain to slavery. The purchase and hiring of slaves in North Carolina, Mrs. Rodman's slaves in Alabama, and the hiring of slaves in Richmond during the War are prominent topics. Rodman regularly instructs his wife in the care, discipline, and employment of their slaves. Correspondence during the War reflects Rodman's apprehensions that their slaves might leave to join the Federal forces. Other comments pertain to Tarboro during the War and the possibility of acquiring the Tarboro Southerner.
Comments concern Shocco Springs in Warren County as a resort area (1859). Hotels are a topic of interest. Rodman describes a Beaufort, [S.C.?], hotel (1859); prices of hotels in Morehead City (1870); social life in Raleigh hotels (1871); the National Hotel in Raleigh (1871); reports of a "magnificent" hotel to be constructed in Raleigh (1872); and Raleigh hotel life in general (1874, 1878).
Rodman regularly advises and instructs his wife in the management of the plantation and finances. The letters provide insight into the manifold facets of plantation life and work, and the immensely important role played by Southern women in the management of domestic and plantation affairs. He often seeks advice from his wife concerning speculation on land, coffee, bonds, and finances. After the invasion and occupation of New Bern and Washington, the Rodman family moved inland to Greensboro. Rodman sends weekly instructions on the management of financial and business matters; advice on which crops to grow for greatest profit and how to cope in the face of economic decline and collapse; advice on speculative agricultural produce sales in Richmond during the seige in 1864; and advice on how to prevent the capture or departure of their slaves.
Numerous letters pertain to Rodman's military activities as quartermaster for Branch's Brigade and later as military judge in Richmond. Correspondence in 1862 concerns the occupation of Washington and life and defense efforts at Swan Point. Much speculation concerns federal movements in Beaufort County and surrounding areas. Correspondence in 1864 also concerns military activity in eastern North Carolina and speculates on the presence of ten thousand Confederate soldiers in Goldsboro, capture of Negroes at New Bern, capture of Plymouth, the battle of Washington and its burning, possible establishment of a Confederate hospital and prison depot in Greensboro, Federal activities in Beaufort County, the withdrawal of Thomas Sparrow's troops, enlistment of Negroes in the Confederate army, comments on Fort Gilmer, ordering of Hoke's Division to Wilmington, the dangerous position of forts on the Cape Fear, and the possibility of attacks on Plymouth.
A major focus of the wartime letters is the Richmond-Petersburg environs between 1863 and 1865. The correspondence contains myriad details concerning skirmishes, battles, troop movements, and speculation on the development of military events. Letters recount a day-by-day description of life in Richmond and Petersburg during the battles and seige. Rodman regularly reports the prices of goods and the high cost of living and speculates on the decline or increase in price and demand of many commodities. Other commentaries on Richmond concern social activities, difficulty of procuring supplies, a ladies "Starvation Club" (1863), a conversation with President Jefferson Davis (1863), and the refusal of the Richmond postmaster to hire women clerks due to their innate curiosity (1864).
Discussion of military matters concerns skirmishes and general military activity in and around Richmond and Petersburg. Rumors of military activity, fears of being overrun, and speculation on the consequences of Northern subjugation are prominent topics. Rodman discusses military activity around Gordonsville, Virginia; the battle of Chickamauga and the difficulty in dislodging Rosecrans (Sept. 1863); the consequences of the defeat of Bragg (Nov. 1863); skirmishes near Mechanicsville (1864); Grant's strategy and movements; and the necessity of evacuating Richmond (Feb. 1865). General military discussion includes the rigor of discipline in the Confederate army, leaves of absence, General Humphrey Marshall, and optimism concerning the military situation of the South.
Sherman's march through the South receives much comment. Rodman's letters mark the progress of the invaders through Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina in 1864 and 1865. He discusses the Southern naval debacle in Mobile (August 1864); efforts to block Sherman's progress; preparations for the Federal forays into North Carolina; the susceptibility of Charlotte, N.C., to attack; and Sherman's army at Columbia, S.C. (1865).
Other wartime topics include the substitute law and the need for the draft (1863, 1865); congressional action concerning currency, treasury notes, and Confederate taxes (Feb. 1864); effort of the Secretary of the Treasury to raise finances (Feb. 1864); the peace movement (1864-1865); possibility of French intervention (Mar. 1865); and the perseverance and charity of Virginians (Nov. 1863; June 1864). Political comments of interest include the uncertainty of politics during the period and a lack of talent for the Confederate Congress (Nov. 1863) and concern such individuals as John Gilmer, Duncan McRae, James Leach, [Archibald H.?] Arrington, Josiah Turner, James G. Ramsay, William Lander (Nov. 1863), D. M. Carter, John Stanly, Alexander R. Boteler, and Zebulon Vance.
Correspondence between Rodman and his wife during the Reconstruction era is rich in commentary on the 1868 Constitutional Convention, judicial activities, state political officials, and life in Raleigh. Topics of particular interest include a speech by Governor Zebulon Vance, convention officials, General E. R. S. Canby and his visit to the General Assembly, development of the legislative code, efforts of General Milton Littlefield to "buy" legislators in Florida and N.C., stealing by Republican officeholders, the trial of George Swepson and Milton Littlefield, and the flight of Swepson from the state.
Other commentaries concern a speaking trip to Chapel Hill, women's rights (vote, education, etc.), a women's suffrage lecture in Raleigh, operation of a skating rink in Raleigh, the ambition of Rodman to become a federal judge, the gubernatorial campaign of Tod R. Caldwell, Rodman's view of other Supreme Court justices and their wives, and various state political controversies.
For the 1875-1878 period, discussion centers on Rodman's efforts to be elected to the 1875 convention, campaign controversies, a fight on a Raleigh street between General Bryan Grimes and David M. Carter, death of a man at the hands of George Swepson (1876), funeral of Chief Justice Richmond Pearson, efforts of Daniel Fowle to receive a seat on the Supreme Court, and admission of a female lawyer to the N.C. Bar (1878). General topics concern farm matters, local gossip, land speculation, Republican and Democratic politicians, and members of the Supreme Court. Included with these letters are campaign addresses made by Rodman in Edgecombe County and Washington.
Mary Blount Rodman Papers
The Mary Marcia Blount Rodman (1837-1906, undated) letters contain interesting commentary on social life and activity in eastern North Carolina and Beaufort County. Included are descriptions of a two-day coming-out party (Aug. 1843), balls, marriages, parties, clothing styles, and matters of health. Letters during 1847 and 1848 pertain to participation in the Mexican War, specifically the battle of Monterey, "Arista's Palace," and rich homes in which soldiers were quartered. Letters pertaining to education comment on the relative merit of a classical education and of natural science (Nov. 1848) and the operation of an industrial girls' school in New Jersey (June 1854). Civil War letters discuss acquiring cannon for the Confederacy, military activity, construction of defenses, the Confederate army, and damage to the naval yard at Norfolk (April 1861). Other Civil War letters describe a skirmish at Blount's Creek Bridge in Beaufort County (April 1863); the General Military Hospital in Wilson (Mar. 1864); parish ministers leaving for the war (ca. 1861); and the taking of Hatteras (ca. 1862).
Other letters of interest pertain to growing house and garden plants (1876-1877); Burlington, N.C., and its hotel (undated); travel in stagecoaches (undated); and a duel (undated). D. M. Carter comments on Francis Lister Hawks (undated).
William Blount Rodman II Papers
The papers of William B. Rodman II are divided into series that tend to complement and overlap materials in other series. Included is General Correspondence (1880-1933), Legal Files, State Guard Correspondence (1890-1904), Political Correspondence (1888-1911), Mayoral Correspondence (1891-1905), Personal Files (1868-1941) and Letterpress Books (1894-1904). While general correspondence is by far the largest and most comprehensive section of the Rodman II papers, the other series should not be overlooked. The letterpress books in particular should be kept in mind as they contain Rodman's responses to the letters in the other six series.
General Correspondence(1880-1933) of the William Blount Rodman II Papers concerns land, lumber, and debt collections. The correspondence revolves around the eastern North Carolina land interests of the Rodman family. Originally the lands were part of the John Gray Blount and John Hall patents. Rodman actively attempted to develop the lands, and correspondence throughout the papers reflects his efforts. Rodman applied his legal talents to protect the holdings in order to maintain control by the Rodman family and to prevent encroachments by squatters or timber poachers. Early correspondence concerns Hyde County lands and other eastern North Carolina lands of the Borden heirs which involved the interests of many parties. Civil suits involving land disputes receive much attention. Speculative investment in land comprises another major topic. Inquiries from prospective Northern or foreign investors and from readers of agricultural journals in which Rodman advertised the sale of lands occur throughout the papers as do intermediary negotiations on behalf of investors. Numerous letters reflect the relationship between Rodman and the North Carolina Board of Education, which acquired a large tract of the lands for taxes from the heirs of David Allison. Rodman became attorney for the Board in 1902 and supervised the survey and sale of the lands.
Correspondence pertains to such North Carolina land development companies as the Pender and Onslow Land and Improvement Company, the Newbern Land Company, the Southern Land and Immigration Company, the Carolina Land and Improvement Company, the Washington Investment Company, and the Beaufort Land Company. Land disputes, litigation, and surveys comprise a major topic of discussion. Civil suits of persons, corporations, railroads, and lumber companies pertain to land. Numerous letters concern the rental of land; sale of lands for clients; and surveys of lands in relation to civil suits, deed proving, estates settlement, and sales.
Closely related to the land question are topics pertaining to lumbering in eastern North Carolina. Correspondence concerns the purchase and sales of land; rental of timber lands; leases, contracts, agreements, and options concerning lumber tracts and timber; purchase, sales and transportation of lumber; interest of investors in the State Board of Education lands and the sales of these lands for timber; and the development of swamplands for timber production. Much of the correspondence concerns Rodman's legal representation of lumber companies in suits involving debt collections and timber litigation.
A major portion of the Rodman land and timber-related correspondence concerns the giant Roper Lumber Company of Norfolk, Va., for whom Rodman served as legal counsel. Other correspondence concerns negotiations of the Roper company with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which ultimately acquired the Roper company as a major subsidiary. Prominent lumber companies corresponding with Rodman include the Beaufort Lumber Company, the A. B. Covington Company, Springer Lumber Company, the Allegheny Lumber Company, Roanoke Railroad and Lumber Company, Greenleaf Johnson Lumber Company, Eureka Lumber Company, and the E. M. Short Lumber Company.
Another related topic involves immigration into North Carolina. Letters concern the N.C. Department of Immigration, the Southern Information Bureau, and the Southern Immigration Land and Title Company. Letters discuss attempts to attract Northern immigrants to North Carolina lands, inquiries of prospective immigrants and developers, and the advertisement of Rodman lands in agricultural journals in an effort to attract immigrants (1880-1910).
Railroad operations comprise a significant portion of the correspondence. Letters pertain to the development or projected development of the Washington and Vandemere Railroad by the E. M. Short Lumber Company and the Eureka Lumber Company (1904-1908); the Jamesville and Washington Railroad and Lumber Company (1892); the Burgaw and Onslow Railroad (1889-1891) by the Pender and Onslow Land Improvement Company; the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad (1902); the Raleigh and Eastern North Carolina Railroad (1903); the Raleigh and Pamlico Sound Railroad (1903); the Pamlico Railroad (1904); the Carolina Coast Railroad (1905-1906); and the Mattamuskeet Railroad (1908-1910). Other letters concern the Deep Creek and Susquehanna Railroad (1890); the selling of the Eastern Carolina and Onslow Railroad to the Atlantic Coastline Railroad (Feb. 1894); the use of convict labor for railroad building (Nov., Dec. 1895; Aug. 1910); a lease of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad (Dec. 1896); the projected extension of a railroad to Hyde County and eventually to a navigable water port (Sept. 1898); condemnation of railroad lands through Pitt County (April 1899); and lease of Rodman's land by the Washington and Plymouth Railroad Company (1902).
Much of the correspondence concerns the Norfolk Southern Railroad (later the Southern Railway) for whom Rodman served as local counsel in Washington, N.C., Division Counsel in Charlotte (1904), and General Counsel in Norfolk (1911). Letters throughout pertain to railroad law and litigation, claims for and against railroads, leasing of property by the Norfolk Southern, freight and passenger rates and the railroad freight war, railroad passes, and the administration of the Norfolk Southern legal department by Rodman.
A major portion of the Rodman legal correspondence concerns debt collections by collection houses and commission merchants. Correspondence relates to debt settlement, judgments, and claims. Correspondence throughout reflects Rodman's collection efforts for New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia firms such as Joseph Louchheimer; D. G. Foley; Snow, Church, and Company; George Williar and Son; Merchants' Protective Credit Bureau; the United States Law and Collection Agency; Shriver-Bartlett, and Company; and the United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company.
Insurance forms another significant topic in the papers. Correspondence throughout the collection reflects Rodman's representation of insurance firms, especially the Life Insurance Company of Virginia, the Mutual Life of New York, Phoenix Life, New York Life, Mutual Benefit, North Carolina Home Insurance Company, and the State Life Insurance Company. Topics of interest include insurance stock, corporation charters, claims for and against insurance companies, contested claims and insurance fraud, and hiring of agents.
Other subjects include Rodman's legal representation of the Old Dominion Steamship Company (1889-1904); oyster and shellfish laws; and the Shellfish Commission (1891-1905). Correspondence concerning French spoliation claims relate to attempts to obtain reparation of losses in shipping sustained by John Gray and Thomas Blount during the era of the War of 1812 (1888-1901). Other letters concern Rodman's participation with Nathan Y. Gulley and Thomas B. Womack in the revision of the code of civil procedures, a committee appointed by the legislature (1901-1907).
Agriculture, especially as it relates to cotton, comprises an important topic of discussion. Correspondence throughout the papers pertains to the sale of Rodman's cotton by the commission firms of George Rountree and Company and Savage and Sons. Letters (1893-1902) reflect market conditions, agricultural interests of Rodman, agricultural equipment, beef cattle, fertilizer transportation charges, hog breeding at Biltmore Farms, and the sale of agricultural products from the N.C. State Prison farm. Other letters (1902-1907) concern the inoculation of cattle for tick fever; Angus cattle; formation of the North Carolina Stock Breeders' Association; livestock breeding; cotton-oil mill insurance; the Cotton Growers' Association; and railroad freight rates relating thereto.
Letters throughout the papers concern education in North Carolina. Letters pertain to experiences and life in the University of North Carolina Law School (1891, 1899), efforts to diminish legislative aid to the University (1906), a University organization known as "Gorgon's Head" (1904), the A.T.O. building at U.N.C. (1909), University faculty pay formulation (1910), and needs of the University (1911). Other letters concern the Washington Graded School and its textbooks (1895-1901), and incident at North Carolina State University (1904), Oak Ridge Institute (1904-1906), Warrenton High School (1905), Elizabeth College (1906, 1910), and women's education (1909).
Numerous letters are concerned with a variety of political issues. Included are threat letters from a white supremacy organization (1891) and commentaries on Zebulon Vance, Matt Ransom, and the silver issue (1893). Other topics concern western North Carolina circuit courts and local politics (1897); congressional and judicial candidacy of George H. Brown (1894, 1902); prohibition in Leechville and Charlotte (1901, 1906); possible racial segregation on steamboats (1901); the efforts of John N. Small to establish U.S. district and circuit courts in Washington, N.C. (1904); Samuel J. Ervin, Sr., on the "Morganton War" (1905); and the financial difficulties precipitated by the pursuit of politics (1909). Several letters (1902) concern a lynching in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Letters during the Spanish-American War period comment on war fever and military activities in Washington, N.C., the effect of war on prices, speculation on the duration of the war, and failure of Rodman to obtain active duty for his national guard regiment. Later letters (1905) pertain to the appointment of a law firm, Manly and Hendren, to collect evidence for war service remuneration.
Business and commercial topics include Rodman's speculative interest in the Grimm Brown Stone and Improvement Company (1892-1893); a legal case involving dry kilns (1896-1898); telephone company stock (1899); and contractual bids for the installation of Pamlico and Beaufort Telephone Company lines (1900, 1903). Letters pertain to the prospective establishment of a rush-matting manufacturing concern in eastern North Carolina (1902-1903); advantages of locating a bank in Plymouth, N.C. (1898); the location for a sawmill and bagging plant (1898); foreign corporations doing business in North Carolina (1899); stock in the Carolina Telephone Company (1899); and subscriptions of stock for a cotton factory (1900).
Correspondence concerning Charlotte, N.C., to which the Rodman family relocated in 1904, discusses the formation of a committee to investigate the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (1905); the effectiveness of temperance legislation in Charlotte (1906); membership in the Greater Charlotte Club (1906-1910); an appropriation to the U.S. Assay office in Charlotte (1906); a loan for the Charlotte Trust and Realty Company (1908); revision of the Charlotte corporate charter (1909); and a loan for the Southern Manufacturers' Club (1909-1911).
A group of legal files, closely related to Rodman's business interests, are arranged in alphabetical order. Topics include a patent application (1899) for Carolina Gas and Chemical Company to develop a wood distilling apparatus; S. R. Fowle & Son timber sale records (1901-1004); D. B. Clarks vs. Landon Moore, which contains descriptions of Civil War fortifications around Washington, N.C.; and W. T. Farrow vs. W. R. Dowty (1887), which deals with warehouses on Castle Island. Other legal files involve buggy works, patent infringements, Roper Lumber Company, land and timber controversies, and the contamination of Washington's water supply (1912).
A separate correspondence file reflects the operation (1890-1904) of the North Carolina State Guard in which Rodman II was active. Major topics of interest concern internal problems of the Guard; reorganization efforts (1892); opposition to independent units (Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry); summer encampments at Wrightsville Beach (1892), Ocracoke (1894), Morehead City (1899), Wilmington (1901), and elsewhere; efforts to attract the annual encampment to coincide with the State Fair in Raleigh (1896); attendance at the McKinley inaugural in Washington, D.C. (1897); proposed involvement in the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition; problems of local Guard units; and need for Guard companies due to racial concerns.
The coming of the Spanish-American War is vividly detailed in the Guard files. Letters describe war preparation, opposition to the war among Guardsmen, the impact of call-up on local communities, criticism of the Republican governor for handling the troop call-up, organization of the N.C. volunteer force, and reorganization of Guard regiments.
Post war Guard correspondence pertains to railroad interests in summer encampments; political appointments for Guard hierarchy; inauguration of Governor Charles B. Aycock; problems of procurring uniforms, armament and band equipment; and details of planning for troop movement.
A fairly small file of political correspondence (1888-1911, undated) complements the political references in the general correspondence series. Included are discussions of political speeches and schedules in Washington County (1888); local and regional politics throughout eastern North Carolina; concern over political activities of N.C. Farmers' Alliance (1890); concern over a congressional election contest between W. A. B. Branch and Harry Skinner (1890); white supremacy activities in Greene County (1890); and the election campaign in the First Congressional District (1890). For 1892 topics pertain to prospective Democratic candidates for president, governor, and congress; defection of Harry Skinner from the Democratic Party; issues facing the Democratic Party; political philosophy of W. A. B. Branch; sponsorship by Young Men's Democratic Club of Rocky Mount of visit by Adlai E. Stevenson; and election strategy and voting projections. Correspondence (1893-1899) concerns patronage; fusion activities; impact of oyster controversy in Pasquotank County; black opposition to Harry Skinner and the Republican-Populist fusion; campaigns against Skinner; school taxation issue; Rodman's views of politics during the 1880s and 1890s; plan of Furnifold M. Simmons to create white supremacy organizations throughout North Carolina; and support for Charles B. Aycock for governor. Legislative issues pertain to the oyster law, railroad legislation, a graded school bill, and a board of school directors.
Political issues (1900-1909) reflect the candidacy of Aycock for governor; the white supremacy amendment and F. M. Simmons' efforts to organize the campaign; local political maneuvering in Craven, Jones, Beaufort, and surrounding counties; harassment of blacks and schemes for disfranchisement; Simmons' campaign for U.S. Senate seat; N.C. Supreme Court contests, particularly of George H. Brown and Walter Clark; interest of Robert B. Glenn in U.S. Senate and N.C. gubernatorial elections; and campaigns for federal judiciary and N.C. courts. Other topics pertain to the shellfish commission; political appointments; school textbook controversy; local school committee appointments; appointments to the Corporation Commission; service by Rodman on the Code Commission; opposition to corporation representatives being excluded from political activities; and candidacy of Patrick Henry Winston for professorship at U.N.C.
The mayoral papers of Rodman II as mayor of Washington (1891-1895) constitute a separate series. Correspondence pertains to town property, street construction, public utilities, and town indebtedness. Other topics concern construction by architect C. E. Hartge of public buildings in Plymouth, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount; purchase of a town clock; and the controversial performance of English Swell Company at Brown's Opera House.
Personal correspondence(1868-1909) is primarily from friends and relatives and reflects summer vacations at Morehead City (1868), Panacea Springs (1896) and Waynesville; dislike for Weldon (1877); medical schooling at Bellevue Medical College in New York (1891-1893, undated); and life at U.N.C.-Chapel Hill (1895-1899, 1901), and at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1899-1900). Letters from U.N.C. discuss tuition, entertainment, sports, fraternities, faculty, and the law school; whereas, the West Point letters describe life of a cadet, trips to New York City, and the operation of the Academy.
Other personal Rodman II papers include deeds, financial accounts, mortgages, contracts and powers of attorney involving various members of the Rodman family. Of particular interest are estate papers (1913) of M. M. B. Rodman; plat maps for lands on the Pamlico River; plats and legal records pertaining to disputed timber lands of John Gray Blount in Beaufort and surrounding counties; patent book for Blount lands between Adams Creek and North River in Carteret County; financial accounts of Aurora Land Company (1898); and contractual details for plumbing installation in the Rodman home in Charlotte (1905). Also included are two manuscript biographies (1883, 1910) of William Blount; and "Address to the Colored Voters of North Carolina...." (1899); "Government by Judges" by Walter Clark (1914); "The Right of Women to Make a Living," by Walter Clark; and "The Ruins of Washington" by Rev. John S. Long.
Of major significance to the papers of William Blount Rodman II are a series of thirty-eight letterpress books covering the period from 1894 to 1904. These volumes contain on onionskin paper copies of the outgoing correspondence of Rodman and provide the responses by Rodman to the letters described previously. Although some are barely legible, they are extremely valuable as they complete the political, business, legal, and personal picture of Rodman's involvement in public life. Generally all of the volumes in the series reflect the Rodman agricultural operations and their dealings in land and timber. Politics likewise is a constant theme as Rodman as Democratic Party chairman for the First Congressional District planned election strategy for Democratic candidates and attempted to combat Republican and Populist fusionist campaigns. Other topics found throughout pertain to the State Guard and Blount landholdings. Some general topics gathered from a superficial inspection of the volumes are as follows:
William Blount Rodman III
The papers of Rodman III are divided into several series that overlap and complement each other. These series consist of general correspondence (1907-1976), judicial files (1945), family correspondence (1868-1975), Naval Militia and Coast Guard Auxiliary files (1912-1945), family financial records (1896-1971), legislative files (1953), the Rodman law firms' records (1790-1973), Urwald Plantation records (1853-1976), genealogy, Rodman/Blount land records, pamphlets, photographs, ledger books, and old newspapers. While the general correspondence is the largest series, much information overlaps several series. Materials belonging to earlier segments of the papers include Rodman II legal files, Rodman I and Rodman II agricultural correspondence and Urwald farm records, and Rodman I and Rodman II financial records.
Much of the early correspondence is from Rodman II to his son or to others concerning family lands and boundaries. Improvements to their holdings (1912), timber sales (1912-1970s), and taxation of their property (1912-1913) are all discussed. Later correspondence between Rodman III and his relatives is concerned with mining leases at Urwald farm and other family properties (1956-1960). Family timber sales (1912-1971) are noted and reflect transactions with Morris Spruill Lumber Co. (1928-1929), Weyerhauser (1960s), and the N.C. Pulp Co. (1950s). Indications of stumpage are included for the 1960s and 1970s. Timber purchase and sale and the activities of the various lumber companies in Beaufort County and in eastern North Carolina are discussed as topics in the legal files. These include the Roper Lumber Co. (1911-1915), Pine Lumber Co., and Morris Spruill (1926). The Rodman law firms' series also includes deeds and abstracts for the Blades Lumber Co. (1900s) and the State Department of Education (1892-1908), provides information on a lawsuit between the Interstate Cooperage Corporation and the Bayboro Lumber Co. (1910-1915), and includes Eureka Lumber Co. land purchases (1914-1917), Roanoke Railroad and Lumber Co. cases (1913-1916), and Roper Lumber Co. cases (1913-1917). The E. M. Short Lumber Co. (1903-1905), for which Rodman II was treasurer, is documented. Ledgers for this company reflect mill and railroad expenses (1897-1905). State Board of Education reports (1889-1890) list property owned, while reports for 1883 and 1887 are concerned with swamp lands. A State Board of Education volume notes land and timber holdings of the state agency (1892-1899). A ledger from the Brown and Rumley Lumber Co. contains bylaws and minutes (1895, 1897, 1899).
Agricultural topics are reflected mainly in a series of correspondence, payroll sheets, daily logs, and ledgers pertaining to the family farm, Urwald, which was located near Pinetown in central Beaufort County. Correspondence is predominantly from the farm overseers. Civil War era correspondence reflects the difficulty of getting workers and tools, notes the need to pay wages in food rather than in money (1862), and records the difficulty of getting feed for the hogs (1863). Post war correspondence deals with crops, including cotton, oats, hay, potatoes, apples, corn, tobacco, rice, and onions; reports of crop damage from pests and a storm are also mentioned (1899). Information concerning livestock, including diseases in animals, involves horses, cattle, chickens, and hogs. Construction of ditches, canals, outbuildings, and tenant houses are noted. A daily record of tenant work is often included for the years after 1890. With the turn of the century, discussion focuses on machinery, plows, and different breeds of sheep and cattle. In 1903, Rodman II corresponded with the N.C. Department of Agriculture about the state exhibits at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. Farm expenses and futures markets are discussed (1910) and the building (1919) of a prize house in Washington for tobacco is mentioned. Rodman describes his farming plans to his son (1921) and turns over the management of the farm to him at that time. Correspondence for the late 1920s reflects Rodman III's purchase of milk cows and his focus on dairy production. There is interesting correspondence in 1931 about the receivership and possible bankruptcy of the Carolina Creamery, a company with which Rodman III dealt and also in which he owned stock. That same year, Urwald was cited for a violation of Washington town ordinances concerned with milk delivery.
Farm financial records include an Urwald account book (1875-1887) which also concerns Brady's Pocosin. Payroll reports (1857-1932) list cash advances and wages. Daily reports (1924-1932) include hours worked, rate/hour, and the activity. This report also records the weather. A ledger for 1847-1859 includes expenses for Fork Farm and the construction and running of a steam mill. An 1851 daybook lists farm expenses for Brady's Pocosin and Fork Farm (Beaufort Co., N.C.[?]). Other ledgers list Urwald inventory, supplies, sales, and shipment of produce (1917); record labor, crops, feed, stock value, and payroll deductions (1919-1922); and reflect expenses (1928-1929), receipts and disbursements, timber sales, tenant accounts, and crop rotation (1943-1951). A description of Rodman lands notes Urwald land and tenant holdings.
Rodman III also dealt with agriculture politically. In 1941 he commented on black land farms in the coastal area and was generally concerned with agricultural problems in the eastern counties during his terms in the state House (1951). Fishing was a major interest both personally and environmentally. He looked into salt mullet problems (1954), stream sanitation (1960), and improvements in the Rodman's Creek area (1961). Relief from Hurricane Hazel is discussed with Governor Hodges in 1954.
Politics is a major topic of discussion and information is included on the Cameron Morrison gubernatorial and John Small congressional campaigns of 1920, the change in the Washington, N.C., city administration (1929), political unsteadiness in N.C. and in the nation during the Depression (1933), Democratic Party rallies in Roper, N.C. (1938), and the alcoholic beverage control controversy in the state (1939). Correspondence with Lindsay Warren (1943) concerns the rumor of a feud they were supposed to be having. The organization of the Democratic Party in Beaufort County, the R. Gregg Cherry gubernatorial campaign (1944), party plans and campaigns in 1947-1948, the Rodman III candidacy for state House, politics in Washington and Tyrrell counties, state Supreme Court elections (1950), the Alton A. Lennon U.S. Senate campaign (1954), and the 1972 Jesse Helms U.S. Senate election are also mentioned. An early ledger (1891-1898) lists campaign expenses for 1896 and 1898. A small series of legislative files (1953) documents Rodman III's activities in the state House where he was active in budget committees.
Washington, N.C., is a recurrent topic of discussion as is Beaufort County and to a lesser extent, the towns of Chocowinity and Bath. Rodman III was mayor of Washington from 1919-1920 and his correspondence for those years details such improvements as paving, meat and milk inspection, privies and sewer systems (1919), and the use of waterfront property for a water tower (1920). An interesting correspondence between white and black members of the city's Interracial Committee concerns recommendations about the use of the "colored" cemetery by convicts and requests that the cemetery be policed and put in order (1920). Extending corporate limits was a proposal in 1920 as was paving again in 1921 along with the connection of sewers, and paving reassessments in 1923. A historical sketch of the city of Washington by Lida T. Rodman is also found in this collection. There are tax collectors' notebooks (1885-1889, 1891) that list land sold for taxes by township, "colored" taxpayers in Washington, delinquent taxpayers, and taxes in Long Acre (1886-1887). Other volumes contain abstracts of deeds and trace ownership of lots in the city. References to Bath include a souvenir calendar for the 200th Anniversary of the town and correspondence pertaining to construction of a Bath bridge (1921), the Bath Commission (1955), and a history of the town (1968). Drainage districts are mentioned beginning with a survey of the wetlands in Richmond township (1911), Broad Creek (1964), and Pungo Creek (1912, 1970). Other correspondence discusses the absence of a tax collector for the town of Chocowinity (1912-1913).
Education is a concern throughout the collection. Correspondence pertains to family scholarships and trusts to the various universities (1928, 1945, 1953-1954, 1959, 1962), state support of higher education (1931), the election of H. Hugh Harris to the Executive Committee of the N.C. State University Board of Trustees (1951), and the necessity for building funds to meet the growth needs of East Carolina University (1951-1954). Legislative files document a correspondence with E.C.U.'s President J. D. Messick concerning E.C.U.'s request for building appropriations, funding for colleges and universities, and the effect of bond issues on the college. High school dropout rates are discussed in 1961. Education pamphlets are both political and legal in nature and are concerned with public school law (1955), a report from the N.C. Advisory Committee on Education (1956), a report on the Pearsall Plan (1954), drafts of educational legislation and a proposed amendment to the state constitution implementing acts relating to public education (1956). An address by Governor Luther Hodges (1956) is concerned with education and the problems of desegregation.
Segregation as an issue is reflected in several series. As a member of the state House (1953), Rodman discussed segregation at the University of North Carolina and was involved with briefs on segregation in the public schools. From his position as state Attorney General, Rodman dealt with this problem in the public school system, in amendments to the school enrollment law (1955) and also with problems concerning the enrollment and assignment of children to the public schools. Materials of Rodman as an Associate Justice of the state Supreme Court include petitions, appeals, statistics on black/white ratios in the counties, and a report on restrictions on Negro voting by the N.C. Civil Rights Advisory Committee (1962). Occasional correspondence with W. H. S. Burgwyn and others (1955) notes some of the difficulties involved in desegregation.
As lawyers and jurists the Rodmans were consistently interested in the legal system. Early family ledgers contain a docket of cases (1859), a digest of laws with reports of the N.C. Supreme Court (1867) and case listings for that court (1872-1873). A summons docket and civil issue docket for cases in Beaufort County are also included (1904). Rodman II's legal files are generally involved with land, including transfer, sale and title, debts, mortgages, bankruptcy and lawsuits. Lumber companies are prominent participants in these activities. Rodman III's section of this series covers the years 1910-1919 when he was associated with the firms of Small, McLean, and Bragaw; Wiley C. Rodman, and Small, McLean, Bragaw, and Rodman. Rodman III discusses the rules for the Middle District Court (1939) and a commission to study conditions in existing judicial districts (1942). He comments on a constitutional amendment to eliminate the rotation of judges (1943), and as a member of the state House he is concerned with a report from the N.C. Bar Association on the method of appointing judges (1954). Correspondence from Associate Justice Susie Sharp (1965-1976) mentions activities of the court after he had retired. Pamphlets include a discussion of the legal status of women (1914), a History of the Superior and Supreme Courts of North Carolina by Chief Justice Walter Clark (1919), the Assembly Sketch Book (1883), a memorial to Associate Justice George Hubbard Brown (1927), and addresses by Walter Clark (1897, 1914).
War is a recurring topic. The Civil War is reflected mainly through ledger notations and publications. A clipping scrapbook (1861) includes war news. A ledger (1845-1846, 1863) lists soldiers administered the oath of allegiance for the Confederacy between October and December, 1863. Publications include a copy of Confederate Reveille (Memorial Edition, 1898), Carolina and the Southern Cross (October 1913), a sketch of Rodman I's service to the Confederacy by L. T. Rodman, a publication on Stonewall Jackson, information about pensions for Confederate soldiers, the Confederate Handbook (1900), and Lee at Lexington (1935).
World War I is partially reflected in a letter from Rodman II to his son (1918) about the effects of the war. The main source of information, however, is the series on the Naval Militia (1913-1920) in which Rodman III was active. Appropriations from Washington, N.C., orders, supplies, adjustment of property accounts, cruises aboard the USS KEARSARGE (1915) and the USS ELFREDA (1915, 1917), and duty aboard the USS MISSOURI (1917) are noted. A diary (1917) details submarine duty activities while on maneuvers. Navigation course notes, payrolls, expenditures, and personnel lists add information. Publications include Naval Militia registers (1914-1917) and a roster and cruise of the USS RHODE ISLAND (1912).
World War II is reflected in the section of Coast Guard Auxiliary papers (1931-1945) with lists of flotilla officers, members, and private boats owned as well as the October 1943 issue of Ahoy, the Coast Guard Auxiliary publication. Lindsay Warren (1944) refers to Japanese labor camps and an occasional mention is made of Rodman III's activity on the Beaufort County Draft Board.
The liquor question surfaces when Rodman II encourages his son to stay away from the defense of liquor men and talks about the place of law and order in society (1912). It later comes up as a political question (1937) on the advent of Rodman III's term in the state Senate and again in 1942 with a proposal for wine control legislation and the ensuing taxes from it.
The economy is never a specific topic but references are made to it throughout all of the correspondence. Discussions of family land purchases, rents in Washington, and tax assessments all refer to it indirectly. Rodman II refers to economic conditions in North Carolina and the lack of direction by the politicians and Rodman III responds with news of bank closings and the state of the family businesses (1933).
Some genealogical information concerning the Harvey and Holliday families is noted in Lida T. Rodman's correspondence, although most of the genealogical information is found in a separate series and is concerned directly with the Blount, Croom, Rodman, Farnell, Nelson, and Royster families.
Associated Rodman business interests are noted in the family financial records and in the ledger series. Records of Hub Hardware (1921-1937), Harris Hardware (1933-1943), and Voliva Hardware (1935) as well as a daybook for the Gazette Messenger Publishing Company (1904), minutes and treasurer's accounts for the Beaufort and Pamlico Telephone Company (1896), and a cash book and ledger for the Old Lime Company (1905-1908) are all included.
Information about railroads is noted particularly in the Rodman III correspondence with references to the activities of the Norfolk Southern Railroad (1912-1943). Particular mention is made when the railroad went into receivership and Rodman II resigned as counsel and special master (1943). There are a number of railroad cases in the law firm files, many of them having to do with lumber companies as has been noted previously. A shipping book for the Albemarle and Pantigo (Pantego) Railroad (1890-1891) is also included. The annual meeting and reports of the officers of the North Carolina Railroad are included for 1874.
An early law case documents an endowment by the Protestant Episcopal Church of a college in the eastern diocese (1890-1900) and a journal of the tenth annual council (1893) reports on progress to date. A pamphlet on the 200th anniversary of St. Paul's Episcopal Parish in Edenton in 1910 concerns religious topics.
Oversize items are mainly land grants, deeds, and surveys, including a deed from former Governor Thomas Cory (1715); lists (1778, 1783, and 1787) of Jacob Blount's taxable inventory; a blank postal contract and unsigned letter (1787) from Postmaster General Ebenezer Hazard; extensive land maps for Beaufort, Washington, and Hyde counties; an extract (1855) of Lincoln, Jones, Swan, and Co.; a section (1894) of Beaufort County for the Roanoke Railroad and Lumber Company; a court survey (undated) of land involved in the Interstate Cooperage vs. Bayboro Lumber Company case; and several surveys in Pamlico County.
A 1909 calendar for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill includes photographs of the campus and students. Other photographs show the restoration of Tryon Palace (1954), members of the Rodman family, street scenes in Washington, N.C., and areas in Beaufort County.
Gift of the children of Judge William B. Rodman, Jr.
Gift of Mrs. George H. Curtis, Jr.
Gift of Mrs. George E. Lawrence
Gift of Mr. Edward N. Rodman
Gift of Mrs. Adelaide C. Snyder
Gift of Mrs. Edith Rodman
Gift of George and Jeanie Lawrence
Gift of Penelope B. Rodman
Processed by D. Lawson; M. York; M Boccaccio, 1989
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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