Braswell Family Papers

Manuscript Collection #477
Braswell family
Physical description
0.65 Cubic Feet, 220 items , consisting of correspondence, minute book, time book, ledger, photographs, genealogy, and miscellaneous. Includes oversized material.
Preferred Citation
Braswell Family Papers (#477), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access to audiovisual and digital media is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Papers (1859-1936) including correspondence, minute book, time book, ledger, photographs, genealogy, letters on symptoms and treatment of disease, and miscellaneous.

Scope and arrangement

Personal correspondence among members of the Braswell and Cutchin families, who were related through marriage, constitutes the bulk of this collection. Archelaus Braswell, Sr., married Margaret Anne Sylvester Cutchin in 1848. Their son, Archelaus Braswell, Jr., married his cousin Mary E. Cutchin around 1894. The majority of the correspondence centers around Archelaus Braswell, Jr., and Mary E. Cutchin and their friends and relatives.

Although the bulk of the correspondence is of a personal nature among family and friends, there are several letters of interest to researchers studying women's history. One letter (June 16, 1875) describes the unsuccessful attempts of the Grange in southwestern Georgia to recruit women for membership. This same letter contains a woman's opinion on female participation in organizational leadership positions. Other letters describe a practical joke in which a woman poses as a man (May 26, 1875), and the ostracizing of a white girl by her peers for expressing the opinion that blacks should have equal rights (Dec. 20, 1885).

Other letters of interest discuss the differences between living in eastern and western N.C. (Feb. 28, 1891) and a wedding gown (Oct. 15, 1878). Also described is local news in turn-of-the-century Mt. Olive, N.C., including the selling of bonds to buy land on which to erect a Graded School, the shipping of holly and mistletoe for profit, and the trucking of strawberries (May 20, 1903). Of particular interest are those letters which comment on symptoms and treatments of such diseases as typhoid (Aug. 5, 1903), diphtheria (Nov. 7, 1903), and fever (Nov. 27, 1902); and deaths resulting from apoplexy (Oct. 14, 1902) and childbirth (April 13, 1925).

Additional items of interest include letters written by Archelaus Braswell, Jr., as a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Student retaliation to a university ordinance prohibiting bicycle riding on sidewalks (March 15, 1888), campus elections (Dec. 2, 1884), a university holiday in celebration of its ninetieth anniversary (Oct. 12, 1885), and a sports assembly in the university gymnasium (Nov. 30, 1885) are discussed. Limited Civil War correspondence provides insight into the effects of war on the homefront. Expressions of fear, a longing for peace, the necessity of learning to weave cloth at home because of high prices in Bainbridge, Ga., (Jan 31, 1865), and the desolation of Wayne Co., N.C., after Sherman's attack (June 5, 1866) are mentioned.

Photographs consist of images of various identified and unidentified persons and scenes. Included are portraits of Archelaus Braswell, Sr., a young woman who was probably Virginia Braswell, and the Baptist church at Mt. Gilead, N.C. Group shots (ca. 1900) and a few portraits constitute the unidentified photographs.

A variety of other topics are covered in this collection. Speeches, compositions, and sermons constitute the writings folder. Compositions include a short story written by Jenny Cutchin (1887?) describing a search for an uncle lost during the Civil War, a resolution of respect written after the death of Jenny Cutchin (Feb. 27, 1891), and a declamation written for a high school graduation (Mar. 8, 1912). Also of importance are a manuscript by J. M Cutchin describing his service during the Civil War in Co. A., 1st N.C. Infantry Regiment and in Co. I, 17th N.C. Infantry Regiment (Jan. 16, 1915) and a manuscript attributing North Carolina's slow economic growth to a lack of immigration. A speech by J. M. Cutchin discusses tariffs and the need for monetary reforms. Various other fragments of sermons and speeches also can be found within the writings folder.

Genealogy is another important part of the collection. "Genealogy of the Bulluck and Allied Families," by W. M. Creasy (1936) contains information about the Braswell, Cutchin, Sugg, Best, Banks, Southerland, Bulluck, Routh, Cromwell, and Bryant families. Also of interest are notes on the Braswell family, newspaper clippings, and a manuscript entitled "A Record of the Braswells." Financial and legal papers include promissory bonds for a tract of land (Mar. 16, 1873; Jan. 13, 1874), a writ of arrest for a suspected thief (July 11, 1898), a handwritten will (Aug. 7, 1928), and receipts and contracts. A postcard, report card, greeting card, and fragments of papers compose miscellaneous material.

Volumes consist of a minute book, ledger, time book, a personal account book, and an elementary spelling book. Minutes from the Wrendale, N.C., Farmers' Alliance contains names of officers, new members, and brief summaries of meetings (1891-1893). Completed membership applications are enclosed within the minute book. The "Workmen's Monthly Time Book" (1898-1901), which includes names, work hours, and wages, also contains enclosures. The ledger (1871-1872) not only records monthly accounts but also has various clippings of turn-of-the-century fashions, furniture, automobiles, and household items.

One issue of the Tarboro-Southerner, January 1, 1925, constitutes the oversize material.

For related material see Cutchin Family Collection (Collection #476.1) in this repository.

Administrative information
Custodial History

September 14, 1983, 220 items; Papers (1859-1923) of the Braswell and Cutchin families of Edgecombe Co., N.C., including correspondence, photographs, minute book, time book, and a genealogy. Gift of Mrs. Audrey Thompson, Whitakers, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Audrey Thompson

Processing information

Processed by E. Scott, March 1984

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
Family Names
Braswell family
Cutchin family
Corporate Names
North Carolina Farmers' Alliance
University of North Carolina (1793-1962)--Students
Diseases--United States--History--20th century
Women--Political activity--Georgia
Women--Social life and customs--19th century
Edgecombe County (N.C.)--Genealogy
Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Mount Olive (Wayne County, N.C.)--Social life and customs--20th century
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence
Box 2 Correspondence, photographs, writings, genealogical material, financial and legal papers, miscellaneous
Box 3 Ledger, time book, minute book, spelling book, personal account book
Folder os1 Newspaper