Moses Turnage Papers

1824-1918, undated
Manuscript Collection #684
Turnage, Moses
Physical description
0.22 Cubic Feet, 345 items, consisting of correspondence, financial records, legal materials, clippings and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Moses Turnage Papers (#684), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1824-1918, undated) including correspondence, financial records, legal materials, clippings, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Moses Turnage (1827-1891) was born in Farmville, N.C. He married Emily Tyson in 1851 and together they had four children. Living primarily in the area of Marlboro, he was appointed overseer of a road in Pitt County in 1859. During the Civil War, he enlisted in 1863 and served as a private in Company 11, 75th Regiment, N.C. State Troops. In 1876 he was elected mayor of Marlboro and also received a license to retail "small measure" of spirituous liquors at his place of business in that town.

Scope and arrangement

While most of the correspondence (1851-1888, 1918) is financial in nature, one early letter from a sister [Martha?] relates the good health of the family and that of another sister, June, who is a teacher and has a school. Limited Civil War correspondence contains orders (1864) for a squad of men and approval of Moses Turnage's transfer from 1st to 2nd Class Home Guards, 30th Battalion, because of physical disability (1865). Correspondence (1874) from W. R. Parker asks the town of Marlboro to pay his lawyer expenses in the Starkey case, while an 1876 letter notified Turnage of his election as mayor of Marlboro.

Financial correspondence reflects Turnage's trade with commission merchants, grocers and wholesalers in liquors from Farmville to New York, especially Baltimore and Norfolk. One merchant in Norfolk, VA, writes that steamers are nearly always available for transporting goods (1872). Correspondence from 1873 notes that business is dull, prospects are gloomy, and the price of pork has risen. Turnage unsuccessfully applied for credit from a New York firm in 1876, a year in which the price of flour was reported to beup. In 1918, a correspondent in Greenville, N.C., asks for help curing tobacco; the reply from Bath, NC, notes that labor is scarce.

Legal materials (1824-1879) include an account to the judge of the Court of Equity in Lenoir County, NC, concerning Joseph Bruton's will and the distribution of his property (1824); accounts (1845-1847) of Bennet Briley, guardian to Moses Turnage, which include amounts for tuition, taxes, and slaves; Turnage's appointment as overseer of a Pitt County road (1855); estate settlement accounts for James Brown (deceased) of Greene County (1859, 1861); the will of Stephen Eagles Milburn of Edgecombe County (1866); and licenses to retail spirituous and malt liquors (1876, 1879) in Marlboro, N.C.

Miscellaneous materials include a handbill for the Greenville Male and Female Academy, with S. D. Bagley as principal, listing session dates for 1878-1879, vacations, costs, and courses offered; a pass (1863) to go in and out of Greenville; medical bills (1855-1856, 1875-1878); recipes for briarberries and dye for cloth; a cure for a bloody nose; poems and essays; a list of slave births (1832-1842); and commission merchant agricultural price circulars (1868, 1876). Clippings (undated) include an article on the oppression of Southern Negroes by taxation on tobacco and snuff, and a remedy for smallpox.

A file of tax receipts (1847-1913) also includes tax-in-kind receipts (1863-1864) for Moses Turnage, and tax receipts for California, Farmville, Greenville and Falkland townships (1870-1898).

Financial materials (1833-1912) include bills, receipts, and promissory notes for a variety of items of an agricultural nature. Of interest are notes for the hire of Negroes (late 1850s), a bill (1865) from Moses Turnage for salt pork and bacon purchases ordered by General Johnston, and receipts and bills for tuition and books spanning the years from 1833 through the 1870s. Numerous bills pertain to the retail liquor business (1870s) and such Greenville dry goods and clothing stores as Heilbroner and Lang (1875-1876), Alfred Forbes (1875, 1878, 1883), and Max Stern (1871, 1877). The receipts (1870s) also document the use of the steamers NEW BERNE, RICHMOND, PAMLICO, and RALEIGH by the Old Dominion Steamship Co. and the use of the steamer COTTON PLANT and the schooner MARY LOUISA.

The oversize folder contains a speech, Reform for Independent Voters, Issues of the Day, by Hon. George W. Julian of Indiana (1876).

Administrative information
Custodial History

September 6, 1993, 345 items; Papers of Pitt County, N.C., family, including correspondence, bills of lading, financial accounts, summonses and other legal papers, tax records, broadside, and miscellany. Gift of Mr. Les Turnage, Greenville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Les Turnage

Processing information

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
Turnage, Moses, 1827-1891
African American agricultural laborers--North Carolina--Pitt County
Agriculture--North Carolina--Greenville
Families--North Carolina--Pitt County
Mayors--North Carolina--Marlboro
Merchants--North Carolina--Pitt County
Slave records--North Carolina--Pitt County
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865