Rev. John C. Wooten Family Papers

1858-1957, undated
Manuscript Collection #1036
Walker, Joseph T.; Wooten, John C., Rev.
Physical description
0.5 Cubic Feet, 2 boxes and 1 oversize folder, correspondence, clippings, photographs, postcards and other printed materials
Preferred Citation
Rev. John C. Wooten Family Papers (#1036), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1858-1957) of Rev. John C. Wooten including correspondence, clippings, photographs, postcards, printed materials, and ephemera dealing with the American Civil War, telegraph operations, missionary experiences in Japan, Korea, and China, twentieth-century family life, and other topics.

Biographical/historical information

Mr. Joseph T. Walker was the son of William A. and Lydia Walker, and was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was employed as a telegraph operator in North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. His employers include the American Telegraph Company, The Southern Telegraph Companies, and The Western Union Telegraph Company. During the Civil War he served as telegraph operator for the Confederate States of America, Army of Northern Virginia and Southside. Mr. Walker lived and worked in Wilmington, NC (April 1858, September – December, 1863), Fort Caswell, NC (July – August 1863), Fort Drewry, VA (April 1864 – February 1865), Enfield, NC (August 1866 – February 1867), Liberty, TX (June 1867), and Harrisburg, TX (August 1867). He died of Yellow Fever in Harrisburg, TX on August 28, 1867.

Rev. John C. Wooten was a Methodist Episcopal minister and missionary. He began his ministry in North Carolina after being transferred from California in 1905. He served as the pastor of Edenton Street Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC, and as Elder of the Durham District of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. His wife was named Lydia and they had two daughters named Alice and Julia. Rev. Wooten accompanied Bishop John C. Kilgo of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Mrs. Kilgo to Japan, Korea, and China to hold conferences for their denomination in 1917. They left in July, first traveling to Asheville, NC where they took a train to Chicago, IL, and then to San Francisco, CA. From there they took the S.S. SHINYO MARU to Japan. They were aboard the ship from July 28 to August 12, 1917. While in Japan they spent time in Yokohoma, Tokyo, Karuizawa, Kobe, Osaka, and Hiroshima. They spent about a week and a half in Seoul and Wousaw, Korea in mid-September. Next, they returned to Japan for three days before leaving for Shanghai, China. They spent the remainder of their trip in China, and returned to the United States in November, 1917.

Scope and arrangement

The papers consist of records relating to Mr. Joseph T. Walker and Rev. John C. Wooten. To our knowledge these two persons are not related, and we are unsure of the provenance in this respect. Included in this collection is correspondence between Mr. Joseph T. Walker and his sister, Alice Walker (1858 to 1867). This correspondence contains information about Mr. Walker's activities and living conditions as telegraph operator both during and after the Civil War, and general references to the Civil War. In his letter dated May 26, 1864, Mr. Walker specifically discusses events surrounding the recent Union attack on Fort Drewry and Union Major General Butler's subsequent defeat by Confederate infantry under General Beauregard. In some of the letters Mr. Walker writes out Morse Code. The key for this is found at the end of his letter dated August 12, 1863. He also writes "73" on many of his letters and envelopes. This is part of the Phillips Code developed by telegraph operators and means "My compliments" or "Best Regards." There are two telegrams from A. J. Shepherd concerning Mr. Walker's illness and death from Yellow Fever, dated August 28, 1867. There is also one letter that does not relate to Mr. Walker. It is to Harry/Henry(?) Reel from his parents, Jacob and Sarah Anne Reel, dated January 23, 1864.

Also included in the collection is correspondence between Rev. John C. Wooten and his wife, Mrs. J. C. Wooten, while Rev. Wooten was serving as a Methodist Episcopal missionary in Japan, Korea, and China from July to October of 1917. This correspondence contains information regarding Rev. Wooten's activities while in Japan, Korea, and China. There are also general observations of the Japanese (August 19, 1917) and Korean (September 21 and 30, 1917) customs and quality of life. Postcards and a pamphlet entitled, "Gain Or Loss Of A Day In Circumnavigating The Globe" are included with the letters that he wrote while aboard the SS Shinyo Maru, dated July 24 to August 12, 1917. Along with his letter dated August 24, 1917 is a "Program of Annual Meeting, Japan Mission M. E. Church, South at Karuizawa. August 24th – 30th, 1917." Three letters to Mrs. J. C. Wooten from her brother, Joe are also included in this collection (December 31, 1936; January 18, 1937; December 22, 1940). A letter to Rev. Wooten's daughter, Alice, dated August 1941 includes a copy of an article written by Rev. John C. Wooten entitled, "Carolinians on Tour of Orient." It was published in the New and Observer on September 9, 1917.

The remainder of the correspondence is written to Mrs. J. C. Wooten or Miss Alice Wooten from various individuals (June 13, 1944 – December 28, 1957), as well as a contract and receipts from Ivy Coward Building Contractor – Pest Control (1951). There is a graduation announcement for Greenville High School class of 1957, a wedding invitation, and several greeting cards. Of note are the letters from Ens./Lt. (jg.) Harold K. Taylor, Mrs. Wooten's nephew (June 13, 1944 – May 8, 1946). He writes of his duties and life in the Navy aboard the USS Phobos (AK-129). Included with his letter dated November 12, 1945 is a postcard and some Japanese money (50 sen). A newspaper clipping of "Fordham Degree Recipients" was with the letter from Charlie A. Price to Mrs. J. C. Wooten, dated August 10, 1950.

The collection also includes photographs and postcards without correspondence. Two of the photographs were removed from letters to Mrs. J. C. Wooten from Rev. J. C. Wooten. One was removed from the letter dated August 20, 1917 and is of a child. The other was removed from the letter dated August 23, 1917 and is a picture of Rev. J. C. Wooten in Japan. One photograph was removed from Lt. Harold K. Taylor's letter to Mrs. J. C. Wooten dated November 12, 1945. This photograph shows a landscape. The people in the other photographs include Jimmy Hankner, Ruth Hankner, Roy and Lewis Phibbs, and Jimmie, Ruth, and Dave Haucks. The postcards are from Davis House in Beaufort, N.C.; First M. E. Church, Church Street, Elizabeth City, N.C.; and Public Service Building, Lake Junaluska, N.C. One postcard has a picture of a female child with no description or location given.

Also included in the collection are printed materials relating to both Mr. Joseph T. Walker and Rev. J. C. Wooten. Nineteenth century materials consist of "The Great T Puzzle", and a theatre flier for Camille; Or, the Fate of a Coquette (December 12, 1865). There is a dinner menu from the SS Kasuga Maru dated October 7, 1917; a copy of The Book of our Lord with three small pieces of paper with handwritten notes; and a War Ration Book issued to Mrs. Lydia Wooten during World War II. Also in this collection are four pieces of printed stationery paper and three printed envelopes gotten by Rev. Wooten while in Japan. All of these contain polychrome images of plants, birds, dragonflies, and irises. One picture shows figures in small boats, a body of water, with a mountain in the background. There are also five empty envelopes addressed to Rev. and/or Mrs. Wooten.

The oversized material is a copy of The Daily Herald, Vol. IV, NO. 281 from Wilmington, N.C., dated Thursday Evening, February 18, 1858. This newspaper has a wedding announcement for Mr. Samuel G. Northrop to Miss Matilda Walker on page two. Miss Matilda Walker was Mr. Joseph T. Walker's sister.

Administrative information
Custodial History

April 27, 2005 0.50 cubic feet; Papers (1865-1987, undated) including correspondence, clippings, photographs, printed materials, and ephemera of a Methodist minister serving in Japan, Korea, China, and Mexico, to his wife, Mrs. J. C. Wooten, and daughter, Alice Y. Wooten, and others, of Greenville and Wilmington, NC, etc. Donor: Helen Louise Congleton

Source of acquisition

Gift of Helen Louise Congleton

Processing information

Encoded by Lindsay Flood, March 28, 2008

Processed by Amanda Keeny September 2010

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Container list
Box 1 Folder b Correspondence from Joseph Walker to Alice Walker, from A. J. Shepherd to Alice Walker, September 1864 , August 1867
Box 1 Folder c Correspondence from John C. Wooten to Mrs. J. C. Wooten, from Mrs. J. C. Wooten to John C. Wooten, March 1907 , July 1917
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence from John C. Wooten to Mrs. J. C. Wooten, from Mrs. J. C. Wooten to John C. Wooten, postcards, pamphlet, July 1917 , August 1917
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence to Mrs. J. C. Wooten, September 1917 , December 1940
Box 1 Folder f Correspondence to Mrs. J. C. Wooten and Miss Alice Wooten, postcard, newspaper clipping, financial papers, August 1941 , May 1951
Box 1 Folder g Correspondence to Mrs. J. C. Wooten and Miss Alice Wooten, February 1956 , December 1957
Box 2 Folder a Photograph of John C. Wooten, photograph of Jimmy Hankner, photograph of Ruth Hankner, photograph of Roy and Lewis Phibbs, Christmas cards with family photographs, postcards without correspondence, 1917-1954, n.d
Box 2 Folder b The Great T Puzzle, The Week of Our Lord, War Ration Book, S.S. Kasuga Maru Dinner Menu, Theatre flier for Camille; Or, the Fate of a Coquette (1865)
Box 2 Folder c Stationary paper and envelopes, 1917-1937, n.d
Folder os1 Newspaper, The Daily Herald, Vol. IV, No. 281, 1, February 1858