The collection consists of a letter-press book of Frederick D. Poisson, a Wilmington, N. C. lawyer who practiced in the late 1800's. The majority of the letters pertain to debt collections for clients in New Hanover and surrounding counties along with some out-of-state clients. Other matters discussed include land sales, estate settlements, railroad construction, legal suits, business matters, appointments, and routine activities.
The bulk of the letters pertain to legal matters handled for F. W. Kerchner of Wilmington, N. C., Poisson's major client. Correspondence (1873-1874) concerning Mr. Kerchner's affairs request the payment of mortgages and notes due Kerchner by various people in Brunswick and other N. C. counties. Many of these debts were overdue, and Poisson threatened or carried out suits for collection. Besides debt settlements, Poisson also handled routine inquires and other legal suits for Kerchner. Poisson, in Kerchner's name, offered land for sale, purchased land and estates, and requested payment of rent for offices owned by his client. Kerchner was the major stockholder in the Great Falls Manufacturing Co., and Poisson handled stock transfers for this firm. As a stockholder, Mr. Poisson expressed great faith in the company and greatfully acknowledged a dividend check (1873).
Although F. W. Kerchner appears to be Poisson's major client, Poisson did have many other minor clients. Routine matters (1873-1874) performed for clients include the selling of land, requesting of payment for debts, making of appointments for business and legal matters, investigation of credit ratings for clients, and instigating suits for debts due his clients.
In handling various legal matters, Poisson comments on the financial state of the country in 1873 and 1874. He refers to the Panic of 1873; the scarcity of money; the difficulty in selling real estate; banking problems; and the general stagnation in all businesses, including law.
For related material see: Frederick D. Poisson Lettercopy Book, 1875-1881; Southern Historical Collection; University of North Carolina; Chapel Hill.