The correspondence consists of four letters covering the period between 1843 and 1880. The first letter (1843) is from Michael Arthur's brother in Alabama. The letter reflects family matters, crop conditions, pressures of an uncertain economy, their brother's estate, and plans to move westward. The second letter (1859) is from another brother, this one living in Tennessee. He comments on his ownership of land in Knox County, Tennessee, farm crops, religious life, and family movements. A third letter (1863) is from Colonel Cherry of the 15th North Carolina Reserves stationed in Greenville, N.C. The colonel comments on Negroes joining the Union cause, lack of Union bravery, Confederate troop movements in Pennsylvania, the siege of Vicksburg, Lee's motives for moving northward and the results on the South if he is successful, Confederate deserters, and Union faith in "buffaloes" and Negroes.
Financial papers (1804-1929) constitute a major segment of the collection. Included are records of the purchase and hire of slaves (1806-1812), promissory notes, debt contracts, teacher's salary receipts (1860), school tuition receipts, music class agreement (undated), and receipts for state and local taxes (1804-1889). Also of interest are estate and guardianship records for the estates of John Arthur (1836), Elizabeth Arthur (1845), Ephrian Arthur (1845), Nancy Arthur (1846), and Michael Arthur (1873).
Although considered as miscellaneous materials, there are several items of an educational nature which are worthy of special note. These include the constitution, speakers' list, and speeches of the Little Swift Creek Debating Society (1859); a cipher book; a record of division of school committee money between white and black schools (1876); and an application for a state teacher's certificate (1918). The oversize materials include the above mentioned teacher's certificate application and a promissory note.
Miscellaneous items include family genealogical notes, land records, petition for work on the public roads of Craven County (1855-1871), marriage certificate for Ephrain Arthur and Nancy Gatlin (1827), and poems.