The correspondence from the 1830's and 1840's deals mostly with Hoyle J. Windley, father of Samuel C. Windley and B.B. Windley. A letter dated Aug. 27, 1839 advertises a shooting match with steers as prizes. Letters from 1839 and 1840 are concerned with Hoyle Windley's job as postmaster at Bath, N.C. Much of the correspondence is from the P.O. Department in Washington, D.C. and includes both personal and form letters. Other Post Office material in the miscellaneous section includes a certificate appointing Hoyle J. Windley as Postmaster at Bath, N.C. (1839) and list of the postage paid (including names) at the Bath Post Office (1839).
The bulk of the correspondence was written By Samuel C. Windley of New Bern to his brother B.B. (Barzillia Barrow) Windley covering the years 1860, and 1866-1868. These letters provide insight into the post-Civil War conditions in New Bern. Salaries for jobs such as store clerk, hired hand, and farm overseer are mentioned (Jan. 14, 1867; Feb. 1, 1868; and July 6, 1868). Several letters discuss the price of farms and farm production (Mar. 31, 1868; Aug. 21,1868; Sept. 21, 1868). The prices for hay, sweet potatoes, field peas, fodder, and Irish potatoes shipped to New York are stated (July 18,1868; Sept. 21,1868; June 21, 1868).
Samuel C. Windley writes of bank shortages due to bank investments in cotton (Feb. 12, 1860). Letters from Fairfield in Hyde County, N.C. state that the shingle business has been replaced by house painting (July 29, 1860) while others comment on shingle production at Deep Gulley and Bay River (1867).
Descriptions of special events taking place in New Bern include a major fire (Oct. 16, 1866); The New Years Day Tournament and Coronation Ball (Jan. 14, 1867); and an 1868 celebration centered around the "Atlantic Fire Truck 37," the 37 chosen women (one for each state) and the "Leap Year Ball" (Sept. 21,1868). In a letter dated Aug. 15, 1867, Samuel Windley describes Washington, N.C. in its post-Civil War condition. Other letters describe various entertainments available, including Methodist excursions to Goldsboro (June 1, 1868) and songs popular at the time (1868). Also of interest is a self description of Samuel C. Windley which includes the wearing of "Burnsides," the use of cigar and cane, and the taking of photographs (1866).
Two violent incidents involving Negroes in the post-Civil War sixties are recited in Samuel C. Windley's letters. One concerns a murder by Negroes in Georgia (June 24,1867) and the other incident concerns a Negro hanged in New Bern for highway robbery and murder (Aug. 15,1867).
Two final letters dating from 1965 give genealogical information on the Windley Family.
There are numerous promissory notes, receipts, and store accounts. Receipts from 1795 to 1809 are in pounds and shillings. There is a receipt for 21/2 months school tuition for 1837 (Beaufort Co.?). The store accounts date from 1821 to 1845 and include such items as sewing notions, clothes, coffee, rum, brandy, whiskey, gin, butter, eggs, wheat, tobacco, boots, gun powder, shoes, soap, combs, nails, sugar, snuff, cheese, wool cords, cigars, and grapes.
Miscellaneous items include two wills from Beaufort County pertaining to Margrett Egleton (1823) and Thomas Walker (1830) a Negro. There is a bill of sale for a young black boy in 1830 (Beaufort Co.). Miscellaneous items pertaining to the N.C. Militia include a certificate appointing Hoyle J. Windley to the office of First Lieutenant in the 12th Regiment of the N.C. Militia (Bath Co., 1830) and an undated list of the members of the North Creek Co. of the N.C. Militia (?). Other miscellaneous items included are a contract (1837) with Hoyle J. Windley to teach school in Beaufort County (cost/student given), an inventory of the deceased Jacob D. Windley's debts, a petition by Jacob Windley's widow concerning the settlement of his land, and the text of the song, "The Raccoon Hunt."