Murfreesboro Historical Collection grows at Joyner Library

Collections in ECU's Joyner Library include clippings and prints related to the history of Murfreesboro, N.C. (Contributed photo)

The town of Murfreesboro will mark the 225th anniversary of its original charter this year. And the Murfreesboro Historical Collection in the Special Collections Department of Joyner Library at East Carolina University now has more individual collections for researchers to use.

The Murfreesboro Historical Association donated six individual collections to the Manuscripts and Rare Books Division, Special Collections Department of Joyner Library and those have been processed and are now ready for use – online and at the library. Researchers will have access to collections’ finding aids to guide their search of the collections.

All finding aids contain, at a minimum, a biographical or historical note, a description of the records available and a container list to help researchers locate and request any materials of interest. All materials are available for viewing in Joyner Library’s Special Collections Reading Room.

Old documents and clippings from the 1950s through the 1970s are among the holdings in Joyner Library's Murfreesboro Historical Association Collection. (Contributed photo)

Incorporated on Jan. 6, 1787, Murfreesboro was an important and vital colonial river port being linked by the Chowan River and its tributaries with the Albemarle Sound, allowing trade routes between other communities of the coastal regions of North Carolina, the southeastern interior of the Virginia colony and New England, said Maury York, assistant director for special collections at Joyner Library.

“Many families documented in the papers were some of the founding families of the town and were related by marriage, so this aspect makes the collection even more interesting in the way that it documents their various relationships in daily life,” said York.

One major figure, politician and lawyer B.B. Winborne, researched the history of northeastern North Carolina, York said. “(That) work resulted in several readily available publication on the history and early families of Murfreesboro and Hertford County. In this sense, this collection is also of great value as a primary source companion to Winborne’s published works.”

The Murfreesboro Historical Collection as a whole encompass all facets of social, political, business and civic life in and around Murfreesboro, including surrounding counties in both northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. In addition, within the Wynns Family Papers, there is significant documentation of activity by William B. Wynns and his brothers in Florida (at the time still a territory) and The Bahamas.

The six new collections added to the Murfreesboro Historical Collection –with a brief description – are as follows:

Wynns Family Papers, 1800-1961 (bulk 1880s-1920s), undated

The Wynns Family was of great prominence in colonial North Carolina history.  The family is generally associated with Hertford County, and according to genealogical research the earliest member of this family present in the Hertford County area was Captain George Wynns. He was born in 1675 and died in 1751.

The Wynns (Winn, Wynn, Winns) family of Hertford County was one which took on various spellings throughout generations. As a result, in these papers researchers will find both “Wynn” and “Wynns” used on various documents.  These papers document the activities of a later generation of Wynns who lived predominately during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Benjamin B. Winborne Papers, 1717-1957 (bulk 1880s-1920s), undated

Benjamin Brodie Winborne (April 14, 1854-1919) practiced law in Hertford County. He was the son of Major Samuel Darden Winborne and Mary H. Pretlow Winborne (d. August 24, 1900) and the grandson of Martha Warren Winborne, possibly the daughter of Robert Warren. From 1891 to 1897 excluding the brief period that he served in the 1895 legislature, he served as judge of the Hertford County Criminal Court. Winborne served in the N.C. House of Representatives in 1895, 1905, 1907, and 1908 (special session), ran for Speakership of the House in 1905, and ran for N.C. Attorney General in 1908.

Besides his immersion in politics and law, Winborne avidly researched the history of northeastern North Carolina, work that resulted in several publications on the history and early families of Hertford County.

Also included in the Winborne Papers are the papers of Lemuel R. Jernigan (father, Mills Jernigan), a prosperous planter and influential citizen, James L. Anderson (22 Aug 1839 – 4 July 1896), serving for many years in Hertford County as Public Registor, Watson L. “W. L.” Daniel (circa 1816-1899), representing Hertford County in the House in 1852 and 1854 as a Whig and Dr. Starkey S. “S. S.” Daniel (b. December 28th, 1862), son of W. L. Daniel.)

Vaughan Family Papers, 1872-1900 (bulk undated)

Colonel Uriah Vaughan was born on Nov. 29, 1813, on his father’s plantation near Murfreesboro. Vaughan’s parents were John Vaughan and Sarah (Rogers) Vaughan, both from Hertford County.

This collection consists of two photograph albums believed to be the original as assembled by the family.  Most photographed individuals are identified as being related to the Vaughan family, many with the surname Early(e)

Winborne Jenkins Papers, 1751-1816, undated

Winborne Jenkins (d. circa 1797) was a Northampton County landowner. He and his wife, Emma, had five children and he owned approximately 575 acres at the time of his death.

J. T. Lewter Papers, 1857-1887, undated

John T. Lewter was a physician in Hertford County who married a woman (name unknown) who was a property owner of some stature.  They had no children of their own, but Lewter was the guardian (1857-1868) for Lillian Vick, his wife’s niece.

Murfreesboro, North Carolina, Historic Photographs, 1950s-1970s, undated

A collection of photographic prints, negatives, documents and newspaper clippings (ca. 1950s -1970’s) relating to the history of Murfreesboro, NC, consisting primarily of images documenting businesses, buildings, boats and ferries, mills, cemeteries and gravestones, architectural features of interest, churches, schools, people and houses.

For access to the complete finding aids go to and scroll down to the Murfreesboro Historical Association Collection heading.

To register for Joyner Library’s online system and request use of its collections in the Reading Room, visit

For more information or assistance with requesting materials, contact the Special Collections staff during our normal operating hours of Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m, at 252-328-6671 or email us at the following link.

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