Source: William E. Elmore Collection (EC Manuscript Collection #39.1.f)
Staff Person: Ralph Scott
Description: Michel Ney, 1st Duc d’Elchingen, 1st Prince de la Moskowa, popularly known as Marshall Ney was a eighteenth and nineteenth century French military commander. After service during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, Ney fell out of favor and was arrested and condemned to death for treason in December of 1815. In January of 1816 Peter Stuart Ney arrived at Charleston, SC., where he subsequently disappeared. In 1821 he appeared in Mocksville, NC where he assumed the position of a school teacher. He also worked as a teacher in Hillsborough, Salisbury and Mecklenburg county before returning again to Mocksville. He died there on 15 November 1826 and is buried at the Third Creek Presbyterian Church. This document typed in August of 1908 at Roaring River, NC, relates the life of Peter Stuart Ney, the Great Marshall of France. In the relation Peter Stuart Ney’s grandson, E. M. C. Neyman of Saltillo, IN, states that his grandfather was in fact the Michel Ney. This document is signed by James H. Foote, born 8 November 1825 and “is taken as proof that the old Tar Heel Teacher was the Great Marshall of France.” At the bottom the relation is noted as being done “at the request of my friend, Judge Allen.” A pencil notation on the first page states “copyied and sent to the Historical Society.”
Source: Handley, A. M., Journal, East Carolina Manuscript collection #1064.1.a
Staff Person: Ken Harbit
One of the great classics of American literature, and a treasure of world literature, Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick was published for the first time on October 18, 1851. It tells the story of the sailor Ishmael and his adventures on the whaler Pequod, led by Captain Ahab who leads his crew on a hunt for the whale Moby-Dick.
You can read a first hand account about what shipboard life was like during Melville’s time, and probably the inspiration for much of his writing, in the A. M. Handley journal located in Joyner Library’s Digital Collections; call number 1064.1.a
Source: Captain Frederick Lee Edwards Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #792
Staff Person: Martha Elmore
Family collections contain a wealth of sources of interest to descendants and to historians. These include birth and death records, land records, estate papers, wills, diaries, and letters. In some cases, when courthouses have burned, these records held by families may be all that exists to document a county’s past.
Another somewhat untapped source of information found in some family collections is slave records. Oftentimes slave births are listed in the owner’s family Bible or in financial documents. Then there are lists of slaves in estate records, slave names mentioned in medical records, and bills of sale for slaves. All of these records can be helpful to historians and to African Americans tracing their family history.
Shown below are two pages of slave births listed in the back of a diary kept by James Ormond of Greene Co., N.C.
James Ormond Diary, page 51
James Ormond Diary, page 52
For more information about this collection, go to the http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0792/.
Source: William S. W. Ruschenberger Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #629
Staff Person: Lynette Lundin
William S. W. Ruschenberger served in the U.S. Medical Corps from 1826 until 1869. His first ship was the U.S. frigate BRANDYWINE (1826-1829), which sailed to many ports in South America. He was aboard the USS PEACOCK from 1831 until 1832 and again in 1835-1837, this time traveling around the world. He was fleet surgeon on the USS PLYMOUTH for the East India Squadron (1847-1849). After shore duty from 1850 to 1854, he was appointed to the Pacific Squadron (1854-1857) and served on the U.S.S. INDEPENDENCE, which traveled to Chile, Hawaii, and Panama. Ruschenberger was in the Mediterranean Squadron from 1860 to 1861. He was chief surgeon for the Boston Navy Yard throughout the Civil War. He retired with the rank of commodore in 1869.
Ruschenberger wrote several books, including A Voyage Round the World (1838) and Elements of Natural History (1850).
These excerpts from his 1848 journal mention a flogging (April 12), a court-martial (May 12), and a recipe for mosquito repellent (May 22). You can view the journal in its entirety through Joyner Library Digital Collections.
William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)
Source: Denis B. Cashman Papers, 1865-1887, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #458
Denis B. Cashman Diary
Staff Person: Ralph Scott
Diary of Denis B. Cashman, noted Irish patriot, from the Denis B. Cashman Papers, 1865-1887, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #458.
The diary (15 October 1867-January 1868), compiled by Denis Cashman, details his imprisonment at Milbank Prison (London) and his voyage to exile in Australia. The diary also contains entries from the Wild Goose, a prison newspaper; poems by Cashman; and observations about his fellow prisoners, most of whom ended up incarcerated in the Fremantle Prison in Australia. Leather-bound manuscript diary, 34pp.
A group of Irish Fenian convicts from the Fremantle Prison escaped to America on the United States whaler Catalpa in 1876. The prisoners were members of the Fenian Brotherhood, which was established in the late 1850s to overthrow the British government in Ireland. The Government responded by sentencing the men to life in prison at the Convict Establishment in Australia. It was hoped that this would bring an end to the uprising in Ireland. Instead supporters raised funds to bring the men back to Ireland, and early on the morning of 17 April 1876 six men left a prison work party in horse drawn buggies and boarded a waiting whaler. Escaping capture by Australian authorities, the men arrived in New York on the Catalpa in August 1876.The escape is an important event in nineteenth-century Australian and Irish history. The Fenians are known as patriots to the Irish and considered terrorists by the British. Even today the British government refuses to free Irish nationalists held in prison. The collection, consisting of the prison diary of Cashman and other items, was donated by Dr. Alfred Sheehy to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection in 1983. Items from the Cashman collection are currently touring Australia in an exhibit entitled: “ESCAPE! Fremantle to Freedom.” More information about the prison escape and the exhibit can be found on the web at: http://www.fremantleprison.com.au/whatson/previousexhibitions/escapefremantletofreedom/Pages/default.aspx
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Source: Frank A. Armstrong Jr., Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #35
Frank Armstrong diary entry.
Staff Person: Lynette Lundin
Frank A. Armstrong Jr. Papers Collection # 35 has 18 boxes which are composed of correspondence, memoirs, autobiographical information, military records, and many photograph albums. A novel and film, “Twelve O’clock High,” were composed of his wartime experiences. He was awarded Distinguished Service Medal, and from the Department of the Interior an award for conservation. “Wake the Sleeping Giant” is the autobiography of Lieutenant General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr., USAF as told to William E. Hickinbotham. This is from a diary kept while in England as a military observer. This gives us a glimpse into life in England in November of 1940. The reference to Fluffy, I believe is a nick name for his wife. I truly love how people let us see the world through their eyes. The finding aid for this collection is Manuscript Collection 35.
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