Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

Source:  L. H. Smith Papers (#23.1.a.1)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description:  Below is a personal letter from future Edgecombe and Duplin County school teacher, L. H. Smith, to his brother Edward P. Smith.  At the time he wrote this letter, L. H. was teaching at Bradly’s School House, but had not yet earned his teaching certificate.  Edward begins the letter by recounting his search for two of Edward’s mislaid letters and his eventual discovery of  a silver shilling leading him to the comic deduction that Edward’s letter must have contained silver ore.  He promises that if Edward sends him a gold shilling, he will be more careful of it.  However the bulk of the letter describes his experiences teaching at Bradley’s School House, North Carolina.  He focuses on the regular Friday routine.  All his scholars, he writes, “speak”, or recite their lessons, on Friday and he musters all the boys accompanied by a fife and drum.  “The smaller boys”, he writes, “have wooden guns and the larger real ones.”  Apparently, this was something of a social occasion in the community and a matter of serious competition between different schools and schoolmasters.  L. H. reports that “Frank was here last week and see [sic] me drill them.  He says they beat his company.  Some Fridays there is some 25 or thirty people to hear them speak and to see them muster and lots of girls among them.”  L. H. notes that he is writing during recess and has no time to “collect my thoughts” but readers will note numerous errors of spelling and punctuation in the letter.  One hopes that the students benefited more from L. H.’s lessons in reading and arithmetic than they could have from his writing lessons.

Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

Peter Stuart Ney

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.”

Dred Peacock – W. T. Farrow Correspondence 23-25 May 1900

Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC. Letter to Capt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NCCapt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NC. Letter to Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC

Source:  J. A. Burgess Papers (#22.1.a)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description: The correspondence between Dred Peacock and W. T. Farrow, seen above, is from the J. A. Burgess Papers in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Peacock had been a professor of Latin, German, Physics and Chemistry since 1888, and, since 1894, had been President of Greensboro Female College. His wife, Ella Carr, was the daughter of O. W. Carr, a member of the Trinity College (now Duke University) faculty and a member of Greensboro Female College’s Board of Trustees. During his tenure as President, Peacocks had been struck by a terrible tragedy.  Their daughter, Ethel Carr Peacock, died at the age of 6. Subsequently, the Peacocks endowed the Greensboro Female College library in their daughter’s name.

W. T. Farrow was a Washington, NC justice of the peace, school board member, and a local agent for the Norfolk & Southern Railway Company.  He was also secretary-treasurer of the Styron Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Norfolk & Southern, which operated the steamer AURORA in the Washington, NC vicinity.  He had sent his daughter, Mamie, to attend Greensboro Female Academy in the sprint of 1899, but Mamie had been forced to withdraw due to illness.

The correspondence is found in the J. A. Burgess Papers (#22) in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Burgess was the chief agent of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Company in Washington, NC, where Farrow worked, but otherwise was unrelated to Farrow.

Greensboro Female College, chartered in 1838 by the Methodist Church, was the first chartered college for women in North Carolina and only the third college for women in the nation. The college had a very good reputation in North Carolina but had a long history of financial instability.  In 1912 the school changed its name to Greensboro College for Women; in 1919 it changed its name, again, to Greensboro College, a name it has retained to the present day. Since 1954 it has also admitted male students.

The Peacock — Farrow correspondence — between one man, whose daughter had lost her battle with illness and another, whose sick daughter, Mamie, had been forced to drop out of school — concerns the bill Farrow received for his daughter Mamie’s tuition bill for the spring term in 1899.  Farrow had been charged $136.55 for Mamie’s Penmanship, Spelling, Composition, Bible & Piano, Recitation classes, and for room and board, heating, lighting, and washing although she had attended for only 43 days and taken 33 lessons.

In the first, typed, letter above, dated 23 May 1900, Peacock wrote to Farrow, replying to a previous letter from Farrow dated 21 May 1900, in which Farrow had first complained about his tuition bill.  President Peacock appears to have been both deeply moved to sympathy and yet rather confused by the situation. In behalf of the college, he returned Farrow’s check, saying “We decidedly prefer to have your good will to any amount of money, and my personal friendship for you and your family would cause me to do anything in my power to have you perfectly satisfied.” He offered to correct any errors in the bill, inquired after Farrow’s health, and hoped that Mamie’s health was improving too.

In the second, handwritten letter, dated 25 May 1900, Farrow responded, saying “I don’t know what your rules are regulating such matters. It just doesn’t look right to me, but I am willing to abide by your decision”, and concluding that it would make no difference to their friendship.  He said both he and his daughter were now in better health.

Peacock’s financial generosity may help explain why Greensboro Female Academy very nearly went bankrupt in 1903 and was only saved by a last minute gift of $20,000 from a generous alumna. It may also explain why the Peacocks removed their library from Greensboro Female College and gave it to Trinity College, where it is known today as the Ethel Carr Peacock Memorial Collection. It may also explain why Peacock was replaced as President in the same year by Lucy H. Robertson, who became the first female college president in North Carolina history.

Last Will and Testament of Edmund Brinkley 18 March 1853

Source: Albert Morris Collection (Mss. Coll. #19.1.a.4)

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Edmund Brinkley was a Chowan County farmer, who owned several plots of agricultural land along the Virginia Road and Bear Swamp Road near Deep Run and the Pocosin Swamp. In his last will and testament (page one shown above) Brinkley reveals almost as much about rural life in mid-19th century North Carolina as he does about his own character and strength of mind. Brinkley writes, for example, that although on his death bed and “very sick” he is still “of sound and disposing mind and merry”. Brinkley, who owned houses, farm equipment, crops, and two slaves, disposes of this property apparently equitably between his wife, three sons, and four daughters, only one of whom was yet married. He also indicated how he intended the property he bequeathed to his wife should be be divided after her death. Brinkley named his son, Miles C. Brinkley, to be the executor and guardian of his older daughters Susan M. and Martha J. Brinkley and his son William T. Brinkley; he named his wife Susannah Brinkley to be guardian of his younger daughters Rosannah Brinkley and Ann E. Brinkley, and of his son Albert E. Brinkley. He named no guardian for his married daughter, Sarah E. Creecy presumably because he felt that she was being well protected by her husband. He authorized Miles to run his farm and dispose of certain property to benefit his heirs.

Among the property Brinkley divided among his heirs, Edmund lists the contents of a work house, cook room, smokehouse, and a store room, which held 50 barrels of corn, 30 bushels of wheat, 3,000 lbs. of fodder, 20 bushels of peas, 1,500 lbs. of pork, 1,000 lbs. of herring and 6 bushels of salt indicating that he derived much of his income from rearing cows, sheep, and pigs, rather than from the crops he raised, and from the herring fishery. In describing his property, Edmund lists the boundaries as running along an extensive system of drainage ditches, showing him to be an active and “improving” farmer. His property, lying as it did near streams and swamps, must have been low-lying and waterlogged during most of the year, and would have been much less productive without such close attention to drainage.

Brinkley must have been among the more successful farmers in the Chowan County area. He was, however, clearly not among the wealthiest or greatest landowners in the region. His land holdings may have amounted to several hundred acres but he certainly did not own thousands of acres of farm land and there is no indication that he grew cotton or tobacco, the crops favored by the great landowners who owned large numbers of slaves. Brinkley, himself, was a slave owner, but not on a scale required to run a plantation. He disposed of only two slaves by his will, one of whom was a girl and the other of whom was a boy not yet sixteen years of age. Brinkley and his family must have done most of the farm and fishing work by themselves or with hired slave labor. The balance of the Albert Morris Collection consists of deeds for property that belonged to Edmund Brinkley and an account book that lists some of his purchases and sales during the last few years of his life. It also lists sums paid for the rental of slaves and fees paid for membership in the local Grange organization.

Esther, The Beautiful Queen

Source: Victoria Louise Pendleton Memoir (Manuscript Collection #17.1.b)

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

The program above, advertising a performance of Esther, The Beautiful Queen, to be presented at the Warrenton, North Carolina Town Hall on 11 October 1894, is from the Victoria Louise Pendleton Memoir manuscript collection. Mrs. Pendleton was born in October 1837, in Pitt County, North Carolina and attended school in Greenville as a girl. After graduating from high school, she married Robert Leckie Jones of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, in 1854. He died less than a year later, leaving her with a young daughter, Helen. After the Civil War Mrs. Jones moved to Warrenton. She taught school for a while at the Wilcox School and at Warrenton College. Later, she and Mrs. S. D. Twitty, established a private school for girls in her house.  Each year, as she recounts in her memoir, the students in her schools produced an artistic or musical performance for the public.  The program, above, is the only example in her collection.

In 1872, Mrs. Jones married Major Arthur S. Pendleton, of Portsmouth, Virginia, a veteran of the Civil War. The couple, who resided in Warrenton, had two sons, Milo W. Pendleton, who died young, and Col. Arthur Pendleton, who later married Miss Sara Busbee, and in whose home Mrs. Pendleton lived her declining years. Mrs. Pendleton remained active throughout her life until only a few weeks prior to her death when she suffered a stroke.  At the time of her death, on 9 April 1931 at age 93, she was the oldest person in Warrenton.  Her funeral was attended by nearly the entire population of the community.

In addition to her teaching activities Mrs. Pendleton was also active in a wide variety of patriotic, civic, and religious organizations. She taught Sunday School for 70 consecutive years and was active in the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  She served as the UDC’s representative at the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee statue at Stone Mountain, Georgia, in 1925.  Mrs. Pendleton’s photocopied memoir contains far more than a biographical account of her life. It also includes historical accounts of Warrenton and Warren County, its notable schools, churches, buildings and family homes.  It features short biographical sketches of major military figures who visited and played a part in Warrenton’s history, including Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Fitzhugh Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, Edward C. Walthall, Wade Hampton, Matt W. Ransom, Robert Ransom and Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow;  political figures including  Dr. Charles D. McIver, and Gov. Charles B. Aycock,  Among the histories of schools in Warrenton, are those of Warrenton Male Academy, Mordecai School, Falkner School, Miss Hannah Lee’s School, Miss Harriet Allen’s School, and many more.  Mrs. Pendleton also recounts histories of all the churches of Warrenton, including the Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches.  She provides brief histories of nearly two dozen private homes and other buildings in Warrenton, including the home of Thomas Howard Payne (author of “Home Sweet Home”), the Brick Spring House (home of Nathaniel Macon), and the Henry A. Boyd House.  These brief handwritten accounts, written in a straightforward yet sprightly style, are legible and almost as easy to read as the original.

Fannie Wallace Letter to Mannie & Sissie Tuten 29 July 1863

Source: Arthur Whitford Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #18.1.a
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo
Description: Letter from Fannie Wallace to Mannie and Sissie Tuten, 29 July 1863

Fannie Wallace Civil War Letter 29 July 1863

This little letter is from a young woman in Greensboro, North Carolina to her grandparents, Mannie and Sissie Tuten. It offers a glimpse into social life in the South during the crisis of the Civil War. Written less than a month after the Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 July) and the Fall of Vicksburg (4 July 1863) that ended any hope of Confederate victory, Fannie makes no mention of these disasters. Instead, she focuses on her family and social activities, her friends and her parties. She writes that her cousins are visiting and wishes they could be with them too. She passes on Nancie’s request for some snuff. Fannie knows there is a war on and that there are shortages. Indeed, she proclaims her patriotism: she is writing with Confederate ink on a Confederate spelling book and danced with two Confederate officers at a Ball. Either she did not understand the seriousness of the military situation, or, perhaps, more likely, did not wish to think about them or burden her grandparents with her worries.

R. E. Day's Letter to S. Day, 16 October 1831

First page of R. E. Day’s letter to his uncle in America. Westfall Collection #8.1.a.os.1.1

Above is the first page of a letter from R. E. Day of Handen, in the hops-growing region of Kent, near London to his uncle S. Day, who had emigrated and was living in Utica, New York. Day reports on the poor economic conditions in England’s farming regions and the outbreak of riots and disturbances in the area, including the recent burning of Lord Winchilsea’s farm. These riots, known as the “Swing Riots” because they were frequently preceded by warning letters from a “Captain Swing” had begun the previous summer but continued throughout the decade and spread to many other regions of England. It resulted in several major pieces of legislation including the first revision of the Poor Laws since the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Lord Winchilsea (George William Finch-Hatton) was a politically prominent and somewhat notorious landowner. Winchilsea had challenged the Duke of Wellington to a duel, in 1829, when the latter was still prime minister of England. Both men deliberately aimed wide.

Westfall Collection #8.1.a.os.1.1

Valentine's Day Card

SourcePittman – Coffield Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1135.1.f

Staff Person:  Nanette Hardison

Description: Although greeting cards are normally not considered of great historical value, they can offer insight into the thought processes of people as well as a look at the types of greeting cards that were circulating during a given time period. This cute greeting card for Valentine’s Day is from the Pittman – Coffield Family Papers and although undated, appears to have been published around the 1920s.

Elbert Carpenter Civil War Letter

Source:  Carpenter Family Papers, #11.1.a & North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865:  A Roster, Vol. 14 (1998), p. 680.

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

 

Description:  The letter above is from Elbert Carpenter, a soldier serving in Company D, 61st Regiment North Carolina Troops,  who was stationed at Tarboro, in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, to his father, Solomon Carpenter, Chatham County, NC.  The letter, dated 26 November 1862, records the recent deaths of his two brothers.   Elbert’s brothers — Wyatt had died earlier that day at Tarboro of an unknown disease and James had died from “consumption” and “dispepsia” on 22 November also at Tarboro — had also served in Company D.  Elbert himself did not have long to live.  He was killed at Kinston on 14 December, less than three weeks later.   Holograph.  Encapsulated.  (Carpenter Family Papers #11.1.a)

Transcript: State of N.C. Edgecom County November the 26 1862 Dear and affectionet father and Mother It is with great pain that I seat my selfe to drope you a few lines to in form you that Brother Wiet [Wyatt] is Ded he Did one the 26 of this month he has Bin Sicke fore a month he Will be Bered here the Doctor has never told me What the Diseas Was so I cant say What Was the matter With him Dear and affectionate father and Mother I am Well at this more than Bad cole I hope that Whern this letter gits to hand it Will find you all in joying good halthe i want you to write to me as soon as you gitre this letter if you pleas it Dos give me great pleasure to reseve a letter from you James. Died on the 21 of this mohth and Was Bered here in this plas. Dear father Direct your letters to Tarbour in care of N A Ramsey the 61 Regiment company D Elbert Carpenter.

U. S. Army Provost Marshal’s Office Pass No. 11382 (1863)

Source: Shirley Kilpatrick Collection #10.1.d.

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description: U. S. Army Provost Marshal’s Office Pass No. 11382 was issued in Union-occupied New Orleans on 4 February 1863.  It allowed John A. Miltz of New Orleans to travel from New Orleans to New York on the Steamer EMPIRE CITY.  It is accompanied by Miltz’s oath of allegiance as a U. S. citizen dated 8 October 1862 and his certificate of citizenship filed in a New York court on 12 October 1868.   A search of both Confederate and Union Civil War records has revealed a tale of complex and divided loyalties.   John A. Miltz, it seems, served in both Confederate and Union units in Louisiana during the Civil War.  The records even reveal the possibility that Miltz may have been serving on both sides at the same time.   John Miltz enlisted first on the Confederate side in Company B, of the 4th Louisiana Infantry on 25 May 1861.   However, he was also listed as serving as a private in Company I of the Chalmette Regiment, Louisiana Militia, between March and May of 1862 when he might have been on leave from the 4th Louisiana Infantry.   He was again serving with the 4th Louisiana Infantry when he was captured at Baton Rouge, Louisisan on 5 August 1862 and appears on a list of Confederate prisoners held on the U. S.  prison ship ALGERINE on 5 October 1862.  After signing his oath of citizenship, on 8 October 1862, he was apparently released.  However, it appears that he then reenlisted as John Metz, again on the Confederate side  but this time in  Company F of the 20th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.  This unit had been formed in February 1862 but in December of 1862 it was consolidated with the 13th Regiment due to severe losses it suffered at the Battle of Shiloh.  It then suffered very heavy casualties at the Battle of Chickamauga and by December 1863 had lost 43% of its strength.  Whether because of the hard fighting or some other reasons, Miltz then left the 13/20th soon after.  It was at this point that he obtained his pass to leave New Orleans and travel to New York.   By October 1864, however, he had returned to Louisiana and had enlisted on the Union side in the 1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment.  He served in Companies E., C. & H. under a variety of names, including John Maltz, John Matz, John Meltz, or John Metz (but not John Miltz).  He then appears on the roster of the 2nd Louisiana Cavalry Regiment (Union), which was organized in New Orleans in November 1863.  He again registered variously as John Maltz, John Matz, John Meltz, or John Metz.  Starting as a private he eventually gained promotion to corporal.  Apparently, he enjoyed his service with the Union forces better than he had the Confederate side for after the war he returned to New York where he obtained his U. S. Citizenship.  How these documents found their way into the Kilpatrick Collection remains a mystery.