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.

Letter Documenting Use of Labor from Tarboro, N.C., WWII Prisoner of War Camp

Source: E. C. Winslow Records (Manuscript Collection #1174)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: About 3000 Italian prisoners of war were sent to Camp Butner, just outside of Durham, N.C., in September 1943 where they were engaged in work projects.  Out of this group about 500 men each were sent to branch camps in Tarboro, Windsor, and Scotland Neck to pick peanuts for the local farmers.  By the end of July 1944 these prisoners were relocated to camps outside of North Carolina due to difficulties in handling the men.   The source for this information is NCpedia.

Edward Cyrus Winslow (born 1886) of Tarboro, Edgecombe Co. N.C., was involved in many business enterprises including the horse and mule business, farm operations, land transactions, and a saw mill operation.  This letter dated October 13, 1943, documents that Mr. Winslow did hire Italian WWII prisoners of war to pick peanuts for him.  In this signed letter, E. C. Winslow attests that 2647 stacks of peanuts were completed by prisoner of war labor during the period of September 29 through October 9, 1943, and that at $.10 a stack he owes the government $264.70 for the labor.

Broadside (circa 1883) offering farmland and timberland near New Berne, N.C.

Source: Edward B. Ellis, Jr. Papers #753.4

Staff Person: Dale Sauter


Description: Original broadside (circa 1883) offering a “Rare Chance for Capitalists!”  Offered for rent or lease by Mrs. Virginia Harrison of New Berne, N.C. is Camp Palmer, “one of the finest farms in Eastern North Carolina.”  She also states she has “a good cotton farm” and “fine timber lands” available as well.

Tobacco Advertising in China

Source: James N. Joyner Papers (Manuscript Collection #429)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

James N. Joyner (1888-1972), attended the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1910. He was employed  by the British-American Tobacco Company (B.A.T.) in China from 1912 to 1935, returned to North Carolina to manage the family farm at LaGrange, and died at the age of 83.  His papers reveal many aspects of the operations of the B.A.T. Company and the social life during the 1920′s and 1930′s.

This is a photograph of a group of people advertising tobacco products during his time in China.

City of Greenville, North Carolina

Source: Junius D. Grimes Papers (#571)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

Take a step back in time to 1914 Greenville, N. C., in this C. E. Weaver Series, “Illustrated Cities”, by Central Publishing Co., Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. Greenville was growing and changing: The Center Brick Warehouse was selling Bright Leaf Tobacco (93,762 pounds avg. at $24.55 per hundred). The Flanagan Buggy Co. distributed products throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The Greenville Ice and Coal Co. was a necessity for this community. The R.L. Smith Stables sold and exchanged horses and mules. The East Carolina Teachers Training School is now called East Carolina University; the campus consisted of the Power House, Dining Hall, Infirmary, Dormitories and the Administration Building and the soon to be erected library, gymnasium and the President’s Residence. These are just a few highlights from the pamphlet from the Junius D. Grimes Papers #571.

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

"The Eclipse" Steam Engine

Source:  Hunter-Wills Family Papers (#237) East Carolina Manuscript Collection

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:

Described as “The ‘Eclipse’ on Wheels, this portable steam engine was produced by Frick & Co. of Waynesboro, PA.  It is described as “especially adapted for threshing grain, sawing wood and lumber, ginning cotton, and whenever it is necessary to move from place to place.”  The image comes from a circa 1878 Frick & Co. catalog.  The entire catalog can be found at the following link:

http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/13844

This catalog, and other similar catalogs, can be found in the Hunter-Wills Family Papers, collection number 237.

Johnston County, NC Teacher’s First Grade Certificate

Source: Albert R. Smith Collection #9.1.b.23

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description: This Teacher’s First Grade Certificate, dated 12 Oct. 1889, belonged to N. T. Ryals of Johnston County, North Carolina.  It showed that Ryals had successfully passed the examination to teach in Johnston County’s public schools.  It listed his “true grade of scholarship” in Spelling, Defining, Reading, Writing, Aritmetic (Mental and Written), English Grammar, Geography, Elementary Phsysiology and Hygiene, History of North Carolina, & History of the United States. Ryals passed all these examinations with grades between 90 and 95 out of a possible 100 points. Johnston County Superintendent of Public Instruction Ira T. Truslington signed the certificate and also attested that Ryals had “also furnished satisfactory evidence of good moral character.” According to his journal, Ryal’s teaching was not his sole source of income. He was also a surveyor and farmer. Printed form. 1 item. 1 p.

N. T. Ryal's Teacher's First Grade Certificate

Students’ gardens at East Carolina Teachers Training School, 1914

Source: University Archives

Student Gardens

Student Gardens

Staff Person: Kacy Guill

Description:

In his 1910 report to the Board of Trustees, the president of East Carolina Teachers Training School, Robert Wright, requested land for a farm and dairy. He argued that “the public school teacher of the near future is going to be required to have a much more definite knowledge of farm life…” Ten years later, he was still requesting farmland, and between $150.00 and $500.00 dollars was being spent on the farm gardens annually.

At the time, students used part of the campus for their farm gardens. In 1915, student Christine Johnston wrote, “this year about the first of April the girls of our class were rather surprised to find themselves with hoes, garden rakes, and three prong cultivator hoes.” She planted radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, lettuce, onions, snap beans, and tomatoes. When she had to leave her garden for her commencement she sadly noted “my onions were large enough to eat and my snap beans only needed a few more days.”

Student Gardens

Student Gardens

Click on the images to view enlarged versions.

Secotan

Source: Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae . . . , Joyner Rare F229.B78 1590

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:
This engraving depicts the Native American village of Secotan, located somewhere along the Pamlico River, at the time of Walter Raleigh’s 1585-86 colonization effort. Two important members of this colony were scientist Thomas Harriot and John White, a talented artist. Before leaving the area for his return to England, White made sketches of Indians that he later rendered in handsome watercolor paintings. In 1588, Harriot published A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, which described portions of the coastal region of North Carolina and its inhabitants. Two years later, Theodor de Bry published this work along with a series of copperplate engravings based on the watercolors by John White. Editions appeared in English, French, German, and Latin. Recently Joyner Library, with the help of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, acquired a copy of the 1590 Latin edition of Harriot’s important text.

This image is particularly important because it reveals much about the agricultural practices of the Native Americans. Note the platform in the corn field used to scare away hungry birds!

Click on the image to see an enlarged version

Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae ... Anglico scripta sermone à Thoma Harriot

Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae ... Anglico scripta sermone à Thoma Harriot

The book, part of Joyner Library’s Rare Book Collection, is available for use in the Special Collections Department’s Search Room.