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|Size||40.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 13,000 items)|
|Abstract||Bryan and related Blount, Donnell, Shepard, Spaight, and Washington families of New Bern, N.C., and vicinity. Prominent family members included John Heritage Bryan (1798-1870), congressman and lawyer of New Bern and Raleigh, N.C.; his brother, James West Bryan (1805-1864), lawyer of New Bern; James W. Bryan's son, James Augustus Washington Bryan (1839-1923), Confederate ordnance officer and bank and railroad president, of New Bern; and James A. Bryan's son, Charles Shepard Bryan (1865-1956), businessman of New York and Asheville, N.C. The collection contains primarily business papers and correspondence documenting the professional and commercial activities and home life of the families of James W. Bryan, James A. Bryan, and Charles S. Bryan. Included are papers pertaining to the law practice of John H. Bryan and James W. Bryan, who specialized in debt collection, reflecting ante bellum economic conditions in North Carolina and mercantile relationships with New York; and family correspondence and bills and receipts concerning the education and social activities of James W. Bryan's daughter, Laura (Bryan) Hughes (1837-1868), and son, James A., who attended Princeton College. Included are letters from William A. Graham before, during, and after his term as governor, and from Bishop Levi Silliman Ives during his controversy with the Episcopal Church. Also present are papers of James A. Bryan relating to his service as a Confederate ordnance officer, and his involvement in lumber, banking, and railroad business after the war, especially as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, treasurer of the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad Company, and president of the National Bank of New Bern; and papers of Charles S. Bryan relating to his business ventures, political interests (including membership in the Ku Klux Klan), service in the American and French forces during World War I, and genealogical research.|
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Bryan and related Blount, Donnell, Shepard, Spaight, and Washington families of New Bern, N.C., and vicinity. Prominent family members included John Heritage Bryan (1798-1870), congressman and lawyer of New Bern and Raleigh, N.C.; his brother, James West Bryan (1805-1864), lawyer of New Bern; James W. Bryan's son, James Augustus Washington Bryan (1839-1923), Confederate ordnance officer and bank and railroad president, of New Bern; and James A. Bryan's son, Charles Shepard Bryan (1865-1956), businessman of New York and Asheville, N.C.
John Heritage Bryan (1798-1870), lawyer and Whig congressman of New Bern and Raleigh, N.C., son of James (1769-1806) and Rachel (Heritage) Bryan (1782-1812), received his bachelor's, 1815, and master's, 1820, degrees from the University of North Carolina. He was a member of the North Carolina State Senate, 1823-1824, and a United States Congressman, 1825-1828. He moved with his family to Raleigh, N.C., circa 1838. Bryan was a trustee of the University of North Carolina for forty five years. After his retirement from legal practice, he was active in the Episcopal Church, local politics, and the state agricultural society. He married Mary Williams Shepard (1801-1881) with whom he had fourteen children, including: Francis Theodore, Mary Shepard, John Heritage, William Shepard, James Pettigrew, Elizabeth Heritage, Charles Shepard, Octavia Maria, Henry Ravenscroft, Isobel Ann, Charlotte Emily, George Pettigrew, Ann Shepard, and Frederick Richard.
James West Bryan (1805-1864), attorney and Whig legislator of New Bern, N.C., brother of John H. Bryan, graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1824. He represented Carteret County in the North Carolina State Constitutional Convention, 1835, and State Senate, 1835-1836. He was a trustee of the University of North Carolina, 1836-1856, and a member and vestryman of Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern. He married Ann Mary Washington (1814-1864) in 1831, with whom he had five children: John (died in infancy), Laura (1837-1868), James Augustus Washington (1839-1923), Henry (died in infancy), and Washington (1853-1927).
James Augustus Washington Bryan (1839-1923), son of James West and Ann (Washington) Bryan, was a Confederate officer, planter, and banker, of New Bern, N.C. He attended New Bern Academy, Chestnut Hill School (Oxford, Md.), and Princeton College. He served as an ordnance officer during the Civil War, and engaged in the lumber, banking, and railroad businesses after the war, serving as president of the National Bank of New Bern, 1880-1923, and the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. He was a member of the North Carolina State Senate, 1899-1901, as a Democrat. He married first Mary Spaight Shepard (1843-1892), with whom he had a son, Charles Shepard (1865-1956); second Julia Rush Olmsted (1843-1915), and third Alice Hilliard Brown Biddle (1856-1938).
Charles Shepard Bryan (1865-1956), army officer and financier, was the only child of James Augustus and Mary Spaight (Shepard) Bryan. Born in New York City, he grew up in New Bern, N.C., attended schools in New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia, and graduated from his father's alma mater, Princeton College, as a member of the Class of 1887. He spent much of his adult life as a stock broker in New York City, and after 1908 engaged in the fertilizer business. He entered the U.S. Army in 1917 as a second lieutenant and retired from the service in 1931 with the rank of colonel, having graduated from the Army War College in 1923. In the early years of World War I he served as an American Army liaison officer with the French forces and was highly decorated. After his retirement he moved to Asheville, N.C., where he undertook historical and genealogical research. He married Annie Adams MacWhorter (1866-1940) in 1889 and had with her four children: James Washington (1889-1892), Gray MacWhorter (b. 1891), Mary Spaight Shepard (b. 1894), and Margaret Donnell (b. 1896).
For additional information see the Bryan, Blount, Shepard, and Donnell genealogical charts in the appendix of the unpublished inventory.Back to Top
The collection is divided into five series. Series 1 contains the professional and personal correspondence of John H. Bryan, James W. Bryan, James A. Bryan, and Charles S. Bryan. Series 1 is further divided into five subseries:
Subseries 1.1 (1828-1850) consists primarily of the legal correspondence of John H. Bryan and James W. Bryan, who had an active law practice dealing largely in bankruptcy, the settlement of debts, and the collection of monies due to northern merchants. There are also letters discussing James W. Bryan's connection with a mercantile enterprise in New York City. There is some slight Bryan, Washington, and Shepard family correspondence, mostly concerning joint land holdings and the settlement of estates.
Subseries 1.2 (1851-1864) consists primarily of the papers of James W. Bryan concerning his legal, financial, and business arrangements and also the education of his children, Laura (Bryan) Hughes and James Augustus Washington Bryan. Also included are letters to Laura and James A. from family members and friends. For the war years documentation is slight, but includes a series of Civil War letters, 1863-1864, describing conditions in New Bern, N.C., under federal occupation.
Subseries 1.3 (1865-1905) consists of the papers of James A. Bryan and includes correspondence concerning the partnership of Richardson and Bryan, which ran Tuscarora Steam Saw and Grist Mill (Tuscarora, N.C.); and correspondence concerning the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company;the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad Company; and the National Bank of New Bern; and also family correspondence, especially letters to Charles S. Bryan at school.
Subseries 1.4 (1906-1940) consists of the papers of James A. Bryan, primarily concerning the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad Company and also the National Bank of New Bern, of which he was president; the business activities and political views of Charles S. Bryan, including his membership in the Ku Klux Klan; and the financial and emotional relationship between James and Charles. After 1923, the correspondence is that of Charles S. Bryan concerning his claims against his father's estate and his genealogical research.
Subseries 1.5 contains undated correspondence.
Series 2 consists of James A. Bryan's Civil War papers, including his correspondence and accounts as a Confederate ordnance officer in New Bern, N.C., and in Virginia, and a very few scattered items pertaining to his cousin, John R. D. Shepard (1845-1926), a Confederate Army officer.
Series 3 consists of financial and legal materials connected with the business dealings and family expenditures of the Bryan and related families. Subseries 3.1 is made up of bills, receipts, promissory notes, and account books. These relate primarily to James W. Bryan's law practice, the education of his children, family expenditures, and the settlement of the estate of John Washington; and to the various business dealings of James A. Bryan, including the Tuscarora mill, railroads, and the National Bank of New Bern. Subseries 3.2 contains miscellaneous legal items, including deeds and indentures, some pertaining to James W. Bryan's law practice and others to James A. Bryan's business activities, including the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad Company, and his extensive land holdings in Craven County, Carteret County, and Jones County, N.C., known as the Lake Ellis lands.
Series 4 contains a large numbers of commonplace books, diaries, school notebooks, and other miscellaneous volumes, belonging to various family members, that could not be placed in any of the preceding series. Of particular interest is Charles S. Bryan's World War I diary, an account of his experiences in France, and his notebooks of genealogical research.
Series 5 contains miscellaneous items, including photographs, printed items, newspaper clippings, railroad materials, Charles A. Bryan's school reports, and genealogical materials, among others.Back to Top
Arrangement: loose items arranged chronologically, with bound volumes at end of appropriate subseries, filed by latest date.
Processing Note: Old volume numbers appear after volume descriptions.
Professional correspondence of John H. Bryan and James W. Bryan concerning their legal practice; family letters exchanged between James W. Bryan, his wife, Ann (Washington) Bryan, and his children, Laura (Bryan) Hughes and James Augustus Washington Bryan; post war business and family correspondence of James A. Bryan; and professional and personal correspondence of his son, Charles S. Bryan.
Professional correspondence of John H. Bryan and James W. Bryan, primarily concerning their legal practice, which specialized in bankruptcy and debt collection. There are numerous letters from New York merchants who retained their services to collect monies due them by North Carolinians, and also letters from debtors responding to their efforts. The two brothers shared many legal cases and often stood in for each other a various county courts. Letters from John H. Bryan to James W. Bryan often contain information on cases and advice on legal strategies. John H. Bryan retired from the circuit courts in 1848 and focused on the North Carolina Supreme and U.S. Superior courts. James W. Bryan apparently took over his circuit practice.
Letters from friends, business associates, and relatives contain frequent references to North Carolina Whig politics, most notably during James W. Bryan's attendance at the State Constitutional Convention, 1835, and his term in the State Senate, 1835-1836. James considered running for political offices in 1846, 1848, and 1849, and solicited opinions from his brother and friends concerning the extent of support for his campaign. Yet, despite apparent political popularity, he always declined to run. U.S. senators Edward Stanly and William A. Graham and U.S. Congressman William H. Washington wrote of political events in Washington, D.C. Graham was elected governor of North Carolina in 1845 and often discussed state politics in his letters thereafter.
In the late 1830s, James W. Bryan entered into a commercial partnership with I. Chauncey Boyd, William Boyd, and John Heard, Jr., all of New York City. The business was apparently a wholesale mercantile that supplied merchants in the Midwest and Deep South. There is extensive correspondence concerning the partnership's failure, due partly to the general depression in business around the Panic of 1837, and partly to the underhandedness of the Boyds. The partnership was dissolved in late 1839 and John Heard, Jr., was appointed to carry on the liquidation of assets. His letters to James W. Bryan during this time and throughout the 1840s reflect business conditions and political sentiments in New York City. James W. Bryan's brother in law, James A. Washington, often acted as his agent in affairs of the firm.
In 1837, James W. Bryan's father in law, John Washington, a New Bern merchant, died intestate, leaving James and his brother in law, John C. Washington, to handle the estate. There are many letters to James from John C. Washington and between other Washington family members concerning the settlement of the estate and the growing suspicion that both James and especially John were delaying settlement to their own advantage. James had apparently borrowed $10,000 from his father in law to buy into the partnership with Heard and the Boyds.
In the spring of 1841, James W. Bryan sent the bulk of his slaves to Alabama to work on the plantation of his half brother, Frederick S. Blount. This was the beginning of a long and increasingly bitter financial arrangement. Following many well documented crop failures and financial reversals, Frederick found himself heavily indebted to James for the plantation and the slaves to run it. This was not to James's liking. He had sent the slaves to Alabama with the intention that Frederick would eventually purchase then. James finally contracted with Alfred Hatch of Greensboro, Ala., to sell the slaves, a move that was guaranteed to ruin Frederick. It is never clear whether Frederick was trying to defraud James, or had an incredible run of bad luck, but by 1848 the two brothers were barely speaking. Interestingly, James then offered the slaves to Alfred Hatch who, after much haggling over their condition and worth, declined them. His formerly friendly correspondence with James ended on the same sour note as had Frederick's.
Other correspondents and subjects of note during this time include: Eliza H. (Washington) Grist (later Knox), James's sister-in-law, who wrote of Washington and Graham family news; Gov. Edward B. Dudley, who wrote concerning a stay of execution for a convicted murderer; Edmund Ruffin, who wrote in November 1839 and April 1840 concerning a planned visit to North Carolina; James's half brother Alexander C. Blount, who wrote in June 1840 concern an incident on James's plantation in which a slave murdered the overseer and, in September 1840, of a rumored slave rebellion in New Bern; the purchase of a new organ for Christ Church (Episcopal) in New Bern; talk of the Mexican War and the military career of John H. Bryan's son, Francis ("Frank") Bryan; Gov. William A. Graham's pardon, December 1846, of a man sentenced to death for killing a slave, and Graham's misgivings over it; the sudden death of James W. Bryan's brother in law, James A. Washington, a physician of New York City, in September 1847; David L. Swain's correspondence, May 1848, with James W. Bryan concerning the participation of North Carolina women in the American Revolution; frequent letters, beginning in 1848, from Charles Bellows, a New York City commission merchant who supplied James W. Bryan and his family with everything from hats to mantelpieces; the legal and financial affairs of Elizabeth (Cobb) Washington, James W. Bryan and William A. Graham's mutual mother in law; and the Episcopal Church controversy involving North Carolina Bishop Levi S. Ives.
Other frequent correspondents include: F. M. Hubbard, James Iredell, and Nelson Merrill, lawyer of New York City.
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James W. Bryan [and A. C. Blount] letter book (#16B).
James W. Bryan business and personal letter book, with some scattered accounts (#18).
James W. Bryan letter book (#23).
In this period, John H. Bryan material decreases considerably except for letters from him to James W. Bryan. The subseries is primarily James's professional correspondence, but also includes letters to and from his family. His wife, Ann, wrote him letters while he was away from home attending various county courts, discussing the children, Laura, James A., and Washington (b. 1853), and friends and family in New Bern and in Beaufort, N.C., where the family spent the summer months. There are also letters to and from Laura Bryan while she was attending school at Mrs. A. C. Tilghman's in Philadelphia, Pa., 1851-1852, and letters from Mrs. Tilghman concerning Laura's academic progress and expenses, which were considerable. Both James W. and Ann Bryan wrote letters to Laura full of parental admonitions to behave, study hard, go to church, and economize. In 1852, after some disciplinary problems at Mrs. Tilghman's, Laura returned home briefly, then moved to New York City to attend school at Mme. Chegaray's, 1853-1854. She returned home in 1854. In February 1854, it was revealed that she had been carrying on an illicit correspondence with a young medical student in Philadelphia, James Bettner Hughes. Apparently over parental protest, the courtship continued, resulting in their marriage in late 1858 or early 1859. The couple settled in New Bern.
In 1852, James A. ("Jimmie") Bryan left home to attend school at Chestnut Hill, Md. By the spring of 1854 he was once again in New Bern and moved with his parents to Baltimore in late 1855. Beginning in 1857, there are frequent letters to him at Princeton College from friends in New Bern and Baltimore and from Sigma Phi fraternity brothers, reflecting their social activities, including visits to prostitutes. He graduated from Princeton in May 1860.
Apparently the family was dissatisfied with New Bern and removed to Baltimore in late 1855. By the spring of 1857, they had returned to New Bern, much to everyone's regret. James W. Bryan continued to travel north to New York and Baltimore on business, with and without Ann. His letters document his frequent visits to relatives and friends along the way, as well as Laura and James A.
Letters from James's W. Bryan's half brother, Frederick S. Blount, continue, always concerning his financial difficulties and inability to repay James W. Bryan's loan. Letters from John H. Bryan in Raleigh concern activities of his family, especially his son, Frank, who was involved in Indian fighting in Texas and in peace keeping in Kansas in the late 1850s, and also mutual friends and politics.
Debate over the settlement of John Washington's estate continued, no doubt complicated by the death of his widow, Elizabeth (Cobb) Washington, in 1858. In March 1856, John H. Bryan had cautioned his brother that "a controversy might produce that most odious affair, a family feud." As William A. Graham was married to Susan Washington, and was serving as administrator of Elizabeth C. Washington's estate, his letters frequently mentioned John C. Washington and James W. Bryan's efforts to settle John Washington's affairs.
Politics is mentioned throughout the 1850s in letters from John H. Bryan, William A. Graham, Nelson Merrill of New York City, Edward Stanly, and others. Issues discussed include rising sectionalism, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, General Scott's campaign for the presidency in 1854, and the deterioration of unity just prior to the outbreak of war.
As the country approached war, James W. Bryan apparently began looking for safe areas of investment within the South and there is some evidence that he was converting northern investments to cash. There are many letters reflecting business conditions from Charles Bellows and Nelson Merrill of New York City and from John D. Pratt and Benjamin Lavender of Baltimore.
Wartime correspondence is thin and consists mostly of letters to James W. Bryan in New York and Baltimore, 1863-1864, from E. M. K. Roberts (a woman) and E. E. Graham, both in federally occupied New Bern. James W. Bryan and his family had travelled north to take care of urgent private business and had difficulty returning home [see Washington Bryan's account of his father's meeting with President Lincoln in Series 5, Genealogical notes]. Roberts and Graham discussed business and social conditions in the city, relations with Union Army officers, exchanges of mail, and the movement of persons through the lines. While it is not reflected in the papers, James W. and Ann Bryan were back in New Bern by September, 1864, as they both died there in that month of yellow fever.
Other correspondents and subjects of interest include William A. Graham's description of race riots in Boston, 13 February 1851; Daniel B. Baker's correspondence concerning a free black woman, who was a British citizen, who had been taken up as a slave, and negotiations with the British consulate at Charleston to obtain her release, March August 1851; John H. Bryan's continuing efforts to be appointed to a judgeship; Joseph M. Graham and his family and their life on an Arkansas plantation, beginning in 1852; the death of Charles B. Shepard in 1853 and the financial arrangements concerning his lands in Tennessee; letters from Eliza H. (Washington) Knox, Caroline H. (Blount) Washington, and Susan (Washington) Graham concerning family affairs; former North Carolina bishop Levi S. Ives' conversion to Catholicism; a non feud between William H. Washington and A. G. Hubbard, June December 1857, and William H. Washington's general physical, financial, and professional decline, culminating in his death in 1860; and James A. Bryan's trip to Norfolk, Va., in April 1861, in pursuit of a commission in the Confederate Army and his description of the city's preparations for war.
James W. Bryan letter book, personal and business (#28).
James W. Bryan letter book, New Bern, N.C., and Baltimore, Md. (#32).
John R. Donnell letter book; accounts with overseers; records of land transactions; plantation and shipping accounts (#1).
James W. Bryan letter book (#20).
After the Civil War, James A. Bryan entered into the lumber business in the partnership of Bryan and Richardson to run the Tuscarora Steam Saw and Grist Mill. From 1865 into the early 1870s, there is extensive correspondence reflecting orders and customers. In 1875, it appears Bryan began renting out the mill and turned his attention to some of his other business interests, most notably railroads [See Series 3.2. Legal Documents].
The period 1881-1905 is dominated by the affairs of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, of which James A. Bryan was a director and served as president, 1899-1904. In 1881, he cooperated with William J. Best of New York to form the Midland North Carolina Railroad, with plans to lease track from the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and from the Western and North Carolina Railroad to form an east-west rail system. James worked hard to convince his fellow Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad directors that Best's idea was a good one, and seems to have succeeded. However, negotiations with the Western and North Carolina Railroad were not so successful, and in the process James became disenchanted with Best, who was revealed to be a con man. In July 1882, Best requested that James resign from the board of directors of the Midland. In August, James wrote a long and detailed refusal, outlining what he had thought were to be the Midland's goals and what turned out to be Best's intentions. In 1883, all negotiations broke down, control of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad was returned to the board of directors, and Best was accused of malfeasance. James became acting superintendent of the road. In May 1884, he tried to resign from the Road's board of directors to pursue other business interests, but was refused. In 1886-1887, James's brother, Washington Bryan, was president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. James was not among his supporters. The gubernatorial election of 1888 was of great concern to all the railroad's investors, as a Republican administration could adversely effect the struggling company [see letter, 28 April 1888, Spier Whitaker to James A. Bryan]. From 1889 to 1898, James apparently concentrated on other business [see below] but in 1899 was nominated for and received the presidency of the road. He remained president until 1904, during which time the road went into receivership twice. Under his management there were improvements in the equipment, track, and services. He also participated in the firing of all black employees as part of the white supremacy movement of 1900. In 1902, the road purchased a hotel in Morehead City, the legality and practicality of which was widely questioned. In 1903, many small stockholders, angry at James's policy of turning profits back into the company, petitioned for the leasing of the road. The road went into receivership in February and again in May 1904, with James regaining control both times. By September, however, the road was leased to the Howland Improvement Company and James was no longer president. A letter from Gov. Charles Aycock, 8 September 1904, implies that the parting was amicable.
James had no intention of retiring from the railroad business. As early as 1901, he had begun laying foundations for the formation of the Pamlico, Oriental, and Western Railroad, a small road intended to connect a deep water harbor on the Bay River with New Bern and thus to the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. Financial negotiations were continuous during the period and construction apparently began in 1903. By May 1904, the Pamlico, Oriental and Western was in financial trouble, unable to procure the large sums necessary for its completion. There is a great deal of correspondence with company president William T. Caho and a letter in May from Charles S. Bryan, as trustee for the company's bonds, refusing to turn them over to his father to use in a refinancing scheme.
On the home front, there are many letters to Charles S. Bryan at various schools he attended, including the Englewood, N.J., Classical and Mathematical School, 1877, the Bingham School at Mebane, N.C., 1880, and Hanover Academy, Taylorsville, Va., 1881-1883. There are very few references to his time at Princeton College, where he graduated with the Class of 1887. Letters to Charles were written by his mother, Mary S. Bryan, his grandmother, Mary S. Shepard, and his aunt, Margaret D. Nelson, as well as by school friends and his cousin, Frederick C. Bryan. Fred attended the University of North Carolina, circa 1881-1882, and wrote often of the wild parties, drinking, and fighting that went on there. By late 1882, Fred was back home in New Bern, working, and wrote extensively of his social activities there, including visits to prostitutes. Other correspondents wrote of the construction of a house in New Bern for Mary S. Shepard, which James, Mary S., Bryan, Charles, and Aunt Margaret were to occupy. [There is also extensive correspondence between James and the architects, Sloan & Balderston of Philadelphia, concerning the construction.] The family moved into the house in the early spring of 1883. Mary S. Shepard died a short while later. Upon the reading of her will, James and Mary S. Bryan were surprised and dismayed to learn that the house was bequeathed to Margaret D. Nelson. Other topics of social interest include the formation of an Old Maids' Club in New Bern in the spring of 1883. The club was a group of young belles who met to read, sew, and even put together an amateur theatrical production.
Other correspondents and subjects of importance at this time include letters to John R. D. Shepard in Paris from William S. Pettigrew, Florence Donnell, Anne M. Donnell, and various Keerl relatives concerning family affairs and the settlement of the estate of John R. Donnell; the importation of Dutch families to New Bern [see letter of 22 July 1879 from J. L. Morehead to James A. Bryan]; letters of Anne M. Donnell concerning her father's estate; the construction of a new courthouse in New Bern, 1883; selling a family plantation in Hyde County; James A. Bryan's legal fight, beginning in 1883, to claim ownership of a tract of land known as James City that was confiscated during the Civil War by the federal occupying forces and given to the freedmen; former North Carolina governor Thomas J. Jarvis's service as U. S. foreign minister in Brazil and his desire to reenter North Carolina politics, 1885-1886; Charles's and James's investment in thoroughbred horses; their investment in the Decatur (Ala.) Land Improvement & Furnace Company, 1888-1889; the death of Mary S. Bryan, in 1892, and James's remarriage, in late 1893 or early 1894, to Julia Rush Olmsted, an old friend from his college days; the death of cousin, Eversfield Keerl, 1895, and the administration of his estate; and James's involvement in the white supremacy movement and his term in the North Carolina State Senate, 1898-1900.
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James A. Bryan letter book; along with Richardson and Bryan, letter book, 1866-1867 (#65).
James A. Bryan letter book (#75).
James A. Bryan letter book (#80).
James A. Bryan letter book (#127).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the National Bank of New Bern (#131).
James A. Bryan letter book (#136).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#139).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#141).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#142).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#144).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#145).
James A. Bryan letter book as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#146).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#147).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#149).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#150).
Having ended his association with the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, James A. Bryan continued his interest in railroad affairs during the period 1906-1910. He was heavily involved in the construction and financial affairs of the Pamlico, Oriental and Western Railroad during 1906 and 1907, and apparently served as a contractor for the railroad in its dealings with the William A. Cullen Co. In 1909, he actively opposed the proposed reorganization of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad as it would have devalued bonds he held. Correspondence with his legal representative, F. R. Pemberton, in August of that year implies that Norfolk and Southern representatives may have tricked James into selling his bonds to get him out of the way.
However, the most prominent financial deal, during the period 1906 until James A. Bryan's death in 1923, was his borrowing of approximately $75,000 from his son, Charles, in part to bail out the Pamlico, Oriental and Western Railroad, and in part to cover the losses, through embezzlement, of the National Bank of New Bern. The latter deal was the source of much discussion between father and son over the status of the loan. Charles, as administrator of the estate of Anne M. Donnell (d. 1908), had $25,000 to invest until the estate taxes were due. James suggested that it be placed in the National Bank of New Bern, of which he was president and chief stockholder (Charles was a director, and also a major stockholder, as was his aunt, Margaret D. Nelson). Charles sent the check for the $25,000 to be deposited for the estate at about the same time that the bank's loss was detected. In order to avoid liquidation by federal officials, the bank's stockholders were required to deposit sums based on the amount of stock owned to cover the bank's investors. Charles's share, in combination with his aunt's, came conveniently to $25,000. The bank's board of directors refused to repay Charles the money. The situation took a turn for the ridiculous when the Donnell estate taxes were due and Charles was forced to borrow from the bank to pay them! James and Charles continued to disagree over the status of this "loan" and James's liability for it until James's death in 1923. See especially the letter, 24 July 1917, from Charles to his father, detailing their relationship, both emotional and financial, and James's 25 page reply, 23 August 1917.
Other financial dealings included James A. Bryan's continued efforts to sell his Lake Ellis lands, which he ran as a hunting camp during the period. In 1912, he received a copy of a letter, dated 9 April, from H. H. Brimley, Curator of the State Museum at Raleigh, N.C., and a frequent nonpaying guest at the camp, to a prospective buyer in Boston. Mr. Brimley's detailed evaluation of the camp's natural resources was less than flattering, as was James's response to him, dated 25 May. There is also a great deal of information in 1912 about the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company's reorganization and issue of new stock.
James continued dabbling in politics and was elected mayor of New Bern in 1907. In 1913, he was appointed one of the commissioners to oversee the construction of the North Carolina Confederate Women's Home. As World War I approached, many of his letters to Charles contain references to American politics and foreign affairs. In a letter to his wife, Julia, dated 9 August 1914, he expressed his opinion on the war and its effect on American business.
In 1907, Charles A. Bryan entered into the fertilizer business as a partner in the Germofert Manufacturing Company in New York City. Many of his letters to his father make references to business conditions in the city and to political opinions, especially concerning President Wilson's handling of foreign policy. He arranged to become executor of the estate of Anne M. Donnell and many letters concern arrangements for the settlement of the estate among the various Bryan, Shepard, Donnell, and Keerl relatives, especially John R. D. Shepard in Paris. By 1917, the fertilizer business had failed and Charles was despondent over his lack of financial success. In desperation, he joined the American Expeditionary Forces and was sent to France, where he served as a liaison officer with the French Army. While there is little information on his actual service, when he revisited Paris, in October 1926, he received many letters and invitations from generals Hirschaur and Gouraud, and Gen. John D. Pershing was a frequent correspondent. [See also Series 4, Charles S. Bryan's World War I diary, 1917 1918.]
Charles's right-wing political beliefs were expressed in letters to his father as well as in a letter to Henry Ford, 12 November 1920, in which he exhibited ant-Semitic tendencies, and another to the American Rights Committee. Charles was an active member in the Ku Klux Klan. His commission as a King KlEagle is attached to a letter from E. Y. Clarke, Imperial KlEagle, dated 31 May 1921.
The deaths of Julia R. Bryan (1915) and James A. Bryan (1923) are barely mentioned, as is James's remarriage, in 1917, to Alice Biddle, a New Bern widow. Most of the information concerning Charles's attitude toward his father's marital affairs is contained in his letter to James, dated 24 July 1917, and in his father's reply, 23 August 1917, mentioned above. [See also Charles's "Memoranda on the History of the Bryan Family," in Series 4.]
Most of the correspondence after 1922 concerns Bryan family genealogy. Correspondents include Bernis Brien and Fannie B. Broadfoot.
Other events and correspondents of interest include: James's involvement with the Virginia Carolina Chemical Company of Durham, N.C., beginning in 1907; several letters in 1908 from Angelus Stewart, a New York City astrologer, giving James horoscopes and astrological insights into economic prospects; Washington Bryan's efforts to establish himself in the New York business and social communities, detailed in a letter of 28 September 1908; James's purchase of part interest in a window sash holder invented by Elijah T. Gaskill, 1910; Charles's son Gray's visit to Italy and France, July 1924, and his letters describing post war physical and economic conditions and tours of battlefields and camps where he and his father served; and a letter, 1940, from Shepard Bryan to Frank Porter Graham containing a biographical sketch of John Heritage Bryan.
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#151).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#152).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#153).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal, signed "Mayor" (#154).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#158).
James A. Bryan letter book, personal (#159).
Arrangement: alphabetically by recipient, where known; unidentified letters are grouped at the end.
Miscellaneous undated letters and fragments of letters. Subjects are the same as listed above.
Arrangement: loose items arranged chronologically; volumes are filed at the end of the series.
James A. Bryan's official correspondence, requisitions, invoices, and property returns as a Confederate ordnance officer at New Bern, N.C., June 1861-May 1862, and while serving in the same capacity with Lane's Brigade near Richmond and Petersburg, Va., October 1862-December 1864. Included in the volume of ordnance accounts, etc., 1861-1865, is Bryan's brief diary of military actions, September 1861-December 1864. Also included are several scattered items of his cousin, John R. D. Shepard, a Confederate aide de camp, consisting primarily of requests for leaves of absence. [See also: Subseries 3.1, folders 627 and 628; and Subseries 3.2, folder 729.]
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James A. Bryan ordnance accounts, Confederate States of Amreica (#52)
James A. Bryan ordnance accounts, Confederate States of Amreica (#53)
James A. Bryan accounts, Ordnance Department, Confederate States of Amreica (#58)
James A. Bryan accounts, Ordnance Department, Confederate States of Amreica (#59)
James A. Bryan accounts, Ordnance and Quartermaster Officer, Confederate States of Amreica; diary and ordnance memoranda, September 1864-May 1865; miscellaneous notes, May 1865-July 1865 (#55)
Arrangement: loose items arranged chronologically; account books appear at the end of the series, filed chronologically by latest date.
Processing Note: Old volume numbers appear after volume descriptions.
Bills, receipts, receipted accounts, promissory notes, cancelled checks, and account books of James W. Bryan, James A. Bryan, Charles S. Bryan, and other family members. From 1798 to 1864, activities documented pertain to James W. Bryan and include fees charged and collected from his law practice; the settlement of the estate of John Washington (d. 1837); the education of Laura (Bryan) Hughes and James A. Bryan; and family expenses.
For James A. Bryan, there are items relating to the Tuscarora Steam Saw and Grist Mill; to the management of his Lake Ellis Farm; to the financial affairs of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, 1899-1904, and the Pamlico, Oriental and Western Railroad, 1904-1907; to legal expenses connected to and rents collected from the James City property; and to other varied financial dealings.
Also included are items relating to Charles A. Bryan's school and travel expenses and documents concerning his claim against his father's estate.
John W. Bryan account with John H. Bryan; also ledger of expenses, lecture notes, and poetry (#4).
John H. Bryan guardian accounts with James W. Bryan; arithmetic problems; 1820-1829, miscellaneous accounts (#2).
James W. Bryan bank book, Bank of the State of North Carolina (#6).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina; legal notes and miscellaneous memoranda; fees, 1860 (#10).
John Washington bank book, Bank of the State of North Carolina (#11).
John Washington bank book, Bank of New York (#12).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina (#13).
Administrator's account, estate of John Washington, deceased; bank book, Bank of the State of North Carolina (#14).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina (#17).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina (#22).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina (#24).
James W. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#15).
James W. Bryan miscellaneous accounts, including one with the Episcopate of North Carolina (#7).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina, New Bern branch (#30).
James W. Bryan scattered grocery accounts (#33).
James W. Bryan receipt book; to a lesser degree, Bryan and Richardson Tuscarora accounts, 1866-1867 (#16A).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#36).
Mrs. Susan B. Waples grocery account (#42).
Mrs. Susan B. Waples to Jeremiah N. Allen grocery accounts (#45).
Unidentified, miscellaneous accounts and lists of furniture for various rooms, to be shipped. May be related to the move to or from Baltimore, Md. (#44).
James W. Bryan account with the Bank of the State of North Carolina (#38).
James W. Bryan ledger (#27).
James W. Bryan account with Merchants Bank of New Bern, N.C. (#47)
Credit rating, Carteret, Craven and Jones counties, N.C. (#51)
James W. Bryan accounts; old accounts for professional services due estate of James W. Bryan, deceased, 1845-1863; shingle and grocery accounts, 1874 (#29).
James W. Bryan account with Bank of Commerce, New Bern, N.C. (#49)
James W. Bryan miscellaneous financial notes, plus Supreme Court notes (#50).
Tuscarora Mill lumber shipped and accounts at store (#62).
James A. Bryan account with National Bank of New Bern, N.C. (#63)
Bryan and Richardson ledger; grocery, labor, and lumber accounts (#64).
Lumber mill account, ledger (#69).
James A. Bryan lumber day book (#72).
Tuscarora Steam Saw Mill store accounts; James A. Bryan's accounts as ordnance officer, Confederate States of America, 1861-1862 (#S-56).
Estate accounts, James W. Bryan, deceased, with James A. Bryan, and inventory of the estate of James W. Bryan, deceased, 1865-1868; letter book of James A. Bryan, 1865-1869; and letter book as ordnance officer, Confederate States of America, 1861-1862 (#54).
Tuscarora Lumber Mill day book, Bryan and Richardson (#66).
James A. Bryan, executor, account and checks with the Merchants National Bank, New York (#61).
James A. Bryan ledger; lumber, labor, and store accounts (#S-73).
Ledger, general merchandise (#S-74).
Lumber account; Latin exercises, 1881 (#71).
Lumber and store account (#S-70).
Ledger; labor, lumber and general merchandise (#77).
Ledger; lumber and general merchandise (#79).
James A. Bryan farm and other accounts (#81).
Lake Ellis miscellaneous accounts (#82).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#85).
Lake Ellis accounts (#86).
Lake Ellis accounts (#87).
Lake Ellis accounts (#88).
Lake Ellis accounts (#89).
Lake Ellis accounts (#90).
Lake Ellis accounts (#91).
James A. Bryan ledger, general merchandise (#S-78).
Lake Ellis accounts (#92).
Lake Ellis accounts (#93).
Lake Ellis accounts (#94).
James A. Bryan cotton accounts (#95).
Lake Ellis accounts (#96).
Lake Ellis accounts (#97).
Lake Ellis accounts (#98).
Lake Ellis accounts (#99).
Lake Ellis accounts (#100).
Lake Ellis accounts (#101).
Lake Ellis accounts (#102).
Lake Ellis accounts (#104).
Lake Ellis accounts (#105).
Lake Ellis accounts (#106).
James A. Bryan accounts, cash and checks (#103).
James A. Bryan accounts, Lake Ellis (#108).
James A. Bryan accounts, Lake Ellis (#109).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous, household, personal, jail accounts, and accounts with the heirs of Charles Shepard, deceased; letter book, 1867-1869 (#67).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#112).
Charles S. Bryan personal accounts, Bingham School, Mebane, N.C., and Hanover Academy, Taylorsville, Va. (#164).
James A. Bryan account with the National Bank of New Bern (#110).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#113).
James A. Bryan railroad accounts (#114A).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#114B).
James A. Bryan accounts for general merchandise (#S-76).
James A. Bryan daybook, list of expenditures (#120).
James A. Bryan daybook, list of expenditures (#121).
Julia R. Olmsted account book (#107).
James A. Bryan account with the National bank of New Bern (#117).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#122).
Lake Ellis accounts (#123).
Lake Ellis accounts (#124).
Lake Ellis accounts (#125).
Lake Ellis accounts (#126).
Accounts, estate of Mary S. Shepard; accounts, C. S. Bryan with J. A. Bryan, guardian (#118).
Estate of Isaac Hughes, deceased, accounts (#111).
Druggist's ledger, R. J. Gooding[?] (#130).
James A. Bryan ledger, miscellaneous accounts (#83).
James A. Bryan account with the National Bank of New Bern (#129).
Druggist's ledger, New Bern, N.C. (#S-133).
Day book, miscellaneous entries, unidentified (#134).
Day book, miscellaneous entries, unidentified (#135).
James A. Bryan accounts as receiver, White Oak River Corp. (#138).
Household accounts (#140).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts (#128).
James A. Bryan miscellaneous accounts and notes (#143).
Ledger, Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company (#S-148).
Miscellaneous accounts (#157).
James A. Bryan[?] distribution of expense account (#S-156).
Charles S. Bryan accounts of personal expenditures in New York, North Carolina, and France during World War I (#171).
Miscellaneous legal papers including deeds, court dockets, court judgments, notes on cases, etc., belonging to James W. Bryan. Of special interest are a "Division of the Tennessee Lands belonging to the heirs of William Shepard, Esq.," circa 1826; articles of agreement between Isaac Chauncey Boyd, John Heard, Jr., and James W. Bryan, concerning the liquidation of the firm of Boyd, Heard, and Bryan, 15 August 1839; notes on the trial of the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, 1844 and 1847; a list of law books belonging to James W. Bryan, 1848; statement by William A. Graham concerning the amount of money charged by the executors of the estate of John Washington, dec., 21 March 1855; and petitions for the repayment of losses of crops and buildings during Civil War military actions, 1861-1864.
Items pertaining to James A. Bryan include documents relating to the lease agreement between the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and the Midland North Carolina Railroad, 1881; information regarding tenants on the James City tract, 1884; indentures for land in New Decatur, Ala., 1888; copies of land grants to Richard D. Spaight, circa 1790s, for land that later became part of the Lake Ellis tract, beginning 1889; petitions to James A. Bryan as a state senator, president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, and Craven County commissioner; agreements between the Pamlico Construction Corporation and the Pamlico, Oriental and Western Railroad, 1903; a report of James A. Bryan as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, and a "Report of an Examination on the Property, Affairs and Condition of the Pamlico, Oriental and Western Railroad, 1903."
Also included are documents relating to Charles S. Bryan's claim against his father's estate, 1925.
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Indenture between Richard Grist of Beaufort County, N.C., and Richard Hines et al., for land in Washington, N.C., and in Beaufort County, N.C.; stock in the Washington Bridge Co.; a turpentine still; household effects; slaves; etc., dated 7 November, registered 3 December 1829 #00096, Subseries: "3.2. Legal Papers, 1704-1925." XOP-96/15
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Map of James A. Bryan's land in Craven, Jones, and Carteret Counties, N.C., circa 1904 #00096, Subseries: "3.2. Legal Papers, 1704-1925." XOP-96/24
A part of the grants were laid of the creeks and roads from surveys of H. A. Brown, H. A. Marshall, and others, and a part from the actual survey of E. D. Hardesty.
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James W. Bryan legal form book (#5).
James W. Bryan law case notes (#21).
James W. Bryan legal notes, plus accounts with the Union Bank of Maryland (#39).
James A. Bryan justice's criminal docket (#155).
Arrangement: chronological by latest date.
Miscellaneous volumes by members of the Bryan and related families. Types of volumes include commonplace books; genealogical notes; memoranda books; miscellaneous minutes and records of social groups; school notebooks; scrapbooks; and Charles S. Bryan's diary of his experiences during World War I, 1917-1918.
Hannah B. Field commonplace book (#3).
C. Shepard commonplace book (#9).
Mary Washington commonplace book, Saint Ann's Hall, Flushing, R.I. (#19).
Martha's Magazine and Carry Cabinet (#25).
Miscellaneous entries and historical notes (#31).
James W. Bryan miscellaneous memoranda (#35).
James A. Bryan Latin notes and commonplace book, Baltimore, Md. (#37).
Mary Shepard commonplace book (#162).
James A. Bryan mathematics notebook, Princeton College (#41).
James A. Bryan French exercises, Princeton; also lists of names and amounts of money, 1858 (#43).
George T. Olmsted, Jr., Princeton College, Class of 1860, scrapbook of printed programs (#40).
Julia R. Olmsted diary of life at school and in Princeton, N.J. (#48).
Julia R. Olmsted autograph book, Princeton, N.J. (#60).
Scrapbook with clippings from magazines and newspapers, mostly dealing with the Civil War (#57).
Julia R. Olmsted commonplace book, Princeton, N.J. (#68).
Maggie D. Shepard autograph book (#34).
James A. Bryan letters to editors, speeches; along with notes on lectures, chemistry and moral science, 1859-1861 (#46).
James A. Bryan political notes (#84).
John R. D. Shepard notes on Shepard, Blount, Bryan, Pettigrew, and Donnell families (#165).
Scrapbook of clippings on English affairs and politics (#115).
Scrapbook of clippings on English affairs and politics (#116).
Julia Olmsted[?] housekeeping memoranda (#119).
New Bern Water Works, Subscribers and minutes of meeting (#132).
Arcadian Club minutes and records (#137).
Genealogical notes on the Bryan, Whitfield, and allied families (#166).
Charles S. Bryan journal of a trip to Europe (#167).
Charles S. Bryan journal of a trip to Europe (#168).
Photograph album of Bryan, Donnell, Keerl, and Shepard family members; also Confederate generals (#163).
Charles S. Bryan World War I diary (#172).
Charles S. Bryan memoranda on the history of the Bryan family (#169).
Notebook containing Charles S. Bryan's correspondence in regard to the Bryan genealogy and copies of pertinent documents (#170).
Laura Bryan memo book for shopping in New York; cure for cholera, etc. (#160)
Heritage W. Blount[?] translation from Cicero (#161).
H. F. Olmsted commonplace book (#26).
Arrangement: loosely by format and subject, then chronologically, when date is known.
Miscellaneous papers on various subjects. Of especial interest are a catalog of household furniture sold by James W. Bryan upon the family's removal from Baltimore in 1856 (see Printed Items), the Genealogical Notes on the Bryan and related families, and the 1904 Report on the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. Speeches by James A. Bryan during his state senate campaign are included in Miscellaneous Writings, as is an incomplete account, circa 1887, of the Battle of Chancellorsville by S. Hollis. Photographs and other graphic materials include a series of Mexican scenes, watercolors by John C. West, and ten "bathing beauties" postcards from Atlantic City, N.J., circa 1890s.
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Processed by: L. Eileen Parris with the assistance of Tracy K'Meyer, August 1991
Encoded by: Peter Hymas, June 2005
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.Back to Top