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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||7.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3,300 items)|
|Abstract||Ruffin, Roulac, and Hamilton family members resided chiefly in eastern and central North Carolina, but also in Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. Prominent among them were Thomas Ruffin (1787-1870), Anne M. Kirkland Ruffin (b. 1794), Joseph Blount Gregoire Roulhac (1795-1856), Catherine Ruffin Roulhac (b. 1810), and Daniel Heyward Hamilton, Jr. (b. 1838). The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal papers, account books, photographs, and other items, chiefly 1823-1890, relating to members of the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton families and their friends and associates. The papers relate to routine family matters and everyday life, and, to a lesser extent, to business matters, including the Ruffin plantations in North Carolina and Joseph Blount Gregoire Roulhac's career as a merchant in Raleigh, to the Civil War and Reconstruction, and to various public concerns. There are few items relating to Thomas Ruffin's legal and judicial career. The collection also contains photographs, carte-de-visite photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes, and sketches of members of the Ruffin and Roulhac families, friends, unidentified people, buildings, and Civil War naval engagements. There is also a mid-1850s daguerreotype of the sophomore class at the University of North Carolina, the earliest known image of a group of students at UNC.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Thomas Ruffin (1787-1870), a lawyer who became chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, settled in Rockingham County in 1807. He was married to Anne Kirkland in 1809 and settled in Hillsborough, where her family's home, Ayr Mount, was located. Ruffin also became a leading planter who operated two plantations--one in Rockingham County and the Hermitage in Alamance County. Ruffin's oldest daughter, Catherine, married Joseph Blount Gregoire Roulhac (1795-1856), a merchant in Raleigh who frequently traveled to the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states on business. Catherine and Joseph had seven children, one of whom, Frances Gray, married Daniel Heyward Hamilton, Jr. (b. 1838), a Confederate soldier during the Civil War who owned a naval stores business in Madison County, Florida, in 1865-1866.Back to Top
This collection consists of family correspondence and other documentation of members of the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton families and their friends and associates, who lived chiefly in eastern and central North Carolina, but also in Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. The papers relate to routine family matters and everyday life and, to a lesser extent to business matters, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and various public concerns.
Papers are basically those of the following persons and their immediate families: Thomas Ruffin, Anne M. Kirkland Ruffin, Joseph B.G. Roulhac, Catherine Ruffin Roulhac, Daniel Heyward Hamilton, Jr., and Frances Gray Roulhac Hamilton. There is little information on Thomas Ruffin's legal and judicial career.
The collection also contains photographs, carte-de-visite photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes, and sketches of members of the Ruffin and Roulhac families, friends, unidentified people, buildings, and Civil War naval engagements. There is a mid-1850s daguerreotype of the sophomore class at the University of North Carolina, the earliest known image of a group of students at UNC.Back to Top
Chiefly correspondence of the Roulhac family and members of the related Ruffin and Hamilton families, all of North Carolina. The early correspondence includes letters to and from Catherine Ruffin and her father, Thomas Ruffin, mostly in Hillsboro. They wrote of personal and family matters, and some political and business concerns. Other topics covered in the early letters include the weather; health and family news; news of marriages, births, and deaths of friends; plantation and farming news; and news of travel along the East Coast.
Beginning in late 1836, when Catherine Ruffin married Joseph B. G. Roulhac, there begins to appear a large number of letters between Catherine and Joseph. Matters covered in this correspondence include, in addition to those mentioned above, plantation news of crops, slaves, and sale of property; and accounts of Catherine and Joseph's children.
Other topics of interest in the correspondence of the period from the late 1830s through the 1850s include army and navy appropriations bills; duties on iron, salt, and coal; the Texas question; John C. Calhoun's possible appointment as Secretary of State; difficulties with slaves and fear of abolitionists; discussions of North Carolina state politics; the election, as opposed to appointment, of judges; the Whig party, the prospects of a Fillmore presidency, and growing sectionalism, in a letter from David Outlaw on 23 April 1852; and much family news, including Joseph's death in 1856, and the marriage of Fannie Roulhac and D.H. Hamilton, Jr., in 1859.
During and after the Civil War, the correspondence focuses on D. H. Hamilton, Jr., and his family. Topics of interest in the correspondence of this period include a 28 April 1860 letter from D. H. Hamilton to his son on financial problems; August 1860 letters on behalf of D. H. Hamilton, Jr., as he sought appointment to an instructorship at the State Seminary of Florida in Tallahassee; a 10 November 1860 letter from D. H. Hamilton to his son about growing sectional tension in South Carolina; D. H. Hamilton, Jr.'s mother's account of the ratification of the Ordinances of Secession in Charleston, 21 December 1860; D. H. Hamilton, Jr.'s appointment in May 1861 as a Major in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers; postwar mercantile records of D. H. Hamilton and Sons, some of which were transferred to Series 2; a 4 October 1863 letter from Jefferson Davis written to Hannah Gaston Manly of Hillsboro; and a 25 June 1868 letter from H. A. Chambers detailing the political situation in North Carolina.
Other correspondents in Series 1 include John Roulhac, A. D. Murphy, Henry Eustace McCulloh, Willie Blount, Paul Cameron, F. Nash, Duncan McRae, Anne Cameron, Tod R. Caldwell, Thomas Ruffin, Jr., Kenneth Rayner, Jason A. Bryan, Joseph Blount, D.L. Swain, C.H. Wiley, John Manly, Lewis Thompson, Will A. Graham, Joseph Blount Cheshire, Charles Manly, James Hamilton, Bishop Thomas Atkinson, Edward Stanly, General Pemberton, Lieutenant General Longstreet, James A. Seddon, William Cain, Frank G. Ruffin, Peter W. Hairston, Bishop T.B. Lyman, Charles S. Bryan, Walter H. Page, John W. Ellis, and L.P. Walker.
Indentures, wills, contracts, summonses, receipts, and accounting records that document many of the business activities of the families. Business records include those of Joseph B. G. Roulhac and D. H. Hamilton and Sons.
Miscellaneous printed and handwritten materials. Printed material consists of clippings, circular letters, advertisements, tickets, programs, membership certificates, and a greeting card. Handwritten materials include a map, recipes, poems, a list of expenses, and other items. #00643, Subseries: "3.8. Miscellaneous Items." Folder 164-165
Account books, journals, and diaries. Most of the merchandise ledgers and account books were kept by Joseph Blount Gregoire Roulhac. The volumes are roughly arranged by type, then chronological order. An "S" preceding a volume number indicates that the volume is oversized.
A history of the family descended from Gregoire de Roulhac, written in French and including notices on the American branch of the family. The volume includes copies of documents dating from 1568 and continuing over three centuries. The volume was compiled by several generations of the family. This typed compilation, in four parts (tomes), includes a supplement, notes, and an index added by L. G. Roulhac. 517 pages, undated (formerly volume 1).
Photographs, carte-de-visite photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes, and sketches of members of the Ruffin and Roulhac families, friends, unidentified people, buildings, and Civil War naval engagements. SF-P-643/11 is a mid-1850s daguerreotype of the sophomore class at the University of North Carolina, the earliest known image of a group of students at UNC. Unless otherwise indicated, each item is a photograph.
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Tintype of unidentified man in Confederate uniform #00643, Series: "5. Pictures, 1862-1916 and undated." SF-P-643/5
Includes a cut-out from a photograph of an unidentified woman's face.
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Daguerreotype of the sophomore class at the University of North Carolina, mid 1850s. This is the earliest known image of a group of students at UNC.
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Items separated include Series 4. Volumes (Vols. S-3, S-5, S-6, S-7); Series 5. Pictures (P-643/1-74; SF-P-643/1-13).Back to Top
Processed by: Mictchell Ducey, 1980s
Encoded by: Jackie Dean, July 1998
Special format images (SF-P-643/1-13) added to finding aid, March 2011.
Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.Back to Top