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|Size||0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 15 items)|
|Abstract||William D. Valentine was born in Hertford County, N.C. in 1806. He contracted a debilitating disease at the age of 13 that left him permanently disabled. After a brief stint as a grammar-school teacher in 1837, he became a lawyer, practicing in the courts of Hertford, Bertie, Gates, and Northampton counties in northeastern North Carolina. Valentine never married, and he spent the greater part of his life living at Oaklawn, his father's plantation just outside the village of Bethel, N.C. The collection is William D. Valentine's multi-volume diary with entries touching on on almost every aspect of public life of the area, including his evaluations of the personalities and characters of his fellow attorneys and judges. Fascinated by politics, he wrote in much detail of events on both the local and state level. Other subjects include the activities of the local Baptist and Methodist churches, especially the establishment of female colleges in the area; slaves and free blacks; the local fishing industry; local opinions on national politics; farming practices; gossip and scandals.|
|Creator||Valentine, William D., b. 1806.|
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William D. Valentine was born in Hertford County, N.C. in 1806. He contracted a debilitating disease at the age of 13 that left him permanently disabled. After a brief stint as a grammar-school teacher in 1837, he became a lawyer, practicing in the courts of Hertford, Bertie, Gates, and Northampton counties in northeastern North Carolina. Valentine never married, and he spent the greater part of his life living at Oaklawn, his father's plantation just outside the village of Bethel, N.C.Back to Top
The collection is lawyer William D. Valentine's multi-volume diary with entries touching on on almost every aspect of public life in Hertford, Bertie, Gates, and Northampton counties, N.C., including his evaluations of the personalities and characters of his fellow attorneys and judges. Fascinated by politics, he wrote in much detail of events on both the local and state level. Other subjects include the activities of the local Baptist and Methodist churches, especially the establishment of female colleges in the area; slaves and free blacks; the local fishing industry; local opinions on national politics; farming practices; gossip and scandalsBack to Top
Description of daily entries presented here was transcribed from the collection's original 1957 finding aid.
Volume 1: 30 January-18 December 1837 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 1
30 January 1837: Description of aurora borealis.
25 March 1837: Visits a bawdy house. Very shocked description.
12 June 1837: Topics of sermons heard at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
13 June 1837: Account of attempted runaway marriage between a young overseer and relative of his employer. Also comments on the administration and character of Andrew Jackson.
22 June 1837: Comments upon an address given by Hon. A.L. Pinckney to the Philanthropic and Dialectic Societies of the University of North Carolina on the subject of the relations between the two Carolinas.
29 June 1837: Opinions on Tom Jones, having just completed the novel.
25 July 1837: Commenced teaching school at Windsor. Lodging in the office of W. W. Cherry and David Outlaw. Regretted the financial situation which forced him to become a schoolteacher.
14 August 1837: Account of three young ladies being crushed by the cars of the Portsmouth and Welborn R.R.
31 August 1837: "Ignorance predominates here. Hence the reason why Bertie is for Jackson and Van Buren."
17 September 1837: Described a personal argument over a scheme concerning the Federal Treasury involving Calhoun of S.C. and President Van Buren.
6 November 1837: His study of Chitty's Pleadings.
17 February 1838: Account of rape charges against a Negro by a white woman.
22 February 1838: Goes to Washington's Birthday ball and is made miserable by being ignored.
31 March 1838: Eulogy to a Lady, Miss R. of Richmond, Va. "Without they hand I may never marry."
1 April 1838: Eulogy to another lady he had just met.
5 April 1838: Methods of treating drunkards in Windsor.
8 April 1838: Mores in Windsor. Tirade against inhabitants.
12 April 1838: Discourse on whipping children at school.
19 April 1838: Attack on his former home, "Oaklawn", in Hertford County because of his sister's marriage to a Mr. Cobb, who, Valentine felt, was a dishonor to his family.
20 April 1838: Account of the public hanging of the aforementioned Negro rapist. Also account of a "mock duel" which resulted in the death of one of the participants.
Volume 3: 2 July 1838-1 August 1839 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 3
4 July 1838: Celebration of Independence Day in Windsor
2 August 1838: Election day in Bertie County. Whigs expected to carry most offices. W.W. Cherry, Whig Senatorial candidate, elected. "Down goes the Jackson Dynasty."
4 August 1838: Man loading cannon in celebration of Whig victory shot to pieces.
17 August 1838: Description of arrival of a company of strolling players in Windsor, of their audience and performance.
22 August 1838: Attended a wedding at the home of W.W. Cherry during his last week as school teacher in Windsor.
8 October 1838: Attended Bethel Church. Comments on the eloquence in Methodist and Baptist Churches.
23 October, 29 October, 4 November 1838: Discussed proposed convention to be held in Norfolk for the purpose of increasing the South's industry and enterprise.
26 October 1838: Concerning Valentine's opinion that his father should send his younger brothers to school instead of keeping them on the plantation as overseers.
28 November 1838: Description of meeting to encourage Southern trade and industry which Valentine attended in Norfolk.
31 November 1838: Described his deep indebtedness. Desired to practice law in Raleigh.
8 December 1838: Attended court in Northampton. "Fees were few with me and Tavern bill high, but a good Tavern, etc."
14 December 1838: Comments upon Governor Dudley's message on the Internal Improvement Program and its impact upon the public.
17 December 1838: Comments on the resolution against duelling just introduced before Congress by the Hon. J.L. Adams.
2 January 1839: Wrote of North Carolina planters beginning to believe that the N.C. climate not warm enough for cotton, and the increase in the growing silkworms.
10 March 1839: Had received no law cases in all his attendances at Court.
15 March 1839: Account of visiting a young lady he desired to marry.
16 March 1839: Accused by his father of being extravagant and idle.
30 March 1839: Copy of a love letter written by Valentine.
6 April 1839: Description of his sweetheart.
12 April 1839: Prices of fish at Liberty Hill Fishery, description of preparing the fields for planting.
18 April 1839: Studying Starkie on Evidence.
21 April 1839: Description of Liberty Hill and Mount Pleasant fisheries. Some discussion of local fishing industries.
24 April 1839: Description of a run of herring when everyone turned out to fish.
17 May 1839: Attended court at Windsor. Described speech of Col. Long in favor of Clay over Van Buren, of voting scene in Court House involving Robert Watson and W.W. Cherry. Love Letter to his sweetheart who had not replied to his past letters.
25 May 1839: Description of the political turmoil in the county prior to the presidental election.
27 May 1839: Attended court at Hertford County but received no business. Humiliated and depressed, Valentine began to think of leaving N.C.
1 June 1839: Described political situation which favored the Whigs.
10 June 1839: Planned to attend the "speechifying" at Murfreesboro between the Congressional candidates. Planned to address the people himself on the establishment of "Common Schools."
17 June 1839: Described Murfreesboro political meeting.
13 July 1839: Described political meeting at Coleraine and speakers J.A. Bynum and W.W. Cherry, and Kenneth Rayner.
1 August 1839: Valentine addressed local communities on establishing "common schools;" received much opposition from Raynor. Woman convicted of manslaughter branded on hand.
Volume 4: 4 November 1839-1 December 1840 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 4
4 November 1839: "At Jackson heard fine arguments by Messrs Badger and Iredell."
17 December 1839: Remarks on the nomination of Wm. H. Harrison by the Whig convention.
26 December 1839: Copy of a letter to newspaper editor (probably the Raleigh Register), on his views against Harrison, for Clay.
1 January 1840: The Sub-Treasury issues.
9 January 1840: Remarks disapproving conduct of the House of Representatives, in particular Rep. W. W. Cherry.
17 January 1840: Extended remarks on John C. Calhoun's reported desertion of the Whig party.
16 January 1840: Extended remarks on local farming practices entitled "The Farmers Against Themselves, A Sort of Suicide."
22 January, 23 January 1840: Essay on Calhounism.
4 February 1840: On the States' vs. the Federal Government.
8 February 1840: Description of the effects of a hard winter on local farming country.
13 February 1840: Further essay on the character of the State of Virginia
15 February 1840: Discussion following his reading of Henry Clay's Recommendation of a Congress of Nations.
11 March 1840: Attendance at court in Northampton County, no cases, debt.
12 March 1840: On the death of Wm. D. Hodges of Hansemond County.
28 March 1840: Described meeting of Whigs at Gatesville. Speakers W.W. Cherry, Outlaw of Bertie, Kinny of Pasquotank.
6 April 1840: Discussed abolition as a political issue.
23 April 1840: Description of fishing industry catching big run of fish.
1 May 1840: Comments on political meetings at Northampton addressed by George C. Badger, Thomas Bragg and Dr. Pritchard.
11 May 1840: Report on convention at Baltimore of May 4 to which Valentine was a delegate.
15 May 1840: Attended meeting at Windsor where N.C. gubernatorial candidates Morehead and Saunders spoke.
7 June 1840: Copy of his speech in favor of the common schools.
16 June 1840: Growing reputation of Wm. H. Harrison.
9 July 1840: Meeting of Gates and Hertford Counties to hold a great Whig dinner, a log Cabin, Hard Cider Meeting.
The balance of Volume 4 concerns the political situation, meetings and speeches of the Whig party; gives account of his own trial for fighting with one J.A. Outlaw.
12 November 1840: Description of voting day
Volume 5: 28 January 1841-4 February 1842 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 5
13 Feb 1841: On N.C. being scorned and ridiculed by Virginia and South Carolina.
1 March 1841: On national hard times and tightness of credit.
4 March 1841: Harrison's Inauguartion Day.
5 March 1841: On the nomination of George E. Badger for Secretary of the Navy.
10 April 1841: Extensive comments on the death of Wm. H. Harrison.
14 April, 15 April, 16 April 1841: Extensive comments on succession of John Tyler to the Presidency and other effects of Harrison's death.
17 April, 21 April 1841: Eleven pages of comment on the press in North Carolina.
4 May 1841: Meeting at Bethel, N.C., to elect the Free School Committee.
21 October 1841: On the contemporary political situation regarding Tyler's Bank bills.
26 October 1841: Comments on the members of the N.C. Supreme Court: Thos. Ruffuin. William Gaston, Joesph J. Daniel.
4 December 1841: Opened a small law office in Winton, N.C.
29 December, 30 December 1841: On the unexploited resources in North Carolina.
10 January 1842: On the slaves traffic at Winton.
Volume 6: 22 April 1842-10 July 1843 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 6
2 May 1842: Attended general assembly of the paupers of Hertford.
3 May 1842: Describes how committee for the Free School installed by a single voter, no interest in the county.
27 May 1842: Winton visited by a phrenologist.
12 July 1842: On the possibility of the impeachment of Tyler; the growing popularity of Harry of the West, Henry Clay.
3 August 1842: On conflict between Tyler and Congress; heavy rains that destroyed the year's crops; peoples' turning to religion all over Eastern N.C.
8 August, 10 August 1842: On the elections, and defeat of Whig candidates, the pseudoreligious campaign of Dr. Godwin C. Moore.
29 August 1842: On hard times for four years, public feeling, religious excitement.
7 June 1843: Extensive comments on the Ashburton Treaty.
Volume 7: 13 April 1844-30 January 1846 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 7
26 Aprilil 1844: Concerning the recent visit of Henry Clay to North Carolina.
2 May, 7 May, 11 May 1844: Whig activities, choosing an elector from the Edenton district.
22 July 1844: Description of political meeting at Winton, Dr. T.C. Moore, the Cool Spring Democratic Mass Meeting, speech of Hon. S.T. Sawyer of Norfolk.
Throughout the summer of 1844, there are many entries concerning Whig interests and activities.
7 September 1844: Meeting of local Clay Club of which Valentine was president and the expelling of a member who distributed anti-Clay literature at the meeting. First fight between Valentine and expelled member.
18 October, 23 October, 26 October, 28 October 1844: Entries concerning possible election of Clay, smear campaign against Clay, other Whig activities.
12 Novemberember 1844: Details of an unusual local illness and its treatment.
18 November 1844: On the defeat of Henry Clay and the election of James K. Polk.
22 November 1844: On the last 10 years of political unrest and quarreling, locally and nationally.
4 December 16 December 1844: Charges of fradulent voting in recent presidential election.
14 December 1844: Local and personal opinion on annexation of Texas.
6 January 1845: On the explusion of William Ennett of Onslow County from the North Carolina Senate for taking his seat with a forged certificate.
13 January 1845: The growing bitterness between North and South over Abolition.
11 February 1845: Opinion on the annexation of Texas.
12 April 1845: Extensive comments on the behavior and fashions in dress of women of his day, particularly the "bustle."
3 May, 8 May, 10 May, 12 May, 13 May, 14 May 1845: On the death of his friend, W. W. Cherry; details of Cherry's behavior the week before his death, his character, accomplishments, education.
19 June 1845: Meeting of delegates of 9th Congressional District at Winton, which body appointed Col. David Outlaw as Whig Candidate in place of Cherry.
July, August 1845: Frequent entries concerning Whig activites, election of Asa Biggs, first "loco Foco" to represent the district.
27 September 1845: Observations on Judge Manly at Winton Superior Court.
14 November 1845: Eclipse of the moon; more on women's fashions.
17 December 1845: Shooting of a runaway slave belonging to David O. Askew.
Volume 8: 5 February 1846-6 November 1847 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 8
5 February 1846: Account of widespread scandal and a duel fought between Dr. Daniel Johnson, son of Charles Johnson, and a Mr. Jones over Mr. Jones' wife, the former Miss Devereux of Raleigh.
18 March 1846: Death of Whig politician John Hampden Pleaseants, killed in a duel by Thomas Ritchie.
28 April 1846: Personal comments and observations on the candidates for governor: William A. Graham, the Incumbent, and James B. Shepard, Loco.
3 April 1846: Comments on a speech of Wm. A. Graham heard by Valentine at Winton .
11 June, 16 June, 22 June 1846: Comments on the War with Mexico, responsibility of present Adminstration in regard to the war.
12 October 1846: Case of miscegenation which appeared in Gates County Court in which Thomas Bragg appeared as a character witness.
27 October 1846: News of local militia in Mexican War in which Capt. Braxton Bragg distinguished himself.
30 December 1846: Militia of Hertford County summoned and volunteers called for.
18 January 1847: On the proposed railroad to the Pacific Ocean. "It will not be done in a hundred years."
26 March 1847: Account of Hertford Superior Court, for which Valentine was clerk; comments on Hon. David H. Caldwell, presiding judge.
28 May 1847: Description of a muster of the Hertford County militia.
21 July 1847: Account of speeches of the Congressional candidates, David Outlaw and Asa Biggs which Valentine heard at Coleraine.
6 August 1847: Local elections.
Volume 9: 11 February 1848-17 July 1849 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 9
11 February 1848: Detailed account of another local scandal involving the Jones and Devereux families, which Valentine blamed on the influence of reading French novels.
4 March 1848: On the deaths of N.C. Supreme Court Justice Daniel, and John Q. Adams.
7 March 1848: The nomination of Charles Manly for Governor by the Whig Convention.
21 April 1848: Personal feelings about the French Revolution and Bonaparte.
1 June, 6 June 1848: Opinion on the abilities of Judge H. Battle and Judge Richmond Pearson.
14 July 1848: The ineffectiveness of the Free School system.
25 July 1848: Local military muster at which Congressional candidates W.N.H. Smith and Kenneth Rayner spoke.
16 August 1848: Discussion of the balance of political power in N.C. and the coming elections for Governor and General Assembly.
26 August 1848: Valentine a candidate for County Solicitor.
1 October 1848: Described local "apathy" over coming Presidential election.
7 October 1848: Addresses by Thos. Bragg and Kenneth Rayner to the crowd at Gates County Court.
20 December 1848: On the election of Richmond M. Pearson to the N.C. Supreme court; on the personality of Judge Thomas Ruffin.
25 January 1849: Comments on the activities of Northern abolitionists in reference to the newly acquired territories. "Heaven preserve our Union, etc."
10 March 1849: Great optimism for Zachary Taylor's term of office.
23 April 1849: On the establisment of local Poor House; the treatment of the poor in former days.
20 April 1849: Smallpox epidemic begun in Murfreesboro by a Mr. Harrell who contracted the disease in Baltimore and brought it to N.C.
Volume 10: 27 July 1849-9 October 1850 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 10
30 July, 7 August, 16 August, 18 August 1849: Whig political meetings, speeches of candidates Person and W.N.H. Smith, current political picture.
5 Septembertember 1849: State of local trade.
22 October 1849: Spread of the Odd Fellows Fraternity in Eastern N.C.
27 October 1849: The local organization of the Sons of Temperance.
26 January, 2 February 1850: Discussions of slavery, activities of the Abolitionists, secession.
2 February 1850: Problems with the local Common School.
18 March 1850: Concerning the proposed ship channel in Albemarle Sound.
2 April 1850: Comments on John W. Ellis, Judge of Superior Court, from personal observation.
5 April, 9 April 1850: On the death of John C. Calhoun.
7 June 1850: Discussed possibility of renomination of the Whig Governor Manly, and Manly's proposal that Supreme Court judges be elected by the people.
8 June 1850: Concerning the Southern Convention meeting in Nashville and possibilites of secession.
29 June 1850: Comments and opinions on the Cube Expedition.
9 Septembertembert 1850: Several questions about which the Baptist Church was quarreling at that time.
Volume 11: 30 December 1850-24 January 1852 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 11
1 January 1851: Problems with their slaves, punishment for stealing, extended comments on dealings with slaves throughout the community (See also Vol. 10, February 8 entry).
During the month of January there are several entries concerning national politics, the Compromis bill, Northern agitation against the South.
15 January, 30 May 1851: Accounts of establishing Female Schools and Male Academies in the vicinity by the Baptist and Methodist Churches.
12 March, 14 March, 17 March, 18 March 1851: Description of Temperance lectures delivered by Mr. Ralph White at the Coleraine Baptist Church.
10 April 1851: On the death of Augustus Moore, his life and character.
2 June 1851: Description of nearby village of Bethel, the people, social customs.
22 July 1851: Description of the closing of the public schools for a two month's vacation, and of the public examinations.
Many July entries about Methodist Revival meetings in the vicinity.
8 August 1851: The issues before the local voters of the day as Valentine interpreted them from the Whig viewpoint.
9 August 1851: Feelings in Hertford County against South Carolina secessionists.
8 September, 10 September, 17 September, 21 September 1851: Entries about the invasion of Cuba.
4 November 1851: Detailed description of a Negro prayer meeting which he attended.
3 December 1851: Reported activities as Solicitor, a post Valentine had recently been elected to.
Many entries during the latter part of 1851 referring to Kossuth's visit to the United States.
24 January 1852: A summing up of the position of North Carolina in early 1852 in the Confederacy, in popluation, and in commerce.
Volume 12: 28 February 1852-16 March 1853 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 12
Valentine, in his 46th year, was growing even more introspective than formerly. He mused about the village he lived in, the joys and troubles of a farmer's life, religion, national political parties and issues, local families.
6 April 1852: Local opinion on Millard Fillmore's administration.
28 April 1852: Account of his close friend Kenneth Rayner's refusal to run for governor, which, according to Valentine, resulted in the State turning away from the Whig Party.
4 May 1852: Explained system for caring for the "local poor" and the operation of the Poorhouse. Description of Whig meeting attended by Valentine at Winton to appoint local delegates to the District Convention at Gatesville and from there to the National Convention.
19 May 1852: Description of Whig District Convention which he attended. Delegates to the National Convention were elected. John Kerr, Whig candidate for Governor, spoke.
7 June 1852: Meeting of Sons of Temperance.
11 June 1852: Sentiments against the nomination of Franklin Pierce by the Democratic Party.
16 June 1852: Speculation on the nominee of the Whig Convention then meeting in Baltimore: Fillmore, Webster, or Scott?
26 June 1852: Extended comments on Millard Fillmore, Winfield Scott, William A. Graham.
28 June 1852: Description of visit and conversation with J.B. Spruill, local Whig representative just returned from the Baltimore convention which nominated Winfield Scott and William A. Graham.
3 July 1852: Sentiments on the death of Henry Clay.
There are frequent entries concerning local political activities during the summer and fall of 1852. A few of these entries are indicated below:
6 July 1852: Militia muster at Coleraine, opening of Whig political campaign, speeches heard.
19 July, 24 July 1852: The attacks of Kenneth Rayner, a leader in Eastern N.C. Whig politics, against Winfield Scott, Whig nominee for President.
14 August 1852: Description of the public examination at the Female College at Murfreesboro.
24 August 1852: Entry concerning Whig feeling over results of recent elections, the effects of a free suffrage, reputation of Thomas L. Clingman.
25 September, 1 October, 6 October, 8 October 1852: Local activities on connection with the Presidental campaign.
7 October 1852: Objections to military men for President, Winfield Scott in particular.
29 October 1852: Extensive description of Whig mass meeting at Gatesville.
4 November 1852: Incidents in local presidental campaign, Whig inactivity, apathy among the people.
10 November 1852: On Pierce's election to the Presidency.
17 November 1852: Local activity for "Legislative prohibition of traffic in ardent spirits."
26 November 1852: Comments on freed Negroes, legal rights, community status.
10 March 1853: Again took up residence at Winton, N.C., to practice law there. Description of local conditions.
Volume 13: 15 February 1853-10 January 1854 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 13
15 April 1853: Valentine visited Edenton and was there during the death of ex-Governor Iredell, which he discussed in some detail.
26 April 1853: Recorded revival of N.C. interest in building up Beaufort as a seaport.
8 June, 9 June, 11 June 1853: "Spiritual Rappings" - description of a séance held at his brother's house. Influence of spiritual experiments held at several points throughout the community.
27 June 1853: Free Mason celebration; ceremony of laying the cornerstone of Wesleyan Female College at Murfreesboro.
23 July 1853: Situation created in and around Winton by a large number of freed Negroes living there.
17 August, 19 August 1853: Discussed causes of defeat of David Outlaw, Whig, by Shaw, Democrat.
7 September , 12 September 1853: "Protracted meetings" of the Methodists and Baptists in the region around Winston.
1 October, 7 October 1853: Description of John W. Ellis, newly elected judge, on the bench in Superior Court where Valentine was solicitor.
More and more entries concerning religious activities in the community, personal convictions.
8 November 1853: Twenty-one page description of his trip to Beaufort.
10 November 1853: Comments on financial conditions in Beaufort, factors which were delaying development of Beaufort area, accommodations, prices, attitudes.
Volume 14: 24 February 1854-2 June 1855 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 14
3 May 1854: Description of the "Old Field Schools" which were formerly the only system of education in the region, discipline under the old pedagogues, "turning out" the master.
4 May, 9 May 1854: Continued discussion of the Old Field Schools, subjects taught, preparation for college.
10 May 1854: Comments on Thomas Bragg's candidacy for governor.
26 May 1854: Eclipse of the sun.
2 June 1855: (possibly misdated in diary) Personal observations and comments on the various Eastern North Carolina judges: John M. Dick of Guilford County, John L. Bailey of Hillsborough, Matthias E. Manly of Newbern, David H. Caldwell.
2 December 1854: Some comments on the tar, pitch and turpentine industry in Eastern North Carolina.
8 December 1854: Concerning the election of his personal friend, Asa Biggs, to the U.S. Senate.
Volume 15: 12 Julyy 3 Decemberember 1855 #02148, Series: "William D. Valentine Diary, 1837-1855." Folder 15
3 August 1855: Local and State elections, in which Valentine lost his office of County Solicitor.
Entries in this volume are primarily concerned with local and personal religious activities and beliefs.
Processed by: SHC Staff
Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010
Updated with description from 1957 finding aid by Research and Instruction Services Staff and Amelia Holmes, February 2016.Back to Top