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.
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Size||2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 72 items)|
|Abstract||The collection includes family and business correspondence, chiefly 1835-1856, account books, ledgers, and day books of the Davidson family of Mecklenburg County, N.C., who lived at Rural Hill Plantation, 1833-1890; Ingleside Plantation, 1867-1875; and Dixon Plantation, Gaston County, N.C., 1872-1893. Among the correspondents are Adam Brevard Davidson (1808-1896); his wife Mary Laura (Springs) Davidson of York County, S.C.; her father, John Springs; John M. W. Davidson, a physician; Robert H. M. Davidson, a lawyer; and William S. M. Davidson. Also included is correspondence with members of the family in Florida. Volumes consist of ledgers and family business records, 1813-1874.|
|Creator||Davidson (Family : Mecklenburg County, N.C.)|
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.
Adam Brevard Davidson (1808-1896), planter and developer, a son of John Davidson, Jr., and his wife Sarah Harper Brevard Davidson, was born at Rural Hill Plantation in Mecklenburg County, N.C., built by Adam Brevard's grandfather, John Davidson (d. 1832). Together with his father, Adam Brevard Davidson owned about five thousand acres and fifty or sixty slaves in the Hopewell section of Mecklenburg. When construction of Davidson College was begun in 1836, on land belonging to his cousin and uncle-in-law William Lee Davidson, Adam Brevard contracted for and supplied the lumber for the early buildings. All lumber was sawed at his own mills.
On 20 April 1836, in Springfield, York County, S.C., Adam Brevard Davidson married Mary Laura Springs (1813-1872), daughter of John Springs III. She had attended the Moravian Academy at Salem, N.C., and the select school of Madam Sarazin in Philadelphia. Adam Brevard and Mary had fifteen children. Mary died in 1872, and Davidson married Cornelia C. Elmore (1835-1921) of Columbia, S.C., daughter of U.S. Senator Franklin Harper Elmore, in 1876.
Davidson was elected trustee of Davidson College in 1844 and served with few interruptions until 1877. Two of his sons were educated at the college: Robert, who died as a result of mistreatment in a northern prison during the Civil War, and Baxter, who was, at his death, the largest single donor in the college's history.
Adam Brevard Davidson was a conspicuously successful planter. He was president of the Mecklenburg Agricultural Society for fifteen years before the Civil War and served the Society intermittently in various capacities until the organization society was disbanded after the Confederate defeat.
(Adapted from the entry on Adam Brevard Davidson by Chalmers G. Davidson in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, volume 2, 1986.)Back to Top
The collection includes family and business correspondence, chiefly 1835-1856, account books, ledgers, and day books of the Davidson family of Mecklenburg County, N.C., who lived at Rural Hill Plantation, 1833-1890; Ingleside Plantation, 1867-1875; and Dixon Plantation, Gaston County, N.C., 1872-1893. Among the correspondents are Adam Brevard Davidson (1808-1896); his wife Mary Laura (Springs) Davidson of York County, S.C.; her father, John Springs; John M. W. Davidson, a physician; Robert H. M. Davidson, a lawyer; and William S. M. Davidson. Also included is correspondence with members of the family in Florida. Volumes consist of ledgers and family business records, 1813-1874.Back to Top
Family and business correspondence, chiefly 1835-1856, and a few financial and legal papers of members of the Davidson family of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties, N.C., who lived at Rural Hill Plantation, Mecklenburg County, 1833-1890; Ingleside Plantation, Mecklenburg County, 1867-1875; and Dixon Plantation, Gaston County, 1872-1893. Among the correspondents are Adam Brevard Davidson (1808-1896); his wife Mary Laura Springs Davidson (1813-1872) of York County, S.C.; and her father, John Springs. There are also letters to and from Adam Brevard Davidson's brothers John Matthew Winslow Davidson, a physician; Robert H. M. Davidson (d. 1841), a lawyer; and William S. M. Davidson, all of whom appear to have lived in Florida and tried repeatedly to get their brother to relocate there. There are also a few letters in the 1830s to and from relatives in Alabama and from E. Constantine Davidson, a student at Harvard Law School in the 1840s. Most letters are about family news, social life, travels, financial matters, plantation and slave affairs, and Presbyterian Church activities. Interfiled with the letters are a few financial and legal papers and two 1854 essays by Adam Brevard Davidson on innovative agricultural techniques.
Included are the following:
10 September 1827: William Davidson in Charlotte, N.C., to Isaac T. Avery in Morganton, N.C., about the Catawba Navigation Company.
29 September 1830: typed copy of letter from Mary Laura Springs (later Davidson) to her parents, describing a trip from her home in York County, S.C., to Salem, N.C., where she attended school, and then on to Washington, D.C., which she described in some detail, and, later, to Baltimore and Philadelphia, where she was a student at the Bethel Academy.
3 November 1833: from M. Brevard in Alabama about general conditions and land sales by the Cherokees.
1835 Letters from Rebecca E. Forney, a Davidson cousin in Tuscaloosa, Ala., about conditions there.
6 November 1836: from Robert H. M. Davidson in Florida to Adam Brevard Davidson, chiefly about the high price of slaves in Florida and suggesting that the brothers invest in North Carolina slaves to sell in Florida.
1837 Letters from Robert H. M. Davidson in Florida to Adam Brevard Davidson, mentioning the end of the Seminole War and anticipating growth in the region as a result of the cessation of hostilities.
1838 Letters to Adam Brevard Davidson from Robert H. M. Davidson en route to Niagara, N.Y., via West Point, where their brother Augustus was buried.
30 August 1841: from Robert H. M. Davidson in New York about his travels and ill health.
30 August: from E. Constantine Davidson at Harvard Law School, describing his activities.
22 October: from John Matthew Winslow Davidson to his mother about the death of Robert H. M. Davidson on 17 October.
1854 Two essays on agricultural innovations that Adam Brevard Davidson appears to have prepared for the Mecklenburg Agricultural Society. One is a discussion of deep plowing and the other is on clover planting.
There are only a few Civil War era items, and only one, a printed circular, is directly related to the war.
Materials from the 1880s are chiefly form letters transmitting annual Southern Railway passes to Adam Brevard Davidson; those dated after the turn of the century are routine letters from such organizations as the North Carolina Good Roads Association and the North Carolina Folk-lore Society to various family members.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Account books, ledgers, and day books of members of the Davidson family. Most of the volumes relate to the management of the family's plantations--Rural Hill and Ingleside in Mecklenburg County, and Dixon in Gaston County. Ingleside Plantation appears to have been home to William S. M. Davidson; Dixon Plantation was the property of Laura Springs Davidson, but managed by John Springs and Richard A. Davidson. Beginning in the 1870s, many of the volumes relate to the financial affairs of Adam Brevard Davidson's son Eli Leroy Baxter Davidson.
|Oversize Volume S-1|
|Oversize Volume S-2|
|Oversize Volume S-5|
|Oversize Volume S-9|
|Oversize Volume S-10|
Beginning in the 1870s, many of the volumes relate to the financial affairs of Adam Brevard Davidson's son Eli Leroy Baxter Davidson.
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, September 1992
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top