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Collection Number: 00641

Collection Title: Thomas Ruffin Papers, 1753-1898

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 processed with support, in part, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.

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Size 26.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 19,000 items)
Abstract Thomas Ruffin, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, planter, and politician, served in the North Carolina House of Commons, 1813-1816; as judge of the Superior Court, 1816-1818; as reporter of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1820-1822; and as judge of the Superior Court in 1825-1828. Ruffin became president of the State Bank of North Carolina in 1828. He was elected judge of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1829 and became chief justice in 1833. He served as chief justice until 1852 and again from 1858 to 1859. Ruffin was president of the North Carolina Agricultural Society, 1854-1860. He was a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference and to the North Carolina Secession Convention in 1861. The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal papers, and other papers of Thomas Ruffin, and correspondence and financial records of his father, Sterling Ruffin. Major topics are family concerns, especially relating to women; work on plantations in Rockingham, Caswell, and Alamance counties, N.C.; Ruffin's legal practice; borrowing and lending money; the State Bank; Ruffin's other business ventures, including a slave-trading partnership; and his brother's business in Alabama. There is considerable correspondence with merchants in Petersburg, Va., Hillsborough, N.C., and Fayetteville, N.C., about debt collection and legal business. Letters about national politics appear particularly around the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Also included are letters from two of Ruffin's sons who were officers in the Confederate army (5th North Carolina Infantry Regiment and 13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment), and letters about political and economic conditions in the Confederacy. There are letters as well from family members who were students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 1813 through the 1840s. Among the correspondents are Ruffin's father-in-law, William Kirkland; his sons-in-law, J. B. G. Roulhac and Paul Carrington Cameron; and friends and business associates, including Archibald De Bow Murphey, Duncan Cameron, and George Badger.
Creator Ruffin, Thomas, 1787-1870.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Thomas Ruffin Papers #641, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received through gift and purchase from various sources, beginning before 1940 and continuing through 1984. Addition of November 2007 purchased from B & L Rootenberg (Acc. 100549).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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Processed by: Carolyn Hamby and Linda Sellars with the assistance of Culley Holderfield, Abigail Peoples, and Alicia Reeves, 1994

Encoded by: Bari Helms, March 2005

Updated because of addition by Margaret Dickson, July 2007

Updated for digitization by Kathryn Michaelis, June 2010

This collection was processed with support, in part, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Thomas Ruffin, planter, jurist, and politician, was born 17 November 1787 at Newington in King and Queen County, Va. His parents were Sterling and Alice Roane Ruffin. Sterling Ruffin was a planter in Essex County, Va., who subsequently moved to North Carolina and died in Caswell County.

Thomas Ruffin was educated at Warrenton Academy, 1801-1803, in Warrenton, N.C. He attended Princeton University, 1803-1805, and received his A.B. He read law in Petersburg, Va., under David Robertson, 1806-1807, and in North Carolina under Archibald D. Murphey, 1807-1808. Ruffin was admitted to the bar and moved to Hillsborough, N.C., in 1809.

Ruffin married Anne McNabb Kirkland (1794-1875) on 7 December 1809. Anne Kirkland was the daughter of William Kirkland, a Hillsborough merchant, and Margaret Scott Kirkland. Thomas and Anne Ruffin had fourteen children--Catherine Roane, William Kirkland, Anne, Alice Roane, Sterling, Peter Browne, George McNeill, Elizabeth, Thomas, Susan Mary, Jane Minerva, Martha (Patty) Phebe, John Kirkland, and Sarah (Sally) Nash Ruffin. Anne Ruffin's nephew, Duncan K. MacRae, lived with the Ruffins for several years after his mother died.

For most of his adult life, Ruffin owned two plantations--one in Rockingham County and the Hermitage in Alamance County, N.C. Ruffin was an agricultural innovator and a pioneer in scientific farming. He planted a variety of crops, looked for new ways to improve his soil through fertilizers, and maintained close contact with his cousin Edmund Ruffin, a noted antebellum agricultural reformer. He served as President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society from 1854 until 1860.

While living in Hillsborough, Ruffin served, 1813-1815, in the House of Commons. He was a presidential elector on the Monroe ticket in 1816. He was elected Judge of the Superior Court, 1818; reporter of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1820-1822; candidate for presidential elector on the Crawford ticket, 1824; and again as Judge of the Superior Court in 1825. Ruffin resigned from the bench and became President of the State Bank of North Carolina in 1828. His tenure as bank executive was shortlived. He was elected Judge of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1829 and became Chief Justice in 1833.

As a jurist, Ruffin was renowned for adapting established English common law standards to the constantly changing judicial conditions in the new United States. Some of his most famous decisions were Hoke v. Henderson , Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company v. Davis , and State v. Mann. State v. Mann was Ruffin's most notorious case. Ruffin's decision stated that "the power of the master must be absolute to render the submission of the slave perfect."

Ruffin retired from the bench in 1852. In 1858, the state legislature again elected him chief justice, but Ruffin resigned after one year.

A Unionist, Ruffin was a North Carolina delegate to the Washington Peace Conference in February 1861, where he sought to avert war. After the failure of this last effort at compromise, Ruffin was a delegate to the North Carolina Secession Convention, where he supported secession based on the right of revolution rather than the right of secession. Once secession was a fact, Ruffin strongly supported the Confederate cause.

After the war, Ruffin moved from the Hermitage to Hillsborough and remained there until his death on 15 January 1870.

For additional information on the Ruffin family and related families, see the Cameron Family Papers (#133) and the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton Family Papers (#643) in the Southern Historical Collection and Jean Bradley Anderson, The Kirklands of Ayr Mount.

(Biographical information sources: Sean Christopher Walker, "The Lawyer may be altogether sunk in the Farmer: Thomas Ruffin, Planter of Antebellum North Carolina" (Unpublished Honors Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994): 66-67; William S. Powell, ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Volume 5 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994): 266-268).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Correspondence, financial and legal papers, and other papers of Thomas Ruffin and correspondence and financial records of his father, Sterling Ruffin. Major topics are family concerns, especially relating to women; work on plantations in Rockingham County, N.C., Caswell County, N.C., and Alamance County, N.C.; Ruffin's legal practice; borrowing and lending money; the State Bank of North Carolina; Ruffin's other business ventures, including a slave-trading partnership; and his brother's business in Alabama. There is considerable correspondence with merchants in Petersburg, Va., Hillsborough, N.C., and Fayetteville, N.C., about debt collection and legal business. Letters about national politics appear particularly around the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Also included are letters from two of Ruffin's sons who were officers in the Confederate army, and letters about political and economic conditions in the Confederacy. There are letters as well from family members who were students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 1813 through the 1840s. Among the correspondents are Ruffin's father-in-law, William Kirkland; his sons-in-law, J. B. G. Roulhac and Paul Carrington Cameron; and friends and business associates, including Archibald De Bow Murphey, Duncan Cameron, and George Badger.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1784-1878.

About 14,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Personal, family, and business correspondence of Thomas Ruffin, along with some correspondence of his parents, siblings, wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and business associates. Related financial and legal items are filed here if they were attached to correspondence.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1784-1801.

About 20 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters relating to ownership of land. A letter, 1796, from Hubert Claiborne to James Ruffin concerns the purchase of slave children.

Folder 1

1784-1801

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1802-1807.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters to Thomas Ruffin from his father, Sterling Ruffin, letters to Thomas Ruffin from other family members and friends, a few letters to Sterling Ruffin, and a small number of other items. Letters of 1802 and 1803 from Sterling Ruffin in Virginia to Thomas in school at Warrenton, N.C., give advice about behavior, information about money and clothes, plans for visits, and other family news. Letters from Sterling Ruffin to Thomas Ruffin at Princeton are similar, emphasizing financial concerns, advice about morals, and discussion of Thomas's performance at Princeton. A letter of 9 June 1804 from Sterling to Thomas discusses slavery and religion. Father to son letters of 1806 discuss plans for Thomas to read law with David Robertson in Petersburg, Va., and Sterling Ruffin's plans to buy land in Rockingham County, N.C. Also included in this subseries are letters from Thomas Ruffin's Virginia kin and neighbors, including William Garnett, Robert Ruffin, J. Reynolds, George Hairston, James Wright, and J. F. May. Toward the end of 1807, letters are directed to Thomas Ruffin at Danville, Va.

Folder 2

1802-1803

Folder 3

January-June 1804

Folder 4

July-December 1804

Folder 5

January-April 1805

Folder 6

May-August 1805

Folder 7

September-December 1805

Folder 8

1806

Folder 9

1807

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1808-1825.

About 5,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters to and from Thomas Ruffin about business, letters to Ruffin from family and friends, a few letters from Thomas Ruffin to his wife, Kirkland family letters, and a few other items.

The majority of Ruffin's business correspondents wrote from Petersburg, Va. Ruffin's most frequent business correspondents were James Freeland and the firm of Freeland and Gillis in Petersburg, Va., with whom he corresponded about collection of debts. Other Petersburg merchants from whom he received letters included Mitchell, Hinton & Brame; William Moore; John Dunlop; Nathaniel Friend; Durkin Henderson & Co.; Lynch & Cather; William Bowdine & Co.; Thomas Morgan; and Hislop and Brander.

Letters from C. F. Bagge, Salem, beginning late in 1814, discuss collection of debts. Regular letters from Bagge about borrowing and lending money, the State Bank of North Carolina, and other business appear until 1837, the year of Bagge's death.

In the early 1820s, Ruffin increasingly corresponded with North Carolina merchants about debt collection and legal business. Notable among these were Gavin Hogg, Duncan Rose, and, in Fayetteville, George McNeill; Winslow & Huske; Charles Chalmers; and C. P. Mallett.

Ruffin also received letters from New York merchants Kelly, Morrison & Clawson; Robertson & Wills; Peter S. Van Wyck; and Robertson & Kelso, about his commissions for collecting debts in North Carolina.

Archibald D. Murphey's financial difficulties were the subject of many letters during this period. Ruffin received letters from J. May in Petersburg, George McNeill in Fayetteville, and Murphey's sons Victor Moreau Murphey and William D. Murphey, as well as from Murphey himself about Murphey's debts. Murphey also wrote to Ruffin about the sale of land he owned in North Carolina and Tennessee.

In 1822-1825, Ruffin received several letters from Benjamin Chambers, his partner in a slave-trading venture, about the purchase and sale of slaves.

Letters about legal business from Archibald D. Murphey discuss particular legal cases and the courts. Ruffin also received letters about legal business from James Graham, John De Lacy, William Norwood, P. H. Winston, and George E. Badger. In July 1825, Ruffin received letters from George Badger, Robert Strange, and J. F. Taylor about arrangements for handling his legal business after he returned to the bench.

Some letters in this subseries discuss the national politics and government. A long letter from A. D. Murphey, dated 8 January 1813, besides giving advice on legal cases, gives news of the war against Bonaparte and speculates on the prospects for a negotiated peace between England and the United States. A few other letters give political and diplomatic news. One from Bartlett Yancey, 4 February 1814, to Sterling Ruffin gives news from Congress about revenue issues and war and peace. Letters from Yancey from late 1814 until 1817 give news of Congress and the government, revenue and finance, a proposed national bank, and other political topics. A few letters in 1824 from W. P. Mangum, Henry Seawell, R. M. Saunders, and J. W. Long discuss the coming presidential election.

Ruffin continued to receive friendly letters from William Garnett in Virginia. He and his parents also received letters from James Wright in Petersburg. These contained news of Petersburg and of Thomas's sister Minerva, who was visiting the Wrights. Another Virginia connection, William Roane, wrote on 17 October 1815 from the U.S.S. Constitution in the Bay of Gibraltar describing the voyage from Virginia to the Bay of Gibraltar and Malaga.

Some letters from or about Thomas Ruffin's father and siblings are included here. In August 1813, there is a letter from brother James Ruffin in college at the University of North Carolina. There are letters in April 1814 from George McNeill to Sterling Ruffin and Thomas Ruffin about James. Letters from Thomas Ruffin's father, Sterling Ruffin, in Rockingham and Caswell counties, to Thomas reflect Sterling's economic difficulties, the falling prices of land and slaves, difficulties raising cash and collecting debts. Also found here are letters between Sterling Ruffin and his daughter Minerva Dillard about religion.

After Sterling Ruffin's death in 1822, there are more letters from Thomas Ruffin's brothers James H. Ruffin and William F. Ruffin about business and about William's education at the University of North Carolina. William F. Ruffin died on 17 September 1824. Thomas Ruffin also received letters in 1825 from Mitchell Gill, Rockingham County, N.C., who was apparently managing Ruffin's plantation. Gill reported on slaves, animals, crops of corn and tobacco, and the progress of work on the farm.

Letters from Elizabeth Kirkland, 13 September 1810, and John Kirkland, 22 September 1810, to William Kirkland congratulate him on his daughter's marriage to Thomas Ruffin and inform him of the death of his sister Jane. These letters mention the state of the economy in England, Scotland, and America. Letters from William Kirkland in London, 10 October 1811, and Glasgow, 12 December 1811, describe his visit with his brothers Nugent and John and with his mother and sisters. Letters from William Kirkland after his return to North Carolina report to Ruffin on the slaves' work on Ruffin's farm and give news of his farm and family.

Only a few letters from Thomas Ruffin to his wife are included here. Among these are three written in December 1813, when Thomas was serving in the state legislature. Later letters ask Anne to pass along instructions about farm work to his slave Cupid. There are even fewer letters from Anne Ruffin to her husband. She did occasionally write news of their children and report on work on their farm.

On 3 June 1824, Archibald De Bow Murphey wrote to Ruffin from Haw River, N.C., informing him of the "evil and barbarous" treatment of Ruffin's slaves by his overseer. Murphey said that the neighbors were commenting and that Ruffin's character as well as his interest were involved.

Beginning in December 1824, William K. Ruffin wrote to his parents and to his sister Catherine from St. Mary's School in Maryland. William's letters describe his studies and life at the school.

Folder 10

1808

Folder 11

February-June 1809

Folder 12

July-December 1809

Folder 13

January-March 1810

Folder 14

April-June 1810

Folder 15

July-December 1810

Folder 16

January-June 1811

Folder 17

July-December 1811

Folder 18

February-August 1812

Folder 19

September-December 1812

Folder 20

January-September 1813

Folder 21

October-December 1813

Folder 22

January-February 1814

Folder 23

March-April 1814

Folder 24

May-June 1814

Folder 25

July-August 1814

Folder 26

September-October 1814

Folder 27

November-December 1814

Folder 28

January 1815

Folder 29

February-April 1815

Folder 30

May-August 1815

Folder 31

September-October 1815

Folder 32

November-December 1815

Folder 33

January-February 1816

Folder 34

March-April 1816

Folder 35

May-June 1816

Folder 36

July-August 1816

Folder 37

September-October 1816

Folder 38

November 1816

Folder 39

December 1816

Folder 40

January-February 1817

Folder 41

March-April 1817

Folder 42

May-June 1817

Folder 43

July-August 1817

Folder 44

September-October 1817

Folder 45

November-December 1817

Folder 46

January-February 1818

Folder 47

March-June 1818

Folder 48

July-October 1818

Folder 49

November-December 1818

Folder 50

January-February 1819

Folder 51

March 1819

Folder 52

April 1819

Folder 53

May 1819

Folder 54

June 1819

Folder 55

July 1819

Folder 56

August 1819

Folder 57

September 1819

Folder 58

October 1819

Folder 59

November 1819

Folder 60

December 1819

Folder 61

January 1820

Folder 62

1-12 February 1820

Folder 63

13-28 February 1820

Folder 64

March 1820

Folder 65

1-10 April 1820

Folder 66

11-30 April 1820

Folder 67

May 1820

Folder 68

3-19 June 1820

Folder 69

21-30 June 1820

Folder 70

July 1820

Folder 71

1-17 August 1820

Folder 72

18-31 August 1820

Folder 73

September 1820

Folder 74

October 1820

Folder 75

November 1820

Folder 76

December 1820

Folder 77

January 1821

Folder 78

February 1821

Folder 79

1-18 March 1821

Folder 80

19-31 March 1821

Folder 81

April 1821

Folder 82

6-18 May 1821

Folder 83

19-31 May 1821

Folder 84

1-15 June 1821

Folder 85

17-30 June 1821

Folder 86

1-14 July 1821

Folder 87

16-31 July 1821

Folder 88

August 1821

Folder 89

September 1821

Folder 90

October 1821

Folder 91

1-9 November 1821

Folder 92

10-30 November 1821

Folder 93

1-15 December 1821

Folder 94

16-30 December 1821

Folder 95

1-20 January 1822

Folder 96

21-31 January 1822

Folder 97

1-12 February 1822

Folder 98

13-28 February 1822

Folder 99

1-14 March 1822

Folder 100

15-20 March 1822

Folder 101

21-31 March 1822

Folder 102

1-21 April 1822

Folder 103

22-30 April 1822

Folder 104

1-12 May 1822

Folder 105

13-21 May 1822

Folder 106

22-31 May 1822

Folder 107

June 1822

Folder 108

1-15 July 1822

Folder 109

16-31 July 1822

Folder 110

1-19 August 1822

Folder 111

21-31 August 1822

Folder 112

September 1822

Folder 113

October 1822

Folder 114

1-15 November 1822

Folder 115

16-30 November 1822

Folder 116

1-10 December 1822

Folder 117

11-19 December 1822

Folder 118

20-31 December 1822

Folder 119

1-16 January 1823

Folder 120

17-31 January 1823

Folder 121

1-14 February 1823

Folder 122

15-28 February 1823

Folder 123

1-20 March 1823

Folder 124

22-31 March 1823

Folder 125

1-20 April 1823

Folder 126

21-29 April 1823

Folder 127

1-20 May 1823

Folder 128

21-31 May 1823

Folder 129

1-16 June 1823

Folder 130

17-30 June 1823

Folder 131

1-19 July 1823

Folder 132

20-31 July 1823

Folder 133

August 1823

Folder 134

1-17 September 1823

Folder 135

19-30 September 1823

Folder 136

2-17 October 1823

Folder 137

18-29 October 1823

Folder 138

November 1823

Folder 139

December 1823

Folder 140

1-20 January 1824

Folder 141

22-31 January 1824

Folder 142

1-17 February 1824

Folder 143

18-29 February 1824

Folder 144

1-17 March 1824

Folder 145

22-31 March 1824

Folder 146

April 1824

Folder 147

May 1824

Folder 148

1-14 June 1824

Folder 149

15-30 June 1824

Folder 150

July 1824

Folder 151

1-15 August 1824

Folder 152

17-30 August 1824

Folder 153

1-16 September 1824

Folder 154

18-27 September 1824

Folder 155

October 1824

Folder 156

1-15 November 1824

Folder 157

17-30 November 1824

Folder 158

December 1824

Folder 159

1-15 January 1825

Folder 160

16-31 January 1825

Folder 161

1-15 February 1825

Folder 162

16-28 February 1825

Folder 163

1-12 March 1825

Folder 164

13-31 March 1825

Folder 165

1-19 April 1825

Folder 166

20-30 April 1825

Folder 167

1-14 May 1825

Folder 168

15-31 May 1825

Folder 169

1-15 June 1825

Folder 170

16-30 June 1825

Folder 171

July 1825

Folder 172

1-11 August 1825

Folder 173

12-31 August 1825

Folder 174

September 1825

Folder 175

October 1825

Folder 176

November 1825

Folder 177

1-19 December 1825

Folder 178

20-31 December 1825

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1826-1829.

About 1,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Personal and business correspondence of Thomas Ruffin. Many letters in this subseries have to do with Ruffin's family and farm. Other letters discuss his business affairs, including his slave trading partnership with Benjamin Chambers, borrowing and lending money, and buying and selling land. Only a few letters discuss politics. In 1829, a considerable number of letters concern the business of the State Bank of North Carolina, of which Ruffin was president in 1829.

Among the family letters during this time period are many written by Thomas Ruffin to his wife Anne, mostly about their children, his farm, his travel plans, his visits to friends and family, and his court business. On 26 January 1826, Thomas wrote to Anne from Caswell telling of his brother James Ruffin's marriage and describing his own happiness with his daughters' behavior. There are only a few letters here from Anne Ruffin to her husband. His requests for more letters and her responses indicate that she disliked writing letters and wrote infrequently. There are, however, a few letters from Anne to Thomas giving news of their children and farm.

Other family letters include letters of the Ruffin children. Here there are a considerable number of letters from William K. Ruffin at school in Maryland and, beginning in fall 1827, in Chapel Hill, N.C. William's letters from St. Mary's School in Maryland to his mother repeatedly state that he was unhappy at the Catholic school and wanted to go to the University of North Carolina. William's letters to his father concern his clothes, money, and plans. Thomas Ruffin wrote letters of advice to William concerning money, industry, and diligence. At St. Mary's, William also received letters from his sister Catherine Ruffin and his friends, William Norwood, Duponceau Jones, and Henry Webb. After William went to Chapel Hill in 1827, he wrote frequently to his parents about his expenses, his studies, and his living arrangements in Chapel Hill. Also found here are letters to William from St. Mary's friends and letters to Thomas Ruffin about William's conduct from E. Damphoux at St. Mary's and William Hooper in Chapel Hill. Also in this subseries are a letter from William Bingham reporting on Sterling Ruffin's progress in school and on Anne Ruffin to her parents from school at Rock Rest.

Anne Ruffin's nephew Duncan MacRae had lived with the Ruffins for several years after his mother died. In this subseries are several letters from his father, John MacRae, to Thomas Ruffin about business and about Duncan, who was for some of the time attending the Bingham School.

In this subseries there are several letters to Thomas Ruffin about the estate of his uncle, William Ruffin, and particularly about selling his uncle's property. The first letter about William Ruffin's estate is in Subseries 1.3. This letter, 15 September 1825, from William H. Ruffin to Thomas Ruffin mentions William's brothers Albert and Robert, and his son Frank. Other letters about the estate came from William Polk, William Haywood, and H. Miller, as well as from Thomas Ruffin's cousins, A. R. Ruffin, A. G. Ruffin, and Robert Ruffin. There are also some letters from Thomas Ritchie in Richmond, Va., who was apparently the brother of William Ruffin's widow.

Letters to Thomas Ruffin from his brother James Ruffin, his brother-in-law George McNeill, and his father-in-law William Kirkland, mix family and business concerns. A considerable number of letters from James Ruffin give news of Thomas's plantation as well as news of their mother and of James's own financial problems. George McNeill wrote most often of business, but also sent news of family members in Fayetteville, N.C., and of influenza in that city in 1826. William Kirkland wrote about his debts, the health of his family, and other family news. Both George McNeill and William Kirkland wrote about the debts of William McNeill.

The financial affairs of Archibald De Bow Murphey continue to be the subject of considerable correspondence in this subseries. Thomas Ruffin wrote to Samuel Dickins about land in Tennessee that had formerly been Murphey's. James McLemore and C. Bagge wrote to Ruffin about Murphey's affairs. Murphey himself wrote numerous letters to Ruffin about his health, his family, and his Tennessee lands. Also included here are some letters to Murphey from James Mebane and David Craighead about legal business.

Letters from Mitchell Gill, Rockingham County, N.C., report on slaves, animals, crops of tobacco and corn, and work on a plantation. Late in 1826, Gill wrote that he was moving and wanted the money owed him. He wrote again in 1827 about a dispute over money. Letters from William Meador, Rockingham, begin in 1827 and give news of crops, plowing, and horses.

Letters about Ruffin's own business affairs include letters from Benjamin Chambers in Alabama, where he was selling slaves, and letters about Chambers's death and the settlement of his estate. Also included are letters from John M. Dick in Greensboro about claims against Duncan Rose and other letters about financial and legal business from C. F. Bagge, John Devereux, W. H. Haywood, James T. Morehead, Gavin Hogg, George Badger, Thos. Irvin & Co., William Polk, William Cain, R. M. Saunders, J. F. May, Robert Strange, and others.

Relatively few letters relate to Ruffin's work as a judge. Among these are a letter from J. J. Daniel about the assignment of judges for fall 1828 and approximately twenty letters from people in Rockingham about the appointment of a clerk of Richmond Superior Court.

In 1829, when Ruffin was president of the State Bank, he received letters from the State Bank cashiers at Edenton, New Bern, and Fayetteville about Bank business.

Late in 1829, some letters contain speculation about whether Ruffin would succeed the state supreme court justice who had died. In November and December 1829, there are many letters of congratulation to Ruffin on his appointment to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Folder 179

January 1826

Folder 180

February 1826

Folder 181

March 1826

Folder 182

April 1826

Folder 183

May 1826

Folder 184

June 1826

Folder 185

July 1826

Folder 186

August-September 1826

Folder 187

October 1826

Folder 188

November 1826

Folder 189

1-14 December 1826

Folder 190

15-31 December 1826

Folder 191

January 1827

Folder 192

February 1827

Folder 193

March 1827

Folder 194

April 1827

Folder 195

May 1827

Folder 196

June 1827

Folder 197

July 1827

Folder 198

August 1827

Folder 199

September 1827

Folder 200

October 1827

Folder 201

4-12 November 1827

Folder 202

13-27 November 1827

Folder 203

December 1827

Folder 204

January 1828

Folder 205

February-March 1828

Folder 206

April-May 1828

Folder 207

June 1828

Folder 208

July 1828

Folder 209

August 1828

Folder 210

September-October 1828

Folder 211

November 1828

Folder 212

December 1828

Folder 213

January 1829

Folder 214

February 1829

Folder 215

1-20 March 1829

Folder 216

21-31 March 1829

Folder 217

April 1829

Folder 218

1-22 May 1829

Folder 219

23-31 May 1829

Folder 220

1-17 June 1829

Folder 221

18-30 June 1829

Folder 222

July 1829

Folder 223

1-17 August 1829

Folder 224

18-31 August 1829

Folder 225

September 1829

Folder 226

October 1829

Folder 227

1-15 November 1829

Folder 228

16-30 November 1829

Folder 229

1-10 December 1829

Folder 230

11-31 December 1829

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. 1830-1860.

About 5,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Personal and business correspondence of Thomas Ruffin while he was a justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Most of the letters in this subseries are part of Ruffin's correspondence with his family. The fraction of letters about borrowing and lending money, collecting debts, and conducting legal business is far smaller in this subseries than in earlier ones.

Letters from Thomas Ruffin, most often in Raleigh, to Anne Ruffin at Haw River discuss health, their children, and other family members. Infrequent letters from Anne to Thomas report on the weather, guests, slaves, her health, and their family. In 1836-1839, many letters discuss Anne Ruffin's illness. Alice Ruffin wrote to her father in 1836 that her mother was sick in mind and body. Anne herself wrote to her husband about it as did Dr. Edmund Strudwick, Alice Ruffin, Phebe Kirkland, John U. Kirkland, Anne Cameron, James Webb, and James H. Ruffin. Many of these letters also mention the illness of Ruffin's daughter Elizabeth Ruffin, who died late in 1838.

In 1834 and 1835, Thomas Ruffin exchanged letters with William Mercer Green about Green's proposal of marriage to Ruffin's daughter Catherine and her parents' objections. In 1836-1837, family letters discuss Catherine's engagement and marriage to Joseph Blount Gregoire Roulhac. Roulhac wrote from Windsor, N.C., about his wife and children and his business selling flour, buying tea, and selling carding machinery. In 1845, Roulhac wrote that he was planning to move to Raleigh, N.C. In the late 1840s, Thomas Ruffin's letters often give news of the Roulhac family because he stayed with them in Raleigh while the Supreme Court was in session.

Other family letters include letters from William K. Ruffin in Chapel Hill about his studies, his expenses, his reading law, and his plans. In 1832-1836, William wrote from Haw River about family and plantation news. In 1838 and 1839, several letters concern William K. Ruffin's drinking, gambling, and his shooting a man. In 1840-1842, William again wrote family and plantation news from Haw River. In 1843-1845, he wrote from Rockingham about the plantation and overseer.

Also in this subseries are letters of Paul Cameron and Anne Ruffin Cameron. Paul Cameron wrote to Anne Ruffin on 8 June 1831 that her father had agreed to his proposal of marriage. Letters from the Camerons in the 1830s report on Anne Cameron's health and other family news. In the 1840s, Anne and Paul Cameron each wrote to both Anne Ruffin and Thomas Ruffin with news of the Cameron children and other family members.

Alice Ruffin wrote letters to Thomas Ruffin, especially in the 1830s giving family news.

Sterling Ruffin wrote few letters but was the subject of many in the 1830s. In the early 1830s, when Sterling was at home at Haw River, he occasionally wrote to his father. Letters from William S. Bingham and W. Anderson in 1834 and 1835 concern Sterling's education. Also included in 1834 are letters from Sterling while he was a student in Chapel Hill. In 1835, quite a few letters discuss Sterling's sickness and resulting blindness. These include letters from James Webb, W. Anderson, Edmund Strudwick, V. M. Murphey, Pride Jones, and Isaac Hays. There are also several letters from Thomas Ruffin to Anne Ruffin on the way to Philadelphia, where he took Sterling for treatment. Letters from Robert Brodnax, F. M. Murphey, Isaac Hays, Pride Jones, as well as letters from Thomas to Anne discuss Sterling's condition and treatment. In 1837, Michael Holt wrote about bringing Sterling home. In 1845, Thomas Ruffin wrote to Anne Ruffin that he wanted Sterling to persevere with education for the blind.

Letters about Peter Browne Ruffin in Chapel Hill in 1838 and 1839. In the 1840s, Peter Browne Ruffin wrote from Hillsborough and then from Windsor about business.

In 1839 and 1840, letters from Robert Brodnax and from Mr. Smith indicate that Thomas Ruffin, Jr., and his cousins James, George, and Sterling, were at school at Mr. Smith's in Rockingham. In 1841-1844, Thomas Ruffin, Jr., wrote from Chapel Hill about his friends and his studies. Also included are reports from the University about Thomas, Jr., and about James S. Ruffin.

A letter from John MacRae in 1836 tells of Duncan going to Chapel Hill. Letters in February 1838 informed Ruffin that Duncan, then at the College of William and Mary, had been engaged as principal in a duel that was stopped by the civil authority, had been expelled from the college, and had shot himself in the lung.

Thomas Ruffin received numerous letters from William Kirkland and John U. Kirkland giving family news, especially news of the illness of Phebe Kirkland in the early 1830s. William Kirkland also wrote news of his extended family, such as A. D. Murphey's financial difficulties in 1832 and Robert Strange's debt to the State Bank in 1834. In 1836, he wrote about financial affairs and an outbreak of measles. John U. Kirkland wrote in 1836 about his father's illness and about his sister, Anne Ruffin. He wrote later about his father's estate and news of Phebe's death in 1844.

Ruffin's sisters' husbands, George McNeill of Fayetteville and William Cain of Hillsborough, wrote to him about family and business. A few letters from George McNeill are found in each year. There are fewer letters from William Cain. The letters from Cain are primarily about family news.

Letters from more distant relatives appear occasionally. Here are found one or two letters each year, 1832-1836, from Thomas Ruffin's cousin Caroline Ruffin asking for financial help. A few letters each year in the 1830s from Thomas Scott give news of his farm and family, including description of his debts and fears, but not including any request for assistance. E. L. de Graffenreid, husband of Martha Kirkland, wrote to Ruffin in the 1840s about property in Columbus, Ga., and about William Kirkland's estate.

James H. Ruffin wrote from Caswell about his plantation and business affairs as well as family news. In 1833, James H. Ruffin wrote from Tuscaloosa that he planned to move to Alabama. In 1834, he wrote from Greensborough, Ala., about a friend's desire to borrow money. For the remainder of the 1830s, James wrote sometimes from Alabama and sometimes from North Carolina. In 1839, he wrote from Mobile, Ala., that he was trying to sell out in Alabama and return to North Carolina. In 1846, he wrote again from Mobile about business, cotton, and funds for his son James Sterling Ruffin. In 1848, he wrote about ordering wedding paraphernalia for Susan Mary from Philadelphia and about his son's preparations to start medical school in Philadelphia.

Ruffin's overseers and neighbors in Rockingham and Caswell wrote him about his plantations there. Letters, 1830-1838, from William J. Meador, Dan River, N.C., give news about tobacco sales and work on the plantation. In 1840-1842, there are letters from John R. Meador, Dan River, reporting on Ruffin's people, hogs, and tobacco. In 1845-1847, there are similar letters from Reason Jeffreys and in 1848, from Green Hardy. Edward, Robert, and John Brodnax wrote to Ruffin at various times in the 1830s and 1840s about his plantation, his overseers, his slaves, and his crops.

Business letters, although relatively fewer in this subseries, continue to appear. Letters about Archibald De Bow Murphey's financial difficulties and the sale of his land continue until his death in 1832. Ruffin's correspondence with C. F. Bagge about borrowing and lending money continued until Bagge died in 1837. Also in this subseries are letters to and from Duncan Cameron, Edwin M. Holt, Michael Holt, James T. Morehead, William Cain, Duncan Rose, D. W. Stone, Thomas P. Devereux, and G. W. Mordecai about business. Also included is a letter, 1847, from Rufus Turnage in Tennessee about a land grant to John Rice.

Letters about legal questions from John M. Dick, chiefly about cases involving Duncan Rose, and from William A. Graham are also found here as are letters from young men inquiring about studying law with Ruffin. Letters about court business include one from W. W. Holden applying to be Reporter to the Supreme Court; letters, 1846, from E. J. Ervin, Tod R. Caldwell, and James R. Dodge applying to be Clerk of Supreme Court at Morganton; and letters of recommendation for candidates for Clerk.

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January 1830

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February 1830

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March 1830

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April-May 1830

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June 1830

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July 1830

Folder 237

August-September 1830

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October-December 1830

Folder 239

January-February 1831

Folder 240

March 1831

Folder 241

April-May 1831

Folder 242

June 1831

Folder 243

July 1831

Folder 244

August 1831

Folder 245

September-October 1831

Folder 246

November-December 1831

Folder 247

January 1832

Folder 248

February 1832

Folder 249

March-May 1832

Folder 250

June-July 1832

Folder 251

August-September 1832

Folder 252

January 1833

Folder 253

February 1833

Folder 254

March-June 1833

Folder 255

July 1833

Folder 256

August-October 1833

Folder 257

November-December 1833

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January-February 1834

Folder 259

March-April 1834

Folder 260

May-June 1834

Folder 261

July-August 1834

Folder 262

September 1834

Folder 263

October-December 1834

Folder 264

January 1835

Folder 265

February 1835

Folder 266

March-May 1835

Folder 267

June-July 1835

Folder 268

August-September 1835

Folder 269

October-December 1835

Folder 270

January-February 1836

Folder 271

March-April 1836

Folder 272

May-August 1836

Folder 273

September-December 1836

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January-February 1837

Folder 275

March-April 1837

Folder 276

May-June 1837

Folder 277

July 1837

Folder 278

August-September 1837

Folder 279

October-December 1837

Folder 280

January 1838

Folder 281

February-March 1838

Folder 282

April-June 1838

Folder 283

July 1838

Folder 284

August-October 1838

Folder 285

November-December 1838

Folder 286

January-February 1839

Folder 287

March-May 1839

Folder 288

June 1839

Folder 289

July-August 1839

Folder 290

September-December 1839

Folder 291

January 1840

Folder 292

February 1840

Folder 293

March-April 1840

Folder 294

May-June 1840

Folder 295

July-August 1840

Folder 296

September-October 1840

Folder 297

November-December 1840

Folder 298

January 1841

Folder 299

February 1841

Folder 300

March-April 1841

Folder 301

May-June 1841

Folder 302

July-August 1841

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September-December 1841

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January 1842

Folder 305

February-March 1842

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April-May 1842

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June 1842

Folder 308

July 1842

Folder 309

August-October 1842

Folder 310

November-December 1842

Folder 311

January 1843

Folder 312

February 1843

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March-May 1843

Folder 314

June-July 1843

Folder 315

August-September 1843

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October-December 1843

Folder 317

January-February 1844

Folder 318

March-April 1844

Folder 319

June-July 1844

Folder 320

August-December 1844

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January 1845

Folder 322

February 1845

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March-April 1845

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May-June 1845

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July 1845

Folder 326

August-September 1845

Folder 327

October-November 1845

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December 1845

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January 1846

Folder 330

February 1846

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March-April 1846

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May-June 1846

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July-August 1846

Folder 334

September-December 1846

Folder 335

January-February 1847

Folder 336

March-May 1847

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June 1847

Folder 338

July-November 1847

Folder 339

December 1847

Folder 340

January 1848

Folder 341

February 1848

Folder 342

March-April 1848

Folder 343

May-June 1848

Folder 344

July-August 1848

Folder 345

September-December 1848

Folder 346

January-February 1849

Folder 347

March-April 1849

Folder 348

May-June 1849

Folder 349

July 1849

Folder 350

August-September 1849

Folder 351

October-December 1849

Folder 352

January 1850

Folder 353

February-March 1850

Folder 354

April-June 1850

Folder 355

July-August 1850

Folder 356

September-October 1850

Folder 357

November-December 1850

Folder 358

January 1851

Folder 359

February 1851

Folder 360

March-April 1851

Folder 361

May-June 1851

Folder 362

July-August 1851

Folder 363

September-October 1851

Folder 364

November-December 1851

Folder 365

January 1852

Folder 366

February 1852

Folder 367

March 1852

Folder 368

April-May 1852

Folder 369

June 1852

Folder 370

July 1852

Folder 371

August 1852

Folder 372

September-October 1852

Folder 373

November-December 1852

Folder 374

January 1853

Folder 375

February 1853

Folder 376

March-April 1853

Folder 377

May-June 1853

Folder 378

July-August 1853

Folder 379

September-October 1853

Folder 380

November-December 1853

Folder 381

January-February 1854

Folder 382

March-April 1854

Folder 383

May-June 1854

Folder 384

July-August 1854

Folder 385

September-October 1854

Folder 386

November-December 1854

Folder 387

January-February 1855

Folder 388

March 1855

Folder 389

April 1855

Folder 390

May-June 1855

Folder 391

July-August 1855

Folder 392

September 1855

Folder 393

October 1855

Folder 394

November-December 1855

Folder 395

January-February 1856

Folder 396

March 1856

Folder 397

April 1856

Folder 398

May 1856

Folder 399

June 1856

Folder 400

July 1856

Folder 401

August 1856

Folder 402

September 1856

Folder 403

October 1856

Folder 404

November-December 1856

Folder 405

January 1857

Folder 406

February-March 1857

Folder 407

April 1857

Folder 408

May-June 1857

Folder 409

July-August 1857

Folder 410

September-October 1857

Folder 411

November-December 1857

Folder 412

January 1858

Folder 413

February 1858

Folder 414

March 1858

Folder 415

April 1858

Folder 416

May-June 1858

Folder 417

July-August 1858

Folder 418

September-October 1858

Folder 419

November 1858

Folder 420

December 1858

Folder 421

January 1859

Folder 422

February 1859

Folder 423

March 1859

Folder 424

April 1859

Folder 425

May-June 1859

Folder 426

July-August 1859

Folder 427

September-October 1859

Folder 428

November-December 1859

Folder 429

January 1860

Folder 430

February 1860

Folder 431

March 1860

Folder 432

April 1860

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May-June 1860

Folder 434

July-August 1860

Folder 435

September 1860

Folder 436

October 1860

Folder 437

November 1860

Folder 438

December 1860

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. 1861-1865.

About 600 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters, primarily to Thomas Ruffin, about the Civil War from political colleagues, Ruffin's sons in the Confederate Army, and financial consultants. Although a member of the Peace Convention of 1861, Thomas Ruffin supported the Confederate cause from the beginning of the war. On 5 June 1861, Rufus Y. McAden wrote to Ruffin asking him to help supply buttons for uniforms and blankets for the Alamance County troops.

Ruffin's sons Thomas Ruffin, Jr., and John K. Ruffin served in the Confederate Army. John Kirkland Ruffin was an assistant surgeon for the 5th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Thomas Ruffin, Jr., was a lieutenant colonel in the 13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Thomas Ruffin, Jr. wrote to his father frequently about his service and the progress of the war. On 26 May 1862, Thomas Ruffin, Jr. wrote to his father "We are in Genl. Colston's Brigade and Genl. Longstreet's division. The latter is thought to be a great man and has the full confidence of men and officer ... We moved again yesterday and are now in Richmond, between the York River and the Central R. Roads; but it is uncertain how long we will be here, as we are ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to move at an hour's notice." The senior Ruffin's pre-war pacifism had evaporated by 1862 and in his letter of 21 April 1862 to Thomas Ruffin, Jr., he wrote "[D]efend Richmond to the bitter end and if the demons should burn it, yet never let them occupy it. Harrass them day and night and make them wish themselves back in their infernal regions of abolition."

In addition to letters from his sons, Ruffin also received letters from political friends throughout the state. Many letters discuss the rivalry between Zebulon B. Vance and William W. Holden for the governorship of North Carolina. The government of the Confederacy was also discussed. Burgess S. Gaither, a Burke County, N.C., politician and member of the Confederate Congress wrote critically of Jefferson Davis, "The President does things pretty much in his own way, without consulting any one and takes the responsibility upon himself and has given us a cabinet which is not satisfactory to the country." (1 April 1862)

Other correspondents included R. M. Abbott, Ruffin's overseer on the Dan River plantation, Edmund Ruffin, Jr., Kenneth Rayner, and the stock broker firm of Lancaster & Co. Ruffin's investment in Confederate bonds and currency became a real concern to him as the war continued. On 20 May 1863, Lancaster & Co. wrote, "We have been unable as yet to sell any of your N.C. 6s [percents]. They have been very dull ... Don't think it very advisable to force N.C. bonds on the market just now as currency is becoming very abundant again and all undoubted securities will be in demand." The majority of correspondence in late 1863 through 1864 consists of letters from various brokerage firms, Jonathan Worth, the Public Treasurer, and other investors in the Confederacy and in the North Carolina Sinking Fund.

After the surrender the tone of the letters changes as one by one, Ruffin's friends and family members face deprivation and hardship in the wake of defeat. Ruffin's cousin, Edmund Ruffin, Jr., wrote on 9 June 1865 about his family's flight from Richmond and the destruction of their plantation, "[t]he houses are all much pulled to pieces--the dwelling more damaged that [sic.] any others. To repair it probably would cost more than the original charge for building. The roof has been torn off and of course all the plaistering is ruined--the floors ripped up, the porches torn down--the sashes blinds doors, door and window facings, mantels, banisters destroyed--in fact nothing is left except the four walls ... ." Thomas Ruffin, himself, experienced quite a financial setback from the war and in a letter to a unknown creditor he described his impoverished condition, "I wish I were able to remit the amount. But I can not, as the result of the war has left me but little ..." (24 November 1865) Included among the letters describing destruction and poverty are some from R. M. Abbott, Ruffin's overseer at the Dan River plantation and some from Paul C. Cameron. Cameron drafted a labor contract in April 1865 "to the Negroes on his own, his brothers' and his sisters' farms in Orange County." The contract gave the newly freed slaves a third of the corn and molasses and one fourth of all the rest of the crops. In 1866 Cameron raised the amounts to half "of the wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco, molasses, peas and sweet potatoes ..." R. M. Abbott, Ruffin's overseer, hired white laborers and wrote to his employer on 26 November 1865, "I am getting on with my work as well as I ever did in my life, if any an makes money on free labor I intend to do it by the smiles of providence."

Folder 439

January 1861

Folder 440

February 1861

Folder 441

March 1861

Folder 442

April 1861

Folder 443

May 1861

Folder 444

June 1861

Folder 445

July 1861

Folder 446

August 1861

Folder 447

September-November 1861

Folder 448

December 1861

Folder 449

January-March 1862

Folder 450

April-June 1862

Folder 451

July-September 1862

Folder 452

October-December 1862

Folder 453

January-February 1863

Folder 454

March-April 1863

Folder 455

May-June 1863

Folder 456

July-August 1863

Folder 457

September-October 1863

Folder 458

November-December 1863

Folder 459

January-March 1864

Folder 460

April-June 1864

Folder 461

July-August 1864

Folder 462

September-October 1864

Folder 463

November-December 1864

Folder 464

January-February 1865

Folder 465

March-June 1865

Folder 466

July-August 1865

Folder 467

September-October 1865

Folder 468

November-December 1865

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.7. 1866-1878.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Letters to Thomas Ruffin, Anne Ruffin, and to their children about family concerns, political events, and financial matters. This subseries contains three separate groups of letters. The bulk of the letters from 1866 until January 1870 are to Thomas Ruffin. These include many letters from his stockbrokers and bankers about the state of his investments after the war. However, matters did improve somewhat for the Ruffins. They left the Haw River plantation in early 1866 and moved to Hillsborough. By 1867, Lancaster & Co., a banking and brokerage firm in Virginia wrote to Ruffin counseling him to invest in railroad bonds, "[w]e would suggest that you consider the advisability of investing in the Richmond & Danville RR bonds. The Road you are aware is 190 miles long and is doing an excellent business ..." (12 Nov. 1867) Not all of Ruffin's family and friends fared as well as he. A letter from his niece Ellen S. Ruffin, dated 13 Nov. 1867, chronicled her family's post-war difficulties, "Mr. Ruffin [Frank Ruffin] no doubt told you of our doings; how our boys handle the plough and hoe. At first their pride stood up and made their roughened hands and bronzed faces a mortification to them; but their own brave hearts and right feeling have taught them that those whose good opinion is worth having and striving for, will judge them by their actions and not appearances." Thomas Ruffin also continued to receive letters from old political allies. Weldon Nathaniel Edwards, a former state and congressional legislator, wrote on his eighty-second birthday to Ruffin about the loneliness of old age, "dear old-oldest friend ... the sad havoc of time has left none to me but yourself. But this is a tax & a heavy tax too upon long life and who have the worst of the Bargain--those who go first or those who are left behind friendless?" (25 Jan. 1869) Another regular correspondent to Ruffin was his overseer on the Dan River plantation, R. M. Abbott. Abbott informed Ruffin of the stock and crops on the plantation. Abbott may have been a very good overseer from Ruffin's point of view; but as a long letter from the Freedmen's Bureau explained, how profits were made on Dan River did not meet with the approval of the Federal government. "This contract is considered objectionable ... . The price of labor is even below the price paid for slave labor before the war, and in charging 50¢ per day for time lost, what ages are received at $3,50 per month without board is considered unjust." (19 March 1868) Abbott continued to run Dan River after Ruffin's death on 15 Jan. 1870.

Following Ruffin's death, the letters from 1870 to 1874 were primarily written to Anne K. Ruffin. There are many letters of sympathy, as well as a few letters from her husband's financial advisors. One of the most interesting letters in this group is one written to Anne Ruffin from a former slave. Chaney Caldwell wrote to "her old mistress" on 31 Jan. 1873 telling her about the death of November Caldwell. "The people of Chapel Hill were kind and attentive to him and he appeared to enjoy seeing the Methodist preacher ... . He found a hope in Christ two months before his death."

After the death of Anne K. Ruffin on 28 Oct. 1875, the remainder of this subseries has letters from the Ruffin's children. William Ruffin and Sallie Ruffin Gwynn wrote to each other frequently; but Anne Ruffin Cameron, Catherine Ruffin Roulhac, and Thomas Ruffin, Jr. also wrote to each other.

Folder 469

January-March 1866

Folder 470

April-June 1866

Folder 471

July-August 1866

Folder 472

September-October 1866

Folder 473

November-December 1866

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January-March 1867

Folder 475

April-June 1867

Folder 476

July-August 1867

Folder 477

September-December 1867

Folder 478

January-March 1868

Folder 479

April-June 1868

Folder 480

July-September 1868

Folder 481

October-December 1868

Folder 482

January-June 1869

Folder 483

July-October 1869

Folder 484

November-December 1869

Folder 485

January-February 1870

Folder 486

March-December 1870

Folder 487

1871-1872

Folder 488

1873-1878

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.8. Recommendation Letters, 1828-1852.

About 600 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters to the justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court introducing and recommending lawyers applying for licenses to practice in North Carolina courts.

Folder 489

1831-1837

Folder 490

1841

Folder 491

May-June, December 1842

Folder 492

June-December 1843

Folder 493

January-November 1844

Folder 494

December 1844

Folder 495

May-June 1845

Folder 496

October-December 1845

Folder 497

January-May 1846

Folder 498

June 1846

Folder 499

November-December 1846

Folder 500

January-June 1847

Folder 501

July-August 1847

Folder 502

December 1847

Folder 503

1848

Folder 504

January, June 1849

Folder 505

July-August 1849

Folder 506

November-December 1849

Folder 507

May-August 1850

Folder 508

November-December 1850

Folder 509

January, May-June 1851

Folder 510

July-August 1851

Folder 511

November-December 1851

Folder 512

1852

Folder 513

Undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.9. Undated Correspondence.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Material, 1753-1898.

About 5,000 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Loose and bound financial records, Supreme Court decisions, trial paperwork, and other related material for Thomas Ruffin, his father, Sterling Ruffin, Anne K. Ruffin, and other members of the Ruffin family. The bulk of this series is loose financial documents consisting of receipts, deeds, indentures, account statements, bills, and similar items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Loose Financial and Legal Papers, 1753-1898 and undated.

About 4,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Indentures, receipts, account statements, bonds, and other related material of Thomas Ruffin, Sterling Ruffin, and other Ruffin family members. The bulk of the material before 1809 deals with Sterling Ruffin's land purchases and business transactions in both North Carolina and Virginia. After his admittance to the bar, Thomas Ruffin began to help his father with the family businesses; eventually succeeding him on his death. The Ruffins ran a mill, a store, a tan-yard, as well as two plantations. They served as money-lenders, witnesses, executors, and employers for people in Orange, Rockingham, Alamance counties in North Carolina for most of the antebellum period. From 1870 to 1875, the subseries contains receipts for purchases made by Anne K. Ruffin for household items. The remainder of the subseries contains receipts and accounts for the estates of Thomas Ruffin and Anne K. Ruffin.

Folder 530

1753-1784

Folder 531

1785-1789

Folder 532

1790-1797

Folder 533

1798-1799

Folder 534

1800-1802

Folder 535

1803

Folder 536

January-June 1804

Folder 537

July-December 1804

Folder 538

January-March 1805

Folder 539

April-August 1805

Folder 540

September-December 1805

Folder 541

January-July 1806

Folder 542

August-December 1806

Folder 543

January-May 1807

Folder 544

June-December 1807

Folder 545

January-April 1808

Folder 546

May-December 1808

Folder 547

January-June 1809

Folder 548

July-December 1809

Folder 549

January-March 1810

Folder 550

April-July 1810

Folder 551

August-December 1810

Folder 552

January-June 1811

Folder 553

July-October 1811

Folder 554

November-December 1811

Folder 555

January-April 1812

Folder 556

May-August 1812

Folder 557

September-December 1812

Folder 558

January-February 1813

Folder 559

March-April 1813

Folder 560

May-June 1813

Folder 561

July 1813

Folder 562

August-December and undated 1813

Folder 563

January-February 1814

Folder 564

March-April 1814

Folder 565

May-June 1814

Folder 566

July-August 1814

Folder 567

September 1814

Folder 568

October 1814

Folder 569

November-December 1814

Folder 570

January-February 1815

Folder 571

March-May 1815

Folder 572

June-August 1815

Folder 573

September 1815

Folder 574

October-November 1815

Folder 575

December 1815

Folder 576

January-March 1816

Folder 577

April-October 1816

Folder 578

November-December 1816

Folder 579

January-May 1817

Folder 580

June-December 1817

Folder 581

January-April 1818

Folder 582

May-July 1818

Folder 583

August-December 1818

Folder 584

January-February 1819

Folder 585

March 1819

Folder 586

April 1819

Folder 587

May 1819

Folder 588

June-July 1819

Folder 589

August 1819

Folder 590

September 1819

Folder 591

October 1819

Folder 592

November 1819

Folder 593

December 1819

Folder 594

January-February 1820

Folder 595

March-April 1820

Folder 596

May-June 1820

Folder 597

July 1820

Folder 598

August-September 1820

Folder 599

October 1820

Folder 600

November 1820

Folder 601

December 1820

Folder 602

January-February 1821

Folder 603

March 1821

Folder 604

April 1821

Folder 605

May 1821

Folder 606

June 1821

Folder 607

July 1821

Folder 608

August 1821

Folder 609

September 1821

Folder 610

October 1821

Folder 611

November 1821

Folder 612

December 1821

Folder 613

January 1822

Folder 614

February 1822

Folder 615

March 1822

Folder 616

April-May 1822

Folder 617

June 1822

Folder 618

July 1822

Folder 619

August 1822

Folder 620

September 1822

Folder 621

October 1822

Folder 622

November 1822

Folder 623

December 1822

Folder 624

January 1823

Folder 625

February 1823

Folder 626

March 1823

Folder 627

April 1823

Folder 628

May 1823

Folder 629

June-July 1823

Folder 630

August 1823

Folder 631

September-October 1823

Folder 632

November-December 1823

Folder 633

January 1824

Folder 634

February 1824

Folder 635

March 1824

Folder 636

April-May 1824

Folder 637

June-July 1824

Folder 638

August 1824

Folder 639

September-October 1824

Folder 640

November 1824

Folder 641

December 1824

Folder 642

January-February 1825

Folder 643

March 1825

Folder 644

April-May 1825

Folder 645

June 1825

Folder 646

July-August 1825

Folder 647

September-November 1825

Folder 648

December 1825

Folder 649

January-April 1826

Folder 650

May-July 1826

Folder 651

August-December 1826

Folder 652

January-June 1827

Folder 653

July-August 1827

Folder 654

September-December 1827

Folder 655

January-June 1828

Folder 656

July-October 1828

Folder 657

November-December 1828

Folder 658

January-February 1829

Folder 659

March 1829

Folder 660

April-May 1829

Folder 661

June-August 1829

Folder 662

September-December 1829

Folder 663

Checks, 1829

Folder 664

1830

Folder 665

1831

Folder 666

1832

Folder 667

1833

Folder 668

1834-1835

Folder 669

1836-1838

Folder 670

1839-1841

Folder 671

1842-1846

Folder 672

1847-1849

Folder 673

1850-1853

Folder 674

1854-1855

Folder 675

1856-1857

Folder 676

1858

Folder 677

1859

Folder 678

1860

Folder 679

1861

Folder 680

1862-1863

Folder 681

1864-1869

Folder 682

1870-1871

Folder 683

1872

Folder 684

1873-1875

Folder 685

1876-1878

Folder 686

1880s

Folder 687

1890s

Folder 688-692

Folder 688

Folder 689

Folder 690

Folder 691

Folder 692

Undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Ruffin and Ellis Tan-Yard Records, 1814-1818.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: roughly chronological.

Accounts of the Ruffin and Ellis Tan-Yard. The tan-yard was owned by Ira Ellis and Thomas Ruffin in Rockingham County. There is also a bound volume of accounts for this same tan-yard in the bound financial and legal records (Series 2.4.).

Folder 693-694

Folder 693

Folder 694

1814-1818

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. Legal Cases, 1819-1844 and undated.

About 800 items.

Arrangement: roughly chronological.

Supreme Court case decisions, trial paper work, and other related material primarily from Thomas Ruffin's years as a North Carolina Supreme Court justice. As a member of the state's highest court, Ruffin made deliberations on cases as diverse as alimony fraud to whether or not shuffleboard was a game of chance. This subseries contains many handwritten decisions on Supreme Court cases, including State v. Mann. In addition there is trial paperwork for three trials: the Mendenhall and Hubbard Patent case, Arrington v. Battle, and State v. Rives. The first case involved a dispute over the rightful inventor of grist mill improvements. The second was a debt case. The last case was concerned with the right of property and the right of way on real estate purchased at a sheriff's sale.

Folder 695

Supreme Court Briefs, December Term 1819

Folder 696-699

Folder 696

Folder 697

Folder 698

Folder 699

Mendenhall Patent Case, 1827-1830

Folder 700-703

Folder 700

Folder 701

Folder 702

Folder 703

Arrington v. Battle, 1832

Folder 704

State v. Rives, 1844

Folder 705

Undated Miscellaneous Legal Papers

Folder 706-714

Folder 706

Folder 707

Folder 708

Folder 709

Folder 710

Folder 711

Folder 712

Folder 713

Folder 714

Undated Supreme Court Cases

Folder 708: includes 2 drafts of State v. Mann.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.4. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1765-1893 and undated.

47 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Account books, bank books, circuit court dockets, receipt books, and other related material for Thomas Ruffin and his father, Sterling Ruffin, and other Ruffin family members. The first four volumes record the business activities of Sterling Ruffin. These include plantation accounts, slave lists, horse breeding information, bonds, and other related items, primarily from Sterling Ruffin's plantation in Rockingham County, N.C.

Volumes 5-45 and volume 47 contain records concerning Thomas Ruffin's business and legal affairs. These include court dockets, legal fee books, mill accounts for Ruffin's mill, various drygoods stores' accounts, and other related material. Throughout his life, Ruffin formed many business partnerships. One with Benjamin Chambers allowed him to invest in the slave trade. Two other business alliances were with Paul Kinnion and J. H. Bland.

Ruffin's children also contributed material to this subseries. Volume 46 has estate accounts for Thomas Ruffin's daughter Martha Ruffin and his wife, Anne Kirkland Ruffin. Peter Browne Ruffin, Thomas's son, acted as an agent for his mother's estate and served as executor for his sister Martha's estate.

Folder 715

Volume 1, 1794-1797

Rockingham County, N.C., accounts for tavern, iron, corduroy, shoeing horses, honey, buttons, and shoes. Formerly Volume 1b. 132 p.

Folder 716

Volume 2, 1785-1804

Accounts for cash, supplies, and bonds. Formerly Volume 1a. 38 p.

Folder 717

Volume 3, 1799-1814

Accounts, lists of slaves, stud records for horses. Formerly Volume 2.

Folder 718

Volume 4, 1765-1820

Accounts with people in various counties in Virginia for rents, corn, wheat, annuities, legacies, slaves, labor, clothes, and cash. An index is included. Formerly Volume 1c. 139 p.

Folder 719

Volume 5, 1805-1814

Cash accounts and personal memoranda, including Thomas Ruffin's move to Hillsborough, his feelings about his proposal of marriage to Anne Kirkland, a list of the kings of England, notes on agriculture, and maxims on various subjects. Formerly Volume 6.

Folder 720

Volume 6, 1807-1814

Day book with index. Included are accounts for household expenses, cash, and court accounts. Formerly Volume 7.

Folder 721

Volume 7, Day Book, 1810-1814

Accounts for Caswell County, N.C., courts. Formerly Volume 8.

Folder 722

Volume 8, Day Book, 1810-1814

Accounts for Guilford County, N.C., courts. Formerly Volume 9.

Folder 723

Volume 9, Day Book, 1810-1814

Accounts for Orange County, N.C., courts. Formerly Volume 10.

Folder 724

Volume 10, Day Book, 1810-1814

Accounts for Stokes County, N.C., courts and bill of sale for Jane, 31 December 1820. Formerly Volume 11.

Folder 725

Volume 11, 1814-1815

Account book with index. Formerly Volume 29. 33 p.

Folder 726

Volume 12, Bank Book, 1815

State Bank of North Carolina. Formerly Volume 30. 3 p.

Folder 727

Volume 13, 1814-1816

Daybook of Kinnion and Ruffin. Formerly Volume 28. 23 p.

Folder 728

Volume 14, 1812-1818

Account book for the tan-yard of Ira Ellis and Thomas Ruffin. Formerly Volume 11B. 59 p.

Folder 729

Folder number not used

Oversize Volume SV-641/15-16

SV-641/15

SV-641/16

Volumes 15 and 16, 1811-1822

Two journals for Thomas Scott & Co. in Orange County, N.C., for merchandising and sundries. Volume 15 has 196 p. and Volume 16 has 398 p. Formerly Volumes 11A. 31 p.

Folder 730

Volume 17, 1819-1822

Account book of flour sold by James Jones out of Thomas Ruffin's mill. Formerly Volume 32.

Folder 731

Volume 18, 1822-1823

Account book of flour sold by James Jones out of Thomas Ruffin's mill. Formerly Volume 33.

Folder 732

Volume 19, 1825-1826, 1829

Account book for Thomas Ruffin's slave trading partnership with Benjamin Chambers. Contains various accounts owed Thomas Ruffin and list of slaves sold to Alabama. Formerly Volume 34.

Folder 733

Volume 20, Ledger, 1814-1831

Account book containing legal, household, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 27. 172 p.

Folder 734

Volume 21, May 1814-March 1815

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 12.

Folder 735

Volume 22, March-December 1815

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 13.

Folder 736

Volume 23, January-August 1816

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 14.

Folder 737

Volume 24, 1816-1817

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 15.

Folder 738

Volume 25, February 1818-December 1819

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 16.

Folder 739

Volume 26, January-November 1820

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 17.

Folder 740

Volume 27, November 1820-October 1821

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 18.

Folder 741

Volume 28, 1821-1822

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 19.

Folder 742

Volume 29, August 1822-April 1823

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 20.

Folder 743

Volume 30, April 1823-January 1824

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 21.

Folder 744

Volume 31, February-November 1824

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 22.

Folder 745

Volume 32, December 1824-March 1825

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 23.

Folder 746

Volume 33, 30 March 1825-July 1826

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 24.

Folder 747

Volume 34, August 1826-October 1828

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Also includes some Haw River Mills items. Formerly Volume 25.

Folder 748

Volume 35, December 1828-May 1831

Small, leather-bound day books containing accounts for receipts and expenditures for court fees, household expenses, stocks and interest, travel expenses, and other accounts. Formerly Volume 26.

Folder 749

Volume 36, 1830-1832

Journal of Henry Stith & Co., Haw River, N.C. Formerly Volume 34A. 258 p.

Folder 750

Volume 37, 1835-1836

Account and memorandum book of A. F. Brackin & Co., Haw River, N.C. Formerly Volume 35. 100 p.

Folder 751

Volume 38, 1836-1838

Account and memorandum book of A. F. Brackin & Co., Haw River, N.C. Formerly Volume 36. 100 p.

Folder 752

Folder number not used

Oversize Volume SV-641/39

Volume 39, 1839

Inventory and estate sale book of William Kirkland. Formerly Volume 37. 30 p.

Folder 753

Volume 40, August 1847

Circuit Equity Court Dockets for Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin. Formerly Volume 38.

Folder 754

Volume 41, June 1849

Circuit Equity Court Dockets for Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin. Formerly Volume 39.

Folder 755

Volume 42, December 1849

Circuit Equity Court Dockets for Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin. Formerly Volume 40.

Folder 756

Volume 43, June 1850

Circuit Equity Court Dockets for Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin. Formerly Volume 41.

Folder 757

Volume 44, 1853

Statement of shipping costs of papers from Strudwick & Co, Mobile, Ala. to North Carolina. These papers were in the care J. H. Ruffin. Formerly Volume 42.

Folder 758

Volume 45, 1864-1865

Bank book for Thomas Ruffin with Hillsborough Savings Institution. Formerly Volume 43.

Folder 759

Volume 46, 1889-1898

Notebook containing account of P. B. Ruffin as agent of Patty (Martha) P. Ruffin, executor for the estate of Annie M. Ruffin. Also contains P. B. Ruffin's executor accounts for the estate of Martha P. Ruffin. Formerly Volume 44.

Folder 760

Volume 47, circa 1817-1820

Legal notebook with various cases abstracted and their precedents and related cases cited. Formerly Volume 5.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Subject Files, 1804-1860s.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: by subject.

Printed advertisements, newspaper clippings, reprints of political speeches, railroad schedules, school notebooks, invitations, and other related material. This subseries primarily contains material collected by Thomas Ruffin. They reflect his interest not only in agriculture, but also in politics. As a member of the Peace Convention of 1861, Ruffin kept copies of the proposed resolutions and amendments debated in Congress to circumvent the Civil War. These documents also include an 1862 report on subsistence in the Confederate states. The report chronicled the problems obtaining bread and meat for the Confederate Army. Among the difficulties cited were: underreporting of stock levels, poor transportation, and occupation of key states such as Tennessee by Union forces. The report was very critical of farmers who sold their stock on the black market and of citizens who did not think of the needs of the army before their own: "this bureau has therefore to report as its conviction that for the coming twelve months, there will not be enough meat in the country for the people and armies of the Confederate states; and as the people can, for the reasons above stated obtain what there is more readily and insist upon having it without any regard to the wants of our soldiers, it is presumed they must bear the brunt of hunger as well as of arms."

Although Ruffin was an Episcopalian, this series contains some of the records for his father, Sterling's, church, Cormel Methodist Church. Other items in this series include notebooks (Volumes 48, 49) kept by Thomas Ruffin while at Princeton, an undated school notebook (Volume 50) with James S. Ruffin's name in the front, a collection of writings, and a few items about the University of North Carolina, among them, a plea by the Board of Trustees for more money.

Folder 761

Advertisements

Folder 762

Civil War

Folder 763

Clippings

Folder 764

Cormel Methodist Church Records, 1808-1817

Folder 765

Education, Volume 48

Thomas C. Ruffin, Nassau Hall, Princeton, N.J. Accounts and memoranda, 1804. Formerly Volume 3.

Folder 766

Education, Volume 49

Thomas Ruffin, Princeton, N.J. Diary and notes, 1805. Formerly Volume 4.

Folder 767

Education, Volume 50

James S. Ruffin, mathematics notebook, no date. Formerly Volume 45.

Folder 768

Education

Folder 769

Genealogical Information

Folder 770

Invitations and Business Cards

Folder 771

Miscellaneous

Folder 772

North Carolina Agricultural Society

Folder 773

Politics

Folder 774

Prescriptions and Recipes

Folder 775

Railroad Rates and Schedules

Folder 776

University of North Carolina

Folder 777

Writings

Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-641/1

Miscellaneous advertisements, maps, and other oversize papers

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures.

3 items.

For more pictures of Thomas Ruffin, Anne Kirkland Ruffin, and a few other family members, see the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton Family Papers (#643) in the Southern Historical Collection.

Image Folder PF-641/1

Three photographs:

P-641/1: Photograph of portrait of Thomas Ruffin #00641, Series 4. Pictures., Imagefolder PF-641/1

Negative only.

P-641/2: Photograph of portrait of man originally identified as William Ruffin, who came to Virginia from Scotland in the mid-seventeeth century #00641, Series 4. Pictures., Imagefolder PF-641/1

This identification was later disputed.

P-641/3: Unidentified silhouette #00641, Series 4. Pictures., Imagefolder PF-641/1
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Microfilm

Reel M-641/1

Microfilm

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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