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|Size||16.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 10200 items)|
|Abstract||James Webb (20 February 1774-17 February 1855), physician of Hillsborough, Orange County, N.C., a founder of the North Carolina State Medical Society, Presbyterian educational leader and philanthropist, merchant, and banker. Primarily business papers relating to banking and cotton manufacturing in North Carolina and mercantile business in North Carolina and Alabama. Papers include personal and business letters as well as financial and legal papers and account books of James Webb and of his family and business associates. Only a few items relate to Webb's medical practice. Many documents relate to Webb's business dealings with Osmond F. Long, Robert Dickins, David Yarbrough, Mary W. Burke, Archibald D. Murphey, and others. There are also many documents, 1815-1846, of Webb as agent of the Bank of Cape Fear at Hillsborough, N.C., and of Webb and Douglass and J. & J.H. Webb, partnerships of James Webb Junior, and John H. Webb, engaged in the milling and manufacturing of cotton textiles in the 1850s and early 1860s. Also included are Strudwick family papers, chiefly of Samuel Strudwick and his son William F. Strudwick; papers of Henry Neal, mostly related to Tennessee lands; letters and other items addressed to William Bond, a merchant of North Carolina and Tennessee; papers of the Burke, Doherty, and Yarbrough families of North Carolina and Alabama; and correspondence between Thomas H. Webb and Isabella Graham Webb.|
|Creator||Webb, James, 1774-1855.|
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James Webb (20 February 1774-17 February 1855) was a physician in Hillsborough, N.C., a founder of the North Carolina State Medical Society, Presbyterian educational leader and philanthropist, merchant, and banker. He was born at Tally-Ho, Granville County, N.C., the second child and eldest son of the ten children of William (1745-1809) and Frances (Fannie) Young Webb (died 1810), and the grandson of James (1705-1771) and Mary Edmondson Webb (1712-1795) of South Farnham Parish, Essex County, Va.
Webb attended the University of North Carolina, 1795-1796. In 1798, he enrolled in a medical course at the University of Pennsylvania under Benjamin Rush, and established himself as a physician and merchant in the town of Hillsborough in the closing years of the eighteenth century.
On 26 January 1807, in preparation for his coming marriage, Webb bought from James Phillips the five lots on the north side of E. Queen Street in Hillsborough--three lots where there stood an old inn that he evidently converted gradually into a house, and two lots on the south side of E. Queen Street, one where he built his office and dispensary (with a saddler's shop just above it) and a barn lot.
In the late autumn of 1799, Webb was a principal figure in the establishment of the North Carolina State Medical Society, which met in Raleigh on 17 December for its organizational meeting. Webb was elected vice-president and was also appointed a member of the Board of Censors, established to examine and accredit would-be doctors. At the Society's second meeting on 1 December 1800, Webb read a paper on the causes and prevention of gout and rheumatism. The State Medical Society ceased to exist after only five years. When Webb's ward and best-known medical student, Edmund Charles Fox Strudwick, revived the medical society in 1845 and was made its president, the 75-year-old Webb was made an honorary charter member.
The numerous students who came to Hillsborough to study medicine with Webb included Edmund C. F. Strudwick, William Webb, Henry Young Webb, Walter A. Norwood, Thomas H. Turner, H. O. W. Hooker, J. E. Williamson, Thompson N. Johnston, George H. Mitchell, and probably Johnston D. Jones and L. D. Schoolfield.
As early as 1804, Webb took an interest in education in Hillsborough. On 13 December 1804, Webb, as trustee, signed advertisements in the Raleigh Register for the Hillsborough Academy under Richard Henderson. He was still a member of its Board of Trustees in 1839, when William James Bingham was principal. In addition, Webb served as guardian for boys attending the Hillsborough Academy, many of whom boarded in his own home and for whom he sometimes became financially responsible.
Webb also initiated and underwrote two schools in Hillsborough--Mary W. (Polly) Burke's School and the Burwell Female School. In 1817, he erected a log schoolhouse in which Polly Burke conducted a day school for his children and those of his neighbors. This school continued until 1834. In 1837, Webb suggested to Mrs. M. A. Burwell that she teach his daughter Mary and two other Presbyterian girls. The new Burwell Female School, which replaced Miss Burke's School and provided an additional four-year curriculum for older girls, operated from 1837 to 1857, with Webb always listed as its patron. In 1825, Webb was also the president of the Orange County Sunday School Union, which petitioned unsuccessfully to gain state support for 22 Sunday schools to teach poor and indigent children to read and write.
Webb was a trustee of the University of North Carolina for 38 years, from 1812 to 1850. In 1827, he served on the University's Board of Visitors and, in 1830, on an emergency committee to help restore the University to a sound financial basis after the Panic of 1825.
Although only his wife, Annie Alves Huske Webb, was formally listed in 1816 as one of the nine organizers of the new Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, Webb signed the first pew rental lists on 20 September 1816 and, over a period of years, made large contributions to the Reverend John Knox Witherspoon's salary and to other church expenses. In 1835, Webb took in his own name a 99-year lease on a lot, where he erected a frame Sessions House with bell tower, used as a Presbyterian Sunday school room and eventually, until 1934, as a public library. He also served as a Presbyterian elder from 1835 until his death in 1855.
In 1822, Webb provided the trustees of the Methodist congregation with money and lumber to erect the first Methodist Church in Hillsborough on one of his lots. A paper, written in 1832 by Joseph B. Bacon, a Methodist trustee, mentions in considerable detail the indebtedness of the church to Webb, noting his many gifts and loans "and that he has waited patiently Ten years for the money that we still owe him."
Like most early doctors, Webb necessarily supplemented his uncertain income from the medical profession in other ways; his mercantile and medical careers ran concurrently until the end of his life. From 1799 to 1801 or a little later, Webb may have been a silent partner in the Hillsborough store of the successful Raleigh mercantile firm of Southey and William Bond. He was also the major partner for several years with his brother Thomas in James Webb & Co., a mercantile establishment near their father's home in Granville County. For two and a half years, from 1 January 1805 to 1 July 1807, Webb served as postmaster of Hillsborough.
Webb's mercantile undertakings also included a general store and lumberyard, later known as Webb, Long & Co., in which his son-in-law Dr. Osmond F. Long was a partner, and a sizable brickyard, Webb & Hancock, operating near the Eno River. He entered into brief partnerships with various fellow townsmen on occasion (e.g., with J. J. Freeland under the name Webb & Freeland). A sideline that almost amounted to a business with both Webb and Judge Thomas Ruffin was the hiring out on an annual basis of the slaves of widows and of ailing or absent owners. Webb also served as Clerk and Master in Equity in scores of estate settlements and as the executor of innumerable Hillsborough and Orange County wills.
In 1815, Webb was appointed Hillsborough agent (cashier) of the Bank of the Cape Fear, a post he held until the closing of the office in 1846. The Bank's Hillsborough branch was staffed by five directors in addition to the agent.
On 1 November 1842, James Webb was declared bankrupt and, on 11 December, his possessions were sold at public auction.
On 12 February 1807, Webb married Annie Alves Huske (13 January 1785-23 June 1852), daughter of Englishman John Huske (died 1792) and Elizabeth (Betsy) Hogg (died 1788), and the granddaughter of Scottish merchant James Hogg (died 1805) and Elizabeth McDowell Alves (died 1801). Ten children, nine of whom survived, were born to the Webbs: Henry Young, Frances Helen, Elizabeth, Ann (Annie), James, William (who died at age 2), John Huske, Mary, William, and Thomas. Two of the sons, Henry Young and William, became physicians; James Junior, became a merchant in Hillsborough. Annie Alves Huske Webb died in 1852 and Webb died three years later at the age of 81 years. Both were buried in the Webb-Long plot in Hillsborough's Old Town Cemetery.
[Adapted from "James Webb," by Mary Claire Engstrom, in William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).]
Thomas H. Webb (1871-1939), son of Robina and Thomas Webb, the youngest son of Dr. James and Annie Alves Huske Webb, worked at Cooleemee Cotton Mills. He married Isabella Graham circa 1895.Back to Top
Primarily J.H. Webb's business papers relating to banking and cotton manufacturing in North Carolina and mercantile business in North Carolina and Alabama. Papers include personal and business letters as well as financial and legal papers and account books of James Webb and of his family and business associates. Only a few items relate to Webb's medical practice. Many documents relate to Webb's business dealings with Osmond F. Long, Robert Dickins, David Yarbrough, Mary W. Burke, Archibald D. Murphey, and others. There are also many documents, 1815-1846, of Webb as agent of the Bank of Cape Fear at Hillsborough, N.C., and of Webb and Douglass and J. & J.H. Webb, partnerships of James Webb Junior, and John H. Webb, engaged in the milling and manufacturing of cotton textiles in the 1850s and early 1860s. Also included are Strudwick family papers, chiefly of Samuel Strudwick and his son William F. Strudwick; papers of Henry Neal, mostly related to Tennessee lands; letters and other items addressed to William Bond, a merchant of North Carolina and Tennessee; and papers of the Burke, Doherty, and Yarbrough families of North Carolina and Alabama. The Addition of 2018 (Acc. 103308) consists of correspondence between Thomas H. Webb (1871-1939) and Isabella Graham Webb before they were married (1894-1895) and after (1899-1901).Back to Top
Personal and business letters, financial and business papers, and legal documents of James Webb, and other materials related to various Webb business partnerships. There are very few items related to Webb's medical practice; most relate to his business activities or to family matters.
Letters, most to James Webb, about personal as well as business matters. Subseries 1.2. includes a number of letters of a transactional nature.
The earliest items date from 1802, shortly after James Webb arrived in Hillsborough from Granville County, N.C. These include letters from William Bond (see also Series 5) to Webb regarding purchases of goods for Bond's mercantile business and Webb's medical practice. Letters from Bond to Webb in 1803 describe the former's trip to New York to make purchases.
Included here are letters from Judge Archibald D. Murphey and Samuel Ashe in the late 1810s and early 1820s regarding Murphey's debt problems and numerous letters to Webb in the late 1820s regarding Murphey's lottery to finance his history of North Carolina (see also Series 1.2 for lottery-related correspondence).
Many letters to Webb concern real estate and other investments. James Phillips of Chapel Hill wrote Webb on 3 May 1833 asking his help in investing money Phillips might come into from time to time, as Webb was "the best person to apply to on such subjects." There are also several letters to Webb regarding real estate matters in Tennessee involving Henry Neal, Robert Dickins, and W. S. Webb (e.g., James W. Russell to Webb, 19 December 1829, and Thomas Washington to Webb, 28 September 1832).
Family correspondence includes letters in September and October 1823 informing Webb of the death of his brother Henry. Webb received a letter dated 16 May 1827 from William Raintree of Columbia, Tenn., informing him that Raintree had married Webb's ward Peggy Jane Ray on 3 May and apologizing for not involving him in the decision. W. S. Webb wrote his brother on 24 August 1827 with information regarding Webb's guardianship of Eliza Bond (William Bond's daughter). Webb's uncle Lewis Webb wrote him on 10 September 1832 regarding the settlement of Webb's father's estate.
In the 1830s, Webb received numerous letters from people who had moved from Hillsborough to Greensborough, Ala. Letters from Robert Dickins, Webb's partner in Dickins and Webb, in Greensborough, Ala., indicate his difficulty in raising money to repay loans made by Webb to Dickins and Webb. Webb's many relatives and friends in Greene County, Ala., corresponded with Webb regarding his business and lending in that part of the country. Included among their letters are letters from former Hillsborough teacher Polly Burke, who moved to Greensborough with her niece Eliza Mary Bond in 1834. On 31 July 1838, Burke sought Webb's help in her attempt to document the self-purchase of her slave Henry and, on 18 August 1839, asked his help in deterring Henry from his plans to migrate to Liberia, as "his mother is very anxious for his return [from Hillsborough] & greatly distressed at the idea of his going."
Letters to Webb during the early 1840s indicate the juggling of properties and debts to relieve his financial distress. Webb's nephews James and William Webb wrote that Webb must come personally to Alabama to dispose of Robert Dickins's property. Letters from Thomas Bennehan, Polly Burke, and William Cain concern his role as security of debts of David Yarbrough. Letters from sons-in-law Osmond F. Long and W. F. Strudwick also concern Webb's borrowing and lending.
A few letters discuss matters other than business. These include one from David Swain, 17 September 1844, about Governor Burke's papers; one from W. F. Strudwick, 8 February 1847, about Webb's illness; and one from J. B. G. Roulhac, 26 March 1847, about local fishing.
Other correspondents include Samuel Ashe; daughter Eliza Webb; William W. Raintree; James W. Russell; B. A. Barham; Thomas Washington; Willie P. Mangum; and Webb's business colleagues William Kirkland, William Lockhart, William Bond, and Southey Bond.
Receipts, promissory notes, invoices, accounts current, brief letters relating to routine business transactions, deeds, articles of agreement, wills, inventories, powers of attorney, and other financial and legal papers. These documents show the variety of Webb's partnerships and activities. Documented are transactions with John Sutton; William Bond; William Kirkland; James Hogg; Childs & Alves; A. D. Murphey; Robert Dickins; Thomas Scott; Farrar & Webb; Webb & Yarbrough; Long, Webb & Co.; and others. Included is a receipt, 20 March 1830, from W. S. Bingham to James Webb for a telegraph bill.
Documents relating to various Webb partnerships are dated primarily between 1820 and 1840. Among these are papers:
1821-1838, relating to Webb & Dickins of Granville County, N.C., and the firm known as Robert Dickins & Co. or Dickins, Webb & Co., a general merchandising business in Greensboro, Ala.;
1820-1827, relating to a firm engaged in the tanning of leather, under the name Kirkland, Webb & Ruffin;
1825-1828, relating to Stebbins & Webb, a general merchandising firm in Hillsborough, N.C.;
1827-1830, relating to Webb & Miller, a grain-milling firm in Hillsborough, N.C., with William Miller as managing partner;
1827-1832, relating to Webb & Claytor, a lumber-milling firm in Hillsborough, N.C., with Samuel Claytor as managing partner and in which Moses McCown may also have been a partner; and 1831 and 1833, relating to the partnerships between James Webb and his son-in-law William F. Strudwick in general merchandise and cotton-milling in Hillsborough, N.C.
Also included are fragments of journals and account books, 1805-1850, primarily related to partnerships involving James Webb. Scattered documents throughout Series 1 hint at or refer to other Webb partnerships (e.g., Webb & Hancock [brickyard], Webb & Freeland, and James Webb & Co.).
Legal papers include deeds, articles of agreement, wills, inventories, deeds in trust, lists of property involved in legal affairs, powers of attorney, and other items. Found here are the wills of James Webb's father William Webb, 16 December 1809; of Ann Alves Huske Webb's uncle Gavin Alves, 3 January 1812; and of James Webb, 2 October 1838. There is also an agreement, 5 April 1825, between James Webb and Samuel Claytor concerning a smithy apprenticeship for Webb's slaves. Many items relate to the borrowing and lending of money. Of particular importance are two documents, dated 1842, in which James Webb put land, slaves, and other assets in trust, with O. F. Long as trustee, to be sold to pay Webb's creditors.
Documents received and generated by James Webb as agent of the Bank of Cape Fear at Hillsborough, N.C., from the time he was appointed early in 1815 until the closing of the office in 1846. Most of the documents are letters received by Webb from the Wilmington headquarters of the Bank or from other branches, chiefly the one in Raleigh. The remainder of the items are documents sent by other banks or merchant firms regarding their discounting of Bank of Cape Fear notes; letters received from borrowers or shareholders of the Bank; and items generated by James Webb from the Hillsborough branch, including lists of shareholders, lists of depositors and debtors, miscellaneous account records, and cancelled notes.
The earliest items relate to the establishment of the Hillsborough agency. The first official document is dated 21 June 1815 and details notes offered for accommodation at the bank during its first months of business. A July 1815 item lists subscribers to the stock of the branch at Hillsborough. Other documents primarily relate to routine transactions of the branch. There are several year-end accountings of debtors and stockholders of the branch.
Some items of note include a 30 November 1832 list of debts due the Bank of Cape Fear office at Hillsborough. John Hill, cashier of the Bank of Cape Fear at Wilmington sent Webb a letter dated 4 October 1834 announcing the removal of certain restrictions so that "as the business season advances you will be able to increase your debt by safe and punctual business paper." In the late 1830s, an increasing proportion of the correspondence refers to debt collection and renewal rather than new lending.
Letters in the 1840s suggest financial distress among debtors of the agency. A letter, 30 March 1840, sent by J. W. Norwood, a branch director, to James Webb while Webb was in Alabama, told Webb that "this part of the old North State [Yanceyville], has turned into a Mississippi, since you left. William McMurry of Person has blown out ...He has committed extensive forgeries, and among the rest the note to the Bank of Cape Fear is a forgery. Has run away ...The securities of McMurry are in a pitiable condition, the neighborhood is overwhelmed with distress and ruin. And they are running off their property as fast as possible."
Many letters relate to Webb's bankruptcy, his indebtedness to the bank, and his obligation to the bank as a result of his endorsements of the debts of others. A letter, 22 May 1845, about the liquidation of the Hillsborough branch, from John Hill to Webb, states, "It is the wish of our stockholders that the Hillsboro Branch should be wound up & its remaining debts transferred with the time originally stipulated, 1 Jany, 1846 ... Call in your debt as fast as may be without producing embarrassment & distress." Winding up the branch's affairs took a bit longer than anticipated, for Hill wrote Webb on 1 January 1846 that "we suppose in less than three months the whole (except the deranged) debt will have been transferred, & little will then remain to be done ... we will send Up some one to settle with you & close the agency." As of 28 May 1846, Webb was reappointed agent, "ltd. to winding up the branch."
Papers of John H. Webb and James Webb Junior, sons of James Webb. The bulk of these papers are related to their business partnerships. Most items from 1850 to 1858 are connected with John H. Webb's partnership Webb & Douglass. Items from 1859 to 1863 primarily relate to the brothers' partnership J. & J. H. Webb, the successor firm to Webb & Douglass. Webb &Douglass operated in Hillsborough until sometime in 1852; letters after that date to both firms were addressed to Orange Factory, N.C.
Both Webb and Douglass and J. & J. H. Webb were engaged in the milling and manufacturing of cotton textiles. These papers show an almost continuous view of the operations of an antebellum southern textile concern, as there are seldom gaps of more than two or three days in the documentation.
Letters and financial papers relating to John H. Webb and to his partnership with Colonel John C. Douglass in the textile milling and manufacturing firm of Webb and Douglass. The earliest letter is from Robert L. Martin to Messrs. Webb & Douglass, 10 July 1851, regarding the firm's purchase of machinery, including cards, bobbins, belts, spindles. Later letters concern selling cotton yarn and hiring labor. Financial papers of the firm Webb & Douglass and John H. Webb include short letters regarding routine business transactions, invoices, receipts, accounts current, and other items.
Please note that items dated 1851 may be filed as 1857 and vice versa, since it is difficult to distinguish between the two dates as they appear in these papers.
One of the few items regarding slaves is a letter, dated 28 July 1851, from Archibald Borland to John Webb complaining of Douglass's unjustified ill-treatment of Borland's slave Sam. He states "douglass had no right to whip him if he was gilty I dont blame him. I dont want him abused with out a case. I hired him to you and I want you to see Justice done him. I dont blame him to come and See me. Mr. douglass he sayes threatend whip him if he did if he loses the time I will make it up."
Papers of J. & J. H. Webb, the successor firm to Webb & Douglass, and, to a lesser extent, the papers of brothers John H. and James Webb Junior, that may provide particular insights into the operation of a textile manufacturing concern during the Civil War. There are very few breaks in documentation of more than a few days before the end of 1862.
Most of the items are short letters regarding routine business transactions, invoices, receipts, and accounts current.
The first letter is dated 1 January 1859, although there are scattered financial papers mentioning the firm J. & J. H. Webb dating back to October of the previous year. Letters about selling textile machinery indicate that in addition to textile manufacturing the firm was also a broker of textile milling machinery.
With the outbreak of war in April 1861, J. & J. H. Webb shifted some of their productive capacity to the manufacture of wool. Several letters in December 1862 and January 1863 concern selling the factory. Included is a letter, dated 30 December 1862, from G. W. Swepson stating, "I see you offer for sale your Factory. Please give me your price, &c., for it. I want to invest about Fifteen Thousand dollars of North Carolina Bank Notes in Cotton Yarns." The firm appears to have stopped operations sometime around the middle of 1863. The last several letters indicate that business was being conducted on a barter basis. One customer, in a letter dated 10 April 1863, indicated that he understood that cotton could only be gotten "in exchange for wool, bacon &c" and added: "I have nothing of the kind."
Papers of various of James Webb's descendants. The earliest items are letters from J. C. Webb, son of James Webb Junior, of the 27th N.C. Infantry, Walker's Brigade, to his "Aunt Rob" (Robina Norwood Webb, wife of Thomas Webb and daughter-in-law of James Webb). In these three detailed letters, 1862-1864, J. C. Webb described meeting Belle Boyd, described the action of Cook's regiments at the battle of Antietam, defended the conduct of North Carolina troops at the Battle of Bristoe's Station from the attacks of Virginia newspapers, and related the awesome size of the Union army at Orange Courthouse. The remaining items include various wills, letters, and other papers, mostly belonging to the children of James Webb Junior.
Papers of the Strudwick family, primarily of Samuel Strudwick and his son William F. Strudwick. The earliest items in the series are deeds relating to property in Bath County, Va. Items from the 1780s include correspondence of Samuel Strudwick about his Stag Park plantation in New Hanover County, N.C., and his Hawfields plantation in Orange County, N.C. Also included are tax receipts, deeds, business correspondence, land surveys, and other letters from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as accounts, receipts, and other items related to James Webb's guardianship of Martha Strudwick and William F. Strudwick Junior, the minor children of W. F. Strudwick Senior. There are also miscellaneous business letters, accounts, and receipts of and to Edmund and William F. Strudwick and William F. Strudwick #38; Co.
Papers of Henry Neal, a Hillsborough, N.C., native, the bulk of which document negotiations, law suits, and other activities relating to Tennessee lands. Most of the pre-1800 items are deeds involving William Tyrrell; from 1801 to as late as 1834, when Webb was handling Neal's estate, Neal interests in Tennessee were mired in legal maneuvering. Documents show that at times these interests involved James Webb's brother W. S. Webb, Henry Neal's son Robert Neal, and Webb's Tennessee agent James Russell in negotiating and collecting activities in Tennessee.
Also included are papers deriving from James Webb's executorship of Henry Neal's estate. The majority of the items are financial, such as invoices and receipts.
Letters and other items addressed to William Bond, the firm of Nelson & Bond, the firm of William and Southey Bond, and Bond's daughter Eliza. Bond was a merchant of coastal North Carolina (Washington and New Bern) who migrated to Hillsborough about 1800, and from there to Tennessee in 1813.
Many of the early items are letters from various Bond family members. The majority of the letters to William Bond are from Bond's brother Southey. On 30 September 1797, Southey invited William to join his business, writing: "I think you would do well to Quit business in Washington & Come & Join me in Newbern." William and Southey Bond went into business together in 1799 on an equal shares basis. In July 1800, new articles of agreement were signed between William and Southey Bond reestablishing their firm, still on equal shares, with William in Hillsborough and Southey in Raleigh. Documents such as a lengthy "Copies of the Bills sent to New York for Goods," dated 1 September 1804, provide an indication of the extent of business being done by William & Southey Bond. Other documents show that the Bonds purchased medical supplies for Webb free of commission (e.g., 19 May 1803; 26 November 1804; 8 and 12 December 1804). Webb, in return, sold a horse to William Bond on 7 April 1804.
Other correspondents of note, before Bond moved to Hillsborough in 1800, included Caleb Evans, John H. Howard, William Good, Francis Nelson, Joseph Nelson, John Devereux, Eli Smallwood, John Smallwood, William Edwards, Charles Smallwood, Nelson Delamar. Correspondents after 1800 included William Lockhart, Moses Jarvis, William Jackson, Samuel Thompson, David Yarbrough, John Latta, William Duffy, Thomas and James Campbell, James Ray, George Green, George Anderson, William Jackson, and William Duffy.
Most of the items dated from 1814 through 1818 are miscellaneous financial documents regarding the expenses of William Bond's daughter Eliza, paid variously by James Webb, her uncle David Yarbrough, or her aunt Polly Burke.
After Bond's death in 1819, it appears that Bond's estate was administered by James P. Peters in Tennessee and by J. P. Sneed, William Cain Junior, and James Webb in North Carolina. An August 1832 "Division of Estate" partitioned slaves held by the Bond estate among the Bond children.
Papers of the Burke, Doherty, and Yarbrough families, who moved from Hillsborough, N.C., to Greensborough and Marion, Ala., in the 1830s. The central figure of this series is Mary Williams "Polly" Burke, the daughter of Thomas Burke, an early governor of North Carolina. A few of Thomas Burke's papers remain in the Webb collection, but most of them were given by James Webb at Polly Burke's request and at the urging of Archibald D. Murphey and David L. Swain, to the North Carolina Historical Society.
This series also contains documents relating to George and Mary Doherty. Mary Doherty was Polly Burke's mother when her name was Mary Freeman Burke. She married George Doherty after Thomas Burke died. The Dohertys had two daughters--Frances Wilson Doherty, who married William Bond, and Helen Mason Doherty, who married David Yarbrough. Included among the Doherty documents is a petition, circa 1791, complaining that James Hogg, Burke's executor and guardian of Polly Burke, "has committed numberless Devastations on said Estate," and requesting that "the Guardianship may be wrested" from his hands. A 26 August 1793 copy of a letter from James Hogg accompanied money to pay for Major Doherty's care of Polly. Several items relate to George Doherty's estate. There are also receipts for payments made for Ester Doherty by James Webb between 1825 and 1827.
Papers of Polly Burke include several financial items, 1816-1821, paid by James Webb. After a gap of a few years, there are a few similar items and two letters from Webb's brother William in Harpeth, Tenn., about selling slaves belonging to Helen and Eliza Bond.
Also included are business papers of David Yarbrough, a merchant of Hillsborough who married Helen Doherty, Polly Burke's half sister. Yarbrough was a partner in Yarbrough Cain & Co. Along with James Webb, David Yarbrough was a trustee in Archibald D. Murphey's bankruptcy in 1821. The bulk of the Yarbrough papers cover the period from 1821 to 1830; there are very few items between 1813 and 1820. Most of the papers are routine business documents, such as receipts, invoices, and short business letters regarding particular transactions. There are no papers relating to non-business matters. Most of the lengthier letters are from Richard F. Yarbrough, a Fayetteville merchant, especially before 1825.
Papers of other individuals, mostly financial and legal items, with no apparent connection to James Webb. Of particular note are a letter, 21 May 1828, from the Ralph Randolph Gurley of the American Colonization Society, Wash., to Reverend John Caldwell, Chapel Hill, about migration of slaves to Liberia, and the will of John Umstead, 23 January 1829, manumitting a slave and her children as soon after his death as possible, with proceeds of their labor to go to them in the interim.
Volumes consist of ledgers; cotton mill accounts, 1842-63; and merchandise books of James Webb Junior, 1878-1883.
Acquisitions Information: Accession 103308
Papers consist of correspondence between Thomas H. Webb (1871-1939) and Isabella Graham Webb before (1894-1895) and after their wedding (1899-1901). Letters are mostly from Thomas Webb to Isabella Graham when he is in Tennessee and she is in Hillsboro, N.C. (1894), when he is in Hillsboro, N.C. at the Eno Cotton Mill and she is working at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. (1900), and from one to the other when he is in Cooleemee, N.C. and she is in Hillsboro, N.C. (1901). Additional letters present are to Thomas H. Webb from his mother, 1901.
Processed by: Jeff Richardson, August 1995
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was processed with support, in part, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.
Updated by: Jodi Berkowitz, 2018Back to Top