This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.
|Size||4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,200 items)|
|Abstract||The papers of white lawyer and North Carolina Ku Klux Klan leader and organizer, William Laurence Saunders (1835-1891), document his participation in the American Civil War as a colonel in the 46th North Carolina Regiment of the Confederate States of America Army (CSA); his tenure as secretary-treasurer of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees; and his editorship of the Colonial Records of North Carolina. Known items related to Saunders’ Klan activities and white supremacist ideology are two letters dated 1871 and 1874 about the murders by lynching of African American men near Hillsborough, N.C., and the failure of an amnesty bill for Klan members to pass in the state legislature. Saunders’ personal papers include his pocket diaries, correspondence, and bank books. Materials collected for his historical research include legal papers and contracts; a bill of sale for an enslaved person; letters of William R. Davie and North Carolina governor Thomas J. Jarvis; copies of North Carolina legislative journals and reports of the royal governors; records of the Episcopal School of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.; and manuscripts relating to the early history of North Carolina.|
|Creator||Saunders, William Laurence, 1835-1891.|
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.
William Laurence Saunders (1835-1891) of North Carolina was a lawyer; colonel of the 46th North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America; editor of the Colonial Records of North Carolina; secretary-treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina; and secretary of state of North Carolina, 1879-1891.Back to Top
The collection includes the papers of and collected by William Laurence Saunders, chiefly accumulated in the process of compiling and editing the Colonial Records of North Carolina. His papers include Civil War letters and papers pertaining to his Confederate Army service in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, and his participation in the battles for Roanoke Island, 1862, at Fredericksburg, 1862, and at Charleston, 1863; diaries, 1867-1868 and 1879-1881, containing brief entries; bank books; and correspondence relating to his historical research and other activities, including two items pertaining to the Ku Klux Klan. Collected materials include legal papers; land grants; deeds; a slave sale document; indentures; a document appointing William R. Davie to lieutenant colonel commandant, 1787; letters to General Davie from George Washington regarding the appointment of regional officers from N.C., 1798-1799; contemporary copies of the legislative journals of North Carolina, 1749-1764; copies of reports of the royal governors, 1768-1771; financial and other records of the Episcopal School of North Carolina at Raleigh, N.C., 1833-1837; notes and manuscripts pertaining to the early history of North Carolina collected by Francois-Xavier Martin; two long letters written by former North Carolina governor Thomas J. Jarvis containing his recollections of North Carolina history and politics, 1888; and scattered miscellaneous notes related to state history.Back to Top
Arrangement: Papers are arranged chronologically; volumes are arranged chronologically by topic.
|Separated Folder SEP-2658/1|
Papers: 1870-1876 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." Folder 14
Includes two letters related to white supremacist terrorism by the Ku Klux Klan for which William Saunders was the chief organizer in North Carolina following the Civil War. In an unsigned letter addressed to Fred Strudwick and dated 27 November 1871, the anonymous author accuses Strudwick of the murders by lynching of African American men near Hillsborough, N.C., and threatens violence against leaders and participants of the lynch mob including Col. Weeks, [Henry Armand?] London, and Saunders. The letter’s author, who states “you hung our race” may have been African American. In a 20 September 1874 letter addressed to Saunders, Joseph C. Webb discusses the results of the recent state election, pleased with the Democratic Party’s gains but disappointed that an amnesty law protecting Ku Klux Klan members did not pass because of dissenters including [Josiah?] Turner who had privately made remarks of “encouragement” to the Klan while denouncing the “Ku Klux and Leagues” in his newspaper.
Volume 10a: Manuscript copies of reports from the Royal Governors of North Carolina, 1768-1771 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." Folder 42
Includes reports from Governnor Tryon and his correspondence with the assembly and minutes of the council.
Item transferred to folder 35 in the David L. Swain Papers #706 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." Folder 73
Commonplace book with notes by David L. Swain.
Item transferred to folder 35 in the David L. Swain Papers #706 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." Folder 74
Manuscript on North Carolina history by David L. Swain.
|Oversize Volume SV-2658/42||
Volume 42: Letterbook, 1882 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." SV-2658/42
Letters from insurance companies to Saunders when he was secretary of the state of North Carolina.
Volume 43: Letters from Thomas J. Jarvis, 1888 #02658, Series: "William Laurence Saunders Papers, 1712-1907 and undated." Folder 76
Two letters from Jarvis written from Petropolis, Brazil, containing recollections and reflections on North Carolina matters, including politics.
|Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-2658/1|
|Special Format Image SF-P-2658/1|
Processed by: SHC Staff
Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007
Updated by: Adam Fielding and Jodi Berkowitz, April 2011
Edited by: Tierra Thomas and Laura Hart, July 2019
This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.
Since August 2017, we have added ethnic and racial identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic and racial identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for identity information to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to Top