Collection Number: 03391

Collection Title: Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906

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 from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 300 items)
Abstract The scattered papers of the white Giles family of Wilmington, N.C., include an 1882 letter written by Henry L. Giles (Active 1830-1882), a Black bricklayer of Savannah, Ga. He addressed the letter to his former enslaver William B. Giles (1812-1883), a white lumber merchant with businesses in North Carolina and Georgia. Letters written during the American Civil War are chiefly between members of the white Giles and Wright families who remained in Wilmington, N.C., or Savannah, Ga., and those who were fighting for the Confederacy in the 1st, 10th, 24th, and 37th North Carolina regiments and the 1st and 63rd Georgia regiments. Authors mention pro-Union sentiments in Wilmington, N.C., the construction of an ironclad gunboat for the defense of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River, army camp life, Union war ships off the coast of Elba Island near the port of Savannah, and Union General William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia. Also included are contemporary manuscript copies of military orders related to the “suspension of hostilities” and issued on 27 April 1865 by Sherman and by Confederate general J.E. Johnston. Family correspondence between 1800 and 1860 pertains chiefly to personal and social news; everyday life in Madison County, Tenn.; and travel and recreation in New Orleans, La., Natchitoches, La., Texas, Hagerstown, Md., and Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Eighteenth-century documents of the related Wright, Reston, Jocelyn, Grainger, and DuBois families include deeds, plats, indentures, and letters containing marital advice, reports home from students away at school, and other personal, family, and local news. Undated materials include a brief speech rationalizing the institution of slavery with Biblical, economic, and racist arguments..
Creator Giles (Family : Wilmington, N.C.)
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 Giles Family Papers #3391, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Harriet Bellamy Jewett of Wilmington, N.C., in November 1958.
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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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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William Giles + Arabella (Anabella?) Fleming James M.

William Burke (1812) + Almeria Reston James (b. 1837)

John Reston (b. 1838)

William (b. 1839)

Richard B. (July 19-October 2 1842)

Clayton (b. 1844) + Widow Murchison + Mary Augusta Wright

Clayton (b. 1874) + Agnes Seabrease

Mary + John Dillard Bellamy

Norwood (1846-1899)

Annabella + John Wall Norwood (1802-1885)

Margaret Yonge Norwood (1838-1925)

Margaret Giles + Dr. Philip Yonge

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Papers before 1800 consist of deeds, plats, and other land records, wills, and related legal papers mostly of the Grainger or DuBois families, and three letters relating to the Jocelyn family. From 1800 to 1812, papers include indentures and correspondence of Samuel R. Jocelyn, Elizabeth Jocelyn, and Eliza Jocelyn; a subscription list, 1810, for St. James's Church, Wilmington, N.C., with names, pledges, and records of payment, 1810-1813; eight pages of a diary of Thomas C. Reston on a tour from Wilmington by sea to Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Haven, and Hartford; and another diary sheet recording a trip to North Carolina. There are other scattered papers of Samuel R. Jocelyn and Eliza Jocelyn Reston, 1812-1825, and more family correspondence, especially of Edward, Eliza J. Reston's brother, 1825-1830, as well as scattered indentures; letters from Thomas H. Wright in Wilmington; and letters to Christian Giles and Thomas C. Reston, Eliza Jocelyn Reston's husband.

Correspondence of the Giles family increases from 1835 to 1839 and includes letters to Annabella Giles in Wilmington from her son James M. Giles at New Orleans and Natchitoches, La., and letters to James's brother William B. Giles and sister Margaret Yonge. There are also letters to William A. Wright from Henry Toole in Washington and William Mercer Green in Chapel Hill. From 1848 to 1849, there are letters from William B. Giles at Savannah to his wife Almeria in Wilmington and his sons James and John. There are also daily letters from Giles in 1851. Letters of the Giles family begin again in 1853. They include letters of W. B. Giles in Savannah to his family as well as letters, 1855-1856, from James Giles at the College of St. James to his brother Clayton and to his father. There are scattered letters of the Wright family beginning in 1857 and containing mainly personal remarks.

Papers from the Civil War period include family letters of the Wright and Giles families; papers relating to a campaign to raise funds for building an ironclad for the defense of Cape Fear, 1862, with a subscription list of soldiers at Camp Wyatt and letters from George W. Mordecai, Richard Washington, and others, to William A. Wright and others; bills and accounts of W. B. Giles and R. Bradley, 1863-1864; a letter announcing the death of Major John R. Giles of the 63rd Georgia Regiment, 1863; and letters to and from Clayton Giles, private in the signal corps at Thunderbolt Battery near Savannah, 1863-1864.

Items from after the war are primarily the papers of Clayton Giles. Included is an 1882 letter from a former slave thanking W. B. Giles for his early training and other advantages. There are also three folders of undated material, largely Giles family letters.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906.

Folder 1

1729-1771 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 1

Folder 2

1785-1789 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 2

Folder 3

1790-1798 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 3

Folder 4

1800-1806 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 4

Folder 5

1808-1810 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 5

Folder 6

1811-1818 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 6

Folder 7

1825-1829 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 7

Folder 8

1830-1849 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 8

Folder 9

1851 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 9

Folder 10

1853-1858 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 10

Folder 11

1860-1862 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 11

Folder 12

1863 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 12

Folder 13

1864-1866 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 13

Folder 14

1867-1886; 1906 #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 14

Folder 15-17

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Undated #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." Folder 15-17

Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-3391/1

Seven oversize documents: #03391, Series: "Giles Family Papers, 1727-1886; 1906." XOPF-3391/1

OP-3391/1: Bill of complaint over a toll bridge between Henry Toomer and William Blount, 16 June 1789 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/2: Indenture of John Martin to John Lord of Wilmington, 4 March 1808 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/3: Indenture of Stephen Player to Peter Carpenter, New Hanover County, NC, 2 June 1792 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/4: Deed of land of Frederick Jones, New Hanover, 28 August 1795 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/5: Indenture of John Martin to John Lord, Wilmington, 1 March 1804 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/6: Indenture of Henry Watters to Thomas Hill, New Hanover County, 2 February 1804 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
OP-3391/7: Indenture of John Dubois and Richard Player, Wilmington, 10 April 1770 #03391, Xopaperfolder XOPF-3391/1
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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, September 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, January 2010

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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