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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Size||54.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 39300 items)|
|Abstract||Bennehan Cameron, planter, railroad executive, industrialist, and promoter of good roads, of Fairntosh and Stagville plantations, Durham County, N.C., and Raleigh, N.C. Correspondence, diaries, financial Papers, farm account books, breeding records, family history materials, and other items relating to Bennehan Cameron's many interests and activities. Documented are his involvement in agricultural organizations, farming and dairying operations, the North Carolina National Guard, railroads, the "Good Roads" movement in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, the North Carolina legislatures of 1915-1921, the construction of Revolutionary and Confederate monuments, horse breeding and racing, the Society of the Cincinnati, and Anglo-American amity organizations. Included is extensive correspondence reflecting the activities of the Cameron family of Hillsborough, N.C., and the family of Bennehan Cameron's wife Sallie Mayo Cameron of Richmond, Va.; genealogical materials relating to the Bland, Broadnax, Cameron, Mayo, Nash, Roane, and Ruffin families; and broadsides opposing women's suffrage.|
|Creator||Cameron, Bennehan, 1854-1925.|
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.
Bennehan Cameron was born 9 September 1854, at Fairntosh Plantation, Orange (now Durham) County, N.C., the ninth child and second son of Paul Carrington (1808-1891) and Anne Ruffin (1814-1897) Cameron. He attended Hughes School, Cedar Grove, N.C., 1866-1868; Horner Academy, Oxford, N.C., 1868-1871; Eastman's Business College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., summer 1871; and the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., 1871-1875. He then studied law and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1877. In 1881 he took over the management of his father's plantation at Stagville, Durham County, and, after his brother Duncan's death in 1886, ran Fairntosh Plantation as well. At Stagville Cameron established a dairy, while Fairntosh became the center of his horse-breeding activities.
Cameron was active in both state and national agricultural and political organizations. From 1877 to 1897 he was a member of the North Carolina Adjutant General's staff; from 1891 to 1925, a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina; president of the North Carolina Agricultural Society, 1896-1897; and vice-president, 1901-1906, then president, 1907-1909, of the Farmers' National Congress. He served in the North Carolina House of Representatives, 1915-1916 and 1919-1920, and in the state Senate, 1917-1918 and 1921-1922. He was active in the "Good Roads" movement and was first vice-president, 1918-1919, then president, 1920-1925, of the Bankhead National Highway Association. He was also interested in railroad construction and was instrumental in the consolidation of the Seaboard Air Line system. Among his other business interests were the Rocky Mount Mills, a cotton textile mill, the Morehead Banking Company, Durham, N.C., and the First National Bank of Durham.
Bennehan Cameron married Sallie Taliaferro Mayo (1865-1932) of Richmond, Va., in October 1891. She was the daughter of Peter H. Mayo, tobacco merchant and member of General Robert E. Lee's staff. Bennehan and Sallie had four children, including: Paul Carrington (1892-1895); Isabella Mayo (1899-1983); Anne Ruffin (28 January-2 July 1902); and Sallie Taliaferro (1903-1985). Cameron died June 1, 1925, at Raleigh, N.C., and is buried at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, Hillsborough.
Because so much of the collection involves members of the Cameron family, a genealogical chart is included in the Appendix.Back to Top
The collection is arranged into ten series. Series 1, Main, consists primarily of correspondence documenting Bennehan Cameron's family, social, business, and political life, and the activities of related Cameron and Mayo family members. It is further divided into subseries based loosely on significant periods in Cameron's life. Subseries 1.1, 1866-1890, covers the period of his education and entry into adulthood and the beginning of his agricultural pursuits. Subseries 1.2, 1891-1900, begins with the death of Paul Carrington Cameron and the marriage of Bennehan and Sallie Mayo. The years that follow show Bennehan's increased participation in public life, especially as a member and officer in various agricultural organizations. Series 1.3, 1901-1914, focuses on Bennehan's banking and railroad interests and on the life of the Cameron and the Mayo families. Series 1.4, 1915-1925, covers Bennehan's years in the North Carolina legislature and his involvement with the "Good Roads" movement.
Series 2, Financial and Legal Materials, consists of loose papers and account books relating to farming operations and household expenses, and to the management of Cameron lands in North Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi. Included are account books for the dairying operations at Stagville.
Series 3, Horse and Livestock Materials, documents Bennehan Cameron's interest in horse-breeding and racing, and in the improvement of his dairy herd.
Series 4, Family History Materials, and Series 5, Society of the Cincinnati Materials, document Cameron's interest in his genealogy and the biographies of his illustrious ancestors. He was particularly interested in his Scottish antecedents.
Series 6, Anglo-American Amity and Peace Organizations, relates primarily to the 100th Anniversary of Peace among English Speaking Peoples and the League to Enforce Peace.
Series 7, Printed Materials, includes wedding and other invitations and greeting cards, subject files on agriculture, horses, trade catalogs, and woman suffrage, among other topics. Also included in this series are newspaper clippings.
Series 8, Diaries and Other Volumes, include Bennehan Cameron's diaries, 1884, 1887-1925, and other miscellaneous volumes.
Series 9, Other Papers, includes school materials, diplomas and certificates, and blueprints for alterations to the Cameron home in Raleigh, N.C.
Series 10, Pictures, consists of photographic materials, largely documenting Bennehan Cameron's involvement with the "Good Roads" movement, but also including family photographs.Back to Top
This series consists primarily of correspondence documenting Bennehan Cameron's family, social, business, and political life, and the activities of related Cameron and Mayo family members. It is further divided into subseries based loosely on significant periods in Cameron's life. Subseries 1.1, 1866-1890, covers the period of his education and entry into adulthood and the beginning of his agricultural pursuits. Subseries 1.2, 1891-1900, begins with the death of Paul Carrington Cameron and the marriage of Bennehan and Sallie Mayo. The years that follow show Bennehan's increased participation in public life, especially as a member and officer in various agricultural organizations. Series 1.3, 1901-1914, focuses on Bennehan's banking and railroad interests and on the life of the Cameron and the Mayo families. Series 1.4, 1915-1925, covers Bennehan's years in the North Carolina legislature and his involvement with the "Good Roads" movement.
This period covers Bennehan's education at the Oxford Classical and Mathematical School, Oxford, N.C., 1868-1870, the Eastman Business School, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1871, the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., 1871-1875, and his study of law at Hillsborough, N.C., 1876-1877; his farming activities at Stagville, beginning in 1881, and at Fairntosh, beginning in 1886; his involvement in the North Carolina State Militia, beginning in 1878, and in various railroad companies, beginning in 1887; and ends just before the death of Bennehan's father, Paul Carrington Cameron, in January 1891. During this time, Bennehan changed from a school boy and younger son to adult and only son, taking his place in public institutions as the representative of one of the first families in North Carolina.
There is extensive family correspondence between Bennehan, his parents, Anne Ruffin and Paul Carrington Cameron, his sisters Margaret (Cameron) Peebles, Pauline (Cameron) Shepard, and Mildred, and brother, Duncan. While most of the correspondence deals with routine social and family news, significant events discussed include the ongoing illnesses of sisters Margaret ("Maggie") Peebles and Pauline Shepard and of aunt Margaret (Cameron) Mordecai; and the deaths of sister Rebecca (Cameron) Anderson Graham, brother Duncan, and aunt Margaret Mordecai. Margaret Peebles spent a great deal of time at St. Luke's, a private hospital in Richmond, Va., run by Dr. Hunter McGuire. Many letters discuss her condition and treatment for what appear to be "female troubles." The nature of Pauline Shepard's illness is less clear, but she appears to have been of a nervous disposition. Rebecca Graham's death was quite unexpected, and she left behind an infant daughter, Anne. Margaret Mordecai, of Raleigh, was in ill health for the last 25 years of her life, and suffered from both cataracts and high blood pressure. She sought treatment for the former in New York and Baltimore. Bennehan accompanied her on these trips as his father's representative. There is also extensive correspondence between Cameron and his father concerning Margaret Mordecai's business affairs. Duncan Cameron, Bennehan's older brother, became ill in 1885 from what appears to have been some sort of cancer. He underwent surgery in Richmond and was believed cured. His illness reappeared in 1886 and he died in November, after months of suffering. Throughout this period, family members travelled to health resorts, mostly in western Virginia, in search of relief from their various ailments.
On the business front, beginning in 1881, Bennehan began farming at Stagville, N.C. He made frequent purchases of seed, equipment, and stock. In 1885 he established a dairy. After Duncan's death, he took over the management of Fairntosh and developed an interest in horse breeding. In 1889 Bennehan was appointed to the North Carolina State Agricultural Society, an event that marked the beginning of his long relationship with the North Carolina State Fair and agricultural societies in general. A frequent topic of discussion in Bennehan's correspondence with his father, Paul, was their business relationship. Paul controlled all property and funds and was reluctant to give Bennehan free reign. Paul's opinion of his children's financial woes is characterized by a letter to Bennehan dated 16 February 1885, in which he says, "I am grieved to see with what little thought my children contract debt and how great are their needs! Since the first day of January I have been asked to advance to them $8500!!! Not one free from debt! and not one prospering in any line of life!" Money problems continued to plague Bennehan throughout his life. In 1884 Paul purchased orange groves near Ocala, Fla. This is documented extensively in the correspondence, and there are related materials in Series 2.1.2.
Beginning in 1876 there are numerous drafts of love letters from Bennehan to the many young women with whom he was considering marriage. Their replies show they invariably considered him to be a brother. Even after Duncan's death and Bennehan's improvement in status from younger son to only son, he had little luck with the ladies. However, by 1890 he was corresponding with Sallie Mayo of Richmond, Va., and a wedding was planned for the following year.
This period opens with the death of Paul Carrington Cameron in January and the wedding of Bennehan and Sallie Mayo in October 1891. Bennehan took over his father's business dealings, and with his brothers-in-law, William B. Shepard and Robert B. Peebles, served as executor of his father's estate. Throughout the period correspondence about family and social affairs continues, including discussions of the continued ill health of Margaret Peebles and Pauline Shepard, but also of mother Anne (Ruffin) Cameron. Also continuing is correspondence concerning the management of the Florida orange groves, the dairy at Stagville, horse breeding at Fairntosh, and railroad building throughout North Carolina. There is considerable material dealing with the Rocky Mount Mills, Rocky Mount, N.C., of which Bennehan was a director.
The year 1891 is taken up with business affairs, wedding plans for Bennehan and Sallie Mayo, and house building for the newlyweds. Also documented, in August 1891, is Bennehan's miraculous survival of a great train wreck near Statesville, N.C. (See also Series 7.4. Newspaper clippings, for news coverage of the event.)
In 1892 Bennehan and Sallie had a son, Paul Carrington Cameron, Jr. The baby became ill in May of 1895 and died in September. The effect of his long illness on his parents and others around him is well-documented. Other significant events for this time period include the sale of a large tract of Cameron family land in western North Carolina to the Vanderbilt family (now the location of the Biltmore Estate); Bennehan's election as president of the North Carolina Agricultural Society in October 1895; the travels of Bennehan and Sallie, the latter of whom spent long periods of time with her parents in Richmond and Boyce, Va.; the death of Margaret (Cameron) Peebles in September 1896; sister Mildred Cameron's marriage to William Shepard, Pauline's widower, in December 1896; the death of mother Annie N. (Ruffin) Cameron in May 1897; the race riot in Wilmington, N.C., in November 1898; the birth of Isabella Mayo Cameron in February 1899; and the consolidation of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad and other smaller lines into the Seaboard Air Line System. Throughout the period Bennehan's money problems continue, and there is correspondence between him and his father-in-law, Peter H. Mayo of Richmond, Va., concerning their financial relationship.
This period is characterized by the growth of Bennehan and Sallie's family, the continuation of Bennehan's financial problems, and his increasing involvement in agricultural organizations and the "Good Roads" movement. While the marriage of Sallie Mayo and Bennehan Cameron was apparently a happy one, he travelled constantly on business and the couple apparently spent very little time together. Bennehan had a widespread correspondence with a number of women, many of whom were on very friendly terms with him.
Significant events during this period include the birth and death of daughter Anne Ruffin Cameron in 1902; the birth of daughter Sallie Taliaferro Cameron in July 1903; the death of sister Mildred (Cameron) Shepard in October 1904; a fire that destroyed the stables and outbuildings of Bennehan and Sallie's Raleigh home in August 1905; the Cameron family's sale of the land on which Saint Mary's School was built, May 1906; Bennehan's attendance at the Farmers' National Congress in Rock Island, Ill, in October 1906, and his election as president of the Congress in 1907; the beginning of his interest in family history, 1908 (See also Series 4); the beginning of his involvement in the "Good Roads" movement in 1908; the establishment of the Quebec-Miami International Highway project in 1912; and the death of Sallie (Mayo) Cameron's mother, Isabelle, in late 1912. There is considerable correspondence between Sallie and Bennehan during their frequent separations, and extensive correspondence between Sallie and members of the Mayo family.
This period is dominated by Bennehan's elections to the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate; his continued involvement with the "Good Roads" movement and the Automobile Association of America, and with agricultural organizations; his continued financial problems; the health and education of his daughters; and the social activities of members of the Cameron and Mayo families.
Significant themes for this period include: the education of daughters Belle and Sallie at St. Mary's School in Raleigh, N.C., and St. Timothy's in Baltimore, Md.; the effect of polio and influenza epidemics on political, commercial, and social life, especially after daughter Belle contracted polio in July 1916; the entry of the United States into World War I; the beginning of the Bankhead Highway in 1917; the effort to get Archibald Henderson appointed president of the University of North Carolina in 1919; and deaths in the Mayo family, including that of Peter H. Mayo in August 1920. Letters from Sallie to Bennehan discuss her active social and family life in Richmond and Boyce, Va., and her frequent trips with her mother, father, and sister to New York, Atlantic City, various natural springs, and other tourist areas. It appears that Peter H. Mayo paid for the private education of his granddaughters and also Belle Cameron's medical expenses during her treatment and recovery from polio, and that Bennehan was heavily indebted to his father-in-law. The period ends with Bennehan's death in June 1925 from pneumonia contracted during his return from a trip to Texas.
Loose papers consisting of financial materials pertaining to the daily life of Bennehan Cameron's household and to his business activities, including his farming activities and railroad investments; and correspondence and legal papers relating to the purchase and maintenance of Cameron property at Fairntosh, Hillsborough, and Raleigh, and investment property in Mississippi and Florida. Also included are account books for Fairntosh farms, 1891-1951, and for the dairy at Stagville; and two bank books, one of Isabelle Mayo Cameron, the other of Sallie Taliaferro Cameron.
Primarily bills and receipts for goods, purchases, and services pertaining to the daily life of Bennehan Cameron's household and to his business activities, including his farming activities and railroad investments.
Correspondence and other materials relating to Bennehan and Paul C. Cameron's investment in Florida orange groves. The land was located near Plant City, Fla.
Correspondence and legal papers relating to the purchase and maintenance of Cameron property at Fairntosh, Hillsborough, and Raleigh, and in Mississippi.
Arrangement: chronological by latest date.
Account books for Fairntosh farms, 1891-1954, and of the dairy at Stagville; and two bank books, one of Isabelle Mayo Cameron, the other of Sallie Taliaferro Cameron. [See also, Cameron Family Papers (#133), Series 6.5.2, 6.7.2, and 6.11.2, for account books and farm diaries relating to Bennehan Cameron and his family.]
March-December 1893. W. A. Southerland's Dairy Book, with some bills and accounts of T. B. Edwards enclosed. All kinds of dairy accounts, including butter sold, retail trade in Durham, dairy expenses and cash accounts, sales of stock, milk sales, etc. 130 p. (Vol. 45). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 916
March 1893-November 1895. Unbound financial statements and extensive accounts for Stagville dairy (Bennehan Cameron with W. A. Southerland). These are in one folder enclosed in Volume 46. The volume contains accounts, July 1894-October 1895, for butter made, salaries of dairy laborers, and sales of products. (Vol. 46). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 918
1899. Accounts of A. H. Prince for cash transactions at dairy, May-November 1899, with laborers, for their time worked, balanced against butter and eggs and merchandise purchased at F. M. Carlton's store, and other advances to them. And cash paid out daily at dairy. 10 p. (Vol. 52). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 920
March-August 1902. Dairy records of N. F. Thompson, agent for B. Cameron; account of butter and stock sold for cash, statement of butter made, expenditures of dairy, time made by dairy hands, accounts with B. Cameron and other individuals. 45 p. (Vol. 54). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 922
1937. Farm accounts, John W. Labouisse and V.C. Taylor at Fairntosh. Cash received for tobacco, poultry, hogs, cattle, etc.; living expenses for Labouisse and Taylor; expenditures for truck, tractor, gas, oil, and for horses, cattle, poultry, etc., and other accounts. circa 110 p. (Vol. S-56). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 927
Undated. Accounts with individuals for cotton ginned. Ledger pages show individual names and their stall numbers and only slight notations about amounts. Index of names. Payments for seed. Bag numbers. [This volume is similar to a volume dated 1902.] (Vol. 68). #03623, Subseries: "2.2. Account books, 1891-1954." Folder 937
Arrangement: chronological. Volumes follow loose papers.
Correspondence, broadsides, horse descriptions, and breeding records relating to Bennehan Cameron's horse stables and dairy herd and to his activities related to the North Carolina State Fair. There is also considerable horse and livestock-related material in Series 7.2. Printed Materials.
Correspondence, broadsides, and horse descriptions relating to Bennehan Cameron's horse stables and dairy herd and to his activities relating to the North Carolina State Fair. Included is material related to the pedigree of Choctaw, the horse lent to General Fitzhugh Lee for his personal use during the Spanish American War [See OP-3623/4a-e].
Arrangement: chronological by latest date.
Breeding records relating to Bennehan Cameron's horse stables and dairy farm.
Correspondence and other papers concerning family history, family relationships, biographies of family members, and activities of Scottish societies in America. Arrangement is chronological, with undated material grouped by family name. Correspondence regarding the Thomas Ruffin memorial is included in this series and filed separately. There is information about the following families: Bland, Brodnax, Cameron, Mayo, Nash, Roane, and Ruffin. There is also material concerning the clan Cameron in Scotland and individual Scottish relatives. This series overlaps unavoidably with the Series 1, which contains correspondence which deals only in part with family history. It also overlaps with Series 5, Society of the Cincinnati Materials, which includes information about the genealogies of potential members.
Papers concerning annual meetings of the Society of the Cincinnati, the admission of new members, and actions regarding memorials to Revolutionary War heroes. Some items concerning the activities of the Sons of the Revolution are also included. The chief correspondents are John Collins Daves, Charles Lukens Davis, Wilson Gray Lamb, and Heth Lorton.
Materials relating to Bennehan Cameron's activities as a member of the National Committee for the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Peace among English Speaking Peoples, 1914-1915, and his involvement with the League to Enforce Peace, 1915-1917. Later papers in this series relate to the Sulgrave Institute.
Arrangement: grouped by type and subject. Invitations are chronological.
Primarily invitations and greeting cards, circulars, form letters, and pamphlets, many illustrated, advertising race horses and a wide variety of agricultural, industrial, commercial, and domestic equipment. There are also selections of trade cards and railroad time tables and passes. Arrangement is by broad subject category. Newspaper clippings, mostly 1910-1925, are also included in this series and are filed separately; they relate to personal, family, political and other matters of interest to Bennehan Cameron and his family and friends, and include a series of clippings on the train wreck at Statesville, N.C., in August 1891.
A collection of wedding, social, and professional invitations to the Cameron family, and greeting cards for Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays. Of particular interest is an invitation so "Snake Charm Camp" (circa July 1890), in actuality some sort of outdoor barbecue [See OP-3623/10].
Arrangement: grouped roughly by subject.
Circulars, form letters, and pamphlets, many illustrated, advertising race horses and a wide variety of agricultural, industrial, commercial, and domestic equipment. There are also selections of trade cards and railroad time tables and passes. Arrangement is by broad subject category. Of special interest is a series of broadsides opposing Women's Suffrage [See OP-3623/21-41]. Another topic well-represented is the building of the Confederate Monument at Stone Mountain, Ga.
Much of this material could fall into the categories above, but have not been sorted to that level. Of special interest are a hand-bound menu commemorating a banquet, 2 June 1900, given in honor of the opening of the Seaboard Air Line's direct road from Richmond, Va., to Tampa, Fla.; and a memorial volume for Octavia Polk Moore, one of the victims of the Statesville, N.C., train wreck, August 1891.
Clippings on a wide variety of subjects of interest to Bennehan Cameron, his family, and friends. Included is a series of clippings on the train wreck at Statesville, N.C., August 1891.
Diaries of Bennehan Cameron containing brief daily entries recording his social, political, and business activities and persons and places visited. Significant events mentioned include the deaths of family members, especially of Paul Carrington Cameron, 1891, and of Paul, Jr., 1895; the itinerary of Sallie and Bennehan's extended honeymoon trip to California and Canada; daughter Belle's illness with polio, June-July 1916; and Bennehan's reaction to President Wilson's speech announcing the United States's entry into World War I. Also included are Sallie Mayo Cameron's English Literature notebook, circa 1880s, and Isabelle Mayo Cameron's brief diary recording the events of April 1917.
Arrangement: grouped roughly by subject.
Miscellaneous materials that do not fit into any of the preceding series. Included are school reports and papers for Bennehan Cameron while attending Oxford Classical and Mathematical School, Oxford, N.C., 1868-1870, and the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., 1872-1875; for Collins and Graham children attending Raleigh Male Academy, 1885-1886; and Isabelle M. Cameron, while attending St. Mary's School, Raleigh, N.C., 1907, and Miss Ellett's School for Girls, 1909. Also included are speeches by Bennehan Cameron and others, mostly relating to the promotion of agriculture, including Cameron's presidential speech to the Farmer's National Congress, 1908, and to railroads and the "Good Roads" movement; appointments to militia posts and as a delegate to various agricultural and "Good Roads" congresses; and blueprints for a stable at Raleigh, N.C., and for alterations and additions to Bennehan's Raleigh house. Some of the more unusual items in this series include a set of medical prescriptions for Bennehan Cameron and a list of books in his possession as of 1907.
Arrangement: chronological where possible.
Photographic prints, postcards, and one lithograph. Included are views of those in attendance at the 1917 and 1923 Good Roads conventions, and one of Virginia Military Institute cadets drilling, circa early 1920s; views of the dedication ceremonies for Bennett Place, Durham, N.C., November 1923; family photographs, mostly portraits, many unidentified; highway scenes relating to the "Good Roads" movement; scenes associated with the construction, 1921-1922, of the Williamston Causeway, Bertie and Martin counties, N.C.; and miscellaneous scenes.
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Processed by: L. Eileen Parris with the assistance of Lydia Craft, November 1992
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was reprocessed under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top