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|Abstract||Loula Hendon Donnell was the daughter of Margaret Johnston Hendon and John Albert Hendon. She spent most of her life in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she married George Emsley Donnell in 1898. Letters, 1838-1841, from Robert W. Donnell in Missouri to his cousin Jane Donnell in Guilford County, N.C., discussing Mormons, Indians, and the Whig "Log Cabin" campaign of 1840; letters, 1858-1861, from W. T. Hendon of Newbern, Ala., to family members about domestic matters and war fever; diary (typed transcription, 4 p.) of Annie Olympia Donnell of Statesville and Salisbury, N.C., April to June 1865, describing Stoneman's raid; correspondence, 1897-1910, between Loula Hendon Donnell in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Cornelia Phillips Spencer and Julia S. Love in Cambridge, Mass., discussing family matters and the "old days" in Chapel Hill; letters by Lucy P. Russell of Rockingham, N.C., 1942 and 1960, about the "old days" in Chapel Hill; and a few other items.|
|Creator||Donnell, Loula Hendon, b. 1860.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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These letters span over a hundred years and concern three generations of people related to the Donnell family of Guilford and Orange Counties, North Carolina, including the Hendon family of Newbern, Alabama (1858-1861), and members of the Donnell family in Missouri (1838-1841).
The daily letters in the collection are between Jane Donnell (1822-1858), daughter of Major Robert Donnell of Guilford County, and her cousin, Robert Washington Donnell (d. 1893), a Guilford County native who left for Missouri in the 1830s. Robert Washington Donnell's grandfather was Daniel Donnell, brother of Major Robert Donnell (Jane's father). Jane Donnell married a cousin in 1842 and had five children; the youngest was George Emsley Donnell, who married Loula Hendon in 1898.
The letters from Newbern, Alabama, were by John Albert Hendon and W. T. Hendon, planters, and father and grandfather, respectively, of Loula Hendon [Donnell]. Loula's mother was Margaret Johnston Hendon, daughter of Charles Wilson Johnston of Orange County, North Carolina. In 1857, Margaret Johnston married John Albert Hendon and went to live with him in Newbern, Alabama. They had three children, one of whom was Loula Hendon.
In 1874, when her husband died, Margaret Johnston Hendon moved back to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her three daughters. They moved into a house next to that of Cornelia Philips Spencer. When Mrs. Spencer's two daughters went to college, Loula Hendon filled the void and the two became life-long friends.
As noted above, Loula Hendon married George Emsley Donnell in 1898. They spent much of their life on a farm located about five miles out of Chapel Hill towards Durham. Emsley and Loula Donnell had three children: Albert, Mary Louise, and Rachel Jane, the co-donor of these papers, who married J. William Forbes.Back to Top
Letters, 1838-1841, from Robert W. Donnell in Missouri to his cousin Jane Donnell in Guilford County, N.C., discussing Mormons, Indians, and the Whig "Log Cabin" campaign of 1840; letters, 1858-1861, from W. T. Hendon of Newbern, Ala., to family members about domestic matters and war fever; diary (typed transcription, 4 p.) of Annie Olympia Donnell of Statesville and Salisbury, N.C., April to June 1865, describing Stoneman's raid; correspondence, 1897-1910, between Loula Hendon Donnell in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Cornelia Phillips Spencer and Julia S. Love in Cambridge, Mass., discussing family matters and the "old days" in Chapel Hill; letters by Lucy P. Russell of Rockingham, N.C., 1942 and 1960, about the "old days" in Chapel Hill; and a few other items.Back to Top
The earliest letters, dated 1838-1841, in the collection are from Robert Washington Donnell in Fremont, Missouri, to his cousin Jane Donnell in Guilford County, North Carolina. Robert wrote about politics, river boats, Indians, Mormons, Presbyterians, Campbellites, weddings, and life on the Missouri frontier. He was fascinated by the Mormons and wrote in some detail about their battles (in which many were killed); and the "Gentiles" (non-Mormons). Robert was an ardent Whig and wrote of the "Log Cabin Celebration" sponsored by the Whigs in the 1840 presidential campaign. Robert also wrote about his three-week residence among the "Pottawatina" Indians, commenting on their dancing, singing, and daily life. He was a friend of "Caldwell," their "head chief" who it happened had fought against William Henry Harrison in the Battle of Tippecanoe. In 1840, however, Caldwell was a staunch political supporter of his old but respected foe Harrision.
There are two letters from Loula Donnell's grandfather, Dr. W. T. Hendon of Newbern, Alabama, describing family matters and the cotton crop in 1858, and war fever in April 1861.
Cornelia Phillips Spencer and Julia S. Love, both ex-Chapel Hillians living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, corresponded with Loula Hendon Donnell, living in Chapel Hill, between 1906 and 1910. The letters (about fifteen in all) were mostly about family and events warmly remembered from the "good old days" in Chapel Hill.
The correspondence ends with two letters from Lucy P. Russell of Rockingham, North Carolina (1942, 1960), to "Mary Louise" about family matters and old times in Chapel Hill.
Typed transcription (4 pages) of entries (14 April-May 1865) from the diary of Annie Olympia Donnell of Statesville and Salisbury, North Carolina, describing the occupation of those towns by Gen Stoneman's Union cavalry and noting the residence in Stateville of Gen. Zebulon B. Vance before his arrest and incarceration by Union troops, and pamphlet (1974) by Rachel Jane Donnell Forbes giving the family history of the Donnell family in Guilford County, North Carolina, 1745-1860.
Processed by: William T. Auman, March 1985
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