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Collection Number: 00086

Collection Title: Brevard and McDowell family papers, 1754-1953.

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 FAQ 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.

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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 450 items)
Abstract The Brevard family included brothers Alexander (1755-1829) of Lincoln County, N.C., and Joseph (1766-1821), lawyer of Camden, S.C. The Brevards were related to the McDowell family of Charlotte, N.C. McDowell family members included Rebecca Brevard McDowell (1823-1904) and newspaper editor and businessman Franklin Brevard McDowell (1849-1928). The collection consists of papers of members of the Brevard, McDowell, and related families. Papers of Alexander Brevard include land grants, deeds, wills, and business papers relating to Mount Tirzah Forge in Lincoln County, including some relating to slaves working at the Forge; North Carolina Revolutionary War militia papers, including a muster roll, 1780-1781; and an account, 1827, of his war service. Joseph Brevard's papers include a diary of a trip, 1791, from Camden, S.C., to Philadelphia and New York; a catalog, 1794, of his library; and a military order book kept at Fort Moultrie, S.C., during the War of 1812. Papers after 1871 are chiefly business papers of the McDowell family, including the diary, 1870-1874, of Rebecca Brevard McDowell, concerning her household and family activities, and her housekeeping book, circa 1859-1870. Other items include volumes containing Brevard, McDowell, Wright, and Roach family genealogical information and newspaper articles written by Franklin Brevard McDowell about historical topics.
Creator Brevard family.



McDowell family.
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 Brevard and McDowell Family Papers #86, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Franklin Brevard McDowell, his niece Mrs. Thomas H. Wright, and her son Lenoir G. Wright from 1924 to 1973.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Alexander Brevard (1755-1829), fifth son of John and Jane McWhorter Brevard, was a native of Iredell County, N.C., but spent most of his adult life in Lincoln County. During the Revolutionary War, he and seven of his brothers served in the Continental army. After 1779, Alexander Brevard was a captain of the North Carolina militia. After the war, he married Rebecca Davidson (1762-1824), daughter of John Davidson (1735-1832). About 1792, Brevard and his father-in-law, along with Joseph Graham (1759-1836), another son-in-law of John Davidson, went into partnership with Peter Forney, a pioneer in the Lincoln County iron industry. Together they purchased a share in the "big ore bank," a few miles east of Lincolnton, and made plans to erect facilities to manufacture iron products. For his part in the enterprise, Brevard built Mount Tirza Forge on Leeper's Creek. In 1795, Forney sold his interest in the partnership and the others continued to operate under the name of Joseph Graham and Company. By 1804, when Davidson sold his interest to Brevard and Graham, the company assets included over five thousand acres; nine slaves; improvements, equipment, and stock conservatively valued at $5,000; and cash and notes receivable in the amount of $8,876. Brevard manufactured and sold iron until his death in 1829, and, despite declining profits, the business remained in the family until 1870.

Joseph Brevard (1766-1821) was one of Alexander Brevard's younger brothers. Joseph also served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, enlisting at the age of seventeen. He became a lieutenant in the 10th North Carolina Regiment before transferring to the 2nd as regimental quartermaster. After the war, he settled in Camden, S.C. He was sheriff of the Camden District from 1789 to 1791, when he was appointed commissioner in equity for the Northern District of South Carolina. In 1792, he was admitted to the bar. He was elected circuit court judge in December 1801 and served until forced by poor health to resign in December 1815. He was a member of Congress from 1819 to 1821.

Franklin Brevard McDowell (1849-1928) was the son of Robert Irwin McDowell (1813-1885) and Rebecca Rowena Brevard McDowell (1823-1904). He attended Davidson College and the University of Virginia, practiced law in Statesville, N.C., and came to Charlotte in 1872 to work for the Charlotte Observer. He succeeded D. H. Hill as editor of The Southern Home; served as mayor of Charlotte and state senator; was an owner of a publishing company and the Consolidated Construction Company, which manufactured streetcars; and took an interest in local and regional history, making addresses and contributing articles for local publication. He married May King in 1884.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of papers of members of the Brevard, McDowell, and related families. Papers of Alexander Brevard include land grants, deeds, wills, and business papers relating to Mount Tirzah Forge in Lincoln County, including some relating to slaves working at the Forge; North Carolina Revolutionary War militia papers, including a muster roll, 1780-1781; and an account, 1827, of his war service. Joseph Brevard's papers include a diary of a trip, 1791, from Camden, S.C., to Philadelphia and New York; a catalog, 1794, of his library; and a military order book kept at Fort Moultrie, S.C., during the War of 1812. Papers after 1871 are chiefly business papers of the McDowell family, including the diary, 1870-1874, of Rebecca Brevard McDowell, concerning her household and family activities, and her housekeeping book, ca. 1859-1870. Other items include volumes containing Brevard, McDowell, Wright, and Roach family genealogical information and newspaper articles written by Franklin Brevard McDowell about historical topics.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924.

About 420 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Land grants, deeds, indentures, wills, and other financial and legal papers of Alexander Brevard and members of his family, and of John Davidson, Joseph Graham, and Robert McDowell. Included are several colonial grants; receipts, 1780, of Captain Alexander Brevard, and a muster roll, 1781, of Brevard's company in the North Carolina militia; deeds and indentures, circa 1786-1899, for sale of land, mostly in Lincoln County, N.C., and plat maps of land surveyed for Brevard and his associates; an agreement, 1823, between Alexander Brevard and his son A. M. Brevard, concerning the operation of the Mount Tirza Forge, for which Alexander Brevard provided some slave workers; and the will, 1828, of Alexander Brevard. There are a few scattered letters to members of the Brevard family, including one, 1814, from Joseph Brevard of Camden, S.C., to his nephew John Franklin Brevard, and one, 1854, from Robert Davidson to his cousin Robert Brevard.

Also included are many accounts, promissory notes, and receipts, 1835-1856, of Dr. Joel Houston of Lincolnton; accounts for general merchandise, 1858-1859, of Robert McDowell as guardian for Ann Houston; stock certificates, 1860, belonging to Robert A. Brevard, for the Bank of Charlotte, the Bank of North Carolina, and the Montgomery and West Point Railroad Company of Alabama; receipts and accounts, 1866-1869, of Robert McDowell as treasurer of Davidson College; and a few papers, 1904-1924, of Franklin Brevard McDowell, including certificates for membership in the Society of Cincinnati, 1904, and in the Sons of the American Revolution, 1924.

Undated papers consist mainly of maps of land surveyed in Lincoln County, a few receipts of Robert McDowell as treasurer of Davidson College, and one letter to Robert McDowell from his wife.

Folder 1

Revolutionary War Material, 1780-1781 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 1

Folder 2

1754-1779 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 2

Folder 3

1780-1786 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 3

Folder 4

1787-1794 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 4

Folder 5

1795-1797 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 5

Folder 6

1798 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 6

Folder 7

1799 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 7

Folder 8

1800-1804 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 8

Folder 9

1805-1811 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 9

Folder 10

1812-1815 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 10

Folder 11

1816-1820 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 11

Folder 12

1821-1827 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 12

Folder 13

1828-1834 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 13

Folder 14

1835-1839 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 14

Folder 15

1840-1854 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 15

Folder 16

1855 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 16

Folder 17

1856-1859 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 17

Folder 18

1860-1872 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 18

Folder 19

1873-1875 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 19

Folder 20

1876-1879 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 20

Folder 21

1880-1899 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 21

Folder 22

1900-1924 #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 22

Folder 23-25

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Undated #00086, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1754-1924." Folder 23-25

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1791-1953.

6 items.
Folder 26

Volume 1: 1791, 1794, 1798; 180 pp. #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 26

Diary and accounts of Joseph Brevard, June 1791 to August 1791, on a trip from Camden, S.C., to New York and Philadelphia, by way of Charleston and returning via Virginia and North Carolina; a catalog of Brevard's personal library, listing 1,145 titles; a list of slaves and their values, 1798; and miscellaneous memoranda.

Folder 27

Volume 2: April 1813-May 1814; 76 pp. #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 27

Orderly book of the 6th Military District with copies of orders from Francis K. Huger, adjutant general headquartered at Charleston, and orders by Major D.M. Forney of the artillery battalion, Fort Moultrie.

Folder 28

Volume 3: 1870-1871, 1874; 97 pp. #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 28

Diary of Rebecca Brevard McDowell, Charlotte, N.C., concerning her household and family activities, sewing, illnesses, neighbors, and other matters.

Volume 4: circa 1859-1870s; 130 pp. #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 28

Housekeeping book of Rebecca Brevard McDowell, containing cooking recipes and household hints; rose lists, 1859 and 1873; lists of china and linens, 1864, 1866, 1867; and memoranda about servants, and other household concerns.

Folder 29

Volume 5: 1880s-1953; 97 pp. #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 29

McDowell and Wright family scrapbook, containing poems clipped from newspapers and items of family interest--wedding invitations, programs, souvenirs; typed lists of family data; and clippings about McDowell, Roach, King, Caldwell, Wright, Chambers, and Brevard kin and friends.

Folder 30

Volume 6: undated #00086, Series: "2. Volumes, 1791-1953." Folder 30

A manuscript volume with family data copied into it on scattered pages between 1 and 143, including genealogical information about Dr. Edward Weldon Roach (1857-1897), his wife Rena McDowell Roach, Robert Irwin, and members of the Robert Irwin McDowell family and of the Brevard family.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Clippings, 1874-1922.

About 25 items.

Mostly newspaper articles written by Franklin Brevard McDowell about historical topics or historical documents and articles about McDowell or addresses made by him in Charlotte. There are a few clippings collected by him in connection with his interest in local and regional history. With a few exceptions, the clippings are from the Charlotte Observer from 1874 to 1922.

Among the clippings are items about the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration and other Mecklenburg families; a series of notes on Cape Fear history compiled by James Sprunt, including minutes of the Wilmington Committee of Safety, 23 November 1774 to 7 July 1775; the "Footprints of the Pioneers" series in the Charlotte Observer, 1903; and an address given at the laying of the cornerstone of the Caldwell Memorial (Presbyterian) Church, Charlotte, 1922.

Folder 31

1874-1900 #00086, Series: "3. Clippings, 1874-1922." Folder 31

Folder 32

1901-1904 #00086, Series: "3. Clippings, 1874-1922." Folder 32

Folder 33

1905-1922 #00086, Series: "3. Clippings, 1874-1922." Folder 33

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures, 1916.

1 item.
Image P-86/1

Group portrait of the members of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati, Charlotte, N.C., 1916 #00086, Series: "4. Pictures, 1916." P-86/1

Surnames of members have been written in at the bottom of the photograph. "McDowell," presumably Franklin Brevard McDowell, is in the front row.

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P-86/1

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Processing Information

Processed by: Rebecca Hollingsworth, February 1993

Encoded by: Joseph Nicholson, June 2006

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.

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