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Collection Number: 01494

Collection Title: Capehart Family Papers, 1782-1983

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

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 processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 335 items)
Abstract The collection includes correspondence, volumes, financial items, and other materials, mostly 1811-1899, of the Capehart family of "Scotch Hall Plantation," Bertie County, N.C., plus some material of the related Martin family of Philadelphia. Correspondents include Susan Bryan Martin (b. 1815), who married George Washington Capehart, and her father, Peter Boyd Martin (1777-1838), who settled in Alexandria, La. Letters discuss personal and family matters, including fears and hardships endured by members of the family and their friends in Virginia or in areas of North Carolina occupied by Union forces during the Civil War. Of particular interest are the letters of William Rhodes Capehart, son of George W. and Susan (Martin) Capehart, describing his life as a surgeon and soldier in the Confederate Army. Also included are volumes containing slave records, 1840-1864; miscellaneous accounts; genealogical information; and a recipe book containing a list of the names of former slaves who remained at Scotch Hall after the war.
Creator Capehart family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
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 Capehart Family Papers #1494, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of the collection available on microfilm.
Additional microfilm: All or part of this collection is also available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mr. and Mrs. George W. Capehart, Jr., of Windsor, N.C., in June 1983, and lent for filming by Elizabeth Jacocks Capehart in 1948.
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

On 13 February 1812, Jannette Smith Bryan (1789-1818), daughter of William and Elizabeth Gray Brown of Bertie County, N.C., married Peter Boyd Martin (1777-1838) of Philadelphia, Pa. After their mother's death, the Martins' three children, Robert Campbell, Elizabeth Gray, and Susan Bryan, spent some time with their father's family in Philadelphia, but apparently most of their childhood was spent with the Bryans in Bertie County, while their father operated a plantation in Alexandria, La. Susan Bryan Martin (b. 1815) married George Washington Capehart (1810-1885), the son of Cullen and Amelia Capehart of Bertie County, on 28 November 1833.

Scotch Hall, the Capehart family plantation overlooking the Albemarle Sound in Bertie County, was begun in the early 1700s by William Maule, a surveyor-general for colonial governor Charles Eden. Cullen Capehart (1789-1866) bought the Scotch Hall property from Jonathan Hill Jacocks in 1818. In 1838, George Washington Capehart built the residence Scotch Hall near the remains of a foundation, presumably of Maule's home. Scotch Hall continued to be the residence of the Capehart family down to Elizabeth Jacocks Capehart and her son George Washington Capehart, Jr.

[For further information concerning Capehart family genealogy, see folder 15, volume 8, and a letter dated 17 April 1952. For further information about Scotch Hall, see the "Chronology of 'Scotch Hall' as recorded in deeds" in folder 15, a clipping in folder 14, and photographs of Scotch Hall in series 5.]

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The bulk of these papers, about two hundred items, are letters, about half of which date from the Civil War. Also included are about sixty financial and legal items, 1782-1882; about twenty printed items, chiefly clippings, 1861-1966; miscellaneous material; nine volumes; and sixteen pictures of Scotch Hall.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1811-1952.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Early correspondence includes an invitation, 1811, to Jannette Bryan of Bertie County, N.C., to attend a ball; and 30 letters from Susan Bryan Martin to her father, Peter Boyd Martin, in Alexandria, La., concerning her school activities, friends in Philadelphia, her sister Eliza, and individuals and events in Bertie County, 1824-1833. After her marriage in 1833 until her father's death in 1838, letters center on household affairs in Bertie County, the births of her children, the death of her daughter Eliza, and other family and neighborhood matters. A very few letters from Peter Martin to Susan Capehart are included. Other items include a letter from James Wilson to Cullen and George W. Capehart, 1853, describing his 73-day journey to Illinois, his success in farming, and the prices of various commodities, and a letter from Robert C. Martin to George W. Capehart, 1843, discussing and enclosing a map of property from Peter Martin's estate in Philadelphia, Pa.

About half of the letters were written during the Civil War and discuss the fears and hardships experienced by various members of the Capehart family and their friends. In particular, William Rhodes Capehart wrote about fifteen letters to his mother, Susan Martin Capehart, and other family members while serving as a surgeon in Poague's Battalion, Williams' Battery, circa C, Tenth N.C.T. (First Artillery). These letters describe the life of a soldier in the Confederate army as his unit marched and fought near Columbia, Tenn., and later between Richmond and Petersburg, Va. Also included are letters from other members of the Capehart family and their friends, most of whom were in Virginia and in areas of northeastern North Carolina occupied by federal troops. Among them were Lucy H. Bryan, James B. Martin, and Mollie Outlaw. There letters describe food shortages, war-time parties, farming and fishing activities, prices and shortages of clothing, farm animals and equipment taken by "impressment agents," fear and disgust of Yankees, and discussions of possible peace. Also of interest is the letter from A. Smith, an overseer, addressed to George W. Capehart in Franklin County, N.C., November 1864, describing events at Scotch Hall while Bertie County was occupied by Federal troops.

Post-Civil War letters include several referring to conditions during Reconstruction at plantations in Bertie County. There are also a few letters from Kate (Mary Carey Capehart?) to her father (Cullen Capehart?), circa February 1866, indicating that some former slaves wished to remain on plantations or with members of their former owners' families, and five letters written by Sophia Capehart in Norfolk, Va., in May 1868. There is also a letter, 1952, from Homer E. Capehart to Mr. and Mrs. George W. Capehart concerning the genealogy of the Capehart family, with a brief genealogical chart enclosed.

Folder 1

1811-1835 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 1

Oversize Paper OP-1494/1

Letter from Susan Bryan Martin Capehart to Peter Martin, 16 February 1836 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." OP-1494/1

Folder 2

1836-1860 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 2

Folder 3

1861-1864 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 3

Folder 4

January-February 1865 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 4

Folder 5

March 1865 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 5

Folder 6

April 1865 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 6

Folder 7

May 1865 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 7

Folder 8

June-December 1865 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 8

Folder 9

1866 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 9

Folder 10

1868 #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 10

Folder 11

1884-1952 and undated #01494, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1811-1952." Folder 11

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial, Legal, Printed and Related Material, 1782-1966.

About 80 items.

Among the financial and legal material are contracts, agreements, wills, deeds, and bills and receipts of members of the Capehart family. Included is a will of Jonathan Jacocks, 1782; an account of claims on the estate of Peter Boyd Martin, 1836-1839; an account of money received by Susan Bryan Martin Capehart and her husband from Peter Martin's estate, 1838-1847; and a loan agreement, 1882.

Most of the printed items are newspaper clippings from the Richmond Dispatch, the North Carolina Standard, and other papers concerning the Civil War. These chiefly describe battles and local events in Virginia and North Carolina. There is also an article from the Raleigh News and Observer, 1966, which gives a brief history and description of Scotch Hall and its furnishings and includes photographs of Elizabeth Jacocks Capehart and Scotch Hall.

Among the miscellaneous material is a genealogical chart of the Capehart family and a "Chronology of 'Scotch Hall'."

Folder 12

Financial and legal material, 1782-1847 #01494, Series: "2. Financial, Legal, Printed and Related Material, 1782-1966." Folder 12

Folder 13

Financial and legal material, 1848-1882 and undated #01494, Series: "2. Financial, Legal, Printed and Related Material, 1782-1966." Folder 13

Folder 14

Printed material, 1861-1966 #01494, Series: "2. Financial, Legal, Printed and Related Material, 1782-1966." Folder 14

Folder 15

Miscellaneous material #01494, Series: "2. Financial, Legal, Printed and Related Material, 1782-1966." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Volumes, 1840-1899.

9 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly genealogical material relating to the Martin and Capehart families, slave records, and account books of a Capehart business that apparently operated out of Norfolk, Va. Volume 9 is a recipe book that also includes the ages and birth dates of the freed slaves who, presumably, remained on the Capehart estate after the Civil War. Volume 4 includes a diary entry, dated 3 January 1867, concerning a violent storm.

Folder 16

Volume 1: 1840-1864, 46 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 16

Slave records with birth dates, lists of clothing, and a few recipes.

Folder 17

Volume 2: 1843-1866, 200 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 17

Accounts of C. Capehart.

Folder 18

Volume 3: 1855-1857, 42 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 18

Sick list, presumably of slaves.

Folder 19

Volume 4: 1866-1867, 80 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 19

Scrapbook of Sue M. Capehart.

Folder 20

Folder number not used #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 20

Oversize Volume SV-1494/5

Volume S-5: circa 1867, 70 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." SV-1494/5

Accounts of merchandise and sundries from Norfolk, Va., with pages missing.

Folder 21

Folder number not used #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 21

Oversize Volume SV-1494/6

Volume S-6: circa 1867-1899, 300 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." SV-1494/6

Accounts of Cheek, Capehart, and Co., Norfolk, Va.

Folder 22

Volume 7: 1877-1879, 24 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 22

Account book of Susan Bryan Capehart.

Folder 23

Volume 8: 1882, 150 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 23

"Family Record of Marriages, Births, and Deaths," belonging to Sue Martin Capehart Nicholls.

Folder 24

Volume 9: undated, 150 pages #01494, Series: "3. Volumes, 1840-1899." Folder 24

Recipe book to which was added a list of names, birth dates, and ages of former slaves who remained at Scotch Hall after the Civil War.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Microfilm, 1811-1923.

1 reel of microfilm.
Reel M-1494/1

Letters and miscellaneous papers, 1811-1923 and undated #01494, Series: "4. Microfilm, 1811-1923." Reel M-1494/1

Approximately 220 items, mainly letters, of the Capehart family with originals among the correspondence in Series 1, except for the following: 13 April 1849, 16 June 1858, 12 February 1865, circa 1865 (beginning "A column of Sherman's army.."), 9 January 1866, and 23 February 1890 (from Bill Arp), and two undated letters beginning "Please return my basket.." and "I don't want you...." Other items that are not included among originals in the printed material include an obituary, an account of slaves, and a 1767 map of lands owned by William Rhodes Capehart.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Pictures, 1890-1983.

16 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Photographs of Scotch Hall, the Capehart residence.

Image P-1494/1

Photograph of Scotch Hall in Bertie County, N.C., circa 1890 #01494, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1983." P-1494/1

Image P-1494/2-16

P-1494/2

P-1494/3

P-1494/4

P-1494/5

P-1494/6

P-1494/7

P-1494/8

P-1494/9

P-1494/10

P-1494/11

P-1494/12

P-1494/13

P-1494/14

P-1494/15

P-1494/16

Color slides of Scotch Hall and grounds, 1983 #01494, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1983." P-1494/2-16

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Processing Information

Processed by: Cynthia Crouch, September 1983; Revised by: Suzanne Ruffing, September 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009

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

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