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Collection Number: 00147

Collection Title: Cheves and Wagner Family Papers, 1814-1919.

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 section for more information.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 160 items)
Abstract Members of the Cheves and Wagner families lived in South Carolina and Georgia. Prominent family members included Ann Hrabowska Wagner (fl. 1814-1818) of Charleston, S.C.; Langdon Cheves (1776-1857) of South Carolina, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1814-1815) and president of the Bank of the United States (1819-1822); Mrs. Charles West (fl. 1879-1919) of Baltimore, apparently Langdon Cheves's daughter; and Charlotte McCord Cheves (fl. 1853-1878) of Savannah, Ga., wife of Cheves's son, Langdon Cheves, Jr. The collection is chiefly family correspondence. Also included are financial and legal papers, genealogical materials, newspaper clippings, and other papers of the Cheves, Wagner, and related families. The collection includes letters from Ann Hrabowska Wagner of Charleston while she was travelling in in New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, 1814 and 1818; correspondence about the Cheves family and plantation affairs, 1819-1846; transcriptions of letters from members of the Dulles family, in-laws of Langdon Cheves; and personal correspondence of Langdon Cheves's daughter-in-law and daughter, 1853-1919, including letters from Mary Custis Lee. There is little political material. Other topics include the War of 1812, members of a slave family who had been separated from each other, conditions around Charleston during the Civil War, the Charleston earthquake of 1886, and activities of the American Expeditionary Forces during and after World War I.
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 Cheves and Wagner Family Papers #147, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is 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 Emma Wilkins (great-great granddaughter of Ann Hrabowska Wagner) of Savannah, Georgia, before and during 1940. Addition purchased from James B. Blackford of Richmond, Virginia, in October 1967.
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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Correspondence is from four rather distinct periods.

1814-1818. Wagner family correspondence. Essentially letters from Ann Hrabowska Wagner to her children, particularly to her son Effingham Wagner of Charleston, South Carolina, but also to her son, George, and daughter, Emmaline McCord. Ann wrote during two separate trips to New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, giving details of her travel experiences; sending household instructions, particularly concerning her garden; advising her sons about family business; and discussing the care of her young children in South Carolina. In October 1814, Ann was visiting a son who was a commissioned surgeon's mate in the army stationed near New York City, and who wrote briefly to his brother Effingham about the life of a soldier during the War of 1812.

1819-1846. Cheves family correspondence. Chiefly letters from Langdon Cheves in Pennsylvania to William Jones of Lincoln County, Georgia, about negotiations to unite a Cheves household slave, Harry, with his wife, who was owned by Jones. Cheves also wrote family news to be communicated to Harry. Included in this period are two letters from Cheves's sons: one from Langdon Cheves, Jr., about plantation matters (1846); the other from Charles in New York on the eve of his marriage (1846). Handwritten transcriptions of several Dulles family letters document relatives of Mary Elizabeth Dulles Cheves, Langdon Cheves's wife.

1853-1878. Chiefly letters to Charlotte McCord Cheves (Mrs. Langdon Cheves, Jr.) of Savannah, Georgia, from friends and relatives. Among the correspondents are her father, D. L. McCord; her sister, Julia Feilder; her brother-in-law, H. W. Feilder; and Francis and Matilda Leiber of New York. Two Civil War-era letters discuss conditions in and around Charleston, South Carolina. Postwar letters document family adjustments rather than political concerns. Of particular interest are several notes and letters from Mary Custis Lee. A few letters, beginning in 1872, are to "Mamie," Mrs. Charles West of Baltimore, presumably Langdon Cheves's daughter.

1879-1919. Chiefly letters to Mrs. Charles West of Baltimore from family members. The majority of these, from Mrs. West's aunt, Mary Anna Parker, and her sister, Emma Wilkins, tell of family and household affairs. Of particular interest are a letter signed "Alice," describing at length the writer's firsthand experience in the Charleston earthquake of 1886; and three letters, 1918-1919, from Charles West, with the American Expeditionary Forces in France, discussing battles and activities of his regiment following the armistice.

Undated letters and letter fragments are chiefly items addressed to Charlotte McCord Cheves and Mrs. Charles West.

Financial and legal papers relate particularly to Cheves family land in South Carolina; they include plats, deeds, and indentures. Genealogical and biographical materials relate chiefly to Langdon Cheves, but include some information about family history. Other papers consist of such items as a calling card of General Robert E. Lee, a plan with explanations for building a floodgate, poetry, and newspaper clippings (chiefly obituaries of various Cheves family members).

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Lisa Tolbert, June 1990

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009

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