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Collection Number: 01071-z

Collection Title: Dabney Cosby Papers, 1827-1865

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.


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Size 24 items
Abstract Dabney Cosby (1779-1862) of Raleigh, N.C., was a builder engaged in contructing courthouses, jails, houses, and other buildings in Virginia and North Carolina. The collection includes letters from Dabney Cosby to his son, Dabney Minor Cosby, and others, concerning details of his building work, family matters, and public events, including one letter, 1847, referring to work in Chapel Hill, N.C. Also included are letters, 1862-1864, from Dabney Cosby (1836-1886) from the Virginia Peninsula, northern Virginia, and eastern Tennessee, where he served first in the 53rd Virginia Infantry Regiment and later as Ordnance Officer in Wharton's Brigade of the Confederate Army, about camp life, progress of the war, life in communities where he was stationed, and his philosophy about the war.
Creator Cosby, Dabney, 1779-1862.
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 Dabney Cosby Papers #1071-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed March 2005) available.
  • Reel 1: Folder 1 of 1.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Cornelia Heartt of Raleigh, N.C., in June 1944; from Susie H. Orr of Charlotte, N.C., in February and March 1946; and from John Canada Cosby of Greenville, S.C., in June 1974.
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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Dabney Cosby (1779-1862) of Raleigh, N.C., was a builder engaged in constructing courthouses, jails, churches, houses, and other buildings in North Carolina and Virginia. He worked on construction of the original buildings at the University of Virginia in the 1820s. He built the Sussex County, Va., courthouse in 1825. He also built the courthouse and several plantation houses in Halifax County, Va., between 1835 and 1850. From 1845 to 1847, Cosby worked under architect A. J. Davis as subcontractor in charge of masonry on additions to the Old East and Old West buildings at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Dabney Cosby was the son of Zacheus and Susan Dabney Cosby. He was born in Louisa County, Va., on 11 August 1779. In 1801, he married Frances Davenport Tapp (1785-1867). They lived in Staunton, Va.; then in Buckingham County, Va.; and, from 1840, in Raleigh, N.C. They had many children of whom the seventh was Dabney Minor Cosby (1813-1898). Dabney Cosby died in Raleigh on 8 July 1862.

Dabney Minor Cosby (1813-1898) was also a builder. He lived in Halifax, Va. Dabney Minor Cosby married Margaret Ann Curd (1811-1890). Among their children was a son, Dabney Cosby (1836-1886), who served first in the 53rd Virginia Infantry Regiment and then as Ordnance Officer for Wharton's Brigade of the Confederate Army.

See also Dictionary of North Carolina Biography.

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The collection contains letters from Dabney Cosby (1779-1862) to his son, Dabney Minor Cosby (1813-1898) and others, concerning details of his building work, family matters and public events, including one letter, 1847, referring to work in Chapel Hill, N.C. Also included are letters, 1862-1864, from Dabney Cosby (1836-1886), from the Virginia Peninsula, northern Virginia, and eastern Tennessee, where he served first in the 53rd Virginia Infantry Regiment and later as Ordnance Officer in Wharton's Brigade of the Confederate Army. The letters describe camp life, progress of the war, life in communities where he was stationed, and his philosophy about the war. Some items are photocopies for which no original is present in the collection.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Anna Brooke Allan, August 1974

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, February 2005

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