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Collection Number: 04206

Collection Title: Loula Hendon Donnell Papers, 1838-1960

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 35 items
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.
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 Loula Hendon Donnell papers #4206, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Unknown.
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

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.

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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.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1838-1960.

About 33 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

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.

Folder 1

1838-1840 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 1

Folder 2

1841-1865 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 2

Folder 3

1866-1897 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 3

Folder 4

1898-1905 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 4

Folder 5

1906-1907 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 5

Folder 6

1908-1960 #04206, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1838-1960." Folder 6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Papers, circa 1910 and 1974.

2 items.

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.

Folder 7

Other papers, circa 1910 and 1974 #04206, Series: "2. Other Papers, circa 1910 and 1974." Folder 7

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Picture, 1910.

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Processing Information

Processed by: William T. Auman, March 1985

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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