unc logo

Collection Number: 04643

Collection Title: Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869

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.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 630 items)
Abstract Foscue family members include Simon Foscue (d. circa 1814), planter of Trent Bridge, later Pollocksville, Jones County, N.C.; his son, Simon Foscue (1780-1830), who served as executor of his father's estate and guardian of his brothers and sisters; his grandson, John Edward Foscue (1809-1849), executor of his father's estate; and John's wife, Caroline Foy Foscue, who handled the family's finances after John's death. Correspondence, financial and legal materials, and other items. Materials 1753-1815 are chiefly indentures, plats, and other property- related documents, many documenting disputes of Foscue family members among themselves or with neighbors and others detailing the handling of estates. Other materials relate to plantation finances and the hiring out of slaves. Scattered throughout are family letters, including one in 1814 from Lewis Foscue giving some details of the Battle of New Orleans. Materials 1815-1830 are chiefly financial and legal documents relating to son Simon Foscue's handling of his father's estate; materials 1831-1853 chiefly relate to Simon's son John's handling of his father's estate and John's own finances, which included the buying, selling, and hiring out of slaves. In 1841 and 1842, there are several receipts for jail and apprehension fees paid to Sheriff John Dawson for the capture of runaway Foscue slaves. Beginning around 1853, materials document the activities of John's wife Caroline Foy Foscue as head of the plantation. During the Civil War, Caroline apparently left with her slaves for the interior where letters reached her from friends and relatives on the home front and from her son, serving with Confederate forces in Virginia, who wrote about military life. Several letters relate to finding a substitute for this son, who appears to have been too weak to serve. Also included is a fragment of an account, dated 1866, of the murder of most members of the Reaves Foscue family by black robbers.
Creator Foscue family.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

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 Foscue Family Papers #4463, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from James E. Foscue of High Point, N.C., in December 1992 (Acc. 93007) and June 1993 (drop in).
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.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Foscue family members include Simon Foscue (d. circa 1814), planter of Trent Bridge, later Pollocksville, Jones County, N.C.; his son, Simon Foscue (1780-1830), who served as executor of his father's estate and guardian of his brothers and sisters; his grandson, John Edward Foscue (1809-1849), executor of his father's estate; and John's wife, Caroline Foy Foscue, who handled the family's finances after John's death.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Correspondence, financial and legal materials, and other items chiefly relating to Simon Foscue (d. circa 1814), planter of Trent Bridge, later Pollocksville, Jones County, N.C.; his sons and daughters, especially Simon Foscue (1780-1830), who served as executor of his father's estate and guardian of his brothers and sisters; his grandson, John Edward Foscue (1809-1849), who was executor of his father's estate; and John's wife, Caroline Foy Foscue, who handled the family's finances after John's death, especially those relating to legacies left their children, Henry Clay Foscue, Mariana, and Christiana by their father.

Materials 1753-1815 are chiefly indentures, plats, and other property-related documents. The first item directly relating to Simon Foscue is a 1798 record of a property dispute between Foscue and James Harrison. Around 1803, there are documents about Foscue's desire to provide for the children of his second marriage--Simon, Dorcas (1782-1869), Lewis, and Sarah--before marrying for the third time. Foscue apparently wrote a legal document listing land and slaves to be given to these children with the intention that the document would serve as a guide for distribution of property at a later date. In a legal complaint dated 1803 Foscue claimed that the document was found by son Simon, who took it as a binding statement of his father's intentions. Materials show that this misunderstanding caused considerable hard feelings among family members for many years. The dispute was apparently settled, however, before 1814 when Foscue died, leaving Simon as executor of his estate and guardian of his younger siblings. Other materials relate to plantation finances and the hiring out of slaves.

The few letters from this period are chiefly about family disputes. Of interest are two 1812 letters about property matters from Dorcas, one to brother Simon and the other to her father, the latter signed "Affectionate exile." There are also a few letters from brother Lewis, one in 1814 when Lewis was with Andrew Jackson's forces in New Orleans, and several in 1815, when Lewis was in Tennessee, mostly about difficulties with Simon, especially relating to Simon's treatment of Dorcas.

Materials 1815-1830 are chiefly financial and legal documents relating to Simon's handling of his father's estate and to various lawsuits involving family members, including a 1819 complaint of Simon against a neighbor who threatened Simon with bodily harm. In 1823, there is "an inventory of the personal property of Dorcas Foscue, lunatic, which come to the hands Simon Foscue, guardian." Among the few family letters is one in 1823 from Lewis, still in Tennessee, offering to sell his North Carolina lands to Simon, saying, "I will seek asyllem[sic] in the West where I hope to spend my latter days among strangers far more happy than the former with my only full Brother and others of my relatives."

Simon died in 1830. Materials 1831-1853 are chiefly financial and legal documents relating to his son John's handling of his father's estate and John's own finances, which included the buying, selling, and hiring out of slaves. In 1841 and 1842, there are several receipts for jail and apprehension fees paid to Sheriff John Dawson for capture of runaway Foscue slaves.

John died in 1849. Beginning around 1853, materials document the activities of his widow Caroline Foy Foscue as head of the plantation and guardian for children Henry, Mariana, and Christiana. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, there are tuition receipts for Henry at Trinity College and Christiana at Greensboro Female College. In 1860, there is a letter to Caroline from William Campbell, who had hired one of Caroline's slaves. When this slave turned out to be pregnant, Campbell wrote, "I cannot raise young negroes that does[sic] not belong to me without pay. Please write to me or send for them forthwith or it may be too late."

Around June 1862, Caroline apparently left with her slaves for the interior. In that month, R. Barrus, a friend living in Franklinton, wrote to her that the "Yankees have been to your house and tore up things some, but [I] hope it may not be so bad." Barrus wrote several letters to Caroline during the war, some about life on the home front and some relating to procuring a substitute for Henry, who, in Barrus's judgement, was too weak to serve. Also included are a few letters from Henry, serving with Confederate forces in Virginia about military life, and to Henry from friends serving with other military units. During this time, financial and legal items relating to family affairs continue.

In 1865, there is a complete account summary of Caroline's guardianship of Henry, Mariana, and Christiana. There are also several letters to Caroline from her brother Thomas Foy about financial and family affairs. In one letter, he advised her to "tell Henry now is the time to make a fortune and he must press things if he wants to do so." In 1866, there is a letter from Dorcas, then 84 years old, about her desire to visit her family and inability to fund such a trip. Also dated 1866 is a fragment of an account of the murder of the Reaves Foscue family by black robbers.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869.

Folder 1

1753-1801 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 1

Folder 2

1801-1803 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 2

Folder 3

1804-1813 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 3

Folder 4

1814 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 4

Folder 5

1815 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 5

Folder 6

1816-1817 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 6

Folder 7

1818 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 7

Folder 8

1819-1821 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 8

Folder 9

1822-1824 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 9

Folder 10

1825-1827 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 10

Folder 11

1828-1830 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 11

Folder 12

1831 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 12

Folder 13

1832-1836 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 13

Folder 14

1837-1839 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 14

Folder 15

1840-1849 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 15

Folder 16

1850-1856 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 16

Folder 17

1857-1858 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 17

Folder 18

1859 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 18

Folder 19

1860 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 19

Folder 20

1861-1864 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 20

Folder 21

1865-1869 #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 21

Folder 22

1911-1988 and undated #04643, Series: "Foscue Family Papers, 1753-1869." Folder 22

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, May 1993

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Back to Top