unc logo

Collection Number: 04046

Collection Title: Fries and Shaffner Family Papers, 1848-1930s

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 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract The Fries, Shaffner, and related families lived primarily around Salem (now Winston-Salem), N.C. Francis Lavin Fries (1812-1863), with his brother, Henry William Fries (1825-1905), owned and operated woolen and cotton mills and a general store in Salem. Fries was active in the Moravian church and in local government and politics, and served in the North Carolina legislature, 1858-1859. He married Lisetta Marie Vogler (1820-1903), also of Salem, and with her had seven children, including Caroline Louisa Fries (1839-1922), who married John Francis Shaffner (1838-1908); and Mary Elizabeth Fries (1844-1927), who married Rufus Lenoir Patterson (1830-1879). Shaffner studied medicine in Philadelphia and Salem, where in 1861 he joined the Confederate medical service and was named assistant surgeon of the 33rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He was captured and briefly held by federal forces, May-June 1862. In 1863, he joined the 4th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Caroline Fries and John Francis Shaffner were married in 1865 and together had five children. Mary Elizabeth Fries Patterson and her husband lived during the early years of their marriage at Palmyra, the Patterson family home in Caldwell County, N.C. The collection consists of the family papers, 1848-1930s (bulk 1850-1867), of Francis Lavin Fries, Caroline Louisa Fries Shaffner, Mary Elizabeth Fries Patterson, John Francis Shaffner, and other family members. Correspondence concerns Fries family news, especially health and domestic life in Salem, N.C.; the family mills, store, and related business travel, often to Philadelphia; Shaffner's medical training; Fries' term in the North Carolina state legislature; North Carolina, Confederate, and national politics; student impressions of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; and the Civil War, especially military operations in North Carolina and Virginia, camp life, Shaffner's work at the camp hospital, prisoners of war, desertion, soldier and citizen morale, homefront efforts to support the war, and conflicts with pacifist clergy. Also of note are letters documenting the family's relationship with slavery, including reports of antebellum encounters with abolitionists while traveling in the North, the health of and funerals for slaves owned by the family, and the suitability of slaves for work in the mill. There are scattered letters, 1868-1887, concerning domestic life of Fries and Patterson families and Shaffner's business interest in the development of manganese in North Carolina. Volumes include diaries of Carrie Fries Shaffner, 1861-1876; surgical notes, 1862-1863, by John Francis Shaffner; his diary, 1863-1865; and an address by him about his Civil War experiences. Typescripts of some letters and volumes are available.
Creator Fries family.

Shaffner 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 Fries and Shaffner Family Papers, #4046, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Partial microfilm copy available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Louis DeS. Shaffner in December 1978 (Acc. 078083); purchased from Earl Weatherly, N.C. (Acc. 079188); received from Randolph Shaffner in December 2012 (Acc. 101720).
Additional Descriptive Resources
Original finding aid is filed in folder 1a.
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 Related Collections

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The Fries, Shaffner, and related families lived in Salem (now Winston-Salem), N.C. Francis Lavin Fries (1812-1863), with his brother, Henry William Fries (1825-1905), owned and operated woolen and cotton mills and a general store in Salem. Fries was active in the Moravian church and in local government and politics, and served in the North Carolina legislature, 1858-1859. He married Lisetta Marie Vogler (1820-1903), also of Salem, and with her had seven children, including Caroline (Carrie) Louisa (1839-1922), who married John Francis (Frank) Shaffner (1838-1908), and Mary (Mollie until she married) Elizabeth (1844-1927), who married Rufus Lenoir Patterson (1830-1879).

Shaffner studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and Salem, apparently with financial support from Francis Lavin Fries. In 1861 Shaffner joined the Confederate medical service and was named assistant surgeon of the 33rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Shaffner saw action at Richmond, Orange Court House, Berryville, and Fredericksburg, Va., and Frederick City, Md. He was captured and briefly held by federal forces, May-June 1862. In 1863 he joined the 4th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and saw action in the Shenandoah Valley, Orange Court House, Mechanicsville, and Petersburg, Va.

Carrie Fries and Frank Shaffner were married in 1865 and together had five children. Mary Fries and Rufus Patterson lived during the early years of their marriage at Palmyra, the Patterson family home in Caldwell County, N.C.

Additional biographical information can be found in the original finding aid filed in folder 1a.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of personal and family papers of Francis Lavin Fries, his daughters Caroline (Carrie) Louisa Fries and Mary (Mollie) Elizabeth Fries, and Carrie's husband John Francis (Frank) Shaffner. Correspondence concerns Fries family news, especially health and domestic life in Salem, N.C.; the family mill, store, and related business travel, often to Philadelphia; Shaffner's medical training; North Carolina, Confederate, and national politics; student impressions of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; and the Civil War, especially military operations in North Carolina and Virginia, camp life, including health, the camp hospital, and regimental politics; prisoners of war; desertion and morale; homefront efforts to support the war; and conflicts with pacifist clergy. Also of note are letters documenting the family's relationship with slavery, including reports of antebellum encounters with abolitionists while traveling in the North, the health of and funerals for slaves owned by the family, and their suitability for work in the mill. There are scattered letters, 1868-1887, concerning domestic life of Fries and Patterson families and Shaffner's business interest in the development of manganese in North Carolina. Volumes include diaries of Carrie Fries Shaffner, 1861-1876; surgical notes, 1862-1863, by John Francis Shaffner; his diary, 1863-1865; and an address by him about his Civil War experiences. Typescripts of some letters and volumes are available.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919.

Chiefly correspondence of Francis Lavin Fries, his daughters Caroline (Carrie) Louisa Fries and Mary (Mollie) Elizabeth Fries, and Carrie's husband John Francis (Frank) Shaffner. Correspondence, 1850-1860, consists primarily of letters between members of the Fries family at home in Salem, N.C., and other family members who accompanied Francis Lavin Fries or Henry William Fries on their annual business trips to Philadelphia, Pa. Letters mention sightseeing, including a trip to Niagra Falls, N.Y. (August 1857); social life, visiting, and entertainment; encounters with abolitionists (February 1860); mutual friends; dressmaking and the purchase of clothes, cloth, and household items; health, especially Francis Lavin Fries' near fatal illness in 1860; and frequent references to visits with John Francis Shaffner and his progress at Jefferson Medical College. Letters from Salem are devoted primarily to descriptions of housekeeping; news of family and slaves, especially health, including the illness, death, and funerals of two slaves (March-May 1860); and requests for items to be purchased in Philadelphia. Beginning in May 1860, there are also comments on the national political situation. There are also scattered business letters between the Fries brothers that discuss the mill, the northern market, and management of their store in Salem. In a May 1860 letter, Francis Lavin Fries discussed at length which slaves might be suited for work in the mill and how they should be trained. There are a number of letters exchanged between Francis Lavin Fries and John Francis Shaffner concerning the latter's medical training. Fries' letters are full of advice and encouragement, with occasional commentary on local and national politics. Scattered throughout this period are letters to Caroline Carrie Louisa Fries in Salem from relatives elsewhere, including from her father while he served in the legislature in Raleigh, N.C.

Civil War letters are primarily between John Francis Shaffner, who served as a surgeon with the 33rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment (1861-1863) and the 4th North Carolina Infantry Regiment (1863-1865), and members of the Fries family in Salem, N.C. Shaffner served at Camp Ellis and Camp Mangum near Raleigh (fall 1861); New Bern and Goldsboro (January-March 1862); Richmond and Orange Court House, Virginia (July-August 1862); Frederick City, Md. (September 1862); Berryville, Va. (December 1862); Fredericksburg and the Shenandoah Valley, Va. (1863-1864); Orange Court House and Mechanicsville, Va. (1864); and Petersburg, Va. (1865). Shaffner's letters report on military operations, staffing and operation of his hospital, the health and medical conditions of his regiment, camp life, food, supplies, housing, soldiers and officers in the regiment, his own trial in 1864 on charges of insubordination to Colonel Bryan Grimes, the capture and treatment of prisoners (fall 1861), and desertion (1864-1865). Other topics include pacifist clergy; the suppression of a unionist insurrection in Davidson County, N.C. (July 1861); state and Confederate politics, especially the gubernatorial election of 1862 and the effect of W.W. Holden on troop morale and desertions; Northern public opinion and politics, especially President Lincoln's reelection in 1864; and Confederate diplomacy, in particular the Mason and Sliddell affair and relations with England (December 1861-January 1862). Following his engagement to Carrie Fries in September 1863, Shaffner's letters to her became increasingly personal and affectionate. Letters written to Shaffner by Carrie and Mollie Fries deal with their daily life; mutual friends; family, especially the health of their father; church affairs, including conflicts with their ministers who opposed the war; and homefront efforts to support the war. Letters from Francis Fries to Shaffner continued to offer career advice and encouragement. There also are scattered routine military communications to Shaffner; letters from William Pfohl about service in the Confederate Army at Danville, Va. (1861), and in Greenville, N.C. (1864); letters from Cousin Alf (Vogler?) with the 11th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, describing the battle of Manassas, a train wreck, camp life, especially measles and typhoid epidemics; and from S.C. James with the Confederate Army in Liberty Mill, Va. (1862), and Port Royal, Va. (1862-1863) concerning camp life, mutual friends, the election of company officers, and deserters.

Letters from 1866 and 1867 chiefly concern family life as reported by Carrie Fries Shaffner, Mary Fries Patterson, and their mother Lisetta Vogler Fries. They discuss family affairs, including Carrie's grief over the death of her daughter; the servants; local events, including the marriage of a runaway couple; the Palmyra house and Caldwell County scenery; visiting; housekeeping; a trip to Rockbridge and the health resort at Alum Springs, Va.; smallpox at Salem Academy; and John Fries' preparations for enrolling at the University of North Carolina and his impressions and experiences once he arrived.

There are only a few scattered items between 1868 and 1887, including letters between Carrie Fries Shaffner and Mary Fries Patterson; letters to Shaffner from geologists in Philadelphia, Pa., concerning the development of manganese on property he owned in North Carolina; and a letter from a friend in Philadelphia describing the death and funeral of W.E. Albright.

Note that partial transcriptions for some of these letters can be found in Series 2.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 1a

Folder 1b

Notes on family history by Caroline Lisetta Shaffner #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 1b

Folder 2

1848-1857 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 2

Folder 3

1858-1859 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 3

Folder 4

January-March 1860 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 4

Folder 5

April 1860 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 5

Folder 6

May-June 1860 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 6

Folder 7

January-August 1861 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 7

Folder 8

September-December 1861 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 8

Folder 9

January-June 1862 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 9

Folder 10

July-October 1862 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 10

Folder 11

November-December 1862 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 11

Folder 12

January-March 1863 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 12

Folder 13

April-September 1863 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 13

Folder 14

October-December 1863 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 14

Folder 15

January-April 1864 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 15

Folder 16

May-December 1864 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 16

Folder 17

1865 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 17

Folder 18

January-June 1866 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 18

Folder 19

July-December 1866 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 19

Folder 20

1867 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 20

Folder 21

1868-1919 #04046, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1848-1919." Folder 21

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Typescripts, 1930s.

Typescripts in this series were made in the 1930s by Caroline Lisetta Shaffner, daughter of John Francis and Carrie Fries Shaffner, with the intention of writing a book about her family. Her introductory notes and outline for the volume are filed in Series 1, folder 1b. Comparison of typescripts with the original manuscripts in Series 1 and in the Addition of December 2012 indicate that letters were not transcribed in their entirety and in some cases were edited to correct spelling, omit or rewrite portions of sentences, and sometimes add explanatory notes. Note also that some typescripts do not have a corresponding original letter in the collection.

The content of these typescripts is similar to that of Series 1 and the Addition of December 2012, with additional topics such as Francis Lavin Fries' activities in the state legislature; Shaffner's problems of a military surgeon, including efforts by soldiers and their families to bribe him into signing discharges; Shaffner's brief incarceration in June 1862 by the United States Army; the welfare of men from Salem; the battle of the Wilderness in May 1864; army activity in Caldwell County; and a Christmas celebration in 1864.

Folder 22

1845-1860 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 22

Folder 23

1861 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 23

Folder 24

1862 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 24

Folder 25

1863 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 25

Folder 26

1864 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 26

Folder 27

1865-1867 #04046, Series: "2. Typescripts, 1930s." Folder 27

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Volumes, 1861-1903.

Folder 28

Volume 1: Carrie Fries diary (typescript), June 1861-June 1864 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 28

Contains regular entries about daily activities such as housekeeping, cooking, and clothes-making; the health of family members; visitors and visiting, letters sent and received, church activities, the weather, and other topics.

Folder 29

Volume 2: Carrie Fries diary (fragment), January 1862-May 1864 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 29

Partial manuscript copy of the Carrie Fries diary typescript in folder 28.

Folder 30

Volume 3: Carrie Fries Shaffner diary, May 1864-1876 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 30

Includes entries reporting on the Yankee invasion of April 1865 and the subsequent behavior of the Yankee troops. She stopped writing regularly after June 1865 and began recording only significant personal events. From 1869 to 1876, there are only retrospective summaries of each year.

Folder 31

Volume 4: Confederate States of America Hospital Department Surgical Notes, May 1862-May 1863 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 31

Record of surgical cases treated by John Francis Shaffner with basic information such as the patient's name, age, regiment, company, nature of the wound, and operation performed, as well as detailed notes on especially interesting cases and one page of instructions on compounding several drugs and remedies.

Folder 32

Volume 5: John Francis Shaffner diary, September 1863-February 1865 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 32

Daily accounts of letters sent and received, details of Shaffner's medical work, movements of his regiment and military news from elsewhere, and camp life.

Folder 33

Volume 6: Printed and bound copy of John Francis Shaffner diary, September 1863-February 1865 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 33

Also included is an article, "A Civil War Surgeon's Diary," based on John Francis Shaffner's letters and diaries. The article was written by Dr. Louis Shaffner and was published in the North Carolina Medical Journal in September 1966.

Folder 34

Volume 7: Address, 1903 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 34

Address given by John Francis Shaffner in 1903 to a Confederate veterans group, based on his war experiences.

Folder 35

Volume 8: Funeral program for John Francis Shaffner, 20 September 1908 #04046, Series: "3. Volumes, 1861-1903." Folder 35

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885.

Chiefly letters exchanged between Francis Lavin Fries and John Francis Shaffner and letters from Shaffner to Carrie Fries, but also a few letters from Cousin Alf (Vogler?) and other family friends. The content of these letters is similar to those in Series 1. Letters from Fries include fatherly advice concerning Shaffner's medical training and critical opinions of politicians and the modern way of bringing up girls. News of the family mills is slight, with the exception of a letter, 18 December 1861, in which Henry William Fries described the diminishing market value of wool, as well as the climate and roads encountered on a business trip to Texas. Shaffner's letters document the impact of the war, with comment on the long wait for his appointment as a surgeon, anticipation of enemy engagements, the death penalty punishment for desertion, Yankee conscription, southern morale, and to a lesser extent his work as a surgeon, though an 28 October 1864 letter includes his description of the evacuation of an infirmary after the Battle of Cedar Creek. He also reported a story of Senator Thomas from Davidson, who traveled to the North and returned with quinine, but had $20,000 in goods confiscated (23 August 1861). Shaffner's letters to Carrie subsequent to their engagement in September 1863 frequently are as much about his love for her as the war. Carrie's letters chiefly report on news of home and family in Salem, including homefront activities such as the call of a Southern Lady prayer meeting for women in Winston and Salem (1 December 1862) and a theatrical performance fundraiser to benefit soldiers (6 March 1863). The letters of Cousin Alf, possibly serving in the 11th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, are replete with his opinions about regimental politics and anecdotes from camp. In a letter dated 15 September 1861, he recounted how he ordered a guard to shoot blanks at "three negroes who had been caught in the act of selling whiskey clandestinely to the men ... but just before the command fire was given permission was granted them to run."

Note that partial transcriptions for some of these letters can be found in Series 2.

Folder 36

1853, 1858-1860 #04046, Series: "Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885." Folder 36

Includes a letter, 28 October 1853, with a description of the Crystal Palace in New York City, N.Y.

Folder 37

1861-1862 #04046, Series: "Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885." Folder 37

Folder 38

1863 #04046, Series: "Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885." Folder 38

Folder 39

1864 #04046, Series: "Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885." Folder 39

Folder 40

1865-1867, 1884-1885 #04046, Series: "Addition of December 2012 (Acc. 101720): Correspondence, 1853-1885." Folder 40

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, March 2010

Updated by: Nancy Kaiser, January 2013

Back to Top