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Collection Number: 02652-z

Collection Title: Gales Family Papers, 1815-1939

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.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 4 items
Abstract The collection consists of papers of and about Joseph Gales (1761-1841), his wife Winifred Marshall Gales (1761-1839), and their descendants. Included are manuscript reminiscences of the Gales' experiences as printers, publishers of several newsPapers, booksellers in Sheffield, England, refugees from political repression in Germany, and continuing their career in Philadelphia, Pa., Raleigh, N.C., and Washington, D.C.; a biographical sketch of Joseph and Winifred and their descendants; and other family data, including a tribute to Major Seaton Gales. The reminiscences are extremely detailed concerning the political situation that forced them to leave England, descriptions of their various printing shops and of processes and procedures; and social life in Germany, Philadelphia, and Raleigh.
Creator Gales family.
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 Gales Family Papers #2652-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm and typed transcriptions of the reminiscences available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Nona Gales Fleming of Dallas, Tex., in September and October 1941 and August 1943.
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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This collection consists of a typescript sketch of Joseph and Winifred Gales and some of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, with penned notes added by Nona Gales Fleming; a typescript article, "The Old Gales House," from the Raleigh Sentinel (N.C.), undated, telling of its demolition and its past history; a typed copy of an obituary of Sarah Gales (Mrs. William W.) Seaton from the New York Christian Inquirer , 16 January 1864; and a volume, 1799-1839, with typescript copy, of recollections of Winifred and Joseph Gales.

The manuscript volume of "Recollections" was begun by Winifred Gales and is divided into four sections. The first section, entitled "Raleigh, 1815," begins with a genealogy of Winifred Marshall Gales's family, mentioning members of the Marshall, Lamb, and Weston families of England where she was born in 1761. She tells of marrying Joseph Gales in 1784 and settling in Sheffield where he started a printing business, published the Register, and kept a book and stationary store. She gives an account of their children with birth dates and places and details some of their lives. At the end of this section, she discusses further the ancestry of the Gales family.

The second section is entitled "Raleigh, February 1831" and begins with "Reminiscences of our residence in Sheffield." Winifred Gales describes the family home in Sheffield; the printing and publishing business; the political situation in England and France; and repressive measures against liberal agitators in England, including Thomas Paine, whose works the Gales had printed, and Paine's friend, Henry Redhead Yorke. She writes about the suffering undergone by others of the same profession as the Gales, mobs gathering, warnings to the Gales family of possible dangers, and her husband's flight to Hamburg. She tells of her difficulties in the absence of her husband and of the hard journey with her children to join him in July 1794. She describes Hamburg and her landlord's family and house and Altons, where they lived after an unsuccessful attempt to travel to America and where their daughter, named for the town, was born. She writes about the French Revolution and acquaintances among the refugees in Germany and describes public lotteries held to support the town. She talks about the family's journey to America in June of 1795, describing the ship and interesting shipmates. The ship was captured by the privateers Hutchins and Bethel and was only released through the influence of Winifred Gales upon the privateers.

The third section, "January 8, 1836," begins in August 1795 when the Gales landed in Philadelphia. Joseph Gales hired himself to Dunlap and Claypool as a journeyman printer and took down debates in Congress in shorthand until his printing supplies arrived from England. He later bought the Independent Gazetteer in Philadelphia where the family lived for four years. They then moved to Bucks County to avoid yellow fever, but Winifred Gales caught the disease. Joseph Gales was invited by Richard Stanford, congressman from North Carolina, to visit that state and look over the advantages of that region. Gales decided to move to Raleigh after this visit, and the family left Philadelphia in August 1799 on a schooner for Norfolk, where they got a boat to Petersburg and traveled to Raleigh by carriage. The Gales soon began the Register and opened a book and stationary store. Winifred Gales tells of Raleigh social life, difficulties with servants, and the necessity of buying slaves for the household, farm, and printing establishment.

The fourth section is no longer in Winifred Gales's handwriting, having been continued by her husband after her death in 1839. He begins with the family's arrival in Raleigh in 1799 and describes the publication of the Register, its increasing success, and his work as public printer for the state of North Carolina. He relates his illness with typhus fever in 1799 and his removal to John Whitaker's in the country nearby. He tells of the education of his children and the petition to the General Assembly to erect an academy. He writes frequently of this institution, headed first by the Reverend W. L. Turners then by William McPheeteres. His English friends, Mr. and Mrs. Sambourne, come later to teach music in Raleigh. Gales describes a fire at his printing office and the newspaper being printed in his kitchen and taken to Warrenton, N.C., until a brick building could be erected. He writes of the marriages and varied careers of his children and tells of starting a paper mill and the operation of a grist mill in connection with the paper mill,

Gales mentions his being made tax accessor in his congressional district; fires in Raleigh; a movement started for a new courthouse; the burning of the state capitol in 1831; and the failure of efforts to get water into the city for fire protection. He discusses plans to retire and move to Washington, D.C., leaving his business to his son, Weston; the testimonial dinner given in Raleigh for the Gales; the move to Washington, D.C.; publishing government material there; and Winifred's death in June 1839. Gales returned to Raleigh in July 1839. He includes an account of his visit to Dr. Physick in Philadelphia before ending with an account of the his lineage and youth in England, particularly as apprentice to two different printers.

All through the "Recollections" there are references to the Unitarian Church and the Gales's participation in Philadelphia and Raleigh. There are also numerous references to the National Intelligencer of Washington, D.C., run by Samuel Harrison Smith to whom Gales gave his subscription list and other business material when he moved from Philadelphia to Raleigh. Joseph Gales, Jr., moved to Washington, D.C., to work with Smith and finally became proprietor and editor of the paper in partnership with William W. Seaton, who married Sarah Gales.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Finding aid updated for digitization by Kathryn Michaelis, July 2010

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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