unc logo

Collection Number: 03052

Collection Title: L. C. Glenn Papers, 1752-1927

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 rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 475 items)
Abstract Wilson (sometimes Willson), Glenn, and Torrence families lived in Crowders Creek, Gaston County, N.C. (previously Tryon County and Lincoln County) and York County, S.C. The Wilson family of Cumberland County, Pa., included John Wilson (1742-1799) of North Carolina; Samuel Wilson (1754-1799), Presbyterian minister of Cumberland County, Pa.; John's sons Robert G. Wilson (b. 1768), Presbyterian minister of Abbeville, S.C., who moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, because of his opposition to slavery, Samuel Blain Wilson, a Presbyterian minister at Fredericksburg, Va., and later a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in Prince Edward County, Va., and William Joseph Wilson (1777-1854), of Lincoln and Gaston counties, N.C., and his son Lawson Wilson (1809-1876); and other relatives in Ohio. The Glenn family included William Davis Glenn (b. 1833) of Gaston County; his brother Robert N. Glenn (d. 1864), a Confederate soldier; their father John F. Glenn of Gaston County and York County, S.C.; and William's son L. C. (Leonidas Chalmers) Glenn, author and geology professor at Vanderbilt University. The Torrence family included Edwin B. Torrence of Rutherford (later Cleveland) County, N.C., his children, Mary Ellen Torrence, Luther B. Torrence, and Thomas O. Torrence (d. 1862), a Confederate soldier, and brother-in-law Nathan Mendenhall of Gaston County, N.C.; William Wilson Torrence (1808-1875) and his son Leonidas Torrence (d. 1863), a Confederate soldier who died at Gettysburg; and other relatives in Arkansas. The collection consists of family correspondence, chiefly 1788-1871, of L. C. Glenn's ancestors, including three letters, 1766-1768, from William Tryon, then governor of North Carolina. Letters from relatives in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pope County, Ark., Green County, Tenn., Illinois, Ohio, and other locations discuss family news and social activities; the Presbyterian Church; 19th-century politics and economic affairs; slavery; gold mines of Kings Mountain, N.C.; the Union Theological Seminary at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia; the New Madrid earthquake of 1811; and life in Ohio. Civil War materials include letters from Confederate soldiers describing camp life and hospitals in Virginia and eastern North Carolina and to a lesser extent in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and battles at Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Gettysburg; Leonidas Torrence's small diary, 4 June-4 July 1863, recording his march from Guinea Station to Gettysburg; and letters from the homefront describing desertion problems in Gaston County, N.C. Later correspondence, 1901-1927, concerns family history. William Davis Glenn's diary, 1864-1869, includes descriptions of trips through Mississippi and to Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. His journal records expenses for the 1866 Mississippi trip. Glenn's volume of reminiscences, written in 1907, describes social activities and business ventures in the Carolinas before, during, and after the Civil War. Also included are a general merchandise store account book, 1794-1797, a mid 19th-century cipher book, and several photographs, circa 1880-1900, of Glenn family members.
Creator Glenn, L. C. (Leonidas Chalmers), b. 1871.
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 L. C. Glenn Papers #3052, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available: University Publications of America Series J. Part 13, reels 35-36.
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcriptions of many early letters were provided by L. C. Glenn.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. L. C. Glenn of Nashville, Tenn., in July 1954.
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 Biographical Information

L. C. (Leonidas Chalmers) Glenn, a professor of geology at Vanderbilt University, collected papers of extended Glenn, Torrence, and Wilson (sometimes spelled Willson) families. His grandfather, John F. Glenn, of the Crowders Creek sections of North Carolina and South Carolina, married Jeanette Scott. Their children included William Davis Glenn (b. 1833), who married Sarah Priscilla Torrence (1851-1906) in 1870, and is the father of L. C. Glenn; and Robert N. Glenn (d. 1864), who served in the Confederate Army.

L. C. Glenn's mother, Sarah Priscilla Torrence, was the daughter of William Wilson Torrence (1808-1875) and Sally Ann Wilson Torrence (1813-1880). Her brother, Leonidas Torrence (d. 1863), served in the Confederate Army and was mortally wounded at the battle of Gettysburg. The Torrence family, chiefly of the piedmont of North Carolina, intermarried with the Wilsons and Glenns of Gaston County, N.C. (formerly Lincoln County, N.C.). Members of the Torrence family included Edwin B. Torrence (fl. 1840) of Rutherford County, N.C. (later Cleveland County, N.C.); his daughter, Mary Ellen Torrence (fl. 1850-1886); his sons, Luther B. Torrence and Thomas O. Torrence (d. 1862), both of whom fought with the Confederate Army; and his sister Mary B. Torrence (1799-1879) and her husband Nathan Mendenhall of Gaston County, N.C.

The patriarch of the Wilson family was John Wilson, who died in Pennsylvania in 1773. John Wilson had five sons: John Wilson (1742-1799), who was married to Mary Wray (1737-1830) and migrated to North Carolina; Samuel Wilson (1754-1799), who was a graduate of Princeton University, a pastor at Big Spring Presbyterian Church in Cumberland County, Pa., and married to Jane Mahon (who later married John Heap); Hugh Wilson, who migrated to Georgia; James Wilson, who settled in Ohio; and William Wilson (d. 1778), who died unmarried.

John Wilson (1742-1799) and Mary Wray Wilson had ten or eleven children, including Robert G. Wilson (b. 1768), William Joseph Wilson (1777-1854), and Samuel Blain Wilson (1783-1869). Robert G. Wilson was a Presbyterian pastor in Abbeville, S.C., until he migrated to Chillicothe, Ohio, because of his opposition to the institution of slavery. He served as the third president of the Ohio University, 1824-1839. William Joseph Wilson was married to Sarah Baird Wilson (1773-1851) in 1799. They lived in Lincoln County, N.C., and Gaston County, N.C., and had ten children, including Lawson Wilson (1809-1876); Sally Ann Wilson (1813-1880), who married William Wilson Torrence; and Mary Wilson ("Polly") (1811-1900), who married Ephraim Torrence. Samuel Blain Wilson was a Presbyterian pastor at Fredericksburg, Va., for about 35 years. In 1841, he became a professor at the Union Theological Seminary at Hampden-Sydney College in Prince Edward County, Va. Among his six children was the Reverend Samuel Blair Owen Wilson (1809-1899), who served the presbyteries in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and was a professor at Davidson College, 1841-1853. Samuel Blair Owen Wilson died at Woodville, Tenn.

The region where the Wilson, Torrence, and Glenn families came together was in what is now Gaston County, N.C., and York County, S.C. Their lands were chiefly on Crowders Creek, which originally was in Tryon County (later in Lincoln County until Gaston County was formed) and always partly in South Carolina. From this neighborhood, they spread out into neighboring counties. The Wilsons kept in touch with kin in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio, and the Torrences with their kin in Pope County, Ark. (the families of one or more brothers of Edwin B. Torrence) and Illinois.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of family correspondence, chiefly 1788-1871, of L. C. Glenn (Leonidas Chalmers Glenn)'s Wilson (Willson), Torrence, and Glenn ancestors, including three letters, 1766-1768, from William Tryon, then governor of North Carolina. Letters from relatives in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pope County, Ark., Green County, Tenn., Illinois, Ohio, and other locations discuss family news and social activities; the Presbyterian Church; 19th century politics and economic affairs; slavery; gold mines of Kings Mountain, N.C.; the Union Theological Seminary in Hampden Sydney, Va.; the New Madrid earthquake of 1811; and life in Ohio. Civil War materials include letters from Confederate soldiers describing camp life and hospitals in Virginia and eastern North Carolina and to a lesser extent in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and battles at Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Gettysburg; Leonidas Torrence's small diary, 4 June-4 July 1863, recording his march from Guinea Station to Gettysburg; and letters from the homefront describing desertion problems in Gaston County, N.C. Later correspondence, 1901-1927, concerns family history. William Davis Glenn's diary, 1864-1869, includes descriptions of trips through Mississippi and to Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. His journal records expenses for the 1866 Mississippi trip. Glenn's volume of reminiscences, written in 1907, describes social activities and business ventures in the Carolinas before, during, and after the Civil War. Also included are a general merchandise store account book, 1794-1797, a mid 19th-century cipher book, and several photographs, circa 1880-1900, of Glenn family members.

Some oversize items are housed separately.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Loose Papers, 1752-1927.

About 450 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1752-1860.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence of Wilson (also spelled Willson) family members, discussing national and international politics, especially the proposed constitution for the United States; economic affairs, chiefly in North Carolina and Ohio; taxes, banking, and currency; news of family and friends; schools, including Union Theological Seminary and the University at Athens (the Ohio University); health; crops and farming life; industrial development in Ohio; Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist church affairs and the state of religion; cures for worms, pneumonia, and dysentary; slave labor, attitudes toward slavery, and abolitionist activities; War of 1812 conditions; a gold mine at Kings Mountain; Revolutionary War veteran pension claim of Josiah Martin; social activities, including parties, singings, courtship, and weddings; and the New Madrid earthquake of February 1812 and the two large earthquakes that preceded it in December 1811 and January 1812. Included are three letters from William Tryon, governor of North Carolina. A few of the earliest letters exist in typescript copy only.

Financial papers include scattered bills and receipts relating to college expenses and the purchase of a slave from the Barber estate. Legal materials include correspondence regarding settlement of the Witherspoon family estate, land grants, wills (typed copies), and deeds for land and slaves for Lancaster County, Pa., Tryon County, N.C., Lincoln County, N.C. (later Gaston County, N.C.), York County, S.C., and Camden District, S.C.

The papers roughly divide into four chronological groups: 1752-1770, chiefly land grants; 1782-1809, chiefly the papers of brothers John Wilson (1742-1799) and Samuel Wilson (1754-1799) of Cumberland County, Pa., and Samuel's wife Jane Mahon Wilson (later Heap); 1808-1858, chiefly the papers of Robert G. Wilson (b. 1768) in Chillicothe, Ohio, Samuel B. Wilson (1783-1869) of Fredericksburg and Prince Edward County, Va., William J. Wilson (1777-1854) and William's son Lawson Wilson (1809-1876) in Lincoln County, N.C. (later Gaston County, N.C.); and 1858-1860, chiefly the letters of Mary Ellen Torrence (fl. 1850-1886) from her Torrence, Mendenhall, White, Falls, and Walker relatives.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 1a

Folder 1b

1752-1787 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 1b

Folder 2

1788 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 2

Folder 3

1789-1792 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 3

Folder 4

1793-1798 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 4

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-3052/1

Four oversize indentures: #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." OPF-3052/1

1 May 1765 #03052, Subseries 1. Loose Papers, 1752-1927. 1.1. 1752-1860., Opaperfolder OPF-3052/1
26 October 1767 #03052, Subseries 1. Loose Papers, 1752-1927. 1.1. 1752-1860., Opaperfolder OPF-3052/1
28 September 1798 (2 indentures) #03052, Subseries 1. Loose Papers, 1752-1927. 1.1. 1752-1860., Opaperfolder OPF-3052/1
Folder 5

1799-1809 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 5

Folder 6

1810-1815 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 6

Folder 7

1816-1820 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 7

Folder 8

1823-1829 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 8

Folder 9

1831-1832 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 9

Folder 10

1834 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 10

Folder 11

1835-1839 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 11

Folder 12

1840-1841 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 12

Folder 13

1842 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 13

Folder 14

1843-1844 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 14

Folder 15

1845-1847 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 15

Folder 16

1848-1851 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 16

Folder 17

1852-1858 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 17

Folder 18

1859-1860 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 18

Folder 19

Undated before 1861 #03052, Subseries: "1.1. 1752-1860." Folder 19

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1861-1997.

About 250 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Civil War materials consist chiefly of correspondence, including letters to Mary Ellen Torrence of Cleveland County, N.C., from her brother Luther B. Torrence and from other Torrence, Mendenhall, and other kin; letters from Leonidas Torrence of the 23rd North Carolina Troops Company H to his parents, William Wilson Torrence and Sarah Ann Wilson Torrence of Pleasant Ridge, Gaston County, N.C., and to his sister Sarah Priscilla Torrence, and other members of the family; and letters from Robert N. Glenn (d. 1864) to his parents, John F. Glenn and Jeanette Scott Glenn, and to his brother, William Davis Glenn (b. 1833).

Soldiers' letters were written chiefly from camp, field, hospitals, and improvised nursing homes in Virginia, North Carolina, and to a lesser extent in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Thomas O. Torrence (d. 1862), Leonidas Torrence (d. 1863), Robert N. Glenn (d. 1864), and others described battles at Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Gettysburg; concerns of camp life, especially disease (measles and typhoid), food, and clothes; and desertion among soldiers. There are some letters from relatives at home in North Carolina and South Carolina, including a 25 December 1863 letter describing the depredations of deserters, both individuals and in gangs, in Gaston County, N.C. Also included is a small diary, 4 June-4 July 1863, that records Leonidas Torrence's march from Guinea Station to Gettysburg.

Correspondence, 1865-1886, reports on family news, the economic impact of the war, social conditions, sale of Kings Mountain gold mine, and Union Theological Seminary. Correspondents include Mary Ellen Torrence, Samuel Blain Wilson, Edwin B. Torrence, Nathan Mendenhall and Mary Torrence Mendenhall, and other Torrence relatives in Marion County, Ill., York District, S.C., Pope County, Ark., and Gaston County, N.C. Papers, 1891-1927, of L. C. Glenn include a University of South Carolina class day program and correspondence regarding family history.

Undated materials consist chiefly of genealogical notes and clippings about the activities of family and friends.

Folder 20

1861 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 20

Folder 21

1862 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 21

Folder 22

1863-1864 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 22

Folder 23

1865-1867 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 23

Folder 24

1868-1869 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 24

Folder 25

1870-1871 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 25

Folder 26

1872-1877 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 26

Folder 27

1879-1886 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 27

Folder 28

1891-1897 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 28

Folder 29

1901-1927 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 29

Folder 30

Undated after 1860 #03052, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1997." Folder 30

Family history materials for Glenn, Torrence, and Wilson families, including Martha Hanna Wilson, Robert G. Wilson, Mary Wilson Torrence ("Polly"), and Samuel B. Wilson

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1794-1907.

5 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 31

Volume 1: Account book, 1794-1797, 10 pages #03052, Series: "2. Volumes, 1794-1907." Folder 31

Store accounts for general merchandise. Names mentioned are Samuel Lowrie, Robert Alexander, and others. Owner unknown.

Folder 32

Volume 2: Cipher book, undated (before 1861), 92 pages #03052, Series: "2. Volumes, 1794-1907." Folder 32

Owner unknown.

Folder 33

Volume 3: Diary, 1864-1869, 45 pages #03052, Series: "2. Volumes, 1794-1907." Folder 33

Diary of William Davis Glenn of Dallas, Gaston County, N.C., containing irregular entries about trips and other events. Included are discussions about weather, social life, preachings attended, the general store at Pleasant Ridge, N.C., employment in the clerk's office, visits to relatives, troops stationed in the vicinity in 1865, trips in North Carolina in 1865, trips to Mississippi and to Baltimore in 1866, a trip to New York and Philadelphia in 1867, and working in a country store in the summer of 1867.

Folder 34

Volume 4: Journal, January 1866, 9 pages #03052, Series: "2. Volumes, 1794-1907." Folder 34

Journal of William Davis Glenn's trip to Mississippi.

Folder 35

Volume 5: 1907, 66 pages #03052, Series: "2. Volumes, 1794-1907." Folder 35

"Reflections of a Long Life," by William Davis Glenn, a chronological record of his life, family events, and reminiscences. Among many topics, he wrote about farming in North Carolina, business and trade, recreation, Old Bethel Church and its history. Highlights include:

1846: geography school at Union Church

1849: Columbia, S.C., public school in winter, farming in the summer

1853: trip to Charleston, driving cattle to Mecklenburg County, N.C.

1854: beginning of rheumatism

1857: winter in York County, S.C., first experiences in storekeeping, social life

1858: visits with relatives, picture business

1859-1860: Taylor's store, located on Hunter's place near Laurel Springs

1861: outbreak of war in South Carolina, duties as clerk of county court at Dallas, Gaston County, N.C.

1862: duties as county salt commissioner, life on home front

1866: 2,100-mile trip to Mississippi with J. H. Craig to collect cotton left there by W. Ferguson during the war, also travel through Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia

1866-1869: activities in Crowders Creek

1869-1870: activities in Pleasant Ridge, N.C., marriage on 10 November 1870 to Sarah Priscilla Torrence, building of home on Yorkville Road

1873-1874: duties as clerk in store in Charlotte

1874-1875: move to Gaffney, S.C., to sell groceries

1875-1891: business and farming activities

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, circa 1875-1900.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Brooke Allan, 1961, and Roslyn Holdzkom, 1992

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, October 2007

Finding aid updated for digitization by Kathryn Michaelis, November 2009 and March 2011

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

Back to Top