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Collection Number: 00298

Collection Title: James Gwyn Papers, 1653-1946 (bulk 1830s-1880s)

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.


Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.

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Size 2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1000 items)
Abstract James Gwyn I (1768-1850) married Amelia Lenoir (1765-1848). Their son James Gwyn II (1812-1888) was a planter, clerk of court, and merchant of Wilkes County, N.C. He married Mary Anne Lenoir (1819-1899) in 1839, and, in 1852, they moved to Green Hill Plantation near Ronda, in Wilkes County. Amelia Gwyn, daughter of James Gwyn I, married Major Lytle Hickerson (1793-1884), a Wilkes County merchant, and lived at Roundabout. Hickerson and his brother-in-law James Gwyn II were business partners until about 1848, when Gwyn left the business to take charge of the plantation at Green Hill and look after his aging parents. The collection includes personal correspondence, chiefly 1830s to 1880s, financial and legal items, and other papers of the family of James Gwyn and his wife, Mary Ann Lenoir Gwyn of Green Hill Plantation, Wilkes County, N.C., chiefly concerning children's education at various schools, including the University of North Carolina; real estate; North Carolina politics; and news of the Gwyn and related Lenoir and Hickerson families, particularly of Gwyn's brother-in-law Lytle Hickerson. Volumes include diaries, 1852-1884, of James Gwyn and, 1850-1851, of his son Hugh, kept while he was a student at Emory and Henry College, 1850-1851, and while he was teaching at Holly Springs, Miss., 1852; account books for various business activities; and remedies and recipes for home and farm preparations.
Creator Gwyn, James, 1812-1888.
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 James Gwyn Papers #298, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Thomas Felix Hickerson of Chapel Hill, N.C., 1939-1961 and 1970.
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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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

James Gwyn I (1768-1850) married Amelia Lenoir (1765-1848). Their son James Gwyn II (1812-1888) was a planter, clerk of court, and merchant of Wilkes County, N.C. He married Mary Anne Lenoir (1819-1899) in 1839, and, in 1852, they moved to Green Hill Plantation near Ronda, in Wilkes County.

Amelia Gwyn, daughter of James Gwyn I, married Major Lytle Hickerson (1793-1884), a Wilkes County merchant, and lived at Roundabout. Hickerson and his brother-in-law James Gwyn II were business partners until about 1848, when Gwyn left the business to take charge of the plantation at Green Hill and look after his aging parents.

The fourteen Hickerson children included Dr. James Hickerson (1832-1918), who was the father of Thomas Felix Hickerson, the donor of these papers.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, financial and legal papers, and other materials of descendants and relatives of descendants of James Gwyn I (1768-1850) and his wife Mary Ann Lenoir Gwyn of Green Hill Plantation, Wilkes County, N.C. Papers chiefly concern children's education at various schools, including the University of North Carolina; real estate; North Carolina politics; and news of the Gwyn and related Lenoir and Hickerson families, particularly of Gwyn's brother-in-law Lytle Hickerson. A large part of the correspondence consists of family and social letters among members of the Gwyn, Lenoir, Hickerson, and related families, 1830s-1880s. The few 20th-century letters are family and social letters to Mary Gwyn and Laura Gwyn and to Annie Weaver Hickerson (Mrs. James Hickerson). Financial and legal papers include deeds, tax receipts, wills, bills and receipts, contracts, estate settlements, and other items. Volumes include diaries, 1852-1884, of James Gwyn and, 1850-1851, of his son Hugh Gwyn, kept while he was a student at Emory and Henry College, 1850-1851, and while he was a teacher at Holly Springs, Miss., 1852; account books for various business activities; and remedies and recipes for home and farm preparations.

The earliest items, dated 1653 and 1661, are typed copies. There are a number of typescripts and photocopies among the manuscripts.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Loose Papers, 1653-1946.

About 1000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1653-1860.

Early papers, 1653-1834, consist mostly of land grants, surveys, court summons, reports of tax fees, fines, forfeitures, and other financial and legal items chiefly pertaining to Hugh Gwyn, William Lenoir, and James Gwyn I. Included are typed transcriptions of Virginia court records dated 1653, 1661, 1748. Some of the papers from the 1820s are of Walter R. Lenoir as clerk of the Superior Court for Wilkes County. Later papers, 1834-1860, consist mostly of correspondence of James Gwyn II, his wife Mary Anne Lenoir Gwyn, and his brother-in-law Major Lytle Hickerson.

Letters to Mary Anne Lenoir include many from James Gwyn, both before and after their marriage in 1839; from her cousin John Jones, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1836; and from several of her school friends. Letters to James Gwyn include several from his friend Roland Jones and from M. S. Stokes, who was in the United States Navy and wrote describing visits to Brazil and to St. Petersburg, Russia, 1837, including a description of a visit to his ship by Czar Nicholas I (1796-1855); letters containing references to various schools, including Emory and Henry College in Virginia and Salem Academy and the Bingham School in North Carolina; and many letters, beginning in 1835, concerning North Carolina politics.

Other items include scattered accounts of the merchant firm of Gwyn and Hickerson, 1843-1856; bills of sale for slaves, 1844-1846; statements, 1846, of taxes, fees, and fines received by James Gwyn as clerk of the Superior Court for Wilkes County; a handwritten newspaper "The Nation State," Wilkesboro, N.C., 1856; accounts, 1859, pertaining to James Gwyn's activities as trustee for Philip Dowell; and other financial and legal items.

Folder 1

1653-1822 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 1

Folder 2

1823-1834 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 2

Folder 3

1835-1836 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 3

Digital version: Letter from John T. Jones to Mary Ann Lenoir, 11 February 1836

Documenting the American South

Folder 4

1837-1838 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 4

Folder 5

1839 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 5

Folder 6

1840-1842 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 6

Folder 7

1843-1845 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 7

Folder 8

1846-1849 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 8

Folder 9

1850-1852 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 9

Folder 10a

1853-1857 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 10a

Folder 10b

1858-1860 #00298, Subseries: "1.1. 1653-1860." Folder 10b

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1861-1946.

Personal letters of various members of the Gwyn family, concerning the progress of the Civil War; Reconstruction politics in North Carolina and Louisiana; race relations in Tennessee and North Carolina, 1898; genealogical data on the Gwyn family, 1907-1909 and 1919; and a description of a trip to France and Germany, 1913. Undated items include a story, poems, household remedies, and several more papers about Gwyn family history.

Folder 11

1861-1865 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 11

Folder 12

1866-1869 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 12

Folder 13

1870-1876 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 13

Folder 14

1877-1878 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 14

Folder 15

1879-1880 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 15

Folder 16

1881-1886 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 16

Folder 17

1887-1889 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 17

Folder 18

1890-1895 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 18

Folder 19

1896-1903 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 19

Folder 20

1904-1908 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 20

Folder 21

1909-1911 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 21

Folder 22

1912-1946 #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 22

Folder 23-25

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Undated #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 23-25

Folder 26

Family histories #00298, Subseries: "1.2. 1861-1946." Folder 26

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1844-1904

9 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Account Books, 1844-1904.

Folder 27

Volume S-1, 1 December 1844, 29 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1844-1904." Folder 27

Gwyn and Hickerson, Wilkesboro, N.C., inventory of notes, judgments, etc., belonging to Gwyn and Hickerson, with interest to December 1, 1844

Folder 28

Volume S-2, 1 January 1846, 31 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1844-1904." Folder 28

Gwyn and Hickerson, inventory of notes with interest to 1 January 1846.

Folder 29

Volume 3, 1854-1904, 25 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.1. Account Books, 1844-1904." Folder 29

Section 1: Inventory of property of James Gwyn, taken annually. January 1854-January 1863, 10 pp. Section 2 (in the back of volume with book reversed): Miscellaneous accounts and financial records, the first dated 1839, but apparently entered 1858. Also included is a list of property and money received by James Gwyn from his father-in-law, Thomas Lenoir, and a record of property advanced to his children, 1868-1895, with a few other entries to 1904 by his executor.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878.

Folder 30

Volume 4, 20 July 1850-31 August 1851, 284 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 30

Diary of Hugh A. Gwyn, Wilkes County, N.C., kept while he was a student at Emory and Henry College and on vacation at home. The diary has rather full notes kept almost daily, dealing with college life and religious affairs and other activities of a young man.

Folder 31

Typed transcription of Volume 4, 205 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 31

Folder 32

Volume 5, March 1852-June 1852, 31 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 32

Typed transcription of diary (location of original unknown) of Hugh A. Gwyn while he was teaching at Holly Springs, Miss., and looking forward to his marriage to Sallie Dickenson, which took place at Berlin, Tenn., on 9 June. The diary contains details of Gwyn's daily life, including many conversations quoted.

Folder 33

Volume 6, 1852-1877, 274 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 33

Section 1: "Remarkable events and other memorandums," a diary kept intermittently by James Gwyn in Wilkes County, N.C., recording personal and farm activity, 20 April 1852-27 February 1877. Section 2 (in the back of the volume, with the book reversed): James Gwyn's account book, 1 January 1852-2 March 1877. Personal and plantation accounts, expenses, etc.

Folder 34

Volume 7, 9 April 1877-29 December 1884, 185 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 34

Diary of James Gwyn continued from Volume 6 above. The first entry reviews the events of March 1877, when Gwyn noted that he did not keep his diary. Entries are frequent, but irregular, as in Volume 6.

Folder 35

Typed transcription of Volume 7, 98 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 35

Folder 36

Volume 8, 1877-1878, 29 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, 1850-1878." Folder 36

Fragments of a "Sunday" diary, containing notes on religious and historical reading, commentary on sermons heard, and mention of members of the Gwyn family, especially Walter B. Gwyn (1853-1911). It may have been written by one of Walter's sisters at Green Hill or it may have been written by a friend of the family.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. Miscellaneous, 1856-1887.

Folder 37

Volume 9, 1856-1887, 51 pp. #00298, Subseries: "2.3. Miscellaneous, 1856-1887." Folder 37

Section 1, 33 pp.: Stock register kept by James Gwyn, April 1856-1867, 1886-1887. Also included are newspaper clippings giving a chronology of military events of the Civil War, 1860-1861 and 1864. Section 2, 18 pp.: "Recipes and useful memoranda," cures for humans and animals, directions for making candles, wine, waterproofing, harness grease, and many other preparations for home and farm.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include oversize volumes (V-298/S-1, S-2).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Rebecca Hollingsworth, November 1992

Encoded by: Peter Hymas, September 2004

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.

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.

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