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Collection Number: 02058-z

Collection Title: William Belvidere Meares Papers, 1851-1948

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.


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Size 70 items
Abstract William Belvidere Meares was a physician and planter of Davidson County, N.C. The collection includes letters of William Belvidere Meares, his wife Mary Thomas Exum Meares, their children, and other family members; genealogical and biographical information; clippings; writings; certificates and other miscellaneous papers; and photographs. Included are letters, 1850s, from Adelaide Savage Meares, sister of William Belvidere Meares who later married Moses John De Rosset, to Mary Thomas Exum Meares about family and social life in eastern North Carolina; letters, 1863 and 1966, from Martha Exum Ransom (Mrs. Matt W. Ransom) to her sister, Mary Thomas Exum Meares, about social life and hard times in North Carolina; letters, 1870s, from his parents and others to Frederick P. Meares, containing family news, advice on the importance of education and on behavior relating to "the Negro cadet" at his school, and news of his father's attempt to sell his plantation because of the difficulty of hiring labor and the dullness of plantation life; and other letters. Also included are a labor contract, 1867, between four laborers and William Belvidere Meares; photographs of Meares family members; and other items.
Creator Meares, William Belvidere, 1826-1896.
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 William Belvidere Meares Papers #2058-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Esther E. Meares of Asheville, N.C., in 1940; from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Meares of Asheville, N.C., in August 1949; and from Emily Gordon of Palmyra, Va., in November 2004 (Acc. 99989).
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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William Belvidere Meares (1826-1896), physician and planter of Davidson County, N.C., was the fifth son of Catherine Grady Davis and William Belvidere Meares (1787-1841) of Wilmington, N.C. Meares was educated at the Bingham School in Hillsborough and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1846. After he received a medical degree from Jefferson College in Philadelphia, he returned to Wilmington. In 1850, Meares married Mary Thomas Exum (1833-1883) of Northampton County, N.C. Mary Thomas Exum Meares's sister Martha married Matt W. (Matthew Whitaker) Ransom (1826-1904).

William Belvidere Meares volunteered for service in the Confederate Army and was commissioned in June 1861 as assistant surgeon of the 20th North Carolina Regiment. Meares transferred to the staff of his brother-in-law, General Matt Ransom, and served throughout the rest of the war as Ransom's aide-de-camp. In May 1862, William Belvidere Meares moved his family from Wilmington to Davidson County, N.C., where he purchased a plantation that had previously belonged to Governor John W. Ellis. When the war ended, the family chose to remain there rather than return to Wilmington.

William Belvidere Meares and Mary Thomas Exum Meares had seven children: William (b. 1853), Esther Exum (b. 1854), Anastasia (1855-1900), Frederick P. (b. 1858), Gaston (b. 1862), Joseph Exum (1864-1954), and Edward G. (b. 1874).

Joseph Exum Meares married Amanda Antoinette Adickes (1878-1966) in 1901. They had two daughters, Anastasia ("Annis") Lafayette Meares (1902-1993) and Emily Adickes Meares (1905-1991). Anastasia Meares married Harry Watson Gordon (1904-1943), who was manager of the J. Walter Thompson Company of South America, the largest advertising agency in Argentina. Emily Adickes Meares married Dewey Wilbur Zimmerman (1898-1976).

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The collection includes letters of William Belvidere Meares, his wife Mary Thomas Exum Meares, their children, and other family members; genealogical and biographical information; clippings; writings; certificates and other miscellaneous papers; and photographs. Included are letters, 1850s, from Adelaide Savage Meares, who was the sister of William Belvidere Meares and who later married Moses John De Rosset (1838-1881), to Mary Thomas Exum Meares about family and social life in eastern North Carolina; two letters from Martha Exum Ransom (Mrs. Matt W. Ransom) to her sister, Mary Thomas Meares, one in 1863 about social life and another, 1866, about hard times in North Carolina; letters, 1870s, from his parents and others to Frederick P. Meares, containing family news, advice on the importance of education and the need to improve his school performance, advice on behavior relating to "the Negro cadet" at his school, and news of his father's attempt to sell his plantation because of the difficulty of hiring labor and the dullness of plantation life; and a letter of sympathy, 1896, from Matt W. Ransom to Willie Meares. Also included is a labor contract, 1867, between four laborers and William Belvidere Meares.

The addition of November 2004 contains a few miscellaneous papers and clippings as well as photographs of Meares family members. The papers and photographs mostly relate to Joseph Exum Meares, Antoinette Adickes Meares, and their children.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1851-1948.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include photographs (P-2058).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Sellars, February 2005

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, February 2005

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