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Collection Number: 01800-z

Collection Title: Meriwether Family Papers, 1737-circa 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 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.

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Size 61 items
Abstract The Meriwether family of Virginia included Charles N. Meriwether (fl. 1791-1843), physician and farmer of Virginia, Montgomery County, Tenn., and Christian County, Ky. The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal papers, and other items of Charles N. Meriwether and other members of the Meriwether family. The letters are chiefly to Charles N. Meriwether from business associates and family members, particularly from his brother, William D. Meriwether of Albemarle County, Va., describing family and neighborhood activities, tobacco and slave sales, experiments with wheat planting, family estates, farming, economic conditions in Virginia, and travels down the Mississippi River in 1818 and in the Arkansas Territory in 1823. Other family correspondence includes a letter describing the funeral of Robert E. Lee in 1870. Financial and legal materials include indentures; land grants and survey maps for Montgomery County, Tenn., and Christian County, Ky.; a genealogical chart; and a 1737 certificate of admission to the freedom of the the City of London.
Creator Meriwether 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 Meriwether Family Papers #1800-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Margaret Meriwether McCuddy of Adairville, Ky., in 1950, and from T. M. Parker of Oxford, England, in 1983.
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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Charles N. Meriwether (fl. 1791-1843), son of Nicholas H. Meriwether of Virginia and Margaret Douglas Meriwether of Scotland, was born in or near what is now Albemarle County, Va. A member of a prominent Virginia family, Meriwether was a first cousin of Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), one of the commanders of the Lewis and Clark expedition and governor of the Louisiana Territory.

In the 1780s, while studying medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, Charles N. Meriwether married and had a daughter. His wife died before 1791, and his daughter died shortly after his return to Virginia around 1794. He remained in that state until 1809, serving as surgeon to the 69th Regiment of the Virginia Militia and farming in Halifax County. In 1809, he moved to Montgomery County, Tenn., purchasing land in that county and in neighboring Christian County, Ky. He remained in those counties, marrying a second and third time. His second wife was Ann Minor, a native of Virginia, with whom he had two sons, Charles N. Meriwether and William D. Meriwether. His third wife was Mary Walton, with whom he had one son, James H. Meriwether.

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This collection consists of correspondence and financial and legal papers of the Meriwether family of Virginia and Tennessee.

Correspondence consists chiefly of letters to Charles N. Meriwether from family and friends. During the 1790s, there are several letters to him on the subject of tobacco sales and the settlement of his wife's and daughter's estates. Correspondence from family and friends includes letters giving family news and discussing the possibilities of moving west, slave and tobacco sales, land disputes, and the expense of land in Virginia. There are many letters from his brother, William D. Meriwether of Virginia, regarding family matters and estates, economic conditions in Virginia, farming, the War of 1812, and the murder of a professor at the University of Virginia by a student. William is the most frequent correspondent from 1809 through 1840. In a letter of 3 April 1818, he described the agricultural improvments adopted by Albemarle County planters, who were growing wheat instead of tobacco, applying plaster and clover to the soil, and facing devastating attacks by the Hessian fly. He also mentioned the founding of the Albemarle County Agricultural Society.

Other letters include one from a nephew describing his journey down the Mississippi River in 1818, from relatives in the Arkansas Territory between 1818 and 1823, and several from his son William D. Meriwether, a student at the University of Virginia in the late 1820s.

Other correspondence includes a letter to Charles N. Meriwether's wife Mary, detailing family news, and a letter from his son Charles N. Meriwether, a student at Washington and Lee, describing the funeral of General Robert E. Lee in 1870.

Financial and legal materials, intermixed with the letters, include a certificate of admission to the freedom of the City of London to Francis Merriweather, ancestor of the Meriwether family in the United States, dated 12 January 1737; a letter of appointment to Charles N. Meriwether as surgeon to the 69th Regiment of the Virginia Militia in 1803; land grants for Montgomery and Todd County, Tenn., and Christian County, Ky.; indentures; federal land grants; a list of slaves given by Charles N. Meriwether to his son William D. Meriwether in 1830; survey maps; and a genealogical chart dating from the 1880s.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Meriwether Family Papers, 1737-circa 1880s.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Elizabeth Pauk, July 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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.

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