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Collection Number: 03397-z

Collection Title: John Osbourn Diary, 1819-1821

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 1 item
Abstract John Osbourn (sometimes Osbourne) of Mecklenburg County, N.C., was a planter and landholder who owned several plantations and farms in the area. The collection consists of a diary, ca. 50 pp., containing daily entries of two to three lines each, February 1819-September 1821. Entries highlight social life, including many of the seasonal events and patterns associated with early 19th-century rural life. Included is information about the weather; land and livestock transactions; farm work; visits with neighbors and relatives; trips to Camden and Charleston, S.C., to market wagonloads of crops; and Baptist and Methodist camp meetings that Osbourn and his family sometimes attended. One diary entry mentioned escaped slaves.
Creator Osbourn, John, fl. 1819-1821.
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 John Osbourn Diary #3397-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available.
Provenance
Gift, 1958.
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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John Osbourn (sometimes Osbourne) of Mecklenburg County, N.C., was a planter and landholder who owned several plantations and farms in the area.

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The collection consists of a diary, ca. 50 pp., kept by John Osbourn (sometimes Osbourne, planter of Mecklenburg County, N.C. The diary contains daily entries of two to three lines each, February 1819-September 1821. Entries highlight social life, including many of the seasonal events and patterns associated with early 19th-century rural life. Included is information about the weather; land and livestock transactions; farm work; visits with neighbors and relatives; trips to Camden and Charleston, S.C., to market wagonloads of crops; and Baptist and Methodist camp meetings that Osbourn and his family sometimes attended.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Diary, 1819-1821.

1 item.

The John Osbourn diary contains daily entries of approximately two to three lines each for the period from February 1819 to September 1821. The diary is 50 pages long, but the first two pages are missing. Daily entries highlight the social life and many of the seasonal events and patterns associated with early 19th-century rural life, including information about the weather, land and livestock transactions, farm work, and visits with neighbors and relatives.

During the period 1819-1821, Osbourn purchased and sold land holdings, and appears to have traveled frequently from one plantation to the next, overseeing the work closely, and participating directly in some phases of it. He raised corn, cotton, fodder, wheat, rye, oats, and turnips, as well as sheep, cattle, and hogs. In the diary, Osbourn mentioned various agricultural activities, including planting and harvesting of crops, ginning cotton, milling grain, husking corn, cutting firewood, searching for stray livestock, butchering cattle and shearing sheep, constructing a hog pen, building a barn in 1819, and travelling to Camden and Charleston, S.C., to market wagonloads of crops. He also commented often on the scarcity of money and the slowness of trade.

In addition, Osbourn's diary documents various aspects of rural social life, including references to Baptist and Methodist camp meetings that he and his family sometimes attended, a shooting match, local elections for the state assembly, regimental musterings, a neighborhood school run by a Mr. Dillens, his service as justice of the peace in 1821, social visits to neighbors and relatives, and his eating and particularly his overindulgent drinking. The diary mentions the names of numerous friends, neighbors, and relatives with whom Osbourn conducted business or visited, as well as overnight travelers who stayed with the Osbourn family, including various peddlers, tobacco buyers, and a Mr. Lewis whose female slaves escaped during the night. Osbourn also noted the birth of two of his sons: one in April 1819 and the other June 1821. He often wrote of his various ailments and discontent and of "the unjustice that my Father and brother had done to me which made me Sell all my Lands."

Folder 1

Diary #03397-z, Series: "Diary, 1819-1821." Folder 1

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