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Collection Number: 05072

Collection Title: Penney Family Papers, 1815-1940

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.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract The Penney family of Wake and Johnston counties, N.C., included J. J. (Joseph James) Penney (b. ca. 1843), Penelope Barber Penney, G. W. (George W.) Barber (d. 1863), and others. The collection consists of Civil War correspondence of J. J. Penney, Penelope Barber, G. W. Barber, and others; a few legal papers; receipts; report cards; genealogical materials; a photograph; and other items of members of the Penney family of North Carolina. The majority of the letters are from J. J. Penney in Company D, 50th North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America, to Penelope Barber in Wake County, N.C. There are also numerous letters from Penelope Barber to Penney; letters from G. W. Barber, Penelope's brother, serving in the 31st North Carolina Regiment, Confederate Army; and a few letters to or from other family members. Letters describe military life in Virginia in 1862 and in eastern North Carolina in 1863 and 1864, including discussion of feelings about fighting and army life, as well as descriptions of the weather, health, living quarters, food, clothing, news of battles, and speculations on the length of the war. Letters from Penelope Barber describe her life in central North Carolina and give news of family and friends. Also included are deedds and indentures relating to land in Wake County, N.C. Post-Civil War material comprises scattered financial papers of various family members; a few letters, a small amount of genealogical material, a 1914 photograph of a young man in a suit, and other items.
Creator Penney 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 Penney Family Papers #5072, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available.
  • Reel 1: entire collection
Acquisitions Information
Received from Carl Penney of Walkertown, N.C., in July 2001 (Acc. 99011).
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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J. J. (Joseph James) Penney, b. ca. 1843:

5 May 1862 Enlisted in Company D, 50th Regiment, North Carolina Troops. Company commanded by Captain Henry J. Ryals.
15 May 1862 Promoted to sergeant.
30 June 1862 Reduced to ranks.
14 August 1862 Promoted to sergeant.
June-December 1862 Regiment in Virginia, mostly near Drewry's Bluff.
January 1863-November 1864 Regiment in eastern North Carolina.
May or June 1863 Married Penelope Barber.
20 October 1863 Promoted to 2nd lieutenant.
13 May 1864 Promoted to 1st lieutenant.
November-December 1864 Regiment in Georgia.

George W. Barber, d. 1863.

18 September 1861 Enlisted in Company D, 31st Regiment, North Carolina Troops.
8 February 1862 Captured at Roanoke Island, N.C.
21 February 1862 Paroled at Elizabeth City, N.C.
21 August 1862 Exchanged.
15 September 1862 Returned to duty.
20 January 1863 Promoted to sergeant.
September 1862-February 1863 Regiment in eastern North Carolina.
February 1863 Regiment to Charleston, S.C.
7 or 8 March 1863 Died of disease in Charleston, S.C.
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Civil War correspondence of J. J. Penney (Joseph James Penney), Penelope Barber Penney, G. W. Barber, and others, a few legal papers, receipts, report cards, genealogical materials, a photograph, and other items of members of the Penney family of North Carolina. The majority of the letters are from J. J. Penney in Company D, 50th North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America, to Penelope Barber in Wake County, N.C. There are also numerous letters from Penelope Barber to Penney. Barber and Penney were married in May or June 1863. Also included are letters from G. W. Barber, Penelope's brother, serving in the 31st North Carolina Regiment, Confederate Army, and a few letters to or from other family members and friends.

J. J. Penney's letters describe military life in Virginia in 1862 and in eastern North Carolina in 1863 and 1864. His letters to Penelope Barber discuss his affection for her and tell of his feelings about fighting and army life, as well as describing the weather, his health, living quarters, food, and clothing. They also relay news of other battles and speculations on the length of the war. Penney's letter, 23 July 1862, to G. W. Barber describes the Seven Days' Battles. Penney's letters in the latter part of 1864 describe attacks from Union gunboats in the Roanoke River.

The earliest material in the collection consists chiefly of deeds and indentures relating to ownership of land in Wake County, N.C. Post-Civil War material comprises scattered financial papers of various family members; report cards, 1886-1887, of Lena Rarely of Durham, N.C.; one letter, 1913, to Lena Penney, Raleigh, N.C., from George, on stationery of the Seashore Hotel and Steel Pier, Wrightsville Beach, N.C.; and a small amount of genealogical material. The photograph pictures a young man in a suit and is inscribed "To Mother Dec. 1914."

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1815-1940.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Sellars, January 2002

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, January 2002

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

Revisions: Finding aid updated in June 2005 by Nancy Kaiser.

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