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Collection Number: 00590

Collection Title: Person Family Papers, 1728-1907

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. The inventory was revised with support from the Randleigh Trust Foundation in 1996.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 130 items)
Abstract Person family members included Thomas Person (1733-1800), North Carolina Revolutionary leader, born in Brunswick County, Va., but resident from infancy in Granville County, N.C. He became a surveyor for Lord Granville, and, over the years, he acquired a large estate in North Carolina and Tennessee. He became a justice of the peace in 1756, sheriff in 1762, and was representative in the Assembly in 1764 and frequently thereafter. When the Revolution began, he was elected a general of militia and again made a justice of the peace in 1776. He was a member of the House of Commons from 1777 to 1786, 1788 to 1791, 1793 to 1795, and in 1797 and a member of the Senate in 1787 and 1791. In 1760, Thomas Person married Johanna Thomas of Granville County. They had no children. Thomas Person's brother was William Person Jr. Eliza Person Mitchell, wife of Warrenton, N.C., merchant Peter Mitchell, was probably his granddaughter. The collection includes letters, bills, receipts, deeds, and other papers, chiefly 1800-1825, of the Person family, large landowners and political leaders of Granville County, N.C., and nearby counties. Included are land grants, deeds, and other papers, 1739-1800, of William Person and his son, Thomas Person, pertaining to the surveying and sale of land in North Carolina and Tennessee; papers, 1801-1807, concerning Thomas Person's estate; letters, 1801-1804, from Thomas Dillon to William Person, regarding the administration of lands in Tennessee; deeds and indentures, 1798-1827, of William and Benjamin Eaton Person; and accounts, 1821-1824, of William Person with the general merchandise firm of Mitchell and White. Also included are school reports, 1810-1812, of Eliza A. Person and Benjamin Person; the wills, 1803 and 1820, of Benjamin Eaton Person, son of Thomas Person's brother William, and Thomas H. Person, William's grandson; Richard I. Person's 1825 license to practice law in Tennessee; scattered papers, 1796, 1801, and 1822, pertaining to the sale and hiring out of slaves; papers, 1847-1851, concerning the estate of Peter Mitchell; and a letter, 1907, from R. C. Person to Laura Mitchell. Also included are two albums, probably of Eliza A. Person Mitchell in Warren County, N.C., 1820-1824 and 1831-1839, with poems copied from various sources and two housekeeping books, 1833-1857 and 1885, containing recipes, records of dyeing wool and other household tasks, slave birth records, records of clothes and blankets given to slaves, and other activities.
Creator Person 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 Person Family Papers #590, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Laura Mitchell before 1940 and Elizabeth Montgomery in 1957.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Thomas Person (1733-1800), North Carolina Revolutionary leader, was probably born in Brunswick County, Va., but lived from infancy in Granville County, N.C. His parents, William (1700-1778) and Ann Person, arrived in North Carolina about 1740.

Thomas Person became a surveyor for Lord Granville, and, over the years, he acquired an estate of more than 82,000 acres lying in Granville, Halifax, Warren, Franklin, Orange, Caswell, Guilford, Rockingham, Anson, and Wake counties in North Carolina and in Davidson, Sumner, and Green counties in Tennessee. He became a justice of the peace in 1756, sheriff in 1762, and was representative in the Assembly in 1764 and frequently thereafter. When the Revolution began, he was elected a general of militia and again made a justice of the peace in 1776. He was a member of the House of Commons from 1777 to 1786, 1788 to 1791, 1793 to 1795, and in 1797 (17 years in all) and a member of the Senate in 1787 and 1791.

In 1760, Thomas Person married Johanna Thomas of Granville County. They had no children.

Thomas Person's brother was William Person Jr. Eliza A. Person Mitchell, wife of Warrenton, N.C., merchant Peter Mitchell, was probably the granddaughter of William Person Jr.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes letters, bills, receipts, deeds, and other papers, chiefly 1800-1825, of the Person family, large landowners and political leaders of Granville County, N.C., and nearby counties. Included are land grants, deeds, and other papers, 1739-1800, of William Person and his son, Thomas Person, pertaining to the surveying and sale of land in North Carolina and Tennessee; papers, 1801-1807, concerning Thomas Person's estate; letters, 1801-1804, from Thomas Dillon to William Person, regarding the administration of lands in Tennessee; deeds and indentures, 1798-1827, of William and Benjamin Eaton Person; and accounts, 1821-1824, of William Person with the general merchandise firm of Mitchell and White. Also included are school reports, 1810-1812, of Eliza A. Person and Benjamin Person; the wills, 1803 and 1820, of Benjamin Eaton Person, son of Thomas Person's brother William, and Thomas H. Person, William's grandson; Richard I. Person's 1825 license to practice law in Tennessee; scattered papers, 1796, 1801, and 1822, pertaining to the sale and hiring out of slaves; papers, 1847-1851, concerning the estate of Peter Mitchell; and a letter, 1907, from R. C. Person to Laura Mitchell. Also included are two albums, probably of Eliza A. Person Mitchell in Warren County, N.C., 1820-1824 and 1831-1839, with poems copied from various sources and two housekeeping books, 1833-1857 and 1885, containing recipes, records of dyeing wool and other household tasks, slave birth records, records of clothes and blankets given to slaves, and other activities.

Some oversize papers are housed separately (see Digitized Oversize Containers below).

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Person Family Papers, 1728-1907.

About 130 items.

Oversize Paper OP-590/5

Land grant agreement between Thomas Elerbe and Benjamin Willard, 6 November 1728 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/5

Folder 1

1739-1761 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 1

Oversize Paper OP-590/12

Grant of land in Edgecombe County, made to John Macon, 20 April 1745 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/12

Oversize Paper OP-590/13

Land grant agreement between John Martin and William Person, 3 September 1751 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/13

Oversize Paper OP-590/2-3

OP-590/2

OP-590/3

Map of Halifax, N.C., 1759 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/2-3

Oversize Paper OP-590/8-10

OP-590/8

OP-590/9

OP-590/10

Three fragments of land grants, 1760-1769 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/8-10

Oversize Paper OP-590/14

Grant of land in Granville County, made to William Person, 25 July 1761 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/14

Folder 2

1762-1796 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 2

Oversize Paper OP-590/7

Grant of land in Granville County, made to Thomas Person, 1 March 1780 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/7

Oversize Paper OP-590/6

List of land holdings of James Turner and William Person, 12 January 1785 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/6

Oversize Paper OP-590/4

Grant of land in Davidson County, made to Etheldred Washington(?), 31 August 1793 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/4

Folder 3

1798-1801 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 3

Folder 4

1802-1804 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 4

Folder 5

1805-1820 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 5

Folder 6

1821-1851, 1864, 1907 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 6

Oversize Paper OP-590/1

List of expenditures of Peter Mitchell, 18 January 1851 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/1

Folder 7

Undated and fragment #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 7

Folder 8

Album, 1820-1824, of Eliza A. Person #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 8

Contains poems copied from various sources.

Folder 9

Album, 1831-1839, of Mary H. Pope, who was evidently raised by Eliza Person #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 9

Contains poems copied from various sources. Mary H. Pope appears to have been raised by Eliza Person.

Folder 10

Housekeeping book, 1833-1857, of Eliza A. Person Mitchell #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 10

Housekeeping records of Eliza A. Person Mitchell, presumably in Warren County, N.C., including many recipes for cooking and for dyeing wool, 1833-1844; records of soap made, 1841-1842; vegetable gardening record, 1833-1844; slave birth records, 1833-1857; and records of clothes and blankets given to slaves, 1833-1844.

Folder 11

Housekeeping book, 1847-1860 and 1885 #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." Folder 11

Housekeeping records containing a list of articles bought in Petersburg, 1847-1849; recipes for cooking and other household tasks, such as making whitewash; a vegetable gardening record, 1848-1850; and records of unusual snowstorms in 1857 and 1885.

Oversize Paper OP-590/11

William Person affidavit, undated #00590, Series: "Person Family Papers, 1728-1907." OP-590/11

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Processing Information

Processed by: Rebecca Hollingsworth and Suzanne Ruffing, August 1992 and February 1996

Encoded by: Roslyn Holdzkom, March 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009

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. The inventory was revised with support from the Randleigh Trust Foundation in 1996.

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