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Collection Number: 00625

Collection Title: Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905

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 and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO; this collection was reprocessed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract Kenneth Rayner was a lawyer, North Carolina state legislator, member of the Alabama Claims Commission, solicitor of the United States Treasury, and United States Representative from North Carolina. The collection includes correspondence and personal, family, and legal papers relating to lands in Bertie County and other northeastern North Carolina counties acquired by KennethRayner's family. Included is some correspondence of William Polk, Rayner's father-in-law. Rayner's papers, beginning in 1842, reveal little information on his varied activities; papers from 1870-1884 consist chiefly of recommendations for appointment to office, but include copies of letters exchanged by Bartholomew Figures Moore and Rayner concerning the surrender of the city of Raleigh, N.C., to General Sherman in 1865. Later papers include family items and Polk genealogical information.
Creator Rayner, Kenneth, 1808-1884.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
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 Kenneth Rayner Papers, #625, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the North Carolina Historical Society, prior to 1940.
Additional materials transferred from the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, July 1957.
Additional Descriptive Resources
Original finding aid available in folder 1a.
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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Kenneth Rayner (1808-1884) was a lawyer and a member of the Whig Party, serving as a North Carolina state legislator, United States Representative from North Carolina, and member of the North Carolina convention of 1861. In 1848, Rayner ran against Millard Fillmore for the vice-presidential nomination to Zachary Taylor. Submitting to a caucus of Whig party leaders, Rayner lost to Fillmore by one vote. Had he won, he would have become president of the United States when Taylor died after a year in office. After the Civil War he became a Republican and moved to Tennessee, then to Mississippi, and finally to Washington, D.C., serving as a member of the Alabama Claims Commission and solicitor of the United States Treasury.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence and personal, family, and legal papers of Kenneth Rayner. Early papers are related to property acquired by the Rayner family in Bertie and other northeastern North Carolina counties. Rayner family items include the will of Richard Rayner, Amos Rayner, and scattered deeds. Also in the early papers are scattered items of the Polk family, especially of William Polk, Kenneth Rayner's father-in-law. These include accounts of Thomas Polk and William Polk with the North Carolina land office. There are also letters from William Polk to his wife, Sarah Hawkins Polk, and a few items related to Andrew Jackson, including a letter from Jackson to William and Sarah Polk.

Kenneth Rayner papers begin in 1842 and are somewhat scattered. A few letters, 1867, exchanged between Bartholomew Figures Moore and Rayner discuss the surrender of the city of Raleigh, N.C., to General William T. Sherman in 1865. Items 1870-1884 consist chiefly of recommendations for appointment to office. Notable correspondents include James Lusk Alcorn, John Baxter, George Washington Brooks, William J. Clarke, Robert Paine Dick, Charles Foster, Joseph S. Fowler, William Mercer Green, Eugene Hale, Isham Green Harris, R. R. Heath, William Woods Holden, J. F. Manning, Bartholomew Figures Moore, James K. Polk, Leonidas L. Polk, John Pool, Thomas Settle, William Tecumseh Sherman, Zebulon Baird Vance, and John Thomas Wheat.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1675-1713 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1725-1770 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1771-1790 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1800-1819 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1820-1847 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1852-1869 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1870-1876 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

1877 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9-10

Folder 9

Folder 10

1878 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 9-10

Folder 10

1879 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

1880-1881 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

1882 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

1883-1898 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

1901-1905 #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 14

Genealogy #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15-17

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Letters of Recommendation to the President of the United States #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 15-17

Endorsements of Kenneth Rayner for the Court of Claims, sent to President Rutherford B. Hayes, containing many signatures, chiefly of lawyers, many of them from North Carolina.

Folder 18

Undated #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

Photograph and plan of House of Representatives #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

Clippings #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." Folder 20

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-625/1

Oversize papers #00625, Series: "Kenneth Rayner Papers, 1675-1905 and undated." OPF-625/1

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, September 2009

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

This collection was reprocessed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.

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