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Collection Number: 00652

Collection Title: David Schenck Papers, 1849-1917

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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 FAQ section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 4.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 28 items)
Abstract David Schenck was a lawyer of Lincoln and Greensboro, N.C., Superior Court Judge of the Ninth Judicial District of North Carolina, 1874-1882, general counsel of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, and president of the Guilford Battleground Co. The collection consists of diaries, 1849-1901, and scrapbooks, 1883-1884 and 1888-1901, of David Schenck. The diaries give an extensive picture of Schenck's professional, political, and intellectual activities; family and religious life; and civic and social surroundings. They cover his youth and education, legal career, membership in the secession convention, public opinion and everyday life in North Carolina during the War while Schenck was associated with civilian war efforts, social conditions and activities of the Democratic Party in Lincoln County, N.C., during Reconstruction, including Klan activity, Schenck's term as superior court judge, and his later life in Greensboro, where he was involved in all phases of public life and concerned with education, race relations, and labor questions, and an active author and collector of state history. Occasional memoranda books overlap and supplement the diaries. Also included are records and minutes of the Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1894 and 1911-1917.
Creator Schenck, David, 1835-1902.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
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 David Schenck Papers #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcriptions of diaries, September 1849-March 1881, available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Paul W. Schenck of Greensboro, N.C., in February 1949.
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

David Schenck (1835-1902), son of a doctor and apothecary of Lincolnton, N.C., attended Judge Fearson's Law School in Rockford, N.C., and received his law license in 1856. He was elected solicitor for Gaston County and set up a practice in Dallas, N.C., before marrying Sallie Wilfong Ramseur in 1859 and moving back to Lincolnton in 1860.

Schenck was a member of the North Carolina Secession and an active participant in determining the conduct of the war. Exempted from army duty because of ill health, he held briefly a position in the Army Commissary Department at Raleigh. He then returned to Lincoln County, where he held the post of receiver under the Sequestration Act for the remainder of the war. In 1866, Schenck applied for a pardon and resumed his law practice.

From 1866 to 1882, while he remained in Lincolnton practicing law, Schenck became involved for political reasons with the Ku-Klux Klan and continued, as he had done since 1858, his public support of national and state candidates of the Democratic Party. In 1874, he was elected Superior Court judge of the Ninth Judicial District of North Carolina and traveled on the court circuits in both Eastern and Western North Carolina, holding this position until 1882 when he went to Greensboro as general counsel for the Richmond and Danville Railroad. He was defeated in his campaign to be chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The last twenty years of Schenck's life were spent in Greensboro, N.C., where he continued his law practice and became a prominent leader in civic activities. He was alderman, city commissioner, and founder and president of the Guilford Battleground Co. In 1895, his job with the railroad was terminated and, after this time, ill-health forced him to retire from law practice.

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The diaries begin when David Schenck was fifteen years old recording his childhood days in Lincolnton; his public life as lawyer, judge, and general counsel for the Richmond and Danville Railroad; and his family life. Comments, judgments, and opinions upon the events he documents reflect Schenck's strong religious convictions, which are also recorded from time to time throughout the diary. Court cases, personalties in the legal profession, and political interests are among the subjects discussed in regard to Schenck's public life. There is a great deal of material about the Civil War: activities of the North Carolina Secession Convention, the economic situation, the military situation, notations of desertion, union sentiment, destitution of among blacks, and other problems relating to the conduct of war. There is also discussion of political and economic aspects of the Reconstruction period. Included are references to national politics, a few references to international affairs, and accounts of civic activities in connection with the Guilford Battleground Co.

The diaries also record Schenck's home life; effects of war upon his personal economic and professional status; activities of his children--their education, social life, and careers; and family holiday celebrations, trips taken, visits from and to friends and relatives. The last volume reflects increasing worry about ill health and its effect upon the financial situation of the family.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901.

16 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Diaries, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous papers of David Schenck.

Folder 1

Red Cross certificates of Rebecca Schenck; letter to David Schenck from Graham Daves, 16 May 1891, about research on North Carolina soldiers in the Continental Line; and typescript copy of a pamphlet, Personal Sketches of Distinguished Delegates of the State Convention 1861-2 , by delegate David Schenck. #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 1

Folder 2

Volume 1: 1 September 1849-25 May 1852 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 2

Diary, 375 pages.

Folder 3

Volume 2: 26 May 1852-October 1853 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 3

Diary, 466 pages.

Folder 4

Volume 3: November 1853-December 1863 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 4

Diary, 561 pages.

Folder 5

Volume 4: 1861-January 1864 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 5

Diary and notes, 365 pages.

Folder 6

Volume 5: 19 January 1864-9 March 1868 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 6

Diary, 142 pages.

Folder 7

Volume 6: 24 March 1868-22 October 1872 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 7

Diary, 217 pages.

Folder 8

Volume 7: 2 November 1872-14 May 1882 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 8

Diary, 740 pages.

Folder 9

Volume 8: 13 August 1877-5 June 1880 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 9

Jottings on the Circuits, 145 pages.

Folder 10

Volume 9: 8 September 1880-16 March 1881 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 10

Jottings on the Circuits, 118 pages.

Folder 11

Volume 10: 28 May 1882-22 February 1887 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 11

Diary, 382 pages.

Folder 12

Volume 11: 5 March 1887-3 January 1890 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 12

Diary, 384 pages.

Folder 13

Volume 12: 11 January 1890-25 August 1901 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 13

Diary, 400 pages.

Folder 14

Volume 13: 1883-1884 #00652, Series: "1. Personal Writings, 1849-1901." Folder 14

Scrapbook with clippings about the Bible and Presbyterian church affairs, 98 pages.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917.

15 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 15

Volume 14: 1888-1894 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 15

Records of relics belonging to the Guilford Battleground Co., 94 pages.

Folder 16

Volume 15: 1887-1900 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 16

Minutes of the directors of the Guilford Battleground Co., lists of stockholders, and clippings about meetings of directors and stockholders, 300 pages.

Folder 17

Volume 16: 1911-1917 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 17

Minutes of meetings of the directors of the Guilford Battleground Co., 300 pages.

Folder 18

Volume 17: 1888-1893 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 18

Scrapbook with clippings about the Guilford Battleground Co., 250 pages.

Folder 19

Volume 18: 1893-1897 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 19

Scrapbook with clippings about the Guilford Battleground Co., 300 pages.

Folder 20

Volume 19: 1898-1901 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." Folder 20

Scrapbook with clippings about the Guilford Battleground Co., 150 pages.

Transcription Volume TV-652/1

Typed transcription of diary, 1 September 1849-31 December 1851 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/1

Transcription Volume TV-652/2

Typed transcription of diary, 1 January-31 December 1852 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/2

Transcription Volume TV-652/3

Typed transcription of diary, 1 January-30 December 1853 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/3

Transcription Volume TV-652/4

Typed transcription of diary, 1854-1863 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/4

Transcription Volume TV-652/5

Typed transcription of diary, 25 May-15 December 1861 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/5

Transcription Volume TV-652/6

Typed transcription of diary, 19 January 1864-31 December 1872 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/6

Transcription Volume TV-652/7

Typed transcription of diary, 15 January 1873-31 December 1876 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/7

Transcription Volume TV-652/8

Typed transcription of diary, 1 January 1877-31 December 1882 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/8

Transcription Volume TV-652/9

Typed transcription of diary, 13 August 1877-16 March 1881 #00652, Series: "2. Guilford Battleground Co., 1887-1917." TV-652/9

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, March 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, June 2010

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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