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Collection Number: 03914

Collection Title: John Francis Speight Papers, 1795-1906

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 State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1000 items)
Abstract John Francis Speight was a Methodist clergyman, president of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, trustee of Jamestown Female College, and farmer of Edgecombe County, N.C. The collection includes family and professional correspondence, primarily 1822-1894, and bills, receipts, and other financial materials of the Reverend John Francis Speight, his wife Emma Lewis Speight, and their descendants, relatives, and Lewis family connections. Materials prior to 1893 include papers of Emma Lewis Speight's father Exum Lewis II. John Francis Speight travelled extensively in central and eastern North Carolina, and his correspondence, 1832-1860, with his family and with fellow itinerant ministers reflects a variety of church affairs. Emma Lewis Speight's extensive correspondence includes letters exchanged with her numerous relations, particularly her sisters and brothers, in Edgecombe and Halifax counties and other places in North Carolina and in Alabama, Mississippi, and Iowa. This correspondence relates to family events, trips, cotton planting, schooling, and civilian conditions during the Civil War. There are also letters from Confederate soldiers serving in Virginia and eastern North Carolina, 1861-1863. Postwar items include correspondence of students at the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia, and in medical training at the Baltimore Infirmary, 1867-1870. Also included are financial and legal materials, 1827-1906, and other items, among them two ciphering books, clippings, and a copy of a 1970s inventory of the papers that contains genealogical information about some of the correspondents in the papers and item-level description of selected materials.
Creator Speight, John Francis, 1804-1860.
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 Francis Speight Papers #3914, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed December 1973) available.
  • Reel 1: Folders 1-30 (1795-1 December 1867)
  • Reel 2: Folders 30-38 (6 December 1867-1906)
Acquisitions Information
Gifts in 1970 and 1971.
Additional Descriptive Resources
Genealogical information and item-level description for selected items in folder 82.
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

John Francis Speight was a Methodist clergyman, president of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, trustee of Jamestown Female College, and farmer of Edgecombe County, N.C. During the 1830s, Speight was chiefly in Edgecombe, Granville, Guilford, Orange, and Halifax counties. After his marriage in 1840, to Emma Lewis, lived in the Tarboro and Battleboro neighborhood (Mount Prospect) in Edgecombe County when he was not travelling.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes family and professional correspondence, primarily 1822-1894, and bills, receipts, and other financial materials of the Reverend John Francis Speight, his wife Emma Lewis Speight, and their descendants, relatives, and Lewis family connections. Materials prior to 1893 include papers of Emma Lewis Speight's father Exum Lewis II. John Francis Speight travelled extensively in central and eastern North Carolina, and his correspondence, 1832-1860, with his family and with fellow itinerant ministers reflects a variety of church affairs. Emma Lewis Speight's extensive correspondence includes letters exchanged with her numerous relations, particularly her sisters and brothers, in Edgecombe County, N.C., and Halifax County, N.C., and other places in North Carolina, and in Alabama, Mississippi, and Iowa. This correspondence relates to family events, trips, cotton planting, schooling, and civilian conditions during the Civil War. There are also letters from Confederate soldiers serving in Virginia and eastern North Carolina, 1861-1863. Postwar items include the correspondence of students at the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia, and in medical training at the Baltimore Infirmary, 1867-1870. Also included are financial and legal materials, 1827-1906, and other items, among them two ciphering books, clippings, and a copy of a 1970s inventory of the papers that contains genealogical information about some of the correspondents in the papers and item-level description of selected materials.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated.

About 800 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Family and professional correspondence of John Francis Speight. Most of the letters are family correspondence, letters addressed mainly to Emma Lewis Speight of Edgecombe County, N.C., daughter of Exum Lewis II and Ann Harrison Lewis. The letters to Emma were written by some of her brothers, sisters, and in-laws, and, in later years, by her three sons, John Francis Speight, Jr., Richard Harrison Speight, and Exum Lewis Seth Speight, and by her nieces and nephews. Later still, they were written by her grandchildren, grandnieces, and grandnephews. There is also correspondence among these relatives with each other, and some letters received by them from friends. Early items are papers of Emma's father, Exum Lewis II, that were interfiled up to about 1839. The correspondence between Emma and her husband is dated mainly 1848-1860.

Also included are the letters and correspondence of John Francis Speight with other itinerant preachers, pastors, and officers of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. This correspondence, 1832-1860, contains considerable discussion of church affairs and the state of religion in central and eastern North Carolina; issues before the meetings and from the General Conference; personal and family news among the clergymen; and local, social, and personal news from the various communities in which each pastor served. Speight's most frequent correspondents were W. H. Wills and Samuel J. Harris. Among the many other correspondents are W. E. Bellamy, Joshua W. Swift, Alexander Albright, and J. J. Judge.

In addition to the family and professional correspondence, there are some scattered business and other papers of John Francis Speight and Emma Speight, including letters about financial and property matters. There are also some papers of the Powell family, which came to the collection through Margaret Ann Powell Speight, the first wife of Richard Harrison Speight, as well as occasional Foreman family items, which came in through Emma's brother, R. H. Lewis.

Most of the letters were written in eastern and central North Carolina, but there are also letters also from Iowa, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee; from travellers in Baltimore, Md., and New York, N.Y.; from young people at schools and colleges; and from Confederate soldiers in the field in North Carolina and Virginia.

Folder 1

1795-1824 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1825-1826 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 2

Digital version: Letter from Richard H. Lewis to Exum Lewis, 5 March 1825

Documenting the American South

Digital version: Letter from Richard H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, 20 August 1825

Documenting the American South

Digital version: Letter from Richard H. Lewis to Exum Lewis, 24 September 1825

Documenting the American South

Folder 3

1827-1829 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1830-1832 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1833 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1834 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1835 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

1836 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 8

Digital version: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, 28 February 1836

Documenting the American South

Folder 9-10

Folder 9

Folder 10

1837 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 9-10

Digital version: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, 26 May 1837

Documenting the American South

Folder 11-12

Folder 11

Folder 12

1838 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 11-12

Digital version: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, 28 February 1838

Documenting the American South

Folder 13-14

Folder 13

Folder 14

1839 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 13-14

Folder 15-16

Folder 15

Folder 16

1840 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 15-16

Folder 17

1841-1843 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

1844-1847 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

1848-1849 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

1850-1852 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

1853-1854 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

1855-1856 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

1857-1858 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

1859 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 24

Folder 25

1860 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 25

Folder 26

1861 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 26

Folder 27

1862-1863 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 27

Folder 28

1864-1865 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 28

Folder 29

1866 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 29

Folder 30

1867 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 30

Folder 31

1868 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 31

Folder 32

1869 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 32

Folder 33

1870 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 33

Folder 34

1871-1872 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 34

Folder 35

1873-1879 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 35

Folder 36

1880-1889 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 36

Folder 37

1890-1896 #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 37

Folder 38

1897-1906 and undated #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 38

Folder 39-40

Folder 39

Folder 40

Undated #03914, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1795-1906 and undated." Folder 39-40

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated.

About 150 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Bills, receipts, several deeds, and some other business letters of John Francis Speight and Emma Lewis Speight.

Folder 41

1827-1838 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

1839 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 42

Folder 43

1841 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 43

Folder 44

1842 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 44

Folder 45

1843 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 45

Folder 46

1844 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 46

Folder 47

1845 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 47

Folder 48

1846 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 48

Folder 49

1848 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 49

Folder 50

1849 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 50

Folder 51

1850 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 51

Folder 52

1851 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 52

Folder 53

1852 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 53

Folder 54

1853 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 54

Folder 55

1854 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 55

Folder 56

1855 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 56

Folder 57

1856 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 57

Folder 58

1857 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 58

Folder 59

1858 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 59

Folder 60

1859 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 60

Folder 61

1860 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 61

Folder 62

1861 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 62

Folder 63

1862 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 63

Folder 64

1865 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 64

Folder 65

1866-1868 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 65

Folder 66

1869-1870 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 66

Folder 67

1871-1872 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 67

Folder 68

1873-1875, 1877-1878 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 68

Folder 69

1880-1883 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 69

Folder 70

1884 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 70

Folder 71

1885 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 71

Folder 72

1886 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 72

Folder 73

1887-1888 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 73

Folder 74

1889-1892 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 74

Folder 75

1893-1894 #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 75

Folder 76

1895-1897, 1906, and undated #03914, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1827-1906 and undated." Folder 76

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers, 1817-1894 and undated.

About 50 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1. Volumes, 1817, 1837.

3 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Slight manuscript volumes including parts of two ciphering books, one apparently of John Wesley Lewis, 1817, and one of Exum Lewis. John Francis Speight's scrapbook, April 1837, contains written sermon texts and ideas.

Folder 77

V-3914/1: Ciphering book #03914, Subseries: "3.1. Volumes, 1817, 1837." Folder 77

Folder 78

V-3914/2: Ciphering book #03914, Subseries: "3.1. Volumes, 1817, 1837." Folder 78

Folder 79

V-3914/3: Scrapbook #03914, Subseries: "3.1. Volumes, 1817, 1837." Folder 79

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. Newspapers and Advertisements, 1824, 1870, and undated.

About 10 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Two newspapers: Washington Gazette of Washington D.C., 16 April 1824 and Appleton's Journal of New York, 17 May 1870, and miscellaneous advertisements from North Carolina and other southern states primarily relating to business and medical supplies.

Folder 80

Newspapers #03914, Subseries: "3.2. Newspapers and Advertisements, 1824, 1870, and undated." Folder 80

Folder 81

Advertisements #03914, Subseries: "3.2. Newspapers and Advertisements, 1824, 1870, and undated." Folder 81

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.3. Miscellaneous Material, 1870s-1890s and undated.

About 40 items.

Copy of inventory of the John Francis Speight papers that was produced in the 1970s. This inventory contains genealogical information about some of the correspondents in the papers, including a death notice for Speight from Our Church Record (volume 4, number 45, 29 September 1898); it also contains item-level description of selected materials.

Other items include a poem; a memorial broadside upon the death of Clio Lewis Speight, 16 March 1889; a University of North Carolina commencement invitation, June 1878; newspaper clippings; and the University of North Carolina Executive Committee of the Board's "Statement of Facts About the University" pamphlet, [1894?].

Folder 82

Inventory #03914, Subseries: "3.3. Miscellaneous Material, 1870s-1890s and undated." Folder 82

Folder 83

Miscellaneous #03914, Subseries: "3.3. Miscellaneous Material, 1870s-1890s and undated." Folder 83

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Processing Information

Processed by: Staff, 1991

Encoded by: Peter Hymas, November 2004

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.

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