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Collection Number: 05478

Collection Title: John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)

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.


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Size 3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 50 items)
Abstract John Poynter Streety was born in Bladen County, N.C., in 1820. He arrived in the town of Haynesville, Ala., circa 1839, where he became a prosperous businessman. Streety's plantation was located in Lowndes County, where he was primarily active in cotton farming, raising livestock, and other agricultural activities. He was also involved in a co-partnership with a firm named J.P. Streety and Company, which participated in several types of businesses, including mercantile and advancing credit, ginning and milling, and acquisition of land. Streety died in Haynesville, Ala., in 1894. The bulk of the collection is manuscript volumes, mostly written by John Poynter Streety, 1874-1894. The volumes contain entries describing life on his plantation and in the town of Haynesville, Ala., as well as a few accounts of national occurrences. Many entries describe Streety's farming and mercantile endeavors, the weather and its impact on crops, family and town life, the performance of workers, and local politics, while others describe race relations in the post-Civil War American South and include Streety's personal views, accounts of lynch mobs, and other information. Some entries discuss yellow fever, social and economic conditions, and the national political environment. Also included are research materials, late 1960s-early 1970s, relating to Streety and belonging to Roland Mushat Frye, a Streety descendant and professor of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania; a 2001 Streety family newsletter; and other items.
Creator Streety, John Poynter, 1820-1894.
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 John Poynter Streety Papers #5478, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from the Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts Company in September 2010 (Acc. 101363).
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 Poynter Streety was born in Bladen County, N.C., on 14 February 1820. He arrived in the town of Haynesville, Ala., circa 1839, where he became a prosperous businessman. Streety's plantation was located in Lowndes County, where he was primarily active in cotton farming, raising livestock, and other agricultural activities. He was also involved in a co-partnership with a firm named J.P. Streety and Co., which participated in several types of businesses, including mercantile and advancing credit, ginning and milling, and acquisition of land.

Streety died in Haynesville, Ala., on 22 June 1894.

Roland Mushat Frye, a descendant of John Poynter Streety, was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1922. From 1965 to 1983, Frye was professor of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. One of his research projects included working with the Streety materials. Frye died in Gladwyne, Pa., on 20 January 2005.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection is manuscript volumes, mostly written by John Poynter Streety, 1874-1894. The volumes contain entries describing life on his plantation and in the town of Haynesville, Ala., as well as a few accounts of national occurrences. Many entries describe Streety's farming and mercantile endeavors, the weather and its impact on crops, family and town life, the performance of workers, and local politics, while others describe race relations in the post-Civil War American South and include Streety's personal views, accounts of lynch mobs, and other information. Some entries discuss yellow fever, social and economic conditions, and the national political environment.

Volume pages are mostly numbered, and Streety provided marginal notes pointing to the specific contents of the entries. Some of the volumes also contain unnumbered pages with ledger accounts of various financial and business activities, such as payments to workers, credits, debts, cotton ginned, and other matters. The collection also includes a daybook written after Streety's death, with dates ranging from 1896 to 1915, related to financial matters possibly undertaken by Streety. This volume contains tax records, records of debts and credits, and other entries.

Also included are typed transcriptions for most of the manuscript volumes and carbon copies of those typed transcriptions. These transcripts were transcribed under the direction of Roland Mushat Frye, a descendant of Streety and professor of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Note that some pages and brief sections from the manuscript entries are missing from the transcriptions. In most cases, where text is excerpted, it is clearly marked with ellipses.

There are also research materials pertaining to John Poynter Streety, dating from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, belonging to Frye, including a set of index cards detailing names, dates, and a variety of journal entries concerning specific subject contents, such as "Negroes," and "JPS and Co." There are also 1917-1918 letters concerning a legal suit and a Streety family newsletter from 2001.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894).

About 50 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 2

Manuscript volume 1, 1874; about 115 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 2

Entries begin 2 February 1874 and continue through 28 November 1874. Some entries at the beginning of the volume were written by John Poyter Streety's wife, Anna Marvin, when her husband was away on a trip. A few unnumbered pages detailing financial activities, including payments to workers, credits, debts, cotton ginned, rents, and other matters are also included. An entry written on 8 August 1874 describes the United States House of Representatives elections won by the Democratic Party.

Folder 3

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 1 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 3

Folder 4

Manuscript volume 2, 1874-1875; about 117 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 4

Entries in this volume begin 3 December 1874 and continue through 25 August 1875. The entry written 12 June 1875 concerns the Radical Republican Party meeting attended by "a crowd of Freedmen," and describes it as "noisy and turbulent." A few unnumbered pages detailing financial activities, including payments to workers, credits, debts, cotton ginned, rents, and other matters are also included.

Folder 5

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 2 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 5

Folder 6

Manuscript volume 3, 1875-1876; about 115 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 6

Entries in this volume begin 26 August 1875 and continue through 11 May 1876. This volume includes entries regarding race relations, such as one written 14 November 1875 that contains the description of a court case against an African American for assaulting a white man, which John Poynter Streety noted as having been arranged to include a majority of African Americans on the jury. In entries written 23 October and 25 December 1875, Streety reflected on his views regarding the presence of African Americans at his store and his concern for the safety of the store's goods. In another entry from 1 January 1876, he mentioned Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Pages 115-117 contain ledger entries regarding cotton ginned, rents, payments to workers, and other matters. This volume contains some loose unnumbered pages.

Folder 7

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 3 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 7

Folder 8

Manuscript volume 4, 1876-1877; about 175 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 8

Entries in this volume begin 12 May 1876 and continue through 30 June 1877. In an entry dated 26 August 1876, Streety discussed the overall dissatisfaction of the African American population regarding the overwhelming Democratic Party victory in the state elections.

Folder 9

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 4 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 9

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes, particularly between pages 49-142 and 167-175.

Folder 10

Manuscript volume 5, 1877-1878; about 175 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 10

Entries in this volume begin 2 July 1877 and continue through 31 July 1878. In an entry written on 9 May 1878, Streety discussed the time African Americans spent in court and their convictions for what he considered minor infractions.

Folder 11

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 5 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 11

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes, particularly between pages 97-105.

Folder 12

Manuscript volume 6, 1878-1880; about 252 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 12

Entries in this volume begin 9 August 1878 and continue through 12 September 1880. The 22 June 1879 entry describes an incident in John Poynter Streety's store involving a white man and African Americans. The yellow fever epidemic of 1878 is also mentioned in this volume, with entries written during the months of August and September 1878 observing its spread across the South. This volume also includes a few pages describing Streety's trip to New York with his daughter in July 1880.

Folder 13

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 6 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 13

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes. It also contains a few unnumbered pages not included in the original volume concerning John Poynter Streety's trip to New York. An accompanying note states that some of the pages were written in pencil and some were illegible.

Folder 14

Manuscript volume 7, 1880-1883; about 321 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 14

Entries in this volume begin 23 September 1880 and continue through 26 December 1883. An entry written 3 November 1880 concerns the presidential election won by the Republican Party. In another related entry on 30 December 1880, John Poynter Streety wrote about his dissatisfaction with the political developments throughout the year. Other entries in this volume include some of Streety's negative views regarding the now free African American population. In an 8 January 1881 entry, he stated that freedmen were "less industrious more extravigant, and much more unmanageable than they ever were since they have been free." Other entries document Streety's economic concerns, such as the account written 6 November 1880 that mentions freedmen being in debt and "running off their Crops."

Folder 15

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 7 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 15

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes.

Folder 16

Manuscript volume 8, 1884-1887; about 255 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 16

Entries in this volume begin 1 April 1884 and continue through 31 December 1887. John Poynter Streety's views on race are evident throughout this volume. In an entry written 19 January 1886, Streety wrote that freedmen had their faults, but that he could not help feeling sympathy for them. In another entry written 6 March 1887, he wondered about what the result of their freedom would be. Numerous entries focus on the poor economic conditions affecting both African Americans and whites, such as the entries written 30 November and 13 December 1886. In another entry written 6 July 1884, Streety commented on the Wall Street financial panic of the same year.

Folder 17

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 8 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 17

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes.

Folder 18

Manuscript volume 9a, 1888-1891; about 281 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 18

Entries in this volume begin 4 January 1888 and continue through 28 February 1891. This volume contains entries concerning race relations, such as an account of a lynching written on 30 March 1888. In the account, Streety described an African American man being abducted from jail, where he was awaiting trial for allegedly killing a white man by a mob of masked men who hung him from a tree by the town's public square. A few days later, on 7 May 1888, Streety commented on the consequences of the lynching, wherein numerous African Americans were arrested for organizing with the intention of avenging the action and state troops were called upon to handle the situation. In a 20 August 1889 entry, Streety reflected upon possible race troubles brought about by comments published in a newspaper edited by an African American man, in which an article characterized "the White race in most uncalled for and scandelous manner."

Folder 19

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 9a #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 19

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes.

Folder 20

Manuscript volume 9b, 1889-1890; about 101 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 20

Entries primariy concern the weather and its impact on crops, family and town life, work performed by laborers, financial and business matters, and farming activities. Entries are in chronological order within sections of this volume, but the sections are not in order. There are guiding notes as to the page to see for chronological continuation. There are also some pages and sections missing throughout the volume. The first chronological date of the manuscript is 30 March 1889, which begins around the middle section of the volume on page 61 and continues until page 102. The last chronological date in the volume appears to be 20 February 1890. There is no typed transcription for this volume.

Folder 21

Manuscript volume 10, 1891-1893; about 261 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 21

Entries in this volume begin 6 March 1891 and continue through 31 December 1893. There are accounts of local and national economic matters, such as the entry on 1 March 1892 noting the sharp decrease in the price of cotton and the dire situations encountered by farmers, especially African Americans. Another entry regarding race relations was written on 14 October 1893, describing a young African American girl being whipped by a white man for "rudely walking against his daughter." The same white man had the parents of two smaller girsl whipped for the same reason. The entry goes on to describe the white man responsible for the whippings receiving a letter saying that future acts of this sort would result in the town being burnt down.

Folder 22

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 10 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 22

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes.

Folder 23

Manuscript volume 11, 1894; about 37 pages #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 23

Entries in this volume begin 1 January 1894 and continue through the last entry written by John Poynter Streety on 30 May 1894. Included is an entry written 1 January 1894 in which Streety reflected upon the previous year with regards to economic, political, and social matters.

Folder 24

Typed transcription volume: Manuscript volume 11 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 24

Typescript is missing brief sections from the original volume, including the marginal notes.

Folder 25

Daybook, 1896-1915 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 25

This volume, written after John Poynter Streety's death, chiefly contains ledger entries relating to financial matters possibly undertaken by Streety, regarding tax records, debts, credits, and other matters. There is no typed transcription for this volume.

Folder 1-1a

Folder 1

Roland Mushat Frye research materials, 1968-1969, 1973 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 1-1a

Included is biographical and historical information, census records, letters about the progress of the transcriptions, and other items relating to John Poynter Streety. There is also a set of index cards detailing names, dates, and a variety of journal entries concerning specific subjects, such as "Negroes" and "JPS and Co."

Folder 28-34

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Carbon copies of typed transcriptions of manuscript volumes included in the collection #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 28-34

Carbons include handwritten annotations and revisions.

Folder 26

Letters concerning a legal suit, 1917-1918 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 26

The letters are between a lawyer and a woman named Mrs. C.I. Mushat, possibly a descendant of John Poynter Streety. They pertain to a case initiated by Mrs. Mushat against defendants T.M. Bradley and Caldwell Bradshaw concerning an unpaid debt. There is also a copy of defendant Bradshaw's plea sent by his attorneys to Mrs. Mushat's lawyer. The relation between these materials and other materials in the collection is unclear.

Folder 27

Streety family newsletter, 3 December 2001 #05478, Series: "John Poynter Streety Papers, 1874-2001 (bulk 1874-1894)." Folder 27

The newsletter written by Betty and Allen Johannes, members of the Streety family, contains information concerning the ongoing progress of their quest to locate as many descendants of the family as possible.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Armando Suarez, November 2010

Encoded by: Armando Suarez, November 2010

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