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Collection Number: 01832

Collection Title: John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 (bulk 1850-1880)

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 rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,200 items)
Abstract John Thomas Wheat was a native of Washington, D.C., and a Protestant Episcopal minister, teacher, and professor in Maryland, Louisiana, West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The papers, chiefly 1850-1880, include Wheat's family correspondence, sermons, reminiscences (in verse), commonplace books, diary, 1837, and record books of Christ Church and school, Nashville, Tenn., 1840-1846, and St. Lazarus's Church, Memphis, Tenn., 1867-1868. Correspondence and other papers pertain to his children: J. T. Wheat Junior (1830-1862), Louisiana lawyer and Confederate Army officer, including a diary while studying law at Wheeling, Va. [now W. Va.], 1849; Chatham Roberdeau Wheat (1825-1862), soldier of fortune during the Mexican War and in Cuba, Nicaragua, Italy, and in the Confederate Army (a small amount); Leonidas Polk Wheat (1841-1915), who studied music in Europe; Selina (Wheat) Seay of Alabama; and Josephine May (Wheat) Shober and her husband, Francis Edwin Shober (1831-1896), lawyer, legislator, and member of Congress from Rowan County, N.C., including letters written while he was a member of the North Carolina legislature during the Civil War and a United States representative, 1869-1873. Also included are albums, estate accounts, general merchandise accounts, 1814-1815, accounts for day labor and blacksmith and carpentry work, in Rowan County, 1851-1858, poems and dramas written by members of the family, and other items.
Creator Wheat, John Thomas, 1801-1888.
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 Thomas Wheat Papers, #1832, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Jane Carolina Henderson Boyden (Mrs. Burton) Craige of Winston-Salem, N.C., 1943.
Additional materials received from Mrst. Stuart R. Bradley of New Orleans, La., May 1948 and November 1957.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed 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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Thomas Wheat (1801-1888), a native of Washington, D.C., was educated at Asbury College, Baltimore, Md.; directed a private school in Washington, D.C., and then in Alexandria, Va. In 1825 he married Selina Blair Patten and soon after was ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. He worked variously as a minister, teacher, and professor in Maryland, Louisiana, West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

John Thomas and Selina Patten Wheat has six children that grew to maturity: Chatham Roberdau, John Thomas Junior, Leonidas Polk, Dexter, Selina, Josephine May, and Mary.

Chatham Roberdau Wheat (1825-1862) was studying law in Memphis, Tenn., when the Mexican War broke out, whereupon he volunteered immediately and served under General Winfield Scott. He was admitted to the bar in Louisiana and was also a state legislator briefly. He joined the Lopez expedition to free Cuba, and later served with General William Walker in Nicaragua and Garibaldi in Italy. He was a major in the Confederate Army (Louisiana Tigers) and died near Richmond, Va.

John Thomas Wheat Junior (1830-1862) was a practicing lawyer in New Orleans, La., when the Civil War broke out. He was Secretary of the Secession Convention of Louisiana and later a Confederate officer with Company A, 1st Louisiana Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Shiloh.

Leonidas Polk Wheat (1841-1915) was a musician and studied for several years in Europe. He is reputed to have married an heiress.

Selina Wheat married Dr. John Seay of Louisiana.

Josephine May Wheat, usually called May, married Francis E. Shober of Salisbury, N.C. Her husband was a lawyer and businessman. He was a member of the North Carolina State Legislature and also served in the United States House of Representatives.

Mary Wheat lived in California and was married to a Mr. Morgan. Neither Mary Wheat nor Dexter Wheat are mentioned in the biographical clippings on John Thomas Wheat, however their correspondence suggests that they are also children of John Thomas and Selina Patten Wheat.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The papers, chiefly 1850-1880, include family correspondence, sermons, reminiscences (in verse), commonplace books, diary, 1837, and record books of Christ Church and school, Nashville, Tenn., 1840-1846, and St. Lazarus's Church, Memphis, Tenn., 1867-1868. Letters are mainly those of John Thomas and Selina Patten Wheat and their immediate family with a few to and from friends and other family members. For the most part these letters are personal and comment on family news. There are also a very large number letters that Francis E. (Frank) Shober wrote to Josephine May Wheat Shober as well as many of Frank's business and legal records and papers.

During the Civil War and immediately preceding and following it, there is notable comment, particularly in Selina Patten Wheat's letters, on the war and the political climate of the South. Also, since the family became widely dispersed soon after the beginning of the bulk of the collection, but continued to write and visit, there is often some information on traveling and on the various states in which they found themselves, contained in the letters as well.

There are also poems, diaries, speeches, reminiscences, dramas, and other writings chiefly by John Thomas Wheat with contributions from other family members. Also included are albums, estate accounts, general merchandise accounts, 1814-1815, and accounts for day labor and blacksmith and carpentry work, in Rowan County, 1851-1858.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1814-1849 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1850-1852 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1853 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1854 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1855 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1856 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1857 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

1858 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

1859 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

1860 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

1861 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

1862 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

1863 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

1864 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

1865 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

1866 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 16

Folder 17

1867 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

1868-1869 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

1870 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

1871-1872 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

1873-1879 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

1880-1882 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

1883-1884 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

1885-1886 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 24

Folder 25

1887-1889 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 25

Folder 26

1890-1891 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 26

Folder 27

1892-1893 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 27

Folder 28

1894-1896 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 28

Folder 29-31

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

Poems #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 29-31

Folder 32

Diary, unidentified #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 32

Folder 33-45

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

Folder 40

Folder 41

Folder 42

Folder 43

Folder 44

Folder 45

Sermons #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 33-45

Folder 46-51

Folder 46

Folder 47

Folder 48

Folder 49

Folder 50

Folder 51

Other writings #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 46-51

Includes manuscript plays, poems, narratives, and speeches written by John Thomas Wheat and other members of the Wheat family.

Folder 52

Letter fragments #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 52

Folder 53-62

Folder 53

Folder 54

Folder 55

Folder 56

Folder 57

Folder 58

Folder 59

Folder 60

Folder 61

Folder 62

Undated letters #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 53-62

Folder 63

Volume 1: Account book, A. Henderson, 1806-1822 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 63

Folder 64

Volume 2: Daybook, 1814-1815 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 64

Folder 65

Volume 3: Album, Selina Blair Patten Wheat, 1823-1834 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 65

Folder 66

Volume 4: Album, Selina Blair Patten Wheat, 1825-1832 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 66

Folder 67

Volume 5: Commonplace book, 1830-1878 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 67

Folder 68

Volume 6: Essay, sacred poetry, 1832 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 68

Folder 69

Volume 7: Account book, Jane Henderson Mitchell, Episcopal Female Benevolent Society, 1832-1839; household accounts, 1845-1871 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 69

Folder 70

Volume 8: Travel diary, John Thomas Wheat (?), undated #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 70

Describes journey to Mt. Vernon, Va.; Utica, N.Y.; and other northern cities.

Folder 71

Volume 9: Family diary, John Thomas Wheat, 1837 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 71

Folder 72

Volume 10: Minister's records, John Thomas Wheat, Christ Church, Nashville, Tenn., 1840-1846 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 72

Folder 73

Volume 11: Records, Christ Church School, Nashville, Tenn., 1843-1844 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 73

Folder 74

Volume 12: Index, undated #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 74

Includes a few quotations and poems, but mostly references to books where data on certain topics can be found.

Folder 75

Volume 13: Family prayer book, undated #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 75

Folder 76

Volume 14: Diary, John Thomas Wheat Junior, 1849 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 76

Folder 77-78

Folder 77

Folder 78

Volume 15: Diary, John Thomas Wheat Junior, 1849 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 77-78

Folder 79

Volume 16: Daybook, John A. Boyden, 1851-1858 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 79

Folder 80

Volume 17: Account book, F. E. Shober, 1859-1870 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 80

Folder 81

Volume 18: Memoranda, John Thomas Wheat, St. Lazarus Church, Memphis, Tenn., 1867-1868 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 81

Folder 82

Volume 19: Student's notebook, A. H. Boyden, 1868-1871 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 82

Folder 83

Volume 20: John Thomas Wheat memorial book, 1888 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." Folder 83

Image P-1832/1

Wheat, John Thomas, circa 1870-1880 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/1

Photographer: J. B. Wortham, Winchester, Va.

Image P-1832/2

Wheat, John Thomas, circa 1875-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/2

Image P-1832/3

Wheat, John Thomas, circa 1875-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/3

Image P-1832/4

Wheat, John Thomas, circa 1870-1880 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/4

Photographer: Star Gallery, Memphis, Tenn.

Image P-1832/5

Wheat, John Thomas and Selina Patten Wheat, circa 1875-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/5

Photographer: Leon Ernest Seay, Salisbury, N.C.

Image P-1832/6

Wheat, Selina Patten, circa 1860-1870 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/6

Poem on verso.

Image P-1832/7

Holdersby, Mary, circa 1870-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/7

Photographer: J. C. Elrod, Louisville, Ky.

Image P-1832/8

Young woman, identified on verso as "Mrs. E. L. Strother," circa 1870-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/8

Photographer: Johnson Bros., Washington, D.C

Image P-1832/9

Middle-aged man, identified on verso as "Mr. Bell of Kentucky," circa 1860-1870 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/9

Image P-1832/10

Unidentified young woman, circa 1870-1880 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/10

Photographer: Bradley & Rulofson, San Francisco, Calif.

Image P-1832/11

Unidentified young woman, circa 1870-1885 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/11

Photographer: Bingham and Brother, Memphis, Tenn.

Image P-1832/12

Unidentified boy, circa 1865-1875 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." P-1832/12

Special Format Image SF-P-1832/13

Man in profile, daguerreotype, circa 1840-1850 #01832, Series: "John Thomas Wheat Papers, 1806-1896 and undated." SF-P-1832/13

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, October 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.

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