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Collection Number: 00768

Collection Title: Matthew Cary Whitaker Papers, 1728-1883

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.


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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 340 items)
Abstract Matthew Cary Whitaker was a physician and planter of Halifax County, N.C. The collection contains family correspondence and other materials, 1728-1870. Included are letters received by Whitaker when he was studying medicine in Baltimore, Md., 1823-1824, and bills, receipts, accounts, and business papers related primarily to plantation operations, including records of slave transactions. Items before 1823 are deeds, accounts, and other papers of the related Fort family, including letters concerning plantations in Lawrence County, Ala. Letters from Fort family members in Alabama to Hilliard Fort of Halifax County, N.C., indicate that Alabama land was more productive than North Carolina land and encourage him to speculate in unclaimed lands in Alabama. Letters to Matthew Whitaker from his brother, Spier Whitaker, and other family members discuss family news, Halifax County political news, opinions of presidential candidates, monetary and other changes made by President Andrew Jackson, and the rising price of grain due to scarcity in Europe. The Addition of 2006 contains correspondence between Whitaker and Fort family members and friends. Topics include family news, Halifax County news, plantation matters, and politics. Included is an 1864 letter from Jefferson Davis to Mrs. Ransom, a Whitaker family friend, discussing the whereabouts of her husband, Major General Robert Ransom Jr. The Addition also contains financial records and receipts including records of slave transactions. The Addition of 2012 consists of two manuscript volumes. One is a physician's ledger kept by Matthew Whitaker, 1827-1839, containing details of treatments, charges, payments, and medications prescribed to individuals in the Halifax County, N.C., area, including slaves. The other volume is a plantation journal belonging to Hilliard Fort, 1820-1827, listing accounts of various plantation operations, including purchases, promissory notes, debts, and records of slaves hired out.
Creator Whitaker, Matthew Cary, 1801-1873.
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 Matthew Cary Whitaker Papers #768, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Robert R. William of Asheville, N.C., before 1940; from Meriweather D. Williams in July 2006 (Acc. 100448); and purchased from the Historical Shop at Metairie, La., in January 2012 (Acc. 101552).
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

Matthew Cary Whitaker (1801-1873) was a physician and planter of Halifax County, N.C.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains family correspondence and other materials, 1728-1870, of physician and planter Matthew Cary Whitaker of Halifax County, N.C. Included are letters received by Whitaker when he was studying medicine in Baltimore, Md., 1823-1824, and bills, receipts, accounts, and business papers related primarily to plantation operations, including records of slave transactions. Items before 1823 are deeds, accounts, and other papers of the related Fort family, including letters concerning plantations in Lawrence County, Ala. Letters from Fort family members in Alabama to Hilliard Fort of Halifax County, N.C., indicate that Alabama land was more productive than North Carolina land and encourage him to speculate in unclaimed lands in Alabama. Letters to Matthew Whitaker from his brother, Spier Whitaker, and other family members discuss family news, Halifax County political news, opinions of presidential candidates, monetary and other changes made by President Andrew Jackson, and the rising price of grain due to scarcity in Europe. The Addition of 2006 contains correspondence between Whitaker and Fort family members and friends. Topics include family news, Halifax County news, plantation matters, and politics. Included is an 1864 letter from Jefferson Davis to Mrs. Ransom, a Whitaker family friend, discussing the whereabouts of her husband, Major General Robert Ransom Jr. The Addition also contains financial records and receipts including records of slave transactions. The Addition of 2012 consists of two manuscript volumes. One is a physician's ledger kept by Matthew Whitaker, 1827-1839, containing details of treatments, charges, payments, and medications prescribed to individuals in the Halifax County, N.C., area, including slaves. The other volume is a plantation journal belonging to Hilliard Fort, 1820-1827, listing accounts of various plantation operations, including purchases, promissory notes, debts, and at least four pages towards the end of the volume listing records of slaves hired out, grouped by the year hired and for what amount.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Original Deposit, 1728-1870.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883.

About 160 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence between Whitaker and Fort family members and friends and other materials. Topics include family news, Halifax County news, plantation matters, and politics. Included is an 1864 letter from Jefferson Davis to Mrs. Ransom, a Whitaker family friend, discussing the whereabouts of her husband, Major General Robert Ransom Jr. The Addition also contains financial records and receipts including records of slave transactions, and clippings.

Folder 9

1728-1819 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 9

Folder 10

1821-1829 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 10

Folder 11

1830-1839 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 11

Folder 12

1840-1883 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 12

Folder 13

Undated #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 13

Folder 14

Clippings, 1815-1830 and undated #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2006 (Acc. 100448): Whitaker and Fort Family Correspondence, 1728-1883." Folder 14

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 2012 (Acc. 101552): Matthew Cary Whitaker Physicians Ledger and Hilliard Fort Plantation Journal, 1820-1839.

2 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Two manuscript volumes. One is a plantation journal covering the years 1820-1827, and it is annotated in the back with the note, "Hilliard Fort's Book." The Fort family was related to the Whitakers. The journal consists of about 36 pages of text located at the beginning and end of the volume. The middle of the journal consists of blank pages. Contents include accounts of various plantation operations, including purchases, promissory notes, debts, and at least four pages towards the end of the volume listing records of slaves hired out, grouped by the year hired and for what amount. The other is a physician's ledger kept by Matthew Cary Whitaker covering the period 1827-1839. The volume is indexed by the family names of the various individuals, including slaves, seeking his services throughout the Halifax County, N.C., area. It contains details of treatments, charges, payments, and medications prescribed.

Folder 15

Plantation journal, 1820-1827 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2012 (Acc. 101552): Matthew Cary Whitaker Physicians Ledger and Hilliard Fort Plantation Journal, 1820-1839." Folder 15

Folder 16

Physician's ledger, 1827-1839 #00768, Subseries: "Addition of 2012 (Acc. 101552): Matthew Cary Whitaker Physicians Ledger and Hilliard Fort Plantation Journal, 1820-1839." Folder 16

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff,

Encoded by: Kathryn Roth, February 2008

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

Finding aid updated in March 2012 by Armando Suarez because of addition.

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