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Collection Number: 04576

Collection Title: W. R. White Papers, 1812-1922

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 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 110 items)
Abstract W. R. White of Prescott, Nevada County, Ark., dry goods merchant and Nevada County clerk. Correspondence, financial and legal materials, and other items, chiefly relating to W. R. White and other members of his family. The greatest number of letters were written by White to his wife Mary Jane during the Civil War, either from the field or after his capture by federal forces. Also included are some earlier letters White wrote to Mary Jane while he was travelling in connection with his dry goods business. Post-war correspondence chiefly relates to family matters. Financial and legal materials relate to White's mercantile efforts, to his duties as tax collector in Nevada County, and to his personal finances and those of other family members. Also included are a biographical sketch and photographs of White, a small collection of printed advertisements for whiskey, Confederate money, and other items.
Creator White, W. R., 1829-1921.
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 W. R. White papers #4576, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Samuel Hitt of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May 1991 (Acc. 91065).
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

William R. White was born 8 March 1829 in Russellville, Ala., the son of Rev. Samuel B. White, an itinerant Methodist minister. In early manhood, W. R. White moved to Shreveport, La., where he became a merchant, apparently dealing in dry goods. Later, he moved to Marshall, Tex., where he continued in business until around 1853, when he returned to Alabama.

In 1854, he married Mary Jane Clarke, with whom he had eight children. His daughter Amelia married Thomas C. McRae, who was governor of Arkansas in the 1920s.

In 1857, the Whites moved from Alabama to Pine Bluff, Ark., where W. R. again established himself as a merchant. He continued in business until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he sold his stock of goods to the Confederate government and enlisted as a private in the Confederate army. The $10,000 in Confederate money that he received from this sale was still in his possession at the time of his death in 1921. W. R. soon was promoted to captain and assigned to duty as commissary of his brigade. He was captured in 1863 and spent some 15 months as a prisoner of war.

At the close of the war, W. R. and his family located in Falcon, Ark., where he taught school until 1874, when he was elected county and circuit clerk of newly created Nevada County. After six years in this position, he was appointed by President Cleveland as postmaster at Prescott, Ark.

Mary Jane White died in 1884, and W. R. married Mary C. Love of Huntsville, Ala., in 1889. After four years as postmaster, W. R. again engaged in the mercantile business until increasing infirmities caused him to retire.

W. R. White was a lifetime member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a Mason. He died in 1921.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Correspondence, financial and legal materials, and other items, chiefly relating to W. R. White and other members of his family. The greatest number of letters were written by White to his wife Mary Jane during the Civil War, either from the field or after his capture by federal forces. Also included are some earlier letters White wrote to Mary Jane while he was travelling in connection with his dry goods business. Post-war correspondence chiefly relates to family matters. Financial and legal materials relate to White's mercantile efforts, to his duties as tax collector in Nevada County, and to his personal finances and those of other family members. Also included are a biographical sketch and photographs of White, a small collection of printed advertisements for whiskey, Confederate money, and other items.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1843-1922 and undated.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: chronological by decade.

Chiefly letters relating to W. R. White and other members of his family. The greatest number of letters were written by W. R. to his wife Mary Jane during the Civil War, either from the field or after W. R.'s capture by federal forces. Also included are some earlier letters that W. R. wrote to Mary Jane while he was travelling in connection with his dry goods business. Post-war correspondence chiefly relates to family matters. There are few letters after the 1880s. Most of the undated letters appear to have been written to W. R. or his wife from relatives after the Civil War.

Folder 1

1843-1859 #04576, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1843-1922 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1861-1869 #04576, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1843-1922 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1871-1922 #04576, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1843-1922 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

Undated #04576, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1843-1922 and undated." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Materials, 1859-1900.

About 30 items.

Insurance politics, indentures, bills, tax receipts, and other items relating to W. R. White and other members of his family. Included are some tax receipts signed by W. R. White as collector of Nevada County taxes, and an account book with entries dated August 1859 that probably relates to White's mercantile activities.

Folder 5-6

Folder 5

Folder 6

Financial and legal materials, 1859-1900 #04576, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Materials, 1859-1900." Folder 5-6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers, 1812-1921 and undated.

About 30 items.

A biographical sketch of W. R. White, written at his death in 1921; two photographs of White; a small collection of printed advertisements for whiskey; three printed almanacs, 1812-1814; and other items.

Folder 7

Biographical sketch #04576, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1812-1921 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

Photographs (P-4576) #04576, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1812-1921 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

Whiskey advertisements #04576, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1812-1921 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10-11

Folder 10

Folder 11

Miscellaneous #04576, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1812-1921 and undated." Folder 10-11

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, July 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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