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Collection Number: 02364

Collection Title: Edmonia Cabell Wilkins Papers, 1782-1949

This collection has use restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

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.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992. Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the encoding of this finding aid.

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Size 3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,330 items)
Abstract Edmonia Cabell Wilkins was a genealogist. Members of her family included Edmonia's greatgrandfather, planter William Wyche Wilkins (1768-1840); William's twin brother, planter and lawyer John Limbrey Wilkins (1768-1850); and William's son, planter and lawyer Edmund Wilkins (1796-1867) The family lived chiefly in Greensville and Brunswick counties, Va., and Northampton County, N.C. The collection includes personal and business correspondence, financial and legal papers, genealogical materials, and other papers of several generations of the Wilkins family. Most of the letters are financial in nature. Financial and legal materials, 1782-1909, include bills and receipts concerning property, plantation affairs, and investments in several Virginia and North Carolina railroads; a few documents relating to the purchase and upkeep of slaves; lawyers' accounts and trial dockets from Halifax and Northampton counties, N.C.; and other legal and business papers. Plantation papers relate chiefly to the Belmont and Meadows plantations in Northampton County. Also included are account books for a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and the Gaston Hotel in Gaston, N.C. Other papers include notebooks of law students at the Litchfield Law Academy, Litchfield, Conn., ca. 1817-1819, and of a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, 1851-1860. About half the collection consists of items relating to the genealogical activities of Edmonia C. Wilkins, 1920-1949. There is little information on the Civil War or sectional tensions of the time.
Creator Wilkins, Edmonia Cabell, 1865-1949.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
Microfilm copy of Edmund Wilkins's letterbook, 1857-1861, should be used instead of the original, which is very fragile.
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 Edmonia Cabell Wilkins Papers #2364, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Edmund Wilkin's letterbook, 1857-1861, available on microfilm.
  • Reel 1: Letterbook
All or part of this collection is also available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Gifts of Edmonia Cabell Wilkins and Henry Wilkins Lewis, 1941-1989.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

Edmonia Cabell Wilkins (1865-1948), genealogist, was the daughter of physician Edmund Webb Wilkins (1830-1899). Other Wilkins family members include Edmund Webb Wilkins's grandfather, lawyer/planter William Wyche Wilkins (1768-1840), a native of Brunswick (later Greensville) County, Va., who moved to nearby Northampton County, N.C., around 1814; his grandfather's twin brother, lawyer/planter John Limbrey Wilkins (1768-1850) of Brunswick County, Va.; and William Wyche Wilkins's children, including lawyer/planter Edmund Wilkins (1796-1867) of Northampton County; John Limbrey Wilkins (1801-1843); William Webb Wilkins (1803-1858); and Rebecca A. Wilkins (1806-1842), wife of Alexander Brodnax (d. 1832).

The Wilkins family owned several plantations in the Roanoke River valley of North Carolina and Virginia. They also owned a significant number of slaves. As Whigs, they were active in the promotion of internal improvements, especially railroads to link the town of Gaston with Petersburg, Va., and Raleigh, N.C. Three members of the family--William Wyche Wilkins, John Limbrey Wilkins, and Edmund Wilkins--attended Litchfield Law Academy in Connecticut.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains personal and business correspondence, 1786-1949, of several generations of the Wilkins family of Greensville County, Va., Brunswick County, Va., and Northampton County, N.C. Most of the letters are financial in nature. Financial and legal materials, 1782-1909, include bills and receipts concerning property, plantation affairs, and railroad investments in several Virginia and North Carolina railroads; a few documents relating to the purchase and upkeep of slaves; lawyers' accounts and trial dockets from Halifax County, N.C., and Northampton County, N.C.; and other legal and business papers. Also included are account books for a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and the Gaston Hotel.

Other papers include notebooks of law students at Litchfield, Conn., ca. 1817-1819, and a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, 1851-1860. About half of the collection consists of items relating to the genealogy activities of Edmonia C. Wilkins, 1920-1949. There is little information on the Civil War or sectional tensions of the time.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1786-1949 and undated.

About 385 items.

Arrangement: mostly chronological.

Chiefly business correspondence and business papers of several generations of the Wilkins family of Greensville and Brunswick counties, Va., and Northampton County, N.C., with scattered family letters.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated.

About 265 items.

Most of the early letters relate to William Wyche Wilkins and his twin brother John Limbrey Wilkins. After 1820, they relate increasingly to William W. Wilkins's son, Edmund Wilkins. Some letters, 1857-1861, have been bound together to form volume 1. Note that these letters, which deal largely with Edmund Wilkins's plantation affairs, are not in strict chronological order. With the exception of a few letters about family matters, correspondence in this series relates to such issues as plantation management; trade with merchants in Petersburg, Va., and other states; railroad investments; and other business matters. There are only three items from the Civil War years, and none of these relate directly to the war.

Folder 1

1786-1839 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1831-1839 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 2

Digital version: Letter from R. A. Clement and Charles P. Hartwell to Edmund T. Wilkins, 20 February 1839

Documenting the American South

Folder 3

1840-1849 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1850 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5-7

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

1851 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 5-7

Folder 8

1852-1859 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

1857-1861 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 9

Volume 1, Edmund Wilkins letterbook (formerly volume 8)

Folder 10

1858-1864 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

Undated letters before 1865 #02364, Subseries: "1.1. Correspondence, 1786-1864 and undated." Folder 11

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Correspondence, 1880-1949 and undated.

About 120 items.

The few letters before 1920 deal chiefly with routine family matters. The bulk of the letters are dated 1920 to 1949 and are addressed to Edmonia C. Wilkins from Eric Norfleet and E. W. Lewis; they deal chiefly with Edmonia's investments in second mortgages. Some later family correspondence is also included.

Folder 12

1880-1900 #02364, Subseries: "1.2. Correspondence, 1880-1949 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

1920-1949 #02364, Subseries: "1.2. Correspondence, 1880-1949 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

Undated after 1864 #02364, Subseries: "1.2. Correspondence, 1880-1949 and undated." Folder 14

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1782-1909 and undated.

About 340 items.

Chiefly bills and receipts concerning property; plantation affairs; investments in several Virginia and North Carolina railroads; documents relating to the purchase, hire, and maintenance of slaves; lawyers' accounts and trial dockets from Halifax and Northampton counties, N.C.; and other legal and business papers. Also included are account books for a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and the Gaston Hotel.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Loose Financial and Legal Papers, 1782-1909 and undated.

About 320 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1.1. Loose Financial and Legal Papers, 1782-1865 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1.2. Loose Financial and Legal Papers, 1874-1909 and undated.

About 20 items.

Chiefly land records, deed abstracts, and records of the burial expenses of Nicholas E. Davis (d. 1874).

Folder 22

1874-1909 and undated after 1865 #02364, Subseries: "2.1.2. Loose Financial and Legal Papers, 1874-1909 and undated." Folder 22

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870.

19 items.

Arrangement: chronological by latest date.

Folder 23

Volume 2, 1811-1916, 180 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 23

Account book of William Wyche Wilkins in Greensville County, Va., and Northampton County, N.C. (formerly volume 20)

Folder 24

Volume 3, 1824-1826, 160 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 24

Account book, owner unknown (formerly volume 22)

Folder 25

Volume 4, 1824-1827, 258 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 25

Shoemaker's account book, owner unknown (formerly volume 2)

Folder 26

Volumes 5-9, 1830-1837, 127 pp. total #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 26

Trial dockets kept by Edmund Wilkins for Northampton and Halifax counties, N.C. See also volumes 14-15 (formerly volume 24)

Folder 27-28

Folder 27

Folder 28

Volume 10-11, 1837-1840, 40 pp. total #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 27-28

Record books with brief entries relating to the operation of rail and stage lines and passenger accommodations in Gaston, N.C. Companies mentioned include the Petersburg and Greensville Railroad Company, the Petersburg Railroad Company, and the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company

Folder 29

Volume S-12, 1837-1840, 163 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 29

Gaston Hotel account book

Folder 30

Volume 13, 1824-1841, ca. 110 pp. (pages 64-110 missing) #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 30

Book belonging to Edmund Wilkins, including lists of books in Wilkins's library, inventories of slaves, and an inventory of William Wilkins's estate (formerly volume 23)

Folder 31

Volume 14-15, 1838-1841, 98 pp. total #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 31

Trial dockets kept by Edmund Wilkins for Northampton and Halifax counties, N.C. See also volumes 5-9 (formerly volumes 24 and 25)

Folder 32

Volume 16, 1790-1849, 183 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 32

Account book of John Limbrey Wilkins of Brunswick County, Va. (formerly volume 1)

Folder 33

Volume S-17, 1850-1853, 103 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 33

Account book, owner unknown, (formerly volume 6)

Folder 34

Volume 18. 1853-1865. 1-3 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 34

Belmont and Meadows plantation accounts, (formerly volume 7)

Folder 35

Volume 19, 1836-1870, 53 pp. #02364, Subseries: "2.2. Financial and Legal Volumes, 1811-1870." Folder 35

Entries in two different hands, owner(s) unknown, 1836-1842 entries are financial accounts; entries from the 1860s through 1870 list notes due

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Genealogical Materials, 1925-1948 and undated.

About 600 items.

Correspondence, notes, and other materials of Edmonia C. Wilkins concerning the genealogy of the Wilkins and related families.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated.

About 350 items.

Correspondence of Edmonia C. Wilkins with family members and others concerning the genealogy of the Wilkins and related families.

Folder 36

1925-1933 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 36

Folder 37

1934-1935 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 37

Folder 38

1936 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 38

Folder 39

1937 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 39

Folder 40

1938 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 40

Folder 41

1939 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

1940 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 42

Folder 43-45

Folder 43

Folder 44

Folder 45

1941 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 43-45

Folder 46

1942 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 46

Folder 47

1943-1944 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 47

Folder 48

1945 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 48

Folder 49

1946 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 49

Folder 50

1947 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 50

Folder 51

1948 #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 51

Folder 52

>Undated #02364, Subseries: "3.1. Genealogical Correspondence, 1925-1948 and undated." Folder 52

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated.

250 items.

Notes collected by Edmonia C. Wilkins on the genealogy of the Wilkins and related families.

Folder 53-56

Folder 53

Folder 54

Folder 55

Folder 56

General notes #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 53-56

Folder 57

Notes from Lucy P. Williamson #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 57

Folder 58

Notes on the Wilkins, Douglas, and Wyche families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 58

Folder 59

Notes on the Wilkins, Douglas, Wyche, and Judkins families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 59

Folder 60

Notes on the Wilkins, Lamkin, Davis, Garland, Flood, Edmunds, and Wright families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 60

Folder 61

Notes on the Wilkins, Douglas, Jones, Flood, Wyche, and Poythress families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 61

Folder 62

Notes on the Williams, Douglas, and Wyche families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 62

Folder 63-64

Folder 63

Folder 64

Notes on the Fletcher and Robinson families #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 63-64

Folder 65

Notes on the Raines family #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 65

Folder 66-67

Folder 66

Folder 67

Clippings #02364, Subseries: "3.2. Genealogical Notes and Clippings, undated." Folder 66-67

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Papers, 1817-1860 and undated.

10 items.

Notebooks of law students at Litchfield, Conn., ca. 1817-1819; Edmund Wilkins's medical notebook, ca. 1851-1860; and miscellaneous papers, including an undated script for a Masonic ceremony, a prayer in German, a map of Gaston, N.C., several recipes, and a manuscript copy of a fairy tale called "The Little Grey Mouse."

Folder 68-69

Folder 68

Folder 69

Volume 20-21, ca. 1817-1819, ca. 110 pp. total #02364, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1817-1860 and undated." Folder 68-69

Notebooks of law students at Litchfield, Conn., (formerly volumes 13 and 19)

Folder 70

Volume 22, ca. 1851-1860, 122 pp. #02364, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1817-1860 and undated." Folder 70

Edmund Wilkins's medical notebook probably kept while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania (formerly Volume 4)

Folder 71

Miscellaneous papers #02364, Series: "4. Other Papers, 1817-1860 and undated." Folder 71

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include oversize volumes V-2364/S-12 and V-2364/S-17.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Scott Philyaw, July 1992

Encoded by: Mara Dabrishus, September 2004

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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

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