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Collection Number: 00787

Collection Title: John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919.

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 2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,600 items)
Abstract John Williams emigrated from Scotland in 1810 and became a merchant in Wilmington, N.C.; after his death in 1857 his business was carried on by his son, William Augustus Williams (born 1810). The collection includes papers of four generations of the Williams family of Wilmington, N.C. Papers to 1830 consist chiefly of letters received by John Williams from his mother in Scotland and from his brothers, Robert Williams (died 1823) in Jamaica and William A. Williamson (died 1829), a surgeon at sea with the British navy. From 1830 to 1859, the papers are more extensive, consisting of account books, business correspondence, and other business papers related to the importing and selling of general merchandise, the sale of cotton to England, and the dyeing of cotton cloth; records, 1830-1835, of the estate of Joseph Gorrie; accounts for household expenses; family correspondence, including letters of the Iredell family of Wilmington beginning in 1844; and William Augustus Williams's diary of a trip to England and Scotland, 1833. From the 1880s into the 20th century, there is extensive family correspondence of William Arthur Williams and his wife Jane Iredell Meares Williams and their children, including letters from sons, Frank Williams and Robert Williams, with the United States army on the Mexican border, 1916-1917, and in France during World War I.
Creator Williams, John, d. 1857.



Williams, William Augustus, b. 1810.
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 and William A. Williams Papers, #787, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcription of William Augustus Williams's 1833 diary available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Allen Jones of Columbus, Ga., 1937
Received from Mrs. Henry MacMillan of Wilmington, N.C., 1937.
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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John Williams (died 1857) emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland in 1810 and became a merchant in Wilmington, N.C. His son, William Augustus Williams (born 1810) became an active partner in the business in 1830. William Augustus Williams had five children, the youngest of whom was William Arthur Williams (fl. 1870-1919). William Arthur Williams married Jane Iredell Meares, daughter of Jane Iredell and Thomas Davis Meares, in 1881. Their children were Jane, William, Sarah, Isabel, Frank (died 1918), Helen, Robert, and Catherine.

Other members of the Williams family include John Williams's mother, Isabel Marshall; his brothers, Robert Williams (died 1823) and William A. Williamson (died 1829); and William Augustus Williams's son, Robert D. Williams.

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The collection includes papers of four generations of the Williams family of Wilmington, N.C. Papers to 1830 consist chiefly of letters received by John Williams from his mother in Scotland and from his brothers, Robert Williams in Jamaica and William A. Williamson, a surgeon at sea with the British navy. From 1830 to 1859, the papers are more extensive, consisting of account books, business correspondence, and other business papers related to the importing and selling of general merchandise, the sale of cotton to England, and the dyeing of cotton cloth; records, 1830-1835, of the estate of Joseph Gorrie; accounts for household expenses; family correspondence, including letters of the Iredell family of Wilmington beginning in 1844; and William Augustus Williams's diary of a trip to England and Scotland, 1833. From the 1880s into the 20th century, there is extensive family correspondence of William Arthur Williams and his wife Jane Iredell Meares Williams and their children, including letters from sons, Frank and Robert Williams, with the United States army on the Mexican border, 1916-1917, and in France during World War I.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1799-1813 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1814-1819 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1820-1823 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1825-1832 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1833-1835 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1836-1838 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1839-1841 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

1842-1843 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

1844-1846 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

1847-1849 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

1850-1854 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

1855-1859 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

1860-1869 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

1871-1879 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15-17

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

1880-1881 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 15-17

Folder 18

1882-1884 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

1885 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

1886-1889 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

1891-1894 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

1902-1909 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

1910-1913 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

1916 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 24

Folder 25-26

Folder 25

Folder 26

1917 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 25-26

Folder 27-29

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

1918 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 27-29

Folder 30

1919 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 30

Folder 31-32

Folder 31

Folder 32

Undated #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 31-32

Folder 33

Miscellaneous #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 33

Folder 34-35

Folder 34

Folder 35

Bills and receipts #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 34-35

Folder 36

Volume 1: Travel diary, William A. Williams, England and Scotland, 1833 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 36

Folder 37

Volume 2: Lists of merchandise, 1836-1837 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 37

Folder 38

Volume 3: Lists of merchandise, 1838 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 38

Folder 39

Volume 4: Account book, Mrs. A. E. Russell with W. A. Williams, 1840-1841; John Williams with C. N. Fennell, 1848-1849 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 39

Folder 40

Volume 5: Account book, 1844 and undated #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 40

Folder 41

Volume 6: Account book, 1844-1845 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

Volume 7: Account book, John Williams, merchandise, 1847-1848, 1855 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 42

Folder 43

Volume 8: Account book, John Williams, household supplies, 1849-1850 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 43

Folder 44

Volume 9: Account book, building expenses, 1849-1852 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 44

Folder 45

Volume 10: Address book with memoranda, Jane Iredell Meares, 1874 #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 45

Folder 46

Volume 11: Memoranda book, W. A. Williams, 1893 and undated #00787, Series: "John and William A. Williams Papers, 1799-1919 and undated." Folder 46

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, May 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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