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Collection Number: 00802

Collection Title: Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899.

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

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract The collection includes correspondence, 1841-1869, relating to Worth's political interests and public activities, including his service as North Carolina Civil War treasurer and as governor, December 1865-July 1868; business and professional papers in connection with cotton planting, real estate, securities, business enterprises, and legal practice; large social and family correspondence, 1853-1899, of Martitia Daniel (Mrs. Jonathan) Worth, Worth's son David Gaston Worth (1831-1897), and Worth's five daughters and other family members at Asheboro, Pittsboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, and in Moore County, N.C. Includes 100 personal letters to Miss Adelaide Worth from her fiance, William Henry Bagley, written 1864-1866, while he was on political campaigns or working as Jonathan Worth's secretary.
Creator Worth, Jonathan, 1802-1869.
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 Jonathan Worth Papers #802, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Jonathan Daniels of Raleigh, N.C., February 1928 and January 1960.
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

Jonathan Worth, 1802-1869, was the son of David Worth of Guilford County, N.C. He studied law under Archibald D. Murphy, married Martitia Daniel, and started practicing law at Asheboro, N.C., in 1825.

Worth was a member of the North Carolina state legislature in 1830, 1831, 1840, 1858, and 1860-1863, and was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1841 and 1845. He opposed secession, but accepted it after the fact, was public treasurer from 1863 to 1865 under the Confederate and then the Provisional government, and took office as governor under the Provisional government 28 December 1865. He was re-elected in 1866 and continued in office until July 1868 when the government was suspended. He died 6 September 1869, leaving a widow, one son, and five daughters.

Worth's son was David Gaston Worth (1831-1897). He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1853, and became a merchant in Wilmington, N.C., in business with Nathaniel G. Daniel; his wife was Julia A. Stickney. Governor Worth's daughters included: Roxana, who married John McNeill of Pittsboro, N.C.; Lucy, who married J. J. Jackson of Asheboro; Corinne, who married Dr. William C. Roberts and later Dr. Hamilton Jackson; Adelaide Ann, who married William H. Bagley of Perquimans County, N.C.; Mary, who died in 1867; and Elvira, who married Samuel Spencer Jackson, then Eli Walker, and finally E. E. Moffitt. Jonathan Worth's brothers included B. G. Worth, who was a businessman in New York; Daniel; J. M.; and Joseph A. He had a nephew, David Worth Coffin, who in 1866, is known to have lived in Indianapolis. Most family members, however, lived in Asheboro, Pittsboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, and at Noise in Moore County, N.C.

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Jonathan Worth's personal business papers and legal professional papers extend from 1826 to 1869, and papers relating to his estate extend to 1876. Throughout the collection, there are also items relating to Worth's business as a cotton planter, with property in Randolph, Wake, and Anson counties, N.C. These include correspondence with brokers in New York and Wilmington and bills from northern merchants and local tradesmen. There are also papers relating to farm lands and city lots, securities and bonds, and enterprises in which Worth had a financial interest, among them a drug store at Salisbury and a Cedar Falls cotton factory.

Letters to and from members of the Worth family and their connections run from 1853 to 1899 and include letters from Worth's son, daughters, and sons-in-law, as well as Worth's brothers, nephews, and cousins.

Many of the family letters are also relate to business deals. Jonathan Worth's son-in-law, Samuel S. Jackson, served as his agent in connection with farming interests at Asheboro. Worth's interest in the Salisbury drug store was undertaken for the benefit of his son-in-law, William C. Roberts. His son-in-law, William Henry Bagley, was the Governor's private secretary in 1866-1867 and shared his political interests. After Jonathan Worth's death in 1869, scattered family correspondence is of his widow, his children, and his grandchildren.

Correspondence between 1841 and 1869 reflects Jonathan Worth's interest in politics--both his own active part in North Carolina official and party affairs and his interest in the national scene insofar as it affected his state. Included are papers relating to Worth's responsibilities as chairman of the Board of Superintendents of common schools for Randolph County, 1863; as public treasurer of North Carolina, 1863-65, including an 1865 itemized receipt for transfer of assets from Worth to his successor as treasurer; and as governor of North Carolina, 1866-1867, including some papers of William Henry Bagley as the governor's private secretary. Letters, 1866-1867, addressed to Worth as governor chiefly concern politics--campaign tactics, meetings, alignments, and speculation--and other public matters, including distribution of financial relief, problems connected with the readmission of North Carolina to the Union, and the sale of the state's swamp lands for the benefit of the Board of Literature.

Also included are accounts, 1860-1863, of the estate of Timothy Griffin and Sarah Griffin of Randolph County, N.C.; letters, 1863, to Mary Worth from James W. Hanks, fighting with the Confederate army in Virginia and Pennsylvania; and a series of about 100 letters, 1864-1866, to Adelaide Worth from her fiance William Henry Bagley, mentioning his campaign for the legislature in 1864 and other business, but chiefly concerned with his courtship. (Note that this series of letters ends 1 March 1866. Later letters relating to Adelaide Worth Bagley are filed with the Bagley Family Papers.) There are also Jonathan Worth's accounts and correspondence, 1865-1869, with New York and Wilmington brokers, Hathaway & Utley and Worth & Daniel; a typed copy of a letter, 1867, from Governor Worth to the president of the United States, relating injustices incurred under military authority; letters, 1869, to the ailing Worth at the Rockbridge Alum Springs in Virginia from members of his family, chiefly from William H. Bagley, telling about family matters and about Bagley's official activities as clerk of North Carolina Supreme Court; accounts, 1870-1876, of David G. Worth as executor of Johnathan Worth's estate; and scattered family letters, 1870-1899, to Martitia Worth and to and from the Worth children and in-laws.

There is one volume, a pocket-sized account book, 1848-1860, listing financial advancements made by Jonathan Worth to his children. Also included is a narrative account of the 17th-century Worths in England and New England, with a chart showing five generations of the ancestors of Thomas C. Worth (fl. late 18th century).

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899.

Folder 1

1798; 1826-1859 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 1

Folder 2

1860-1862 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 2

Folder 3

1863 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 3

Folder 4

1864 January-June #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 4

Folder 5

1864 July-December #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 5

Folder 6

1865 January-March #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 6

Folder 7

1865 April-August #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 7

Folder 8

1865 September-October #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 8

Folder 9

1865 November-December #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 9

Folder 10

1866 1-16 January #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 10

Folder 11

1866 17-31 January #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 11

Folder 12

1866 February #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 12

Folder 13

1866 March-April #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 13

Folder 14

1866 May #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 14

Folder 15

1866 June #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 15

Folder 16

1866 July-September #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 16

Folder 17

1866 October-December #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 17

Folder 18

1867 January-May #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 18

Folder 19

1867 June-October #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 19

Folder 20

1867 November-December #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 20

Folder 21

1868 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 21

Folder 22

1869 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 22

Folder 23

1870-1899 #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 23

Folder 24

Account book, 1848-1860, and undated papers #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 24

Folder 25

Worth family chart #00802, Series: "Jonathan Worth Papers, 1798-1899." Folder 25

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Processing Information

Processed by: Rebecca Hollingsworth, December 1992

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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.

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