From Surry Parker to the Wilmington Ten

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Audio Visual Materials

Parker, Surry, Photograph Collection, 1867-1942
Surry Parker (1866-1942) was a designer and builder of steam logging machinery and founder of Pinetown. This collection of negatives contains images of the Surry Parker family and business enterprises in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. (35 items, including an album with 155 black and white negatives)

Private Collections

Harris, Thomas Clarke, Papers, 1887-1934 (pdf)
Thomas Clarke Harris (ca. 1849-1934) was one of six children of the former Martha Ann Hunter (1827-1909) and Dr. Adam Clarke Harris (1823-1899), Granville County. Over his lifetime Harris worked as a store clerk, wood engraver, science museum curator (State Museum in Raleigh), civil engineer, draftsman, designer, inventor, and writer of adventure stories for boys, and of topics such as hunting and fishing, and coastal scenes and life. Consists chiefly of published stories and articles by Harris, examples of engravings and technical drawings executed by him, and numerous newspaper articles relating to inventions and designs by Harris and some articles and letters to newspaper editors that reflect his viewpoints on various topics and his explanations of technical subjects. Of particular interest are a few handwritten manuscript essays, including “Some Personal Recollections of the Ku Klux Klan by a Member of the Order, 1867 to 1870” ; “The Carolina Banks,” dated 1903, and a typed manuscript essay, “The Making of an Agnostic.” Additionally, a small quantity of the news articles refer to Harris’s wife and son. (1 box)

Jones, Graham Papers, 1961-1965
Graham Eugene Jones (1927-1989), was press secretary to James Terry Sanford (1917-1998), Democrat and governor of North Carolina, 1960-1964. Jones was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, receiving an A.B. in Journalism in 1951. Jones was the first press secretary appointed by a North Carolina governor. The papers consist primarily of press releases, press photographs, arranged chronologically. In addition to the press photographs, there are variety of undated (period of 1959-1964), and unidentified photographs. The majority of photographs include Sanford, Sanford with family, and with other individuals and groups during his tenure as governor. There is a smaller quantity of miscellaneous files, including campaign and inaugural material, and a folder on the topic of race relations in the state. Additionally, there are three sound recordings of Terry Sanford during his campaign and during office. (17 boxes, 6 cubic feet.)

McMillan, Robert L. and Mary Lee (Swann) Papers, 1908 – 1980
Robert L. McMillan (1888-1969) was born in Richmond (now Scotland County) to Mary Amanda (Johnson) and Archibald Alexander McMillan. Founder of the law firm, McMillan and McMillan, he was a leader in Wake County and state civic, patriotic, and political functions, and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. During World War II, he was state director of the N.C. Office of Civil Defense. Long a stalwart of the Democratic Party, McMillan was chairman of his precinct for around forty years. A native of Kingstree, South Carolina Mary Lee (Swann) McMillan (1890-1981) was a daughter of Mary Frances (Lewis) and James Milan Swann. Like her husband, Mrs. Swann was a leader of state and local organizations, long active in her church and community. Her literary pursuits included writing a garden column that was featured in the Raleigh Times for twenty-three years, until 1973. She was one of the founders of the North Carolina Art Society. The McMillan papers include circular letters, reports, publications, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, American Legion materials. These date from the year 1908 to the year 1980 and relate to their private lives; their activities in the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, the Clan McMillan Society, Inc., in American, the Garden Club of North Carolina, the National Council of State Garden Clubs, the North Carolina Camellia Society, the Raleigh Garden Club, the Olla Podrida Club, the North Carolina Office of Civilian Defense, the State Recreation Commission, and so forth. The papers include also material relating to Mr. McMillan’s political activities. (19 boxes)

McNeely, James, Papers, 1838-1870 (pdf)
James McNeely (circa 1813-1887) was born in the portion of Burke County that by 1842 had become part of McDowell County. In 1847 a bond was submitted on behalf of McNeely as a McDowell County constable. McNeely also operated a tavern and a general merchandise store in Turkey Cove. In 1855 he married Catherine McCall (1836-1925). Papers include writs of execution, notes of debt, receipts, and summonses from McNeely’s service as constable of McDowell County during the late 1840s. There are also business papers, including accounts and correspondence, representing his work from 1845, possibly as a tavern owner, then in partnership with J. Young in the general merchandise concern of Young and McNeely, Turkey Hamlet, McDowell County, around 1855. (7 boxes)

Overhills Papers, 1886-1985
Extending over 30,000 acres in its heyday, the Overhills estate of the 20th century had previously been the site of a vast turpentine plantation. Located primarily in Harnett County in North Carolina’s Sandhills, this tract lost appeal by 1900 as the area’s timber and naval stores industries declined. By 1906 the land had been transformed into a hunting preserve with the prospect of becoming a premier southern hunt club. Over the next few years the enterprise changed names and hands several times. Percy Avery Rockefeller was one of several wealthy investors whose interest grew as the property took on resort amenities, including a clubhouse, golf course, passenger train service, riding stables, and dog kennels for the fox hounds. After 1919 Rockefeller, by then a primary investor, fostered development of vacation residences in “The Hill” area and sought to make the estate self-reliant through forestry and agricultural development. The estate’s name in 1922 was formalized as the Overhills Land Company and in 1938 as Overhills, Inc. and Overhills Farms, Inc. By 1938, The Hill had become a retreat primarily for the Rockefeller family, while the hunting preserve was transformed into tenant farms. Over the next few decades various agricultural businesses emerged within the tenant farm system that sustained the estate. During the early 1970s sharecropping was replaced by large-scale corporate agriculture. In 1980 the property was reduced to around 10,000 acres and the agricultural businesses merged into Overhills, Inc. The family sold the property in 1997 to the U.S. Army for use as training lands adjacent to Fort Bragg Military Reservation. The papers consist primarily of business information utilized or created by the various property managers of the Overhills estate and span the years 1886 to 1985, with a few maps dated a few years beyond. Materials represented are original property deeds and business records including contracts/licenses, product informaton; financial records such as loose bank statements, deposit slips, bills paid, returned checks, receipts, and information contained in ledgers (not a complete set), such as cash books, cash disbursements, time books, accounts ledgers, and employees’ wage information; employee and tax information; business correspondence; maps; some drawings, and miscellaneous oversized materials. Within the Overhills papers there are some materials relating to the predecessor business, the Kent-Jordan Company hunting retreat, dating from 1911 to the early 1920s. (256 boxes, ca. 95 cubic feet.)

Williams, Clyde Armstrong, Papers, 1943-1948
Clyde Armstrong Williams (1926-2010), a native of Mount Olive in Wayne County, was the son of James Henry and DeElla Blythe Williams. He attended The Citadel and North Georgia College, 1943-1944 and the former again in 1947. In late 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army; following training at Fort Bragg and other installations he was assigned to the 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division. Williams was first stationed in the Philippines, then served with the occupational forces in Korea, and was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 with a Medal of Honor. After military service, Williams returned to The Citadel briefly, but soon became involved in the operation of the family farm near Mount Olive. The collection of papers includes letters written to home while Williams was at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Fort Bragg, and an unknown location in California, and also written home while stationed overseas. Some of the letters were written by his parents. There are two memoirs in the format of handwritten letters that include anecdotes and document some of Clyde’s experiences (noncombat) during his time overseas. Also included are letters written during 1945-1946 from a relative, Corporal Virginia Blythe, a member of the Women’s Air Corps, written to Mr. Williams’ mother, with numerous references to Clyde. There are approximately 25 photographic negatives, apparently taken overseas, and other miscellaneous material. (3 boxes)

Williams, David Marshall (“Carbine”), Letters, 1927-1934
David Marshall (“Carbine”) Williams (1900-1975), firearms inventor, was born and grew up on the farm of his family near Godwin in Cumberland County. During a raid on an illicit still in 1921, Williams was involved in a shoot-out.Though he denied shooting the deputy sheriff, he averted possible capital punishment by pleading guilty to second degree murder.While serving a projected twenty to thirty-year sentence, Williams won the admiration of the warden who saw his skill in repairing and designing guns, and assigned him to the prison machine shop. He is recognized as designer of short stroke piston, which made possible the M-1 carbine rifle. Includes twenty-six manuscript letters and one invitation sent 1923-1934 to David Marshall (“Carbine”) Williams, primarily during the time of his incarceration at the State Farm at Caledonia, Halifax County. The majority were written by a brother, Robert Wesley Williams, then a student at Elon College. Three of the letters were accessioned in 2002; and an additional twenty-four items in 2010.The letters reflect the strong support of his family. (1 box)

State Agency Records

America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (pdf)
Between 1984 and 1987 North Carolina commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages. Supported by Sir Walter Raleigh with the assistance of Queen Elizabeth I, the first expedition was sent to explore the coastal and sound regions of what is now North Carolina. Subsequent voyages attempted to found a military colony on Roanoke Island and an ongoing civilian settlement. While these objectives were only partially realized (the settlement is remembered as the Lost Colony), the voyages led the way for England to establish permanent colonies in America in the following century. Through a joint resolution, the General Assembly of 1955 laid the foundation for a three-year celebration of the historical events. A body known as America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Commission was established to initiate plans toward a commemoration on the scale of a national or world’s fair exposition, or as deemed appropriate. In 1973 the legislature repealed the resolution creating the anniversary commission and established America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee in its place. Charged with advising the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in planning and implementing the commemorations, the anniversary committee consisted of four ex officio members and ten gubernatorial appointees who served staggered terms.

Education and Corrections Section: Wilmington Ten Case File, 1972-1977 (pdf)
The Wilmington Ten were tried for fire bombing a grocery on February 6, 1971 in Wilmington and for conspiring to assault the firemen and police who responded to the fire. The incident occurred during a period of protests against racial discrimination and segregation. Amnesty International took up the case in 1976, and in 1980 the convictions were overturned. Includes briefs, transcripts, petitions, judgements, and related legal materials created or received by the attorney assigned to the Wilmington Ten case. (6 Boxes, 6.0 cubic feet)