Category Archives: Digital Collections

New Digital Collection: Future Homemakers of America Association

The records of the North Carolina Future Homemakers Association, part of the Division of Vocational Education, Department of Public Instruction, are now available online.

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Future Homemakers of America and New Homemakers of America associations officially began in 1945, focusing on education in family and consumer sciences. The associations were based in schools, known as chapters, which were supported by teachers known as advisors. Future Homemakers of America and New Homemakers of America were separate associations based on race, though guided by the same parent agency. The two associations merged in 1965 when school segregation ended.

The Future Homemakers of America North Carolina Association digital collection has materials from 1929 to 1984. The collection consists primarily of photographs and administrative records, including local chapter materials, handbooks, correspondence, and more.

Digital Collection now Complete: The General Assembly Session Records

After three years, The General Assembly Session Records digital collection is now online!

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Governor Josiah Martin addressing the General Assembly before dissolving it on April 7, 1775. (Document from GASR Colonial, Box 8)

This digital collection covers the session records from 1709 to 1814, located in the State Archives of North Carolina. The physical collection includes records that extend to 1999, but we wanted to highlight the history of colonial North Carolina and the days of early statehood. The documents include Senate and House bills, joint resolutions, propositions, filed grievances, boundary disputes, and petitions that typically discussed divorces, inheritances, name changes and emancipation.

For more information on the General Assembly and North Carolina during this time period, check out these NCpedia  pages:

If you are interested in other State Archives of North Carolina digital collections related to this topic, click on one of the links below:

 

D-Day Veterans Oral History Additions

In commemoration of World War II’s D-Day 75th anniversary, the State Archives of North Carolina has digitized 25 military veterans’ oral histories and made them available through Internet Archive. Access to the oral histories is also available through North Carolina Digital Collections Veterans Oral History collection.

The veterans listed below all participated in D-Day, whether through land, sea, or logistics. For more information on each veteran, check out NC Stories of Service, where Military Archivist Matthew Peek has been providing in-depth histories of the D-Day veterans.

Walter G. Atkinson Jr., Interview, 2000-02-24 [MilColl OH 32]
Duncan C. Blue Interview, 2009-08-12 [MilColl OH 85]
Heath H. Carriker Interview, 2009-11 [MilColl OH 152]
Thomas E. Carson Jr. Interview, 1999-10-12 [MilColl OH 157]
Hugh B. Cherry Interview, 2006-11-14 [MilColl OH 171]
John C. Clark Interview, 1997-12-04 [MilColl OH 178]
Douglas F. Dickerson Interview, 1999-12-20 [MilColl OH 228]
Willie R. Etheridge Jr. Interview, 2001-10-20 [MilColl OH 268]
James E. Ferrell Interview, 2001-09-08 [MilColl OH 281]
Aaron E. Fussell Sr. Interview, 2010-07-07 [MilColl OH 301]
Grady R. Galloway Interview, 1998-03-25 [MilColl OH 304]
Herman T. Harden Jr. Interview, 1998-11 [MilColl OH 358]
Willie J. King Interview, 2010-01-29 [MilColl OH 470]
James O. Lawson Interview, 2002-06-13 [MilColl OH 502]
Charles H. Outlaw Interview, 2013-08-07 [MilColl OH 646]
Ward R. Robinson Interview, 2003-08-23 [MilColl OH 724]
Robert W. Ryals Sr. Interview, 2010-01-27 [MilColl OH 738]
Ralph R. Todd Interview, 2008-04-08 [MilColl OH 873]
Earl H. Tyndall Jr. Interview, 1999-12-10 [MilColl OH 886]
Earl R. Weatherly Interview, 2006-07-06 [MilColl OH 910]
Ellis W. Williamson Interview, 1999-08-06 [MilColl OH 940]
Jeremiah Wolfe Interview, 2009-08-15 [MilColl OH 948]
Harold L. Frank Interview, 2006-12 [MilColl OH 975]
Howard B. Greene Interview, 2014-08-09 [MilColl OH 1015]
Clarence A. Call Interview, 2006-12-04 [MilColl OH 977]

Documenting the World of Outlander #3: The Records of Enslaved Persons

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the second episode of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

This week, we tackle the most tragic aspect of the colony to which Jamie and Claire have migrated—slavery. In the second episode of Season 2, Jamie and Claire arrive at River Run, a plantation in Cross Creek (modern day Fayetteville) owned by Jamie’s aunt, Jocasta. At first, Jamie intends on manumitting the over 120 enslaved persons owned by Jocasta when he inherits River Run, but he finds out that granting sweeping manumission is rather difficult in North Carolina. The most tragic moments of this episode arrive when Jamie and Claire become involved in a dispute where an enslaved man named Rufus struck his overseer. Rufus is “sentenced” to death without a trial. Jamie and Claire try to rescue Rufus from his unjust fate, but their rescue attempt becomes moot when white residents of River Run fatally assault Rufus. This episode captures a part of the tragedy that was the institution of slavery in colonial North Carolina. In this entry, we want to show where in our records you can find out more about enslaved persons and their stories.

Before we begin in earnest, we want to make a quick caveat. In most official, i.e. government-created, archival records both in North Carolina and elsewhere in the US, the experiences of enslaved persons show up through what slaveowners and people in positions of power documented about those enslaved persons. It is one of the many tragic elements of the institution of slavery that the stories of so many people are lost to history because enslaved persons, lacking the legal designation of personhood, could not create their own official records. The existence of diaries, letters, and other writings from enslaved and formerly enslaved persons provide a rare but immeasurably valuable counterbalance on the preponderance of the archival record.

We will examine records from State Agency collections that speak to the experiences of enslaved persons. The County Records hold a great deal of material as well, but we’ll save those records for another spotlight down the road. We’ll first focus on the North Carolina General Assembly. Jamie’s frustration that manumission was difficult in North Carolina stems from strict laws passed by the General Assembly to prevent the practice of anti-slavery persons from buying enslaved persons expressly to then free all of them. The General Assembly did occasionally consider petitions for manumission from slaveowners, particularly if an enslaved person (in the eyes of the slaveowner) demonstrated merit through extraordinary actions. One of the earliest examples of such a petition in the General Assembly Session Records appears after statehood in the 1790 session, wherein George Merrick of New Hanover County asked for permission to manumit Richard, Dolly, and Nathan. The result of the petition is unknown, but at least one member of the House of Commons wrote to the Speaker to express his opposition to manumission. If Jamie and Claire had tried to manumit the enslaved persons at River Run, the petition included here would have represented the start of a cumbersome process designed to bury the applicants and enslaved persons in a bureaucratic rigamarole and ultimately deter the applicant from proceeding any further.

General Assembly Session Records

General Assembly Session Records. Session of November-December 1790. Box 3. Senate Bill. Bill to Permit George Merrick to Emancipate Certain Slaves (Petition and Messages only). November 22.

If you would like to examine the early General Assembly records for yourself, you’re in luck. All the surviving General Assembly Session Records from 1709 through 1799 are now available on our Digital Collections site. Among the collection you’ll find other petitions for manumission as well as laws relating to slavery, claims for monetary value from owners looking to redress a financial grievance involving enslaved persons, and other miscellaneous records relating to enslaved persons. These records are not typically catalogued at the name level, so we encourage you to browse through the records to see if you find any items that interest you.

Looking beyond the General Assembly records, there are several other state agency record groups where you can find further documentation of enslaved persons. In the District Superior Court Record Group, for example, you can find estate files from large land owners that often contain listings of enslaved persons as part of the inventory of the decedent’s property. We will focus here on a rarely-utilized portion of the Secretary of State Record Group—the records of the Magistrates and Freeholders Court. The records of this court consist of only one box and spans from 1740 to 1789. The Magistrates and Freeholders Court had the explicit function of trying enslaved persons in capital cases. Far from a trial by jury, a legal right first afforded to enslaved persons in 1791, the Magistrates and Freeholders Court consisted of several slaveowners who acted as judges of guilt and handed down death sentences as a matter of course. As Outlander demonstrated, not all enslaved persons suspected of a “crime” went before the Magistrates and Freeholders Court; some slaveowners conducted summary executions without any legal actions, although taking the law into their own hands was not technically legal. In the example provided below, John MacKenzie of New Hanover County has taken an enslaved person named Peter to the Magistrates and Freeholders Court on charges of burglary on March 15, 1757. Peter was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Note that the relatively sparse record of this hearing also demonstrates that the Magistrates and Freeholders made sure to compensate Mr. MacKenzie eighty pounds for the loss of property.

Secretary of State

Secretary of State Record Group. Series XVIII: Recordkeeping, Courts, Box 1. Magistrates and Freeholders Courts, 1740-1789. Sentencing of Peter of New Hanover County, March 15, 1757.

Jamie and Claire are repulsed by what transpires at River Run with just cause, as the historical record demonstrates the horrible situations that enslaved persons faced every day in Colonial North Carolina and up until emancipation in 1865. While Jamie and Claire left River Run and embarked further into the colony, their experiences with slavery would persist with them throughout the course of their adventures in the colony. We should also keep this context in mind when experiencing the ups and downs of Colonial North Carolina over the course of their story.

Documenting the World of Outlander #2: Meeting Governor William Tryon

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first three episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

In episode one of Outlander, Season 4, “America the Beautiful,” Jamie and Claire are introduced to  Governor William Tryon at a dinner party. He seems interested in the couple’s future plans in North Carolina and takes an opportunity to propose a land deal that interests Jamie a great deal. He offers Jamie large tracts of free land in exchange for recruiting settlers to the back country. If he accepts the deal, Jamie realizes that Tryon will expect his loyalty and gratitude in the future.  Claire knows that conflict with the British is coming and she is suspicious of Tryon’s motives. Is William Tryon to be a friend to the Fraser’s or will association with him bring them unhappiness in the future?

The historical William Tryon served as royal governor of North Carolina from 1765-1771.  He was born in 1729 to a landed gentry family in Surrey, England.  He served in the British military during the Seven Years’ War and rose militarily and politically. Through family connections he obtained a political appointment as governor of North Carolina in 1764 and arrived with his wife, Margaret, and their young daughter, assuming his duties in 1765. He made some internal improvements in the colony such as successfully negotiating a boundary dispute with the Cherokee Indians, establishing a postal service and completing church building projects for the Church of England.  However, he arrived in North Carolina during a period of political unrest in the back county where the Regulator movement was gaining support over such issues as insufficient currency, currency fraud, unequal taxation, and discontent with local officials. Though his time as governor was short, he had to contend with violent conflicts and political upheaval in the years prior to the American Revolution. You can read more on the life of William Tryon on the NCpedia website https://www.ncpedia.org/

List of Land Grants to Scots, Isle of Jura, Argyle Shire, Nov.4, 1767

List of Land Grants to Scots, Isle of Jura, Argyle Shire, Nov.4, 1767 Colonial Governor’s Papers: William Tryon C.G.P.10

In the State Archives we have the official governor’s papers of William Tryon. Most of them have been digitized and made available on the Digital Collections webpage where the public can search by subject, place and time. The papers include petitions from the colonists, proclamations and orders and correspondence on a wide range of topics.

Are you curious to see what kind of genealogical information may be found in his papers?  The image to the left is a list of land grants awarded to Scots from the Isle of Jura, Argyle Shire dated November 4, 1767. It lists not only the names of the families, but the acreage they were allotted in Cumberland and Mecklenburg Counties. This kind of document would have been helpful to Roger and Brianna if they were searching for proof that Jamie and Claire settled in North Carolina.

Are you interested in historical topics included in Tryon’s correspondence of 1765-1771, or do you want to read his proclamations concerning unrest in the back country? You can read all about it in the Governor’s Papers, Historical Collection on the Digital Collections webpage http://digital.ncdcr.gov/

Tryon’s final legacy in North Carolina is the “palace” he commissioned in New Bern in 1767. He was convinced that the colony needed a house of government that was equal to more prosperous British colonial buildings at the time.  It was completed in 1770, but it was controversial from the beginning. The General Assembly allocated a budget for the project, but the costs quickly went over. At the same time settlers were petitioning Tryon to pay taxes with commodities instead of cash because currency was scarce, he was persuading the General Assembly to require an extra poll tax to help pay the cost of building the mansion.  He miscalculated how unpopular this would be with the settlers in the west who did not agree with the need for such an unnecessary extravagance. It only added to existing tensions and was one of the catalysts in North Carolina’s War of the Regulation.

The image below is a list of expenses for the building of Tryon Palace. You can see why some colonists questioned the necessity versus the cost.

Expense for Governor’s Mansion, 1767

Expense for Governor’s Mansion, 1767 Colonial Governor’s Papers : William Tryon C.G.P.6

Gov. Tryon left North Carolina in 1771, to become governor of New York after living in the mansion only a little over a year. It was used as a meeting place for the General Assembly sporadically, but was abandoned in 1792 when the state capital moved from New Bern to Raleigh. Shortly after that, the main building burned in an accidental fire. A reconstruction of the palace was built in the 1950’s using the original architect’s plans and period inventories. Today it is a thriving historic site open  to the public. You may learn more about visiting Tryon Palace at   https://www.tryonpalace.org/

Jamie and Claire will no doubt cross paths with Governor Tryon again, especially now that Jamie has accepted his offer of a land grant knowing that, in return, Tryon is expecting his loyalty and help with any disturbances among his neighbors in the back country.  Accepting an offer of free land where you can begin anew is very tempting, but will Jamie and Claire regret taking Tryon’s deal?

Stay tuned for more…

 

 

McCrory, Hunt, and Martin Papers added to Governors Papers, Modern

We have added new materials to the Governors Papers, Modern digital collection. The executive orders and proclamations of Governor Pat McCrory are now available, as are the executive orders of Governors James B. Hunt, Jr., and James G. Martin. Governor McCrory’s first executive order was to establish a procedure for the appointment of justices and judges, while his final order at the end of December 2016 was to extend the Substance Abuse Task Force. Governor Hunt’s first executive order establishing his North Carolina Board of Ethics and the rules under which it would operate. Governor Martin’s first proclamation also dealt with the North Carolina Board of Ethics, and is strikingly similar to that of Governor Hunt.

These documents, and more modern governors’ papers can be found in the North Carolina Digital Collections: Governors Papers, Modern.

The online collection contains only a small percentage of the total governors papers in the holdings of the State Archives, which include papers from Richard Caswell (1776 – 1780) through Pat McCrory (2012 – 2016).

For biographies of North Carolina governors and colonial governors, consult NCPedia at http://www.ncpedia.org/biography/governors.

For finding aids for many governors’ papers collections, see the Guides to the Governors Papers on the State Archives website.

Senate Audio 1977-1978

senateThe Senate Audio digitization project has begun a new chapter. Current audio holdings cover the years 2006 through 2012. We recently began digitizing the State Archives’ extensive Senate Audio cassette collection, starting with the 1977-1978 biennium. Cassette recording of senate sessions started on the 79th day of the 1977 session. Currently, recordings available on Internet Archive (linked from our digital Senate Audio collection) run from May 2, 1977-June 16, 1978. The collection continues to grow as we start the 1979-1980 biennium.

Recordings of years not yet digitized are held at the State Archives and made available through a fee-based, digitization-on-demand basis. Additional information regarding fees can be found here. More Senate-related materials found in the Archives include the Senate Clerk’s Office journals (SR 66.28) which provide the daily minutes from 1777 through 1981.