Guide to the George Wesley Johnson Papers, 1829-1939
Correspondence, daybooks, in the early 1840s, ledgers, notebooks, accounts, bills, receipts, orders, promissory notes, postal records, and other papers (chiefly 1831-1888) of George Wesley Johnson and of his family. The material pertains to Tennessee agriculture, purchases of goods in Philadelphia and other northern cities before and after the Civil War, Wake Forest College, the University of North Carolina, Greensboro Female College, economic conditions after the Civil War, and the mercantile activities of the Johnsons.
- Collection Number
- George Wesley Johnson papers
- Johnson, George Wesley
- 10 Linear Feet, 7 boxes, 2,620 items and 77 vols.
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
This collection contains business and family papers of George W. Johnson, postmaster, justice of the peace, general merchant, and farmer; of his brother and business partner, James M. Johnson; of George W. Johnson's son, Francis Marion Johnson; and of other members of the family.
The collection contains letters to George W. Johnson from friends in Tennessee relative to agricultural and economic conditions there, 1838-1844; letters between George W. and James M. Johnson while one or the other bought goods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before the Civil War; bills, accounts, receipts, orders, promissory notes, and letters of a business nature, including occasional reference to another brother of George W. Johnson, Hiram, who had a financial interest in the mercantile establishment; numerous letters from George W. Johnson, his wife, Martha Johnson, and friends, including one at Wake Forest College, North Carolina, to Francis Marion Johnson while the latter was a student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1855-1858; letters, 1858-1861, from another brother of George W. Johnson, J. H. Johnson, who-was operating a store at East Bend in Yadkin County, North Carolina, as well as references to the debt of Olin High School, North Carolina, notices of meetings of Mocksville Lodge No. 134, letters to Martha Johnson from her daughter, Jennie, while a student at Greensboro Female College, North Carolina, 1857-1859, prices of foods and general commodities, letters from Eagle Mills, Buffalo Paper Mills, and W. Turner's cotton mill at Turnersburg, North Carolina, and bills of lading for various commodities.
Material during the Civil War period is limited to a few letters in 1863 from W. G. Johnson (younger brother of George W. Johnson) near Kinston, North Carolina; tax in kind returns and a petition from Francis Marion Johnson asking for military exemption on the basis of operating a grist mill. Postwar material consists largely of mercantile records of the Farmington store showing that goods were purchased from wholesale firms in New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Salisbury, North Carolina.
Volumes consist of small notebooks, recording goods bought by George W. Johnson; daybooks; ledgers; postal records of the Farmington, North Carolina, post office, 1838-1856, including postage books, newspaper postage books, and receipt books for registered letters; blacksmith accounts; itinerary of a journey made by George W. Johnson, S. Taylor, and D. N. Reynolds through North Carolina and Tennessee in 1836; minutes of the Farmington Lodge No. 46 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and the Davie County Division of the Sons of Temperance. Included also are a few business letters from Nathaniel Boyden and Son, and a letter to Francis M. Johnson from a friend in Norfolk, Virginia, describing a typhoid epidemic in 1855.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
George W. Johnson was a postmaster in Farmington, North Carolina from 1838-1856. He also served the public as a justice of the peace, general merchant, and farmer. His brother and business partner was James M. Johnson. Another brother, Hiram, also had a financial interest in the mercantile establishment.
George W. Johnson's son, Francis Marion Johnson, was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Greensboro College (N.C.)
- Johnson family
- Johnson, George Wesley
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Wake Forest College
- Agriculture -- Tennessee
- General stores -- Records
- Merchants -- North Carolina -- Davie County
- Newspapers -- Circulation
- Postmasters -- North Carolina
- Postal service -- North Carolina -- Davie County
- Universities and colleges -- North Carolina
- Women -- Education -- Southern States
The George Wesley Johnson Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in January 1947.