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Guide to the Duncan McLaurin papers, 1779-1932 and undated, bulk 1822-1872

Abstract

Duncan McLaurin was a farmer, teacher, lawyer, and state legislator of Richmond County, North Carolina.

Correspondence, bills, receipts, legal and other papers, and printed matter (1822-1872), of McLaurin and members of his family. McLaurin's papers (mainly 1822-1850) relate to economic conditions in North Carolina, South Carolina, and the U.S. in general; the development of infrastructure and education in North and South Carolina; the Civil War; politics in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia; and national politics, including presidential elections from 1832 to 1848. Civil War topics include camp life, economic conditions, food supplies, the hope for foreign intervention, morale, conscription and desertion, the blockade of Southern ports, the battles of Murfreesboro (Tennessee), Jackson (Mississippi), Port Royal Harbor (South Carolina), Hanover Court House (Virginia), and the siege of Vicksburg (Mississippi). A large amount of correspondence from relatives in Mississippi (circa 1830-1867) concerns frontier conditions, slavery, politics, agricultural and labor problems, sectionalism and nationalism in Mississippi, Reconstruction conditions, and family affairs. There are many references to slavery, particularly in Mississippi: the sale of slaves, runaway slaves, a lynching of an African American in 1839, the fear of slave insurrections in 1856 and 1860; and the abolition movement. Includes an atlas with a list of slaves circa 1864 written on the flyleaf.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
McLaurin, Duncan, 1787-1872
Title
Duncan McLaurin papers 1779-1932 and undated, bulk 1822-1872
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.4 Linear Feet, Approx. 1,800 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Personal and political correspondence, legal papers, bills and receipts, and printed material comprise the papers of Duncan McLaurin (1787-1872). Correspondence, including many letters from friends and relatives who migrated to Mississippi, discusses the forced removal of the Choctaw Indians; wars with tribes in Georgia and Alabama; economic conditions, especially the panics of 1837 and 1857; the Bank of the United States; banks and currency; cotton production, markets, and prices. There are many references to slavery, particularly in Mississippi: the sale of slaves, runaway slaves, a lynching of an African American in 1839, the fear of slave insurrections in 1856 and 1860; and the abolition movement. There are also references to the annexation of California; land prices and speculation; the growth of religious denominations in Mississippi and Louisiana; the development of schools in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina, and of Wake Forest Institute (Wake Forest, North Carolina), and Union Seminary (Richmond, Virginia); the temperance movement; the early development of railroads, roads, and canals in North Carolina; politics in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia; and national politics, including presidential elections, 1832-1848.

Civil War topics in the correspondence include camp life, economic conditions, food supplies, the hope for foreign intervention, morale, conscription and desertion, the blockade of Southern ports, the battles of Murfreesboro (Tennessee), Jackson (Mississippi), Port Royal Harbor (South Carolina), and Hanover Court House (Virginia), and the siege of Vicksburg (Mississippi); economic conditions and Reconstruction government in Mississippi; and difficulties with sharecroppers and debtors.

Legal papers consist of deeds, contracts, wills, court orders, and, after 1850, papers pertaining to the wardship of his sister, Isabel Patterson, and her children after her mental breakdown. Miscellaneous printed items include an atlas, 1835, with a list of slaves dating from the end of the war written on the flyleaf; a memorial to the North Carolina state legislature from the Society of Friends, 1832; a reply to President Jackson's proclamation on nullification; a report of the treasurer of the University of North Carolina to the trustees, 1839; a report of the Merchants Bank of New Bern, the Bank of the State of North Carolina, and the Bank of Cape Fear, 1838; a North Carolina Republican campaign circular, 1873; The Prison News, Raleigh, North Carolina, for March 1, 1932; and other various items.

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

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.

warning Use Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1817-1842
(3 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1843-1932
(4 folders)
Box 2
Legal papers, 1779-1922
(3 folders)
Box 3
Legal papers, undated
Box 4
Bills and receipts, 1817-1840s
(3 folders)
Box 4
Bills and receipts, 1850s-1917 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 5
Miscellany, 1822-1923 and undated

Includes Laurel Hill and Richmond City property tax lists.

(2 folders)
Box 5
A Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical and Commercial by T.G. Bradford, 1835
Box 6
Photographs
Box 6
Small volumes

Includes account (1868-1876) and day (1848-1851) books for Hugh McCall, a carpenter and Duncan McLaurin's nephew.

(9 items)
Box 6

Historical Note

The McLaurin collection centers around Duncan McLaurin (1787-1872), a teacher, lawyer, state legislator, and farmer of Richmond County, North Carolina. Much of the correspondence involves his only brother. John McLaurin (d. 1864), and eight sisters: Mary (d. 1869), Effy (d. 1861), Polly (d. l860s), Barbara McKenzie (d. l855), Elizabeth (d. 1860), Jeanny McCall, Sarah Douglas (d. 1860s), and Isabel Patterson (d. 1860s), and their children.

During the 1820s Duncan McLaurin was engaged in a law practice in his home county, and by 1831 was a member of the state legislature. In 1834 he accepted a teaching position at an academy in Bennettsville, S.C. He remained here until 1837, when the failing health of his father forced him to return home and resume his law practice. The next year he was back in the legislature, and during 1841-1842 he was postmaster at Laurel Hill. By 1853, however, he was in his sixties, and was looking far an assistant to manage his affairs. He never married, but lived with a succession of nieces and nephews.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Laughlin McLaurin papers, 1817-1924 (resident of Scotland County, N.C., related to Duncan McLaurin) (Rubenstein Library, Duke University)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Duncan McLaurin Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Duncan McLaurin papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1956 and 1963.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Tanya Lee, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, and Carrie Mills, May 2014

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 56-111

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.