Menu

Guide to the Pearson Family Papers, 1875-1930

Abstract

Family based in Morganton, North Carolina, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Collection includes family correspondence, miscellaneous receipts and financial documents, and an account ledger kept by Laura Pearson Ray detailing her financial expenses between 1899 and 1929. Subjects include courtship, family news and events, illnesses, the death and mourning of a child, World War I, and United Daughters of the Confederacy activities. Locations discussed or referenced include Morganton, Fayetteville, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Clinton, South Carolina.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Pearson family.
Title
Pearson Family papers 1875-1930
Language of Material
English
Extent
1.5 Linear Feet, 1125 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The collection has been arranged into series of Correspondence, Financial Materials, and Miscellaneous. The Correspondence series, the largest of the three, includes family correspondence that has been sorted by family member. Correspondents include Laura Pearson Ray, Donald Ray, Wilhelmina Tate, Sue Virginia Tate, Jennie Pearson Tate, Gordan Tate, and other smaller amounts of letters from various Pearsons and Tates. Topics range widely, but notable subjects include courtship, particularly between Laura Pearson and Neill W. Ray; Reconstruction conditions and North Carolina politics (Governor Zebulon Vance, the state's Reconstruction governor, was Laura's cousin); family health; condolence letters following the death of Jennie's son in 1902; travel, particularly Donald Ray's accounts of his trip through Europe in 1912; World War I, including letters from Gordon Tate while he served in France; and various financial matters.

The Financial Materials series contains miscellaneous receipts, again sorted by family member. Most notable in this series is the account ledger kept by Laura Pearson Ray following her husband's death in 1899, which includes entries about Cumberland County families, including Ray, Lilly, McKay, Monroe, Thornton, Broadfoot, Pearson, Hale, McRae, Haigh, Remsburge, and more. This series also includes a typescript copy of the ledger, for research purposes, which also details its known provenance.

The Miscellaneous Materials series contains several miscellaneous notes and receipts, including a bound constitution from the Ladies Memorial Association of Burke County. Also included are Laura Pearson Ray's sewing patterns and some fabric, and several newsclippings with Tate family obituaries.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

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

The Correspondence series includes family letters that have been sorted by family member. Correspondents include Laura Pearson Ray, Donald Ray, Wilhelmina Tate, Sue Virginia Tate, Jennie Pearson Tate, Gordan Tate, and other smaller amounts of letters from various Pearsons and Tates. Topics range widely, but notable subjects include courtship, particularly between Laura Pearson and Neill W. Ray; Reconstruction conditions and North Carolina politics (Governor Zebulon Vance, the state's Reconstruction governor, was Laura's cousin); family health; condolence letters following the death of Jennie's son in 1902; travel, particularly Donald Ray's accounts of his trip through Europe in 1912; World War I, including letters from Gordon Tate while he served in France; and various financial matters.

Laura Pearson Ray, 1875-1878 March
(3 folders)
Box 1
Laura Pearson Ray, 1898-1902 and undated
Box 1
Donald Ray to Laura Pearson Ray, re: European trip, 1912 July-August
Box 1
Wilhelmina Tate, 1897-1911
(2 folders)
Box 1
Sue Virginia Tate, 1896-1923
(2 folders)
Box 2
Jennie Pearson Tate, 1899-1902
Box 2
Ann Elizabeth Pearson, 1901-1904
Box 2
Claudia Pearson, 1902 May-June
Box 2
Irene Tate, 1902-1923
Box 2
Gordon Tate, re: World War I, 1918-1919
Box 2
Miscellaneous Tate family letters, 1889-1922
Box 2

The Financial Materials series contains miscellaneous receipts, sorted by family member. Most notable in this series is the account ledger kept by Laura Pearson Ray following her husband's death in 1899, which includes entries about Cumberland County families, including Ray, Lilly, McKay, Monroe, Thornton, Broadfoot, Pearson, Hale, McRae, Haigh, Remsburge, and more. This series also includes a typescript copy of the ledger, for research purposes, which also details its known provenance.

Laura Pearson Ray deeds and rents, 1899-1907
Box 2
Wilhelmina Tate receipts, 1900-1912 and undated
Box 2
Sue Virginia Tate, 1906-1930
Box 2
Laura Pearson Ray checkbook registers, 1905-1926
Box 2
Laura Pearson Ray Ledger, 1899-1929
Box 3
Laura Pearson Ray Ledger typescript and inserts
Box 3

The Miscellaneous Materials series contains several miscellaneous notes and receipts, including a bound constitution from the Ladies Memorial Association of Burke County. Also included are Laura Pearson Ray's sewing patterns and some fabric, and several newsclippings with Tate family obituaries.

Miscellaneous papers
Box 3
Laura Pearson Ray sewing patterns and fabric
(2 folders)
Box 3
Tate family obituaries, 1898-1902
Box 3

Historical Note

The Pearson Family Papers stem from the letters and ledger of Laura Pearson Ray, a daughter of Robert C. and Jane S. Pearson of Morganton, North Carolina. Laura Pearson corresponded with and eventually married Neill W. Ray, a Civil War veteran. The couple's first child, Neill W. Ray, Jr., died in infancy in 1879. Their second son, Donald Ray, was born in 1888. The family settled in Fayetteville, where Neill W. Ray, Sr., was a lawyer and influential citizen. Neill W. Ray died in 1899. Donald became a lawyer as well and served on the Chief of Artillery staff in Washington, D.C.

Laura's sister, Jennie S. Pearson Tate, married Samuel McDowel Tate. The couple had several children, including Alexander, Claudia, Wilhelmina, Sue Virginia, and Irene. Less is known about the Tate family, although they seem to have been based in Morganton, N.C.

Learn more about the provenance of this collection and the genealogical research of this family at "Messages of a Hidden Past," a website managed by Myrtle N. Bridges.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The Pearson Family Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a series of gifts between 1998-2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, February 2012

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, February 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1998-0454, 1999-0138, 2012-0007

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.