Guide to the Woody family papers, 1784-1939
Family of Quaker merchants and millers residing in Guildford County, North Carolina, with relatives in Indiana and Montana Territory. Collection comprises a rich array of business and personal correspondence and other papers (chiefly 1835-1887) relating to Newton D. Woody, merchant and miller of North Carolina, his Civil War service, and his flight to Indiana in 1865 and eventual return to N.C.; the activities of Frank H. Woody, who traveled to and described life in the territories of Washington and Montana before and after the Civil War. There are also important materials regarding the Civil War and its aftermath, including descriptions of camp life by Confederate soldiers, one of whom was in the 21st North Carolina Regiment; experiences of Confederate soldiers in Union prisons at Johnson's Island, Ohio, and Elmira, New York, during the war; accounts of Reconstruction in Augusta, Georgia, given by a Union sympathizer, 1867-1868, as well as economic conditions in North Carolina before, during, and after the Civil War. There are also some documents and letters concerning African American life in the South before, during, and after the war. Printed matter in the collection relates to the activities of Unionists in North Carolina during the Civil War and opposition to Ulysses S. Grant and the Radicals. Other topics include the activities of Woody relatives who had migrated to Indiana; the activities of the children of Newton and of his brother, Robert Woody, postmaster, miller, and merchant; and the history of the Society of Friends in antebellum North Carolina. Includes legal documents, business records, and minutes of the Orange Peace Society, Orange County, N.C.
- Collection Number
- Woody family papers
- 9 Linear Feet, 2,389 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Papers of Robert Woody, Newton Dixon Woody, and other members of the Woody family include a rich trove of business and personal correspondence; legal and financial papers; printed materials; and manuscript volumes. The papers of this family concern the mercantile and milling businesses of Robert Woody in Chatham County, North Carolina, and Newton Dixon Woody in Guilford County, North Carolina, in the 1850s; the decision of Newton D. Woody to leave North Carolina during the Civil War and his return in 1865; experiences of Frank H. Woody, a lawyer and clerk, in the Washington and Montana territories in the 1860s and 1870s, in which he mentions clashes with Native Americans and settlers, and reports seeing Sherman in 1878. There are also letters with news from relatives living in Indiana.
Other papers include information about temperance meetings, including the General Southern Temperance Conference at Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1835; hog droving; commodity prices in the last half of the 19th century; general economic conditions in North Carolina and the United States in the 19th century; the upkeep of roads in Guilford County; and the experiences of Mary Ann Woody as a student at New Garden Boarding School, Guilford County, 1852-1853. In addition, there is a bill of sale for slaves and a letter from Alabama describing African American celebrations at Christmas, 1857.
There are also important materials regarding the Civil War and its aftermath, including descriptions of camp life by a soldier in the 21st North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War; experiences of Confederate soldiers in Union prisons at Johnson's Island, Ohio, and Elmira, New York, during the war; and accounts of Reconstruction in Augusta, Georgia, given by a Union sympathizer, 1867-1868. Printed matter in the collection relates to the activities of Unionists in North Carolina during the Civil War and opposition to Ulysses S. Grant and the Radicals. There is also a May 1865 letter saying that John Gilmore of N.C. was dividing land with freed African Americans, and a letter mentioning African American violence during elections in an unspecified state in Dec. 1870.
Volumes in the collection include minutes of meetings of the Orange Peace Society, Orange County, North Carolina, 1824-1830; memorandum books; an account book kept during the construction of a Quaker church at High Falls, North Carolina, 1905-1909; minute book of meetings of the Friends of Prosperity, 1913-1914. Other papers in the collection mention camp meetings and religious revivals in North Carolina and their effect on Quakers. There are also financial record books of Robert Woody and Newton Dixon Woody.
Correspondence, business, and other documents are arranged in chronological order, followed by series of printed materials and volumes.
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Woody Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Robert Woody was a merchant of Chatham County, North Carolina, and was postmaster at Mudlick in that county in the 1830s. For a number of years he had a business partner named Dixon. The papers of Newton D. woody start in 1848. He was a Quaker, as Robert may have been, and in the 1850s was in the mercantile and milling business with Thomas Dixon. He lived at Snow Camp and near Shaw's Mills, Guilford County. According to a printed letter written by Bryan Tyson in Oct. 1872, Newton held a petty office at the beginning of ate Civil War which exempted him from military service, but later he had to choose between serving in the Confederate Army or fleeing north. He chose the latter, leaving his wife and children behind. The Woody family papers reveal, however, that he was a captain in the 68th Regiment of N.C. Militia from at least some time in 1862 to the latter part of 1864. By Jan. 1865 he had gone to Indianapolis. In Sept. 1865 Newton Woody, along with H. Stewart, was issued a permit by the Freedmen's Bureau as a destitute loyal refugee to travel to Greensboro, N.C. at half rates. In 1872 he was still living at near Shaw's Mills. Along with his sons, Newton Woody established High Falls Manufacturing Company in Moore County, which was in operation into the early 20th century, making warps and yarns; he also owned a series of mills and a cotton gin.
Other papers in the collection are those of Frank H. Woody, Newton's brother. He migrated to Indiana and then to Washington and Montana Territories before the Civil War. In the West he engaged in a variety of occupations; in Dec. 1865 he describes himself as a pettifogging lawyer in Montana Territory. He married in 1871 and by 1872 was a county clerk and recorder in Missoula, Montana.
There are obituaries in the collection for Frank H. Woody, Newton Dixon Woody and his wife, Susan E. (Corsbie) Woody, John M. Woody, first president of Penn College in Iowa, and others.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 21st
- Orange Peace Society (Orange County, N.C.) -- History
- Society of Friends -- North Carolina -- History
- Woody, Robert
- Woody family
- Woody, Newton Dixon
- Woody family
- African Americans -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century
- Flour mills -- North Carolina
- Lawyers -- Montana
- Migration, Internal -- United States
- Merchants -- North Carolina
- Political refugees -- Confederate States of America
- Peace -- Societies, etc.
- Quakers -- North Carolina
- Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- North Carolina
- Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Southern States
The Woody Family papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift from 1952 to 1982.
Processed by Rubenstein Library staff
Encoded by Willeke Sandler, March 2014