Guide to the Robert C. Poindexter Papers, 1836-1871

Collection Overview

Robert C. Poindexter (d. 1885) was a merchant in eastern Yadkin County for many years. His general store at East Bend was listed in Branson's North Carolina Business Directory for 1867, 1869, 1872, and 1884. He and his store are also mentioned in William E. Rutledge, Jr.'s, An Illustrated History of Yadkin County (Yadkinville, 1965) in the section on East Bend. In 1857 Poindexter was listed in D. D. T. Leech's Post Office Directory as the postmaster at Red Plains.

Three account books, 1836-1860, are from Poindexter's mercantile businesses. At least two different partnerships are represented. There are some uncertainties about the exact locations and number of his stores. These ambiguities and the difficulties in identifying the volumes will require some explanation. All of the business activity took place in the eastern section of Yadkin County, the area of East Bend in the northeast, Huntsville in the southeast, and Red Plains in between. Red Plains, a locality no longer in existence, was close to present-day Enon (Rutledge, P. 77).

The earliest account book has two distinct sections. It was first used as Daybook, 1836, for a general store at Huntsville. The entries (135 pp.) date during January 22-September 20, 1836. The ownership of this store is not known. Notable customers included Col. Richard C. Puryear, Isaac Jarratt, and Thomas L. Clingman. The Clingmans, Poindexters, Puryears, and Jarratts were related, and all figure in this collection and also in the Jarratt-Puryear Family Papers. Tyre Glen was a customer, and this department also has a collection of his papers. There was a post office in the store, for there are many entries for postage. At that time Richard C. Puryear was postmaster at Huntsville.

The account book that includes the Daybook, 1836, was subsequently used as the Ledger, 1843-1848 (353 pp.), by the mercantile firm of Poindexter and Martin whose ownership has been identified through various notations. The initials “P and M” appear on the spine of the volume. An account on pp. 334-335 is labeled “Poindexter and Martin Bills.” This account was continued from pp. 30-31 where it was labeled “R. C. Poindexter and T. S. Martin.” The first entry in their account was on Nov. 1, 1843, for a large amount of goods purchased from “P and P” according to an inventory. The Ledger's accounts begin in Nov., 1843, so that it is clear that Poindexter and Martin began business in that month, probably as the successor of an earlier firm named “P and P.” A note was given to J. H. P. for a large sum, so one of the earlier owners was probably J. H. Palmer. Various accounts have entries for settlements with “P and M” (pp. 37, 38) and “T. S. M.” (pp. 33, 46, etc.). Poindexter worked in the store, for his account (p. 303) contains entries for annual wages.

The location of the general store represented by the Ledger, 1843-1848, is unclear. It was not at Huntsville, for there are too many scattered entries such as “cr. by charging on Books at Huntsville,” “Cr. by Cash at Huntsville,” “settled at Huntsville,” etc. (pp. 117, 148, 178, 184, 195, 218, 244, etc.). These entries also suggest that the firm did have a store at Huntsville. Robert C. Poindexter eventually had a store at East Bend. However, this ledger was not kept at East Bend. That town did not have a post office until 1849, and numerous entries in many accounts show that the store included a post office. There are extensive accounts for Richard C. Puryear, Isaac Jarratt, and Tyre Glen.

Poindexter and Martin opened a new ledger in 1847, for many accounts were noted as continued there (pp. 65, 147, etc.). Some accounts in the Ledger, 1843-1848, remained active into 1848. Thereafter, later entries as late as 1855 were usually settlements of inactive accounts not continued into the later ledger.

The mercantile firm of A. P. and R. C. Poindexter had a general store at Red Plains, a village near Enon. The Daybook, 1857-1858, belonged to that store. Many pages are labeled “Red Plains.” Identification of the store's and the volume's owners is supplied by a bill of 1856-1857 filed in the Financial Papers. The bill is a statement for purchases made by John D. Hedgcock and William Hedgcock at Red Plains from A. P. and R. C. Poindexter. The transaction for May 2, 1857, on the bill is also entered in the Daybook. The entries (66 pp.) in the Daybook date from April 30, 1857, to March 26, 1858.

On Sept. 26, 1860, the partnership of A. P. and R. C. Poindexter was dissolved, and the Daybook includes an account (4 pp.) for the division of property.

The back pages of the Daybook were used, probably by R. C. Poindexter, to record other financial matters. There are 10 1/2 pages, 1862-1863, of alphabetical lists of names followed by three columns for recording numbers of persons in the family, pounds, and value. These pages also include a short account for the receipt of large quantities of salt. It is apparent that these lists are for the distribution and rationing of salt. Salt was scarce, and the state set up factories, purchased salt, and sold it to the people. These accounts may relate to that effort. Since the number of persons in each family is recorded, these lists serve as a partial census. Unfortunately, many pages are missing. The Financial Papers also include a salt distribution list.

Another list (7 pp.) in the Daybook includes columns for names, acreage, location of acreage, and value. This list was apparently for taxation. The Financial Papers include a notice of March 20, 1863, that R. C. Poindexter and two others were appointed assessors for East Bend District for the listing of lands and slaves. Thus, this list is an informal tax list. Unfortunately, many pages are missing. Presumably this list dates from 1863 or later, and tax lists are unavailable for Yadkin County during 1863-1872 according to Draughon and Johnson's North Carolina Genealogical Reference (p. 452).

The Ledger, 1850-1860 (557 pp.), is identified as belonging to A. P. and R. C. Poindexter, because entries can be traced into it from their Daybook, 1857-1858. An example is a purchase by A. P. Poindexter that was entered in the Daybook on June 2, 1857, and later carried to his account in the Ledger (p. 542). However, the Ledger's account for Poindexter includes many transactions that are not in this Daybook from Red Plains. This circumstance and references in the Ledger to East Bend suggest that the firm had stores in more than one place - Red Plains, East Bend, and perhaps elsewhere. There are numerous references such as: “cr. by work at East Bend and here” (p. 364); “Amount on Book kept by R. C. P. at East Bend” (p. 488); “cr. by work at East Bend” (p. 450); “cr. by settlement, this and our East Bend book” (p. 541); etc. (pp. 427, 437, 478).

The location at which the Ledger was kept is not certain except that it was not at East Bend. The location may have been Red Plains. R. C. Poindexter was postmaster there in 1857, and his account in the Ledger was quite active then. There are references (p. 542) to transactions “at Huntsville” and “at Yadkinville,” so the Ledger was not kept at either of those places. Of course, the Ledger may have been a central one into which the business of more than one store was entered, and that would make its location difficult to determine. Accounts for R. C. Puryear, Isaac Jarratt, and Tyre Glen are not prominent in this volume.

The Ledger, 1850-1860, was begun in 1850 with many accounts continued from an “Old Book.” Thus, the firm existed before 1850 and had at least one earlier ledger. The accounts indicate that the store's activity ceased by early 1858. Later entries are for settlements of accounts. No accounts were marked as continued in a later ledger. This situation squares with the 1860 account in the Daybook, 1857-1858, for the dissolution of the partnership.

Transactions for postage (pp. 425, 426, 454) are rare unlike the situation in the Ledger, 1843-1848. Either the post office was not in the store, or other books were kept for postal matters.

The nine items, 1856-1871 and undated, in the Financial Papers include stray accounts for the stores, a salt distribution and rationing list of ca. 1862-1863, the notice of R. C. Poindexter's appointment as an assessor, etc.

The Miscellany includes 19 small squares of colored cotton cloth that were found between pages 387-388 of the Ledger, 1850-1860. The fabric was probably of a type used for dresses. There are six different designs. The designs are printed rather than woven. The fabric is in excellent condition. Its age is uncertain.

The Printed Material contains a clipping of 1852 with an advertisement for the Statesville Female Academy.

1 vol. added, 10-28-83. This volume is A. P. and R. C. Poindexter's Ledger, 1848-1850, from their general store. Accounts in this ledger, referred to as the “old book,” are marked as continued in the “new book” which is their Ledger, 1850-1860, that was cataloged earlier as part of this collection. Entries can be traced from the older book into the newer one. Since Ledger, 1848-1850 (172 pp.), opens many accounts in Sept., 1848, without any references to an earlier ledger, that date must have been the start of this partnership, the earlier one having been Poindexter and Martin. A. P. and R. C. Poindexter began a new ledger in 1850, but they continued to use the old one for some accounts. For that reason Ledger, 1848-1850, includes some later transactions as well as settlements of accounts. The primary use of the volume, however, occurred during 1848-1850. A. P. and R. C. Poindexter's names appear in this volume (p. 83, page before p. 1, etc.) as recipients of payments. The pages after p. 165 are missing. There are accounts for Isaac Jarratt and Tyre Glen. Postage payments are very scattered. Customers paid their bills not only with money and promissory notes but also with goods and services.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Robert C. Poindexter papers
Poindexter, Robert C., d. 1885
1 Linear Feet, 29 items, 3 vols.
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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The Robert C. Poindexter Papers were acquired by Duke University ca. 1982-1983.

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Processed by: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff

Completed October 28, 1983

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller