Guide to the Slade Family Papers, 1751-1929 and undated


The Slade family were planters in Martin County, North Carolina. This collection (2781 items; dated 1751-1929) comprises family and business correspondence, account books, memoranda books, daybooks, time books, court records, and other papers of Jeremiah Slade, William Slade, and of several generations of the Slade family. The papers reflect the financial and the family affairs of a planter family of the antebellum South, and include student letters from the University of North Carolina, Trinity College, and the North Carolina State and Normal College (Greensboro); Mexican War and Civil War letters; legal papers and land deeds; plantation records, including slave lists; and materials related to slavery and post-Civil War agricultural advances. Also contains materials relating to the relocation of the Tuscarora Nation in the early 1800s and the leasing of their land through Jeremiah Slade.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Slade family papers
1751-1929 and undated
4.5 Linear Feet
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English

Collection Overview

This collection (2781 items; dated 1751-1929) comprises family and business correspondence, account books, memoranda books, daybooks, time books, court records, and other papers of Jeremiah Slade, Thomas Slade, William Slade, and of several generations of the Slade family. The papers reflect the financial and the family affairs of a planter family of the antebellum South, and include student letters from the University of North Carolina, Trinity College, and the North Carolina State and Normal College (Greensboro); Mexican War and Civil War letters; legal papers and land deeds, including correspondence and receipts with other N.C. politicians, judges, and officials such as Asa Biggs; plantation records, including slave lists; and materials related to slavery and post-Civil War agricultural advances. There is extensive correspondence between the women of the Slade family, reporting on local and family news as well as offering opinions and accounts of their various studies and activities. There is also a fair amount of business correspondence and account logs from the various Slade ventures, including fisheries, logging, hog farming, tobacco crops, cotton, and horse breeding. Of note are the materials relating to the relocation of the Tuscarora Nation in the early 1800s and the leasing of their land through Jeremiah Slade. There are also assorted accounts and receipts documenting guardianship, personal expenses, invoices, and other financial papers relating to the operation of plantations and large farms in North Carolina both before and after the Civil War.

More Biographical / Historical Info


Arranged into series: Correspondence, Financial Papers, Legal Papers, Writings and Other Papers, and Tuscarora Nation Materials.

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How to Cite

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

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1803-1928 and undated

The family's correspondence includes letters across several generations of Slades and their business associates, friends, and relatives, centering around the family's plantations, farming, and fisheries in and around Williamston, Martin County, N.C.; Tennessee; and Georgia. Early letters document on the activities of Jeremiah Slade, a general during the War of 1812. His letters tend to relate to the fisheries, legal cases, and business issues. Slade served as a North Carolina State Senator from 1809 to 1815, so some correspondence relates to court cases and other activities of the senate. All materials relating to his role as Commissioner for the Tuscarora Indians has been removed to the Tuscarora Nation Series.

The Correspondence Series contains many letters between Jeremiah and Janet Slade and their children, with the majority being from Alfred, Thomas, Mary Ann, James Bog (J.B.), Elizabeth, and William. After the death of Jeremiah Slade in 1824, the family's correspondence tends to center around the activities of his sons, Thomas and William Slade, and their families (they had 12 and 11 children, respectively). Their letters include descriptions of college life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Trinity College, Wake Forest College, Greensboro Female College/State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG), and several secondary boarding schools. A few letters early in 1861 are from Henry Slade, a student at Trinity College, Randolph County, North Carolina, until he joined the army in the same year. Henry Slade mentions Braxton Craven, in whose home he boarded.

There is a significant amount of letters documenting the Civil War period, particularly comments on the organization of military companies; campaigns around Yorktown, Virginia, during 1861; fighting, refugees, and the Union occupation in eastern North Carolina; living conditions and high prices; Longstreet's Corps in Caroline County, Virginia, in 1863; and the military situation around Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1863. There are also war letters between Eli Peal and his wife in eastern North Carolina, containing advice on farming operations; payment of taxes; accounts of skirmishes at Camp Burgwyn near Wilmington, North Carolina; slaves running away; difficulty of obtaining clothes; and references to guard duty.

There is a significant amount of correspondence to and from the Slade women (including Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, and Helen) during the Civil War. Letters of “Bog” or J. B. Slade early in 1861 from Harris County, Georgia, reflect enthusiasm for the newly formed Confederacy.

Post-war letters include general family correspondence, with frequent letters between the Slade women, including Janet, Mary, Emma, Martha, and Helen (on the Thomas Bog Slade side) and Annie, Mary, Elizabeth, Helen, and Frances (on the William Slade side). Correspondence also relates to the family's business ventures, including land rentals and other engagements with freedmen, news from the fishery, and reports from various horse breeding ventures. One notable letter is from Fanny, a former slave, writing from Texas in 1867 asking for any information on the whereabouts of her children. She was apparently sold away from them by the Slades. Another notable letter from Mount Airy in 1874 tells of the death of the Siamese twins, Eng and Chang.

The latest letters in the Correspondence series document the activities of James Bog Slade, Thomas B. Slade, and their descendents in Columbus, Georgia, and Martin County, North Carolina. Topics include the Clinton Female Seminary (Clinton, Georgia), the State Normal and Industrial School (Greensboro, N.C.), women's suffrage, Trinity Baptist Church (Caswell Co., N.C.), tobacco farming, hog butchering, and other business interests of the family.

Correspondence, general, 1803-1846
(5 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, general, 1847-1856
(6 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence, general, 1857-1873
(6 folders)
Box 3
Correspondence, general, 1874-1928 and undated
(6 folders)
Box 4

2. Materials relating to the Tuscarora Nation, 1766-1818 and undated

3 folders

This portion of the collection relates to the work of General Jeremiah Slade, who was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs by the N.C. State Legislature in 1802. He was charged with the task of settling accounts with the Tuscarora, whose lands in Bertie County were to be leased to white farmers after the nation was removed to New York in the early nineteenth century. Slade's correspondence with Tuscarora chiefs in New York, particularly Chiefs Longboard and Saracusa, as well as his accounts of land leases, debts owed the Tuscarora, and various legal documents, including correspondence with the War Department, are all present in this series. Notable documents include a power of attorney from 1817 signed with seals by dozens of Tuscarora chiefs and warriors, as well as a few letters from the Tuscarora to Slade, acknowledging receipt of funds or other financial updates. Correspondence and contracts with the chiefs are signed with X and usually accompanied by a seal.

Correspondence, 1808-1813
Box 4
Jeremiah Slade's accounts with the Tuscarora Nation, 1803-1818
Box 4
Legal documents, 1766-1817
Box 4

3. Financial Papers, 1799-1929 and undated

The Financial Papers series includes financial ledgers, account books, estate inventories, invoices, receipts, orders, lists, slave censuses, slave hiring accounts, guardianship accounts, and other financial materials documenting the personal and business expenses of the Slades throughout the nineteenth century. Jeremiah Slade's accounts and financial papers have been segregated to their own folders; the rest of the family's expenses and income is documented in the General Papers portion of the series. Specific accounts relating to the Conicho Fishery, Lenox Castle, and La Vega horse stud operation are also present in this series. All materials relating the the Tuscarora Nation's accounts with Jeremiah Slade are housed in the Tuscarora Series.

The financial papers of various Slade members also include their tax assessments, slave sales and valuations, estate sales, and personal expenses. Slave lists tend to include names, ages, and valuations of the Slade slaves; other slave-related materials in the Financial Papers are the occasional receipts of slave sales; bills for medical care for various slaves; and account books or lists recording the hiring out of slaves to other farms or plantations in Martin County.

Jeremiah Slade, 1799-1824
(2 folders)
Box 5
Jeremiah Slade Estate, 1824-1826
Box 5
Jeremiah Slade account book, 1810-1811
Box 5
Jeremiah Slade day book, 1805-1819
Volume 1
Jeremiah Slade memorandum book, 1817-1824
Box 5
Jeremiah Slade account book, 1819-1826
Box 5
Ebenezer Slade estate executor's book, 1816-1820
Volume 4
General financial papers, 1800-1835
(2 folders)
Box 5
General financial papers, 1836-1920 and undated
(8 folders)
Box 6
Concho Fishery memorandum book, 1820
Box 6
Blacksmith's shop ledger, 1824 Jan.-June
Box 6
Swamp account with transient hands, 1854-1855
Box 7
William Slade account book, 1840-1862
Box 7
Jonathon D. Latham account book, 1854
Volume 3
Coniho Farm time books, 1873-1881
(6 Volumes)
Box 7
La Vega stud books, advertisement, 1850s-1878
Box 7
Farm Lennox account book, 1869-1873
Box 7
Miscellaneous account books, 1856-1914 and undated
(6 Volumes)

Includes 1 blank notebook, undated; 1 account book for James Williams, undated; 1 account book kept by an unknown Slade, with personal expense accounts of various people, 1856-1870 and undated); 1 account book for Thomas Slade, undated; 1 Land Sale notebook, 1876; and 1 account book for Dirk Wilson, a Slade tenant, 1914

Box 7

4. Legal Papers, 1751-1920 and undated

The Legal Papers series contains an assortment of legal and court-related documents, including wills, executor's appointments, powers of attorney, contracts, indentures, guardianship appointments, land deeds, and other materials documenting the Slades' participation land ownership, business ventures, lawsuits, and official role in Martin County and North Carolina more broadly.

William Slade, 1769-1782
Box 8
Jeremiah Slade, 1803-1824
Box 8
General legal papers, 1751-1920 and undated
(7 folders)
Box 8
William Slade court records receipt book, Williamston, N.C., 1834-1837

Listing court terms, court cases heard, people involved, verdicts, executor fees, and judgements

Volume 2

5. Writings, Clippings, and Other Materials, 1819-1917 and undated

This series includes an assortment of writings and other material generated or collected by the Slades. It contains some diaries, essays, notes, and clippings. One notable item is a travel diary kept by General Jeremiah Slade in 1819 as he traveled across North Carolina and Tennessee. This diary is transcribed in a 1906 issue of Trinity Archive (Vol. 19). Also worth noting is a manuscript volume of slave songs, recorded by an anonymous author in the postwar period. There are also recipes, materials from the meetings and membership lists of Trinity Baptist Church in Caswell County, N.C., and a variety of clippings and scraps of printed material.

Genealogy books, approximately 1820 and 1860
(2 Volumes)
Box 8
Music lesson book (manuscript), undated
Box 8
William Slade loose copybook, with class notes, etc., undated
Box 8
Jeremiah Slade journal: "Journey from Williamston, Martin Co., NC to Nashville, Tennessee", 1819 Jun. 27-July 17
Box 8
Slade diaries (author unknown), 1858, 1879, undated
(3 items)
Box 8
Annie Slade notebook, Lenox Castle, undated
Box 8
Miscellaneous school notes, essays, assorted authors, 1820s-1900
Box 8
Slave songs and essay about "lingo peculiar to the African race", undated (after 1865)
Box 9
Miscellaneous notes, lists, etc., undated
Box 9
Miscellaneous printed materials, clippings, 1820s-1910s
Box 9
Trinity Baptist Church meeting minutes, membership lists, 1873-1880 and undated
Box 9
Recipes and prescriptions, undated
Box 9
US Dept. of Agriculture recipe pamphlets for use on the homefront, 1917
Box 9

Historical Note

Jeremiah Slade was born in 1775 in Martin County, N.C. He served as a legislator in the N.C. House of Commons from 1797-1800 and as state senator from 1809-1815. He was appointed as a Commissioner to the Affairs of the Tuscarora Indians in 1803. He was also a Brigadier General in the War of 1812.

Jeremiah Slade and his wife Janet Bog Slade had 9 children: Afred, Thomas Bog, Mary Ann, James Bog (M.D.), Elizabeth, Jeremiah, William, Hannah, and Henry. Some of these children died before adulthood. Those represented in the Slade Family Papers include Alfred, Thomas Bog, Mary Ann, James Bog, Elizabeth, and William. The bulk of the papers from this generation appear to come from Thomas and William.

Thomas Bog Slade was born in 1800 in Martin County, N.C. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a law degree in 1823. He then moved to Georgia, where he practiced law and founded the Clinton Female Academy. He married Anne Jacqueline Blount in 1824. The couple had 12 children, several of whom are represented in the collection: they include Janet, James Jeremiah, Mary Livinia, Emma Jacqueline, Thomas Bog Jr., Martha Bog, Sella, Helen, and John Henry. Thomas Bog Slade died in 1882 in Columbus, Georgia.

Another son of Jeremiah and Janet, William Slade, is the other prominently featured Slade present in the family's papers held at Duke. William Slade was born in 1807 in Martin County, Georgia. He also attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and appears to have graduated in 1824. He married Penelope Williams in 1829, and the couple appears to have lived in Martin County for the rest of their lives. They had 11 children, most of whom are well represented in the family papers: James Bog, Jeremiah, Annie Janet, Mary, Elizabeth (Lizzy), William, Henry, Thomas Bog, Helen, Frances, and Richard Williams.

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The Slade Family Papers, formerly known as the William Slade Papers, were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer from the Trinity College Historical Society in the late 19th century (precise year unknown). Later additions arrived in 1933, 1949, 1950, 1952, and 1968.

Processing Information

Processed by RL Staff, 1950-1952. Processed again by Meghan Lyon, February 2016.