Guide to the John Whitford Papers, 1829-1921


Planter, Confederate Army officer, and North Carolina state senator. Correspondence, tax books, military order book, postwar plantation records, and legal papers relating to Whitford's planting activities before and after the Civil War, his service as a colonel in the 67th Regiment of North Carolina Troops, and his position as state senator. Includes Whitford family letters and papers.

Collection Details

Collection Number
John Whitford papers
Whitford, John, d. ca. 1894
3 Linear Feet, 1011 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

This collection contains the papers of John N. Whitford, commander of the 67th North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War, cotton planter, and state senator. The collection includes contracts for the hire of slaves in the 1850s; reports of Mary E. Williamson and Caroline Williamson at school in Oxford, North Carolina; accounts of F. T. Williamson, Mary E. Williamson, and Caroline Williamson with their guardian, William Foy; fire insurance policies; papers relating to suits involving John N. Whitford; miscellaneous military papers, for the most part related to the service of John N. Whitford in the Confederate Army; contracts between Whitford and freedmen; a letter to Whitford from a former slave; miscellaneous land surveys and papers related to land transactions, household accounts, bills and receipts, and legal papers; handbills for Whitford's campaign for the state senate in 1888; papers and letters related to the breeding of horses; tax lists for the lower Black River district, New Hanover County, North Carolina; records of tax delinquents; and the wills of John N. Whitford and Mary E. (Williamson) Whitford. Volumes include a tax book for New Bern, North Carolina, 1856; account books; and memorandum books. One of the memoranda books contains general orders of John N. Whitford as the col. of the 67th Regt. of N.C. Troops and post-Civil War plantation records of John N. and Harry Whitford. There is printed material on the Farmers' Alliance in North Carolina and Virginia, the Knights of Honor, and the Royal Arcanum.

One notable letter written by one of Whitford's freed slaves describes his condition and asks for a certificate of ownership for a horse, because some soldiers were trying to confiscate his property (Oct. 8, 1864).

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How to Cite

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

Contents of the Collection

Papers, 1829-1873
Box 1
Papers, 1874-1912
Box 2
Papers, 1913-1921 and undated
Box 3

2. Volumes, 1864-1899 and undated

1 box; 2 volumes
Bound volumes
Box 3
Daybook, 1885-1890
Volume L:5784
General order and memorandum book, 1864-1875
Volume F:5785

Historical Note

Biographical and Historical Note

During the Civil War, John N. Whitford (d. ca. 1894) was Col. of the 67th Regt. of N.C. Troops. In 1864 he was stationed in Kinston, N.C., and in March of 1865 he was transferred to Tarboro. Arter the war he was a cotton planter in Jones Co., near New Bern, N.C. In 1882 he was elected to the N.C. Senate for one term. He ran again, unsuccessfully, in 1888.

John N. Whitford's wife, Mary E. Williamson, was sister to Caroline Williamson, who married John's brother Harry Whitford. Mary E. died in 1883. John and Mary's children were John H., Annie C., and Laura. In 1890-1891, Annie was in school in Salem. She married Dr. George Hayes in 1898. After John N. Whitford's death ca. 1894, his brother Harry became the guardian of his minor heirs.

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The John Whitford Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 1951-1960.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff

Encoded by Jane Metters and Meghan Lyon, September 2011

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.