Duncan McLaurin papers, 1779-1932 and undated, bulk 1822-1872 2.4 Linear Feet — Approx. 1,800 Items
Personal and political correspondence, legal papers, bills and receipts, and printed material comprise the papers of Duncan McLaurin (1787-1872). Correspondence, including many letters from friends and relatives who migrated to Mississippi, discusses the forced removal of the Choctaw Indians; wars with tribes in Georgia and Alabama; economic conditions, especially the panics of 1837 and 1857; the Bank of the United States; banks and currency; cotton production, markets, and prices. There are many references to slavery, particularly in Mississippi: the sale of slaves, runaway slaves, a lynching of an African American in 1839, the fear of slave insurrections in 1856 and 1860; and the abolition movement. There are also references to the annexation of California; land prices and speculation; the growth of religious denominations in Mississippi and Louisiana; the development of schools in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina, and of Wake Forest Institute (Wake Forest, North Carolina), and Union Seminary (Richmond, Virginia); the temperance movement; the early development of railroads, roads, and canals in North Carolina; politics in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia; and national politics, including presidential elections, 1832-1848.
Civil War topics in the correspondence include camp life, economic conditions, food supplies, the hope for foreign intervention, morale, conscription and desertion, the blockade of Southern ports, the battles of Murfreesboro (Tennessee), Jackson (Mississippi), Port Royal Harbor (South Carolina), and Hanover Court House (Virginia), and the siege of Vicksburg (Mississippi); economic conditions and Reconstruction government in Mississippi; and difficulties with sharecroppers and debtors.
Legal papers consist of deeds, contracts, wills, court orders, and, after 1850, papers pertaining to the wardship of his sister, Isabel Patterson, and her children after her mental breakdown. Miscellaneous printed items include an atlas, 1835, with a list of slaves dating from the end of the war written on the flyleaf; a memorial to the North Carolina state legislature from the Society of Friends, 1832; a reply to President Jackson's proclamation on nullification; a report of the treasurer of the University of North Carolina to the trustees, 1839; a report of the Merchants Bank of New Bern, the Bank of the State of North Carolina, and the Bank of Cape Fear, 1838; a North Carolina Republican campaign circular, 1873; The Prison News, Raleigh, North Carolina, for March 1, 1932; and other various items.