James King Wilkerson papers, 1820-1929 and undated 1.5 Linear Feet — Approx. 896 Items
The papers of James King Wilkerson (1842-1919) and his family date from 1820 to 1929, and consist of Civil War correspondence, a number of almanacs used as diaries, copybooks belonging to James when he was 16 and 17, and a few other miscellaneous papers, including a genealogical sketch. There is correspondence by Lillie Wilkerson (1877-1955) and Luther Wilkerson (1874-1942), James' children, discussing social life and customs, illnesses and hospitals, employment, and personal matters; and several letters from a soldier in France during World War I. There are also two early issues of the Berea, N.C. Gazette, one from 1876, with comments on the Hayes-Tilden election, and one from shortly thereafter.
The Civil War letters were all or nearly all written by James Wilkerson, who served in the Confederate Army, 55th North Carolina Regiment, Company K, from Aug. 1861 through spring of 1865. His letters to his family are significant for their references to the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (the former U.S.S. Merrimac); detailed descriptions of marches, including references to orders dealing with men who couldn't keep up or fell during the march; comments on the condition of crops as he moved to different locales; and references to his Civil War service around Petersburg, Va. late in the war, and his stay in the General Hospital at Greensboro, N.C. in 1865. The collection is rounded out by a copy of The Spirit of Prayer (Nathaniel Vincent, 1840), owned by James K. Wilkerson during the Civil War.