Correspondence, 1803-1928, undated

Scope and content:

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; enslaved people 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. This series contains a letter from Fanny, dated 1867 August 5, writing to her "Sister" from Texas asking for any information on the whereabouts of her children. Fanny was formerly enslaved and apparently sold away from her children by the Slades. Another 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.


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