The Lewis Thompson Papers

Search billions of records on

Historic Woodville

Preserving Woodville's Heritage

Manuscripts Department
Library of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill



Copies of this entire collection are in the Margaret Long Tyler Library
at Hope Plantation and at Historic Woodville.


      Lewis Thompson, owner of plantations near Woodville (also called Hotel), Bertie County, N.C., and at Bayou Boeuf, near Alexandria, Rapides Parish, La. Thompson was also a political leader in North Carolina, serving in the House of Commons and State Senate, 1831-1852, and as a member of the General Convention of 1865. He was a UNC trustee from 1848 until his death.

      Business papers, ca. 1840-1871, of Lewis Thompson, consisting chiefly of correspondence, accounts, bills, receipts, slave lists, sharecropping contracts, and other documents relating to the production of cotton and wheat in Bertie County, N.C.; to sugar in Rapides Parish, La.; and to the sale of crops through factors in New York, Norfolk, New Orleans, and Baltimore. There is also a considerable amount of correspondence relating to Lewis Thompson's role as executor of many estates, particularly that of his father-in-law, William M. Clark, and to Thompson's investments with brokers in New York. Papers before 1840 consist chiefly of land grants, deeds, and estate papers of Thompson's Pugh, Williams, Clark, Thompson, and Urquhart relations. There is also a group of papers relating to land controlled by the Tuscarora Indians. Few papers relate to Thompson's political career or to his involvement with UNC. Papers after Thompson's death in 1867 relate chiefly to the activities his son, Thomas W. Thompson, who took over his father's North Carolina business affairs. The plantations in Louisiana had been run by Thomas's brother William for many years before their father's death.
Online Catalog Terms:
Bayou Boeuf (La.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
Bertie County (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
Clark, William M., d. 1837.
Clark family.
Commission merchants--Louisiana.
Commission merchants--North Carolina.
Cotton growing--North Carolina.
Estates (Law)--Louisiana--History--19th century.
Family--Louisiana--Social life and customs--19th century.
Family--North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century.
Hotel (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
Plantations--Louisiana--Rapides Parish.
Plantations--North Carolina--Bertie County.
Pugh family.
Rapides Parish (La.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
Sharecropping--North Carolina.
Slavery--North Carolina.
Sugar growing--Louisiana.
Thompson, Lewis, 1808-1867.
Thompson, Thomas W.
Thompson, William C.
Thompson family.
Tuscarora Indians--Land transfers.
Urquhart family.
Williams family.
Woodville (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
Size: About 4,650 items (3.5 linear feet).

Received from Richard A. Urquhart of Lewiston,
N.C., before 1940, Molly Urquhart of Raleigh, N.C.
in October 1994 (Acc. 94149), and Margaret U.
Griffin in February 1995 (Acc. 95036).
Access:      No restrictions.

Copyright: Retained by the authors of items in these papers, or
               their descendants, as stipulated by United States
               copyright law.

Table of Contents:
  • Introduction
    • Biographical Note
    • Collection Overview
  • Series Descriptions
    • Series 1. Chronologically arranged papers
    • Series 2. Bonds
    • Series 3. Lewis Thompson Volumes
  • Shelf List


Biographical Note

      The Thompson family of Bertie County, North Carolina, appears to be descended from Hezikiah Thompson, who died in Bertie County in 1771. Because his will lists much land in South Carolina, it is possible that Hezikiah came to Bertie County from that state.

      Hezikiah Thompson had six sons: Noah, Arthur, Rubin, and William apparently by his first wife, and Hezekiah, Jr. (d. 1820), and Thomas (d. ca. 1827) by his second wife. Thomas Thompson was Lewis Thompson's father. Lewis Thompson was born in 1808 and graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina (A.B., 1827; A.M., 1832). He went on to become a successful businessman, owning plantations near Woodville (also called Hotel), Bertie County, and in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. It appears that most of Thompson's Louisiana land was acquired through his father-in-law, William M. Clark, who had purchased these lands shortly before his death in 1837. From around 1849 to 1858, these sugar plantations seem to have been managed in Thompson's behalf by this brother-in-law Kenneth M. Clark. Around 1858, when Moore Rawls took over the day-to-day management, William Thompson, Lewis's younger son, appears to have taken up permanent residence on the family's Louisiana lands. His brother, Thomas W. Thompson, gradually took over the management of the Bertie County plantations. The brothers appear to have remained on their respective plantations after their father's death.

      In addition to his plantations, Thompson made many investments, chiefly through bankers in New York. During the Civil War, he was a heavy investor in Confederate bonds. Thompson was also a political leader in North Carolina, serving in the House of Commons and the State Senate, 1831-1852, as as a member of the General Convention of 1865. He was a trustee of the University of North Carolina from 1848 until his death.

      Lewis Thompson's wife, Margaret Ann Cathcart Clark (fl. 1840s-1880s) was a daughter of William M. Clark and Martha Bodie Williams (d. ca. 1843). Lewis and Margaret had four children: sons Thomas W. and William and daughters Pattie and Mary. Pattie appears to have died shortly before 1867; Mary eventually married married Burges Urquhart and was the mother of the donor of these papers.

Collection Overview

      These papers relate almost exclusively to business affairs, a very high proportion of them being deeds, copies of deeds, and bills and receipts. They relate primarily to the activities of Lewis Thompson and to his sons William in Louisiana and Thomas W., who remained in Bertie County. There are also many items relating to members of the Clark, Pugh, Williams, and Urquhart families. The Clark family is especially prominent, with much material relating to the activities of Thompson's father-in-law William M. Clark, and, after 1837, to his estate for which Lewis Thompson was executor.

      The papers tell a story of Lewis Thompson's growing wealth. Much of the material is about the cultivation and marketing of cotton and wheat in Bertie County, North Carolina, and of sugar in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. These items are chiefly from the period 1840 to 1871; they include many documents dealing with slave sales and purchases, and, after the Civil War, with black laborers and sharecroppers. Some of the earlier material relates to land in Bertie County belonging to the Tuscarora Indian Nation.

      As Thompson appears to have specialized in being named executor of the estates of his relatives and friends, there is a large amount of material relating to estate settlements. Although Thompson was active in North Carolina politics for most of his life, there is very little of a political nature in this collection, and, although he was a trustee of the University of North Carolina for twenty years, there is even less about the University. Starting around 1856, there are some personal letters, but the bulk of the papers discuss business affairs. Volumes are chiefly account books and records of estate settlements.

      The collection consists of a series of correspondence, legal and financial materials, and other papers, arranged in a roughly chronological run, followed by a series of Confederate bonds [transferred to Miscellaneous Currency, #4672], and a series of eight volumes that are chiefly Lewis Thompson's account books. Volumes been ordered chronologically by the last date appearing in the volume. The run of loose papers has been divided into subseries according to dates that mark significant changes in subject or type of materials; the volumes have been split into two subseries: one consisting of antebellum volumes and the other of volumes dated 1861 or later.

The arrangement is as follows:
  • Series 1. Chronologically arranged papers
    • Subseries 1.1. 1723-1833
    • Subseries 1.2. 1834-1848
    • Subseries 1.3. 1849-1855
    • Subseries 1.4. 1856-1860
    • Subseries 1.5. 1861-1867
    • Subseries 1.6. 1868-1894
  • Series 2. Confederate bonds [tranferred to #4672]
  • Series 3. Lewis Thompson volumes
    • Subseries 3.1. 1827-1857
    • Subseries 3.2. 1861-1879


Series 1.  Chronologically arranged papers
   1723-1894 and undated.   About 4100 items. 
   Arrangement:  roughly chronological.

   Correspondence, legal and financial materials, and other
papers relating to Lewis Thompson, his son Thomas W. Thompson,
and to their Clark, Pugh, Williams, and Urquhart relatives.

Subseries 1.1.  1723-1833
   About 150 items.

   Chiefly originals and copies of deeds, indentures, and wills. 
The earliest items are largely hand-drawn plats of land in Bertie
County, North Carolina.  In this subseries, there is material
relating to most of the families important in this collection,
but especially to the Pugh, Clark, and Williams families.  The
relationship between the Lewis Thompson mentioned in items dated
before the Lewis Thompson after whom the collection is named came
of age is unclear.

   Of particular interest are the following:

1730:  Grant to Thomas Pollock by Lord Proprietors of North
       Carolina (dated 2 August 1727, but with endorsements dated
       1730) for 600 acres on Moratuck River (Roanoke River).

1749:  23 June, indenture of John Pugh to Thomas Barker for land
       in Bertie County.

1760:  27 November, land grant of Lord Granville to George House
       (d. ca. 1763) for land in Bertie County.  Lewis Thompson
       eventually gained control of this land through his father,
       who had gotten it from Littleberry Abington.

1766:  23 July, indenture leasing 8000 acres in the Indian Wood,
       Bertie County, to Robert Jones, William Williams, and
       Thomas Pugh for 150 years.  The indenture was signed by
       many of the leading men of the Tuscarora Nation.

1771:  25 January, copy of will of Lewis Thompson's grandfather,
       Hezikiah Thompson.

1775:  2 December, copy of indenture leasing 2000 acres of land
       in the Indian Wood for 99 years to Thomas Pugh, Wilie
       Jones, and William Williams for an annual rent of 80
       duffle blankets, 80 shirts, 80 pair of boots, 50 pounds of
       powder, and 150 pounds of shot.  This indenture was also
       signed by Tuscarora Nation leaders, but this particular
       document is a copy and, thus, does not bear original

1786:  Will of Thomas Barker (1713-1787), who came to Bertie
       County around 1735.  Barker, who first married Pheribee
       Pugh ne Savage and then Penelope Hodgson ne Pagett, is
       buried at Hayes Plantation in Edenton, North Carolina.

1792:  January, list of slaves belonging to the estate of John
       Pugh.  The list shows the dispensation of eleven slaves,
       valued at 315; two slaves were given to Thomas Thompson.

1798:  Indenture of Littleberry Abington to Lewis Thompson. 
       Littleberry was married Sarah Moor, daughter of Titus
       Moore, whose name appears several times in these papers.

1807:  23 April, receipt of Jeremiah Slade, as "Commissioner,"
       for rents and purchase money from Thomas Pugh and William
       Williams for lands in Bertie County belonging to the
       Tuscarora Indians.

1808:  13 October, copy of the 1717 treaty with the Tuscarora
       Indians by which the Tuscarora Nation yielded lands on the
       Pamlico and Neuse rivers in exchange for lands in Bertie

1808:  ca. 1808, petition to Governor Caswell of North Carolina
       from the Tuscarora Indian Nation against William King, who
       was alleged to have negotiated a lease with members of the
       tribe after he had "got all the Indians drunk."

1809:  6 March, copy of letter, dated 28 July 1803, from the
       United States Secretary of War to J. Slade, agent and
       attorney for Tuscarora Nation.

1810:  16 March, indenture of Nathaniel and Penelope B. Bond to
       Thomas Thompson for land in Bertie County.  Penelope is
       probably the same woman who had been married to Thomas
       Barker (see 1786 above).

1810:  May, document, signed by Judge William Gaston, detailing
       the legal proceedings of William Williams and others
       against George Pollock in the North Carolina District

1812:  Beginning around 1812, there are records of many purchases
       and sales of slaves by various relatives of Lewis
       Thompson, and, later, by Thompson himself.  The volume is
       especially high around 1818-1819, when it appears that
       William M. Clark was assembling a large group of slaves.

1820:  5 March, list of 99 slaves purchased from Ann B. Pollock
       by Davis and William M. Clark and subsequently divided
       between the buyers.

1824:  9 December, letter from Elisha Mitchell of UNC to Thomas
       Thompson about his son Lewis's performance at the
       University.  The letter was actually written by George S.
       Beltner, a tutor at the University, who later became a
       well-respected physician in New Bern and New York.

1827:  August, copy of the will of Thomas Thompson, father of
       Lewis Thompson.

1828:  10 October, copy of will of David Clark (b. 1772) of
       Scotland Neck, North Carolina.  David Clark was the
       brother of William M. Clark, Lewis Thompson's
       father-in-law, and husband of Louisa Norfleet.  Clark was
       one of the largest and most substantial planters on the
       Roanoke River.

1828:  23 May, receipt from John Cox of Plymouth, North Carolina,
       for $2,500 received from William M. Clark in payment of
       money owed by Cox's wife, who was Clark's sister.  An
       explanation of the debt is also included.  Cox was a
       partner in the Plymouth firm of Clark, Devereux & Cox,

1828:  3 December, evaluation of two islands at the mouth of the
       Roanoke River made by Hardeson and Maitland of Plymouth,
       North Carolina, for Francis Pugh and the heirs of Thomas
       Thompson.  Benjamin Maitland was a merchant of
       Philadelphia with a branch office in Plymouth.  The
       islands were valued at $250 for both.

1813-1828: Ledger of the estate of William T. Thompson, Thomas
           Thompson, executor.

1830:  10 October, list of 72 slaves belonging to the estate of
       Thomas Thompson and to be divided between his sons Lewis
       and Hezikiah.

1830:  25 February, receipt from W. M. Roberts, treasurer of
       North Carolina, to William M. Clark for a payment towards
       the purchase of land in the Indian Wood.

1831:  28 July, receipt from William Hill, North Carolina
       secretary of state, to the heirs of William Williams for
       payment on 1,000 acres of land in the Indian Wood.

Folder 1       1723-1798
       2       1801-1810
       3       1812-1820
       4       1821-1827
       5       1828-1833

Subseries 1.2.  1834-1848
   About 300 items.

   While materials relating to North Carolina predominate,
Thompson's Louisiana connections are first seen in a letter dated
30 January 1834 (described below).  During this period, there is
much activity in settling estates, particularly that of
Thompson's father-in-law, William M. Clark, who died in 1837
after buying land in Louisiana.  It is not clear whether or not
Thompson had connections with Louisiana sugar production before
he became executor of Clark's will, but settlement of Clark's
seemingly complicated dealings in Louisiana certainly increased
Thompson activity in that state.  Beginning in 1840, there are
many letters to Thompson from cotton factors in Norfolk.  Most of
these letters give routine information on numbers of cotton bales
sold during specific periods.  There is also a great deal of
estate settlement going on during this time, especially the
estate of John Ruffin in the mid-1840s.

   Of particular interest are the following:

1834:  30 January, unsigned letter from New Orleans to [William
       M. Clark?] about land deals and mortgage collections.  The
       writer may have been Benjamin Ballard, from whom William
       M. Clark bought property in 1837.

1836:  6 October, letter from Asa Biggs in Tarboro, North
       Carolina, to William M. Clark about Biggs's payment of a
       note.  Biggs (1811-1876) was a Bertie County resident,
       congressman and senator, and important member of the state
       and Confederate judiciary.

1836:  October, copy of will of William M. Clark.

1836:  30 December, copy of deed of purchase of land in Bayou
       Boeuf, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, from Benjamin Ballard by
       William M. Clark, who was represented at the sale by
       Reuben Carnal, an attorney who appears to have handled
       much of the family business in Louisiana.

1837:  June, letter from Reuben Carnal to Lewis Thompson
       explaining how Louisiana inheritance laws affect the
       property that William M. Clark, now deceased, held in that

1840:  6 June, beginning of reports from James B. Gordon &
       Company, factors in Norfolk, Virginia, to Lewis Thompson
       giving information on cotton sold on Thompson's behalf.

1841:  30 August, letter from William J. Ellison in Winsor, North
       Carolina, to Lewis Thompson summarizing the North Carolina
       land holdings of William M. Clark.

1843:  22 January, letter from Benjamin Ballard in New Orleans to
       Lewis Thompson about money owed to Ballard by the estate
       of William M. Clark.

1843:  12 December, valuation of the slaves owned by the estate
       of Martha Bodie Williams Clark, Lewis Thompson's

1844:  14 May, letter from Benjamin Ballard in New Orleans to
       Lewis Thompson about money apparently owed by Ballard to
       Thompson.  Letter from Ballard to Thompson, chiefly about
       money matters, continue sporadically for many years.

1845:  21 February, inventory of the estate of John Ruffin, Lewis
       Thompson, and William Bishop, executors.  There are many
       papers after this date that relate to the settlement of
       Ruffin's estate and to payments for educating Ruffin's

Folder  6      1834-1836
        7      1837-1840
        8      1841-1843
        9      1844
       10          January-March
       11          April-December
       12      1846
       13      1847-1848

Subseries 1.3.  1849-1855
   About 700 items.

   The purchase of William M. Clark's two sugar plantations in
1849 signaled increased activity for Lewis Thompson in that
state.  The volume of materials relating to his Louisiana
interests increases dramatically during this period, as Thompson
strived first to resolve legal and financial entanglements
involving Clark's estate and then to get on with the business of
producing sugar.  By the mid-1850s, documents relating to
Louisiana far outnumber those pertaining to North Carolina. 
During this period, there is also much material that illustrate
the increasing scope of Thompson's operations.  These consist
chiefly of large number of bills and statements from factors and
brokers, among them Bogart & Foley (later Bogart, Foley & Avery
and, still later, Foley, Avery & Company) in New Orleans; Kada
Biggs & Company in Norfolk; and John Cunningham in New York.

   Of particular interest are the following:

1849:  3 May, deed conveying William M. Clark's Louisiana
       property, consisting of two plantations on Bayou Boeuf,
       Rapides Parish, from Thompson's brother- and
       sister-in-law, William M. and Martha Clark, to Lewis

1849:  Beginning in 1849 and continuing until around 1858, there
       are many letters from Kenneth M. Clark to Lewis Thompson,
       all of which were written from Bayou Boeuf, Rapides
       County, Louisiana, and relate to the running of Thompson's
       sugar plantations.  Clark (b. 1827) was Thompson's
       brother-in-law.  He was apparently retained by Thompson to
       manage the Louisiana plantations.

1850:  6 January, unsigned letter notifying Lewis Thompson that a
       land deal has been concluded on his behalf.  This is
       probably the successful settlement of the Clark property,
       with the addition of the purchase of slaves, machinery,
       and other necessities of sugar production.

1850:  Lists of slaves formerly belonging to William M. Clark.

1851:  9 April, beginning of numerous account statements from
       Bogart & Foley, factors of New Orleans, who marketed Lewis
       Thompson's sugar and molasses.

1852:  19 May, letter from Benjamin Bullard in New Orleans to
       Lewis Thompson about Bullard's recent bouts with the

1853:  29 March, letter from Asa Biggs in Williamston, North
       Carolina, to Lewis Thompson about collecting the proceeds
       from the sale of lands from the William M. Clark estate.

1853:  10 August, letter from Lewis and Margaret Thompson at the
       springs to their son Thomas at home.  This is one of the
       very few personal letters in the collection.

1854:  2 April, letter from Thomas W. Thompson in Bayou Boeuf,
       Louisiana, to his father, Lewis Thompson reporting on
       conditions on the family's Louisiana plantations.

1854:  20 November, letter from Henry King Burgwyn at Thornburg
       Plantation near Jackson, North Carolina, to Lewis Thompson
       about the sale of a bull.  Burgwyn (1813-1877) was a major
       North Carolina planter and the father of several
       illustrious sons.

1854:  November, bills relating to the building of Grace
       Episcopal Church at Woodville, North Carolina.  Lewis
       Thompson seems to have been in charge of the financial end
       of this project.  Bills continue into 1855.

1854:  Bills and letters indicating that marketing of Lewis
       Thompson's cotton in Norfolk was being handled by Kada
       Biggs & Company.  Kada Biggs was the brother of Asa Biggs.

1854:  9 March, letter from Thomas Ruffin in Raleigh, North
       Carolina, to Lewis Thompson about the activities of the
       Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina. 
       This is the first of several such letters appearing
       sporadically from various board members until Thompson's
       death in 1867.

1854:  17 March, letter from Henry King Burgwyn to Lewis Thompson
       about buying Thompson's cotton crop.

1854:  11 June, letter from Henry King Burgwyn to Lewis Thompson
       about the wheat crop and about Thompson's coming visit to

Folder 14      1849
       15      1850
       16      1851
       17          January-March
       18          April-December
       19          January-March
       20          April-September
       21          October-December
       22          January-March
       23          April-June
       24          July-December
       25          January-February
       26          March-April
       27          May-September
       28          October-December

Subseries 1.4.  1856-1860
   About 1200 items.

   Beginning in 1856, while materials are still chiefly financial
and legal, there are also a number of letters about political
issues.  There are also, in 1857, several items relating to
Thompson's activities in the Seaboard Agricultural Society of
Virginia and North Carolina.  Also, around 1857, letters from
Lewis Thompson's sons begin to appear, with William in Louisiana
and Thomas in Bertie County.  There are also a few letters
relating to family affairs, particularly from Thompson's
daughters at St. Mary's School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

   Of particular interest are the following:

1856:  12 February, letter from Caleb S. Hollawell in Alexandria,
       Virginia, to Lewis Thompson about William Thompson's
       entering Hollawell's school, which became Alexandria High
       School, an institution of some note.  See also receipts
       from the school starting 26 February 1856.  By 1857,
       however, William had left school for Louisiana.

1856:  Letters relating to American Party politics, among them a
       letter of 29 May notifying Lewis Thompson of his selection
       as elector from the American Party in the coming
       presidential election; on of 17 June from P. H. Winston in
       which he declined to be an American Party legislative
       candidate; and two letters dated 16 July in which American
       Party meetings were discussed.  Few other items of a
       political nature appear until 1860.

1857:  April-May, letters from Thomas W. Thompson reporting back
       to his father on conditions on the family plantations in

1857:  October-November, several items showing Lewis Thompson
       involvement with the Seaboard Agricultural Society of
       Virginia and North Carolina, including a letter on 10
       November, informing him that he had been chosen
       vice-president of the Bertie County chapter.

1857:  Beginning in 1857, there are many letters from Lewis
       Thompson's son William, who appears to have taken up
       permanent residence on the family's Louisiana plantations.

1857:  Around 1857, Moore Rawls appears to have succeeded Kenneth
       M. Clark in the day-to-day running of Thompson's Louisiana
       sugar plantations.  Although there is an occasional letter
       from Clark, there are many letters about plantation
       operations from Rawls to Thompson.

1858:  31 December, letter from Lewis Thompson in Louisiana to
       his son Thomas, in which he reported the results of his
       search for land in Thomas's behalf.

1859:  11 April, letter from Lewis Thompson in Philadelphia to
       son Thomas in Bertie County about depression suffered by
       Margaret Thompson and Lewis's feeling that he may have to
       commit his wife to professional caretakers.

1859:  16 May, letter from Henry King Burgwyn to Lewis Thompson
       about state bonds.

1859:  31 December, bill for the sale of a slave to Lewis

1860:  1-10 February, receipts for the purchase of nine slaves by
       Lewis Thompson.  Another document shows that, shortly
       after this purchase, Lewis sold six slaves to his son

1860:  14 March, letter written on behalf of a slave in Orange
       County, North Carolina, to a slave who had apparently been
       bought by Lewis Thompson.

1860:  16 March, letter from Sam E. Johnston in Edenton, North
       Carolina, to Lewis Thompson asking for his help in getting
       his son a tutorship at the University of North Carolina.

1860:  18 May, letter notifying Lewis Thompson of his selection
       as a senator from Bertie County to the General Assembly in
       Raleigh.  A small number of items that mention politics
       appearing throughout 1860.

1860:  23 July, letter from Henry King Burgwyn to Lewis Thompson
       about the purchase of bonds.

1860:  Beginning in September, letters from Thompson's daughters
       Pattie and Mary at St. Mary's School, Raleigh.

Folder 29          January-April
       30          May-July
       31          August-December
       32          January-May
       33          June-August
       34          September-October
       35          November-December
       36          January
       37          February
       38          March
       39          April-June
       40          July-October
       41          November-December
       42          January-February
       43          March-May
       44          June-September
       45          October-December
       46          January
       47          February
       48          March-April
       49          May-June
       50          July-September
       51          October-December
       52      Undated letters and fragments, probably prior to

Subseries 1.5.  1861-1867
   About 900 items.

   A certain amount of nervousness and anticipation of hard times
to come cloud materials from 1861, although direct mention of the
Civil War is rarely found.  There is a letter, dated 2 June 1861,
from Thomas Thompson, who was apparently in the army at the time.

Soon, however, he seems to have returned to Bertie County, where
he remained with his father throughout the conflict.  William
Thompson spent the war years in Bayou Boeuf, Louisiana, and
Pattie and Mary remained at St. Mary's School in Raleigh.  The
biggest change wrought by the war in this collection is in terms
of volume of material, which falls off dramatically in 1862 and
becomes little more than a trickle in 1863 and 1864.  Immediately
following the war's end, there are many items documenting Lewis
Thompson's efforts to reestablish his financial network.  Soon
enough, the collection resumes its pre-war character, with only
some changes in the names of bankers (Duncan, Sherman & Company
in New York) and merchants (James Corner & Sons in Baltimore) and
the introduction of shipping cotton through Baltimore instead of
exclusively through Norfolk.  The new order of things is best
demonstrated by contracts for sharecropping and farm labor and in
letters from William, who was having a hard time getting the
Louisiana plantation back on track with hired labor.  During this
period, there is a scattering of letters bearing on political
issues, particularly around 1866.  Lewis Thompson appears to have
died in early December 1867; many materials dated after December
16 are addressed to his executors (Margaret, Thomas, and

   Of particular interest are the following:

1861:  23 January, letter from Kenneth M. Clark in Baton Rouge to
       Lewis Thompson about Louisiana's leaving the Union.

1861:  1 April, letter from John Devereux of the Assistant
       Quarter Master's Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, to
       Lewis Thompson about the purchase of hogs for the
       Confederate army and the pasturage of soldiers' horses on
       Thompson's lands.  Devereux (b. 1820) was married to
       Margaret Mordicai, and owned considerable acreage in
       Bertie County.  Devereux's wealth may be measured by the
       fact that he owned over 1,000 slaves at the outbreak of
       the Civil War.

1861:  2 June, letter from Thomas W. Thompson in the Confederate
       army at [Garysburg?] to Lewis Thompson about army life.

1863:  29 August, bill of sale for land in Bertie County
       purchased by Lewis Thompson.

1864:  7 March, letter from Thomas W. Thompson in Hotel to Pattie
       [in Raleigh?] expressing his fear that he may be called up
       to fight [again?] and discussing the activities of
       soldiers in the vicinity.

1865:  1 April, note about commandeering a "third-class horse"
       from Lewis Thompson for use by the military.

1865:  In May and June, there are letters about re-establishing
       Lewis Thompson's financial network.  For example, a letter
       dated 6 June, from the National Bank of Commerce in New
       York, reveals that Thompson's money was not confiscated
       during the war and that the bank is willing to resume
       trade with him.

1865:  28 June, letter from William Thompson in Louisiana about
       the burning of his crop by Confederate soldiers and about
       how hard it will be to work the land.

1865:  June, several sharecropping agreements between freedmen
       and Thomas W. Thompson.

1865:  27 August, letter from Kenneth W. Clark to Lewis Thompson
       about post-war conditions in Louisiana.

1866:  31 October and 7 November, letters from W. W. Holden to
       Lewis Thompson about meetings of the Union Vote Committee
       on which they both served.

1867:  2 June, letter from William Thompson about difficulties
       with his crops and workers.  He also wrote about taking
       some of his black workers to register to vote.

1867:  1 August, invitation to Lewis Thompson to address the
       Republican Club in Edenton, North Carolina.

1867:  August, accounts of several of Thompson's North Carolina
       plantations, including wages due to hands.

1867:  31 September, letter of John Pool to Lewis Thompson about
       reconstruction politics.

1867:  1 November, "memorandum" by Lewis Thompson listing sums of
       money invested and with whom these investments were made.

1867:  1 November, copy of Lewis Thompson's will.

Folder 53          January-February
       54          March
       55          April-June
       56          July-December
       57      1862
       58      1863-1864
       59          January-July
       60          August-December
       61          January-February
       62          March-April
       63          May-June
       64          July-September
       65          October-December
       66          January-February
       67          March-April
       68          May-June
       69          July-August
       70          September-December

Subseries 1.6.  1868-1894
   About 850 items.

   Lewis Thompson's death appears to have had little effect on
family affairs; materials after 1868 show that the business
relationships established under Lewis were, by and large,
continued by his son Thomas.  Beginning in 1868, there are papers
relating to the estate of Lewis Thompson, number of which
diminishes significantly after 1869.  During this period, there
are few references to Louisiana, where, it appears, William C.
Thompson was operating independently from his brother.  Beginning
in the late 1860s and continuing to April 1883, however, there
are items relating to the settlement of a court case involving
some of Lewis Thompson's Louisiana property and his children's
attempt to insure the equitable division of the proceeds from the
sale of that land.  In general, the Thompson family appears to
have prospered under Thomas W. Thompson's guidance; throughout
this period, there are many letters to Thomas from neighbors and
relatives requesting loans and outright gifts of money and land. 
Correspondence is very slight after mid-1871, but, even into
1874, there is evidence that Thomas W. Thompson was still active
in acquiring land to add to the wealth amassed by his father.

   Of particular interest are the following:

1868:  Throughout this period, there are many letters from P.H.
       Winston in Windsor, North Carolina, who was managing the
       business affairs of Thomas W. Thompson.  Winston may have
       been Thompson's lawyer, since he appears to have had much
       to say about the Louisiana property case.

1868:  5 May, copy of will of Mary R. Urquhart of Isle of Wight
       County, Virginia, wife of R. H. Urquhart and grandmother
       of the donor.

1868:  1 June, letter of William C. Thompson in Louisiana to his
       brother about planting and related affairs.

1869:  4 May, letter of William M. Clark, Thomas's uncle, to
       Thomas W. Thompson, requesting a loan to help him out of

1870:  1 January, printed notice from a neighbor about
       untrustworthy sharecroppers.

1870:  18 September and 11 December, letters of William C.
       Thompson in Louisiana to Thomas W. Thompson, about crops
       and the pending property settlement.

1871:  January through May, several letters from J. Adalaide
       Oertel, wife of J. A. Oertel, minister and painter of
       Lenoir, North Carolina, to Margaret Thompson about her
       husband's art and ministry.

1872:  Chiefly materials relating to the affairs of Burges
       Urquhart of Bertie County, North Carolina, who was the
       husband of Lewis Thompson's daughter Mary.

Folder 71          January-February
       72          March-April
       73          May-July
       74          August-October
       75          November-December
       76          January-February
       77          March-April
       78          May-July
       79          August-December
       80          January-February
       81          March-June
       82          July-September
       83          October-December
       84          January-February
       85          March-December
       86      1872-1879
       87      1880-1894
       88      Undated and fragments, probably after 1860

Series 2.  Confederate bonds
   1862-1863.  31 items.

   Confederate bearer bonds, issued through the state of North
Carolina, in $500 and $1000 denominations, with many coupons
intact.  Although no names appear on the bonds, they were surely
the property of Lewis Thompson.  [transferred to Miscellaneous
Currency, #4672]

Series 3.  Lewis Thompson volumes
   1827-1879.  8 items.
   Arrangement:  chronological by last date in volume.

   Volumes relating to Lewis and Thomas W. Thompson, containing
business, personal, and estate accounts.  Subseries 3.1 contains
antebellum volumes and Subseries 3.2 contains volumes with
entries dated 1861 or later.

Subseries 3.1.  1827-1857
   3 items.

Folder  92     1827-1836, account book of Lewis Thompson,
               containing records of payments for goods and
               services and entries relating to the settlement of
               various estates.  73 pp.

        93     1837-1840, account book of Lewis Thompson as
               executor of the estate of William M. Clark,
               including an inventory of the property of the
               estate.  35 pp.

        94-95  1850-1857, account book of Lewis Thompson as
               executor of the estate of William M. Clark,
               continued.  Included are accounts relating to
               Thompson's guardianship of David and Gavin H.
               Clark.  Folder 94 contains enclosures from the
               volume that show the status of estate property as
               of 1 January 1851.

Subseries 3.2.  1861-1879
   5 items.

Folder  96     1861-1862, Lewis Thompson's 1861 timber accounts
               and a few general accounts dated 1862.  18 pp.

        97     1865-1866, Lewis Thompson's memorandum book,
               chiefly listing cash paid to various individuals
               for goods and services.  19 pp.

        98     1861-1867, account book containing records of
               Lewis Thompson's accounts with the Exchange Bank
               of Virginia, 1861-1864, and miscellaneous accounts
               with black sharecroppers, 1866-1867.  36 pp.

        99     1867, account book containing Thomas W. Thompson's
               household and personal accounts.  18 pp.

       100     1870-1879, account book containing Thomas W.
               Thompson's accounts with Kada Biggs & Company and
               James Corner & Sons for cotton shipped and other
               business transactions.  About 100 pages.

                           SHELF LIST

Box 1  Subseries 1.1.  1723-1833           (folders 1-5)
       Subseries 1.2.  1834-1848           (folders 6-13)
       Subseries 1.3.  1849-1850           (folders 14-15)

Box 2  Subseries 1.3.  1851-1855           (folders 16-28)
       Subseries 1.4.  1856                (folders 29-31)

Box 3  Subseries 1.4.  1857-February 1860  (folders 32-47)

Box 4  Subseries 1.4.  March 1860-Undated
                       prior to 1861       (folders 48-52)
       Subseries 1.5.  1861-April 1866     (folders 53-62)

Box 5  Subseries 1.5.  May 1866-1867       (folders 63-70)
       Subseries 1.6.  1868-April 1869     (folders 71-77)

Box 6  Subseries 1.6.  May 1869-1879       (folders 78-89)

Box 7  Subseries 1.6.  1880-Undated after
                       1860                (folders 90-91)
       Series 3.  Lewis Thompson volumes   (folders 92-100)

Used with permission of the Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Return to Main Page