Bryan family papers, 1704-1940.

Creator: Bryan family.
Collection number: 96
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Abstract: Bryan and related Blount, Donnell, Shepard, Spaight, and Washington families of New Bern, N.C., and vicinity. Prominent family members included John Heritage Bryan (1798-1870), congressman and lawyer of New Bern and Raleigh, N.C.; his brother, James West Bryan (1805-1864), lawyer of New Bern; James W. Bryan’s son, James Augustus Bryan (1839- 1923), Confederate ordnance officer and bank and railroad president, of New Bern; and James A. Bryan’s son, Charles Shepard Bryan (1865-1956), businessman of New York and Asheville, N.C. Primarily business papers and correspondence documenting the professional and commercial activities and home life of the the families of James W. Bryan, James A. Bryan, and Charles S. Bryan. Included are papers pertaining the the law practice of John H. Bryan and James W. Bryan, who specialized in debt collection, reflecting ante-bellum economic conditions in North Carolina and mercantile relationships with New York; and family correspondence and bills and receipts concerning the education and social activities of James W. Bryan’s daughter, Laura (Bryan) Hughes (1837-1868), and son, James A. Bryan, who attended Princeton College. Included are letters from William A. Graham before, during, and after his term as governor of North Carolina, and from Bishop Levi Silliman Ives during his controversy with the Episcopal Church. Also present are papers of James A. Bryan relating to his service as a Confederate ordnance officer, and his involvement in lumber, banking, and railroad business after the war, especially as president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, treasurer of the Pamilico, Oriental, and Western Railroad, and president of the National Bank of New Berne; and papers of Charles S. Bryan relating to his business ventures, political interests (including membership in the Ku Klux Klan), service in the American and French forces during World War I, and genealogical research.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Correspondence covers topics such as the transfer and sale of slaves (1841); the murder of an overseer by a slave (1840); rumors of a slave insurrection in New Bern, North Carolina (1840); legal justice for the murder of a slave (1846); the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; race riots in Boston (1851); the issue of a free black woman of British citizenship who had been enslaved in America (1851); the issue of confiscated land given to freedmen (1883); the white supremacy movement (1890s); and the Ku Klux Klan (1920s). Microfilm available.