Calvin Josiah Cowles papers, 1773-1941 (bulk 1875-1907).

Creator: Cowles, Calvin Josiah, 1821-1907.
Collection number: 3808
View finding aid.

Abstract: Wilkes County, N.C., merchant specializing in roots and herbs who traded with the North and England. Cowles was a Whig and post-war Republican, superintendent of the U.S. Mint at Charlotte, N.C., 1869-1884, and consistent promoter of land, mining, and railroad development in northwestern North Carolina. The papers consist of letterpress copy books, 1877-1907; mercantile account books; land surveys and papers relating to Cowles’s land holdings in North Carolina, Kansas, and South Dakota; papers relating to his copper and mica mines in northwestern North Carolina; business correspondence; and numerous letters exchanged between Cowles and his ten children giving a detailed picture of their education and careers. Correspondents included: Frank Armin, William Brandreth, A.W. Finley, Col. Julius Gray, George B. Hanna, John Hinsdale, William W. Holden, Phineas Horton, Davenport Jackson, Max Long, Col. George Polk, Henry Reynolds, Charles Strauss, William T. Sutherlin, William H. Taft, Harvey Terry, Robert Vance, and John A. Young. Also included are letters to and from son Arthur Duval Cowles, who bought his father’s business in 1869 and moved it to Ashe County, N.C., and campaign papers of another son, Charles Holden Cowles, Republican U.S. representative, 1908-1910. The bulk of the material is dated after 1875; there is little pertaining to C.J. Cowles’s political activities during Reconstruction.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Included are slave bills of sale (1773-1839) and a letter concerning a young runaway slave (1857).