Giles family papers, 1727-1886; 1906.

Creator: Giles family.
Collection number: 3391
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Abstract: Correspondence and scattered legal and financial documents, chiefly belonging to the Giles, Reston, Jocelyn, and Wright families of Wilmington, New Hanover County, N.C. Correspondence, 1727-1799, details family matters, including marital advice to a newlywed daughter, and describes local scandals, such as a marital separation, a case of a daughter poisoning her mother, a battle between Yale University students and sailors in New Haven, Conn., and a swindling scheme. There is also a photocopy of a letter, 1791, describing a local visit by Gen. George Washington. Correspondence, 1800-1860, is concerned primarily with family matters and social news.Items of interest include many descriptions of travels, including the land, prospects, and everyday life in Madison County, Tenn.; a journey to Texas, with colorful descriptions of New Orleans and Natchitoches, La.; a tournament at a county fair in Hagerstown, Md.; and a cruise in the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. Civil War letters are from several members of the Giles and Wright families in the 1st, 10th, 24th, and 37th North Carolina regiments, and the 1st and 63rd Georgia regiments, and include mentions of pro-Union sentiments in Wilmington, N.C., the construction of a gunboat for the defense of Wilmington, details of camp life, and the progress of the war.There is also a letter from a Union soldier in the Army of the Potomac informing a Confederate soldier’s friends and family of the latter’s death in battle. Postwar correspondence consists chiefly of letters concerning family matters and business, and includes a letter from a former Giles family slave in 1882. Undated letters include those describing blockade running along the North Carolina coast during the Civil War and a spiritualist in a Confederate camp calling up the ghost of Stonewall Jackson. Other items include a copy of a pro-slavery speech, as well as wills, indentures, land deeds, receipts, and other scattered legal and financial documents.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Personal correspondence (chiefly 1780s-1860s), deeds, wills, and miscellaneous papers of several generations of the Giles, Reston, Jocelyn, and other related families of Wilmington, North Carolina. Correspondence consists mainly of family matters and business, and includes letters from both Confederate and Union soldiers and a letter from a former Giles family slave (1882). The collection also contains a copy of a proslavery speech.