Home > 19th Century, California, Slave Correspondence, Slavery > Nicholas Washington Woodfin papers, 1795-1919, 1950.

Nicholas Washington Woodfin papers, 1795-1919, 1950.

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Creator: Woodfin, Nicholas Washington, 1810-1876.
Collection number: 1689
View finding aid.

Abstract: Nicholas Washington Woodfin was born in Buncombe County, N.C., in 1810. In February 1831, he was admitted to practice law in the county courts, and soon after settled in Asheville, N.C. In 1840, Woodfin married Eliza Grace McDowell; the couple had three daughters. For ten years starting in 1844, Woodfin represented Buncombe and Henderson counties in the state senate. He was active on the Asheville school board and in the Episcopal church, and acted as the Buncombe County delegate to the North Carolina Secession Convention. During the Civil War, he was superintendent of the North Carolina Salt Works. Afterwards, he returned to the practice of law and died on 23 May 1876. The town of Woodfin, N.C., in Bumcombe County, is named for him. The papers include photocopies of deeds, legal papers, very scattered family and political correspondence, clippings, and speeches on agriculture, and other items of Buncombe County, N.C., lawyer and legislator Nicholas Washington Woodfin, his wife Eliza G. McDowell Woodfin, and other family members, chiefly 1840s-1870s. Included are a photocopy of the bill of auction for the Woodfin Mansion House and Grounds in Asheville, N.C., to be sold 13 August 1879, and a biographical sketch of Woodfin written by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton in February 1950. There are also photocopies of county deeds; family and business letters; Civil War letters; obituaries; clippings; indenturies; estate papers; family history materials; remarks made at a presentation of Woodfin’s portrait in Asheville in 1950; land warrant from Governor Patrick Henry to William Gibbs (apparently unrelated to the rest of the collection); three letters, 1853-1855, from slaves or ex-slaves who had gone to California with members of the family to work in the gold fields; letters of John W. Holland, including a few dated 1898-1901 when he was serving in the United States Army in the Philippines; and an original 1862 letter from Woodfin to Governor Clarke about the defense of eastern Tennessee.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The papers contain three letters from slaves or ex- slaves who had gone to California with members of the family to work in the gold fields between 1853-1855 (Folder 4).

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