Creator: Polk, Badger, and McGehee family papers, 1790-1898 (bulk 1822-1898).
Collection number: 3979
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Abstract: George Edmund Badger of New Bern, N.C., was a lawyer; politician; North Carolina legislator; superior court judge; Secretary of the Navy; United States senator; member of the North Carolina Convention of 1861-1862; and trustee of the University of North Carolina, 1818-1844. He and his second wife, Mary Brown Polk, had two daughters, Catherine and Sarah (Sally). Sally Badger married Montford McGehee, a lawyer; planter; member of the General Assembly from Caswell County in 1864 and from Person County in 1872, 1876, and 1879; trustee of the University of North Carolina, 1864-1868; delegate to the constitutional convention of 1865; and Commissioner of Agriculture, 1880-1887. They had four sons, including Thomas McGehee, George Badger McGehee, and Lucius Polk McGehee. The collection contains original documents and microfilm. Original documents consist letters written by members of the Polk, Badger, and McGehee families, particularly those of George Edmund Badger (1795-1866); his second wife, Mary Brown Polk Badger (1808-1835); their younger daughter, Sarah Polk Badger McGehee (1833-1903), also known as Sally; and Sally’s husband, Montford McGehee (1822-1895). Polk materials consist of letters and poems by George Badger to Mary Polk Badger, beginning in 1825 during their courtship and married life, particularly when he was traveling for court business. Also included is a memorandum by Mary Badger written shortly before her death in 1835, giving instructions for the disposition of her keepsakes and heirlooms. Letters to Sally Badger begin in 1841 with letters primarily from her father. Beginning in 1859, there are letters to Sally from Montford McGehee. There is only one letter from 1863, and no papers for the years 1861-1862 or 1864-1869. The remainder of the material consists of a few scattered letters to and from friends, a poem titled “In Memoriam of Gen’l Leonidas Polk,” a quotation from F. W. Robertson, and the envelopes that originally housed the correspondence. The microfilm includes other letters and two scrapbooks containing a number of newspaper obituaries. Among the microfilm-only materials are letters of Mary Brown Polk while at school in Philadelphia and of Sally Badger at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh. There are also 1862 letters of Montford McGehee during the Civil War when he served as aid to General James Johnson Pettigrew. He wrote from Richmond, Fredericksburg, and the Virginia Peninsula and during the retreat following the evacuation of Yorktown.
Repository: Southern Historical Collection
Collection Highlights: The collection contains scattered references to domestic slaves; references to sending slaves to a family plantation in Tennessee in 1826, 1832, 1834 (Folders 1-2; 4-6); praise of a enslaved female cook; and the purchase of an enslaved woman in 1860.