Creator: Elmer, Roswell, b. 1808.
Collection number: 4670
View finding aid.
Abstract: Roswell Elmer was the editor of the North Carolina Spectator and Western Advertiser, a weekly newspaper published in Rutherfordton, N.C., 1830-1835 or 1836. He moved to Rutherforton from Virginia in 1829. Manuscript diary, 178 p., kept by Elmer, 29 August 1829-7 February 1830, with almost daily entries varying in length from a few sentences to several pages. The diary begins on 29 August 1829 when Elmer left Charlottesville, Va., for Salisbury, N.C., where he hoped to earn a living gold mining. Diary entries document his frustrated mining efforts in the Morganton-Lincolnton-Rutherfordton area, near Salisbury, and his successful work recruiting subscribers to support a newspaper and printing office in Rutherfordton, which began operation 1 February 1830. Most early diary entries contain extensive descriptions of the lands he passed through and conversations he had with fellow travellers on the journey from Charlottesville. Entries written after his journey ended document his integration into town life.These include descriptions of hunting trips; excursions, often in the company of young ladies, to waterfalls and other scenic places; parties he attended; and activities in various towns where traveling courts were in session. He also described his service with the local militia, which seems to have consisted chiefly of his forgetting to attend drills. He also wrote of specific occurrences, including his meeting, on 25 November 1829, a group of slaves en route to Alabama where they were to be sold; on 27 November, the general disappointment in Rutherfordton when a slave, convicted of an unnamed crime, was ordered out of the area rather than hanged; and, on 9 December, a case of spouse abuse in which both husband and wife were alcoholics.
Repository: Southern Historical Collection
Collection Highlights: Diary entries include a description of Elmer’s meeting of a group of slaves en route to Alabama where they were to be sold (1829), and of the general disappointment in Rutherfordton when a slave, convicted of an unspecified crime, was exiled from the town rather than hanged (1829).