William D. Valentine diary, 1837-1855.

Creator: Valentine, William D., b. 1806.
Collection number: 2148
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Abstract: Valentine was a lawyer practicing in the courts of a four-county area of northeastern North Carolina (Hertford, Bertie, Gates, and Northampton). A bachelor, he kept a full diary which touched on almost every aspect of the public life of the area. Many entries concern his evaluation of the personalities and characters of his fellow attorneys and judges. He was fascinated by politics and wrote in much detail of events on both the local and state level. Other subjects discussed include the activities of the local Baptist and Methodist churches, especially the establishment of female colleges in the area; slaves and free blacks; the local fishing industry; local opinions on national politics; farming practices; and mores, gossip and scandals.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The 15 volumes contain discussion of rape charges brought against a black man by a white woman and the man’s subsequent hanging (1838); abolition (1840, 1849, 1850); the shooting of a runaway slave (1845); a case of miscegenation which appeared in the Gates County Court (1846); slavery, slaves, and free blacks within various communities in eastern North Carolina (1850-1853); a prayer meeting of blacks (1851); the legal rights and community status of free blacks (1853); and the impact a large number of free black residents had upon the community of Winston (1853).