William G. Dickson papers, 1767-1920 (bulk 1815-1895).

Creator: Dickson, William G., 1775-1855.
Collection number: 221
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Abstract: William G. Dickson was a University of North Carolina alumnus, attorney, and state representative of Burke (now Caldwell) County, N.C.; wife Peggy McDowell Dickson (1783-1854); father General Joseph Dickson (1745-1825); brother James Dickson; and son Robert Moffit Dickson (1820-1855). The collection is chiefly business and personal papers of William G. Dickson and members of his family, and personal correspondence and a few other items of the Abernethy and Glass families of North Carolina and Virginia. Correspondence primarily concerns local news of family, neighbors, and friends, with some miscellaneous legal and business materials. Included are items, 1795-1799, related to Dickson’s student days at the University of North Carolina; letters, 1814-1818 and 1825, from relatives and friends in Bedford and Rutherford counties, Tenn., concerning the poor health of slaves, local members of the militia in the Creek Indian Wars, one man’s military service and capture during the War of 1812, land sales, and the deaths of Dickson’s parents; letters, 1852-1855, from Robert M. Dickson and his companions in California prospecting for gold; letters, 1857-1860, from students attending three North Carolina female academies; an 1860 letter from Zebulon B. Vance, discussing the proposed state convention and secession; many Civil War-era letters commenting on Confederate military life and wartime social and economic conditions in North Carolina and Virginia; and letters, 1865, about freed slaves leaving their former masters, hatred for the “Yankee Devils,” and the imprisonment of a white man in Morganton, N.C., for shooting a black man. Also included are five volumes, 1837-1866, apparently kept by various members of the Abernethy family, containing business accounts, legal documents, original prose and verse, and a few scattered letters. Of particular interest are a journal, 1837-1852, probably kept by M.T. Abernethy, recording farming activities and the production output of an iron forge that employed slave labor at Kings Mountain and Lincolnton, N.C.; and a court minute docket for Caldwell County, N.C., covering the 1855-1857 terms.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The collection includes letters discussing the poor health of Tennessee slaves (1814-1818); freed slaves leaving their masters (1865); and the imprisonment of a white man in Morganton, North Carolina, for shooting a black man (1865). A personal journal records the production output of a Kings Mountain iron forge that employed slave labor (1837- 1852).