Wynns Family Papers, MfP.91


Wynns Family Papers, MfP.91


The Wynns (Winn, Wynn, Winns) family of Hertford County was one of great prominence in colonial North Carolina. The papers in this collection belonged to several members of the Wynns family and to relatives by marriage (for details see genealogical chart below). The majority of the papers are those of William B. (? - 1840) and his son James Madison Wynns (1834-1906).
The collection consists of correspondence, deeds, accounts, receipts, promissory notes, wills, minutes, legal papers, ledger books, and miscellaneous material.

Descriptive Summary

Wynns Family Papers
Call Number
Wynns family
450.00 items, 1.00 reels
State Archives of North Carolina

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], MfP.91, Wynns Family Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Collection Overview

Papers of the family of William B. Wynns (d. 1840) of Hertford Co., include correspondence primarily with brothers in the Bahamas (1824-1834), in Florida (1838-1841), and in Hertford Co. about trade and farming, transportation of slaves to Florida, and an Indian uprising there. His other papers include deeds; bills of sale for slaves and for a schooner; and estate records involving his Petty[s] Shore farm and fishery and his Florida property. A few papers relate to William's uncle, Gen. Thomas Wynns (1824-1825), and his brother James D. Wynns (1833-1864). Among papers of William's widow are those (1843-1868) of her second husband, John A. Southall, including financial, estate, and guardian records (1849-1868), and list of stockholders and minutes of the North Carolina and New York Steamboat Company (1855-1856). There are also business letters, deeds, agreements with freedmen, and financial records relating to John V. Lawrence, father-in-law of the Southall's daughter (1827-1875), including letters from John Williams about his female college in Brownsville, Tenn. (1868). Personal correspondence (1851-1906) of James M. Wynns, son of William B. Wynns, concerns family, the fishery, aid for Methodist college in Murfreesboro (1880), and horse breeding (1900-1901). His business papers include accounts, receipts, and promissory notes (1861-1880) and sample ledgers and time books for employees of the Wynns farm and the Petty[s] Shore Fishery (1871-1903). Includes a Wynns Family genealogical chart.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by family member.

Biographical Note

The Wynns (Winn, Wynn, Winns) family of Hertford County was one of great prominence in colonial North Carolina. A Mathew Winn is mentioned as a juror in court minutes as early as 1702, and George Winns was selling land in Bertie County (in an area which later became Hertford) as early as 1714. Several members of the Wynns family served in the General Assembly from Bertie and Hertford counties, and Benjamin Wynns was a member of the assemblies which created the county of Hertford (1759) and the town of Winton (1768). General Thomas Wynns (1764-1825) not only served in the General Assembly of North Carolina, but also was a member of Congress from 1802 until 1807.

Contents of the Collection

1. General Thomas Wynns Papers,1824-1825


Among the earliest papers in the collection are three items (1824-1825) pertaining to General (Congressman) Thomas Wynns. These include an account, a letter to the General, and a notice of the sale of his estate.

2. James Dean Wynns Papers,1833-1864


A second small grouping of papers are those of James Dean Wynns (? - 1864), younger brother of William B. Items in his papers (1833-1864) include a summons, promissory notes, letters discussing family and business matters, various financial papers, and accounts of the settlement of his estate.

3. William B. Wynns Papers


The William B. Wynns papers cover the period from 1824 until his death in 1840, and estate papers for him continue until as late as 1854. Correspondence is primarily from his brothers Benjamin, Thomas, and James Dean Wynns, and is concerned with various business activities in which they were engaged. Thomas wrote several letters (1824-1834), mostly from Turks Island in the Bahamas, commenting on commercial activities, giving instructions for handling business matters, and denying any part in the ownership of the schooner Benjamin, who apparently had several misunderstandings with his brothers, wrote from his new farm in Florida, telling of crops, new farm buildings, and trouble with his son William, and giving instructions for the transporting of his slaves to Florida (1838). Other correspondence tells of the farm situation in Hertford County, business activities, William B. Wynns' involvement in Florida farming, and crops, weather, health, and an Indian uprising in Florida (1839-1841).

Other items in the William B. Wynns papers include deeds and/or indentures for property, slaves, and shares of the Winton Ferry (1825-1837); a bill of sale for the schooner (later renamed ); financial records for Wynns; an account book for his estate, including records for his Petty Shore farm and fishery and his Florida property (1840-1854); a description of his route from Hertford County to Florida; a newspaper clipping concerning Benjamin Wynns; and various miscellaneous items.

Correspondence,1824-1841, n.d.
Legal Papers,1824-1838
Accounts and Receipts,1823-1839, n.d.
Estate Account Book,1842-1854

4. Mary Pipkin Wynns (Southall) Papers, 1885, 1885


Mary Pipkin Wynns, widow of William B. Wynns, married John A. Southall sometime after 1842. Papers belonging to Mary Pipkin Wynns Southall include a listing of items bought from the estate of her late husband (1840), accounts (1840-1842), and a property tax listing (1885).

5. John W. Southall Papers,1843-1865


John A. Southall papers in the collection include personal financial papers (1843-1864), an account book pertaining primarily to estates settlements and guardianships (1849-1868), and a resolution of association for and minutes of the North Carolina and New York Steamboat Company (1855-1856).

6. James M. Wynns Papers


The overwhelming majority of papers in this collection were the property of James Madison Wynns, son of William B. and Mary Pipkin Wynns; The correspondence dates from 1855 and is primarily concerned with business and personal family matters. During 1863 and 1864, several letters were received from his Uncle James Dean Wynns, telling of the elder Wynns' ill health and reporting that Yankee troops had taken all of his clothes, leaving him destitute and in great need of assistance. Topics of particular interest in the correspondence include activities at Petty Shores Fishery, aid for Methodist College at Murfreesboro (1880), description of Japan and the Japanese people (1886), Wynns family history (1894, 1896), breeding of horses for trotting purposes (1900-1901), and the death of James M. Wynns (1906).

The bulk of James M. Wynns' papers consist of his business and financial records. These accounts, receipts, and promissory notes begin in 1861 and, with accounts of his estate, continue as late as 1948. Supplementing the financial papers are approximately fifty personal ledger books giving detailed accounts of all his business activities. Because of the quantity of material involved and the marginal research value of the more recent of these records, only the financial papers prior to 1880 and samples of the ledger books have been microfilmed. Among the ledgers selected for filming are several time books for the Wynns farm and for Petty Shore Fishery, listing names of employees, hours worked each week, and wages paid for these services (1873-1874, 1881-1882, 1891-1892, and 1902-1903).

Other papers belonging to James M. Wynns include his will (1894); legal agreements; certificates; genealogical and historical notes; poems and essays; the constitution and by-laws of the (n.d.); list of officers (captain and above) of the 15th Battalion, N. C. Troops, as of 22 July 1863; and a variety of miscellaneous items.

Legal Papers, Agreements, Certificates, etc.,1861-1905
Financial Records,1858-1903
Poems, notes, genealogical, and historical material

7. Thomas B. Wynns Papers,1906-1927


The final group of Wynns papers consist of a few pieces of correspondence belonging to Thomas B., son of James M. Wynns. These letters (1906-1927) concern Thomas' father, Wynns' genealogical requests, and other family matters.

8. John V. Lawrence Papers


Included in the collection is a group of papers belonging to John V. Lawrence. Lawrence was the father-in-law of Susan E. Southall, daughter of Mary P. Wynns and John W. Southall. The papers contain business correspondence (1853-1868); deeds (1827-1875); true copies of the wills of Elisha Lawrence (1832) and Mary Lawrence (1843); legal papers (1849-1873); financial records (1845-1875); and various miscellaneous items. Many of the business papers pertain to the firms of Lawrence & Vaughn Company and J. V. Lawrence & Son.

Deeds and Indentures,1827-1875
Legal Documents,1834-1873
Financial Records,1845-1875

Subject Headings

  • Wynns family
  • Wynns, William B.
  • Wynns, James D.
  • Southall, John A.
  • Lawrence, John V.
  • Williams, John
  • Wynns, James M.
  • Southall Family
  • Wynns, James Dean
  • Wynns, James Madison
  • Wynns, Thomas
  • Wynns, William B.
  • Winn family
  • Winns family
  • Wynn family
  • North Carolina and New York Steamboat Company
  • Petty[s] Shore Fishery
  • Methodist College (Murfreesboro, N.C.)
  • North Carolina and New York Steamboat Co.
  • Agriculture
  • Commerce
  • Business
  • Slaves
  • African Americans
  • Transportation
  • Indians
  • Insurrection
  • Slave trade
  • Administration of estates
  • Stockholders
  • Guardian
  • Women's colleges
  • Employees
  • Laborers
  • Generals
  • Widows
  • Methodist universities and colleges
  • Freedmen
  • Horses--Breeding
  • Fisheries
  • Gifts
  • Agriculture--Florida
  • Agriculture--Economic aspects--North Carolina
  • Fisheries--Economic aspects
  • Seminole War, 2nd, 1835-1842--Campaigns
  • Bahamas
  • Florida
  • Brownville (Tenn.)
  • Murfreesboro
  • Hertford County (N.C.)--History-19th century
  • Account books
  • Correspondence
  • Deeds
  • Receipts (Acknowledgments)
  • Acquisitions Information

    Microfilmed, May, 1967, from originals in the possession of F. Roy Johnson, Murfreesboro, N. C., borrowed for filming through the courtesy of E. Frank Stephenson, Murfreesboro, N. C.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Don Lennon, May, 1967. Encoded by Lee Todd, February, 2008. Edited by Fran Tracy-Walls, November 2019, for publication in Discover Online Catalog (DOC).