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Margaret Eliza Cotten Journal


Margaret Eliza Cotten (1835-1895) was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C., the first-born of John W. Cotten (circa 1811-1845 and Laura Placidia Clark Cotten (1816-1864). Following the death of her father, Margaret moved to Raleigh with her family, where she was educated at St. Mary's School. A year and a few months after the last entry in the journal, she married Joseph Adolphus Engelhard.This antebellum journal was maintained when Margaret Cotten was living with her mother, younger siblings, and grandmother in Raleigh, N.C. during her seventeenth and eighteenth years, from October 1, 1853 to July 12, 1854. Entries include accounts daily life and of trips to Tarboro and to Wilmington, N. ... (more below)

Title

Margaret Eliza Cotten Journal

Collection Number

PC.1979

Date(s)

1853-1854

Language

English

Physical Description
Item
1
Abstract

Margaret Eliza Cotten (1835-1895) was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C., the first-born of John W. Cotten (circa 1811-1845 and Laura Placidia Clark Cotten (1816-1864). Following the death of her father, Margaret moved to Raleigh with her family, where she was educated at St. Mary's School. A year and a few months after the last entry in the journal, she married Joseph Adolphus Engelhard.

This antebellum journal was maintained when Margaret Cotten was living with her mother, younger siblings, and grandmother in Raleigh, N.C. during her seventeenth and eighteenth years, from October 1, 1853 to July 12, 1854. Entries include accounts daily life and of trips to Tarboro and to Wilmington, N.C. to visit with family and friends and to take part in social events and Christmas holiday celebrations. The journal also provides a glimpse of the thoughts and aspirations of a well-connected, upperclass young woman in antebellum Raleigh, a town of about 4,500 people during the period recorded.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, North Carolina State Archives.

Creator

Cotten, Margaret Eliza

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Journal is bound and written in chronological order.


Available for research.


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.


Processed by Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011

Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, March, 2011


Margaret Eliza Cotten (circa 1835-1895) was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C. to John Whitaker Cotten (circa 1811-1845), and Laura Placidia Clark Cotten (1816-1864). Margaret's siblings included Arabella Clark Cotten (b. circa 1839); Florida Cotten (circa 1842-1866); and John Whitaker Cotten (1845-1922). Following the death of the elder John W. Cotten, the family moved to Raleigh and lived on Blount Street. The household there (1850 census) included her widowed mother, paternal grandmother, Margaret Whitaker Cotten, and her young siblings. In Raleigh, Margaret's education included study at St. Mary's School. She was a member of Christ Church across from the Capitol.

Following her marriage in 1855 to Joseph Adolphus Engelhard, Margaret later became the mother of two daughters and two sons, including John Cotten Engelhard, who married Margaret Hinsdale, daughter of Col. John Hinsdale of Raleigh. Her daughter, Laura Placide Engelhard (married William Montford Boylan III around 1885; and her daughter, Rosabelle Engelhard, married Hal Worth.

An only son of Edward E. and Sarah Benson Engelhard, Joseph Adolphus Engelhard was born in Monticello, Mississippi, 27 September 1832. After attending schools in Mississippi and New Albany, Indiana, he was graduated in 1854 from the University of North Carolina. He studied law at Harvard, and subsequently at Chapel Hill, and was licensed to practice in the county courts in 1856. His bond to marry Margaret Eliza Cotten was dated 25 September 1855, with bondsmen, John Gray Blount Grimes and Thomas J. Utley. During that period he and his young wife and family moved to Tarboro, where he remained until the beginning of the Civil War.

Engelhard entered Confederate service as captain and quartermaster of the Thirty-third Regiment in May 1861, and in April 1862, was promoted as major and quartermaster of Branch's brigade. In December of that year he was transferred to General W. D. Pender's brigade as its adjutant general. After the wounding and deaths of many officers at Gettysburg early July 1863, Engelhard assumed command of the right flank of his division. Reportedly he had his horse shot out under him as he reached the Union side. At General Robert E. Lee's request, Engelhard prepared the official report of Pender's Division during the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war he became editor of the  Wilmington Journal in 1865 in partnership with his brother-in-law, William Laurence Saunders, who had married Florida Cotten in 1865 (circa 1842-1866). Engelhard served as clerk in the Senate of the General Assembly, sessions 1865-66 and 1866-67, and later was elected secretary of state. The latter position he held from 1877 until his death in office on 17 February 1879.

1811, ca. Birth of Margaret's father, John Whitaker Cotten, Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C., to Spencer Dew Cotten and Margaret Whitaker Cotten(circa 1792-1855), originally of Halifax County. 1816 Birth of her mother, Laura Placidia to James West Clark (circa 1769-1845) and Arabella E. Toole Clark (circa 1781-1860) of Tarboro, Edgecombe County. 1832, December Marriage of John W. Cotten and Laura P. Clark in Edgecombe County. 1835, November 13 Birth of Margaret Eliza Cotten 1845, circa Death of Margaret's father. 1850 or before Margaret was living in Raleigh, N.C. with her mother, Laura, and two younger sisters and a brother and paternal grandmother, Margaret Whitaker Cotten. The census showed Laura Cotten's real estate valued at $40,000. 1853, October 1 First entry made in the journal. 1854, July 12 Last entry made in the journal. 1855, September Marriage of Margaret to Joseph Adolphus Engelhard in Raleigh 1860, December Marriage of Arbabella Cotten, sister, to William Deans Barnes of Hertford County, UNC class of 1852, future lieutenant, C.S.A., lawyer, and future Florida legislator, lietenant governor, and state official. 1865, February Marriage of Florida Cotten, sister, to William Laurence Saunders, UNC class of 1854, lawyer, colonel of 46th Regiment, N.C. Troops, editor, state official, and compiler of the  Colonial Records. 1865, September Marriage of John W. Cotten II to Elizabeth Frink. He had been a student at UNC before entering service in 1864, C.S.A. After the death of his first wife, Cotten married Alice C. Pender of Tarboro. He was father of seven children.

 Sources:

1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 United States Federal Census;  Alumni History of the University of North Carolina. 2nd ed., 1924. 35, 131, 185; John L. Cheney, Jr., ed.  North Carolina Government, 1585-1979 (Raleigh: N.C. Dept. of Secretary of State, 1981) 332, 335, 425, 434n;  Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, s.v.  "Joseph Adolphus Engelhard";  "William Laurence Saunders"; Louis H. Manarin and Weymouth T. Jordan Jr., comps.,  North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, 13 vols. to date (Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Dept. of Cultural Resources, 1966-), 9:119; North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868.


[Identification of item], PC.1977, Margaret Eliza Cotten Journal, 1853-1854, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, N.C., USA.


Received as a gift from John Cotten,


Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)  http://mars.archives.ncdcr.gov/BasicSearch.aspx.


Consists of one hard bound journal, measuring 7.75 x 9.75 inches, including 63 sheets of paper or 126 pages of writing, front and back. The journal belonged to Margaret Eliza Cotten (1835-1895), who married Joseph Aldolphus Engelhard, a little past a year after the journal's last entry.

This antebellum journal was maintained when Margaret Cotten was living with her mother, younger siblings, and grandmother in Raleigh, N.C. during her seventeenth and eighteenth years, from October 1, 1853 to July 12, 1854. Entries include accounts daily life and of trips to Tarboro, N.C. in Edgecombe County and to Wilmington, N.C. to stay with family and friends and social events and Christmas holiday celebrations. There are many references to neighborhood visits, church going [Christ Church], and to her friendships and visits with St. Mary's School friends. Young men also are featured, including her husband-to-be, Joseph Adolphus Engelhard, and William Laurence Saunders. Engelhard and Saunders were friends and also students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The journal provides a look at the daily life and thoughts of an well-connected, upperclass young woman in antebellum Raleigh, a town of about 4,500 people during the period recorded.

See a more detailed description below at Container List, Scope and Content Note.

Journal is bound and written in chronological order.


Consists of one hard bound journal, measuring 7 x 9 inches, including 63 sheets of paper or 126 pages of writing, front and back. The journal belonged to Margaret Eliza Cotten (1835-1895), who married Joseph Aldolphus Engelhard, a little past a year after the journal's last entry.

This antebellum journal was maintained when Margaret Cotten was living with her mother, younger siblings, and grandmother in Raleigh, N.C. during her seventeenth and eighteenth years, from October 1, 1853 to July 12, 1854. Entries include accounts daily life and of trips to Tarboro, N.C. in Edgecombe County and to Wilmington, N.C. to stay with family and friends and social events and Christmas holiday celebrations. There are many references to neighborhood visits, church going [Christ Church], and to her friendships and visits with St. Mary's School friends. Young men also are featured, including her husband-to-be, Joseph Adolphus Engelhard, and William Laurence Saunders. Engelhard and Saunders were friends and also students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The journal provides a look at the daily life and thoughts of an well-connected, upperclass young woman in antebellum Raleigh, a town of about 4,500 people during the period recorded.

See a more detailed description below at Container List, Scope and Content Note.


  • Cotten family.
  • Saint Mary's School (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Bereavement--North Carolina--19th century.
  • Cholera--Southern States--19th century.
  • College students--North Carolina--19th century.
  • Courtship--North Carolina--19th century.
  • Family--North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Motherhood--North Carolina--19th century.
  • North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Women--North Carolina--Diaries.
  • Women--North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Raleigh (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Tarboro (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Wilmington (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Cotten, Laura Placidia Clark, 1816-1864.
  • Cotten, Margaret Eliza, 1835-1895.
  • Engelhard, Joseph Adolphus, 1832-1879.
  • Saunders, William Laurence, 1835-1891.

The journal includes many of Margaret Eliza Cotten's thoughts and feelings, and an informal record of her day-to-day and family activities. The journal does not generally include detailed descriptions, but has many references to her various pastimes such as reading, painting, dancing, and visiting people within Miss Cotten's family and social set. From time to time she named rectors who had preached at her church, Christ Church [Episcopal]. Within easy walking distance of her home on Blount Street, the church, consecrated in 1829, was then in its first building at Wilmington and Edenton Streets, across from Union Square and the east portico of the Capitol.

Entries also included accounts of daily life and of trips to Tarboro in Edgecombe County and to Wilmington, N.C. to stay with family and friends and social events and Christmas holiday celebrations. There are references to visits to the North Carolina State Fair, a highly anticipated event that opened for the first time in October of 1853. There are many references to neighborhood visits, and a few comments about illness and death. She wrote with particular feeling about the death of the mother of her friend, Annie Bryan, Lucy Olivia Blount Grimes, who died 29 June 1854, and the bereavement and sadness of losing one's mother. More frequently, Margaret Cotten wrote of friendships and visits with St. Mary's School friends. Young men also figure prominently in the journal, including William Laurence Saunders and Joseph Adolphus Engelhard, her husband-to-be (but apparently his future status was faintly suspected and hoped for, but unbeknownst to her at the time). Saunders and Engelhard were friends and also students together at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, class of 1854. Saunders and Margaret's sister, Florida, and Saunders would later wed in February 1865.

Mr. Engelhard apparently travelled to visit family in Mississippi during the summer of 1854, a trip that occasioned great anxiety in Miss Cotten when she did not receive a letter from him. She includes among her concerns the reality of cholera outbreaks in St. Louis and along the Mississppi River. Towards the end of the journal, she, her grandmother, and other family, were about to embark on a trip to Shocco, a highly popular resort at the time, located northeast of Raleigh in Warren County. Although Miss Cotten recorded that she anticipated a  "quiet time", the springs were frequently sought by wealthy 19th century travellers for both the therapetic effects of the nearby mineral springs and for the active social life.

The end of the volume suggests that Miss Cotten planned to continue her journal writing. It is unknown whether she added to her first volume and if so, whether any additional ones have survived.