Crenshaw Family Papers, PC.2016


Crenshaw Family Papers, PC.2016


Papers include original documents and letters and two oversized manuscript volumes, with the papers spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and relating to the Crenshaw Family and related families, who lived primarily near Wake Forest, Wake County, N.C.

Descriptive Summary

Crenshaw Family Papers
Call Number
Crenshaw family
State Archives of North Carolina

Series Quick Links

    Collection Overview

    The Crenshaw family can trace part of its history in Wake County to Sarah Brody Martin and William Crenshaw (1783-1861). William was a prominent planter and store keeper who became the first treasurer of Wake Forest College. John Martin Crenshaw (1822-1910), the couple's youngest child, eventually took over the family enterprises then expanded them and entered the cotton brokerage business. In 1860 he married his widowed cousin, Louisa James Norman, a daughter of Samuel (b. 1794) and Eliza White Harris Crenshaw (b. 1794).

    At first Louisa and John Martin lived at Horse Creek Planation, then moved at Louisa's request to her former home, Crenshaw Hall. (The homeplace had been built by Eliza and Samuel Crenshaw on land given Eliza by her father.) Louisa and Martin had no children, but Louisa had a daughter by her first marriage, Sally Norman Williams (1846?-1903 or 1904), who later married Benjamin Craven Williams. She became the mother of several children, including Mattie Marvin Williams. It was Mattie who inherited the Crenshaw Hall homeplace from her grandmother.

    Especially notable aspects of the papers are the following elements that reflect changing social customs and manners: a couple of courship letter from the 1850s written by John Martin Crenshaw to Louisa James Crenshaw while she was the widow of Thomas Norman; courtship letters written during the 1890s to Louisa's granddaughter, Mattie Williams; then these are followed by letters from Iris Fuller to Thomas Plummer Jones during World War II. The letters also reveal information useful for local history, such as entertainments in Raleigh before the Civil War; and troop entertainment events in Wake Forest and Camp Butner during World War II. Additionally, one can glean some ideas about the effect of the war on Wake Forest.

    Note that these papers are partially arranged. If you are interested in researching this collection of papers in its current state, please contact private manuscripts archivist at

    Contents of the Collection

    Subject Headings

  1. Crenshaw Family
  2. Mattie Williams Jones
  3. Louisa James (Crenshaw) Norman Crenshaw
  4. Sarah E. Norman Williams
  5. Thomas Plummer Jones
  6. Jones family
  7. Williams family
  8. Deeds
  9. Landlord and Tenant
  10. Wake County (N.C.)
  11. Wake Forest
  12. Acquisitions Information