callout

Crenshaw Family Papers


The Crenshaw family can trace its history in Wake County to James Crenshaw, a native Englishman, who settled in the area during the mid 1700s. His children included Samuel B. Crenshaw (circa 1790-1828) and William M. Crenshaw (1783-1861). William was a founding trustee and the first treasurer of the institute that became Wake Forest College. Samuel and his wife, Eliza (Harris) Crenshaw, built Crenshaw Hall on land given her in 1824 as a wedding present from her father, Robert. Louisa was the only child of Samuel and Eliza, who returned to Crenshaw Hall after the death of her first husband, William Norman. Eventually, after marriage to her first cousin, John Martin Crenshaw (son of William), ... (more below)

Title

Crenshaw Family Papers

Collection Number

PC.2016

Date(s)

1833 - 1944

Language

English

Physical Description
Boxes
3
Cubic feet
1
Abstract

The Crenshaw family can trace its history in Wake County to James Crenshaw, a native Englishman, who settled in the area during the mid 1700s. His children included Samuel B. Crenshaw (circa 1790-1828) and William M. Crenshaw (1783-1861). William was a founding trustee and the first treasurer of the institute that became Wake Forest College. Samuel and his wife, Eliza (Harris) Crenshaw, built Crenshaw Hall on land given her in 1824 as a wedding present from her father, Robert. Louisa was the only child of Samuel and Eliza, who returned to Crenshaw Hall after the death of her first husband, William Norman. Eventually, after marriage to her first cousin, John Martin Crenshaw (son of William), Louisa persuaded John to make his home with her at the Crenshaw Hall. Later generations lived in and some held title to the beloved homeplace, including Mattie Williams Jones (1875-1961), and some years later, her son Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., (1903-1989). Jones served in World War II as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps, and like most family members, was buried in the Crenshaw Hall Cemetery.

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 at Crenshaw Hall, near Wake Forest, Wake County. The earliest document in the papers are the leaves of a disbound memorandum book that appear to be financial records and lists made by the first treasurer of the institute that became in 1839 Wake Forest College. The last documents include military-related items, three photographs, and a group letters to Marine Corporal, Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., 1943-1944. Among the papers are financial records, particularly those of John Martin Crenshaw, who was involved in farming and tenancy operations, the cotton brokerage business, a grist mill, and other interests. Especially notable are the courtship letters from three generations, written from 1853-1857; during the 1890s; and from 1942-1944.

Physical Location

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

Creator

Crenshaw family.Jones family.Williams family.

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Folders arranged by correspondents' names and by material type. Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Materials; Series 2: Miscellaneous Business Materials; and Series 3: Journals (Oversize).


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 George Stevenson, 1996; Fran Tracy-Walls, 2011

Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, June 2011


The Crenshaw family in Wake County can trace its history in Wake County to James Crenshaw, a native Englishman, who settled in the county during the mid 1700s. His children included Samuel B. Crenshaw (circa 1790-1828) and William M. Crenshaw (1783-1861).

 Sarah Brodie Martin and William Crenshaw (1783-1861), Descendants and the Beginning of Wake Forest College

William brought his bride, Sarah, to a two story plantation house situated on a large plantation adjoining Horse Creek. They were part of a community that had grown up in this surrounding area and the creek that rose in Franklin County, then flowed into northern Wake County where it eventually entered the Neuse River. As the plantation grew, a grist mill, lumber mill, and mercantile store were added. During the 1820s, if not before, William had a license to retail spiritous liquors. According to a genealogical sheet in this collection, William and Sarah Brodie became parents of at least eight children who grew to adulthood and married.

In 1834 William was one of several men in the area involved in the founding of the institution that later became Wake Forest College (now University). A trustee, he also became the college's first treasurer. One daughter of William and Sally, Frances Warren, married George W. Thompson, also a founding trustee of the college, and a respected teacher and later legislator, who prepared many students for entrance into the college.

William and Sarah's eldest son, William Martin Crenshaw, Jr. became a physician by profession. The younger William had received degrees from the University of North Carolina in 1833 (A.B.) and 1836 (A.M.), and also studied medicine at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. (See PC.1747. William Martin Crenshaw Papers).

William and Sarah's youngest son, John Martin Crenshaw (later known as Major Crenshaw), was the first of about fifteen students to enroll in Wake Forest Institute, and long a supporter of Wake Forest College. Major Crenshaw (1822-1910), eventually took over the family enterprises then expanded them and entered the cotton brokerage business. Records in these papers indicate his management of various tenants on the property and other enterprises.

Note: Wake Forest Institute was founded in 1834 by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. It opened on 3 Feburary of that year. Apparently the General Assembly had been reluctant or slow in granting a charter, so a committee appointed by the convention had proceed to purchase a farm about fifteen miles north of Raleigh (615 acres formerly belonging to Dr. Calvin Jones.) It was chartered by the General Assembly in 1838 as Wake Forest College. The William Crenshaw home on Horse Creek was about three miles to the west. Eventually, the town of Wake Forest grew up around the college.

 Eliza Harris (1794-1871) and Samuel B. Crenshaw (circa 1790-1828) and Descendants

Samuel B. Crenshaw married Eliza Harris, daughter of wealthy planter, Robert Harris, who gave as a wedding gift a 1,400 acre tract of land. Afterwards the couple built on the land a dwelling named Crenshaw Hall. Two years later in 1826, they became parents of a daughter named Louisa James Crenshaw. Unfortunately, Samuel died two years later.

Louisa married in 1844 to William Norman of Oxford, Granville County; and the following year they welcomed a baby, Sarah E. Three years later, however, William died, and Louisa and Sarah returned to Crenshaw Hall.

 Louisa James (Crenshaw) Norman Crenshaw (1825-1914) and John Martin Crenshaw (1822-1910) and Other Generations at Crenshaw Hall

In 1860, after a courtship of several years, John M. Crenshaw married his widowed cousin, Louisa. At first the couple lived at John's family home, Waterfall, on Horse Creek, but then moved at Louisa's request to her former home, Crenshaw Hall. Louisa and John had no children, but Louisa had brought to the marriage a daughter by her first marriage, Sarah (Sallie) Norman (circa 1846-1904). Wake County Guardian Accounts for Wake County show that John took some responsibility for Sallie, and that he was appointed her legal guardian at the November Term, 1861, of the Wake Pleas and Quarter Sessions Court. The Guardian Accounts show that a cash settlement was made when she came of age on 18 February 1867.

During the early 1870s, Eliza Harris Crenshaw, one of the founders of Crenshaw Hall, died there at the age of seventy-seven (1794-1871). Two years later (1873), Sallie Norman married Benjamin Craven Williams (According to a family history that appears on the website of Crenshaw Hall, the marriage was not approved by Sallie's mother, Louisa, who subsequently disowned her daughter.) Wake County Superior Court records, April Term 1875, include a record of a suit between Benjamin C. Williams and wife Sallie E. Williams vs. John M. Crenshaw, with a request made for the court to award an amount that exceeded the settlement of 1867, but was identical to Crenshaw's bond as guardian. Points made by Crenshaw included the fact that the part of Sallie's property consisting of slaves had been lost through emancipation, and also that she had continued to live at Crenshaw Hall at his expense, with no protest against the 1867 settlement until her marriage with Williams. Whatever the particulars, it is apparent that trust and affection were broken on both sides, and was never restored.

Several children were born to the Norman and Williams' marriage: William W., Louise N., and Mattie B. Williams. When Sarah became ill, she was unable to care for the children, and they went to live with their grandmother, Louisa Crenshaw, at Crenshaw Hall. At the time of Mattie's marriage in 1897 to Thomas Plummer Jones (1865-1937) of Warren County, she was the only child living at Crenshaw Hall. In 1903 the Williams children learned that their mother was ill again and near death. Louise and William went against their grandmother's strict orders not to visit their mother, and they were disinherited. Louisa Crenshaw's death certificate included a statement that her occupation was living with her grandchildren.

Mattie and Thomas P. Jones had four children, with the following ones living to adulthood: Thomas Plummer (1903 -1989), William Martin (1897-1986), and Edward B.(1900-1965). When Louisa James Crenshaw Norman Crenshaw died in 1914, Crenshaw Hall was left to Mattie Williams Jones. Subsequently, Mattie agreed to have her unmarried sister, Louise Norman Williams, live at Crenshaw Hall with her family. Mattie's brother, William, had married Susan Daughtry in the early 1900s, and that union produced two children, William, Jr. and Louise. Louise eventually inherited Crenshaw Hall, through the estate of her cousin Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., who had inherited the property from his brother William Martin Jones. Though legal ownership has changed several times, Crenshaw Hall to date has remained within the family for almost two hundred years.

Note: Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr. served as a Corporal, United States Marine Corps, during World War II.

 Sources:

 Alumni History of the University of North Carolina, 2nd ed.(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1924), 141; Elizabeth Reid Murray,  Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. I (Raleigh: Capital County Publishing Company, 1983), 101, 300-303, 655, 416-417. North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975;  North Carolina Gazeteer, 2nd ed., s.v. Brodie, Forestville, Horse Creek; North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2000;  The Heritage of Wake County, North Carolina, eds. Lynne Belvin and Harriette Riggs (Winston-Salem: Hunter Publishing Co. for Wake County Genealogical Society, 1983), 183-184. United States Census: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.

See the following websites: historic-crenshawhall.com; website: //cemeterycensus.com: Wake County North Carolina Cemeteries: Crenshaw Hall Cemetery; Forestville Baptist Church Cemetery.


[Identification of item], PC.2016, Crenshaw Family Papers, 1833-1944, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, N.C., USA.


Received as a gift Josephine Bennett Totten, Hendersonville, Tenn., 2011


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.

See MARS for PC.1747. William Martin Crenshaw Papers.


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 at Crenshaw Hall, near Wake Forest, Wake County. The earliest document in the papers are the leaves of a disbound memorandum book that appear to be financial records and lists made apparently by William Crenshaw, first treasurer of the institute that became in 1839 Wake Forest College. The last documents, in terms of chronology, include some military-related items, four photos, and a group letters to Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1943-1944. Among the papers are financial records, particularly of John Martin Crenshaw, who was involved in farming and tenancy operations, the cotton brokerage business, a grist mill, and other interests. 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 the then small town of Wake Forest.

Folders arranged by correspondents' names and by material type. Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Materials; Series 2: Miscellaneous Business Materials; and Series 3: Journals (Oversize).


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 at Crenshaw Hall, near Wake Forest, Wake County. The earliest document in the papers are the leaves of a disbound memorandum book that appear to be financial records and lists made apparently by William Crenshaw, first treasurer of the institute that became in 1839 Wake Forest College. The last documents, in terms of chronology, include some military-related items, four photos, and a group letters to Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1943-1944. Among the papers are financial records, particularly of John Martin Crenshaw, who was involved in farming and tenancy operations, the cotton brokerage business, a grist mill, and other interests. 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 the then small town of Wake Forest.


  • Crenshaw family.
  • Jones family.
  • Kittrell family.
  • Williams family.
  • United States. Marine Corps--Non-commissioned officers--Biography.
  • United States. Marine Corps--Non-commissioned officers--Photographs.
  • Wake Forest College--History--19th century.
  • Cotton farmers
  • Cotton industry
  • Cotton trade
  • Courtship
  • Family--North Carolina--History--19th century.
  • Family--North Carolina--History--20th century.
  • Mortgage loans
  • Tenant farmers
  • Women--North Carolina--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Women--North Carolina--Social life and customs--20th century.
  • World War, 1939-1945.
  • Crenshaw Hall (Wake County, N.C.)
  • Forestville (N.C.)
  • Wake Forest (N.C.)
  • Wake County (N.C.)
  • Warren County (N.C.)
  • Crenshaw, John Martin
  • Crenshaw, Louisa James Crenshaw Norman
  • Kittrell, John Ramsey.
  • Jones, Mattie Williams.
  • Jones, Thomas Plummer, Jr.
  • Williams, Sarah E. Norman.

This series includes approximately 97 letters and small quantity of notes; six photos; and around 25 miscellaneous materials such as receipts, agreements, poems, clippings, and military-related material. Folders have been established for the following who were, for the most part, recipients of the letters: Louisa James (Crenshaw) Norman Crenshaw; Sarah E. (Norman) Williams; Mattie (Williams) Jones; Thomas Plummer Jones;

Box: PC.2016.1  
Folder: 1  
Louisa James (Crenshaw) Norman Crenshaw
1853-1910

Scope and Content

Of particular interest are two courtship letters to Louisa from her cousin, and future husband, John Martin Crenshaw. These are dated 14 February 1853 (four pages), and 5 November 1856 (two long pages).

Folder: 2  
Sarah (Sallie) E. (Norman) Williams
1867-1905

Scope and Content

Includes a letter (24 Jan 1887) Sallie wrote to her mother, describing her financial difficulties, forcing them to  "partake of the miserable mortgage system to live at all". Dissatisfied with the present holder of the mortgage, she asks her mother to  "raise this mortgage with interest annually remitted". The last letter in the folder (13 Sep 1905) is from a cousin addressed to Sallie, in Brodie, Warren County. It is not known if Sallie was alive at the time of this writing by John Ramsey Kittrell (1829-1910), a native of Orange County, who had relocated with family to Alabama. As an attorney, Kittrell later became an attorney general of the state of Nevada; then a district attorney, Stanislaus County, California; and at the time of the letter's writing, a practicing attorney in Fresno, California. The letter includes some genealogical information on his Kittrell, Norman, Williams lines that had North Carolina connections.

Folder: 3  
Mattie (Williams) Jones
1889-1896

Scope and Content

Most of the letters in this folder are courtship letters, including a few from Mattie's husband-to-be, Thomas Plummer Jones, whom she married in February of 1897. At least one letter was written by Mattie.

Folder: 4  
Mattie (Williams) Jones
1897-1937

Scope and Content

Of the first group of letters in this folder, there are about ten written by Thomas Plummer Jones, shortly before and after the couple's marriage. There are also letters before the marriage from other suitors. Later letters also include two from the Rector of Emmanuel Church (Episcopal), the Rev. John Coleman Horton. One, written on 27 November 1907 thanks Mattie for her hospitality and for the pleasure of baptizing the baby, and the hope of baptizing her two children who could not come. The second letter, dated 4 March 1908 was a condolence letter on the tragic loss of her little boy in a accident a few days before.

Folder: 5  
Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr.
1942-1944

Scope and Content

The letters include several from young women, particulary Iris Fuller, of Wake County, who sometimes addressed Tom as  "Hey hon-nee," or  "Hi Snake,".

There are four photos, with unidentified people in an unidentified place. The photos include one or two men in service dress uniforms and two include a one young woman. The tall serviceman is presumed to be Thomas P. Jones.

Folder: 6  
Miscellaneous Materials, , circa; some undated
1858-1944

Scope and Content

Includes poems and quotations, prayers, clippings, inviations, and other material. There is photocopied Civil War era addition news bulletin from the State Journal; and a facsimile, apparently, of a news dispatch, 27 February 1861.

Folder: 7  
Miscellaneous Photograph
December 1891

Scope and Content

This studio portrait of Bettie Ball, was sent to Mattie Williams as a Christmas gift, 1891.

Consists of business correspondence; a small quantity of estate files; business and legal documents, such as mortgage records, deeds, promissory notes; account lists; a segment of a memorandum book relating to Wake Forest Institute and Wake Forest College in its founding years; and other materials. Arranged in folders by material type, and placed in alphabetical order.

Box: PC.2016.2  
Folder: 8  
Accounts--Louisa J. Crenshaw
1863-1880

Scope and Content

This small memorandum book includes lists of dresses and other clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Folder: 9  
Bank Statements and Checks
1897-1907

Scope and Content

There are about thirty of these documents. They do not represent an unbroken series of financial records.

Folder: 10  
Bonds to Make Title
1882-1900

Scope and Content

Folder: 11  
Business Correspondence
1883-1905

Scope and Content

Folder: 12  
Chattel Mortgages
1877-1897

Scope and Content

These three documents are for the years 1877; 1893; and 1897, respectively.

Folder: 13  
Chattel Mortgage (on insurance policy)
1895

Scope and Content

Folder: 14  
Deeds (fee simple)
1840-1901

Scope and Content

Folder: 15  
Deeds (mortgage)
1872-1904

Scope and Content

Folder: 16  
Estate--Fleming, John M.
1862

Scope and Content

Folder: 17  
Estate--Jackson, Lorenzo (Granville County)
1849

Scope and Content

There are five documents associated with these estate papers and one memorandum book.

Folder: 18  
Genealogy, undated

Scope and Content

These is one sheet, with information on both sides. It lists the descendants of William Martin, and particularly the line of Sarah Brodie Martin and William Crenshaw; and also a nephew brought up by Sarah Brodie (Martin) Crenshaw, Alexander Martin High, who married Elizabeth Kiff Ray.

Folder: 19  
Land Division (Talitha Rayland)
1883

Scope and Content

Folder: 20  
Land Sold for Taxes
1885-1889

Scope and Content

Folder: 21  
Promissory Notes (Mortgages), A-W
1887-1908

Scope and Content

Folder: 22  
Surveys and Land Descriptions, , and undated
1872-1905

Scope and Content

Of these eleven documents, seven are original and four are photocopies.

Folder: 23  
Tenants--Accounts
1892-1908

Scope and Content

The accounts are listed in one volume. Most names were entered on separate pages in alphabetical order.

Folder: 24  
Tenants--Cotton Sales
1886-1887

Scope and Content

Consists of one volume. Charges were levied for some services, including bagging and tying the cotton. It appears that business was conducted with some tenants of land holders other than the Crenshaws. The back of the volume includes several pages of entries of an account with a bank.

Folder: 25  
Tenants--Cotton Sales
1907

Scope and Content

These charges were recorded on loose, single tickets.

Folder: 26  
Wake Forest Institute: Goods Purchased and Items Furnished, and Fiscal Reports
1833-1839

Scope and Content

This one item appears to be 26 leaves from a disbound memorandum book. It also includes a draft of the Treasurer's Report, 1834-1838 (William Crenshaw) and a report on the sale of property, 1839.

Consists of sales journals, rough accounts, and sales accounts.

Box: PC.2016.3  
Volume I: Sales Journal, and Cotton Received, 1855-1859
1855-1860

Scope and Content

The exact dates of the sales journal are 2 Apr 1855 - 30 Jun 1860; and the cotton received records, 1855-1859. In regards to the cotton received accounting, it is uncertain as to whether these constituted the actual gin record.

17084
Volume II: Sales Journal, Rough Accounts, and Sales Accounts
1860-1869

Scope and Content

The dates of the sales journal are 2 Jul 1860-28 Nov 1861; the rough accounts (S.E. Norman and others), 1862-1864; and sales accounts, 1865-1869.