Keeter Family Papers

James Keeter (ca. 1791-1834) was the son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Cookesy Keeter. Land granted in 1799 to James's grandfather, also James, was situated along the waters of Catheys Creek, north central Rutherford County. Other family members made their homes there in subsequent decades and on into the 20th century. Descendants included John Calvin Keeter (1825-1906), his son, Charles Frank Keeter (1864-1945).Many of the papers reflect the family's land, financial, estate matters; its few letters hint of political involvements and suggest ongoing contact with Keeter family who had migrated to Arkansas. Account books, apparently maintained by John Calvin Keeter and his son Charles Frank, pro ... (more below)


Keeter Family Papers

Collection Number






Physical Description
2.0 boxes
Includes one oversize manuscript box.
Physical Description

James Keeter (ca. 1791-1834) was the son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Cookesy Keeter. Land granted in 1799 to James's grandfather, also James, was situated along the waters of Catheys Creek, north central Rutherford County. Other family members made their homes there in subsequent decades and on into the 20th century. Descendants included John Calvin Keeter (1825-1906), his son, Charles Frank Keeter (1864-1945).

Many of the papers reflect the family's land, financial, estate matters; its few letters hint of political involvements and suggest ongoing contact with Keeter family who had migrated to Arkansas. Account books, apparently maintained by John Calvin Keeter and his son Charles Frank, provide more than a glimpse of a segment of the community in north central Rutherford County. John's work as a wheelright, blacksmith, postmaster, and merchant supported the community's day-to-day life, and the records tell part of the story. Two journals from the early 20th century hold southern recipes and spiritual poems written down perhaps by Emeline, wife of J.C. Keeter, and by Linette, wife of Frank Keeter.

Physical Location

Archives Building, 3B


Keeter family


State Archives of North Carolina

Arranged by subjects, and therein chronilogically where possible.

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

Finding Aid by Fran Tracy-Walls

James Keeter (circa 1791-1834) was a son of Mary Elizabeth Cookesy (ca.1762-1845) and Henry Keeter (ca. 1764-1848). The exact year of Henry's death is uncertain, but his will was probabted in the fall term of superior court, 1848, and eventually filed in the State Archives. Additional documents now also in the State Archives include a land grant entered and issued 1799, 1801, to James Keeter (whose 1802 probabated will in the State Archives places him as the father of Henry and grandfather of James).

The James Keeter land grant of 1799, 1801 was on Catheys Creek in the north central part of Rutherford County. For decades the land along both Catheys and Mountain Creeks was the site of homes and farm land of the extended Keeter family. (Catheys and Mountain Creeks flowed into the Second Broad and the Broad River respectively.)

James Keeter (circa 1791-1834) married Eliza (Elizabeth) Flack on the 16th of December 1871. Their children included Sarah (Sally Lee )(b. circa 1818); Andrew Jackson (b. circa 1821); Mary C. (b. ca. 1823); John Calvin (b. 11 March 1825); and Henry K. (b. circa 1827). The eldest child, Sarah, married a cousin, another James Keeter, on the 2nd of August 1837, and migrated to Union County Arkansas, apparently with various other extended family members.

Elizabeth Flack Keeter's will was probated in November 1879 (State Archives, Rutherford County wills), and included a bequest of her tract of land lying on the waters of Cathey's Creek to her sons, Andrew and John Calvin Keeter.

Family sources indicate that John Calvin Keeter (1825-1906) was married around 1853 to Louisa Emaline (aka Mialine) Moore (circa 1833-1913). John Calvin (J.C.) was a wheelright, blacksmith, was also a merchant, and served as postmaster for the community of Cuba (post office discontinued in 1906). On the 1900 U.S. Federal census J.C.'s occupation was listed as that of wheelwright. He was also said to have served as mayor of Union Mills, a community in northern Rutherford County established in 1892. Never far from the family farm land, J.C. and Emaline moved to Union Mills around the turn of the century. Tragedy would strike later in 1906 when John Calvin Keeter was struck by lightening while standing in the doorway of the family home.

The children born to Emaline and John Calvin Keeter numbered around eleven. The one offspring represented in these papers is Charles Franklin (Frank) Keeter (1864-1945). He was married to Linnette (Linnie) Oak Boswell (b. 1870 in Charleston, South Carolina, d. 1956 in Raleigh, N.C.). The couple raised a family, and Charles farmed and continued as a merchant in Rutherford County. The children of Charles and Linnie included Jack Keeter, who moved to Raleigh and was a fire chief in the city for a number of years.

Branson's Business Directory for the year 1872 listed J.C. Keeton [Keeter] as one of the county's two wheelwrights and as a proprietor located in the community of Cuba. The account books in these sets of papers do not name a store, except for the listing a business named G.W. Crawford & Hawkins, 1870-1872. While this might pose some unanswered questions, this book, labelled by the account keeper, as both Cash Book and Ledger, coupled with account book dated 1869-1871 do provide insight into the life and people of the surrounding community, as well as the family and "colored" customers.

[Identification of item] in PC.2048, Keeter Family Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C., U.S.A.

Gift of W. R. Williams, Wake Forest, N.C., 2012.

These papers include the will of James Keeter, dated 1834, of Rutherford County, and papers concerning some members of his family, particularly his son, John Calvin Keeter, and to a lesser extent....

North Carolina Death Certificates; North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004; U.S. Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.

  • Keeter, Andrew J.
  • Keeter, Elizabeth Flack
  • Keeter, James
  • Keeter, John Calvin
  • Keeter, Linnette Oaks Boswell
  • Flack family
  • G.W. Crawford and Hawkins General Store.
  • J. C. Keeter, Wheelright, Proprietor.
  • Blacksmiths--North Carolina--History--19th century
  • Cooking, American--Southern style.
  • Land grants
  • Southern States
  • Spiritual life--Poetry.
  • Wives
  • Women--19th century.
  • Women--20th century.
  • Catheys Creek (Rutherford County, N.C.)
  • Cuba (Rutherford County, N.C.)
  • Rutherford County (N.C.)
  • Account books
  • Indentures
  • Recipes
  • Wheelrights

Physical Description

Many of these papers are perhaps of family interest only, but do offer a view of a large, extended family that appears to have migrated to Rutherford County from other areas, including Virginia and South Carolina. One of the three letters in the collection sheds light on Keeter family members that moved to Arkansas before the Civil War. It reveals a James Keeter (named shared by various members over the generations) who was elected sheriff in Union County, Arkansas. Additionally, there are a few items such as the will of James Keeter.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Biographical/Family Information and Photograph

Scope and Content

Biographical and family information provided by donor. Includes copy of photograph of John Calvin Keeter (1825-1906) and his wife, Louisa Emiline (also known as Mialine) Keeter (ca. 1833-1913). Photograph was undated but appears to be circa 1890.

Box: PC.2048.1  

Scope and Content

The two bonds are as follows: 1) 1870, 22 March: Jane Whitesides to Henry Keeter. Attested by John T. Flack; 2) 1910, Oct 26. C.F. (Charles Frank) and Lennie Keeter to Daniel Martin.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Correspondence (3 letters)
1880; 1912

Descriptive Information
Physical Description
2.0 boxes
Includes one oversize manuscript box.

Scope and Content

Two letters from two different Keeter family members, using front and back of one page and dated 13 September 1880. One is from sister, Sarah L. Keeter, Yellville (Marion County) Ark. To J.C. (John Calvin) Keeter, Cuba, N.C. Post Office. Sep 13, 1880. [There was a post office at this location from 1850-1906]. She apologizes for her neglect in not answering letters from him and from lawyers, possibly regarding the settlement of the estate of their mother, Elizabeth Flack Keeter, who had died the previous year.

The second letter is from Sarah's son, A. [Andrew] F. Keeter, to his uncle J.C. (John Calvin) Keeter. He wrote that times were peaceful there in Marion County, Arkansas, and the election had gone all right, with J. J. (James) Keeter being elected county sheriff by a large majority. He wrote of looking forward to the November election, hoping [General Winfield Scott] Hancock [Democrat] would win other Republican James A. Garfield. There was some reference to land prices, now higher, in answer apparently to a question posed in an earlier letter by John Calvin Keeter.

Third letter: D.P. Nonney, Rutherfordton, N.C., to nephew, W. F. Flack, Union Mills, N.C. July 30, 1912. Writes that he gave (reported) to Mr. Wiggins John's [last name not mentioned] regiment, the 49th, but he did not know the company. The Keeter and the Flack family were related, and possibly the Keeter and Nonney family were also related through marriage.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Cemetery Plot Deed
6 March 1942

Scope and Content

For C.F. Keeter from Round Hill Baptist Church, Rutherford County. Attested by R. C. Flack.

Box: Oversize PC.2048.2  
Deeds (4)

Scope and Content

These are primarily mortgage deeds involving John C. [Calvin] Keeter and his wife, L.E. [Louisa Emiline] Keeter; also Frank [Charles Franklin] Keeter.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Estate, Administration of: Elizabeth Keeter

Scope and Content

Includes a notice, lists, letters testamentary. Note that the will of Elizabeth is in the State Archives, Wills of Rutherford County. It was probated in Rutherford County courthouse, 24 November 1879. Executors of the estate were her sons, Andrew J. and John Calvin Keeter. The signing of the will was attested by Andrew Flack and John Flack, probably Elizabeth's brothers or nephews.

Box: Oversize PC.2048.2  
Indentures (5)

Scope and Content

Involves Ichabod Keeter in addition to John Calvin Keeter, and C.F. (Charles Franklin/Frank) Keeter.

Box: Oversize PC.2048.2  
Land Grant

Scope and Content

Issued to Andrew J. Keeter, brother of John Calvin Keeter.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Mortgage, Chattel (1)

Scope and Content

C.F. Keeter, Union Mills, N.C., to Keeter Bros. Dec. 31 1898. Security was entire crop of wheat, corn, fodder. Witnessed by T. S. Keeter.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Petition to Post Master General

Scope and Content

Petition for establishment of a post office at D. J. Keeters Store, 9 miles from Rutherfordton.

Box: PC.2048  
Promissory Notes and Receipts (3)
1886, 1903, 1912

Scope and Content

Concerns John Calvin Keeter and C.F. [Charles Franklin] and Linnie Keeter.

Box: PC.2048  
Survey Land with Map
13 December 1911

Scope and Content

Land of C.F. [Charles Franklin] Keeter. 126 acres, Rutherford County.

Will of James Keeter

Scope and Content

This will was signed by James Keeter on November 27, 1834. The document references wife, Elizabeth, and children, Sally Lee, Andrew J., Polly [Mary] C., John, and Henry M. There is no will of this James Keeter filed in the State Archives, the wills of Rutherford County. This is another instance of private papers supplementing public records.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Ledger of Customer Purchases with Inventory Lists & Miscellaneous

Scope and Content

This ledger was used for several purposes, but for the most part it was used to record in rough alphabetical order the names of customers, listing of items and goods purchased, the charges, sometimes with notations about payment and balances.Lists include headings of "Amount of Goods Sold for Money," "Amount of Delph [Delft china] Sold," "Amount of Coffee Sold for Money and Barter" (July 10, 1869). There are also notations on several pages that read like receipts. There is also a poem musing on the change from summer to the season of winter.

There is no recording of the store's name, but in terms of the transactions it was a general store. Food stables included flour, eggs, bacon, butter, coffee, candy, and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, pepper, sugar, salt (sacks of), soda. There were many sales of tobacco, and an occasional sale of whiskey. Fruits sold were primarily apples and peaches. Items such as chickens, hens, pork, corn were probably bartered. Medicines were sometimes sold including epson salts, paregoric (by the vial), and castor oil. Household items included buckets, shovels, tin plates, sets of knives and forks, dishes, and even pickle dishes. Dry goods were often sold with fabrics including calico, cambric, and notions such as buttons (sometimes dress and pearl buttons), papers of pins, spools of thread, yarn. There were ready to wear clothes such as socks, shoes, hats. There were also sales of slate pencils, blank books, and spelling books.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Cash Book and Ledger: G.W. Crawford and Hawkins; Keeter

Scope and Content

This book contains 160 pages, and is used in various ways, though it is labelled at the beginning as a cash book and functions primarily as such. Pages 61 through 69 are labelled as Ledger Book. The last page is a letter (a draft?) written by C. C. Hawkins to James M. Britten[?]. Hawkins assured Britten that his sweetheart was all right. Hawkins indicated his interest in visiting Britten, and seems to want information about when the mine was to open, and if it had been secured.

Items sold are similar to ones recorded in the 1869-1872 ledger, but include the following in greater quantity: molasses, meal, sifted meal, beef, lard. One item of special interest in on page 99. It appears that Harriet Flack's account was charged with a pair of gloves, seven yard of black homespun fabric, charges for making coffin(s), a pair of shoes for Billey, pairs of suspenders, pants and shirt, and watermelons, and a pint of whiskey.

Southern Recipe Collection
undated, circa 1900

Scope and Content

This book (softcover) is fragile and has only a partial cover remaining. The heading of the first page is Southern Receipts. Though in poor condition it is legible for the most part. Its unnumbered pages contain a variety of recipes including Banana Fluff; Good White Cake; Butter Scotch Pie; Banana Pudding; Sweet Pickle Cucumber; Worcester Chow Chow; Henrietta's Green-Tomato Pickle; Mrs. Castles Pepper Hash; Pucker Recipe (chopped cabbage and other vegetables added to a mustard pickle sauce); Beaten Biscuits, Pecan Pie, and many more. These handwritten recipes were probably either those of Emiline (Mialine) Keeter or those of her daughter-in-law, Linette Keeter.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Account: J.C. Keeter's Purchases from J.W. Lewis
19 December 1885-23 December 1886

Scope and Content

Consists of five pages of a double entry accounting of J.C. Keeter's purchases from J.W. Lewis. The items consist of the usual ones listed in the ledgers and cash books, but also include such articles as mules bits, leather for either harness or soles, cartridges, nails, screws, gauges, steel plows, axel grease, boxes of matches, bottle of cologne, handkerchiefs, fine combs, garters, ladies' hose, razor strap,bed castors, bed locks. Additional types of fabric included gingham, velvet, domestic [muslin?]. Additional food staples included rice, and meat (unspecified). There were several charges in this period for hauling lumber to town.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Cash Book for Purchases and Labor

Scope and Content

This is a soft cover ledger (a slim, unnumbered volume) apparently kept by John Calvin Keeter. There are purchases listed of general store merchandise, but also entries of days of work by various individuals, some with the surname of Keeter. The nature of entries suggest a quasi or semi-barter sytem.

Names entered included D. J. Keeter, Ernest Keeter, Marmon Keeter, Sary Keeter, Simpson Keeter. There were entries for other individuals in the community. For example, on 3 January 1893 an entry was made that Vanc/Vance? Johnston began work at seven dollars and fifty sents [sic] per month and his was to work until the crop was completed. Possibly Johnston and some others were sharecroppers on the Keeter land.There is a similar entry (entries) for a Perch McDaniel.

Box: PC.2048.1  
Household and Personal Journal
Circa 1900-1916

Scope and Content

This journal contains hand-written inspirational and religious poems (pages 5 through 33). One entry only is dated, November 15, 1916 (page 25). Pages 35-50; 104-120, for the most part contain recipes. Within that range there are some blank pages. Page 58 is a rather detailed inventory of household linens and family clothing. This is probably the journal of Linette B. Keeter, wife of Charles Frank Keeter.

Examples of titles in the first section include "My Lord and I," "Twelve Things to Remember," "Sweet Willie Going Home So Soon," "Life," "The Way of God," and more. Recipes include those for Prise (sic) Cake, and Cocanut (sic) Icing; Banana Whip; Thanksgiving Pies (includes Pumpkin Pie, Fruit Mince Pie, Cranberry Prune Pie and more); Chow Chow; Salmon Rice Loaf; Meat Croquettes; and many more.