John C. Peterson Papers, PC.5301


John C. Peterson Papers, PC.5301


John C. Peterson (1848-1923) was a longtime resident of Nags Head, North Carolina, known for transporting vacationers and their luggage to their beach cottages in his horse and cart. This collection contains Peterson's personal papers, primarily consisting of financial records such as invoices, receipts, checks and check stubs, and inventories.

Descriptive Summary

John C. Peterson Papers
Call Number
Peterson, John C., 1848-1923
1884-1933 and undated
0.200 cubic feet
Outer Banks History Center

Series Quick Links

  1. Collection Contents

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 the 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 these materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.5301, John C. Peterson Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.

Collection Overview

The John C. Peterson Papers, 1884-1933 and undated, contains the personal papers of Nags Head resident John C. Peterson. Most of the papers relate to Peterson's personal finances and include receipts, invoices, checks and check stubs, inventories, and business cards. The materials are in poor physical condition, and some items are difficult to read.

Arrangement Note

Folders are arranged alphabetically. Material is arranged chronologically within folders.


John C. Peterson was born 11 October 1848 in Europe (Germany or Sweden). According to Edward R. Outlaw, Jr.'s book, Old Nag's Head, Peterson came to Nags Head in 1877 with Merritt Chapman Wrecking Company to work on a wrecked barge. He remained in Nags Head for the rest of his life. He married his first wife Virginia "Jennie" O'Neal (1862-1902), daughter of Farrow and Polly O'Neal of Roanoke Island, in 1881, and remarried in 1913 to Cottie Poole Culpepper (1871-1935). Peterson had at least eight children: Edwin Farrow (1884-1922), Annie C. (born circa 1886), James Jordan (1888-1926), Mary E. (1891-1976), Maude G. (1893-1948), Helen Lee (1894-1905), John Brocket (1896-1951), Ida F. (1898-1988), and Sue (born and died 1900).

Peterson is said to have helped vacationers travel and transport their luggage to their cottages upon arrival to Nags Head. He is pictured in Outlaw's book with a cart and horse, identified as "Mein Heifer-Steer Jim." According to his obituary in the Elizabeth City Independent, Peterson also served as the postmaster for Nags Head. This obituary also states that he originally traveled to Nags Head on the U.S.S. Huron, which ran aground off the coast of Nags Head in 1877, and that he was the oldest inhabitant of the town at the time of his death on 19 June 1923.

Contents of the Collection

Collection Contents
Business Cards, undated
Box 1
Checks and Check Stubs, 1914-1922
Box 1
Household Inventories, undated
Box 1
Invoices, 1887-1918 and undated
Box 1
Receipts for Services, 1885-1914
Box 1
Tax Receipts, Nags Head Township, 1884-1933
Box 1

Subject Headings

  • Nags Head (N.C.)--History--19th century
  • Nags Head (N.C.)--History--20th century
  • Nags Head (N.C.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Nags Head (N.C.)--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Jeremy Bliven, August 2014.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Samantha Crisp, September 2019.