Skip to main content

Pharr and Walker families papers

Identifier: MS0197

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of various members of the Pharr and Walker families of Mecklenburg County. Both families were active as ministers and laymen in the Presbyterian Church, and some of the earliest papers relate to the careers of the Rev. Samuel C. Pharr and the Rev. James McCullough Walker. Of particular importance is the volume of lecture notes Pharr kept while taking a course in natural philosophy in 1842 at the College of New Jersey under Joseph Henry, who later became the first secretary and director of the Smithsonian Institution.

Jennie Walker Pharr is the primary recipient and author of the correspondence, but there are four letters (1854-59) from her father, Rev. James Walker, to his half-brother and fellow minister, John Stitt Harris (1832-64), reflecting on his family and pastorate. There is also a series of letters (1869-71) involving Jennie, her older brother Edgar, a student at Davidson and Erskine colleges, and their grandfather, John Walker (1801-76), who was an elder in Sardis Church, a farmer, and six-time state senator.

From the 1870s onwards, Walter Springs Pharr, Jennie’s husband, is the dominant figure in the collection of deeds, financial records, and legal documents. Among the deeds is documentation on the sale of property to George Stephens for the development of Myers Park. The collection also includes genealogical information on the two families and the related Alexander, Dinkins, Harris, Hunter, Springs, and White families; memorabilia; newspaper clippings; and photographs.


  • Creation: 1800 - 1950
  • Creation: 1847 - 1941


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Caldwell Pharr (1825-84) was the son of Jane Bain Caldwell (1796-1837) and the Rev. W. S. Pharr (1790-1866). He was a graduate of Davidson College (1840) and Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (1848) and also attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). He was licensed to preach by the Concord Presbytery in 1846. Among the congregations he served were Sharon (his first), Hopewell (1857-1866), Mallard Creek (1867), and Paw Creek Presbyterian churches in Mecklenburg County. He switched to the Methodist Church in 1874. He married Margaret Springs (1827-1903) in 1849, and they had six children.

Walter Springs Pharr (1856-1932), their second child, married Mary Jane (Jennie) Estelle Walker (1858-1914) on October 14, 1879, and they had five children. After Jennie’s death, Pharr married Julia Stinson in 1915. In 1912, he donated fifteen acres of land in Myers Park for the new site of the Presbyterian College for Women (now Queens College). Jennie Walker was one of four children of the Rev. James McCollough Walker (1829-60) and Elizabeth Jane Harris (1836-1905). Rev. Walker was graduated from Davidson College (1847) and Erskine Theological Seminary (1849). In 1851, he became the first full-time minister at Sardis Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He resigned his pastorate in 1857 over doctrinal differences, joined the Presbyterian denomination, and served as minister of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill and Bethlehem (Union) Presbyterian Church near Monroe from 1858 until his death. In 1865, Jane Harris Walker married R. M. White, sheriff of Mecklenburg County.

Walter Hazel Pharr (1886-1947), the third child of Walter Springs and Jennie Walker Pharr, married Louise Hunter (1886-1964), and they had five children, including the donors of this collection. Hunter's father, Lester Walker Hunter (1853-1937), practiced medicine in Mecklenburg County for almost 60 years, while her grandfather, the Rev. John Hunter (1814-90), succeeded James Walker as minister at Sardis. [For additional information, see the genealogical material and newspaper clippings in this collection; The History of Hopewell Presbyterian Church (1939); A Genealogical Record for National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine (1952); and A Goodly Heritage: The Bicentennial History of Sardis Presbyterian Church, 1790-1990, Charlotte, North Carolina (1989).]


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of the Rev. Samuel Caldwell Pharr (1825-84) and of his descendants, particularly his son, Walter Springs Pharr (1856-1932), and his daughter-in-law, Mary Jane (Jennie) Estelle Walker Pharr (1858-1914). Includes 19th and early 20th century deeds and contracts for land in Mecklenburg County; the Rev. Pharr's lecture notes (1842) from Joseph Henry's class in natural philosophy at Princeton University; papers (1847-1914) of Jennie Walker Pharr, including letters (1854-59) by her father, the Rev. James McCullough Walker, minister at Sardis Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and by her brother, Edgar Harris Walker, while a student at Davidson and Erskine colleges (1869-71); papers of Mary Estelle Pharr (1894-1982), containing correspondence, legal records, and genealogical information; contracts for the sale of family land to George Stephens for the development of Myers Park; and photographs. Also includes material on the related Alexander, Dinkins, Harris, Hunter, Springs, and White families.


The collection is arranged into 3 series, they are: Samuel C. Pharr papers (1842-1884), Subject Files (1800-1950) and Photographs (1856-1919).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of H. H. Pharr and Cynthia Pharr Whiting, 1989

Processing Information

Processed by Randy Penninger, 1997.


Pharr and Walker families papers
Randy Penninger
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment