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Arthur and Farrar families papers

Identifier: MS0065

Scope and Contents

Materials created and collected by James Harrison Arthur (1901-78), his wife Katherine Miller Arthur (1914-74), and his uncle Benjamin Franklin Arthur Jr. (1863-1944). Consists primarily of correspondence and subject files of James and Katherine, residents of Gaston County, N.C. Also includes daily expense records (1926-73); business correspondence (1925-74) related to James's work as a textile mill accountant in North Carolina and South Carolina; papers (1877-1901) of Dr. James Park McComb relating primarily to his gold mining activities in Charlotte; and photographs of and genealogical material about the Arthur, Rice, and Herndon families of South Carolina and the Wilson, McComb, and King families of Mecklenburg County, N.C. B. F. Arthur's papers include material relating to the history of South Carolina, particularly Union County. A significant segment consists of personal and business correspondence, plantation account books, and other financial records of his father-in-law, John Clough Farrar (1817-99), wholesale grocer and cotton broker in antebellum Charleston and planter in Union County during and after the Civil War.


  • Creation: 1809 - 1978


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 Note

The Arthur family became established in South Carolina before the Revolutionary War. During the early colonial period, James's ancestors emigrated from England into Caroline County, Va., and then eventually to the Lexington and Orangeburg regions of South Carolina. A line of the family, from which James descended, migrated to Union, S.C. Of the family, one Arthur writes, "According to published histories of South Carolina it appears that the Arthurs were prominent influential leaders identified with the economic, political, and governmental development of South Carolina." William Arthur, James's great-great grandfather, was a delegate representing South Carolina at the Second Provincial Congress (1775-76) and later served in the South Carolina General Assembly. William Arthur married Elizabeth Friday, and they were the parents of Friday Arthur, who married Anna Class. Friday and Anna's oldest son, William Friday Arthur, was mayor of Columbia, S.C. during the 1850s and a political cartoonist. Another son, Benjamin Franklin Arthur, Sr. (1826-70), was James's grandfather and played a prominent role in the politics of South Carolina preceding the Civil War. Benjamin F. Arthur, Sr., attended South Carolina College, from which he was graduated in 1845. He was admitted to the bar in 1848 and practiced law with his brother, Edward, in Columbia. In 1851 he moved to Unionville and began practicing there. He became magistrate for the Union District in 1852 and later Judge Advocate of the 35th regiment South Carolina State Militia. From 1858 to 1860 Benjamin Arthur served as private secretary to Governor William H. Gist. In December, 1860, he was elected clerk of the South Carolina Secession. His signature appears on the official copy. In 1853 Benjamin Arthur married Ann Elizabeth Dogan, daughter of Joseph Herndon and Ann Rice Dogan of Union. Warren Dupre Arthur, one of their sons, was an avid collector of historic documents and genealogical material. He passed along to James much of the documentation he collected on the Arthur family, together with a large group of material relating primarily to the businesses of the father of his wife, Josephine Farrar Arthur. James Arthur's father, Warren Dupre Arthur (1865-1940), was active in the government and commerce of Union. According to a newspaper article of 1927, he built the first telephone exchange and established (1899) the first wholesale grocery and bottling store in Union. He was a wholesale distributor of petroleum products and a cotton broker. In 1897 he was elected as Union's City Treasurer, a position in which he served for approximately 40 years. In 1889 Warren Arthur married Cynthia Leonora "Nora" Wilson (1867-1931) of Charlotte. The early Wilson family, of Scotch-Irish origin, moved from Maryland and Pennsylvania into the Poplar Tent region of Mecklenburg County, N.C. Nora's father was Marcus Andrew Wilson (1832-83), and her grandfather was Samuel Alexander Wilson (1791-1856). Her mother was Elizabeth Jane McComb (1840-1909), daughter of Joseph McComb (1805-53) and Martha Parks (1807-56). She was also a descendant of Hugh McEwen (1727-92), an early settler of Iredell County, N.C., and was related to the Parks King family of Concord, N.C., and Charlotte. Nora attended Clifford Seminary in Union, where she met James's father. Warren and Nora Arthur had nine children: Marcus Wilson; Dogan Humphries, a World War I aviator killed in an accident at Langley Field, Va. in 1923; Warren Dupre Jr., Elizabeth Parks (Wannamaker); Frances Marion (died in infancy); James Harrison; Cynthia Leonora (Wagnon); Mary Wallis (Jennings); and Ann Jean. James Arthur was born September 10, 1901, in Union. He attended The Citadel from 1918 to 1919 and graduated from the College of Charleston in 1922. He was active in sports and his graduating class was the first to include women at the College of Charleston. After 1922, James, nicknamed "Jaybird," became a cost accountant for various textile firms in North and South Carolina, including Ralph E. Leper Cost Engineers (1925-28), Cotton Textile Institute (1930-32), and Hanna Pickett Mills (1934-40). During World War II he was given a special assignment with a CPA in Washington, D.C. From 1940 to 1949, James worked as an independent cost accounting consultant, traveling from mill to mill through N.C. and S.C., and then as a purchasing agent for American and Efird Mills in Mount Holly, N.C. (1949-61). Between 1961 and 1967 he worked for two other corporations. After 1967 he again became an independent consultant and eventually entered semi-retirement. He died in 1978. James married Mary Katherine Miller (1914-74) of Gastonia, N.C. on December 29, 1936. The daughter of Herbert and Stella Miller and a 1935 graduate of Women's College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC at Greensboro), Katherine taught in Rockingham and Mount Holly, N.C. James and Katherine Arthur had three children: James Harrison Jr. (b. 9-27-38, m. Amelia McGinnis), Leonora Wilson (b. 1-14-41, m. Frank Coleman), and Katherine "Kacky" Miller (b. 4-9-44, m. Bennett Bryce). The family lived primarily in Rockingham, Wadesboro, Mount Holly, and Gastonia, N.C.


22 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers docuenting James Harrison Arthur's work as a textile mill accountant in North and South Carolina and the business and financial records of John Clough Farrar, a wholesale grocer and cotton broker in Charleston, South Carolina and planter in Union county, South Carolina. Includes correspondence, subject files, daily expense records, plantation account books, photographs and genealogical material. Also includes some material on James Park McComb's gold mining activities in Charlotte.


The Arthur and Farrar Family Papers are divided into two subgroups. The first subgroup consists of material originating from and focusing on the Arthur family; the second subgroup contains material relating to the Farrar family. Subgroup I, ARTHUR FAMILY, is divided into five series: Correspondence, Daily Expense and Account Records, Genealogical Research Material, Photographs, and Memorabilia. Series 1, CORRESPONDENCE (1809-1973), consists of three subseries: Subseries 1, Subject Files (1809-1978), contain James Arthur's voluminous personal correspondence (1809-1978) with friends and extended family, organized topically. This correspondence reflects James's interest in collecting and compiling his genealogy and in maintaining ties with his numerous acquaintances. It also includes material collected by B.F. Arthur Jr., James's uncle, relating to the history of South Carolina and the Arthur family. Subseries 2, Business Correspondence (1925-74), contains primarily correspondence (1925-74) between James and his employers or prospective employers regarding his cost-accounting profession. Also included are his notebooks and card files documenting his contacts with various mills. Subseries 3, Personal Correspondence (1911-73), contains family correspondence (1911-73), consisting primarily of letters and postcards exchanged by James and Katherine during James's extensive business travels. This series provides extensive documentation of the family's daily activities. Series 2, DAILY EXPENSE AND ACCOUNT RECORDS (1926-73), were kept primarily by James but also by Katherine. The records from 1926-36 record James's expenditures per year, under subject headings; later records record daily household expenses. This series reflects James's meticulous habits of personal record-keeping. Series 3, GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH MATERIAL (1911-76), includes James's card files and research notes on his family. Also includes published genealogies relating primarily to the Herndon and Rice families. Series 4, PHOTOGRAPHS (ca. 1896-1970), consists primarily of Katherine and James, and their family. Series 5, MEMORABILIA, (ca. 1920-50), collected primarily by Katherine, particularly of her wedding and honeymoon in December, 1936 and January, 1937 and by James, primarily documenting his activities from ca. 1927-33; and by B. F. Arthur Jr. Subgroup II, FARRAR FAMILY, contains material relating to family of the wife of James's uncle, Benjamin Arthur Jr. This subgroup is divided into three series: Business Material; Personal and Family Correspondence; and Miscellany. Series 1, BUSINESS MATERIAL (1849-99), contains bills, receipts, advertisements, and correspondence relating to the operation of S. S. Farrar and Brothers, a wholesale import business in Charleston from ca. 1850 to ca. 1861; and to the operation of the plantation of J. C. Farrar, near Pinckneyville from 1862 to 1899. Included are account books documenting receipts and disbursements for the store and the plantation, and miscellaneous sharecropping, labor, and cotton production records for the plantation Series 2, PERSONAL AND FAMILY CORRESPONDENCE (1864-98), contains correspondence of Josephine and John Clough Farrar, parents of Josephine Farrar, wife of B. F. Arthur Jr. Series 3, MISCELLANY (1810-91), contains five documents, including an 1810 deed (possibly for the Pinckneyville plantation) and an overseer's bond (1864) certifying injuries to a slave.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of James H. Arthur Jr., Leonora Arthur Coleman, and Katherine Arthur Bryce, 1979.

Related Materials

Arthur and Rice Families Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia.


Arthur and Farrar families papers
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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

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