The collection is the personal diary of Mary Jeffreys Bethell of Rockingham County, N.C. The first part of the book contains short reminiscences of her immediate family. After her marriage in 1840, the diary contains entries relating to her home, neighborhood, the Methodist Church, constant religious activities including camp-meetings, her children, several of whom died young, and the Torian children, whom she referred to as nieces and nephews, and who lived in the Bethell household for years. There is frequent mention of journeys with her husband to Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with the possible intention of moving the family, and her negative reaction to the idea. During the Civil War, there is mention of her sons Willie and George entering the Confederate Army, and of news and visits from them. George, in the 55th Regiment, North Carolina Troops, was captured and imprisoned at Johnsons Island. Mary's husband entered the army in 1864 and she wrote of the difficulties at home after he left, including the departure of slaves. There are also reports of rumors and news of the fighting. After the war there are references to social conditions, difficulties with servants, etc.