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Researching the Wilmington 1898 Massacre and Coup: Central Figures and Related Primary Resources

Overview

This page points to specific documents and materials held by Wilson Special Collections Library speaking to the buildup, event, and aftermath of the November 1898 massacre and coup in Wilmington. Additionally, resources on this page are arranged to clearly reveal the orchestrators' explicit connections and networks with the University of North Carolina.

The Manly Brothers and The Daily Record

Alexander Manly

Photograph

The Daily Record

  • The Daily Record was owned and operated by Alex Manly and his brother, Frank. Very few issues are known to remain; in partnership with the Cape Fear Museum and UNC-Chapel Hill, the NC Digital Heritage Center shared those remaining issues on their website. You can also read more about a project to assemble quotes from the Record found in other newspapers of the era at The Wilmington Daily Record Project.

Interview with Lewin Manly, grandson of Alexander Manly, conducted by Hilary Nicole Green in 2008.

The Democratic Party and White Supremacy Campaigns

As LeRae Umfleet so clearly articulates in her research and report, Democratic Party member Josephus Daniels himself credited a "three-pronged attack" in the white supremacist takeover of Wilmington and the State of North Carolina. This was led by 1898's new party chairman, Furnifold Simmons. Simmons received an honorary degree from UNC in 1915 and his papers are held at Duke's Rubenstein Library. The three prongs of the attack are useful for organizing Wilson Special Collections resources as follows:

Wilmington Conspirators

LeRae Umfleet lists the Leading 1898 Conspirators in her research and report:

  • New Hanover County Democratic Party Campaign Committee
    • Frank Stedman
    • Edgar Parmele
    • Walker Taylor
    • George Rountree
  • The Secret Nine
  • The Group of Six
    • William L. Smith
    • John Berry
    • Henry Fennell
    • Thomas Meares
    • William F. Robertson
    • Walker Taylor
  • Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, including:
    • Thomas Clawson
      • 10 page account of the Wilmington events in Wilson Special Collections Library
      • city editor of the Wilmington newspaper Messenger
    • William Rand Kenan - UNC Class of 1864
      • Kenan Family Papers held at Wilson Special Collections Library
      • In his memory, his children established the Kenan Professor Trust Fund at UNC and donated the funds for Kenan Memorial Stadium.

White Witnesses, Beneficiaries, and Other Democratic Leaders

Quote

There was a riot of colored men in Wilmington, and my father organized a volunteer company of men with all kinds of rifles together with a riot gun on a wagon and they cleaned up the riot very quickly, although they were compelled to kill several persons. He rode the wagon and directed the operation.

-- by William Rand Kenan, Jr. about his father, William Rand Kenan, in Incidents by the Way: Lifetime Recollections and Reflections, published 1946

Quote

I suppose he would be described today in politics as a racist, in that he led, as a newspaper editor, the so-called campaign for white supremacy in North Carolina.

-- Jonathan Daniels, about his father Josephus Daniels, from the Southern Oral History Program, interview by Daniel Singal March 22, 1972

Manuscripts from the Alfred Waddell Papers

LetterLetter

Examples from the letters sent to Alfred Waddell preceding and following the November 10, 1898 coup and massacre. One dated October 26, 1898 from his cousin Rebecca Waddell Cameron states, "If the white men can stand negro supremacy we neither can nor will. Tho' I do not believe for a moment that they will submit any longer. It is time for the oft quoted shotgun to play a part, and an active one, in the elections." The Cameron Family Papers are held at Wilson Special Collections Library. Many letters congratulate Waddell on the "success" of the coup, which in part culminated in Waddell himself becoming Mayor of the City of Wilmington.

Manuscripts from the Alfred Waddell Papers

Typed documentTyped document

Declaration of the Wlimington White Citizens Committee, led by Alfred Waddell, dated November 9, 1898

Manuscripts from the Alfred Waddell Papers

LetterLetter

List of African American citizens summoned by Waddell and other leaders of the white citizens group dated November 9, 1898 3:50 pm.

Record of victims

newspaper clippingNames of murdered victims of the Wilmington November 1898 massacre and coup, as reported to the Coroner:

  • Josh Halsey
  • Daniel Wright
  • William Mouzon
  • John L. Gregory
  • John L. Townsend
  • Silas Brown (Charles Lindsey)
  • Sam McFarland

The total numbers of fatalities, and the names of all the victims, are unknown.

 

Clipping from The Wilmington Morning Star Sunday, November 13, 1898, Page 1