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Researching the Wilmington 1898 Massacre and Coup: Additional Primary Resources

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This page organizes special collections and archival materials held at Wilson Library related to the Wilmington 1898 massacre and coup by format to show the diversity of primary sources available to fully understand this history. These materials may also be related to the central figures in the white supremacist plot of 1898 and speak to politics in North Carolina leading up to the turn of the 20th century.

Related Manuscript Collections

Marion Butler Papers, 1862-1938

Marion Butler of Sampson County, N.C., was president of the North Carolina and National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union; state and national Populist Party leader; member of the North Carolina Senate; United States senator, 1895-1901; and Republican Party leader after 1904. Political papers reflect Butler's activities in the state and national Farmers' Alliances, 1892-1895; his campaigns as a Populist candidate and chairman of the national Populist Party; his legislative interests, especially in postal services and agriculture; and his activities as a leader in the North Carolina Republican Party. Political correspondence reflects the major state and national issues in turn-of-the-century politics, including currency reform and free silver, trusts, the white supremacy campaigns in North Carolina in 1898 and 1900, and political patronage. Political correspondents include Daniel Lindsay Russell, Walter Clark, J. H. (Cyclone) Davis, Benjamin Orange Flower, Cyrus Thompson, Jeter Conley Pritchard, William Jennings Bryan, Spencer Adams, W. S. O'B. Robinson, Tom Watson, John Motley Morehead, and many others.

Daniel Lindsay Russell Papers, 1839-1910

Daniel Lindsay Russell was a Wilmington, N.C. lawyer; Confederate Army officer; Republican leader of eastern North Carolina; judge; United States Representative, 1879-1881; and Republican-Populist governor, 1897-1901. Half of the collection consists of papers, 1900-1905, related to the South Dakota Bond Case, a famous and complicated litigation over North Carolina's repudiation of bonds issued during Reconstruction. Correspondents include Marion Butler, Alfred Russell, and Addison G. Ricard. The collection includes extensive political correspondence, chiefly 1874-1897, about the efforts to strengthen the Republican Party in North Carolina.


Newspaper This is a subscription service available to users affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill and to patrons in the library buildings. The site contains digitized North Carolina newspapers and is full-text searchable. Most of the digitized newspaper issues date from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. Later issues can be accessed on microfilm. At right, Asheville Citizen Times front page, Thursday April 19, 1900

America's News: This is a subscription service available to users affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill and to patrons in the library buildings. Of particular note, this database provides access to historical and current newspaper content from The News and Observer, The Greensboro News & Record, and The Charlotte Observer.

DigitalNC: This site contains a wealth of useful resources from across North Carolina including community newspapers and student newspapers. Digitized newspapers from New Hanover county are here.

North Carolina People, Places, and Things Citation Search: This tool allows researchers to search citations for newspaper articles gathered by North Carolina Collection staff members. Bound volumes of clippings can be found in the North Carolina Collection Reading Room and are a great resource for finding information on people, places, and things from the state.

Print and Published Materials

Democracy vs. radicalism : hand-book of N.C. politics for ... Democratic State Executive Committee. Raleigh : [The Committee].

The Democratic hand-book prepared by the State Democratic Executive Committee. Raleigh : [The Committee].

A Statement of Facts Concerning the Bloody Riot in Wilmington, N.C. Of Interest to Every Citizen of the United States by J. Allen Kirk
[Wilmington?, N. C.: The Author?, 1898?].

Documents written by Harry Hayden, including accounts of Wilmington in 1898, memoirs, and history of the Cape Fear.

Documents about the Wilmington Light Infantry

The Negro and his white allies. Raleigh, N.C. : [s.n., 1900]

Wilmington, North Carolina's African American Heritage Trail by Mulrooney, Margaret M., 1997

North Carolina's Glorious Victory, 1898: Sketches of Able Democratic Leaders and Statesmen by C. Beauregard Poland

scan of book cover


City Directories

City directories, similar in function to a modern phone book, are absolutely invaluable to any historical or genealogical research. Wilmington city directories from the relevant time period are digitized here.


The North Carolina Maps digital collection offers digitized maps of Wilmington and New Hanover County. In particular, Sanborn maps show street-level details.


Ephemera and Artifacts

White supremacy campaign button, 1898. From the Lew Powell Collection, North Carolina Collection Gallery.pinback button

Oral Histories

Project of the Southern Oral History Program Individual Biographies: Special Focus: Racial Violence in Wilmington, N.C.

Interviews with residents of Wilmington, N.C., focus on the racial violence that erupted in February 1971 following the boycott of and demonstrations against the city's still segregated schools in the city. While these interviews have to do with the Wilmington 10, the legacy of violence established by 1898 events is essential context.

Related Topics and Resources

UNC's Silent Sam

Many of the white conspirators of Wilmington 1898 were involved with the funding and raising of the Confederate Monument, later known as Silent Sam, on the campus at UNC-Chapel Hill. Annie Hill Kenan, William Kenan's sister-in-law, was President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina division and approached UNC President Francis Venable in 1908 about raising a monument. At the unveiling of the monument in 1913, both Julian Carr and Locke Craig gave speeches. Other connections are revealed in the documents.

Please see these guides and lists of primary documents:

Jim Crow in North Carolina

United Daughters of the Confederacy

  • The UDC led a concerted campaign manifesting political and financial resources to raise monuments to the Confederacy across the South. This guide provides insight into the scope of memorialization of the Confederacy across North Carolina. Many of the women spouses of 1898 conspirators were active members of the UDC, including Annie Hill Kenan, sister-in-law to Buck Kenan.

Wilmington 10