The Mann and Midyett families have had a long presence in northeastern North Carolina with roots reaching back to the early 18th century. In 2008, the Outer Banks History Center acquired this collection of correspondence, birth records, receipts, land deeds, financial information, estate inventories, and ephemera that provides a valuable glimpse of life in the Federal Period (1775-1830) in coastal North Carolina by tracing several generations of one of the early pioneering families in this region.
One of the most valuable aspects of this collection is the family slave documents, which provide insights into the sale, purchase, and hiring out of the family's slaves. Although many are predictably matter-of-fact, there are indications of the way familial relationships developed in a region where slaveholdings were small and interdependence was required for survival by all. Notably, one remarkable deed of gift specifies that a slave, Peggy, is to be as free as the laws at the time will allow, choosing who she will live with and being assured of care and comfort into her old age.
Both the Mann and Midyett families were slaveholders and lived in Stumpy Point, North Carolina, on what is now the Dare County mainland. They owned plantations and also earned their livings in various maritime activities such as fishing and piloting. Members of the later generations of the Midyett family had distinguished careers in the United State Lifesaving Service.
The documents in this collection are from the descendants of Joseph and Elizabeth Lockhart Mann, and William and Esther Midyett. Joseph and Elizabeth Lockhart Mann married in January of 1781. They had three children, Dorcas (1781), Sarah (1783), and Thomas Mann (1784). In 1804, Joseph and Elizabeth's daughter Sarah married Lewis Midyett, who was born in 1782, the son of William and Esther Midyett. Lewis and Sarah had six children before Sarah's death in 1818. Lewis Midyett then married Charlotte Pledger. Charlotte and Lewis had approximately seven children together. Lewis Midgett died in 1851. The documents in this collection come from Lewis Midyett's line, as well as Joseph Mann's line.
The Mann and Midyett Family Papers were donated to the Outer Banks History Center by Nancy Midgette Murray and Robert G. Midgette ("Midgette" being the most common modern variant of the earlier "Midyett."). The papers came from the estate of Arthur Louis Midgette Sr. (1918-2000), a lifelong resident of Dare County.
He began his career in the U.S. Coast Guard and served as one of the escorts who carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Waterside Theatre for the August 18, 1937 production of The Lost Colony drama. In addition to serving as the superintendent of The Elizabethan Gardens, a position he held for nearly thirty years, he was chairman of the Dare County Board of Education, where he headed the effort to build the First Flight Elementary and Middle Schools.
To view a finding aid for the Mann and Midyett Family Papers see: http://www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov/findingaids.htm.