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Title: Letter from Solomon Lea to Lorenzo Lea, September 1, 1829: Electronic Edition.
Author: Lea, Solomon, 1807-1897
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Chad Trevitte
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 30K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-19, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Lea Family Papers (#419), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Solomon Lea to Lorenzo Lea, September 1, 1829
Author: Solomon Lea
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 419 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Curriculum
Education/UNC Student Associations
Education/UNC Student Life
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Lea apologies to his brother, a former student, for damaging maps and books by packing them poorly for the trip home. He reports on mutual friends and his efforts to establish a temperance society.
Letter from Solomon Lea to Lorenzo Lea , September 1, 18291
Lea, Solomon, 1807-1897

Page 1
Chapell Hill Sep. 1, 1829

Dear Brother ,

I transmit to you a few lines in which I expect to make mention of a good many things, which may be of but little Iterest & concern to you, but since you came forth in such scolding terms in your letter because I did not obey all of your directions, I will endeaver to comply with at least one, mamely to write you soon & write you much, but do not draw the inference from this promise; that my disconnected & detached piece will contain any news of importance, you yourself too well know by experience that one at Colledge can scrape up but few things worth mentioning2 Enough of this long preamble, All of us from Leasburg & Person, are well,3 With respect to myself I have enjoyed as good health or even better since I came here, than I have for some time, but with all my care & exercise I cannot gain any in weight It, I might say, is againt my nature, but when I reflect on many who are very corpulent & see how unfit they are oftentimes to study I have no reason to complain because I am not corpulent & fleshy, I am sorry that your map & books were so injured, but it was out of my power to have fixed them any better, Inasmuch as I had neither room nor time, from the time that I came from Raleigh untill eleven o,clock at night I was as busy as I could be, settling accounts, fixing my room & your books Had I known that Mr Terry4 was to carry your trunk before the servants were going to leave the Hill, I might have arrainged them in some better way, But that I was totally ignorant off untill I had packed your dry goods as well as I could in the saddle bags, you did not make mention in your letter whether you received your money, nor how much you did receive, but I suppose you found your monied affairs nearly correct, or else you would have said something about them, I believe I neglected5 to mention in my letter to you before, that Brother William sent three dollars & fifty cents by me to buy him a lexicon which I did not do, but one thing I done, I kept the money, so that he will have to charge father with it, as it was taken out of the store,6 Mr Bird paid me one dollar& 25¢

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which he said was due you, I have gotten those books from him which you left in his care, I will try to send you all of your books which I do not immediatly stand in need off when ever I shall meet with a favourable opportunity, your note book, (as you call it) which you so much need I did not send you, I ransacked & hunted in every place expecting to find an old [triangle, circle, square] book, but when I came to think about it again I found out that you meant your blank book, & with respect to mustering I was disposed to take it in the way of a joke, so you may plainly see that I go to clear myself & make apologies, The faculty have not had the good luck to get a tutor yet although they are continually trying, I understood that they have offerred the office of a tutor to Mr Backhouse ,7 but I have not heard whether he has accepted it or whether he is going to do it, your friend Bird is the same old seven & six, he can tell more anecdotes of great men & crack more dry jokes than any man I ever met with, he came to my room this evening & kept Jacob & myself laughing nearly till ten o,clock If I should have a touch of the hyppocondriae at any time hereafter, I believe I shall visit friend Bird & I am sure that I shall get well. Mr Richard Shepard & Thomas Dulany 8 are on the hill yet, they both study as hard as any of the students, reading historys, theological books &c. &c., Both of them has some idea of studying law, Hawks our seccond mite man9 has returned to the hill again, but he is no more that playful & talkative fellow that he was before, I have never in all my life seen a person so hurt & so cast down as he is, on account of a mite, or even on any occassion, he makes but little exertions to stand first or even seccond, I will now enter upon a history of my class, I am aware however that I am making mention of several things about classes & students which will perhaps afford you but little satisfaction or interest, But because you have been a Tutor & perhaps have lively recollections of the conduct & abilities of the students, I take the liberty, The freshmen class consists (I believe) of about 16)10 & they are a rattling set as ever you came cross, I do not mean all of them, for11 there are exceptions almost to every rule, My class has increased in number & I might add in knowledge too, considerably, It consists of thirty four, & thirty one of them are regular on all the studies, Mr Cadwallerder Jones & John Taylor 12

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have been received in the sopomore class on regular standing, All of the glistered fellow[s]13 have returned except Mr Lock , There are about a dozen who are upon equal footing in geometry, on french I am inclined to think that James Dobbin stands first, on Latin & Greek they are about the same as when you were here, The Junior Class stand about the same except Calvin Jones who it is thought is failing a little & Jacob is gaining a ground a little You know my old complaint, that there is to much visiting, but I can assure you that it is ten times as worse as ever it was before, My expurgated Horace 14 attractes a great many of the sopomores to find what odes are skiped & how far the lessen goes, Jacob has Williamson & Allen Jones nearly always about him, so that on the one hand there is a continual cry, Sol , Sol , & Gundy Gundy I want to see your expurgated Horace, on the other Shedrick, Jack, I wish you would show me how to commence this sum & likewise add by way of an ornament a few blessings upon John Bull's [James Phillips' ] head, for giving such long & hard lessens, Upon the whole I believe it is best for it to be so, because I am inclined to forsake company more perhaps than I oug[ht to] be. At the beginning of this session Mr Hooper gave us a [sponsor] for to establish a temperate society,15 I believe that we are about to succeed, although there are a great many sneers & approbrious epithets thrown out againt it, there are16 about fifteen or twenty students who are going to join, for how long a time it is to be established I do not know, but I suspect it will continue for one year or through Colledge course, & then it will be renewed again, upon the whole the students do not drink half so much as they formerly did, yet there are more squibs17 & crakers fired every night than I have heard since I have been at this place, Jacob is a warm advocate in favour of a temperate society. After this long epistle (which if you can make18 out you must be a very good reader) I will win[d] up with something more solid, Surely it must be a source of great pleasure to hear that religion is gaining ground at Leasburg, would to God that the same was the case here, we would not hear so many oaths & profaness

Page 4
if virtue & morality19 were regarded here, It is religion which distinguishes one man from another, which elevates one nation above another, But this place unfortunatly has never been famious for morality & virtu[e] & I am afraid that it never will, Write me as soon as you shall find an opportunity, tell William & Addison that I shall expect a letter from them,

your Affectionate Brother

S. Lea


1. Lea Family Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Mr Lorenzo Lea / Leasburg Caswell, C/ N C"; the postage endorsement reads "Chapel Hill/1 Sept} 10."

2. Lea wrote "worth mentioning" on top of several unrecovered characters.

3. According to the University catalogue, the students from Leasburg, NC, in 1829 were George G. Lea (senior), Jacob Thompson (junior), and James M. Lea (freshman). Students from Person County, NC, were John H. Edwards (senior) and James M. Williamson (junior).

4. Possibly Benjamin F. Terry , who graduated in 1830 and became a physician. Terry , a member of the Dialectic Society, was from Pittsylvania County, VA, just north of Caswell County, NC, home of the Leas.

5. Lea wrote neglected on top of several unrecovered characters.

6. Presumably "Wm. Lea & Son," the store owned by Solomon's father in Leasburg.

7. John A. Backhouse from New Bern, NC, a Philanthropic Society member, graduated fourth in his class in 1830 and tutored the following year. Battle reports, "After being ordained a minister of the Gospel, he was deposed for conduct unbecoming a minister, and died early" (1:325). Finding competent tutors was a problem, according to Elisha Mitchell's 1828 report to the board of trustees (Battle 1:317).

8. Richard Muse Shepard (1813-44) of New Bern, NC, graduated in 1829 but may have remained in Chapel Hill to read law; he eventually became a lawyer in New Orleans. Thomas W. Dulaney of Onslow County, NC, also graduated in 1829, but sources are silent about his subsequent career. Both Shepard and Dulaney were members of the Philanthropic Society, having joined in 1826.

9. Cicero Stephens Hawks (d. 1868) of New Bern, NC, was a member of the Philanthropic Society. A "mite man" was a student earning first, second, or third honors. By the time Hawks graduated in 1830, he was a "third mite man," delivering a commencement speech on the "Influence of Rewards Bestowed on Distinguished Characters" (Battle 1:324). He eventually became bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Missouri.

10. According to the University catalogue for 1829-30, the class of first-year students actually numbered 14.

11. Lea wrote for on top of several unrecovered characters.

12. Cadwallader Jones (1813-99) and John W. Taylor , both from Hillsborough, NC, joined the Philanthropic Society in 1828. Faculty minutes for August 1829 record that Jones , "whose examination at the close of the Freshman year was disapproved," passed it a few months later and was approved for admission to the sophomore class (3:108, UA). Jones graduated in 1832. He became a lawyer and served in the NC House of Commons (1840-42 and 1848-50), as a NC solicitor, and as a colonel in the Confederate army. He was a member of the board of trustees from 1840 to 1857.
Taylor had been suspended for three months in May 1829 for indecent exposure. The faculty reinstated him before his suspension was up. He left the University in 1832, evidently without receiving a degree, and sources are silent about his later career.

13. "glistered fellows": students of any academic class who failed their examinations or coursework. They were required to make up their deficiencies before being readmitted to "regular" standing.

14. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Opera [annotated by Benjamin Apthorp Gould] (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, Little and Wilkins, 1828). The study of Horace's odes and satires was required of all sophomores, and the 1831 University catalogue lists Gould's expurgated Horace as a textbook. An expurgated textbook is one that omits objectionable passages.

15. "temperate society": temperance society.

16. Lea wrote are on top of several unrecovered characters.

17. "squibs": small firecrackers or broken firecrackers that burn with a fizz.

18. Lea wrote make on top of several unrecovered characters.

19. Lea wrote morality on top of several unrecovered characters.