Documenting the American South Logo
Title: Letter from Samuel B. Stephens to William Gaston, July 11, 1831: Electronic Edition.
Author: Stephens, Samuel Barron, d. 1882
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Todd Stabley
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 12K
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:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke 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: William Gaston Papers (#272), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Samuel B. Stephens to William Gaston, July 11, 1831
Author: Samuel B. Stephens
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 272 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/Goals and Purposes
Education/UNC Curriculum
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Religion and Philosophy/Worship
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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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Stephens informs Gaston that he has earned second honors in his junior year and that preacher Russell led a successful local revival in Spring 1831.
Letter from Samuel B. Stephens to William Gaston , July 11, 18311
Stephens, Samuel Barron, d. 1882

Page 1
Chapel Hill 11 July 1831

Dear Sir

I hope you will not take my long silence amiss as I should most certainly have answered your kind letter before this but that I wished to ascertain how my scolarship was approved of by the Faculty and I have been so much engaged since commencement that it has been impossible to write sooner I have now the satisfaction of informing you that I have obtained the second distinction which I value inasmuch as it will gratify you and I hope it will be a sufficient testimony that I have not altogether neglected your parting advice I intend applying myself closely for t during the remainder of my Collegiate course if for no other reason than to acquire habits of industry for I now clearly perceive that without industry application a man can do nothing—
You doubtless have heard of the

Page 2
great revival or rather religious mania which took place here during our last term under the philippics of a certain fire & brimstone preac[h]er of the name of Russell,2 there were upwards of fifty converts made among whom was Tho. Burgwyn the storm has now passed over the waves do not run quite so high as at they did at first and the time will shorty come when every thing will be a still as if nothing had happened the most strenuous supporters are already becoming lukewarm in the cause
There is no person who has a greater respect for religion than myself but I am and always shall be opposed to bigotry and fanaticism nor can I esteem that religion genuine the professors of which threaten with their enemity those who do not think proper to pursue the same mode of life with themselves Their conduct is sufficient to disgust any person of common sense I for my part am heartily tired of it and I anxiously look forward to the time which is now rapidly approaching when I shall be free of the place and begin my career

Page 3
in the world and endeavour to realise those expectations which my parents in the pride of their hearts have formed should I be successful I shall be the happy means of rendering them comfortable and prosperous in their old age but in all situations whatever situation Providence shall place me I shall allw always feel the warmest emotions of gratitude to you the friend of my Father and believe me dear sir it is with no small degree of satisfaction that [I] subscribe myself

Your Affectionate Friend

S B Stephens

Envelope page


1. William Gaston Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Mr William Gaston / Raleigh/ NC." The amount of postage, "6" cents, is written in the upper left corner. The upper left corner has been stamped with a circular postmark, "CHAPLHILL N.C." appearing inside the circumference of the circle, with "July 12" in the center of the circle. Someone has written in blue pencil in the upper right corner of the address leaf "Stephens /1831."

2. Preacher Russell's identity and denomination are unidentified. The Raleigh Register and North-Carolina Gazette for June 9, 1831, printed the following report: "We learn that there has been a very extensive Revival at Chapel Hill, amongst the students. It is said that every member of the College, with the exception of thirty, has made an open profession of Religion" (3).