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Title: Letter from Alpheus Jones to Peter W. Hairston, May 9, 1838: Electronic Edition.
Author: Jones, Alpheus
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Gregory J. Herder
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 17K
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: Wilson and Hairston Family Papers (#4134), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Alpheus Jones to Peter W. Hairston, May 9, 1838
Author: Alpheus Jones
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 4134 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Buildings and Grounds
Education/UNC Curriculum
Education/UNC Student Associations
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Editorial practices
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Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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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

Jones tells former student Hairston about preparations for the commencement ball and ceremonies, which will include speeches by Charles Manly and William Green. Senior speaking took place on February 2-4.
Letter from Alpheus Jones to Peter W. Hairston , May 9, 18381
Jones, Alpheus

Page 1
Chapel Hill 9th May 1838.

Dear Peter :

I have been on the verge of writing to you for the last fortnight; but owing to some casual occurrences, at the time when I would have commenced, I have been prevented from it; and thus have I deferred to answer your letter, which I was happy to receive some time last month, until the present time. Moreover I heard Walker2 speak of writing to you; and as I suppose it would be more agreeable to you to receive the two letters, being from the same place, after a short interval, it may be that I have fallen upon a more suitable time for writing than I should have done had I commenced a week or two ago. I hope, however, you will not employ my delay in writing to you as an excuse not to answer this shortly.
The Faculty have begun to make some slight preparations for Commencement. The3 broken places in the plastering of our library, too, have been repaired, & Fanning, from Wilmington, is expected to come up in a few days to paint the hall in the best of style;

Page 2
and I think it more than probable that we will employ him to paint the ceiling; & then the places which have been mended, will not be at all apparent. Our new mantle pieces, also, will be put up in a short time; so that, with the aid of our new curtains, I hope we will be able to make a pretty good show in June.
The two Societies have ratified the stipulation of which I have already written to you (viz.) "That each Society shall, alternately, select one of its members to address the Senior Class & alumni of the University on the Wednesday evening preceeding Commencement."4 Mr. C. Manly of Raleigh has been chosen by our Society to deliver this address next June & he has accepted the appointment. I have no doubt but that he will do the Society and himself considerable honor not only on account of his own talents but also by being contrasted with Shepard .5 Professor Green is to address our Society on the Tuesday night before Commencement. Considering all these circumstances, I think the inducements to attend our next Commencement, are greater than they have been for attending others heretofore; and, from what I have heard, I suppose the numbers of visitors6 will be very great.
The Senior speaking took place on the evenings of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of instant; the speeches were generally very good; one of the best was Hobson's on the relation of N. Carolina & Virginia; near the

Page 3
close, he introduced Va. as addressing N. C. and N. C. as replying; this part was excellent. Another of the best was Long's on the pleasures of a College life—a 'funny'—; this was excellent throughout and he was applauded throughout at every sentence; it has been acknowledged by all whom I have heard speak of it the best of the kind they ever heard—I would give you an idea or two contained in it but they are all so good I don't ~ know to which one to give the preference. The Senior report will be read in about a fortnight. I would be glad, if I could, to inform you who will get first; but I believe it is generally thought by the Class that Cuthbert and Davis will [be] put equal.7
Our Ball, so far as the supper is concerned (which will be furnished by Miss N. Hilliard ) will be superior to that of last Commencement; but I fear it will be inferior to it in some other respects; for something had been said of admitting all who may wish to attend, free of charges; & you know if this is the case, the society will not be very select.
Gov. Swain expects to teach a private law school if he can get a sufficient number of Students; five, I believe, is the number with which he would commence. Davis, Long, Walker & Wilder8 speak of studying under him. W. W. Avery , (who is now in Newbern under the instruction of Judge Gaston ) is expected up shortly, & more than probable he will also study under him; write shortly.

Ever your friend

Alpheus Jones .

P. W. Hairston , Esqr.

Envelope page


1. Wilson and Hairston Family Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Mr. Peter W. Hairston ,/ University of/Virginia." and is stamped with a circular postmark in the upper left corner; "CHAPEL HILL N.C." appears in the circumference of the circle, and "MAY 10" appears in the center of the circle. The amount of postage, "18 3/4" cents, is handwritten in the upper right corner of the envelope.

3. Jones wrote The on top of Our.

4. The resolution is recorded in the minutes of the Philanthropic Society for April 6, 1838 (Vol. S-9, UA) and in the minutes of the Dialectic Society for April 13, 1838 (Vol. 8, UA).

5. Whereas Manly gave what was called the "alumni address," William Biddle Shepard (1799-1852) gave the "annual address" on "The Value of the Classics in Education" at the 1838 Commencement. Shepard had been a member of the Philanthropic Society before he was expelled in 1816 (see Chapter One, "Speech of William B. Shepard"). Battle comments, "His accepting this trust shows that he had forgiven his dismissal for injecting politics into his Senior speech of 1816" (1:438).

6. Jones wrote o on top of e.

7. Jones was correct. "In awarding the distinctions in the Senior class of 19 members, Green M. Cuthbert and George R. Davis were pronounced first and equal" (Battle 1:439).

8. Probably George R. Davis , William John Long , William Richmond Walker , and Gaston Hillary Wilder , all of whom entered the University in 1834 and graduated in 1838.