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Title: Letter from Alexander J. Davis to David L. Swain, December 5, 1845: Electronic Edition.
Author: Davis, Alexander Jackson, 1803-1892
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Risa Mulligan
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 9K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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:
2005-07-06, Risa Mulligan finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Alexander J. Davis to David L. Swain, December 5, 1845
Author: Alexander Jackson Davis
Description: 3 pages, 3 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from Alexander J. Davis to David L. Swain , December 5, 1845
Davis, Alexander Jackson, 1803-1892

Page 1
Enquiry No. 1, "Proper thickness and depth of joist:"
Answer. For a bearing of 20 ft. or so — 3 by 12 inches.
From centers — 16 [or 10] inches apart
Remarks: By referring to my sketches of the design for the additions at Chapel Hill, I find two cross walls on the first story floor dividing the dormitory rooms; these walls support 2 girders, upon which, the posts of the Odeion, together with the floor of the same, rest. There is a post between each window. The second post, from the front wall, rests upon this cross wall, or upon a pier in the cellar (in case no cross wall was built in the cellar, (I have no plan of cellar to tell me whether a wall was drawn there, or only a pier ,) there was certainly at least a pier.) and this pier was intended to give support to the girders above, and even to the roof, by resting posts upon them in each story. I had originally drawn alcoves in the dormitory rooms, and the post dividing the two alcoves was intended to have support in the cellar and give support to girders above, which would have made a very stiff floor.

Page 2
In our part of the country, we should place joist alternating, as shown in No. 1, lapping over the hall, and the partitions of hall would be of brick, 8 to 12 inches thick in cellar, and principal floor, and this would form the floor of the Odeion, No. 2. The two middle (black above in sketch) posts receiving a firm support from below, and the other posts standing upon a plate resting upon the joist of floor. These posts of the Odeion were to continue up, or be framed in two stories, the upper one the Library, and also support both the girders of floors, and also the roof. The roof would need no trussing, those posts bearing the purlin and rafters of roof.
A.A. Girders supported by posts.
The partitions of alcoves may have braces to prevent the possibility of the rafters spreading, so that no tie or iron rods would be necessary.
B posts in library, acting as queen posts, and bearing the weight of roof. The same being so flat as not to be liable to thrust out, but lie with a perpendicular weight upon these posts. The triangular space being wall braced.
Frame in, and secure the joists to the girders by pinning them, if they do not intertie, as 1. 2. above.

Page 3
The floor of library should have joist, 3 by 12 crossing from the wall to the girders on the opposite side of room, 1, 2, in every 4 or 5 joist. This would tie the walls together, and make firm work. The ties would be 30 ft. or so in length. The joist should have a double tier of cross bracing:
[Sketch of Joist Plan]
between them, and be deepened with 2 inches of clay, sand, and lime.
There is still another way of laying the joist, thus, and either way would be sufficient for good work, laying the joist length wise, instead of crosswise, but still
[Sketches of Joist Plan]
depending upon the piers A A for support to be girders, 12 X 12 running across instead of lengthwise, reversing the position of the timber. This mode is not so good as the other, as the sidewalls would not be so well tied together. The tie however, would depend upon having the ends secured to the wall by irons, at least in a few places. No. 1, on the other page is the best mode provided the joist have a wall of entry hall to rest upon. If not No. 3 is best with girders running lengthwise and the joist over lapping. 1, 2 and thus tieing the 2 sides together.

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