Sloan Family Papers

ca. 1850-1906. 1/2 box (41 folders), ca. 110 items.MSS. COLL. #71

NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses throughout the inventory, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


The focus of this small collection is Robert Moderwell Sloan, merchant, long-time employee of the Southern Express Company, and Reconstruction mayor of Greensboro. Researchers will find it strong in Confederate States of America (CSA) and Reconstruction era content and particularly useful for the ca. 1860-ca. 1870 era in Greensboro.

Arrangement: The Sloan Family Papers are arranged six series, and within series are arranged alphabetically. The six series are: Correspondence, 1860-71; Financial, ca. 1850-1906; Legal, 1863-1906; Literary, ca. 1870; Maps, ca. 1870; and Printed, 1860-99.

Provenance: The provenance of the Sloan Family Papers is unknown.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid prepared by J. Timothy Cole in June 1996.


Robert Moderwell Sloan (1812-1905) was the first mayor of Greensboro after it became a city in 1870. Most of the collection focuses on him. Sloan was born in Lexington, Va., the son of John and Mary Shields Sloan. He moved to Greensboro in 1827, where he became a salesman in his uncle’s store. Sloan eventually established himself as a prominent Greensboro merchant. In 1836, he married Sarah Paisley and had seven children, including John Sloan, who was to become commanding officer of the Guilford Grays (Company B, 27th North Carolina). He retired from the mercantile business ca. 1860 and was then appointed the first agent of the Southern Express Company in Greensboro, a company with which he remained associated for the rest of his life.

Uncle Bob’s (as Sloan was affectionately called) tenure as mayor (1870-73) saw not only the creation of Greensboro’s first city charter, but also it’s first graded schools, garbage collections and pound for stray animals (Arnett, pp. 33-34). His tenure also coincides with the political strains of the Reconstruction period.

A few items in the collection are associated with Thomas J. Sloan, who attained the rank of 1st Corporal in the Guilford Grays. This Sloan may have been a nephew. Thomas J. Sloan became a member of the regimental band.

Biographical Sources: Sources for information on R.M. Sloan and the Sloan family include: Ethel Stephens Arnett, Greensboro, North Carolina: The County Seat of Guilford, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1955, pp. 33-34; Bettie D. Caldwell, Founders and Builders of Greensboro, 1808-1908, Greensboro: Jos. J. Stone & Company, 1925, pp. 129-32; Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr., compiler, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, Vol. VIII, Raleigh: Division of Archives & History, 1981; and John A. Sloan, Reminiscences of the Guilford Grays, Co. B, 27th N.C. Regiment, Washington, D.C.: R.O. Polkinhorn, Printer, 1883, p. 121


Types of materials in this collection include correspondence, account books, currency, lists, promissory notes, receipts, financial statements, deeds, petitions, wills, maps, clippings, envelopes, loyalty oaths, and soldier passes. The Sloan Family Papers primarily consist of financial, military, and legal documents from the period ca. 1860-ca. 1870.They are notable for Confederate States of America (CSA) content and include several different types of CSA paper: tax receipts (3:4-6; 6:7), soldier passes (6:11), currency (2:2), promissory notes (2:4-6), slave documents (2:5-6), financial statements (2:13), and receipts for bonds (6:6). The researcher will also find printed loyalty oaths (6:4) which Confederate soldiers and sympathizers were required to sign following the War.

Other interesting materials deal with Reconstruction politics (1:1; 3:2; 4:1) and ca. 1870 businesses and financial transactions in Greensboro (1:1-5; 2:1,3,8,11; 3:2; 6:5,8-10). Much of the material reflects R.M. Sloan’s long association with the Southern Express Company (1:3,6-7; 2:3-4; 6:3).


1. Correspondence. 7 folders (11 items). 1860-71.

In folder 1:1 may be found a letter (1870) in which D.W.C. Benbow, a sympathizer with the Radical Republican cause, discusses the presentation of a Confederate flag to a drunken Negro who voted for the Conservatives in the election of August 4th. Benbow’s letter was printed verbatim (with a description of the incident) in the Greensboro Patriot, August 18, 1870, p. 2. In 1:5, James A. Houston writes Sloan (1871) and criticizes him for business practices which have adversely affected him. The rest of the correspondence in the series seems to refer to mundane business transactions. Fine printed Southern Express Company envelopes (ca. 1870) can be found in 1:6 and 1:7.

2. Financial. 13 folders (ca. 45 items). ca. 1850-1906.

Folder 2:3 consists of a list, apparently pertaining to transactions of the Southern Express Company (ca. 1870). A group of promissory notes, many of which relate to expenses for the care of a family during the Civil War, can be found in 2:4. The document in 2:5 (1864) probably refers to the hire of a slave named Alfred, though neither the terms “slave” nor “Negro” are used. However, a similar promissory note in 2:6 (1864) clearly refers to the “hire of Negro boy Lewis.” The manuscript receipts group (2:7-12) consists largely of mundane transactions.

3. Legal. 7 folders (ca. 25 items). 1863-1906.

The most interesting item in this series is an 1869 petition (3:2) signed by a number of prominent Greensboro businessmen/citizens such a D.W.C. Benbow, James Sloan, A.B. Chapin, and A.J. Brockmann. The petition calls for the building of new roads between East Market and Washington streets. A number of CSA tax receipts (1863-65) can be found in 3:4-6, including receipts for “Confederate tithes.” Folder 3:1 contains a group of mainly late 19th century Durham County deeds.

4. Literary. 1 folder (1 item). ca. 1870.

This one folder series consists of a very interesting political statement, probably in the hand of R.M. Sloan, which seems to refer to voter intimidation during 1869 and 1870 and the so-called Kirk-Holden War. It includes references to “the murderer Kirk” and “the infamous Gov. Holden.” Apparently some voters, “professing to be conservatives,” were forced to vote for a Republican (?) named William A. Smith. These voters included Cyrus P. Mendenhall, N.H.D. Wilson, and Peter Adams, Sr.

5. Maps. 1 folder (1 item). ca. 1870.

This one folder series consists of a fine hand-colored map of Northern Missouri (ca. 1870) showing the North Missouri Railroad and its various connections.

6. Printed. 11 folders ( items). 1860-99.

This series has considerable CSA content. Folder 6:1 consists of a clipping (1899) with the words for the anthem of the Confederacy, “The Bonnie Blue Flag.” Post-war loyalty oaths of 1st Corporal Thomas J. Sloan (1865) of Company B, 27th Regiment, the famous “Guilford Grays” outfit, may be found in 6:4; one is dated Greensboro, May 2, 1865. Sloan was a member of the regimental band. There is also a soldier’s pass (1864) for Sloan (6:11) in the series. It was signed by 1st Lieutenant James Turner Morehead, who was later a Captain in the 45th North Carolina.

A number of receipts for Confederate bonds (1864) are in 6:6. They range in value from $100 to $1000 and originate from offices in Asheville, Charleston, SC, Raleigh, Christiansburg, Va., and Wilmington. A printed “Confederate tithes” receipt (1863) is found in 6:7.

Items associated with Greensboro businesses are also included in the series. Receipts for the Greensboro Gas Light Co. (1868) are found in folder 6:8; a very fine Greensboro Patriot receipt (1867) is in 6:9; and 6:10 contains a Greensborough Mutual Life & Trust receipt (1860).


11Correspondence-- Benbow, D.W.C. (1870)
2-- Cavanah, F.P. (1868)
3-- Courtney, J.C. (1869)
4-- Hopkins, L. (1860)
5Correspondence-- Houston, James (?) A. (1871)
6-- Robertson, S.C. (1871)
7-- Sullivan, Thomas (1867)
21Financial-- Account books (ca. 1850-70)
2-- Confederate currency (1861)
3-- Lists -- Southern Express Company (?) (ca. 1870)
4-- Promissory notes (1855-1906)
5Financial-- Promissory notes (1864)
6-- Promissory notes -- "hire of Negro" (1864)
7-- Receipts (n.d.)
8-- Receipts (n.d.) -- Cavanaugh (n.d.)
9Financial-- Receipts (n.d.) -- Gibson, R.B. (1864)
10-- Receipts (n.d.) -- Ingold, A.W. (1866)
11-- Receipts (n.d.) -- Sutton, W.T. (1864)
12-- Receipts (n.d.) -- Tobacco sale (1863)
13Financial-- Statements (1863)
31Legal-- Deeds (1869-1906)
2-- Petitions (1869)
3-- Registration as free trader (1893)
4-- Tax receipts (1864-65)
5Legal-- Tax receipts -- Coleman, R.L. (1863)
6-- Tax receipts -- Thrash, P.H. (1863)
7-- Wills -- Gibson, Rufus Baxter (ca. 1870)
41Literary-- Political statement -- Kirk-Holden War (ca. 1870)
51Maps-- North Missouri Railway (ca. 1870)
61Printed-- Clippings -- "Bonnie Blue Flag" (1899)
2-- Envelopes -- Miscellaneous (ca. 1865)
3-- Envelopes -- Southern Express Company (ca. 1865-7)
4-- Loyalty oath -- Sloan, Thomas J. (1865)
5Printed-- Receipts -- Adams Express Company (1864)
6-- Receipts -- Confederate bonds (1864)
7-- Receipts -- Confederate tithes (1863)
8-- Receipts -- Greensboro Gas Light Company (1868)
9Printed-- Receipts -- Greensboro Patriot (1867)
10-- Receipts -- Greensborough Mutual Life (1860)
11-- Soldier's pass (CSA) (1864)

Index to the Sloan Family Papers
(ca. 1850-1906)

NOTE: The numbers following the name/subject entry — e.g. 1:1 — indicate in which Series#:Folder# (or, if no “:”, Series only) that name/topic can be found. Dates of the items are given in parentheses for an individual Series/Folder or, if at the end, for the entire subject/name entry.

Adams Express Company: 6:5 (1864)
Adams, Peter, Sr.: 4:1 (ca. 1870)

Benbow, D.W.C.: 1:1, 3:2 (1869-70)
“Bonnie Blue Flag, The”: 6:1 (1899)
Brockmann, A.J.: 3:2 (1869)

Cavanah, F.P.: 1:2 (1868)
Chapin, A.B.: 3:2 (1869)
Coleman, R.L.: 3:5 (1863)
Confederate States of America: bonds, 6:6 (1864); currency, 2:2 (1861); soldier’s pass, 6:11 (1864); songs, 6:1 (1899); tithes, 6:7 (1863)
Courtney, J.C.: 1:3 (1869)

Gibson, Rufus Baxter: 2:9; 3:7 (1864-ca. 1870)
Greensboro (NC) (ca. 1860-70)
Greensboro Gas Light Company: 6:8 (1868)
Greensboro Patriot: 6:9 (1867)
Greensborough Mutual Life and Trust: 6:10 (1860)

Hopkins, L.: 1:4 (1860)
Houston, James (?) A.: 1:5 (1871)

Ingold, A.W.: 2:10 (1866)

Kirk-Holden War: 1:1; 4:1 (1870)

Mendenhall, Cyrus P.: 4:1 (ca. 1870)
Morehead, James Turner: 6:11 (1864)

North Carolina: Kirk-Holden War, 1:1; 4:1 (1870); politics and government, 13:2; 4:1 (1869-70)
North Missouri Railway: 5:1 (ca. 1870)

Reconstruction: 1:1; 3:2; 4:1 (1869-70)
Robertson, S.C.: 1:6 (1871)

Slavery: 2:5-6 (1864)
Sloan, James: 3:2 (1869)
Sloan, Robert Moderwell
Sloan, Thomas J.: loyalty oath, 6:4 (1865)
Smith, William A.: 4:1 (ca. 1870)
Southern Express Company: 1:6-7; 2:3; 6:3 (ca. 1865-70); envelopes, 1:6-7
Sullivan, Thomas: 1:7 (1867)
Sutton, W.T.: 2:11 (1864)

Thrash, P.H.: 3:6 (1863)
Tobacco: 2:12 (1863)

Wilson, N.H.D.: 4:1 (ca. 1870)