Henley Family Papers

ca. 1860s-ca. 1957. ½ box (6 folders), 32 items.MSS. COLL. #186

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


This collection consists of photographs and printed material chronicling three generations of the Henley family and their Deep River Quaker farming community. Also included are photographs of the Dilworth family, who married into the Henley family, and local Quaker landmarks, including New Garden Boarding School (later Guilford College). The glass plate negatives and the memoir titled Linsey-Woolsey Days, about Jessie Henley Parker’s childhood visits to her grandparents’ farm, provide the greatest insight into daily life on a farm in a late 19th century Quaker community.

Arrangement: This collection is organized in two series and arranged within series by document type or subject. The series are: Photographs, ca. 1860s-1940s; and Printed Material, 1937-ca. 1957.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Eleanor Parker Bell in March 1994 and assigned the accession numbers 1994.19.1-5.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was drafted by intern Amanda McBryde in April 2023. The finding aid was completed by volunteer Ann Koppen that same month.


Quakers David Vestal Henley (1818-1893) and his wife, Eleanor Lassiter Henley (1824-1903), were born in Randolph County, North Carolina, and by 1870 owned a farm in Guilford County’s Deep River community, where they were members of Deep River Friends Meeting. They had thirteen children who lived to adulthood: Dougan (1845-1931), Mary (Williams) (1846-1934), Parthenia (Snipes) (1848-1934), Micajah (1849-1943), Sarah (Thrift) (1851-1931), Anna (Couch) (1854-1948), Asenath Minerva (Gossett) (1856-1930), Nathan (1857-1948), Jesse (1859-1951), Martha (McCracken) (1861-1940), Nancy (Gordon) (1863-1932), Eunice (Blair) (1865-1953), and Gulielma (Grantham) (1870-1965). Micajah married Sarah Caroline Dilworth (1848-1936), who was the daughter of Methodists Sarah Wall Westbrooks (1818-1898) and James Arrington Dilworth (1815-1896). Their other children included Elvira Frances “Fannie” (1842-1891), Mary Elizabeth “Mamie” (1843-1923), James Romulus “Jim” (1845-1932), and Rachel Eudora “Dora” Dilworth (1859-1939). Micajah and Caroline had three children: Jessie Henley Parker (1878-1959), Charles A. Henley, and Carolyn Henley Bridges (1884-1967). Jessie married Vivian Jordan Parker (1874-1955), and they had three children: Vivian Herbert Parker (1903-1935), Charles Harold Parker, and Eleanor Parker Bell (1908-1994).

Biographical Sources: The sources for this biographical note are materials in the collection and


This collection contains photographs and printed material relating to the Henley and Dilworth families. Of particular note are a book of memoirs by Jessie Henley Parker about visits to her grandparents’ farm in the late 19th century and glass plate negatives of a variety of subjects, including the Henley farm and New Garden Boarding School. Also of interest are two copies of a poster showcasing the school, two local Friends meeting houses, and a typical pioneer graveyard, as well as many photographs of Henley and Dilworth family members. Researchers interested in the Henley or Dilworth families, local Quaker sites, or farm life in the late 19th century may find this collection useful.


1. Photographs.  4 folders (29 items).  ca. 1860s-1940s.

This series consists of photographic prints and glass plate negatives of the Henley and Dilworth families, the Henley farm in Deep River, and Founders Hall at New Garden Boarding School and later Guilford College.

The Henley photographs show David Vestal Henley; Eleanor and Harold Parker in St. Augustine, Florida, around 1918; Nathan P. Henley at his wife’s grave; and Jesse Henley, Annie (Anna) Henley Couch, Gulie (Gulielma) Henley Grantham, and M.C. (Micajah) Henley at Guilford College in 1937 (1:4). Images of the Dilworth family (1:1) include siblings Caroline, Dora, and Jim individually and as a group, as well as Jim with his granddaughter, Louise Perkins. Other family portraits feature Caroline’s cousin, Dora Vogler; her mother Sarah Westbrooks Dilworth; her mother’s sister, Mary Westbrooks Edwards; and James Westbrooks, a Methodist minister who was Mary and Sarah’s father. Also of note is a tintype of Sarah Westbrooks Dilworth.

Among the glass plate negatives (1:2) are portraits of Eleanor Lassiter Henley, David Vestal Henley, and Dougan Henley’s family. Images of the Henley house in Deep River show two women and an assortment of farm animals in front of the barn, and the house with six family members gathered in front. Other glass plate negatives feature three unidentified houses, Founders Hall at New Garden Boarding School, and New Garden Friends Meeting House.

2. Printed Material.  2 folders (3 items).  1937-ca. 1957.

This series contains a book compiled by Eleanor Parker Bell of memoirs written by her mother, Jessie Henley Parker, about her childhood visits to her Quaker grandparents, Eleanor Lassiter and David Vestal Henley, who lived in the Deep River community (2:1). These memories and descriptions of ways of life were bound with pen sketches by Jessie Parker’s brother, Charles A. Henley, and given as gifts to her grandchildren. Detailed entries about gardening, dying, weaving, quilting, and spinning accompany reminiscences of daily life, the Underground Railroad, Quaker meetings, weddings, New Garden Boarding School, and the Little Brick School. Also included in this series are two copies of a poster commemorating various Quaker sites (2:2). Micajah C. Henley took the photos on the poster around 1875 and created the poster in 1937. Images and descriptions capture New Garden Boarding School (later Guilford College), New Garden Friends Meeting House, Deep River Friends Meeting House, and a typical pioneer cemetery. The original negative of Founders Hall at New Garden Boarding School and a similar view of New Garden Friends Meeting House can be found among the glass plate negatives (1:2). On the back of one poster is a handwritten description of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.


11Photographs-- Dilworth family (ca. 1850s-1920s)
2-- Glass plate negatives (ca. 1870s)
3-- Guilford College (1925)
4-- Henley family (ca. 1840s-ca. 1940s)
21Printed Material-- Linsey-Woolsey Days (ca. 1957)
2-- Posters (1937)