Robert G. Lindsay Papers

ca. 1789-1887. 1/2 box (13 folders), 38 items.MSS. COLL. #58

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 Robert G. Lindsay Papers focus on the activities of members of the Lindsay family, chiefly during the Civil War years. From this period, most of the items relate to the Robert G. Lindsay family and particularly Captain J. Austin Lindsay’s career with the 45th NC Regiment, Co. K. Items of note from other periods include a 1789 deed for land in Martinville and materials pertaining to the building of a home for Robert G. Lindsay in Greensboro in 1844.

Arrangement:  This collection is arranged into the four series and materials are filed alphabetically within each series. The series are: Correspondence, 1861-1865; Financial, 1835-1863; Miscellaneous, 1789-1887; and Printed, ca. 1863-1864.

Provenance: This collection was purchased by the Greensboro Historical Museum in 1987 and assigned accession number 1987.83.1. Also associated with this collection, but having a separate accession number (83.1000.452), is a book entitled Mitchell’s Universal Atlas, which is located in the general collection. Note: The items contained in folder 4:2 were found in this atlas.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was prepared by Francis D. Pitts III in July 1997.


The principal subjects of this small collection are Robert Goodloe Lindsay (1816-1886), members of his family, and especially his son, J. Austin Lindsay, all of whom were associated with Guilford County. Robert G. Lindsay was a third generation resident of Guilford County. His paternal grandfather, Robert Lindsay, was the first of his family to settle in the county. His father, also named Robert, and mother, the former Letitia Harper, resided in Martinville before moving to Greensboro shortly after its founding in 1808. They built a store there, and the spot where it was located came to be known as “Lindsay’s Corner.”

R.G. Lindsay, who had two brothers (Jeduthun and Jesse Harper) and two sisters (Ann Eliza and Mary), all of whom were prominent citizens in the community, was a lifelong resident of Greensboro. He attended both Yale College (1835) and the University of Virginia (1835-36), returning to Greensboro a short time thereafter, where he married the former Marianna P. Austin. In 1844, R.G. Lindsay built a home on Sycamore Street in Greensboro; he would reside there the rest of his life.

A number of the items in this collection are associated with his R.G. Lindsay’s eldest child, J. Austin Lindsay (1842-1868). Most of these materials pertain to his activities as a soldier in the 45th NC Regiment, Co. K, during the Civil War. An 1861 graduate of Davidson College, he apparently enlisted in the Confederate Army prior to 1 May 1862, at which time he was appointed 1st Lieutenant. Promoted to Captain in June 1863, Lindsay was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg. He returned to duty six months later but never fully recovered his strength. He was retired to the Invalid Corps on 2 December 1864, and died near Memphis, Tennessee, in 1868.

Biographical Sources:  Sources for information on Robert G. Lindsay and J. Austin Lindsay include Founders and Builders of Greensboro, 1808-1908, by Bettie D. Caldwell (Greensboro, NC: Jos. J. Stone & Co., 1925) and North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, compiled by Weymouth T. Jordan Jr. (Vol. XI; Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, 1987). Some information about these two men can also be found on and  In addition, researchers interested in R. G. Lindsay should see his will in Guilford County’s Will Book E (a copy of which is in the first folder of the collection), as well as the Vertical File and folders on the Lindsay family in the Miscellaneous Collection.


Types of materials in this collection include correspondence, a deed, a hospital transfer form, and receipts.

The Robert G. Lindsay Papers primarily consist of materials pertaining to members of the Lindsay family during the antebellum period and Civil War years. Perhaps the most important document is a builder’s proposal submitted to Robert G. Lindsay in 1844 itemizing the cost of materials to build a house (2:4) in Greensboro.

The documents in the correspondence series are notable for the information they reveal about southerners’ concerns during the war (1:1-5). Other interesting materials are a receipt from Edgeworth Female Seminary (2:2), a receipt from Porter and Gorrell (2:5), a 1789 Guilford County deed (3:1), and a small grouping of religious pamphlets (4:2).

Researchers interested in the Lindsay family might also want to examine materials filed in the Miscellaneous Collection under their name.


1. Correspondence. 5 folders (8 items). 1861-1865.

All the folders in this series contain letters either to or from a member of the Lindsay family during the Civil War years. The most noteworthy items are a letter from Robert G. Lindsay to his wife while he visited in New York, in which he mentions discussions about Ft. Sumter prior to its surrender (1:5), and one to Mrs. Robert G. (Marianna) Lindsay from her sister in Winchester, VA, in which she mentions Stonewall Jackson’s troops coming to that city in 1862 (1:4). The letter from J.H. Lindsay Jr., Adjutant 45th NC Troops, instructs Lt. J. Austin Lindsay to report for duty (1:3).

2. Financial. 5 folders (16 items). 1835-1865.

The financial series consists primarily of receipts acknowledging payment for tuition, services or goods. In this group can be found items from the University of Virginia and Yale College (2:3); Raleigh publisher W.L. Pomeroy for two copies of Hardee’s Tactics (2:1); Porter and Gorrell (2:5); and a receipt for Capt. J.A. Lindsay’s pay by the Confederate Army (2:1). Other noteworthy items are an itemized proposal to build a house in Greensboro for Robert G. Lindsay in 1844 (2:4) and a receipt sent to him from the Edgeworth Female Seminary (2:2).

3. Miscellaneous. 1 folder (7 items). 1789-1887.

The bulk of the miscellaneous series consists of items that appear to be unrelated to any of the other materials in the collection. Many of the documents in this series are receipts of transactions conducted outside of North Carolina. The sole exception is a 1789 deed recording the transference of property in the town of Martinville in Guilford County (3:1).

4. Printed. 2 folders (7 items). ca. 1863-1864.

The printed series consists of a small collection of Civil War-era items. In folder 4:1 is a standardized form that approves the transfer of Captain J.A. Lindsay from the General Hospital in Staunton, Virginia, to a hospital in Danville, Virginia. In folder 4:2 are five pamphlets and one cover from a pamphlet pertaining to religious concerns.


11Correspondence-- Anderson, James (1865)
2-- Harris, Jason C. (1863)
3-- Lindsay, J.H. (1863?)
4Correspondence-- Lindsay, Mrs. M. [from her sister] (1862)
5-- Lindsay, Robert G. (1861)
21Financial-- Lindsay, J. Austin (1863-1865)
2-- Lindsay, Robert G. -- Edgeworth Female Seminary (1859-1860)
3-- Lindsay, Robert G. -- Education (1835-1836)
4Financial-- Lindsay, Robert G. -- House building (1844-1862)
5-- Lindsay, Robert G. -- Miscellaneous (1862-1863)
31Miscellaneous (1789-1887)
41Printed-- Lindsay, J. Austin -- Hospital transfer form (1863)
2-- Religious pamphlets (ca. 1863-1864)

Index to the Robert G. Lindsay Papers
(ca. 1789-1887)

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.

Anderson, H.J.: 3:1 (1868)
Anderson, James: 1:1 (1865)
Anderson, Robert: 1:5 (1861)
Architecture: 2:4 (1844)

Ballard, John: 3:1 (1865-1867)
Bowen, T. J.: 3:1 (1857)

Cary & Ames (MA): 3:1 (1869)
Civil War: 1:1-5; 2:1; 4 (1861-1865); 45th NC Regiment, Co. K, 1:3; 2:1 (1863)

Danville (VA): 4:1 (1863)

Edgeworth Female Seminary: 2:2 (1859-1860)
Education: 2:2-3 (1835-1860)

Farnsworth, Simon: 3:1 (1868)
Ft. Sumter (SC): 1:5 (1861)

General Hospital (VA): 2:1 (1863)
Gorrell, Robert: 3:1 (1789)
Greensboro: conditions during Civil War, 1:2 (1863); houses, 2:4 (1844-1862)

Hamilton, Hana: 3:1 (1789)
Hamilton, John: 3:1 (1789)
Harris, Jason C.: 1:2 (1863)

Jackson, Stonewall: mention of troops in Winchester, VA, 1:4 (1862)

Kelley, Elisha: 3:1 (1869)

Lindsay, J. Austin: 1:3; 2:1; 4:1 (1863-1865)
Lindsay, J.H.: 1:3 (1863?)
Lindsay, Mrs. Robert G.: 1:1,4 (1862-1865)
Lindsay, Robert G.: 1:5; 2:2-5 (1835-1863)

McNairy, Robert: 3:1 (1789)
Martinville (NC): 3:1 (1789)
Moore, J.H.: 3:1 (1867)

Pomeroy, W. L.: 2:1 (1861)
Porter & Gorrell (Greensboro): 2:5 (1863)

Religion: 4:2 (ca. 1863-1864)

Schools: 2:2-3 (1835-1860)
Schrader, John: 3:1 (1789)
Scott, W. B.: 3:1 (1887)
Staunton (VA): 4:1 (1863)

U.S. Express Co. (NY): 3:1 (1887)
University of Virginia: 2:3 (1835-1836)

Wilson, Richard: 3:1 (1789)
Winchester (VA): 1:4 (1862)

Yale College: 2:3 (1835)