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Scott Fillman Diaries

Finding Aid & Inventory

Scott Fillman was the son of a plantation owner who wrote accounts of his daily life working on the Reidsville, N.C., tobaccco plantation. This collection contains two small diaries written from 1877 and 1879.

Biographical and Historical Note

Scott Fillman was born in 1864 in Lindley, N. Y. He was the son of plantation owner William Fillman of Reidsville, N. C. He did household chores and worked in the tobacco fields. They may have had as much as 800 acres of land near Reidsville.

The Fillmans lived in a house in the village and mainly grew in tobacco on their fields. Scott Fillman married Cornelia Scales in 1900; they had a son born in 1911 who died in 1920. Fillman died in 1935.

Collection Overview

This collection consists of two handwritten diaries by Scott Fillman of Reidsville, N. C. Fillman was 13 years old in 1877, and in both of the diaries he details daily life. A short essay, "Composition on Houses,"dated January 23, 1879, was found folded up in the back of the first diary.

Throughout the journal are mentions of weather, school attendance, daily work including cutting wood, shelling corn, cutting sprouts off potatoes, driving cows, feeding hogs, watering flowers, cleaning the cellar and woodshed, washing dishes, harvesting and hauling brick, attempting to sell goods in town, and overseeing the dining room. Leisure activities mentioned include reading, writing, playing ball, and visiting neighbors or going to Danville, Virginia. Working the tobacco fields as well as cutting, curing, and housing the tobacco are mentioned in the diary as well. Other workers are also mentioned: Major, George, and Luke, for example; no other details about these men are included.

The decorative box holding the diaries has a label for "The Thomas A. Gray Collection." Thomas Gray was a former director of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts located in Old Salem, Winston-Salem; Gray is related to the Gray family, owners of the Graylyn estate, and conducted extensive research on that historic property and others in the Winston-Salem area.

Collection Inventory

  • Diary  (1878-1879) box 1 item 1
  • Diary  (1877) box 1 item 2
  • Fillman, Scott. "Composition on Houses" essay  (1879 January 23) box 1 folder 3

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Scott Fillman Diaries
Date [inclusive]
1 half-document box
0.21  Linear Feet

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2022 August
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for researchers. 
Copyright Notice
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. 
Preferred Citation
Scott Fillman Diaries (MS916), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

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