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Treasurer's Office. William Crenshaw Account Books

Finding Aid & Inventory

This collection contains accounts maintained by College Treasurer William Crenshaw, 1833-1850. The account book on microfilm contains accounts from 1833-1835 and 1837. The second account book is in its original form and ranges from 1835-1850. This collection includes handwritten bills of sale for enslaved peoples whom Crenshaw purchased and held captive. It also contains other handwritten financial documents relating to land sales and wills, dating back as early as 1817.

Biographical and Historical Note

William Crenshaw was born July 19, 1783, and was one of the first Trustees of Wake Forest College when it was known as Wake Forest Institute and the first Treasurer of the Institution. Crenshaw's son John M. Crenshaw was the first student enrolled at the Wake Forest Institute, 1834. In 1840, William Crenshaw resigned as College Treasurer and Trustee.

He became a member of the Wake Union Church in 1830, was baptized by Rev. John Purefoy. In 1840, William Crenshaw resigned as Treasurer and Trustee at Wake Forest and became a deacon in 1842. Crenshaw purchased and enslaved a large number of enslaved peoples in the mid-1800s for use of their stolen labor, knowledge, and skills on his land.

He married Sarah Bodie Martin on January 6, 1806. Crenshaw died July 16, 1861.

Collection Overview

This collection contains accounts of Wake Forest Institute. The volume contains dates January 1, 1835 to December 1836. Named individuals include Charles Merriman, 1837; Joseph B. Outlaw, 1835-1836; John Armstrong, 1835-1836; and John Berry, 1835-1836. Also treasurer's accounts from October 18, 1841, to 1850, and an undated list of names on the Hufham Plan on page 136. The reel contains accounts from 1833 to 1835 and 1837. All these accounts were maintained by treasurer William Crenshaw.

This collection contains materials related to enslavement. Proceed with care.

Collection Inventory

  • Account book (1835-1837, 1841-1850) box 1 volume 1
  • Account book on microfilm (1833-1834, 1837) box 1 reel 1

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Treasurer's Office. William Crenshaw Account Books
Date [inclusive]
1835-1837, 1841-1850
0.21 Linear Feet  1 half-document box

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Revision Description
 Revised by Finley Turner 2020 January
Access Restrictions
This collection is open for use. 
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
Treasurer's Office Account Book (RG 25.1), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. 

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

Related materials include the William Crenshaw Papers (MS25). Digitized materials from that collection are available in Z. Smith Reynolds Digital Collections.

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