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William Crenshaw Papers

Finding Aid & Inventory

William Crenshaw was one of the first Trustees of Wake Forest Institute and the Institution's first Treasurer. Crenshaw's son John M. Crenshaw was the first student enrolled at the Wake Forest Institute, 1834. 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. Crenshaw died July 16, 1861. This collection contains land sale contracts, the will of William Jones, a deed of guardianship and receipts of childcare, and bills of sale for enslaved peoples.

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 land sale contracts in Wake County, N.C., the will of William Jones, a deed of guardianship and receipts of childcare, and bills of sale for enslaved peoples.

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

Collection Inventory

  • Bills of sale for enslaved peoples (1822-1844) box 1 folder 7 (Named enslaved peoples include: Allen, Augustine, Beauford, Betsy, Cain (2), Candace, Charles, Daniel, Dara, Dodd, Ginney, Governor, Govines, Gurmy, Henderson, Henry, Huldy, Jack, Jane, Jacob, Jeff, Jude, Judy, Lauren, Lender, Leonard, Lindy, Loise, Lucinda, Lucy (3), Madison, Mariette, Meldon, Miranda, Nancy, Ned, Phil, Ransom, Scuder, Silas, Squire, Tyler, Washington, and Wright.)
  • Deed of guardianship and childcare receipts (1825) box 1 folder 5
  • Land sale contracts (circa 1783-1866) box 1 folder 1-3 box 1 folder 6
  • Last will and testament of William Jones (1829) box 1 folder 4

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Title
William Crenshaw Papers
ID
MS25
Date [inclusive]
1783-1866
Extent
0.21 Linear Feet  1 legal half-document box

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Revision Description
 Revised by Stephanie Bennett, Finley Turner, Stephanie Bennett 2018, 2019, 2020
Access Restrictions
This collection is open for use. Some materials are fragile and damaged. 
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
William Crenshaw Papers (MS25), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Related materials include the Samuel and Sarah Wait Papers (MS117), and Treasurer's Office Account Books (RG25.1). Digitized materials from this collection are available in Z. Smith Reynolds Library Digital Collections.

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