Home Digital Collections

William Crenshaw Papers

Special Collections & Archives

The collection's logo

William Crenshaw was born July 19, 1783, and died July 16, 1861. He married Sarah Bodie Martin on January 6, 1806. He was one of the first Trustees of the Wake Forest Institution and its first Treasurer. He became a member of the Wake Union Church in 1830, being baptized by Rev. John Purefoy, and became a deacon in 1842. In 1840, William Crenshaw resigned as College Treasurer and Trustee. Crenshaw's son John M. Crenshaw was the first student enrolled at the Wake Forest Institute, 1834.

This collection includes handwritten bills of sale for enslaved African Americans 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.

This related podcast discusses how Wake Forest University librarians and professors use the William Crenshaw Collection to teach Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Teaching Harriet Jacobs in the Archives