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McDonald-Howe Family Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-034

Scope and Contents

The McDonald-Howe Family Papers encompass a rare piece of history in southeastern North Carolina, beginning in 1861 when the freedom of Frederick Howe is granted. This collection contains character references, baptismal certificates, court documents, correspondence, photographs, an autobiography, educational resumes, and an eyewitness account of the 1898 Wilmington Riot, along with other family documents.


  • 1861-1966

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

The McDonald-Howe family can trace its lineage back to an Ibo chieftain in southern Nigeria, Africa. A descendant of Anthony Walker, Nada R. McDonald Cotton, wrote a narrative history of the family. (See File 22 of this collection.)

This collection contains documents that relate to Anthony Walker (d.1837) and Tenah Howe’s (d. 1852) children and their descendants. Tenah, a Tuscarora, was the ward of Colonel Robert Howe of Wilmington, NC. The Colonel considered Tenah and her children his heirs, and to perpetuate the family name, he made provisions for Anthony, Tenah and their descendants to be forever free when he died. The family was always to carry the name of Howe.

Anthony Walker was a builder and carpenter. He passed his knowledge and skills on to his sons—Anthony, Pompey, and Alfred. Anthony and his descendants became well known architects and builders. Being free people of color, they were able to purchase land and take an active role in community life. Many of Anthony and Tenah’s descendants went on to become outstanding educators.

Note written by Lana Donaldson Taylor.


0.21 Linear Feet (Contains 1 document box and 1 map case folder)



Arrangement Note

Arrangement of this collection is chronological.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Mr. Ernest A. Swain, executor of the McDonald estate, on May 12, 1988.

Related Materials

The names of the individuals posted in Folder 16, Item 9 came directly from the Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Lana Taylor. In 2015, this manuscript collection was re-foldered and re-housed with current archival standard materials by Rebecca Baugnon.
McDonald-Howe Family Papers
Special Collections Staff
1989 April 5
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository