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Wilkes-Smedberg Family Papers, 1849-1913

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2022-021

Abstract

The Wilkes-Smedberg Papers is a collection of letters sent to and from John “Jack” Wilkes (1827-1908) and his wife, Jane “Jeanie” Renwick Smedberg Wilkes (1827-1913). Through family connections they were related to some of New York City’s most prominent families, including the Jeffreys, Wilkes, Auchincloss, Brevoort, Irving, among many others. Jeanie is well-known for her efforts in fundraising for St. Peter's Hospital (for the white community), and Good Samaritan Hospital (for the Black community). Jack is known for his war efforts as well as a successful local businessman.

Correspondence serves as the bulk of this collection, with transcriptions existing for letters between Jack and Jeanie. Other items in the collection include photographs, postcards, schoolwork, copies of wills, biographies, autobiographies, and materials relating to Good Samaritan Hospital. Materials are in good condition and dated 1849-1913.

Dates

  • 1849 - 1913

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to duplicate or publish material from this collection must be obtained from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Biographical / Historical

John "Jack" Wilkes and Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg Wilkes:

The Wilkes-Smedberg Papers is a collection of letters sent to and from John “Jack” Wilkes (1827-1908) and his wife, Jane “Jeanie” Renwick Smedberg Wilkes (1827-1913). Through family connections, they were related to some of New York City’s most prominent families, including the Jeffreys, Wilkes, Auchincloss, Brevoort, Irving, among many others.

Their mothers were sisters, making Jack and Jeanie first cousins. They had a close relationship as children and grew closer when they began exchanging letters after Jack joined the Navy. By 1853, the couple became engaged and they married in April of 1854. Together they shared nine children: Charles Wilkes (1855-1873), Isabella Wilkes (1856-1857), Jane Jeffrey Wilkes (1858-1868), Rosalie Wilkes (1860-1925), Agnes Wilkes (1862-?), John Francis "Frank" Wilkes (1864-1920), Paul Wilkes (1866-1894), Eliza Isabel (1867-1868), and James "Renwick" Wilkes (1871-1925).

Once married, Jack became discouraged with the thought of a naval career and the possibility of leaving his new bride a widow. Prior to their wedding in 1854, Jack arranged through his father Captain Charles Wilkes to supervise the stamp mill in St. Catherine’s Mine, which was just outside the city of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The couple arrived in Charlotte in May 1854 and made their home first in St. Catherine’s, and later in Charlotte. Jack worked hard to make a success of the Capps Mine but later switched his attention to the Mecklenburg Flour Mill and barrel making operation. He also purchased the Mecklenburg Iron Works. The couple raised their family and were very involved in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church where Jack served as the vestryman throughout his life.

When the Civil War broke out, the flour operations ceased, and Jack sold or leased the Iron Works to the Confederate Navy to use as the Confederate Naval Yard. Jack assisted his brother, Edmund “Em” Wilkes, in constructing a railroad from Danville, VA to Greensboro, NC for the Confederacy. Additionally, he served in the local militia and was made Captain.

Among her many charitable works, Jeanie was especially interested in improving medical care in the community in the 1870s. She helped to establish a military hospital in Charlotte to care for Confederate soldiers. After the Civil War, she joined a group of local women who in 1878 founded St. Peter's Home & Hospital. A tireless fund-raiser, she often traveled to New York to ask wealthy relatives for donations to finance hospital improvements. In 1888, the money she raised allowed her and her supporters to open Good Samaritan Hospital--North Carolina's first hospital for Black patients. She served on medical fundraising committees and wrote Bishops, family members, and doctors for their assistance in these two projects, which is included in this collection.

In her spare time, Jeanie volunteered at a local hospital, but most of her time was taken up with their children, two of which were born during the War. Her oldest daughter, Jane Jeffrey Wilkes, suffered from seizures.

The letters between Jack and Jane Wilkes depict a marriage of equal partnership and devotion. However, the majority of the collection contains letters from the Smedberg family to Jeanie, as well as letters from Jack’s two sisters, Eliza and Janey Wilkes. Eliza and Janey resided with their father, Captain Charles Wilkes in Washington, DC, Lincolnton, North Carolina and other places. Other letters are from Jeanie Wilkes myriad of relatives and friends from New York.

After the war, Jack Wilkes became obtained a charter of the First National Bank of Charlotte, opened a woolen mill, and reclaimed the Iron Works. His endeavors in the woolen mill failed and the money loaned to him by the Coates Brothers of Salisbury eventually led to a lawsuit. However, the Mecklenburg Iron Works remained the constant source of income for the family. Attempts to obtain control of Jeanie Wilkes’ dowry from her brothers for the business in North Carolina are mentioned in the letters in addition to the aforementioned lawsuit. Jeanie eventually traveled to New York to make arrangements to borrow against the dowry for Jack to invest in the Iron Works. Despite their financial hardships and the deaths of several of their children, the Wilkes became active participants in the Charlotte community and contributed to many social and cultural improvements.

Biographical / Historical

Smedberg Sons-John George Smedberg, James Renwick Smedberg, Adolphus "Dolph" Smedberg, Oscar Smedberg, William "Renwick" Smedberg, and Charles "Charley" Smedberg:

Of the thirteen children born to Charles Gustavus (1781-1845) and Isabella Renwick (1797-1862) Smedberg, only eight reached the age of twenty-one. Isabella was a widow when she began writing to her daughter, Jane "Jeanie” Smedberg Wilkes (1827-1913) in 1849. The family continued to rent the house on Beach Street and maintain the summer home, Devasego, near Prattsville, New York.

Her oldest son, John George Smedberg (1816-1845) had married, as had her oldest daughter, Agnes Smedberg Adams (1818-?). Both children married into the family of John Adams, a prominent merchant. John and his wife, Jane, maintained a farm in Duchess County, New York, while Agnes and her husband, William, rented a home near Isabella on Amity Street.

The five remaining boys were either at school, with tutors, or enrolled at Columbia College (now University). (The term University is used throughout each biography to avoid confusion for modern historians.) The brothers’ papers are arranged by birth order and include John George Smedberg, James Renwick Smedberg, Adolphus “Dolph” Smedberg, Oscar Smedberg, William “Renwick” Smedberg, and the youngest son, Charles “Charley Smedberg”. (In an effort of clarity, the boys’ nicknames are included because that is how they signed their letters, as well as how they are mentioned in other family letters.)

Correspondence between Isabella and Agnes, as well as their individual letters to Jeanie, we learn the Smedberg brothers were raised to be gentlemen despite their small financial prospects. Isabella’s husband, Charles Gustavus Smedberg, was born into a wealthy family in Stockholm, Sweden. Her father, James Renwick, was a prominent merchant. While Charles Smedberg was alive, the family enjoyed inclusion into the homes of many of New York City’s prominent merchants and bankers, some of whom were her neighbors. After her husband’s death, the family’s financial situation was limited to incomes from a variety of trusts established by Charles Smedberg for their children. Many of their friendships were the children of some of New York’s oldest families, including Kemble, Adams, Paulding, Irving, Morton, Paulding, Oothout, Irving, Henry, Auchincloss, Aspinwall, Schermerhorn, Greenleaf, and Delafield. These friendships enabled the Smedberg sons to move in circles in New York Society that may have been denied to them if inclusion was based solely on income.

The boys were extremely popular, and they display wit and charm throughout their letters. As they approached maturity, many mothers from the finest families with eligible daughters invited them to balls, parties, and outings. Determined that her sons would receive a college education, Isabella implored her brother, James Renwick, a Professor of Chemistry Engineering at Columbia College, to assist her with arranging for her sons' entrance to Columbia. James, Oscar, and Renwick excelled at Columbia and went onto establish successful careers, though not with some difficulties. There is no indication that Dolph attended Columbia, and Charley worked at eighteen for a glove importer. From Isabella’s letters, we learn the boys enjoyed music, opera, comedy, theater, and countless other social amusements that New York high society offered. They dutifully attended church at least once every Sunday with their mother. The letters let us know that the Smedberg family remained close knit as they grew up, moved away, and started families of their own.

Biographical / Historical

Locations:

Amity Street-Agnes Smedberg Adams resides here with her husband, William, and their children.

Beach Street-Isabella Renwick Smedberg’s residence is on this street in New York City.

St. Catherines Mill-just outside the Charlotte City limits. Now incorporated into Charlotte.

Devasego-Summer home of the Smedburg family in the Catskills of NY.

Washington, DC-Home of the two sisters Jane & Eliza and their father, Charles.

High Shoals-Gaston County. Charles Wilkes had landholdings there but no actual deed. This involved lengthy litigation that was not settled in his favor.

Biographical / Historical

Prominent Names:

John P. Alderman

Thomas Ashe-US Representative for NC

Bishop Thomas Atkinson-Bishop of the North Carolina Episcopal Diocese (1853-1881)

Charles B. Aycock-NC Educator and Governor

Robert S. Barnett

Robert Barrett (Baxter)

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard-CSA General, famous for Bull Run, and Ft. Sumter

Reverend Samuel Bishop

Reverend Thomas Bratton

Bishop Theodore D. Bratton- Bishop of the Mississippi Episcopal Diocese

Amos Brown-Resident of Seattle, Washington

Thomas Burry

Lewis Burton-Rector, St. Johns Episcopal in Richmond, VA

Marion Butler-US Senator from NC 1895-1901, Populist Party

E. Capers

Bishop Thomas Nelson Capes

T.H. Carter-Lieutenant Colonel US Army during Civil War

Bishop Joseph B. Cheshire-Rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte from 1881. Bishop of the North Carolina Episcopal Diocese (1893-) Fst native NC to elected Bishop of a Diocese in the United States

A.R. Chisolm

Amos J. Cummings-US Representative of New York, 1902-1903

James W. Currier-Dealer in musical organs for The Mason & Hamlin Cabinet Organs of Boston, Mass.

Jefferson Davis-President of Confederate States of America

Julia Floyd Delafield-Possibly daughter of Francis and Katherine Van Rensellaer-Spouse Frederick Von Schoonhoven

Crosby

Isabella DePuy

Charles Deems-North Carolina Writer and Methodist Minister

Dewey-Local banker. Wife Bessie

Alice H. Dickinson

Denby, Edwin-US Secretary of the Navy

George Dewey-Admiral in the US Navy

Alice H. Dickinson

Susan W. Dimock-Wife of Henry F. Dimock of Washington, DC

Ignatius Donnolley-Lawyer, Politician, author, poet, US Representative, Minnesota

John Downins

Bishop T.U. Dudley-Bishop of Washington, DC Diocese

E.F. Elliot

Fairbanks, Charles-Vice President of the United States

Millard Fillmore-13th President of the United States, 1850-1853

Louise Fleetwood

H.D. Frasier

Robert Gibbons, Mary Gibbons, Kate Gibbons-Local doctor and family members

Adolphus Washinton Greely-Arctic Explorer, Indian Mediator, co-founder of National Geographic

Elizabeth Greenville

Alfred Harding-Dean of the Washington National Cathedral (1909-1916)

Julian Hawthonre-M. Walter Dunne Company, The Colonial Press Library Committee, 170 Fifth Avenue, New York

John Henry

S.O. Henry

Abram S. Hewitt-US Representative of NY and later Mayor of NYC

Julius Hewitt

Bishop Horatio Hewitt-First resident minister at St. Peter’s Episcopal

Mary Higham

Isabella (Jeffrey) Hill-relative of Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg Wilkes

E.A. Hoffman

John Hopkins-Could be the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont or his son who wrote hymns

Susan Hopkins

Junius Moore Horner-Son of James Hunter Horner, founder of Horner Military School, who became the first Bishop of the Missionary District in Asheville, NC in 1898

Reverend F. (Fordyce) M. Hubbard-Professor UNC Chapel Hill

G. Humbart or Humburt

Henry Hunt-Either Brigadier General Chief Of Artillery Army Of The Potomac or the artist?

A.B. (Aaron Burtis) Hunter-Principal of Augustine College in Raleigh (19th century)

Julia Irving

Thomas J. Jarvis-US Senator of NC, 1894-1895

Johnston Jones

Paul Jones

Mary E. Kearney

Ellen Kemble-Friend of Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg Wilkes

W.W. Kirk

John J. Laffery (Lafferty)

Alfred Lee-Episcopal minister/rector possibly from Delaware

Bishop Abiel Leonard-Missionary Bishop of Utah and Nevada, etal

Bishop William A. Leonard-Bishop of Ohio

Lettie Green Llesenson

Sarah Lord

Mary Lucas

Bishop Theodore B. Lyman-Assistant Bishop of the North Carolina Episcopal Diocese

Dr. James R. McCombs-Local Charlotte physician

Mary Harrison McKee-Daughter of US President Benjamin Harrison

R. H. McKim-Minister associated with Washington & Lee

Josiah, Macy-Sea Merchant, founder of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

W.C. Maxwell-Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army

Sarah Monis

Margaret Montgomery

William W. Morrison

W. H. Murdoch

Lee Slater Overman-US Senator from NC, 1903-1930

Henry Pellew-Secretary to Bishop Dudley of Washington, DC

D.C. Peabody

William S. Pettigrew-North Carolina Politician

Henry Lee Reynolds-Conn. & NC Cotton merchant, arrested by Feds during Civil War.

Edwin R. Rich

J. Charlotte Ross

Bishop Salleka

Louis Sands-Naval Officer

Joseph Shannonhouse-Charlottean whose son was ordained as a minister.

George Sherston-British

Sarah B. Shuman

Annie L. Smith

Benjamin T. Smith

Bishop John Spaulding-First Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Colorado

Robert Strange-Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina

Ruth McErney Stuart

Helen Taft-Wife of President William Howard Taft

Annie Thorp-Friend of Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg Wilkes

Frances Tiernan-North Carolina female fiction writer

B.W. Tilley

Bishop Daniel Tuttle-Bishop of the Utah Episcopal Diocese

Bishop Dave Tuttle

Emory Upton-General in the US Army, Civil War hero

Zebulon Vance-NC Governor & Senator who made his home in Charlotte; friend of Wilkes

A.A. (Alfred Augustin) Watson-Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina

A.W. Watson

Edwin Webb-US Representative of NC (D), 1903-1919

Bishop Edwin Weed-Third Bishop of Florida Episcopal Diocese

William R. Wetmore-Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern

Bishop John H. White

Jane Whiting

Marshall P. Wilder-American author and humorist

Clelia F. Wills

Caroline Wilson

J.H. Wilson

George Winston-possibly Professor UNC Chapel Hill

Mary Wyckoff

Biographical / Historical

Chronological highlights of Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg Wilkes' life:

December 2, 1815-Charles Gustavus Smedberg marries Isabella Renwick in New York City.

September 30, 1816-Oldest brother John George Smedberg is born.

December 13, 1817-William Renwick Smedberg is born.

March 2, 1818-William Renwick Smedberg dies at Devasego, New York.

June 16, 1819-Agnes Smedberg, Jane Wilkes only sister, is born.

September 1, 1821-Charles Gustavus Smedberg is born.

September 24, 1821-Charles Gustavus dies at Devasego, New York.

1823- Charles Smedberg sells business in New York and takes ownership of a tannery, saw and grist mills in Devasego, (Greene County) New York. Construction starts on a home the Smedberg family calls Devasego.

January 12, 1825-Axel Adolphus Smedberg is born.

November 22, 1827- Jane (Jeanie to family and friends) is born in the Smedberg Family home at #56 Chambers Street near Broadway in New York City. She is the seventh of thirteen children born to the Smedbergs.

1828-1835-Family makes regular trips to Devasego, but maintain home at 217 Duane in Manhattan.

1831-Jeannie attends Miss Rittenhouse School with her cousin John “Jack” Wilkes.

May 22, 1831-A brother, Charles Gustavus Smedberg, is born.

May 6, 1832-Baby Charles Gustavus dies at Devasego.

March 18, 1833-A brother, James Renwick Smedberg, is born.

February 1, 1834-Brother Axel Adolphus Smedberg dies at Devasego.

May 31, 1835-Another brother, Adolphus “Dolph” Smedberg is born.

1835-1837-Isabella Jeffrey, cousin of Isabella Smedberg, provides instruction to Jeanie. Her oldest sister, Agnes, teaches Jeanie music. Later the children have a series of governesses.

March 19, 1839-Brother William Renwick Smedberg is born.

February 22, 1837-Her brother Oscar Smedberg is born.

December 28, 1841-Her youngest sibling Charles Gustavus Smedberg is born.

April 5, 1842-Jeanie’s sister, Agnes Smedberg marries William Adams. The couple lives with the Smedberg family.

1842-At her mother’s request and after Agnes Smedberg’s wedding, Jeanie Wilkes remains at home to assist her mother in the running of the household. She studies French, Literature, and German. For two years, Jeanie and her friend Anna Thorp take lessons at the Smedberg home with Professor Hackley of Columbia College.

May 1845-At age sixteen, Jeanie makes her first, long visit from home without her mother. Uncle Charles Wilkes (a naval officer), takes her to his home in Washington, DC for one month. She and her cousin Janey Wilkes attend parties at home and a wedding at the Navy Yard. The two meet celebrities of the time, including Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Senators Henry Clay and Thomas Hart Benton, President and Mrs. James K. Polk, and Dolly Madison.

August 29, 1845-Charles A. Smedberg, Jeanie’s father, dies of a heart attack at Devasego. At some point, the family moves to Beach Street.

1845-Agnes and William Adams move from the Smedberg home after the birth of their third child.

January – February 1847-Jeanie returns to Washington, DC and visits with Dolly Madison, who remembers her, “You are Miss Smedberg, dear Mrs. Renwick’s granddaughter.” She attends parties and receptions with her cousin Janey Wilkes who is “fully out.” *

1848-Jeanie travels to see her aunt and uncle, Agnes Renwick Henry and The Reverend Joseph V. Henry in Ithaca, New York. She also visits her Aunt Ross and other Jeffrey relatives. She meets a cousin Alex Jeffrey, a widower with three children, whom she “falls in love” with and becomes engaged. Upon her return home, her mother persuades her to break the engagement, which she willingly does.

August 11, 1848-Her maternal aunt, Jane Jeffrey Renwick Wilkes, mother of her future husband, John “Jack” Wilkes, dies in Newport, Rhode Island.

December 1849-Jack Wilkes spends Christmas with the Smedberg family on his way to join the USS Marion. He is at sea for almost three years.

1849-1851-Jeanie spends every summer with the Wilkes family in Washington, DC. During this time she meets Stephen A. Douglas; Harriet Lane Johnson, niece of President James Buchanan; Sophie Alexander, Mrs. Andrew Jackson, and General Jack Gibbon.

October 6, 1850-Jane Jeffrey Renwick, Jeanie’s maternal grandmother, dies.

Winter 1853-Jeanie accepts marriage proposal of her cousin John (Jack) Wilkes. Commodore Wilkes’ opposes the marriage. He fears his son will leave the Navy.

April 20, 1854-Jeanie Smedberg marries Jack Wilkes at the Smedberg home at 22 Beach Street New York. Dr. James W. Alexander, of the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church, officiates the service. The attendants are Edmund Wilkes, Laura Renwick, James R. Smedberg and Janey Wilkes. Sixty guests are in attendance. It snows and Jack Wilkes must take a sleigh into the city from Bergen Hill, New Jersey. The couple stays with Jeanie’s mother until April 26, 1854 so they can attend the wedding of her cousin Laura Renwick and John Monroe. (Laura Brevoort Renwick is the daughter of James and Margaret Ann Brevoort Renwick.)

April 27, 1854 -Jeanie and Jack Wilkes depart for their home at St. Catherine’s Mill, near Charlotte, North Carolina.

May 10, 1854-The couple arrives in Charlotte. Dr. Robert Gibbon, William Davidson, and others meet the couple at the train depot. The gentlemen try to persuade the couple to stay at a hotel for the night, but the couple is determined to set for Home. (Underline is from Jane Wilkes’ autobiography.) The couple pile into a waiting buggy with luggage and a bird in a cage in tow and make the two-mile journey home. Their cook, Amanda Henderson is there to receive the newlyweds. “The foliage was just in leaf...and I think there was never such a lovely drive.”* *Quotes are from Jane Smedburg Wilkes Autobiography

August 8, 1854-Edmund Wilkes, Jacks brother, marries Bessie Van Buren in Jamesville, Ohio.

August 1854-Jeanie summers at Devasego to escape the malaria threat in Charlotte.

October 1, 1854-Jack Wilkes travels to New York to escort Jeanie home.

October 3, 1854-Jack Wilkes officially resigns his naval commission.

October 3, 1854-Captain Charles Wilkes, Jacks father, marries Mary H. Lynch Bolton.

February 9, 1855-Their first child Charles Wilkes is born.

1855-Jack Wilkes becomes a vestryman at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He remains a vestryman until his death.

April 25, 1855-Jane Adams Smedberg, wife of Jeanie’s brother John Smedberg dies.

1856-Jeanie is confirmed as an Episcopalian by Bishop Thomas Atkinson at the Dewey House on Trade Street.

1856-The railroad line between Charlotte and Goldsboro opens.

May-September 1856-Jeanie travels north for health reasons and stays at Devasego.

September 1856-Jack Wilkes travels to New York. The couple stays in New York during the last two weeks of September.

October 1, 1856-Jeanie and Jack Wilkes along with a nurse from Devasego, Maria Laraway, embark on the Old Dominion steamer, Roanoke for Norfolk at 3:00 in the afternoon. Six hours later, Isabel Wilkes, their second child is born. Once on shore, a Dr. Wilson, who was also traveling aboard the Roanoke, along with Nurse Laraway attend to Jeanie, who is carried from the steamer to a nearby hotel. Jack Wilkes returns to Charlotte with Charlie.

October 28, 1856-Jeanie and Isabel Wilkes return to Charlotte.

November 1, 1856-James Renwick Smedberg marries Elizabeth Byrne Rogers.

January 19, 1857-Charlotte Female Institute begins accepting students.

June 1, 1857-Isabel becomes sick while teething.

September 1, 1857-Baby Isabel Wilkes dies and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Sometime later, Jeanie returns to Devasego to regain her strength.

1858-Jack Wilkes becomes Senior Warden at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. First street gaslights appear in Charlotte.

March-April 1858-Jack Wilkes purchases the Mecklenburg Flour Mill.

May 4, 1858-Jane Jeffrey “little Jeanie” Wilkes is born at St. Catherine’s Mill. She is the third child of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

May 12, 1858-Adolphus (Dolph) Smedberg marries Mary Ludlow Morton.

August 1858-Jack and Jeanie Wilkes move to 204 Brevard Street.

November 26, 1858-John George Smedberg remarries. His wife is Harriet Romeyer Auchincloss.

1859-The Wilkes move to another house on East Avenue.

1859-North Carolina Military Institute opens with Daniel Harvey Hill as Headmaster.

April 1860-The Wilkes house members of the North Carolina Episcopal Convention along with Mary Kearny as well as Janey and Eliza Wilkes. Jeanie Wilkes meets members of the North Carolina Episcopal clergy and retains close ties with them.

June 12, 1860-Oscar Smedberg marries Alice Tillou.

September 13, 1860-Rosalie Wilkes is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the fourth child born to Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

Late 1860-At an informal party at the Lowne House, word comes that South Carolina seceded from the Union at a meeting of the Confederate Congress in Mississippi on December 26, 1860. The men become solemn until Dr. Bob Gibbon and Billy Owens raise the spirits of the party. Quoting Dr. Gibbons, “Oh, somebody had to play the fool, you know.”

1861-Confederate authorities assume control of the Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint.

January 1861-The Wilkes family moves to the 600 block of East Avenue.

April 1861-Civil War begins. Admiral Charles Wilkes and two of Jeanie’s brothers Charles and James Smedberg fight for the Union. Jack Wilkes supplies flour and meal to the Confederate Army and leads the Home Guard. Jack Wilkes receives a commission in the Confederate Army. He and his brother Edmund form a company and contract to build a railroad line from Greensboro to Danville.

1861-The members of the faculty and the cadets of the North Carolina Military Institute travel to Raleigh to drill troops for military service.

May 20, 1861-North Carolina secedes from the Union.

1861-1865-Jeanie volunteers with the Aid Societies and the HospitalAssociation. She knits, sews and at times cares for the sick while tending to her children, particularly Jeanie who suffers from epilepsy. Jack travels frequently to buy corn, and wheat as well as organizing the construction of the Piedmont Railroad.

1861-1863-Jeanie mentions that locals abuse Northerners remaining in Charlotte, including her husband, Jack. She describes lawlessness that exists in Charlotte. Arson is common and volunteer firefighters have only buckets and a well to stop the fires.

Summer 1861-The Reverend George M. Everhart comes to St. Peter’s Episcopal and resides with Jack Wilkes at the house on East Avenue. Everyone in Charlotte talks about war and an easy victory. Troops drill the students from The Charlotte Military Institute.

June-August 1861-Jeanie, Charles, little Jeanie and Rosalie summer in Morganton at the Old Mountain Hotel run by Mrs. Sarah A. Happoldt. Jeanie describes the place as dirty, but the food is good. Little Jeanie has bouts of epilepsy.

August 1861-Jack Wilkes comes to Morganton to be with his family, who are spending the summer there. He takes them to Piedmont Spring on Upper Creek where they spend three weeks. The Wilkes return to Morganton and are asked to stay until the WNCRR reaches Morganton, which is in ten days. The Wilkes decide to return home. The war delays the railroad celebration for ten years.

October 1861-Family returns home. Local women organize The Soldiers’ Aid Society is in the Old Fair Building at 902 South Tryon Street. Refugees stream into Charlotte. In the city, only women, the very young, the old, and the infirm remain.

January 30, 1862-Agnes Wilkes is born in Charlotte. She is the fifth child born to Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

April 18, 1862-Navy Yard Depot moves from Norfolk to Charlotte. The Charlotte Military Institute at the corner of South Boulevard and Morehead Street converts into the Medical Depot and decades later becomes South Graded School. A Commissary Department is also established. According to Jeanie, a number of officers and “agreeable ladies … made our society very pleasant.”

Summer 1862-Jeanie Wilkes remain in Charlotte, and the family is anxious and money scarce. Jack Wilkes is away in Greensboro. Slave owners bring their enslaved people in from the coast. A number are assigned to the railroad and Jack Wilkes is responsible for their care. Wilkes purchases thirty enslaved people to work in the mill or become coopers to make barrels for the flour. Two women with children are among the Wilkes’ enslaved. Phillis, who has seven children, runs the “boarding house” for the Wilkes’ enslaved. She weaves the cloth for their clothing. Mahala becomes the Wilkes cook, and she has one child.

August 12, 1862-Jeanie’s mother, Isabella Renwick Smedberg dies. It is many months before Jeanie learns of her mother’s death. Her sister Agnes Smedberg Adam’s letter reaches her through a flag of truce via friends on both sides of the war in New Bern, North Carolina.

Christmas 1862-A Mrs. Sturdivant begins the tradition of spending Christmas dinner with the Wilkes.

January 1, 1863-All the slaves that Jack Wilkes hires out for their owners come to the Wilkes for clothes and food. The Wilkes struggle to provide them with the necessities.

Summer 1863-Agnes becomes ill from teething while the family summers in McBrayer’s Spring, two miles west of Shelby, North Carolina. Mrs. Elizabeth McBrayer’s, an herbalist, treatments cure the baby. Jeanie learns of the death of her brother Charles Smedberg. He dies of erysipelas on June 1, 1863 while stationed at Falmouth, Virginia. Charlie, the family’s favorite son, is buried in the Renwick vault by the Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets. The vaults are later moved to an unknown location.

Summer 1863-Jeanie returns to Charlotte for a week then goes to Shelby via the railroad. Robert L. Davidson is her escort. They travel through Wilson’s Spring, later Cleveland Springs, a sulfur spring discovered in 1841.

January 7, 1864-Fire destroys $10,000,000 worth of Confederate munitions and supplies in Charlotte.

May 20, 1864-John Francis (Frank) Wilkes is born in Charlotte. He is the sixth child of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

Summer 1864-Jeanie engages rooms at Patterson Springs, but stays at the Wilson Springs House for a week. Keeps company with a Major Rhett and wife Etta Aiken Rhett of Charleston. She describes the owners of the house as “Tennessee Mountaineers” who keep a dirty house and only serve corn bread, sorghum, molasses, bacon, beans and rye coffee. Both parties leave. The Wilkes move to the Patterson’s.She describes the difficulties of the roads at that time.

April 18, 1865-Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy, arrives in Charlotte with his cabinet. He learns of President Abraham Lincoln’s death while standing on Tryon Street.

April 20, 1865-One of the last full meetings of the Confederate Cabinet takes place at William Phifer’s house on North Tryon Street.

April 1865- The Civil War ends. Jack Wilkes goes to Washington, DC to obtain a pardon. Jack Wilkes “repurchases” Mecklenburg Iron Works although he never really sold it.

May 7, 1865-Captain Morris C. Runyan and the 9th New Jersey Volunteers occupy Charlotte.

June 1865-Family reunites with relatives in New York and Washington, DC. Journey is difficult because of the poor state of the southern railroad system. It takes two days by train, steamer and coach to reach Washington. They stay with the Wilkes for awhile. Jack returns to Charlotte. Jeanie sets out for New York with Charlie, Jeanie, Rosalie, Agnes and Frank as well as a “Negro” servant, Beenie. They first visit John Smedberg in Saugerties, in Ulster County along the Hudson River in New York. She and the children then travel to Devasego. It is a happy summer for Jeanie, but she misses her mother.

July 20, 1865-Jack Wilkes, Thomas W. Dewey. T.H. Brem, E. Nye Hutchison, John M. Springs, B.S. Guion, all of Charlotte and John McDonald of Concord form the first board of directors of the First National Bank. Captain Wilkes and Thomas Dewey travel to Baltimore to secure United States Bond from the money raised in Charlotte.

August 2, 1865-Jack Wilkes obtains a charter for the First National Bank of Charlotte. Serves as the banks’ president from 1865 to1869.

September 1865-Jack Wilkes joins the family at Devasego. The Wilkes stay through October. Jack does well in cotton and the family has money to spare.

November 1, 1865-The family arrives back in Charlotte.

May 14, 1866-Paul Wilkes is born in Charlotte. He is the seventh child born to Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

April 7, 1867-Biddle University opens its doors to educate the newly freed Black males.

August 14, 1867-Elizabeth Byrne Rogers Smedberg dies. She is the wife of James Smedberg, Jeanie’s younger brother.

November 26, 1867-Eliza “Lizzie” Isabel Wilkes is born in Charlotte. She is the eighth child of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

December 18, 1867-Federal troops begin to leave Charlotte.

December 1867-The Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint reopens as an assay office. Isaac W. Jones is the first assayer. Never again will the mint produce coins.

August 19, 1868-While summering in Lincolnton, Lizzie dies at Cleveland Springs. The family is still there in October, when little Jeanie becomes ill with typhoid fever. The family returns to Charlotte in hope of a cure.

November 5, 1868-Jeanie Wilkes dies at the age of ten. She is interred at Elmwood Cemetery.

January 25, 1869-The Charlotte Observer publishes its first daily issue.

1869-Wilkes partners with General John A. Young and Miles Wriston. Together they move the Rock Island Woolen Mills to Charlotte on the site of the flour mill.

1869-Jack Wilkes suffers from the ill effects of sunstroke. The couple attends the Sewanee University Commencement exercises. His health improves.

1869-The Rock Island Woolen Mills fails and the family faces poverty. John Wilkes owes the Coates Brothers of Salisbury $30,000. This debt causes repercussions for the next twenty years.

June 9, 1869-William Renwick Smedberg marries Fanny Maria Raymond in San Francisco.

February 1870 -Jeanie Wilkes travels to New York and arranges with her brothers to borrow money from her Trust Fund. This enables Jack Wilkes to secure the Mecklenburg Iron Works which lenders threaten to seize ownership.

April 21, 1870-James Renwick Smedberg remarries in San Franciso, California. Carrie Beard Duncan is the bride.

October 17, 1870-Jeanie Wilkes uses funds from her trust to secure the Mecklenburg Iron Works. A controversy over this purchase from R.Y. McAden and S.B. Alexander will haunt the Wilkes for twenty years.

July 10, 1871-James “Renwick” Wilkes is born in Charlotte. He is the ninth and last child born to Jack and Jeanie Wilkes.

1870-1871-Charlie Wilkes attends Virginia Military Institute

June 1871-Charlie Wilkes leaves school and begins working with his father at the Mecklenburg Iron Works in the office.

1872-The last Federal troops leave Charlotte as Reconstruction comes to a close.

1873-Coates Brothers sue John Wilkes in spring of 1874 and receive a judgement for $31,187.17 plus costs. Wilkes counter claim is that the property in question belongs to his wife Jeanie Wilkes. The plaintiffs reject this notion and the case remains open.

Jan. 26, 1873-John George Smedberg, her oldest brother dies at the age of fifty-six at the summer home in Devasego.

July 4, 1873-A fire breaks out at Elia’s & Cohen Store on North Tryon Street. Charlie joins the Hornets Fire Company to help put out the fire.

July 5, 1873-Charlie Wilkes develops typhoid fever.

August 7, 1873-Charlie Wilkes dies and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

October 21, 1873-First Graded School opens in North Carolina at Charlotte.

1874-The last stage line between Wadesboro and Charlotte discontinues. It is the end of this form of transportation in the city.

January 25, 1875-The Church Aid Society of St. Peter’s Protestant Episcopal Church organizes. Jeanie Wilkes is elected President. The society’s objectives are to promote social acquaintances among church members to care for the sick, poor and to promote the interest of St. Peter’s Episcopal.

February 5, 1875-The society holds its first supper and concert to raise funds.

1875-The Southern Railroad purchases the Mecklenburg Iron Works from the Wilkes $20,000.

April 19, 1875-Fire breaks out and threatens the old foundry including the castings and the Wilkes home on East Street. Jack Wilkes works with others to put out fire. All is saved.

May 20, 1875-Charlotte hosts the Centennial Celebration of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Thirty thousand people come for the event.

Summer 1875-New foundry is built at 510 West Trade Street.

July 4, 1875-The Wilkes move into their new home at 508 West Trade Street. The house must have been an odd structure. Originally, William Elms joined three houses together between 1820 and 1826. Elms sold the house to Doctor William Hayes, who in turn sold it to the Wilkes.

January 1876-Reverend Benjamin Bronson meets with the Church Aid Society of St. Peter’s society and encourages them to start two hospitals, one for white citizens and one for Black citizens. The society endorses the Reverend’s suggestions. Financially, they cannot undertake more than renting a small house for the care of white residents. Jeanie Wilkes serves as Treasurer and Secretary of the hospital society.

January 20, 1876-Frederick W.T. Kuester rents two rooms a in a house on Seventh Street, between College Street and the Railroad, to the church for the purposes of opening a hospital. Mrs. Stewart, a Baptist and Mrs. Tennessee Vause, a Methodist are the first patients. The facility is known as The Charlotte Home and Hospital (CHH). Dr. J.T. Moore is the physician in charge in May of 1876.

January 21, 1876-Jeanie’s brother-in-law William Adams, husband of Agnes Smedberg Adams, dies.

May 20, 1876-CHH arrangement changes because of the lack of space. For $12.50, the society rents a house from Mrs. S.A. Harris on North Tryon Street, where Spirit Square now stands.

October 5, 1876-CHH moves to another house owned by a Mrs. Harris on Seventh Street between Tryon and College Streets .

January 11, 1877-Lack of funding forces the hospital to move to a house on North Graham Street near Tenth Street.

February 8, 1877-Admiral Charles Wilkes, father of Jack Wilkes, dies in Washington, DC.

1877-The Busy Bee Society a group of students of Hattie Moore’s School raise $273.00 with the assistance of Colonel Elbert A. K. Osborne, purchase a lot at the corner of North Poplar and West Sixth Street for a hospital. The vestrymen of St. Peter’s Episcopal sign the deed. A trust within the deed stipulates that the property be used “for the purpose of sustaining a Hospital and Home for sick, indigent and infirm persons...”

June 4, 1877-The Reverend Thomas Atkinson, Bishop of North Carolina lays the cornerstone of the building. The institution is called The Home and Hospital of St. Peter’s Church. Certain items are enclosed in the cornerstone.

July 17, 1877-The hospital moves to another house on the corner of College and North Graham Street.

October 8, 1877-Oscar Smedberg, Jeanie’s brother dies.

December 13, 1877-The HHSPC temporarily closes its doors.

1878-Rosalie and Agnes Wilkes attend Charlotte Female Institute.

May 1878-The one-story, four-roomed brick Home and Hospital of St. Peter’s Church is complete and open for patients.

June 13, 1878-The hospital closes because its only patient, Mrs. Vause, moves to Mississippi to live with her daughter.

August 13, 1878-The hospital reopens, and Nurse Amanda J. Nipper becomes the matron.

January 1879-The hospital receives its charter from the state.

January 1880-The Church Society reorganizes. A board of nine managers is chosen, Julia Fox becomes President. The society elects Jane Wilkes as Secretary-Treasurer.

1881-Hospital quickly outgrows its space.

1881-First cotton mill in Mecklenburg County begins operation.

October 1881-Reverend Lucian Holmes creates a list of subscribers who donate $38.00 a month to the hospital. It is the facility’s first regular revenue. Teas, concerts and other “entertainments” make up the financial difference. Few patients have the ability to pay.

December 22, 1881-Agnes Smedberg Adams dies in Devasego. She is Jeanie’s only sister.

1882-Reverend Joseph Blount Cheshire establishes a mission chapel for Black communicants at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. Jeanie Wilkes decides to establish a hospital for black citizens and begins a fundraising campaign.

March 1882-St. Peter’s expands to accommodate more patients.

September 11, 1882-Charlotte’s first tax supported public school opens its doors.

April 21, 1883-The Coates Brothers continue legal action against Jack and Jeanie Wilkes commences.

May 8, 1883-Jack Wilkes testifies regarding his property. Plaintiffs request that Jeanie Wilkes also testify about her property.

January 21, 1884-The Coates Brother request that a receiver be appointed and that

Jack Wilkes produce account books for his properties. The judge denies both motions. The Coates Brothers take the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

February 1885-The North Carolina Supreme Court rules that Jack Wilkes must produce his books. However, the question remains if his wife Jane “Jeanie” Wilkes is the owner of the property and if the Coates Brothers are suing Jack Wilkes for property he does not own.

April 8, 1885-Rosalie Wilkes marries Richard Lockwood Jones of Baltimore, Maryland in an evening service at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Sixteen couples serve as attendants.

April 9, 1885-The Wilkes host two parties in honor of their daughter and her new husband. The afternoon party for the “old folks” runs from five to eight o’ clock. The evening party for everyone runs until midnight. The couple leave in a few days and honeymoon in northern cities. Eventually they live with the Wilkes. Richard Lockwood Jones sells insurance.

August 1885-Court appoints Elbert K.P. Osborne as the receiver in the case of Coates Brothers vs. John Wilkes. The Wilkes must produce Jane Wilkes account books.

October 17, 1885-North Carolina Supreme Court rules that Jack and Jane cannot sell his or her property.

October 27, 1885-John Wilkes appeals this decision. Judge denies his request.

February 1886-Jack Wilkes appeals on behalf of Jeanie Wilkes regarding the order forbidding her to sell or dispose of her property on the claim that Jeanie Wilkes is not party to the case. The judge agrees and rules on behalf of the Wilkes.

February 17, 1886-Agnes Wilkes marries Adolphus Erwin Rankin in an evening ceremony at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Bessie Lacy Dewey plays the wedding march. Seven couples serve as attendants. A small reception is held after the wedding and another party takes place the next day.

February 19, 1886-Agnes Wilkes and Adolphus Erwin Rankin leave for their new home in Hartford, Connecticut. Rankin establishes a shoe factory there.

October 28, 1886-John Wilkes Rankin, Jeanie’s first grandson is born. Jeanie travels to Hartford to be with her daughter and grandson.

1887-Through the fund raising efforts of Jeanie Wilkes, Reverend Cheshire purchases a lot on the south side of Hill Street and construction of Good Samaritan Hospital begins.

1887-Thompson Orphanage begins operation under the auspices of the Episcopal Church.

1887-The city installs electric streetlights for the first time.

1887-Horse-drawn streetcars appear in Charlotte.

1888-Charlotte News begins publication of an afternoon paper.

June 6, 1888-Harriet Ester Rankin, Jeanie’s first granddaughter is born and Jeanie travels to Connecticut to help Agnes.

December 18, 1888-The cornerstone of Good Samaritan Hospital is laid. The ceremony includes black and white residents, dignitaries, clergyman, Captain Jack and Jeanie Wilkes, and Miss Hattie Moore. The construction is slow because of funding.

1890-The 4-C’s begin construction of Dilworth.

February 8, 1890-Araminta “Minta” Lockwood, daughter of Rosalie and Richard Jones is born.

June 30, 1890-Alfred Erwin Rankin son of Agnes and Adolphus Erwin Rankin is born. Jeanie is there.

February 1891-Elbert K.P. Osborne, the Receiver for the Coates Brothers, sues John Wilkes and wife. Osborne claims that the Wilkes are plotting to defraud his clients. The Wilkes prove that in 1869 Jeanie Wilkes’ money from her trust fund assists Jack during his business failures of 1869. She is the one purchasing equipment for the Mecklenburg Iron Works and the family’s home. Eventually the case is appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court who decide in favor of the Wilkes.

September 23, 1891-Good Samaritan, the first privately funded hospital for blacks in North Carolina is dedicated and opens for business. Jeanie Wilkes serves on the hospital board.

October 7, 1891-Frank Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes, marries Anna Elizabeth Beale.

June 25, 1892-Ralph Smedberg Rankin is born. He is the son of Agnes Wilkes and Erwin Rankin.

March 6, 1893-The HHSPC Board amends the name of the hospital to St. Peter’s Home and Hospital.

1893-Paul Wilkes moves to Washington, DC.

1893-Electric streetcars replace the horse-drawn ones.

March 4, 1894-Jean Rankin, another child of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes is born.

May 5, 1894-Paul Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes dies of complications of pneumonia in Washington, DC.

May 26, 1895-John Wilkes, son of Frank and Anna Beale Wilkes is born. He later attends the Naval Academy at Annapolis and rises to the rank of Vice Admiral.

1896-Work on expanding St. Peter’s into a two-story hospital. begins.

April 4, 1896-Anna Beale Wilkes, wife of Frank Wilkes, dies.

May 10, 1896-James Blackburn Rankin, son of Agnes and Erwin Rankin, is born in Connecticut.

November 5, 1896-James B. Rankin, son of Agnes Wilkes and Erwin Rankin, dies.

November 18, 1896-Renwick Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes, marries Caroline Settle.

September 13, 1897-Charles Wilkes, son of Renwick and Caroline Settle Wilkes is born.

1898-Presbyterian Hospital opens as a private institution.

July 12, 1898-Frank Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes, marries Fannie Lucas.

July 15, 1898-The expansion of St. Peter’s Hospital is complete. The two-story brick structure has eleven rooms for paying patients, twenty beds, and two wards with five beds each for charity patients, an attic, kitchen, an operating room, eight rooms for nurses, superintendent room, dining, reception area, office space for physicians and treatment rooms. Wide porches wrap around the building. The total cost was $9,875.82. Jeanie Wilkes raised $7,175.00 by making appeals to her friends in the north.

February 1899-The board amends the Hospital charter again and the new name is St. Peter’s Hospital.

April 19, 1899-Carrie McIver Wilkes, daughter of Frank and Fannie Lucas Wilkes, is born.

1900-Rosalie Wilkes Jones, fourth child of Jack and Jeanie Wilkes, and her daughter Minta Jones live with Jack and Jeanie Wilkes. Richard lives with them off and on until about 1904. According to the 1920 census, Lockwood Jones is a patient in a mental institution.

January 1902-The first class of nurses graduate from St. Peter’s Hospital after a three year training period.

February 1902-Charlotte experiences its deepest snow ever, 17.4 inches.

July 2, 1903-The Carnegie Public Library opens its doors.

1904-Listings for automobiles appear in the business section of the Charlotte City Directory.

April 20, 1904-Jack and Jeanie Wilkes celebrate their fiftieth wedding with a party at their home. Seven hundred invitations are sent, and they received three hundred presents. The house is decorated with hundreds of yellow roses, tulips and jonquils.

1904-Jeanie Wilkes steps down from her duties as Secretary-Treasurer of the Hospital Board citing failing health. She is seventy-seven years old.

June 1904-Jeanie Wilkes is unanimously elected manager of St. Peter’s Hospital Board of Trustees.

January 1, 1905-Prohibition goes into effect in Charlotte.

February 16, 1905-Alice Tillou Smedberg, widow of Oscar Smedberg dies.

October 19, 1905-President Theodore Roosevelt visits Charlotte.

November 5, 1905-Julia Settle Wilkes, daughter of Renwick and Caroline Settle Wilkes, is born.

November 16, 1905-Mary Ludlow Morton Smedberg dies. She was the wife of Dolph Smedberg, Jeanie’s brother.

1906-Jeanie Wilkes becomes President of the Hospital Board of Managers. The board now consists of men and women as well as local physicians.

1906-Mercy Hospital opens its doors at 8 East First Street.

February 19, 1906-Mary Lynch Bolton Wilkes, stepmother of Jack Wilkes, dies in Italy.

1907-First mention of motion picture theaters, the Odeon and the Wonderland appear in the business section of Charlotte City Directory.

July 6, 1908-John “Jack” Wilkes dies. The funeral takes place at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Mourners fill the church. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

August 6, 1908-Eliza Wilkes dies in Washington, DC. She was the youngest sister of Jack Wilkes by his parents, Jane and Charles Wilkes.

August 16, 1908-Maria Wilkes dies in Italy. She was Jack Wilkes’ half-sister.

1909-Charlotte’s first skyscraper, the Independence Building, is complete.

May 20, 1909-President Howard Taft speaks at the Mecklenburg Declaration Celebration.

November 6, 1909-Adolphus (Dolph) Smedberg, Jeanie’s brother, dies.

March 10, 1910-James Renwick Wilkes, son of Renwick and Caroline Settle Wilkes, is born.

June 3, 1910-Jeanie helps place the United Daughters of the Confederacy tablet marking the site of the Confederate Navy Yard.

July 19, 1911-William Renwick Smedberg, Jeanie’s brother, dies in San Francisco.

August 11, 1912-James Renwick Smedberg, Jeanie’s brother, dies in California.

January 19, 1913-Jane “Jeanie” Smedberg Wilkes dies at her home on West Trade Street of pneumonia.

January 20, 1913-The Right Reverend Joseph Blount Cheshire, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina conducts the service at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The crowd spills onto the grounds of the church. Citizens of all backgrounds and races come to pay their respects to Jane Wilkes. The chancel is covered in flowers. She is interred beside her husband in Elmwood Cemetery.

Biographical / Historical

Chronological highlights of the life of John “Jack" Wilkes:

April 26, 1826-Lieutenant Charles Wilkes marries Jane Jeffrey Renwick

March 31, 1827-John “Jack” Wilkes is born on Warren Street in New York City.

January 3, 1829-Sister Jane, Janey, Wilkes is born in New York City.

Spring 1829-Lieutenant Wilkes has tour of duty of the Mediterranean.

1831-Attends Miss Rittenhouse School with his cousin Jeanie Wilkes.

1831-Lieutenant Charles Wilkes returns home and contracts smallpox.

February 4, 1833-Brother Edmund Wilkes is born in Newport, Rhode Island.

March 1833-Lieutenant Charles Wilkes reports for duty at the Depot of Charts and Instruments. The family moves to Washington, DC.

July 18, 1838-Sister, Eliza Wilkes, is born in Washington, DC.

August 1838-Lieutenant Charles Wilkes sets sail on the US Survey and Exploration Expedition of 1838- 1842. He is in charge of the ship and the expedition. Wilkes is gone for four years.

1841-John Wilkes, age 14, receives appointment as a Midshipman. Assigned to the USS Delaware under Morris, Jack travels to the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

June 8, 1842-Lieutenant Charles Wilkes returns home. Midshipman Jack Wilkes is in Brazil aboard the USS Delaware.

July 13, 1843-Charles Wilkes promoted to Commander

1846-1847-Mexican War

March 9-29, 1846-Jack Wilkes serves aboard the USS Mississippi with the Gulf Squadron. The ship provides support for General Zachary Taylor’s attack on Vera Cruz.

1846-John Wilkes receives appointment to attend the newly formed Naval Academy in Annapolis for a year’s study and examination.

1847-Lieutenant Jack Wilkes graduates first in a class of 135. It is the first class of the US Naval Academy.

1847-Lieutenant Jack Wilkes serves on the USS Albany in the Gulf of Mexico.

August 31, 1847-William Renwick, brother of Jane Jeffrey Renwick Wilkes, dies at Devasego, New York. His estate includes property near Charlotte, North Carolina.

April 1848-Captain Charles Wilkes and his son Edmund travel south to settle estate of William Renwick on behalf of the Renwick family. His wife Jane, daughters, Janey and Eliza leave for the summer in Newport, Rhode Island.

Summer 1848-Captain Charles Wilkes works through the Mecklenburg court system to retain ownership of the Renwick family’s mining interest. Local businessman Ed Bissell of the mining interest of the late William Renwick.

August 11, 1848-Jane Jeffrey Renwick Wilkes, mother of Jack Wilkes, dies of blood poisoning in Newport, Rhode Island.

Summer 1849-Jack Wilkes travels to St. Catherine’s Mill, near Charlotte North Carolina, with his father as well as his brother and sisters. He does not stay long and returns to Washington, DC.

October 1849-Jack Wilkes rejoins family in Washington, DC. He and his father go to Newport and transfer remains of Jane Renwick Wilkes to another grave with white marble marker, surrounded with an iron fence and decorated with flowers.

December 1849-Jack Wilkes spends Christmas with the Smedberg family, on his way to join the USS Marion. He is at sea for almost three years. Wilkes travels to such ports as Hong Kong, Canton, Manila and other Asian ports.

Winter 1859-At Charles Wilkes’ request, Jack receives an assignment to assist his him with calculations and formations based upon research gathered during the Expedition.

October 6, 1850-Jane Jeffrey Renwick, Jack’s maternal grandmother dies.

1852-Commodore Perry requests Lieutenant John (Jack) Wilkes serve as one of his officers for the Japanese expedition. Wilkes declines the offer.

June 1852-Jack Wilkes returns to the United States. He is assigned shore duty but he requests and receives a year’s leave.

October 21, 1852-Charlotte’s first passenger train arrives.

December 1853-Jack Wilkes comes to Charlotte, North Carolina to oversee mining and milling property inherited by his family from William Renwick’ estate.

Winter 1853-Jack Wilkes proposes marriage to his cousin Jeanie Smedberg against his father’s objections.

April 20, 1854-Jack Wilkes marries Jeanie Smedberg at the Smedberg family home at 22 Beach Street New York. Dr. James W. Alexander of the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church officiates the service. The attendants are Edmund Wilkes, Laura Renwick, James R. Smedberg and Janey Wilkes. Sixty guests are in attendance. It snows that day and Jack Wilkes must take a sleigh in from Bergen Hill, New Jersey. The couple stays with her mother until April 26, 1854 so they can attend the wedding of her cousin Laura Renwick and John Monroe. (Laura Brevoort Renwick is the daughter of James and Margaret Ann Brevoort Renwick. See: Renwick Genealogy.)

April 27, 1854-Jeanie and Jack Wilkes depart for their home at St. Catherine’s Mill, near Charlotte, North Carolina. The trip takes ten days.

May 10, 1854-The couple arrive in Charlotte. Dr. Robert Gibbon, William Davidson and others, meet the couple at the train depot.

August 8, 1854-Edmund Wilkes, Jacks brother, marries Bessie Van Buren in Jamesville, Ohio.

August 1854-Jeanie summers at Devasego to escape malaria threat in Charlotte.

October 1, 1854-Jack Wilkes travels to New York to escort Jeanie home.

October 3, 1854-Captain Charles Wilkes, Jack’s father, marries Mary H. Lynch Bolton.

October 3, 1854-Jack Wilkes resigns his commission from the Navy.

February 9, 1855-Charles Wilkes is born. He is the first child of Jack and Jeanie Wilkes

1855-Jack Wilkes becomes a vestryman at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He retains this post until his death.

September 14, 1855-Charles Wilkes promoted to Captain.

1856-Jeanie is confirmed as an Episcopalian by Bishop Thomas Atkinson at the Dewey House on Trade Street.

1856-The railroad line between Charlotte and Goldsboro opens.

September 1856-Jack Wilkes travels to New York. The couple stay in New York during the last two weeks of September.

October 1, 1856-Jeanie and Jack Wilkes embark on the Old Dominion steamer, Roanoke for Norfolk at 3:00 in the afternoon. Six hours later, Isabel Wilkes, their second child is born. Once on shore, a Dr. Wilson and a nurse Maria Laraway, from Devasego attend Jeanie, who is carried from the steamer to a nearby hotel. Jack Wilkes returns to Charlotte with Charlie.

October 28, 1856-Jeanie and Isabel Wilkes return to Charlotte, North Carolina.

January 19, 1857-Charlotte Female Institute begins accepting students.

June 1, 1857-Isabel becomes sick while teething.

September 1, 1857-Isabel Wilkes dies and Jeanie returns to Devasego to regain her strength.

1858-Jack Wilkes becomes Senior Warden at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He remains so until his death.

1858-First street gaslights appear on in Charlotte.

March-April 1858-Jack Wilkes and William R. Myers buy the Mecklenburg Flour Mill. (Leroy Springs built the mill along the railroad between East Trade and East Fifth Streets.) For the next few years Jack Wilkes devotes his time to this business. The flourmill proves to be lucrative and brings good prices in Charleston and New York.

June 4, 1858-Jane Jeffrey “Jeanie” Wilkes is born at St. Catherine’s Mill. She is the third child born to Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

August 1858-Jack and Jeanie Wilkes move to 204 Brevard Street.

September 28, 1858-Jack Wilkes establishes a barrel factory to ship his flour to the northern markets.

1859-The Wilkes move to another house on East Avenue. Jack Wilkes purchases a foundry, later known as the Mecklenburg Iron Works. North Carolina Military Institute opens with Daniel Harvey Hill as Headmaster.

April 1860-The Wilkes house members of the NC Episcopal Convention along with Mary Kearny as well as Janey and Eliza Wilkes. Jeanie Wilkes met members of the North Carolina Episcopal clergy and retains close ties with them.

September 13, 1860-Rosalie Wilkes is born in Charlotte. She is the fourth child born to Jack and Jeanie Wilkes.

Late 1860-At an informal party at the Lowne House, comes word that South Carolina seceded from the Union at a meeting of the Confederate Congress in Mississippi on December 26,1860. The men become solemn until Dr. Bob Gibbon and Billy Owens raise the spirits of the party. Quoting Dr. Gibbons, “Oh, somebody had to play the fool, you know.”

1861-Confederate authorities assume control of the Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint.

January 1861-The Wilkes family moves to the 600 block of East Avenue.

April 1861-Civil War begins. Admiral Charles Wilkes and two of Jeanie’s brothers Charles and James Smedberg fight for the Union. Jack Wilkes supplies flour and meal to the Confederate Army and leads the Home Guard. Jack Wilkes receives a commission in the Confederate Army.

1861-The members of the faculty and the cadets of the North Carolina Military Institute travel to Raleigh to drill troops for service.

1861-1865-Jack Wilkes supports his family with the income from working on the railroad. He is also buying corn and wheat for his family and the workers.

May 20, 1861-North Carolina secedes from the Union.

August 1861-Jack Wilkes comes to Morganton to be with his family, who are spending the summer there. He takes them to Piedmont Spring on Upper Creek where they spend three weeks. The Wilkes return to Morganton and are asked to stay until the Western North Carolina Railroad reaches Morganton, which is in ten days. The Wilkes decide to return home. The war prolongs the celebration of the railroad opening for ten years.

Summer 1861-The Reverend George M. Everhart comes to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and resides with Jack Wilkes at the house on East Avenue.Everyone in Charlotte talks about war and an easy victory.

November 8, 1861-Captain Charles Wilkes intercepts at sea the English mail-steamer Trent bound from Havana to England. Wilkes sendsLieutenant Donald M. Fairfax on board to remove the Confederate commissioners, John Slidell and James M. Mason along with their private secretaries. They are transferred to Wilkes’ ship the San Jacinto. From there, Slidell and Mason are taken to Fort Monroe. The diplomatic problems that ensue become known as The Trent Affair.

1862-Jack Wilkes meets two former shipmates Captains William H. Murdaugh and William Parker who are looking for a safe site to move the Confederate Navy Yard to Charlotte from Norfolk. Wilkes shows them the Mecklenburg Iron Works. The facility’s proximity to the railroad makes it a perfect location. The Confederate government approves the arrangement, but Wilkes never receives compensation for the foundry. The Confederacy takes possession of the foundry and manufactures shells and machinery.

1862-Edmund Wilkes, Jack’s brother, becomes Superintendent of the North Carolina Railroad. Edmund and Jack form a company.

April 18, 1862 -Navy Yard Depot moves from Norfolk to Charlotte. The Charlotte Military Institute at the corner of South Boulevard and Morehead Street converts into the Medical Depot, which later becomes South Graded School. A Commissary Department is also established.

Summer 1862-While Jack Wilkes is away in Greensboro. Slave owners bring their slaves in from the coast. A number are assigned to the railroad and Jack Wilkes is responsible for their care. Wilkes purchases thirty slaves to work in the mill or become coopers to make barrels for the flour.

July 1862-Jack and Edmund contract to build the Piedmont Railroad between Greensboro and Danville.

January 30, 1862-Agnes Wilkes is born in Charlotte. She is the fifth child born to Jack and Jeanie Wilkes.

July 16, 1862-Captain Charles Wilkes promoted to Commodore.

August 12, 1862-Jeanie’s mother, Isabella Renwick Smedberg dies. It is many months before Jeanie learns of her mother’s death. Her sister Agnes Smedberg Adams’ letter reaches her through a flag of truce via friends on both sides of the war in New Bern, North Carolina.

September 15, 1862-Commodore Charles Wilkes promoted to Acting Rear Admiral.

November 12, 1862-Commodore Wilkes becomes Captain Wilkes once more.

Christmas 1862-A Mrs. Sturdivant begins the tradition of spending Christmas dinner with the Wilkes until her death.

January 1, 1863-All the slaves that Jack Wilkes hire out for their owners come to the Wilkes for clothes and food. The Wilkes struggle to provide clothing and food for all of the men, women and children.

Summer 1863-Agnes becomes ill from teething and the family summers in McBrayer’s Spring, two miles west of Shelby, North Carolina. Mrs. Elizabeth McBrayer is a herbalist and her treatments cure the baby.

Summer 1863-Jeanie learns of the death of her brother Charles Smedberg. He died of erysipelas on June 1, 1863 while stationed at Falmouth, Virginia. Charlie, the family’s favorite son, is buried in the Renwick vault by the Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets. The vaults are later moved to a new site. Unknown location.

1863-Jeanie returns to Charlotte for a week then goes to Shelby via the railroad. Robert L. Davidson is her escort. They travel through Wilsons Spring, later Cleveland Springs, a sulfur spring discovered in 1841.The area is known as health resort but there are no accommodations..

January 7, 1864-Fire destroys $10,000,000 worth of Confederate munitions and supplies in Charlotte.

May 20, 1864-John Francis (Frank) Wilkes is born in Charlotte.

May 21, 1864-The first train from Danville to Greensboro arrives. The line is complete.

June 15, 1864-Charles Wilkes retires from the US Navy because of age.

Summer 1864-Jack and Edmund start work on another railroad line between Raleigh and Lockwood, North Carolina.

April 18, 1865-Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy, arrives in Charlotte with his cabinet. He learns of President Abraham Lincoln’s death while standing on Tryon Street.

April 20, 1865-The last full meeting of the Confederate Cabinet takes place at William Phifer’s house on North Tryon Street.

April 1865-Civil War ends. Jack Wilkes goes to Washington, DC to obtain a pardon.

1865-Jack Wilkes “repurchases” the Mecklenburg Iron Works although he never really sold it. The company specializes in the manufacturing of steam engines, sawmills and machinery.

May 7, 1865-Captain Morris C. Runyan and the 9th New Jersey Volunteers occupy Charlotte.

June 1865-Family reunites with relatives in New York and Washington, DC. Journey is difficult because of the poor state of the southern railroad system. It takes two days by train, steamer and coach to reach Washington. They stay with the Wilkes for awhile. Jack returns to Charlotte. Jeanie sets out for New York.

July 20, 1865-Jack Wilkes, Thomas W. Dewey. T.H. Brem, E. Nye Hutchison, John M. Springs, B.S. Guion, all of Charlotte and John McDonald of Concord form the first board of directors of the First National Bank. Captain Wilkes and Thomas Dewey travel to Baltimore to secure United States Bond from the money raised in Charlotte.

August 2, 1865-Jack Wilkes obtains a charter for the First National Bank of Charlotte. Serves as the banks’ president from 1865 to1867.

September 1865-Jack Wilkes joins the family at Devasego, and they stay through October. Jack does well in cotton and the family has money to spare.

November 1, 1865-The family arrives back in Charlotte.

1866-Jack Wilkes is elected Alderman for the city of Charlotte.

May 14, 1866-Paul Wilkes is born in Charlotte.

July 15, 1866-Captain Charles Wilkes placed on the retired list as Commodore.

April 7, 1867-Biddle University opens its doors in Charlotte to educate the newly freed black men and women.

September 30, 1867-Jack Wilkes steps down as President of the First National Bank.

November 26, 1867-November 26, 1867 Eliza “Lizzie” Isabel Wilkes is born in Charlotte. She is the eighth child of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes.

December 18, 1867-Federal troops begin to leave Charlotte.

December 1867-The Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint reopens as an assay office. Isaac W. Jones is the first assayer. Never again will the mint produce coins.

August 19, 1868-While summering in Lincolnton, Lizzie dies at Cleveland Springs. The family is still there in October, when little Jeanie becomes ill with typhoid fever. The family returns to Charlotte in hope of a cure.

November 5, 1868-Little Jeanie Wilkes dies at the age of ten.

January 25, 1869-The Charlotte Observer publishes its first daily issue.

1869-Wilkes partners with General John A. Young and Miles Wriston. Together they move the Rock Island Woolen Mills from Steele Creek to Charlotte on the site of the flour mill.

1869-Jack Wilkes suffers from the ill effects of sunstroke. The couple attends the Sewanee University Commencement exercises. His health improves. The Rock Island Woolen Mills fails and the family faces poverty. John Wilkes owes the Coates Brothers of Salisbury $30,000.

February 1870-Jeanie Wilkes travels to New York and arranges with her brothers to borrow money from her Trust Fund. This enables Jack Wilkes to secure the Mecklenburg Iron Works which lenders threaten to seize.

Fall 1870-John Wilkes’ legal battles over debts begin.

July 10, 1871-James “Renwick” Wilkes is born in Charlotte.

1870-1871-Charlie Wilkes attends Virginia Military Institute

June 1871-Charlie Wilkes leaves school and begins working with his father at the Foundry in the office.

1872-The last Federal troops leave Charlotte as Reconstruction comes to a close.

1873-Coates Brothers sue John Wilkes and are awarded $31,187.17 plus costs. Wilkes' counter claim is that the property in question belongs to his wife Jeanie Wilkes. The plaintiffs reject this notion, and the case remains open.

July 4, 1873-A fire breaks out at Elia’s & Cohen Store on North Tryon Street. Charlie joins the Hornets Fire Company to help put out the fire. He becomes ill.

July 5, 1873-Charlie Wilkes develops typhoid fever.

August 7, 1873-Charlie Wilkes dies and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

October 21, 1873-The first North Carolina graded school opens in Charlotte.

1874-The last stage line between Wadesboro and Charlotte discontinues. It is the end of this form of transportation in the city.

Spring 1874-Coates Brothers of Salisbury obtain judgement against Jack Wilkes for the sum of $318,187.17 plus costs. The case is appealed.

September 9, 1874-Judgement against the Wilkes is documented and executions to seize Wilkes’ property begins. However, Mecklenburg authorities return every notice. This continues until August 21, 1880 when the Coates return to court.

1875-The Southern Railroad purchases the foundry on the corner of Trade and Railroad from the Wilkes for $20,000.

February 18, 1875-Commercial National Bank receives its charter.

April 19, 1875-Fire breaks out and threatens the old foundry including the castings and the Wilkes home on East Street. Jack Wilkes works with others to put out fire. All is saved.

May 20, 1875-Charlotte hosts a Centennial Celebration of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Thirty thousand people come for the event.

Summer 1875-New foundry moves to 510 West Trade Street.

July 4, 1875-The Wilkes move into their new home at 508 West Trade Street. The house must have been an odd structure. Originally, William Elms joined three houses together between 1820 and 1826. Elms sold the house to Doctor William Hayes, who in turn sold it to the Wilkes.

January 1876-The Reverend Benjamin Bronson meets with the society and encourages them to start two hospitals, one for the white citizens and one for black citizens. The society endorses the Reverend’s suggestions. Financially, they cannot undertake more than renting a small house for the care of white residents. Jeanie Wilkes serves as the Secretary-Treasurer.

January 20, 1876-Frederick W.T. Kuester rents two rooms a in a house on Seventh Street, between College Street and the Railroad, to the church for the purposes of opening a hospital. Mrs. Stewart, a Baptist, and Mrs. Tennessee Vause, a Methodist are the first patients. The facility is known as The Charlotte Home and Hospital (CHH).

May 1876-Dr. J.T. Moore is the physician in charge of CHH.

May 20, 1876-The CHH arrangement changes because of the lack of space. For twelve dollars and fifty cents, the society rents a house from Mrs. S.A. Harris on North Tryon Street, where Spirit Square now stands.

October 5, 1876-CHH moves to another house owned by a Mr.Harris on Seventh Street between Tryon and College Streets .

January 11, 1877-Lack of funding forces the CHH to move to a house on North Graham Street near Tenth Street.

February 8, 1877-Admiral Charles Wilkes dies in Washington, DC.

1877-The Busy Bee Society of St. Peter’s Hospital, who are also the students at Hattie Moore’s School, raise $273.00 with the assistance of Colonel Elbert K.P.Osborne to purchase a lot at the corner of North Poplar and West Sixth Street for a hospital. The vestrymen, one of whom is John Wilkes, of St. Peter’s Episcopal sign the deed. A trust in the deed stipulates that the property will be used “for the purpose of sustaining a Hospital and Home for sic, indigent and infirm persons...”

June 4, 1877-The Reverend Thomas Atkinson, Bishop of North Carolina lays the cornerstone of the building. The institution is called The Home and Hospital of St. Peter’s Church (HHSPC).

July 17, 1877-The HHSPC moves to another home on the corner of College and North Graham Street.

1878-Rosalie and Agnes Wilkes attend Charlotte Female Institute.

May 1878-The one-story, four-roomed brick Home and Hospital of St. Peter’s Church is complete and is ready to receive patients.

June 13, 1878-The HHSPC closes because its only patient, Mrs. Tennessee Vause moves to Mississippi to live with her daughter.

August 13, 1878-The HHSPC reopens and Nurse Amanda J. Nipper becomes the matron.

January 1879-The HHSPC receives its charter from the state.

January 1880-The Church Society reorganizes. A board of nine managers is chosen, Julia Fox becomes President and Jane Wilkes is Secretary-Treasurer.

1881-Jack Wilkes serves as Alderman for the Fourth Ward.

1881-First cotton mill in Mecklenburg County begins operation.

October 1881-Reverend Lucian Holmes creates a list of subscribers who will donate $38.00 a month to the hospital. It is the facility’s first regular revenue. Teas, concerts and other “entertainments’ make up the financial difference. Few patients have the ability to pay.

1882-Reverend Joseph Blount Cheshire establishes a mission chapel for Black communicants at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. Jeanie Wilkes decides to establish a hospital for black citizens and begins a fund raising campaign.

March 1882-St. Peter’s expands to accommodate more patients.

September 11, 1882-Charlotte’s first tax supported public school opens its doors.

1883-Jack Wilkes serves again as Alderman for the Fourth Ward.

April 21, 1883-The Coates Brothers continue with their legal actions against Jack Wilkes commences in the Rowan Superior Court.

May 8, 1883-Jack Wilkes testifies regarding his property. Plaintiffs request that Jeanie Wilkes also testifies about her property.

January 21, 1884-The Coates Brother move that a receiver be appointed and that Jack Wilkes produces account books with his property. Both motions are denied. The plaintiffs take the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

February 1885-The North Carolina Supreme Court rules that Jack Wilkes must produce his books. However, questions remains if Jane Wilkes is the owner of the property and if the Coates Brothers are suing Jack Wilkes for property that he does not own.

April 8, 1885-Rosalie Wilkes marries Richard Lockwood Jones of Baltimore, Maryland in a morning service at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Sixteen couples serve as attendants. April 9, 1885-The Wilkes host two parties in honor of Rosalie and her new husband. The afternoon party for the “old folks” runs from five to eight o’ clock. The evening party for everyone runs until midnight. The couple leave in a few days to honeymoon in northern cities. Eventually, they reside with the Wilkes in Charlotte.

August 24, 1885-Court appoints local attorney, Elbert K.P. Osborne as the receiver in the case of Coates Brothers vs. John Wilkes. The Wilkes must produce Jane Wilkes account books.

October 17, 1885-North Carolina Supreme Court orders that Jack and Jane cannot sell his or her property.

October 27, 1885-John Wilkes appeals the Supreme Court decision and looses.

February 1886-Coates Brothers vs. John Wilkes’ Appeal by Wilkes on behalf of Jeanie Wilkes who is forbidden to sell or dispose of “her “property. She is not party to the case and the judge rules accordingly.

February 17, 1886-Agnes Wilkes marries Adolphus Erwin Rankin in an evening ceremony at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Bessie Lacy Dewey plays the wedding march. Seven couples serve as attendants. A small reception is held after the wedding and another party will take place the next day.

February 19, 1886-Agnes Wilkes and Adolphus Erwin Rankin leave for their new home in Hartford, Connecticut. Rankin establishes a shoe factory there.

October 28, 1886-Agnes Wilkes Rankin gives birth to John Wilkes Rankin, Jeanie’s first grandson. Grandmother Jeanie travels to be with Agnes.

1887-Through the fund raising efforts of Jeanie Wilkes, Reverend Cheshire purchases a lot on the south side of Hill Street. Construction of Good Samaritan Hospital begins.

1887-Thompson Orphanage begins operation under the auspices of the Episcopal Church.

1887-The city installs the first electric streetlights.

1887-Horse-drawn streetcars appear in Charlotte.

1888-Charlotte News begins publication of an afternoon paper.

June 6, 1888-Harriet Esther Rankin, Jeanie’s first granddaughter is born and Jeanie goes to Connecticut to help Agnes.

December 18, 1888-The cornerstone of Good Samaritan Hospital is laid during a ceremony of black and white residents, dignitaries, clergyman, Captain Jack and Jeanie Wilkes, Miss Hattie Moore. The construction of the hospital is slow.

1890-The 4-C’s begin construction of Dilworth.

February 8, 1890-Araminta “Minta” Lockwood, daughter of Rosalie and Richard Jones is born.

June 30, 1890-Alfred Erwin Rankin son of Agnes and Adolphus Erwin Rankin is born. Jeanie is there.

February 1891-Elbert K.P. Osborne, Receiver for the Coates Brothers sues John Wilkes and wife. Osborne claims that the Wilkes intend to defraud his clients, the Coates Brothers. A full disclosure is given of how Jeanie Wilkes’ money from her trust fund assists Jack during his business failures of 1869. This is the appeal taken to the North Carolina Supreme Court. The statute of limitations for the Coats Brothers’ original lawsuit ends just as they begin proceedings against Jane Wilkes, the court finds in favor of the Wilkes.

February 12, 1891-John Wilkes along with other leading citizens form the Charlotte Literary and Library Association. This subscription library is the first library open to the public in Charlotte.

September 23, 1891-Good Samaritan Hospital, the first privately funded medical facility for blacks in North Carolina, is dedicated and opens for business. Jeanie Wilkes serves on the hospital board.

October 7, 1891-Frank Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes, marries Anna Elizabeth Beale.

June 25, 1892-Ralph Smedberg Rankin is born in Hartford, Connecticut.

1893-Paul Wilkes moves to Washington, DC.

1893-Electric streetcars replace the horse-drawn ones.

March 6, 1893-The Hospital board amends the charter so that the legal name changes to St. Peter’s Home and Hospital.

March 4, 1894-Jean Rankin is born in Hartford, Connecticut.

May 5, 1894-Paul Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes dies of complications of pneumonia in Washington, DC.

May 26, 1895-John Wilkes, son of Frank and Anna Beale Wilkes is born. He later attends the Naval Academy at Annapolis and rises to the rank of Vice Admiral.

1896-Work begins on the expansion of St. Peter’s into a two-story hospital.

April 4, 1896-Anna Beale Wilkes, wife of Frank Wilkes, dies.

May 10, 1896-James Blackburn Rankin, son of Agnes and Adolphus Rankin is born in Connecticut.

November 5, 1896-James B. Rankin son of Agnes Wilkes and Adolphus Rankin dies.

November 18, 1896-Renwick Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes marries Caroline Settle.

1897-Charlotte National Bank, formerly the Commercial National Bank, receives its charter.

September 13, 1897-Charles Wilkes, son of Renwick and Caroline Settle Wilkes is born in Charlotte.

1898-Presbyterian Hospital opens as a private institution.

July 12, 1898-Frank Wilkes, son of Jeanie and Jack Wilkes, marries Fannie Lucas.

July 15, 1898-The expansion of St. Peter’s Home and Hospital is complete.

February 1899-The board amends the Hospital charter again and the new name is St. Peter’s Hospital.

April 19, 1899-Carrie McIver Wilkes, daughter of Frank and Fannie Lucas Wilkes, is born.

1900-Rosalie and her daughter Minta Jones live with Jack and Jeanie Wilkes. (Note: Richard Lockwood Jones disappears from the scene. His listed in the 1920 census, living in a Maryland mental hospital.)

July 15, 1901-Southern Trust Company begins business.

February 1902-Charlotte experiences its deepest snow ever, 17.4 inches.

July 2, 1903-The Carnegie Public Library opens its doors.

1904-Listings for automobiles first appear in the business section of the Charlotte City Directory.

April 20, 1904-Jack and Jeanie Wilkes celebrate their fiftieth wedding with a party at their home. Seven hundred invitations are sent, and they receive three hundred presents.

1904-Jeanie Wilkes, at age seventy-seven, steps down from her duties as Secretary Treasurer of the Hospital Board citing failing health.

January 1, 1905-Prohibition goes into effect in Charlotte.

1906-Jeanie Wilkes becomes President of the Hospital Board of Managers. The board now consists of men and women as well as local physicians.

1906-Jack Wilkes semi-retires from the Mecklenburg Iron Works. He continues to have an interest in the business.

1906-Mercy Hospital opens its doors at 8 East First Street.

February 19, 1906-Mary Lynch Bolton Wilkes, stepmother of Jack Wilkes, dies in Italy.

1907-First mention of motion picture theaters, the Odeon and the Wonderland appear in the business section of Charlotte City Directory.

July 6, 1908- “Jack” Wilkes dies. The funeral takes place at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Every seat in the church is full. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

Extent

0.0 Cubic Feet

0.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

Materials are loosely arranged as follows (Series and sub-series will be condensed upon reprocessing):

Series 1: John "Jack" Wilkes to Jane "Jeanie" Wilkes, 1856-1908.

Series 1A: John "Jack" Wilkes to Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg (Wilkes) [Courtship and Marriage], 1853-1854.

Series 1B: John "Jack" Wilkes to Jane "Jeanie" Smedberg (Wilkes) [Prior to Courtship], 1851.

Series 1E: Miscellaneous Correspondence to John "Jack" Wilkes, 1896.

Series 2: Jane “Jeanie” Wilkes to John “Jack” Wilkes, 1856-1898.

Series 2A: Jeanie Renwick Smedburg to Jack Wilkes.

Series 3: From Isabella Renwick Smedberg, 1849-1861.

Series 4: From Agnes Wilkes, 1849-1876.

Series 5: Miscellaneous to John "Jack" Wilkes, 1851-1899.

Series 5 (duplicate): John George Smedberg Letters to Jane “Jeanie” Smedberg Wilkes, 1859.

Series 6: James "Renwick" Smedberg to sister, Jane, “Jeanie” Renwick Smedberg Wilkes, 1855-1874.

Series 7: Adolphus "Dolph" Smedburg, 1854-1904.

Series 7A: Adolphus "Dolph" Smedburg to John "Jack" Wilkes and Isabella Smedberg, 1854-1892.

Series 8: Oscar Smedburg, 1851-1874.

Series 8A: Oscar Smedburg-Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1857-1875.

Series 8B: Alice Tillou Smedberg-Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1860-1877.

Series 9: William "Renwick" Smedberg, 1854-1900.

Series 10: Charles "Charlie" Gustavus Smedberg, 1849-1860.

Series 10A: Charles "Charlie" Gustavus Smedberg-Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1858-1859.

Series 10B: Charles "Charlie" Gustavus Smedberg-Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1854-1860.

Series 11: To Jane "Jeanie" Wilkes.

Series 12: To John "Jack" Wilkes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room by Julia Settle Wilkes Black on an unknown date.

Related Materials

NCR Vertical Files. Hospitals-Good Samaritan.

NCR Vertical Files. Hospitals-Saint Peter's.

NCR Vertical Files. Wilkes Family (John, Hane, and John Frank).

NCR Vertical Files. Wilkes, Mrs. John (Jane Renwick Smedburg).

St. Peters Hospital Ledger, 1894-1907. Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Wilkes, Jane Renwick. "The History of St. Peter's Hospital, Charlotte, NC: For 30 Years, from January 1876 to December 1905." (Charlotte, NC: Elam & Dooley, 1906.)

Condition Description

Materials are in good condition.

Processing Information

The partial processing, arrangement, and description of this collection was conducted by Shelia Bumgarner c2011. Sydney Carroll is currently working on reprocessing the collection in 2022-2023.

Title
Wilkes-Smedberg Family Papers, 1849-1913
Status
In Progress
Author
Shelia Bumgarner
Date
2011, 2022
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Repository

Contact:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library-Main
310 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte NC 28202 USA