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Ranson-Hunter Collection, 1848-1990

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2020-027

Content Description

The Ranson-Hunter Collection consists of items relating to the Ranson and Hunter families, along with many other documents primarily from Huntersville and Charlotte businesses, churches, schools, and people. The bulk of the collection is from 1880-1980, with some outliers. The overarching series includes Family Records, General Records, Photographs, Negatives, Slides, and Oversize Materials, with subseries as indicated below. Series 1: Family Records, 1848-1990, are divided into family group surnames of Alexander, Houston, Hunter, McAulay, Ranson, and Sample. The bulk of these records are from the Hunter and Ranson families. The surname records are then divided by individual names of the family members, and contain the available materials of each person, i.e., articles, clubs and organizations memberships, correspondence, obituaries and memorials, publications, receipts, school materials, and other related family materials. Series 2: General Records, 1878-1989, are divided into categories such as advertisements and brochures, churches, clubs and organizations, colleges and universities, ephemera, Mecklenburg County records, newsclippings, politics, publications, receipts, schools, and theatre. Series 3: Photographs consists primarily of Hunter and Ranson family members, friends, and associates. Also included are photographs of the Ranson home and businesses. The general photographs include pictures of Huntersville buildings, churches, related colleges and universities, and area schools. Series 4: Negatives consists primarily of Hunter and Ranson family members, friends, and associates. Also included are photographs of the Ranson home and businesses, along with community businesses and events. Series 5: Slides consists primarily of Ranson family members and the Ranson House. Series 6: Oversize Materials, include a variety of materials such as certificates, a hat worn by someone in the Ranson family, a pair of glasses, ledgers, newspapers, photographs, scrapbooks, and part of a wooden board from the Ranson property.

Dates

  • 1848 - 1990

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 [Enter collection title] must be obtained from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Biographical / Historical

Originally named “Craighead” for preacher Alexander Craighead, Huntersville was renamed in 1873 for the Hunter family. The Hunter and Ranson families were early settlers of the region and influential in many areas. They were both farmers who owned large tracts of land in and around Huntersville, which is where the originally relationship between the families began. Reverend Alexander Ranson bought land from Robert Boston Hunter in order to hold church services, and these services would serve as the beginning of the first Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Huntersville in 1875. (Reverend Ranson was the uncle of William Joseph, who later married Ellen Hunter.) The Hunters were also merchants, owning the first home and store along the railroad. Joseph Nicolas Hunter, brother of Robert Boston, served as the town’s first postmaster. In addition to dairy farming, the Ransons operated the Ranson Brothers Gin Company, Huntersville’s primary cotton gin.

William Joseph Ranson’s family came to the Huntersville area from South Carolina slightly later than the Hunters. His parents were Robert Henry (1828-1861) and Mary E. (Polly) Rice Ranson (1825-1893). Their children included: William Joseph (c. 1859-1943), Robert Marion (1854-1937), John James (1848-1904), Eliza Ann (1850-1924), and Lois Eunice (b. 1857).

Ellen’s grandparents, Robert Boston (1818-1902) and Rebecca Wilson Jones Hunter (1828-1892) were parents to several children: Andrew Jones (1845-1909), Mary J. Alphonse, William May (1850-1922), Rose Elizabeth (b. 1852), Laura Lavenia (b. 1855), Marcus Cyrus (1857-1936), Mary Louisa “Lula” (1860-1929), and Ira Parks. Andrew Jones married Harriet Isabella Sample in October 1866 and were the parents of Ellen Viola (1867-1936), Robert Leroy (1871-1904), Fred Sample (1873-1909), Minnie Rosa (1876-1878?), Dallas Wilson (1870-1910), Louis Jones (1882-1978), Joe Adams (1886-1965), and Moffatt Ira (d. 1910).

The Ranson and Hunter families joined when William Joseph (W.J.) and Ellen Viola Hunter married in 1890. They would eventually have ten children: Lucius Hunter, (c. 1892-1958), John Oliver (c. 1894-1919), William Earl (c. 1895-1948), Paul Jones (c. 1897-1971), Robert Lacy (c. 1899-1962), (Murphy) Dale (c. 1902-1963), (Rebecca) Nelle (c. 1903-1999), Kathryn Isabel “Kate” (1906-1992), Donald Hunter (c. 1908-1994), and Dallas Jackson (c. 1911-1997).

Many of the young men of this family served their country during World War I, including John Oliver, who was killed in battle overseas. Each member would attend college, usually at either Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina, or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From Lucius’ first day in 1910 through Virginia Cornue’s graduation in 1967, there was a Ranson family member on campus at Chapel Hill. Most were heavily involved in sports, in particular track and field. Dale Ranson was the track coach at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for 38 years. Some of the athletes he coached went on to become Olympians. The Ransons were also very involved in the church, in particular the Huntersville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Many family members kept their ties to the church, and were eventually buried in the cemetery.

Several of the Ransons were influential in the Charlotte area as well. Lucius served as the Superintendent of Public Welfare for Mecklenburg County for a time. Robert Lacy was a member of the Mecklenburg County School Board and served during the consolidation into the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system. Ranson Middle School at 5850 Statesville Road in Charlotte was named for him. Nelle struggled with her eyesight throughout her life. Nearly blind herself, she worked for the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind for many years, helping others through many of the same issues she faced. Kate taught theatre for a number of children in schools throughout North Carolina, and eventually moved back to Charlotte with her two children, Frederick and Virginia Cornue. She continued teaching theatre in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system, and later wrote articles for the Mecklenburg Gazette.

The Ranson-Hunter family had a definite impact on the development of Huntersville and its community. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, they helped to shape the look of their community through property deals, educational and social work, and commitment to a variety of organizations. Although many members of the family have passed on or moved away, reminders of their influence continue on in Huntersville and Charlotte.

Extent

23.95 Linear Feet

21.2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Hunter and Ranson families were two of the earliest families who settled in what was originally known as “Craighead.” In 1873, the town was renamed “Huntersville” for the Hunter family. These two families would join together through the 1890 marriage of William Joseph Ranson and Ellen Viola Hunter. The Ranson and Hunter families continued to influence the development of the Huntersville community throughout the 20th Century. The children of William and Ellen went on to serve their community through military service, church and organizational memberships, and career choices, and retained close ties to home.

The Ranson House, located at 412 South Old Statesville Road in Huntersville, built by William in 1913, was home for family members for years, and was eventually converted into apartments. After the last of William and Ellen’s children, Nelle, died in 1999, her sister, Kate Ranson Cornue’s children, Frederick and Virginia Cornue, inherited the home. In 2006, they made the decision to sell the property. Today it has been fully restored, and is listed as a Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Site.

This collection contains a wealth of information on the lives of two of the founding families of Huntersville from before the Civil War through the 1980s. There are several files on the genealogy of the Hunter and Ranson families, along with other families with whom they were closely tied. Correspondence between family members, friends, and associates reveal much about local events and family concerns. The majority of the Ranson family members’ correspondence is from the children of William Joseph and Ellen. The Hunter family members’ correspondence includes many accounts from the previous generation of Ellen, her siblings, and their parents. Other typical family records include club and organizational memberships, financial materials, obituaries and memorials, and receipts, in addition to other information particular to the person. General records include numerous files on Huntersville and Charlotte churches, clubs and organizations, colleges and universities, schools, and theatre groups.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 6 series:

Series 1, Family Records, 1848-1990, are divided into family group surnames of Alexander, Houston, Hunter, McAulay, Ranson, and Sample. The bulk of these records are from the Hunter and Ranson families. The surname records are then divided by individual names of the family members, and contain the available materials of each person, i.e., articles, clubs and organizations memberships, correspondence, obituaries and memorials, publications, receipts, school materials, and other related family materials. Series 2, General Records, 1878-1989, are divided into categories such as advertisements and brochures, churches, clubs and organizations, colleges and universities, ephemera, Mecklenburg County records, newsclippings, politics, publications, receipts, schools, and theatre. Series 3, Photographs consists primarily of Hunter and Ranson family members, friends, and associates. Also included are photographs of the Ranson home and businesses. The general photographs include pictures of Huntersville buildings, churches, related colleges and universities, and area schools. Series 4, Negatives consists primarily of Hunter and Ranson family members, friends, and associates. Also included are photographs of the Ranson home and businesses, along with community businesses and events. Series 5, Slides consists primarily of Ranson family members and the Ranson House. Series 6, Oversize Materials, include a variety of materials such as certificates, a hat worn by someone in the Ranson family, a pair of glasses, ledgers, newspapers, photographs, scrapbooks, and part of a wooden board from the Ranson property.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room by Virginia and Frederick Cornue, December 2005.

Related Materials

Culbertson, Sidney Methiot. The Hunter Family of Virginia and Connections: Embracing Portions of families of Alexander, Pearson, Chapman, Travers, Tyler, West, Gray, Smith, and Safford of Virginia and Maclay, Colhoun and Culbertson of Pennsylvania. Denver: [s.l.], 1934. (CALL NUMBER: NCR Mecklenburg Room, NCR 929.2 H945 C96) Historic Buildings-Businesses-Huntersville. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES) Hunter Family. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES) Hunter, Fred C. The Sunset Road. Charlotte: [F.C. Hunter?], 1962. (CALL NUMBER: NCR 818.5) Hunter, Walter Marvin. The Hunters of Bedford County, Virginia: Notes and Documents on the Family of James Hunter, Regulatory Leader of North Carolina, Including Forbearers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas. Cottonport, LA: Polyanthos, 1973. (CALL NUMBER: NCR 929.2 H945 H94) Hunter, William May. The Hunter Family: The Generation of Henry Hunter. Charlotte: Observer Printing House, 1920. (CALL NUMBER: NCR Mecklenburg Room, NCR 929.2 H945 H94w) Ranson Family. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES) Ryan, Alma Lloyd Ranson.  Up and Doing: From 1915 to 1959. Seattle: Keepsake Editions, 1998. (CALL NUMBER: NCR B RYAN) Towns-Huntersville. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES)

Bibliography

Gray, Stewart. Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. Survey and Research Report on the Ranson House. http://www.cmhpf.org/S&Rs%20Alphabetical%20Order/surveys&rransonhouse.htm The Ranson House. http://theransonhouse.com/ Ranson-Hunter Collection, 1848-1990. Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Condition Description

Materials are in good condition.
Title
Ranson-Hunter Collection, 1848-1990
Status
Completed
Author
Hannah Cox
Date
2015
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