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Colclough, Bragg, and Carpenter families papers

Identifier: NCC-0019

Scope and Contents

Colclough, Bragg, and Carpenter families papers consists of account ledgers, receipts, debt agreements, and deeds of the Bragg and Colclough (also spelled Coakley or Colcough) families. The materials date back to 1825 and span 100 years of the families' financial transactions in the Oak Grove area of Wake County (which later became a part of Durham County), and later the Fish Dam area of Durham County. Most of the materials in the collection are from two people, Mary Colclough and Thomas Bragg. Mary's materials include agreements for the use of neighbor's slaves' labor and accounts of items purchased at Elijah Hester's general store. Thomas Bragg's correspondence and receipts include interactions with well-known early Durham citizens such as J. R. Blackwell, T. J. Holloway, J. Markham, E. J. Parrish, and F. M. Barbee. Bragg's materials include many receipts for the tobacco he grew and sold through E. J. Parrish's large Durham warehouses. The collection also contains a memoir written by W. T. Carpenter with memories of growing up in Durham, Durham High School Class of 1907 portraits, and a few photographs taken in early 20th century Durham.


  • Creation: 1825-1965, undated

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical Information

Alexander and Mary Colclough lived in the northwest portion of Wake County in the early 1800s. The 1825 deed included in the collection states that Alexander Colclough purchased 51 acres on the south side of Rocky Branch from Martin Scott. One of the Colclough's daughters was Nancy, who was born around 1825 and married Thomas Bragg in 1847 in Granville County. The Bragg family owned land in the Oak Grove area of Wake County, and after the land was annexed to Durham County, he is listed in the 1887 Durham city directory as owning 89 acres in Fish Dam. Based on the materials in the collection, it is clear that Thomas Bragg was active in the Durham community, selling his tobacco at the big warehouses in town and doing business with many of the early residents. The family farm was known as Braggwood and was on Creech Road near present day Falls Lake. The Braggs had five children, one of whom was Minnie, who married Duane Carpenter. Duane Carpenter and his sons Willis and James Edgar owned Carpenter Brothers Grocery at 600 Main Street in Durham, which later became Carpenter Motor Company, a Chevrolet dealership. The building still stands today on the corner of Elizabeth and Main Streets. One of the sons, Willis Thomas (W. T.), gathered the materials in this collection and passed them along to his granddaughter, the donor. W. T. Carpenter married Mary Jessie Rigsbee in 1915. The Rigsbees, one of the founding families in Durham, donated a portion of their land to Trinity College, later Duke University. The Carpenters lived at 601 Holloway Street in Durham in a house built by W. T. Carpenter himself. W. T. Carpenter passed away in 1967.


0.5 Linear Foot (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into each family member's materials and then organized chronologically.

Physical Access Restrictions

Some of our materials are stored offsite. These items are not available for same day access and require advance notice to retrieve. Contact North Carolina Collection staff at to plan your visit.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Betty Reiter

Related Materials

Rigsbee family papers (NCC.0151)

Jean Bradley Anderson papers (NCC.0002)

Alvis Hatchett Stokes papers (NCC.0172)

Charles W. Smith property appraisals (NCC.0166)

Finding Aid for the Colclough, Bragg, and Carpenter Families Papers
Kristen Merryman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022 December 29: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace by Barbara Ilie.
  • Gift Agreement

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States