Biography of John D. Whitford

Below is my biography of Major Whitford. There is no biography of him in the National Archives.

Photograph taken in the 1890-1910 period.

Photograph from the New Bern, N. C. Public Library

   John Dalton Whitford was born in August 17,1825 in New Bern, N. C. and died on September 13, 1910. His wife, Jeanie Reid was born in Wilmington in 1829; they married in 1851. In 1860, they had three small children at home, in New Berne, Craven County. Whitford was President of the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad and reported Real Estate worth $4,000 and Personal Property of $15,000. They would eventually have seven children.
   At the age of 21, Whitford was elected Intendent (Mayor) of New Bern, N. C. He then served as Collector of Customs at the port of New Bern (an important and responsible position at the time). He was elected President of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR in 1854 at the first meeting of stockholders. He remained President until July, 1866, when he was elected to the North Carolina Senate. In June, 1867, he was again elected President of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR and again held the position for several years.
   Whitford was an active fireman in the New Bern volunteer fire department and was foreman of one of the companies for many years. He was a founding member of the New Bern Light Infantry company and, in 1859, received a pitcher cast from silver dollars donated by members of the Company. He was a member of the state Commission for the improvement of the Neuse River and was a member of the convention which passed the North Carolina Ordinance of Secession. After the War, he was involved in several business ventures based in New Bern and was elected to represent Craven County in the North Carolina Senate elected in November, 1865.
   John died in 1910 and his wife died in 1865.
   There are about 600 documents in the John D. Whitford collection at the North Carolina State Archives. Over 90% of them are Civil War period, with hundreds of telegrams related to railroad movements in central and eastern North Carolina. Unfortunately, the telegraph operator at Goldsboro, N. C. did not think it worth his effort to include the month or year on most of the telegrams, so I will have to do a lot of research to estimate the dates of most telegrams -- and some will probably end up with no month or year.
February 19, 1861 Whitford praised for ordnance improvements
April, 10-20, 1861 Went to Richmond and ordered ordnance material from Tredegar Iron Works
July 9, 1861 Was appointed a Confederate Loan Commissioner
July 15, 1861 through May ?, 1862 Acted as Chief Ordnance officer at New Bern, N. C. Had cartridges made, harnesses repaired, muskets converted, etc.
October 8, 1861 Asked if his road had any Raleigh & Gaston RR cars
November 14, 1861 Governor Vance request help with iron removal question
NCA, RRB 11-14-61
April 1, 1862 Chairman of Convention to make plans for moving troops in North Carolina
April 18, 1862 Will see a train of tomorrow
NCA, RRB 4-18-62
April 19, 1862 Send trains for troops
NCA, RRB 4-19-62
NCA, RRB 4-19A-62
May 4, 1862 Ordered to burn cotton on Atlantic & North Carolina RR if in danger of capture
NCA, RRB 5-4-62
August 1, 1862 Appointed to Commission to study railroad transportation
NCA, RRB 8-1-62
NCA, RRB 8-2-62
NCA, RRB 8-2A-62
NCA, RRB 8-7-62
August 20, 1862 Probably in Augusta at Commission meeting
NCA, RRB 8-7-62
August 23, 1862 Given order to impress a train
NCA, RRB 8-23-62
September 1, 1862 Bill for use of cars
October 10, 1862 Signed a contract for English supplies with Chamberlain & Co
NCA, RRB 10-10-62
October 24, 1862 Asked to send a train to Tarboro for corn
NCA, RRB 10-24A-62
NCA, RRB 11-3-62
November 27, 1862 Provided a train to ship cotton for the Government
Give up the iron to the Navy
November 28, 1862 Noted as General Transportation agent for the Government at Goldsboro
January 15, 1863 Was providing transportation against a possible enemy move against Wilmington
January 20, 1863 Certifies having detained rolling stock
January 26, 1863 Whitford's services of great value to the Government; was helping on railroads; resigned when Wadley arrived; persuaded to resume his duties and represent Wadley
January 27, 1863 Whitford retained as Transportation Agent if Wadley wants him
January 28, 1863 Was asked to give up the iron of his RR
March 25, 1863 Asked about rates for transportation and for his pay
NA, QMR 3-25C-63
April 1, 1863 Iron being moved in North Carolina
NCA, RRB 4-1-63
May 1, 1863 Agrees to us Atlantic & North Carolina RR rolling stock to assist Wilmington & Weldon RR and Raleigh & Gaston RR
NCA, RRB 5-1-63
May 30, 1863 As President of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR, changes the location of the annual shareholder meeting
June 15, 1863 Sims asks Whitford to join RR Bureau
July 3, 1863 Elected a Director of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR
July 7, 1863 Capt. Sims reports that Whitford will accept a position in the Railroad Bureau
July 9, 1863 Appointed Major and Quarter Master
Informed by Lt. Col. Sims that he will now report to Sims and continue to perform his duty of supervision of transportation at Goldsboro
August 1, 1863 Several communications to Sims must await his return to the office
August 10, 1863 Ordered to hurry on the guns at Weldon
Ordered to ship all possible corn to Richmond
NCA, RRB 8-10-63
August 16, 1863 Involved in moving iron for the North Carolina RR
NCA, RRB 8-16-63
NCA, RRB 8-20-63
NCA, RRB 8-20A-63
NCA, RRB 8-25-63
NCA, RRB 8-28A-63
NA, ENG 9-2B-63
August 24, 1863 Responds to Sims regarding Morfit's beliefs regarding other cars on the Richmond & Petersburg RR
NCA, RRB 8-24-63
August 28, 1863 Sims instructs Wilmington & Weldon RR regarding orders through Whitfield
August 29, 1863 Urged to forward corn from Charlotte
NCA, RRB 8-29-63
NCA, RRB 9-1-63
September 2, 1863 Ordered to send cars to Richmond with locomotive waiting at Petersburg
NCA, RRB 9-3-63
Sims orders him to send 6 flats for guns
Ordered to forward rapidly 55 ambulances to Bragg's army
NCA, RRB 9-2-63
NCA, RRB 9-4-63
NCA, RRB 9-4A-63
September 7, 1863 Conducting troop movement
September 8, 1863 Ordered to press forward corn from Charlotte and Wilmington
NCA, RRB 9-8A-63
NCA, RRB 9-14-63
NCA, RRB 9-16A-63
NCA, RRB 9-17-63
NCA, RRB 9-18A-63
September 25, 1863 Is told that Sims has gone south
October 3, 1863 Pushes ambulance shipment
NCA, RRB 10-3-63
NCA, RRB 10-3A-63
October 4, 1863 Requested to send a train for ambulances
October 9, 1863 Receives schedule for Roanoke Valley RR rail removal shipments
October 12, 1863 Ordered to be present for training by Mayo
NCA, RRB 10-12-63
October 19, 1863 Asked for train for wood
NCA, RRB 10-19-63
NCA, RRB 11-3-63
October 23, 1863 Reports on various matters to Sims
NCA, RRB 10-23-63
October 25, 1863 Maj Pierce needs a train
NCA, RRB 10-25-63
October 26, 1863 Report sent to him regarding repairing several cars
NCA, RRB 10-26-63
November 9, 1863 Asked for cars in Wilmington
NCA, RRB 11-9-63
November 13, 1863 Shipping corn
Sims asks him to attend a convention as an advisor
November 16, 1863 Is asked how to improve the Wilmington & Manchester RR
NCA, RRB 11-16-63
Gets report of corn at various stations
NCA, RRB 11-16A-63
November 24, 1863 Reports his status to the QM General
December 9, 1863 Sims asks him to move a shipment of potatoes
December 16, 1863 Urged to ship corn night and day
NCA, RRB 12-16A-63
December 18, 1863 Informed 3 trains sent for artillery
NCA, RRB 12-18-63
Asked for trains to remove exposed corn
NCA, RRB 12-18A-63
December 19, 1863 Asked for train for troops and corn at Tarboro
NCA, RRB 12-19-63
NCA, RRB 12-19A-63
January 1, 1864 Sims warns of large corn shipments about to start
January 5, 1864 Reports he has never had a clerk
NA, QMR 1-5A-64
January 8, 1864 Asked if he has resigned his position
NCA, RRB 1-8-64
January 14, 1864 Is requested to ship RR iron to Greensboro
Asked about corn from Charlotte
NCA, RRB 1-14A-64
NCA, RRB 1-14B-64
January 15, 1864 Asked about corn shipments and RR Bureau officer
NCA, RRB 1-15-64
January 21, 1864 Sims requests he come to Richmond
NCA, RRB 1-21-64
Informed Wilmington & Weldon RR will follow Whitford directions
NCA, RRB 1-21A-64
January 31, 1864 Keeps Goldsboro telegraph office open for transportation needs
Ordered rolling stock for troop movement
NCA, RRB 1-31-64
January ?, 1864 Railroad matters in eastern North Carolina
February 6, 1864 Conducting troop movement
February 8, 1864 Sims suggests a meeting in Petersburg on the 12th
NCA, RRB 2-8-64
Mallory asks his help in moving armor in North Carolina
NCA, RRB 2-8A-64
February 9, 1864 Requested to forward boiler for ironclad under construction in Kinston
NCA, RRB 2-9-64
February 11, 1864 Informed of the need for additional wood for Charlotte-area mine
NCA, RRB 2-11-64
March 19, 1864 Ordered to submit list of his RR employees
NCA, RRB 3-19-64
April 11, 1864 Dropped from the rolls of Army officers by Special Order 84/23 of the Adjutant & Inspector General. Continues to be President of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR.
April 20, 1864 Wrote Sims about investigation of Wilmington & Weldon RR superintendent
NA, RRB 4-20-64
June 15, 1864 Continues train running arrangements with Wilmington & Weldon RR
NCA, RRB 6-15-64
June 22, 1864 Gen. Hoke asks for 25 flats to move artillery
NCA, RRB 6-22-64
June 23, 1864 Sims responds to request for 2 details
July 12, 1864 Re-elected President of Atlantic & North Carolina RR
July 16, 1864 Asks for Sims help in closing out his pay account
September 17, 1864 Informed of supplies found for his RR
NCA, RRB 9-17-64
September 29, 1864 Sims informs him that the Treasury Department is trying to pay RR companies quickly
March 2, 1865 Reports all his cars are in use
NCA, RRB 3-2-65
March 10, 1865 Asked to hold all his rolling stock at Kinston
OR Series 1, Vol. 47, Part 2, Page 1371D