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Collection Number: 02661

Collection Title: Clingman and Puryear Family Papers, 1810-1908

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)
Abstract The collection includes Family, political, and business papers of several prominent western North Carolinians, including Mrs. Jane (Poindexter) Clingman of Yadkin county, chiefly family correspondence; her son-in-law, Richard Clauselle Puryear (1801-1867), Yadkin planter, Whig U.S. representative, 1853-1857, and member of the Confederate Congress, including bills, receipts, accounts, letters written from Washington, D.C., letters written and received at Richmond, Va., during the Civil War, and an account book for blacksmith and wagon-body work; and her son, Thomas Lanier Clingman (1812-1897), U.S. senator and Confederate general. T. L. Clingman's Papers, 1828-1890, chefly concern his mining and mineral interests, including gold mines in Georgia, the Chestatee Hydraulic Company of New York and Georgia, the Yahoola Rver and Cane Creek Hydraulic Hose Mining Company of Boston, and lands and minerals in western North Carolina. Political correspondence for the 1850s is included, relating primarily to North Carolina. Also available is an account of General George Stoneman's Raid, April 1865, on the Puryear family home in Yadkin County.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Clingman and Puryear Family Papers #2661, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Elizabeth Gibson in 1944, Mrs. Cameron MacRae in 1958, Mrs. Isaac Thomas Avery in 1975, J. Bruce Jarratt in 1979 and 1980, and purchased from Walter R. Benjamin in 1986.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Jane Poindexter Clingman was the wife of Jacob Clingman, planter of Huntsville, Surry, later Yadkin, County, N.C. Their daughter Rose married Richard Clauselle Puryear (1801-1867), who was born in Mecklenburg County, Va., but later lived in Surry County, N.C. Richard was a planter; colonel in the militia; North Carolina legislator, 1838, 1844, 1846, and 1852; and Whig member of Congress, 1853-1857. He was also a member of the Confederate Provisional Congress at Richmond in 1861 and a delegate to the Peace Convention at Philadelphia after the Civil War. He died at Shallow Ford, his plantation in Yadkin County.

One of Jacob and Jane Poindexter Clingman's sons was Thomas Lanier Clingman (1812-1897). Jacob died when Thomas was about four years old, and the boy's early training was directed by his uncle Francis Alexander Poindexter. Thomas was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1832, studied law under William A. Graham, represented Surry County in the North Carolina legislature in 1835, moved to Buncombe County, and represented that county in the legislature in 1840.

Thomas served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1843-1845 and 1847-1858, and in the Senate from 1858 to 1861. He began his political career as a Whig, began to doubt the northern Whigs around 1849, and officially became a Democrat in 1852, taking his district with him. He was a delegate to the Confederate States convention in Montgomery in 1861 and served in the army of the Confederate States of America as a brigadier general. After the war, he tried unsuccessfully to regain his seat in the U.S. Senate. He was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1868 and to the North Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1875.

In addition to his political activities, Thomas Lanier Clingman was heavily involved in mining enterprises in Georgia and western North Carolina.

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The collection includes Family, political, and business papers of several prominent western North Carolinians, including Mrs. Jane (Poindexter) Clingman of Yadkin county, chiefly family correspondence; her son-in-law, Richard Clauselle Puryear (1801-1867), Yadkin planter, Whig U.S. representative, 1853-1857, and member of the Confederate Congress, including bills, receipts, accounts, letters written from Washington, D.C., letters written and received at Richmond, Va., during the Civil War, and an account book for blacksmith and wagon-body work; and her son, Thomas Lanier Clingman (1812-1897), U.S. senator and Confederate general. T. L. Clingman's Papers, 1828-1890, chefly concern his mining and mineral interests, including gold mines in Georgia, the Chestatee Hydraulic Company of New York and Georgia, the Yahoola Rver and Cane Creek Hydraulic Hose Mining Company of Boston, and lands and minerals in western North Carolina. Political correspondence for the 1850s is included, relating primarily to North Carolina. Also available is an account of General George Stoneman's Raid, April 1865, on the Puryear family home in Yadkin County.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence, financial and legal Papers, and other items of Jane Poindexter Clingman, Richard Clauselle Puryear, Thomas Lanier Clingman, and other members of the Poindexter, Clingman, and Puryear families.

Early correspondence relates chiefly to family and household matters, with a few business letters about selling cotton and whiskey and other plantation activities. Some early letters also mention politics and issues leading up to the Civil War. Included is an 1831 letter from Henry Clay about his reluctance to return to Congress. Most letters were written from North Carolina, but there are also some from Richard Clauselle Puryear while he served in the U.S. Congress and from Poindexter relatives in Hardin County, Tenn., and other family members in Mississippi and New Mexico. Jane Poindexter Clingman's papers are chiefly letters to and from family members. Also included is a letter to her, dated 17 January 1845, about Thomas Lanier Poindexter's duel with W. L. Yancey. There is also a letter from Thomas Ruffin, dated 21 July 1832, to H. P. Poindexter declining to tutor Thomas Lanier Clingman in law.

Papers relating to Richard Clauselle Puryear begin around 1841 and include business communications about cotton sales, notes and credits, dog and horse sales, and a contract for carrying mail.

Thomas Lanier Clingman papers beginning around 1839 relate chiefly to politics. After 1856, most items relate to Thomas's mineral and mining interests in Georgia and western North Carolina. The few items from the Civil War and postbellum eras are chiefly about mining interests and family matters. A letter of 23 May 1874 is from Jennie P. Kerr to Charles c. Jones, answering his questions about Richard Clauselle Puryear's service as a North Carolina member of the Confederate Provisional Congress.

Other items include an account, 13 pp., written in 1926 by Bettie Pattillo Puryear Gibson (d. 1927), daughter of Richard Clauselle and Rose Clingman Puryear, about General George Stoneman's raid on Shallow Ford, the family home in Yadkin County, in April 1865.

There are few items after 1868. Letters dated 1890 are chiefly to Thomas Lanier Clingman from business associates.

Folder 1

1810-1832 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 1

Folder 2

1834-1844 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 2

Folder 3

1845-1849 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 3

Folder 4

1850-1853 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 4

Folder 5

1854-1857 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 5

Folder 6

1858-1859 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 6

Folder 7

1860 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 7

Folder 8

1861 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 8

Folder 9

1862-1867 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 9

Folder 10

1868-1887; 1890; 1926 #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 10

Folder 11

Undated #02661, Series: "1. Loose Papers, 1810-1908." Folder 11

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1835-1848.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, 1861-1940 and undated.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, September 1992

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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