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Collection Number: 01812-z

Collection Title: James M. Gage Papers, 1835-1868

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 FAQ section for more information.


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Size 50 items
Abstract James McKibbin Gage (1813-1855) was a physician and horsebreeder of Union, S.C. He studied medicine in Paris and Charleston, S.C., from 1835 to 1837 before settling permanently in Union. The collection includes family and personal letters received by Gage while he was studying medicine, and later while he practiced medicine in Union, S.C. The letters, chiefly 1835-1868, contain family and neighborhood news from Union; Clarkesville, Ga.; and Mobile, Ala. They also discuss politics, current events, the practice of medicine, horsebreeding and racing, local amusements, and business outlooks. Among the correspondents are Josiah Clark Nott, James E. Nott, B. Frank Patton, and Robert I. Gage. Three miscellaneous items--a poem, a printed drawing, and a sermon--are also included.
Creator Gage, James M.
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 James M. Gage Papers #1812-z, 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 Mrs. Hardee Johnston of Birmingham, Alabama, in February 1951.
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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James McKibbin Gage, physician and horse breeder, was born 28 July 1813, the son of John Gage (d. February 1845). He had a brother, Robert I. Gage, and two sisters, Nancy (often called Ann) and Mary Jane Gage. Nancy married B. Frank Patton of Clarkesville, Georgia, and joined Patton in Clarkesville after their marriage.

James Gage studied medicine in Paris from April 1835 to April 1836 and in Charleston, South Carolina, from November 1836 to February 1837. He lived in Union, South Carolina, during the summer (July-September) of 1836, and apparently returned there in the summer of 1837 to settle permanently and practice medicine. He died in 1855 and was buried in Union.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists almost entirely of personal and family correspondence of James McKibbin Gage. The correspondence is arranged chronologically in Series 1. Topics discussed include the study and practice of medicine, horse breeding and racing, sectional and national politics, and local and family life. Series 2 contains three miscellaneous items--a poem, a printed drawing, and a sermon by an unknown author.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Family and Personal Correspondence, 1835-1868 and undated.

47 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters received by James McKibbin Gage from family and friends discussing personal, social, and political affairs between 1835 and 1868.

Between April 1835 and April 1836, Gage studied medicine in Paris and traveled in Europe. Most of the letters he received during this period were written by his brother Robert I. Gage of Union (formerly Unionville), South Carolina. He also received letters from his father, John Gage, of Union, and from his sister Nancy (sometimes referred to as Ann) of Union. After her marriage to B. Frank Patton, Nancy wrote Gage from Clarkesville, Georgia. The correspondence discusses personal, family, and neighborhood news and sectional and national affairs. Specific personal topics include marriages, property transfers, visitors, travel (to New York, England, and Ireland), horse racing, cock fighting, farming, local theatre, murders and deaths, society news, an earthquake in 1835, and the difficulties of practicing medicine. Political topics include opposition to abolitionism, Texas, the building of the Cincinnati railroad, and Seminole-French- American affairs.

Correspondence in late 1836 and 1837 consists mostly of letters written by family members to Gage while he was studying medicine in Charleston. Correspondents include his brother Robert, his father, his brother-in-law B. Frank Patton, and his friend James E. Nott. There are also letters from family members in Charlotte, North Carolina. Of note is a letter from J.C. Nott, in Mobile, Alabama, discussing the prospects of a young doctor starting a practice in that city. Other topics are the inflation of cotton prices, horse racing, and Gage's future plans.

Only three letters appear for the years 1838 through 1840, when Gage was establishing himself as a doctor in Union. One, dated 1838, is from J.C. Nott and tells of the difficulty of collecting doctor's fees in Mobile and the status of Nott's horse-breeding activities. An 1839 letter from Peter Kent of Columbia, South Carolina, discusses horses in depth. The final letter, written in 1840, is from B.F. Patton. Patton begged for news of his son John, who was visiting the Gage family, and abused the Gages for their politics as well as for their neglect in writing him.

Correspondence for the years 1841 through 1868 is scattered. No letters appear for the years 1841 through 1846. One item, a letter dated 11 October, appears for 1847. Written by L.C. Johnson in Mexico to Gage in Union, this letter describes the horrors of army camp life during the Mexican War. No letters are present for 1848 or 1849. Gage received one letter in 1850 from F.M. Robertson of Charleston concerning widespread sickness in the city. Two miscellaneous personal letters, one for 1851 and one for 1858, complete the correspondence for the 1850s.

Only three letters appear for the 1860s, all written by Gage's brother Robert. Of particular interest is a letter dated 14 January 1866, which discusses the difficulties he encountered in negotiating with newly freed African-Americans on his plantation. Two other letters written by Robert Gage are either to his sister or sister-in-law (addressed as Sissy) and dated 1868. These letters discuss family and household news.

Undated items consist of two letters written to Gage by R.A. Nott, one letter to Gage from a patient, and one letter from Gage's brother Robert concerning the death of Robert's wife (Eliza Nott Gage).

Folder 1

1835 #01812-z, Series: "1. Family and Personal Correspondence, 1835-1868 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1836 #01812-z, Series: "1. Family and Personal Correspondence, 1835-1868 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1837-1850 #01812-z, Series: "1. Family and Personal Correspondence, 1835-1868 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1851-1868 and undated #01812-z, Series: "1. Family and Personal Correspondence, 1835-1868 and undated." Folder 4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Items, 1876 and undated.

3 items.

This series contains three items: a poem entitled "New-Year's Eve," by G. Wheatley, published in The Quiver on 1 January 1876; a printed drawing of a woman entitled "Julia Mannering"; and an undated handwritten sermon by an unknown author.

Folder 5

Other items #01812-z, Series: "2. Other Items, 1876 and undated." Folder 5

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Processing Information

Processed by: B. Allan, November 1962; Jill Snider, May 1990

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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