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Collection Number: 02776

Collection Title: James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890

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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract James Clarence Harper was born in Pennsylvania and moved with his family to Patterson, Caldwell County, N.C., in 1840, where he engaged in farming, merchandising, the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods, stock raising, and teaching. He served as civil engineer, surveyor, and justice of the peace. He was a colonel in the state militia; member of the North Carolina legislature, 1865-1866; and U.S. representative, 1871-1873; and sat on the North Carolina Commission of Claims. He was active in road building projects and the Methodist Church and served on the building committee of Davenport Female College, Lenoir, N.C., and as president and building commission member for the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum in Morganton. Harper married Louisa C. McDowell in 1843; the couple had two children: John W. (1847-1865), a Confederate officer who was killed at Kinston, and Emma Sophia (1844-1922), who married Clinton A. Cilley, lawyer and judge of Lenoir and Hickory, N.C. Correspondence and related items, 1857-1886, chiefly document business matters. Beginning in the late 1870s, most items relate to the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Harper's multi-volume diary, 1840- 1889, contains almost daily entries, most of which are very short. Entries usually begin with a weather report and go on to document family; community; and business activities, such as buying and selling land, surveying, farming, and teaching. He often gave brief reports of political campaigns and election results; his agricultural activities (little or no mention of slave laborers); names of Methodist sermons; activities in the state legislature (1865-1866) and Congress (1871-1873); and homefront activities during the Civil War. Diary entries in the early 1870s mention painter and preacher Johannes Oertel of Lenoir. There is also periodic mention of Harper's activities on behalf of the Davenport Female College and, after 1876, the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Also included are a few clippings and a printed copy of a speech Harper made in Congress against school integration.
Creator Harper, James Clarence, 1819-1890.
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 Clarence Harper Papers #2776, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from various sources, 1955-1953, and from Mrs. Donald Cilley in October 1995 (Acc. 95128).
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.

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Correspondence and related items, 1857-1886, chiefly document business matters. Beginning in the late 1870s, most items relate to the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Harper's multi-volume diary, 1840- 1889, contains almost daily entries, most of which are very short. Entries usually begin with a weather report and go on to document family; community; and business activities, such as buying and selling land, surveying, farming, and teaching. He often gave brief reports of political campaigns and election results; his agricultural activities (little or no mention of slave laborers); names of Methodist sermons; activities in the state legislature (1865-1866) and Congress (1871-1873); and homefront activities during the Civil War. Diary entries in the early 1870s mention painter and preacher Johannes Oertel of Lenoir. There is also periodic mention of Harper's activities on behalf of the Davenport Female College and, after 1876, the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Also included are a few clippings and a printed copy of a speech Harper made in Congress against school integration.

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Contents list

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Folder 1

Correspondence, 1857-1886: The 1857 item is a warrant from Caldwell County, N.C. Letters, 1880-1886, chiefly relate to business matters, especially to the governance of the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Harper was president of the Asylum board in the early 1880s and served on its Building Commission beginning in the mid-1880s. In 1881, there is a report to the stockholders of the Caldwell and Watauga Turnpike Company. #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 1

Diaries, 1840-1889: Harper made almost daily entries, most of which are very short. Entries usually begin with a weather report. Subsequent sentences document family and community activities; births and deaths; the health status of Harper, who apparently suffered from asthma, and other family members; visits made and received; and business activities, such as buying and selling land, surveying, farming, and teaching. In planting seasons, Harper detailed his agricultural activities; on Sundays, he often recorded the names of preachers he heard and the subjects of their sermons; during his time in the state legislature (1865-1866) and Congress (1871-1873), he made slight reference to activities of these bodies. Some entries Harper made during the Civil War document homefront activities; in 1865, he acknowledged receipt of a letter about the death of his son. Diary entries in the early 1870s mention painter and preacher Johannes Oertel (1819-1890) of Lenoir, who painted Harper's portrait in 1873. There is also periodic mention of Harper's activities on behalf of the Davenport Female College and, after 1876, the North Carolina Insane Asylum. Most of the diaries contain accounting sheets that document Harper's personal expenditures. #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 1

Folder 2

Diaries 1840-1843 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 2

Folder 3

Diaries 1855 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 3

Folder 4

Diaries 1856 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 4

Folder 5

Diaries 1857 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 5

Folder 6

Diaries 1858 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 6

Folder 7

Diaries 1857-1868 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 7

Folder 8

Diaries 1859 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 8

Folder 9

Diaries 1860 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 9

Folder 10

Diaries 1861 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 10

Folder 11

Diaries 1863 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 11

Folder 12

Diaries November 1865-January 1867 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 12

Folder 13

Diaries 1866 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 13

Folder 14

Diaries 1867-January 1868 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 14

Folder 15

Diaries 1868 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 15

Folder 16

Diaries 1869 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 16

Folder 17

Diaries 1870-January 1871 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 17

Folder 18

Diaries 1871 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 18

Folder 19

Diaries 1872 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 19

Folder 20

Diaries 1873-February 1874 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 20

Folder 21

Diaries 1874 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 21

Folder 22

Diaries 1875 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 22

Folder 23

Diaries 1876 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 23

Folder 24

Diaries 1877 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 24

Folder 25

Diaries 1879 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 25

Folder 26

Diaries 1880 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 26

Folder 27

Diaries 1881 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 27

Folder 28

Diaries 1882 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 28

Folder 29

Diaries 1884 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 29

Folder 30

Diaries 1885 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 30

Folder 31

Diaries 1886 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 31

Folder 32

Diaries 1887 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 32

Folder 33

Diaries 1888 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 33

Folder 34

Diaries 1889 #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 34

Folder 35

Other materials: Included are a few clippings, chiefly relating to Harper, and a printed copy of "Separate Schools for White and Colored with Equal Advantages; Mixed Schools Never!" a speech Harper delivered in the House of Representatives, 4 May 1872. #02776, Series: "James Clarence Harper Papers, 1840-1890." Folder 35

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