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Collection Number: 03074-z

Collection Title: John L. Swain Papers, 1862-1877; 1887-1893.

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.


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Size 13 items.
Abstract John L. Swain (d. circa 1880) of Buncombe County, N.C., was a Confederate army captain in Company E, 17th North Carolina Regiment and a Methodist minister. The collection contains scattered letters sent or received by John L. Swain between 1862 and 1877 and fragments of Swain's war diary. The Civil War letters and diary fragments refer briefly to military engagements in South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and Virginia. Most post-war letters pertain to the operations of the Methodist church in North Carolina and mention camp meetings, disputes, and decisions to retain ministers. A copy of an 1871 letter addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, George S. Boutwell, from an anonymous source in Swannanoa, N.C. warns the federal government about the circulation of counterfeit currency. In March 1877, Swain's cousin William A. Jones, writing from a disabled soldiers' asylum in Montgomery County, Ohio, gave family news and described the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Also included are a two-page listing of descendants of Joshua Swain (1789-1872) and a pocket memorandum book with entries and receipts for J. A. Carter, a relative of John L. Swain's wife Harriet E. Carter. Entries and enclosed items date from 1887 to 1893.
Creator Swain, John L., -approximately 1880.
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 John L. Swain Papers, #3074-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Swain of Asheville, N.C., 1954 and 1958
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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John L. Swain (d. circa 1880) of Buncombe County, N.C., was a Confederate army captain in Company E, 17th North Carolina Regiment. Following the American Civil War, he became a Methodist minister in western North Carolina. He married Harriet E. Carter, and they had a son, John Edward Swain, who graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1902.

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The collection contains scattered letters sent or received by John L. Swain (d. circa 1880) between 1862 and 1877 and fragments of Swain's Civil War diary. The wartime letters and diary fragments refer briefly to military engagements in South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and Virginia. In a letter dated 10 April 1865 and written at a camp near Smithfield, N.C., Swain advised Julius [?] to remain with his mother and sisters rather than join the fight because the "laws of the land now give no room for the display of patriotism."

Most post-war letters pertain to the operations of the Methodist church in North Carolina and mention camp meetings, disputes, and decisions to retain ministers. A copy of an 1871 letter addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, George S. Boutwell, from an anonymous source in Swannanoa, N.C. warns the federal government about the circulation of counterfeit currency. In March 1877, Swain's cousin William A. Jones, writing from a disabled soldiers' asylum in Montgomery County, Ohio, gave family news and described the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers where he resided. Jones's letter provides details about the home's board of managers and the board's authority over the "inmates" and their pensions. In describing the facilities, he wrote: "There is every provision here for every condition of disability...it is not home -- the charm of the female voice nor the childish prattle is not heard within its walls -- with all its comforts it is like an artificil [sic] state of existence."

Also included are a two-page listing of descendants of Joshua Swain (1789-1872) and a pocket memorandum book with entries and receipts for J.A. Carter, a relative of John L. Swain's wife Harriet E. Carter. Entries with lists of household goods and enclosed items such as receipts date from 1887 to 1893.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse John L. Swain Papers, 1862-1877; 1887-1893.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Laura Clark Brown, December 2012

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