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Collection Number: 05107

Collection Title: John P. and Sallie Ecklin Thurman Papers, 1844-1896

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.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 75 items)
Abstract The Thurman and Ecklin families lived in Shelby and Fayette counties in west Tennessee during the Civil War era. Sallie Ecklin married John P. Thurman in 1856. The collection consists of letters chiefly received by Sallie Ecklin Thurman, most of them from John P. Thurman, but also from family members and school friends from the Macon Female Institute. Before the Civil War, topics chiefly reflect Sallie Ecklin's life as a young woman. Her letters concern everyday family affairs; her experiences at the Macon Institute, including a description of a student who had to leave school because the two slaves sent with her to work in lieu of tuition ran away; and the beginning of her romance with John P. Thurman. After 1861, letters focus almost exclusively on how the Civil War affected family members. In addition to reporting on the local news from Hickory Withe, Tenn., Sallie Ecklin Thurman's letters to her husband describe raising three small children and running a farm in his absence. On several occasions, she made reference to difficulties with slaves. John P. Thurman's letters home document his military service with the Third Tennessee Cavalry Regiment (Forrest's), and, although he was a firm southern partisan, contain criticisms of the southern war effort and of the Confederacy. They describe taking part in many battles and raids along the Mississippi River and its environs, including the Battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing. Beverly S. Thurman, John P. Thurman's brother, wrote of his military service with the Fourth Tennessee Infantry Regiment (Neely's). Also included are six portrait photographs taken from a federal vessel that was captured by Forrest's cavalry on the Mississippi River. The Addition of 2007 is a letter to John P. Thurman from his sister Kate in which she discusses family affairs and the economy.
Creator Thurman, John P.



Thurman, Sallie Ecklin.
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 P. and Sallie Ecklin Thurman Papers #5107, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2005-2006) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
  • Note: The Addition of 2007 has not been microfilmed.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Joan Cannon of Morganton, N.C., in October 2002 (Acc. 99358) and in October 2007 (Acc. 100799).
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

The Thurman and Ecklin families resided in western Tennessee near Memphis in Shelby and Fayette counties during the Civil War era. The Ecklins were from Morning Sun and their daughters, including Sallie Ecklin, were educated at a residential school called the Macon Female Institute, Macon County, Tenn. In the autumn of 1856, Sallie Ecklin and John P. Thurman were married. They lived on a farm in Hickory Withe and raised three children, two of whom were Royster and Berta.

John P. Thurman enlisted in the Confederate Army no later than March 1862. The Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 lists him as having served as a sergeant in Company B of the Tennessee 3rd (Forrest's) Cavalry Regiment until at least April 1865. He seems to have served also with McDonald's Battalion. He fought in many battles and raids along the Mississippi River and its environs, including the Battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing. He survived the war.

Beverly S. Thurman, John P. Thurman's brother, served in Company A of the Tennessee 4th (Neely's) Infantry rising to the rank of 2nd lieutenant. He was killed in Georgia in 1864.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The vast majority of the letters in this collection were written by members of the Ecklin and Thurman families of Shelby County, Tenn., and Fayette County, Tenn. Sallie Ecklin Thurman was the recipient of most of these letters and her most frequent correspondent was her husband, John P. Thurman. However, her family and school friends from the Macon Female Institute also wrote to her.

Subjects addressed in these letters may be broadly divided into two distinct categories. Before the Civil War, topics are varied and chiefly reflect Sallie Ecklin's life as a young woman. Her letters concern everyday family affairs; her experiences at the Macon Institute, including a description of a student who had to leave school because the two slaves sent with her to work in lieu of tuition had run away; and the beginning of her romance with John P. Thurman. After 1861, letters focus almost exclusively on how the Civil War was affecting members of the Ecklin and Thurman families. In addition to reporting on the local news from Hickory Withe, Tenn., Sallie Ecklin Thurman's letters to her husband describe raising three small children and running a farm in his absence. On several occasions, she made reference to difficulties with slaves. John P. Thurman's letters home provide an outline of his military service with Forrest's Cavalry, and, although he was a firm southern partisan, his letters contain criticisms of the southern war effort and of the Confederacy. His letters describe taking part in many battles and raids along the Mississippi River and its environs, including the Battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing. Letters written by Beverly S. Thurman, who served in the infantry, address military matters, but also describe his romantic problems and his commitment to live a more religious life.

Also included are six portrait photographs, an explanatory note, and a copy of the 8 April 1862 edition of The New York Times. The note by Berta Thurman LaPrade, a daughter of Sallie and John P. Thurman, states that the photographs were taken from a federal vessel that was captured by Forrest's cavalry on the Mississippi River.

The Addition of 2007 is a letter to John P. Thurman from his sister Kate in which she discusses family affairs and the economy.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1844-1896.

About 70 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

The vast majority of the letters were written by members of the Ecklin and Thurman families of west Tennessee. Sallie Ecklin Thurman was the recipient of most of these letters, and her most frequent correspondent was her husband, John P. Thurman. However, her parents, S. C. Ecklin and Robert Ecklin; her brother, Joshua Ecklin; her sister, Emma Ecklin; her brother-in-law, Beverly S. Thurman; and various school friends from the Macon Female Institute also wrote to her.

Subjects discussed in these letters may be broadly divided into two distinct categories. Before the Civil War, the subject matter addressed is topically varied and reflects Sallie Ecklin's life as a young woman. Her letters concern everyday family affairs, her experiences at the Macon Institute, and the beginning of her romance with John P. Thurman. Included is a description of a student at the Macon Institute who had to leave school because the two slaves that were sent with her to work in lieu of tuition had run away.

After 1861, letters focus almost exclusively on how the Civil War affected members of the Ecklin and Thurman families. In addition to reporting on the local news from Hickory Withe, Tenn., Sallie Ecklin Thurman's letters to her husband describe raising three small children and running a farm in his absence. On several occasions, she made reference to having difficulties with their slaves.

John P. Thurman's letters home provide an outline of his military service with Forrest's Cavalry along the Mississippi River and its environs. He enlisted no later than March 1862 and served until the end of the war, rising to the rank of sergeant. He described taking part in numerous battles, including the Battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing. Although Thurman was a southern patriot, his letters contain criticisms of the southern war effort and the government of the Confederacy. Beverly S. Thurman, John P. Thurman's brother, served in the infantry of the Army of Tennessee and was killed in Georgia in 1864. He had risen to the rank of second lieutenant. His letters home address military matters, but also concern social and romantic affairs and religious life, including his confirmation by Bishop Lay of Alabama.

A few envelopes have been retained because of annotations.

Folder 1

1844-1846 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 1

Folder 2

1850 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 2

Folder 3

1851 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 3

Folder 4

1852-1854 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 4

Folder 5

1855-1856 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 5

Folder 6

Undated (pre war) #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 6

Folder 7

1861 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 7

Folder 8

March 1862 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 8

Folder 9

April 1862 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 9

Folder 10

May 1862 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 10

Folder 11

July 1862 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 11

Folder 12

1863 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 12

Folder 13

March-April 1864 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 13

Folder 14

May-June 1864 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 14

Folder 15

August-October 1864 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 15

Folder 16

January-February 1865 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 16

Folder 17

March-April 1865 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 17

Folder 18

1861-1865 and undated #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 18

Folder 19

Postcard and miscellaneous, 1856-1896 #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 19

Folder 20

Envelopes, 1860s #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 20

Folder 21

Ephemera, 1856-1896 and undated #05107, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1844-1896." Folder 21

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Photographs and Newspaper, 1860s.

8 items.

Six portrait photographs, an explanatory note, and a copy of the 8 April 1862 edition of The New York Times. The note by Berta Thurman LaPrade, a daughter of Sallie and John P. Thurman, states that the photographs were taken from a federal vessel that was captured by Forrest's cavalry on the Mississippi River.

Image Folder P-5107/1

Six portrait photographs #05107, Series: "2. Photographs and Newspaper, 1860s." P-5107/1

Folder 22

Note by Berta Thurman LaPrade #05107, Series: "2. Photographs and Newspaper, 1860s." Folder 22

Folder 23

The New York Times, 8 April 1862 (housed in XOP-5107/1) #05107, Series: "2. Photographs and Newspaper, 1860s." Folder 23

Extra Oversize Paper XOP-5107/1

The New York Times, 8 April 1862 #05107, Series: "2. Photographs and Newspaper, 1860s." XOP-5107/1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 2007 (Acc. 100799), 1856.

1 item.

Letter to John P. Thurman from his sister Kate in which she discusses family affairs and the economy. This letter was not microfilmed.

Folder 24

Letter, 1856 #05107, Series: "Addition of 2007 (Acc. 100799), 1856." Folder 24

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Processing Information

Processed by: Matthew Turi, February 2003

Encoded by: Matthew Turi, February 2003

Updated by: Nancy Kaiser, June 2005; Kathryn Roth, July 2008; and Kathryn Michaelis, November 2009

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

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