Collection Number: 01568

Collection Title: J. G. Ramsay Papers, 1784-1955.

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 Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 6.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3000 items)
Abstract James Graham Ramsay (1823-1903) attended Davidson College, 1823- 1841, and Jefferson Medcical College in Philadelphia, 1844-1848, and practiced medicine in Iredell and Rowan counties, N.C. He was a Whig state senator, 1856-1864, and served in the Confederate Congress. After the war, he was active in the state Republican Party and served again in the legislature in 1883. His children included James Hill Ramsay (1855-1930), longtime postmaster of Salisbury, N.C., and delegate to the 1896 national Republican Convention, and Claudius C. Ramsay (1865-1930), a prominent citizen of Seattle, Wash. Political, personal, and family papers of Ramsay family members. Political correspondence chiefly concerns activities of the Confederate Congress and of the N.C. Republican Party from Reconstruction until 1930. Correspondents include N.C. Governor Jonathan Worth and Senator Jeter Conley Pritchard. There is also family correspondence relating to social, financial, and economic conditions on the Tennessee and Ohio frontiers in the 1790s and in 19th-century Alabama and Seattle, Wash. In 1884, there are letters from William G. Ramsay, working and traveling in Africa. In 1895, there are materials relating to Sarah Foster Ramsay's fatal battle, possibly with breast cancer. Education of both male and female Ramsays figures in the Papers, from James Graham Ramsay's tenure at Davidson College and Jefferson Medical College to his daughter's attending college in the 1860s. Financial and legal materials include records of medical treatments of both slave and free populations and hiring out of slaves, 1829-1846. There are also many speeches and writings by James Graham Ramsay, including a series of courtship letters to his wife, his autobiography, and diaries, with brief entries documenting daily activities. Also included are a few diaries, 1822-1839, of Ramsay's mother and writings of other family members on religious and political themes. There is also a notebook of Ramsay's brother-in-law, containing cures for various ailments and detailed histories of notable medical cases.
Creator Ramsay, J. G. (James Graham)
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
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 J. G. Ramsay Papers #1568, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from James Graham Ramsay of Washington, N.C., in 1949; and Rosamond Putzel of Chapel Hill, N.C., in November (Acc. 91156) and December (Acc. 91165) 1991.
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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Processed by: Ruth Burday, December 1995

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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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

James Graham Ramsay was born on 1 March 1823 on his father's small plantation in Iredell County, N.C. His parents David (d. 1857) and Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay (d. 1855?) were both of Scotch-Irish descent. The Ramsays had emigrated in 1695 to Pennsylvania, and John Graham Ramsay's grandfather had moved to Iredell's Coddle Creek community in 1766.

Ramsay entered Davidson College in 1838 and was graduated three years later. He taught school for a year, then studied medicine with his brother-in-law before entering the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, from which he was graduated in 1848.

In 1846, he married Sarah Foster of Davie County, N.C. Their children were Margaret Foster (d. 1909), Florence May, David W., James Hill (1855-1930), Edgar B. (d. 1917), William G., Robert L., and Claudius C. (1865-1930).

After graduation, James Graham Ramsay opened an office at Palermo, his home near Cleveland, Rowan County, N.C., where he practiced for the next 51 years. In 1849, he helped organize the first medical society in Rowan. He also farmed; the 1860 census valued his holdings at $10,000 in real estate and reported that he owned five slaves.

Ramsay was an active Whig, campaigning vigorously for various candidates and serving in the state Senate from 1856 to 1864, where he was a peace advocate until Lincoln's 1861 call for volunteers to quell the Southern rebellion. In 1863, Ramsay won a seat in the Confederate Congress, promising to work for an honorable peace. In the Confederate Congress, he was a strong supporter of states' rights over the needs of the Confederacy. By April 1865, he was working to hold a convention to return North Carolina to the Union.

After the war, Ramsay became active in the state Republican Party. In 1872, he was a presidential elector and, in 1882, was returned to the North Carolina Senate for one term. He declined a diplomatic post in South America that President Rutherford B. Hayes offered him.

Ramsay spent his last years in Salisbury, N.C., with his son James Hill Ramsay. He died on 10 January 1903 and was buried in the cemetery of the Third Creek Presbyterian Church near Cleveland, where he had been a ruling elder for 49 years.

[Based on a note by Buck Yearns in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Volume 5, P-S, ed. William B. Powell (1994).]

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Political, personal, and family papers of Ramsay family members. Political correspondence chiefly concerns activities of the Confederate Congress and of the N.C. Republican Party from Reconstruction until 1930. Correspondents include N.C. Governor Jonathan Worth and Senator Jeter Conley Pritchard. There is also family correspondence relating to social, financial, and economic conditions on the Tennessee and Ohio frontiers in the 1790s and in 19th-century Alabama and Seattle, Wash. In 1884, there are letters from William G. Ramsay, working and traveling in Africa. In 1895, there are materials relating to Sarah Foster Ramsay's fatal battle, possibly with breast cancer. Education of both male and female Ramsays figures in the Papers, from James Graham Ramsay's tenure at Davidson College and Jefferson Medical College to his daughter's attending college in the 1860s. Financial and legal materials include records of medical treatments of both slave and free populations and hiring out of slaves, 1829-1846. There are also many speeches and writings by James Graham Ramsay, including a series of courtship letters to his wife, his autobiography, and diaries, with brief entries documenting daily activities. Also included are a few diaries, 1822-1839, of Ramsay's mother and writings of other family members on religious and political themes. There is also a notebook of Ramsay's brother-in-law, containing cures for various ailments and detailed histories of notable medical cases.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1790-1955 and undated.

About 1750 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1790-1829.

About 30 items.

Largely letters to Nancy McCorkle Ramsay and Robert Ramsay, paternal grandparents of James Graham Ramsay, from various family members.

The earliest letters are from Betty Andrews to Nancy McCorkle Ramsay and address personal and religious issues. Early letters to Robert Ramsay are from friends and family in Tennessee, notably Thomas Knox and Hugh and Hannah Robinson. Letters from 1813 on are almost entirely family missives from various male and female McCorkles to their Ramsay counterparts. All of these originate in Tennessee or Ohio and include descriptions of life on the western frontier and family relations. There is one letter from Robert Ramsay to Alexander McCorkle in Tennessee.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1834-1883.

About 340 items.

Letters center almost exclusively around James Graham Ramsay, although there is some correspondence of his father, David Ramsay, until his death in 1857. There are also a few items relating to various children of James Graham Ramsay towards the end of the subseries.

Letters to and from James Graham Ramsay while he was away at Davidson College and the Jefferson Medical College make up the bulk of the personal correspondence until about 1848. These are chiefly letters from his mother, Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay, and wife, Sarah Foster Ramsay. In addition, there are letters from James Graham Ramsay to his father, all of which deal with family news and daily life. There are also a few letters from friends and relatives, including a letter from Richard T. Dismukes, a physician who married Ramsay's sister Martha.

Correspondence during the 1850s includes family correspondence of David and James Graham Ramsay relating to a variety of topics. A letter to David Ramsay in 1855 appears to bemoan the death of Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay, although her name is never mentioned. Other letters are related to economic, business, political, and medical issues. James Graham Ramsay served in the North Carolina Senate during this period, and much of his correspondence details life--and to a lesser extent, politics--in Raleigh.

Family correspondence around the Civil War consists largely of letters from Ramsay to his wife Sarah Foster Ramsay when he was serving in both the North Carolina and Confederate governments. These letters dominate the correspondence in 1861 and 1862, then again in 1864, and include descriptions of Richmond and Augusta; news of the war and politics; and advise on matters of health, finances, and children. Only one letter, dated November 1864, of Sarah Foster Ramsay to her husband is present.

Exchanges of 1862 and 1864-1865 between James Graham Ramsay and his daughter Margaret Foster (Maggie) while she was away at the Concord Female College in Statesville, N.C., contain news of school and of the capital as well as paternal advice. A few letters from Florence May Ramsay to her "Cousin Maggie" in March 1860 are followed by news of her death in a letter from James Graham Ramsay's sister Martha; it is not clear if this Florence May was James Graham Ramsay's daughter. There are also several letters from nephew Richard L. Dismukes from the war in Virginia, plus a report of his death in early May 1862 and Ramsay's attempt to retrieve his body from Richmond.

Letters of family members drop off in the years after the war, although a few letters from sister Martha J. Rosebrough, widow of Richard T. Dismukes, who had married Samuel Rosebrough by 1858, arrived from Arkansas around 1867. These letters are full of details about family life. A letter, dated 31 May 1875, from "Brother Challie" to "Sister" detailing social life in Texas is certainly from Richard Chalmers Ramsay to Lydia Calista Ramsay, half-siblings of James Graham Ramsay.

Family letters pick up again towards the end of 1881 with a letter to Margaret Foster Ramsay from Archibald M. Young. A notable set of correspondence during this period is that of Lydia Calista Ramsay on the death of her brother Richard Chalmers Ramsay in 1882.

Beginning in 1863 and continuing for the next twenty years, letters relating to political and business matters make up the bulk of James Graham Ramsay's correspondence. Most of the papers from 1863 concern his successful campaign for Confederate Congress against William Lander; after election, correspondents, including W. P. Bynum, L. S. Bingham, and T. R. Caldwell, wrote on political topics, such as local support, requests for patronage, concerns about civil liberties abuses of the Confederate government, and demands for peace.

On July 8, 1865, James Graham Ramsay summarized his political activities in a request for amnesty from the United States government. Many of the political letters from 1865 to 1867 are from North Carolina Governor Jonathan Worth. In 1867, James Graham Ramsay was appointed to the State Board of Internal Improvements. Reconstruction issues, such as African American suffrage and the Ku Klux Klan, are addressed in a few letters from the late 1860s and early 1870s. A general recommendation of James Graham Ramsay to the National Republican Party was signed by a number of prominent North Carolina Republicans in 1872. By 1874, Ramsay was appointed as a tax collector and as head of the North Carolina State Asylum for the Insane; many subsequent letters are related to these appointments. Requests for patronage and character references appear periodically during this period.

Interspersed throughout this subseries are occasional letters on business investments, including railroads, and some correspondence relating to James Graham Ramsay's medical practice and to membership in the Masonic Lodge. There are also a few letters about Davidson College. Invitations for Ramsay to speak at meetings of various groups appear regularly.

Related items include a set of Richard T. Dismukes medical lecture invitations from the Transylvania College Medical Department, 1837-1838; a report card for James Graham Ramsay's half sister Lydia Calista Ramsay, 1863; a Confederate Congressional passport, 1864; a copy of the North Carolina resolutions regarding Civil War soldiers, 1865; James Graham Ramsay's certificates as director of the state insane asylum, 1872, 1874; teaching certificates of son James Hill Ramsay from North Carolina and half-brother Richard C. Ramsay from Texas, 1874; and certificates of James Hill Ramsay's appointment as Salisbury, N.C., postmaster, 1877, 1882, and 1883.

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January-May 1874

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June-December 1874

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1884-1903.

About 450 items.

This subseries covers a period of extensive correspondence between various members of the Ramsay family, including James Graham Ramsay, Sarah Foster Ramsay, and their children Margaret (Maggie) Ramsay Nelson, James Hill Ramsay, William G. Ramsay, Edgar B. Ramsay, Robert L. Ramsay, and Claudius C. Ramsay. There is little or no correspondence of son David Allan Ramsay and his wife, Julia Young Ramsay, probably since they lived near his father and mother. Since the Ramsay children were scattered across the United States and Africa, these letters provide an interesting variety of perspectives. This period concludes with the death in 1903 of James Graham Ramsay.

The year 1884 is marked by letters to Claudius C. Ramsay from his parents and brothers while he was at school in Lenoir, N.C. From 1885 through 1888, family correspondence is dominated by letters from William G. Ramsay, who travelled to the Gold Coast of Africa to work at the Akankoo Mines near Axim in what is now Ghana, West Africa. Most of these were written to his mother, father, and brother James Hill Ramsay, and include details of travel and life in Africa. William's final letter was dated 6 February 1889; he died in Africa soon thereafter. Family and business correspondence relating to his death and estate continued for the next six months; scattered letters on the topic are found through 1892.

Sarah Foster Ramsay died, evidently of breast cancer, in 1895. Correspondence between family members and friends is extensive regarding her debilitating illness and death. Letters from James Graham Ramsay to his son James Hill Ramsay include medical details and descriptions of the cancer and death of his wife.

Claudius C. Ramsay travelled to Seattle, Wash., where he worked in real estate and insurance. A letter in 1897 describes the effects of the Yukon gold rush on the city. Robert L. Ramsay lived mostly in Cisco, Tex., and his letters discuss the social, political, and economic conditions there. Also included is an isolated and unexplained letter from a physician to James Graham Ramsay in 1901 detailing Robert's mental illness.

Maggie wrote from her home in Laneville, Ala., where she lived with her husband Phillip Nelson. In early 1896, she suffered a serious illness that dominated the family correspondence until her recovery soon thereafter. Edgar B. Ramsay was the least settled of the siblings, spending much of this period in the mining country of Montana. James Hill Ramsay remained in Salisbury, N.C., where he lived with his wife, Mary Isabel Miller Ramsay ("Mame" or "Mamie").

During the last years of his life, James Graham Ramsay lived with James Hill Ramsay in Salisbury. By the 1890s, most of the former's correspondence was with family members and old friends. As early as 1894, he began to explore his family history; genealogical pursuits are increasingly documented from 1899 until his death four years later. James Hill Ramsay also participated in this genealogical correspondence. Much of the information that the elder Ramsay gathered went towards writing his autobiography (see Subseries 3.1.2.).

James Graham Ramsay continued to receive invitations to speak at various social, educational, and political gatherings during this period. A few letters in 1894 and 1896 relate to the practice of medicine, and there are a few items relating to Davidson College in the late 1890s. After James Graham Ramsay's death in 1903, there is a body of personal correspondence to and among family members exchanging news and condolences.

With James Graham Ramsay and his sons James Hill and Claudius C. heavily involved in politics, there is much correspondence relating to political careers and interests, especially on the local level. After 1888, the focus is chiefly on James Hill Ramsay's involvement in local politics as the Salisbury postmaster. Political correspondence is especially heavy in 1896 and 1897, but is scattered throughout. Letters include requests for endorsements and patronage; discussions of the workings of the North Carolina Republican Party and, in 1894, of the People's Party; James Hill Ramsay's nomination as a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1896; and his campaigns for postmaster. James Hill Ramsay exchanged letters with many politicians; the most notable during this period was Senator Jeter Conley Pritchard.

Related items of note include wedding invitations; an 1884 invitation to the University of North Carolina commencement; high school certificates of Mary Isabel Miller from 1888; items related to the Masons, of which both James Graham Ramsay and James Hill Ramsay were members; items relating to the local railroad; letters from 1888, 1897, and 1898 on property sales; and James Graham Ramsay's Physicians' Certificate of Registration of 1889.

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January-March 1889

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April-June 1889

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July-December 1889

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January-June 1895

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August-December 1895

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January-February 1896

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March-April 1896

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June-December 1896

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January-June 1897

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July-December 1897

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1904-1930; 1936; 1955.

About 875 items.

Correspondence in this period centers around brothers James Hill Ramsay and Claudius C. Ramsay, and almost exclusively relates to family affairs and/or politics.

Letters between James Hill Ramsay and Claudius C. Ramsay often focus on political issues, as Claudius used his clout to help with James' reappointments as Salisbury postmaster. Correspondence often includes reports on the business and political climate of Seattle and always contains some family news. Of note are letters detailing the stay of James Hill Ramsay's daughter Annie Laurie with her uncle Claudius and his wife Grace in 1907 and reports of travel to China and Japan the same year.

News of Edgar B. Ramsay appears periodically until his death in 1917. Letters from sister Margaret Ramsay Nelson continue until her death in 1909, after which letters from her husband, Phillip Nelson, begin. Nelson's death was noted in 1928. There is some scattered correspondence of James Hill Ramsay's wife, Mary Miller Ramsay, before she died in 1927. Letters from various other family members appear periodically, notably that of James Hill Ramsay's son James Graham Ramsay (J. Graham) regarding his medical training and service during World War I, and of Claudius Ramsay's wife, Grace. Claudius C. and James Hill Ramsay died within three months of each other, in October and November 1930 respectively.

James Hill Ramsay participated in an extensive correspondence with distant cousins in an effort to further trace his own and his wife Mary Miller Ramsay's genealogies. His most frequent correspondents on family history were Thomas McCorkle of Washington, D.C., and Samuel Judah of Vincennes, Ind. The two letters addressed to J. Graham Ramsay in 1955 are also about Ramsay family history.

Of special note are a few letters in 1925 and 1926 regarding a Milas Ramsay, who appears to be an African American descendent of former Ramsay slaves. These consist of requests for aid from Milas, written by his daughter, and a willingness to help expressed by James Hill and Claudius C. Ramsay.

Political correspondence in this subseries is extensive. James Hill Ramsay had several difficult Salisbury postmaster campaigns in which he recruited the aid of brother Claudius and used all the political clout at his disposal. In 1906, 1910, 1914, and 1923, letters regarding these efforts dominate the correspondence. Correspondents include North Carolina Senator Lee Overman, a native of Salisbury; in the 1906 campaign, Senator Samuel Piles and the Honorable William E. Humphreys; and Senator W. L. Jones during the 1923 effort. Between these busy years, there is a steady trickle of correspondence relating to postmaster business. Of note are a letter written to William Jennings Bryan in 1913 and one in April 1923 to Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, nephew of the former president. The copy of an executive order by President Warren G. Harding, waiving James Hill Ramsay from the age limitations on postmasterships, is also dated April 1923.

Other political correspondence of James Hill Ramsay relates to the North Carolina Republican Party, particularly in the late 1920s. During World War I, he served on the local Board of Exemption and some correspondence regarding that service exists from 1917 to 1919. In the early 1920s, there are a few letters regarding his tenure as a local prohibition agent, and there are a few letters in 1926 relating to his role as president of the North Carolina Home Building and Loan Association.

Related items of note include James Hill Ramsay's acceptance into the Sons of the Revolution, March 1906; a certificate naming him North Carolina's representative at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 in Seattle; a letter describing travel in Europe from "Sallie" to "Papa," August 1910; a letter, 1911, from a female spiritual healer describing her art; correspondence regarding J. Graham Ramsay's education in 1913 and 1914; a 1922 invitation to his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School; letters to doctors in Philadelphia regarding Mary Miller Ramsay's surgery in 1927, the year of her death; and a 1936 letter to J. Graham Ramsay from cousin E. L. Putzel regarding James Graham Ramsay and property in Salisbury.

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January-May 1906

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June-November 1906

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1908-February 1909

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March-April 1909

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May-December 1909

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January-March 1910

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April 1910

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May 1910

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June-November 1910

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1910 (no month)

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January-February 1923

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March 1923

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April 1923

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May-December 1923

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January-August 1930

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October-December 1930; 1936; 1955

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. Undated.

About 65 items.

Arrangement: by correspondent.

Nancy McCorkle, Robert, and David Ramsay letters chiefly relate to family matters. Sarah Foster and James Graham Ramsay materials are largely speaking engagement invitations, with a few personal and political notes. James Hill Ramsay correspondence includes telegraphs and letters of a political nature as well as family correspondence, including a number of letters from Claudius C. Ramsay. Claudius C. Ramsay's letters include several to Sarah Foster Ramsay and his application for membership in the North Carolina Society of the Sons of the Revolution.

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Nancy McCorkle, Robert, and David Ramsay

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Sarah Foster and James Graham Ramsay

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Mary Miller and James Hill Ramsay

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Claudius C. Ramsay

Folder 77

J. Graham Ramsay

Folder 78

Undated miscellaneous

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Materials, 1784-1927 and undated.

About 720 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1 Loose Papers, 1784-1927 and undated.

About 700 items.

Arrangement: loosely chronological.

The subseries contains a variety of legal and financial papers. Included are a large body of receipts; legal documents from the late 18th and early 19th centuries; a series of contracts to hire out a slave, 1829-1846; and papers concerning various guardianships and executorships.

Through 1826, most of the documents are legal papers. They include a will recorded by Robert Ramsay, a will witnessed by David Ramsay, and the will of Patrick Graham, a great uncle of James Graham Ramsay's on his mother's side. A 1797 deed of land to Robert Ramsay and a map and description of David Ramsay's land from 1818 are included. Robert Ramsay's finances are the subject of an 1824 list of debts and a 1826 bond. Very few receipts are found among these early papers.

Beginning in 1827, financial rather than legal materials dominate. Beginning in 1827 and continuing for the next 15 years, much of the material is related to David Ramsay's guardianship of Margaret Archibald. After 1828, many receipts relate to David Ramsay's role as executor of his father Robert's estate. Around 1829, David Ramsay also served as executor of the estate of his wife's uncle Patrick Graham; David may have inherited this responsibility when his father died. Receipts from Davidson College for son James Graham Ramsay's education appear from 1838 to 1840.

Notices for the hiring out of a slave woman named Vira appear annually from 1829 until 1846. By 1841, the contracts included her three children. Other slave-related documents include an 1834 bill of sale for a slave girl to David and Margaret Ramsay; three receipts of slave sales from 1841; an 1844 note of the sale of slaves; and a note for the purchase of two slaves by James Graham Ramsay in 1858.

Beginning in 1847, most of the receipts are to and from James Graham Ramsay, though a few items of David Ramsay's persist until his death in 1857. Receipts largely relate to James Graham Ramsay's medical practice, including those for treatment of slaves. Store accounts are also common. In 1854, there are notes for David Ramsay's shares in the Western North Carolina Rail Road Company and son James Graham Ramsay's shares in the Salisbury and Taylorsville Plank Road Company. There are also items relating to William F. Kelly's guardianship of Sarah Jane Foster, 1844-1853; she married James Graham Ramsay in 1846.

Financial and legal papers from the mid-1850s through the 1860s deal chiefly with James Graham Ramsay's administration of physician Moses D. Kirkpatrick's estate, 1854-1862 (see also volume 3); Ramsay's serving as executor of his father David Ramsay's estate, 1857-1874 (see also volume 4); his guardianship of his nephew Richard L. Dismukes, son of sister Martha J. Rosebrough, 1857-1869; and an exchange of notes relating to H. C. Mead and Company of Chicago, 1868.

After 1870, there are occasional receipts for services rendered or received by James Graham Ramsay. In 1874, there are expense accounts relating to Ramsay's service as the director of the North Carolina Asylum for the Insane and as a tax collector. Subscriptions for the Third Creek Church appear in 1885. A copy of the will of James Graham Ramsay's son William G. Ramsay, who died in Africa, is dated in 1889.

Loose records of James Graham Ramsay's medical practice appear after 1890 until his death in 1903 (see also financial volumes). In 1895, there are items relating to the sale of property when James Graham Ramsay moved in with James Hill Ramsay. In 1900, there is a copy of James Graham Ramsay's will. Miscellaneous receipts appear in these years, including those for school tuition and music lessons for Mary Ramsay.

A listing of loans and interest paid by James Hill Ramsay to A. I. V. Newsom appears in 1927. Also in 1927 are papers relating to Mary Miller Ramsay's death and settlement of her estate by her husband, James Hill Ramsay. An earlier document related to Mary Miller Ramsay is a 1913 legal summons as one of several defendants in a property claim. The checkbook and cancelled checks of J. Graham Ramsay appear the same year.

Undated materials are largely receipts. Included are specifications of a house repair performed for James Hill Ramsay.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2 Volumes, 1825-1909.

20 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Financial volumes largely contain records of accounts owed or accounts paid. Volumes 1 and 2 suggest that the Ramsays may have owned a lumber mill. (See also Volumes 21 and 22 in Subseries 3.1.3. "Diaries" for miscellaneous notes on financial matters.)

Where new volume numbers have been assigned, old volume numbers are appended to individual volume descriptions.

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Volume 1: 1825-1850. Ledger. Accounts for hauling, sawing, and merchandise.

Folder 94

Volume 2: 1848-1857. Ledger. Chiefly sawing and lumber accounts; also general merchandise. (Formerly volume 4.)

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Volume 3: 1855. Accounts of James Graham Ramsay, administrator of the estate of Moses D. Kilpatrick. Sale of effects on 4 December 1855, showing names of buyers, articles, and prices. Medical accounts of Moses D. Kilpatrick from 2 March 1846, transferred to James Graham Ramsay, 1 November 1855. (See related loose papers in folder 86.) (Formerly volume 5.)

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Volume 4: 1857-1863. James Graham Ramsay, executor, accounts of estate of David Ramsay. List of purchasers, items, and prices of goods sold from the estate, 16 September 1857. (See related loose Papers, primarily folders 83-87.) (Formerly volume 6.)

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Volume 5: 1859. Pocket daily memorandum book. Largely financial entries intermittently from 17 April through 31 December. (Formerly volume 8.)

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Volume 6: 1862. Receipts and expenditures. Also financial notes of the 13th North Carolina Regiment, Captain Foster's company's vote in the election, and medical notes. (Formerly volume 11.)

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Volume 7: 1863. Receipts and expenditures. Also memoranda on medical accounts, election returns for the Confederate Congress (James Graham Ramsay elected), and some addresses of Confederate officers. (Formerly volume 12.)

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Volume 8: 1864. Receipts and expenditures and memoranda, including medical accounts carried over from 1863, and general notes. (Formerly volume 13.)

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Volume 9: 1865. Note pad containing receipts and expenditures for 1865; debts due James Graham Ramsay at end of 1864; prescriptions for cures; election returns for 1865; miscellaneous notes, 1865-66. (Formerly volume 14.)

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Volume 10: 1867. 5 February, alphabetical list of accounts due from whites and freedmen. (Formerly volume 16.)

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Volume 11: 1868-1876. James Graham Ramsay's memorandum of medical charges unsettled from 31 May 1868 to 15 November 1875, alphabetically listed. Notations extend to November 1876. (Formerly volume 18.)

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Volume 12: 1870. Medical accounts of white and freedmen, alphabetically listed. (Formerly volume 20.)

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Volume 13: 1872-1874. Medical accounts outstanding of whites and freedmen. (Formerly volume 22.)

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Volume 14: 1873. Pocket notebook with travel expenses, railroad connections, and addresses. (Formerly volume 23.)

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Volume 15: 1878. Time book for laborers, April and May. (Formerly volume 24.)

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Volume 16: 1880-1882. Medical account book. (Formerly volume 25.)

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Volume 17: 1881-1882. James Hill Ramsay, deputy collector, travel expense account book. (Formerly volume 26.)

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Volume 18: 1883-1887. Medical account book, alphabetically listed by year.

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Volume 19: 1887-1895. Medical account book, alphabetically listed. (Formerly volume 27.)

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Volume 20: 1908-1909. James Hill Ramsay, trustee, account with Davis & Wiley Bank, Salisbury, N.C. (Formerly volume 30.)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Writings, 1786-1909 and undated.

About 350 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1. Writings of James Graham Ramsay, 1937-1902 and undated.

About 280 items.

Arrangement: by type.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1.1. Addresses and Essays, 1837-1899 and undated.

About 175 items.

Arrangement: chronologically when dated; alphabetically when undated.

James Graham Ramsay spoke on a wide variety of topics from his college days until he died. Most of these addresses and essays in this subseries are complete and final drafts, but there are also some edited copies, fragments, drafts, and notes. Folders 113-114 contain undated essays written at Davidson College, 1837-1841.

Folder 113

1837-1841: "On practice."

"Union is a source of power and benefit."

"The snake in the grass."

"Instructions to representatives and senators."

"Ought representatives to obey the view of their constituents."

"Should the poor be supported by law."

Folder 114

1837-1841: Argument on the relative merits of the wealthy and the wise.

"Are the fashion improvements of the present day beneficial to man in a moral and intellectual point of view?"

Farewell address.

"Reminiscences of the past."

"On gold."

Folder 115

14 January 1840: "Has our country the more to dread from the principles of nullification or consolidation"

12 January 1841: "In what does the chief glory of nation consist?"

29 July 1841: "What the welfare and prosperity of our republican institutions chiefly require."

4 July 1844: "An oration by J. G. Ramsay."

January 1848: "An inaugural dissertation on congestion fever" (Jefferson Medical College).

Folder 116

9 August 1849: "The duty of literary men to their country."

24 November 1849: "On music."

Folder 117

18 July 1850: "Address delivered before the students of the Mocksville (N.C.) Male Academy."

13 June 1851: "Address delivered before the students of Ebenezer Academy, Iredell Co., N.C."

4 July 1851: Address delivered at opening of a bridge between Davie and Rowan counties, N.C.

4 November 1852: "The centennial anniversary of the invitation of George Washington into the Masonry."

1852: Undelivered address for the "Whig Convention."

14 April 1853: "A report upon the culture and profits of fruit made before the Scotch Ireland Agricultural Society."

Folder 118

10 June 1853: "Address to Jonesville Academy, Yadkin, North Carolina."

16 November 1854: "Education of the masses of the people."

1854: Essay on the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

May 1855: Address to the Rowan County Medical Society.

26 April 1856: On the Catholic Church.

Folder 119

circa 1856 or 1857: State Senate speech on the bank in Salisbury, N.C.

circa 1859: Notes for lecture on religion.

circa 1860: Address on the state of the Union and the upcoming election of 1860.

10 January 1861: Excerpts from "Union or Disunion."

Folder 120

25 November 1864: "Habeas corpus--delivered in the House of Representatives."

March 1865: "Their reasons" (on reunion of Confederacy and Union).

29 June 1865: "Negro suffrage--the Christian watchman and reflector."

October 1865: Announcement of candidacy for Congress.

21 May 1867: "Address to the Rowan County Medical Society."

July 1868: Response to "The duty of the hour" by R. L. Dabney.

Folder 121

24 June 1874: Address to "fellow alumni."

Folder 122

17 May 1877: "Address to the 'cluster' at Thyatira Church."

Folder 123

19 May 1882: Address to the Trap Hill Institute.

circa 1882: "The liberal movement."

27 December 1883: Address to Masons in Mocksville, N.C.

12 August 1884: Acceptance remarks on Republican nomination in Salisbury, N.C.

20 August 1885: Remarks to Sunday School Convention.

22 August 1885: Remarks on Rowan and Davie counties.

Folder 124

17 August 1886: Address at Franklin Church at the Rowan County Sunday School Convention.

5 October 1886: Address on Glover Cleveland.

15 June 1887: Address on "The administration of ... the first president of Davidson College."

Folder 125

3 August 1887: "Remarks ... on the dangers of allowing geographical and historical lessons to supersede spiritual and evangelical lessons in Sabbath School."

4 August 1887: Remarks to Stakes Lodge in the courthouse in Concord, N.C.

October 1887: Comments on the 49th Congress.

Folder 126

11 August 1888: "Remarks on religious education."

September 1888: "The part democracy .."

30 August 1889: "The importance of teacher's meetings."

1880s: Essay on voting and party politics.

Folder 127

5 April 1890: Address on "Public health."

20 August 1890: "The Sunday School teacher in the maintenance of order."

15 August 1891: "Is the Sabbath School a success?"

29 November 1891: Dedication to retiring pastor Reverend W. A. Wood.

Folder 128

13 May 1892: "A historical sketch of Third Creek Church in Rowan County, North Carolina."

24 August 1893: "The ruling elder."

Folder 129

4 July 1894: Address at Summerville, Rowan County, N.C.

29 July 1896: Notes on prayer meeting.

5 August 1896: Essay on prayer.

Folder 130

1896: "Confederation or fusion."

Folder 131

12 April and 12 July 1897: "The medical profession of Rowan County."

Folder 132

29 May 1898: "Children's Day."

4 July 1898: "Valedictory to Rowan County Medical Society."

17 August 1898: "Spoken at prayer meeting."

7 June 1899: "Undelivered address for Davidson College alumni."

Folder 133-135

Folder 133

Folder 134

Folder 135

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on education and instruction.

Folder 136-137

Folder 136

Folder 137

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on medicine, including "Report on the prevailing diseases of Rowan County, N.C."; "The regular medical profession and its relations to society"; two addresses to Rowan County Medical Society; "Scarlet fever."

Folder 138-139

Folder 138

Folder 139

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on politics relating to the Civil War, including "The Confederate Congress"; "On abolition"; addresses on the end of the Civil War.

Folder 140

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Volume 21: 1860. Notes on speeches and debates about an ad valorem tax on slaves. (Formerly volume 9.)

Folder 141-142

Folder 141

Folder 142

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on politics in general, including "The tariff"; "Centralization."

Folder 143-144

Folder 143

Folder 144

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on religion.

Folder 145

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Essays on miscellaneous topics, including "On vocal music"; "The American Indians"; and "My colored friends."

Folder 146-149

Folder 146

Folder 147

Folder 148

Folder 149

Undated addresses, essays, drafts, and notes: Drafts and notes on miscellaneous topics, including religion, morality, and politics. Folder 149 contains notes on election results.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1.2. Autobiography, circa 1900.

2 items.

James Graham Ramsay completed his autobiography around the turn of the century. More than half of the material is genealogical in nature, tracing his family roots. He wrote of his own childhood and adulthood. Included is the story of the accidental death of a brother when they were children. Two copies of the autobiography are in the collection, a handwritten draft and a typed copy. (See also Series 4.)

Folder 150

Handwritten copy.

Folder 151

Typed copy.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1.3. Diaries, 1858-1902.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.1.4. Other Writings, 1844-1890s and undated.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: alphabetically by type.

Notes and other writings by James Graham Ramsay, including courtship letters sent to his future wife Sarah Jane Foster that largely consist of original and copied love poetry; an epitaph on the occasion of the death of his mother Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay, circa 1855; medical lecture notes; notes on slave taxes; and four folders of miscellaneous notes and drafts for writings on religion, politics (including election results and information on local party politics), and other topics.

Folder 158

Courtship letters, circa 1846

Folder 159

Epitaph for Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay, circa 1855.

Folder 160

Volume 27: 1844. Lecture notes from Jefferson Medical College (Formerly volume 3.)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3.2. Writings by Others, 1786-1909 and undated.

About 70 items.

Arrangement: alphabetically by author.

These writings are largely by family members. James Graham Ramsay's brother-in-law and fellow physician Richard T. Dismukes kept a book of writings relating to his medical practice. Writings by James Hill Ramsay include a student notebook, a short travel log, and miscellaneous notes and drafts. Included among James Hill Ramsay's miscellaneous writings are two historical compositions, "Battle of Ramseur's Mill" and "Boy Soldiers of the Confederacy"; notes on local politics and elections; and an account of a conversation with Colonel Hamilton C. Jones in which Jones described his memories of native African slaves.

Also included are Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay's diaries spanning the years 1822-1839. Other of her writings and some by David Ramsay relate to religion, including catechism-like examinations, notes, and the constitutions for the Prospect Female Work Society and the Prospect Sabbath School. William G. Ramsay's journal of his travels to the Gold Coast of Africa in 1885 is present, as are a few poems and writings about North Carolina by unknown authors.

Folder 161

Volume 29: 1837-1843. Book of Richard T. Dismukes, physician, Davie County, N.C., containing copies of business letters, some cures for various ailments, and detailed case histories of certain cases. (Formerly volume 2.)

Folder 162

Volume 30: 1871-1875. James Hill Ramsay's book of student notes, reflections, quotations from history and poetry, and miscellaneous jottings. The book appears to have belonged to James Graham Ramsay originally, and includes a few notes by him and an 1848 account list for general merchandise at Cool Springs, N.C. (Formerly volume 21.)

Folder 163

Volume 31: 1909. James Hill Ramsay's short notes on travel to the Pacific Northwest, including connections, addresses, costs, and a brief description of a few aspects of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, which he attended as the North Carolina representative.

Folder 164

1870s-1920s: Miscellaneous notes, drafts, and comments.

Folder 165-166

Folder 165

Folder 166

Volume 32: 1822-26; 1829-30; 1831-39. Diaries of Margaret Foster Graham Ramsay, recording daily activities, including social visits, church sermons, births, deaths, and marriages. Also included is a poem written on the occasion of her son Robert Ramsay's accidental death (which is also described in James Graham Ramsay's autobiography).

Folder 167

1820s-1830s: Writings by Margaret Graham Foster Ramsay and David Ramsay relating to religion and Sunday School.

Folder 168

1834: David Ramsay's 4th of July address.

Folder 169

Volume 33: 1885. Descriptions of William G. Ramsay's travel to the Gold Coast of Africa.

Folder 170

Poetry copied from unknown sources, some copies dated as early as 1786. Included is a notebook of verse copied by Sarah Jane Foster, later James Graham Ramsay's wife.

Folder 171

Writings relating to North Carolina by authors unknown, including a note from "the address of Chief Justice Chase at the opening of the Circuit Court of North Carolina," 1867.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Genealogical Materials.

About 185 items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.1. Genealogical Writings.

26 items.

This subseries contains writings, drafts and pieces, on the Ramsays. Included are genealogical and autobiographical sketches by James Graham Ramsay in preparation for his 1900 autobiography (see Subseries 3.1.2); biographical sketches and memorial tributes of James Graham Ramsay written by friends Archibald Henderson and D. B. Wood and by James Hill Ramsay; autobiographical and biographical sketches of James Hill Ramsay; and brief notes and sketches relating to Claudius C. Ramsay and J. Graham Ramsay.

Folder 172

Autobiographical pieces by James Graham Ramsay.

Folder 173

Biographical pieces about James Graham Ramsay.

Folder 174

Autobiographical and biographical sketches of James Hill Ramsay.

Folder 175

Biographical notes and sketches of Claudius C. Ramsay and J. Graham Ramsay.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.2. Genealogical Notes.

About 160 items.

Arrangement: alphabetically by family.

These are miscellaneous notes and a few clipping relating to family history collected by James Graham Ramsay and his son James Hill Ramsay. They are organized by family; notes including information on more than one family are filed with the miscellaneous materials.

Folder 176-177

Folder 176

Folder 177

Graham family.

Folder 178

McCorkle family.

Folder 179

Miller family.

Folder 180-181

Folder 180

Folder 181

Ramsay family. Includes "Peerage of Scotland: Ramsay, Earl of Dalhousie."

Folder 182-183

Folder 182

Folder 183

Miscellaneous families, including Balfour, Brooks, Butler, Byrd/Bird, Graham, McCorkle, Miller, Montgomery, and Ramsay families.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Other Materials, 1807-1930s.

About 125 items.

These materials consist largely of printed items, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Many of the clippings and photographs relate to Ramsay family members. In addition, there are two files of undated ward lists, and the autograph book of William G. Ramsay.

Folder 184

Volume 34: 1880-1888. Autograph book of William G. Ramsay.

Folder 185

Clippings: Volume 35: 1860. Small pocket notebook filled with political clippings.

Folder 186-187

Folder 186

Folder 187

Clippings: 1880s-1930s: Most clippings relate to Ramsay family members, but there are a few on local history and other topics. A clipping on the Ku Klux Klan is dated 1870.

Image P-1568/1-4





Photographs: 1860s-1930s. James Graham Ramsay.

Image P-1568/5-7




Photographs: 1860s-1930s. James Hill Ramsay.

Image P-1568/8

Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Sarah Foster Ramsay[?]

Image P-1568/9

Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Verso: "This is Mary Eliason in her doctor's gown with two of her friends, Dr. Spivey and Mrs. Lea Chaperone at Spencer Hall."

Image P-1568/10-19











Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Unidentified people.

Special Format Image SF-1568/1

Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Tintype.

Image P-1568/20

Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Label: "Is this Ebenezer Academy?" Verso: "This picture is so dim--looks like the one at Bethany Church."

Image P-1568/21-27








Photographs: 1860s-1930s. Thyatira Church and graveyard and other graves of Ramsay family members, including that of William G. Ramsay, who died in Africa.

Folder 188-190

Folder 188

Folder 189

Folder 190

Printed materials: 1807-1927. Included are two religious tracts, 1807 and undated; North Carolina almanacs, 1809 and 1816; political tracts by Joseph Pearson (1815), A. G. Carter (1833), and T. H. Vanderford (1907); other political publications; catalogs of the Masonic Institute of Germantown, N.C. (1853) and the Presbyterian High School of Mebane, N.C. (undated); and other items.

Folder 191-192

Folder 191

Folder 192

Ward lists for Spencer, Gold Hill, Salisbury, and other North Carolina locations, undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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