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Ramsey Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0253

This collection consists of documents relating to James Gettys McGready Ramsey, historian and physician of Knoxville, Tennessee, and his family. Included are correspondence, legal and financial papers, wills, newspaper and magazine clippings, scrapbooks, family Bibles, silhouettes, genealogical information, and other family and personal papers concerning Knoxville and Tennessee history. Also included are papers related to the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad Company, the Confederate Treasury, of which Ramsey was an official, the Civil War, Tennessee Historical Society, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and Anderson's East Tennessee Mining Company (49ers). Correspondents include Lyman Draper, Andrew Jackson, William G. McAdoo, and Mrs. James K. Polk.

Please see Scope and Content Notes for each folder for greater detail.

Dates

  • 1790-1912

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

6 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection consists of documents relating to James Gettys McGready Ramsey, historian and physician of Knoxville, Tennessee, and his family. Included are correspondence, legal and financial papers, wills, newspaper and magazine clippings, scrapbooks, family Bibles, silhouettes, genealogical information, and other family and personal papers concerning Knoxville and Tennessee history. Also included are papers related to the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad Company, the Confederate Treasury, of which Ramsey was an official, the Civil War, Tennessee Historical Society, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and Anderson's East Tennessee Mining Company (49ers). Correspondents include Lyman Draper, Andrew Jackson, William G. McAdoo, and Mrs. James K. Polk.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Gettys McGready Ramsey was born on March 25, 1797 to Francis and Peggy (Alexander) Ramsey in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was educated at Ebenezer Academy in Knox County and at Washington College before studying medicine, first under Dr. Joseph Strong in 1817 and then at the University of Pennsylvania in 1819. He married Margaret Barton Crozier on March 1, 1821 and together they had eleven children, including Robert McGready, Margaret Jane (Dickson), William Wilberforce, Henrietta Rutledge (Lenoir), John Crozier, Arthur Crozier, Elizabeth Alexander (Breck), James Gettys McKnitt, Charlotte, Francis Alexander, and Sue (Alexander). He built a large home on the French Broad and Holston Rivers which he named Mecklenburg. This was lost during the war and regained afterward through a series of lawsuits.

In addition to practicing medicine, Ramsey was active in public service, railroads, banking, and historical endeavors. He was instrumental in creating the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, in organizing the East Tennessee Historical and Antiquarian Society, and in supporting local educational institutions. During the Civil War, he publicly supported states' rights and served as a treasury agent and field surgeon for the Confederacy. His family was forced out of East Tennessee during the war, moving through Georgia and the Carolinas before returning to Knoxville in the early 1870s. While in exile in North Carolina, he wrote his autobiography, which was edited and published in 1984. He published several books during his life, the most famous of these being The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century, which was published in 1853.

Ramsey continued to play an active role in the Knoxville community until his death on April 14, 1884.

Arrangement

This collection consists of three flat boxes, two record boxes, one book box, and one oversize box.

Acquisition Note

This collection was donated to Special Collections in 1961 by Ellen Lenoir, great-granddaughter of James Gettys McGready Ramsey.

Digitized Materials

Some parts of this collection were digitized as part of the Volunteer Voices project. These digital materials can be accessed through the project’s webpage located at http://www.volunteervoices.org/

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult: MS.0322, the Margaret Barton Crozier Ramsey Diary, 1864-1885, and MS.2238, the J. G. M. Ramsey Receipt, 1845.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480