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East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad Records

Identifier: MS-2211

  • Staff Only

The East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad Records, 1852-1871, document the company which developed the railroad connection between Knoxville and Virginia. Letters, legal papers, and receipts are included. While the collection dates extend from 1852 to 1871, no records date between January 21, 1861, and December 27, 1869. The bulk of the collection spans from 1853 to 1855.

Eight of the 16 items, found in Series I, deal with a lawsuit brought about by the railroad in 1853 against Jesse H. Crouch of Washington County, Tenn. Railroad officials claimed that Crouch continued to owe money on capitol stock purchased in 1849 through Brookins Campbell. The deposition of Samuel B. Cunningham notes that the original records of the stock purchase were destroyed in a fire at the home of Campbell, who, by the time of the trial, had passed away. An appeal bond from 1855 shows that Crouch has been ordered to pay the railroad $850.

Series II, consisting of the remaining eight items, contains a variety of letters and receipts related to the operation of the railroad, from its infancy through its merger with the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad.


  • 1852-1871

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.


0.1 Linear Feet


The East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad Records Collection contains letters, legal papers, and receipts which document the development of a railroad connection between Knoxville and Virginia. Much of the material deals with a lawsuit for non-payment between the railroad and Jesse Crouch of Washington County, Tenn.

Biographical/Historical Note

Chartered on January 24, 1848, in Greeneville, Tenn., the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad was formed for the purpose of establishing a rail communication between Knoxville and the State of Virginia, east of Bays Mountain, between Holston and Nolichucky Rivers. Stock subscription books were made available in 17 East Tennessee towns, however, the majority were sold in the Jonesborough region in Washington County. After the initial sale of stock, a committee of twelve (eight of whom were from Jonesborough) was elected to lead the company. Leading the committee was Samuel B. Cunningham, a surgeon and community leader in Jonesborough, who was named president.

Completion of the railroad came in 1858 at a total reported cost of $2.5 million. Dr. Cunningham served as president throughout the construction, resigning his post in 1859. During the Civil War, the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad became the object of much destruction by soldiers and Unionist civilians alike, as it was a vital link in the connection between Atlanta and Richmond. In 1869, a merger with the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad formed the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad, operating from Chattanooga to Bristol.


Collection consists of a single folder divided into two series: Records in the case of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad vs. Jesse Crouch and Other Records of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.

Acquisition Note

The Special Collections Library purchased this collection in April of 2003.

Repository Details

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

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA