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Joseph E. Clemm began this diary on June 22, 1819 with the intention of making the gift of this journal to him [the reader] at some future period. The early part of this work is devoted to Clemm's activities in Augusta, Georgia. Later on, Clemm describes a trip to Tennessee to collect an overdue debt, during which he passes through the Cherokee Nation.
In a March 23, 1861 letter to his children, W. D. Carnes, then president of Franklin College in Franklin, Tenn., writes of an illness sweeping through the school, fundraising activities, and news of three students who were violent Secessionists leaving the school.