This collection contains a number of insightful items concerning the Gragg (Gregg) and Oxner families of Jackson and Haywood counties. It was given the name Alda Turpin Nicholson in honor of Mrs. Carolyn Jean Cogdill’s mother. Mrs. Cogdill donated the collection and is a descendent of the Oxner and Gragg families.
The oldest and perhaps most notable item in the collection is John Gragg’s “Cyphering Book”, which dates back to 1798. According to the book, Mr. Gragg was born September 11, 1781, and died February 2, 1852. His exact place of birth and residency is unknown. The book contains 52 pages of mathematical exercises, measurement tables and genealogical information on the Gragg family. From the addition of whole numbers to the figuring of simple interest, the “Cyphering Book” covers numerical applications that could easily have been used in everyday life. One could infer from the content of the book that Mr. Gragg was a teacher, although no hard evidence has confirmed the idea.
The remaining items of the collection were once property of Henry and Elizabeth Gregg Oxner. According to the 1860 census and other genealogical data, Henry Oxner was born in 1822 in South Carolina and Elizabeth was born in 1836 in North Carolina. They were married on April 24, 1860, in Haywood County, NC. The collection includes the Oxners’ land deeds, bills, receipts, indentures, and a counter pin draft that was given to Elizabeth Oxner in 1868.
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