The Harshaw family settled in Cherokee County, NC, in 1838. In that year, three brothers, John, Joshua, and Abram Harshaw located in the county. Most of the materials in the collection concern Abram Harshaw and his son Abram McDowell Harshaw. The Harshaws were businessmen and farmers. Abram and his descendants were reputed to be the largest slave owners in Cherokee County.
The collection contains two account books. One book is not identified but probably belonged to Abram Harshaw, who owned a tavern in Murphy, NC. Some of the entries are dated in the 1860s, which is after Abram's death in 1857, but family members may have continued to operate the tavern.
The other account book belonged to Mercer Fain, a businessman of Murphy, NC, whose daughter married Abram McDowell Harshaw. The account book contains entries for the 1870s. See MSS 80-21 and MSS 80-22 for more information on the Fain family.
One item of correspondence is in the collection, a letter dated January 24, 1871, Raleigh, NC, from B.K. Dickey to Dr. J.W. Patton. The letter concerns claims for payments to teachers in Cherokee County.
Finally, there is a biographical sketch of Joshua Harshaw, one of the three brothers. This sketch was prepared by Abram Edgar Harshaw, Joshua's great-nephew and husband of the donor of this collection.
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