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James W. Terrell Papers

Identifier: MSS 80-05

Scope and Contents

James W. Terrell (1829-1908) was born in Rutherford County, NC. Little is known of his early years, except that he migrated westward to the Haywood County-Jackson County area of North Carolina.

In 1852 Terrell took charge of William Holland Thomas's trading store in Quallatown, the business center of the North Carolina Cherokee community. Terrell eventually became an “Indian agent” (later known as superintendent), as was his employer and business partner, Thomas.

Terrell served as a captain in the 69th North Carolina regiment (Thomas Legion) during the Civil War. The collection contains Terrell's reminiscences of his service in the Civil War.

After the Civil War ended, Terrell returned to an active role in Cherokee affairs, and also continued to pursue his business interests. During most of his post-war years he lived in Webster (Jackson County, NC). He researched and wrote on Cherokee customs and mythology. James Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee (1900) drew upon Terrell's work.

The Terrell papers contain the following basic groups: correspondence, bills and receipts, account books, legal papers, diaries and memoranda, and miscellaneous materials.


  • 1820 - 1908

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3 Linear Feet

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Repository Details

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States