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William F. Tompkins Collection, Add. #1

Identifier: MSS 80-73
This collection contains manuscripts regarding four Jackson County, NC, families of the early part of the 20th century. The families are Tompkins, Coleman, Luck, and Dillard.

The principal family represented is the Tompkins family. Dan Tompkins was a newspaperman and politician in Sylva for thirty-one years. Dan Tompkins’ paternal grandfather was Dr. William C. Tompkins. In 1884, after practicing medicine and publishing newspapers in Kansas and Colorado, Dr. Tompkins moved to Webster where he continued to practice medicine and publish a newspaper, the Webster Herald.

In 1912, Dan Tompkins became editor of the Jackson County Journal. Tompkins served as editor for the next thirty-one years except for 1917-1918, when he served in World War I. He served as mayor of Sylva, NC, for 12 years; judge, in 1935; registrar of voters, in 1937; judge of elections, in 1943; and served three terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Tompkins helped to organize the Sylva Chamber of Commerce and served as its first president.

Tompkins was married on June 23, 1931, to Emily Weigle of Augusta, GA.

Tompkins’ mother, Annie Luck, was born on the Pittsylvania County, VA, plantation of her grandfather, Col. Dan Coleman, in 1876. She was the daughter of Felix A. Luck. Felix Luck later moved to Webster, NC. From 1888 through 1896, Felix Luck and his wife, Nellie, published the Tuckaseigee Democrat. In 1897, for eight months, the Lucks also published the Sylva Sentinel. Prior to founding the Tuckaseigee Democrat, Luck served as railroad agent in Pigeon River, NC.

The materials contained in the collection regarding the Coleman family relate to Dan Tompkins' mother’s great-grandmother and great-grandfather, Susan Coleman and Thompson Coleman.

Of the Dillard family there is little information available in the collection. The only consistent reference pertains to the World War I death of William E. Dillard.

The collection is grouped as follows: Genealogy, correspondence, business and legal papers, prose of Dan Tompkins (stories and editorials), newspaper clippings, documents pertaining to Jackson County, NC, and tax receipts from Jackson County.

The newspaper clippings regard all four families, but especially the Tompkins and Luck families.

Jackson County schools include certificates and report cards from the late 1920s.

Jackson County Baptist churches include letters of reception and dismissal dated 1890s through 1930s.

Business ledgers are contained in MSS 80-73.4.

For related materials, see MSS 80-13 William F. Tompkins; MSS 83-01 William F. Tompkins, Add. #2; and MSS 80-14 Dan Tompkins.


  • 1832 - 1971

Condition Description


Conditions Governing Use

No publication fee is made for use of Western Carolina University Library special collections material in scholarly publications. The Library retains sole right to judge what constitutes a non-scholarly or commercial publication. Permission to publish commercially, in circumstances where the Library is qualified to grant it, requires proper authorization. Please contact Special Collections at for more information.


1.25 Linear Feet