Skip to main content

Alda Turpin Nicholson Collection

Identifier: MSS 07-01

Content Description

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 Gragg Oxner. According to the 1860 census and other genealogical data, Henry Oxner was born circa 1822 in South Carolina and Elizabeth was born circa 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.


  • Creation: 1798 - 1995

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.


.20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Condition Description

Fragile to Good

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States