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Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 557

NC/TN Civil War-Era Diary & Postwar Archive, Train Related

Estimate: $400 - $500
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
1st-4th item: Diaries of Mr. Thomas Tate of Company Shops, North Carolina, later of Jackson, Tennessee, dated January 1, 1861 through December 31, 1866 The diaries deal mostly with Tate's work for the railroad, his personal accounting, and the weather with little detail, although some entries do include discussion of daily life and the Civil War, including the entry for December 31, 1862: "So ends the year of our Lord 1862. A year with continual war and great distress throughout the South." Sizes range from 4 3/4" H x 3" W to 7 1/4" H x 5" W. 5th item: European travel diary of Thomas Tate, beginning November 19, 1866. The latest entry is dated April 22 [1867]. Tate recounts experiences and expenses in London, Paris, and Rome, among other locales. 5 5/8" H x 3 1/4" W. 6th item: Letter signed J.A. McCauley and William C. Tarpley and addressed to Thomas Tate, Company Shops, N.C., and dated December 12, 1878. The letter, which addresses legal matters relating to the Ku Klux Klan, begins: "There has been a proposition made to me, that if you would promise to come forward and tell all you know about the Ku Klux organization in this county and state, and to tell who the leaders of the organization were, that there should be a free pardon and amnesty granted you. They do not ask you to come forward and surrender yourself until they have procured your pardon, but they will desire you to promise as above and probably they may require you to meet some one of the parties making the proposition in secret. I do not think that you need fear of any trick as this proposition came through J.A. McCauley from his father and he does not wish you to deliver yourself up by no means until the thing is arranged satisfactory to all. If you think it worth while you can write to J.A. McCauley through me and he will answer any question you may want to know if he can if he cannot, he will find out from the leaders of the proposition." 11" H x 8" W. Item 6a: Envelope likely having previously contained item 6, addressed to Thomas Tate, Fort Jefferson, Ballard County, KY. With inscription reading "letter about KKK" in pencil. 2 7/8" H x 5 1/4" W. 7th item: Illegibly signed letter addressed to "Brother [Thomas] Tate" from a member of the Grand International Division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, on the organization's letterhead and dated December 24, 1877, Cleveland, Ohio. The author thanks Tate for the invitation to attend "your annual ball" and then moves on to discuss insurance and membership-related business. 10 3/16" H x 8 1/8" W. 8th item: Letter signed J.C. Clarke addresses to Thomas Tate, Jackson, TN, and dated October 17, 1882, New Orleans, relating to the distribution of a sermon to railroad workers: "I send you today package containing copies of sermon preached at the funeral of the late [illegible] Neeley (?) of the Illinois Cent[ral] RR - Mr. S[amuel] J[arvis] Hayes. Please distribute them among your men." On Chicago, St. Louis, & New Orleans Railroad Company letterhead. 11" H x 8 3/4" W. 9th item: Letter signed J.C. Clarke, General Manager, addressed to Thomas Tate, Jackson, TN, and dated September 27, 1883, Chicago, relating to the shipment and burning of cotton. Clarke writes: "Say to engineer I want this cured, and at once. I won't put up with these losses from burning cotton at station or on the road." On Illinois Central Railroad Company letterhead. 11" H x 8 3/16" W. 10th item: Two-page letter signed E[dward] T[urner] Jeffery, addressed to Thomas Tate, Jackson, TN, and dated April 8, 1884, Chicago, relating to a conversation between the two parties that took place the previous year. Jeffery writes: "I remember having a conversation with you at the telegraph office in East Cairo in the month of December. There was nothing said on either side that was prejudicial to any engineer in the service of the company. I do not remember the conversation in full, but I am quite clear that there was no impression left in my mind that you had tried to prejudice me against engineer rest." 10 1/2" H x 8" W. 11th item: AOUW (Ancient Order of United Workmen), Jackson, TN Lodge notification addressed en verso to Thomas Tate and regarding the death of members Edward Curtis and John C. Cunningham, both of Nashville. Signed Z. N. Wright, Financier. 3 1/4" H x 5 1/4" W. 12th item: Locomotive Engineers Mutual Life Insurance Association receipt dated December 24, 1877, signed Thomas Tate, Treasurer, Jackson, TN. 2 7/8" H x 8' W. 13th item: Photocopy of pages 30-31 of the book Railroads of the Confederacy by Robert C. Black, originally published in 1952. The text discusses the use of slave labor in Confederate railroads before moving to the topic of train speeds and schedules. 8 1/2" H x 11 5/8" W. Note: "Company Shops was the name given to the community that developed around the array of repair shops built for the maintenance and construction of the North Carolina Railroad's rolling stock. The shops were built between 1855 and 1859 on land purchased by the railroad in Alamance County, between Graham and Gibsonville...During the Civil War, Company Shops remained a rustic village without churches or schools. Not until 1863 did stockholders approve the layout of streets and the sale of lots for private homes." In 1887 the name of the town adopted its current name of Burlington. (Source: State Library of North Carolina)


All diaries with wear, soiling, and some losses including missing pages. All letters with creases and toning. Item 6 with foxing and 6a with soiling. Item 8 with tears to edges and upper left corner. Item 11 with soiling. Item 12 is torn into three parts, with creases and soiling.

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