James E. Shepherd Papers, 1859-1915

Manuscript Collection #199

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: James E. Shepherd Papers
Creator: Shepherd, James E. (James Edward), 1847-1910
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1859-1915) consisting of correspondence, financial records, promissory notes, newspapers, a scrapbook of poems, etc.
Extent: 0.22 Cubic feet, 80 items , consisting of correspondence, financial records, promissory notes, newspapers, a scrapbook of poems and miscellaneous material.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

March 23, 1972, 80 items; Papers consisting of correspondence, receipts, promissory notes, legal papers, newspapers, ledger, scrapbook and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. William Withers, Raleigh, N. C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

James E. Shepherd Papers (#199), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mrs. William Withers

Processing Information

  • Processed by G. Stinagle, May 1972

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

James E. Shepherd (1847-1910), a graduate of the University of North Carolina law school, was admitted to the bar in 1868. After beginning a legal practice in Wilson, he moved to Washington, where he opened a law partnership with Thomas Sparrow. Shepherd became active in politics, serving as the chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee in Beaufort County. In 1875, he represented Beaufort and Pamlico counties in the state Constitutional Convention and authored the important provision concerning county government. After serving six years as Superior Court judge, Shepherd was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1888. In 1892, he was appointed Chief Justice and served in that capacity for two years. After 1894, Shepherd returned to private practice with his son.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The Shepherd papers generally reflect the early law practice of James E. Shepherd. Legal papers include several legal briefs and personal notes dealing with particular cases. The briefs concern estate settlements, petitions to sell land, and property ownership.

Much of the correspondence relates to Shepherd's early legal activity of collecting past due debts for his clients. Of particular interest is a letter (1876) from Edward Ransom (president of the 1875 N. C. Constitutional Convention) to Shepherd commenting on the 1875 State Constitutional convention and claiming to be insulted by the Democratic party's offer to nominate him as lieutenant governor.

Shepherd's financial papers include his business ledger in partnership with Thomas Sparrow (1871-77). This ledger records legal fees charged by Shepherd and Sparrow and also reveals personal purchase of cotton (1878) for possible resale. The bulk of the financial papers consists of promissory notes, receipts for county and state taxes, several shipping bills, and other miscellaneous material.

Other materials in the collection consists of a scrapbook of poems (1881), several pamphlets, a personal notebook, financial figures apparently reflecting a division of income between Shepherd and Sparrow while law partners and several undated election tickets [1876]. Newspapers in the collection have been placed in the oversize document case as No. 199.1 os.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entry :

  • North Carolina, Beaufort County

Autograph Entry :

  • Ransom, E[dward] (1876)

Subject Entries :

  • LAW AND LAWYERS--James E. Shepherd and Thomas Sparrow
  • POETS AND POETRY--Late Nineteenth Century
  • POLITICS--Democratic Party--N.C.--1876
  • SPARROW, THOMAS--Beaufort County, N. C.

Newspaper Entries:

N.C. - Washington
  • The Washington Echo
    • July 20, 1874
N.C. - Wilson
  • The Wilson Advance
    • May 15, 1874
  • The Wilson Plain Dealer
    • April 8, 1970

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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