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White agent and representative for the Cherokee, merchant, lawyer, and trader, of Haywood Co., N.C. Collection includes correspondence, account books, day books, ledgers, and other papers, relating to Thomas's life in western North Carolina; the removal of the Cherokee and the status of those who remained; the development of intrastructure including turnpikes and railroads in North Carolina; Civil War fighting in east Tennessee; postwar administration of Indian affairs; and his private business operations as a white trader among the Cherokees. Includes records of Thomas's five stores in Haywood and Cherokee counties, and business correspondence and accounts of Thomas's son, also William Holland Thomas, a merchant and farmer of Jackson County, N.C.

Collection contains letters and papers of William H. Thomas (1805-1893) concerning his life and businesses in western North Carolina; his role as a white agent representing the Indians in negotiations and communications with the U.S. government; the removal of the Eastern Band of Cherokee on the Trail of Tears; the legal and financial conditions of Cherokee who remained behind in North Carolina; the building of roads and railroads through Western North Carolina; fighting during the Civil War in East Tennessee, including Thomas's leadership of Thomas's Legion in the Confederate Army; postwar administration of Indian affairs; and private business of Thomas, including some documentation of his declining health and his institutionalization for mental instability. There are also account books, day books, and ledgers showing a record of goods bought and sold in Thomas's five stores in Haywood and Cherokee counties. Included also are business correspondence and miscellaneous accounts, 1875-1890, of his son, William Holland Thomas, Jr., merchant and farmer of Jackson County, North Carolina.