Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RAMSEY, James Gattys McGregor, author, born in Knox county, Tennessee, in 1796 ; died in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1884. His father, Francis A. Ramsey, (1760-1819), emigrated to the west early in life, and became secretary of the state of "Franklin," which was subsequently admitted to the Union under the name of Tennessee. The son was liberally educated, and studied medicine, receiving the degree of M. D., but never practised his profession. In early manhood he engaged in banking, and in later days he was elected president of the Bank of Tennessee, at Knoxville. While yet a young man he began the collection of material for a history of Tennessee. The papers of Governor Sevier and Governor Shelby were placed in his hands, and from them and other valuable documents he published the "Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century" (Charleston, South Carolina, 1853). He also founded the first historical society in the state, and at his death was president of the one at Nashville, which he left in a flourishing condition. When Tennessee seceded from the Union he was appointed financial agent for the southern wing of the Confederacy. He joined the Confederate army on its retreat from Knoxville, and remained with it till its final dissolution. During the occupation of that city by National troops the house in which his father had lived and he had been born was burned, and all the valuable historical papers it contained were destroyed. In consequence of the war he lost most of his property.
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