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Ella P. Buchanan Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0657

Scope and Contents

The Ella P. Buchanan Papers document Mrs. Buchanan’s family and personal life, as well as that of some of her illustrious ancestors in the Sevier, Brown, Pierce, and Embree families. With documents spanning across three centuries (1785-1999), the collection provides a rich source of research material for local and family history of Washington County and Tennessee.

The collection includes correspondence, legal documents, scrapbooks, account books and ledgers, genealogical files, publications, photographs, memorabilia, and printed ephemera.

In the personal and family papers, one can document Brown, Sevier, Pierce, and Embree family history; study the operations of Brown’s Mill’s 19th and 20th century milling operations; and learn the nature of school teaching in a rural community in the early and mid-20th century. From the correspondence of Emmetta Humphreys one can find Sevier family history and much related to a long and contentious lawsuit between the descendants of John Sevier and the federal government over land once owned by Sevier. In addition to family Bibles, the series of publications include many rare and unique books on Tennessee history and on 19th century religious, educational, and medical practice. The series of photographs portray Mrs. Buchanan’s family and friends, school and nature scenes, vacations, home life and help to illustrate life in 20th century East Tennessee.

Note: There is a variant in the spelling of “Pierce,” which is sometimes found spelled as “Pearce” in the documents and photographs. For all purposes in the finding aid, “Pierce” is used synonymously with “Pearce.”


  • 1785-2002; undated


Conditions Governing Access

The Ella P. Buchanan Collection is open for research in the Archives of Appalachia.


19.00 linear feet (2 oversized folders, 1 photograph album, 1,268 photographic prints, 144 negatives, 20 tintypes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into four series, as follows: Series 1, Personal and Family Papers, 1785-2002 and undated; Series 2, John Sevier Estate Case Records, 1890-1929 and undated; Series 3, Publications, 1793-1993 and undated; and Series 4, Photographs, 1896-1999 and undated.

Method of Acquisition

Mrs. Ernestine Renfro, Jonesborough, Tenn., executrix for the Ella P. Buchanan estate, donated the papers of Mrs. Buchanan to the Archives of Appalachia on January 6, 2004.

Separated Materials

The following books have been cataloged and placed in Special Collections:

Down on Cherokee; Embree Footprints, vols. 1-5; Old Limber or The Tale of the Taylor’s; First Families of Tennessee; Holston Annual; Washington County Deeds; Singing Wheels.

Processing Information

Dusty Hibbs, Adrienne Marrah, Samantha James, Brianne Johnson, and Ned Irwin processed the collection.

Ned Irwin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of Appalachia Repository

PO Box 70295
344 J.L. Seehorn Jr. Rd.
Johnson City TN 37614 USA