Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Ralph W. Haskins

Committee Members

John Muldowny, Leroy P. Graf, Milton Klein, Nathalia Wright


This is a study of Charles McClung McGhee (1828-1907), a Southern capitalist who achieved prominence as a railroad financier after the Civil War. Based primarily upon McGhee's personal papers in the McClung Historical Collection of Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville, Tennessee, the dissertation describes McGhee's transformation from planter to businessman and his rise to power in the affairs of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad. Having become a provincial magnate by 1886, McGhee moved to New York City where he interested himself in the Richmond and West Point Terminal Company, a system of railroads which later became the Southern Railroad Company. His role in the formation and dissolution of the Terminal is analyzed and evaluated. As a New York financier McGhee made a number of investments, notably in the American Cattle Trust and Western Union Beef Company in the West and in the Roane Iron, Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing, Lenoir City, and Nashville Street Railway companies in his native Tennessee. The history of his involvement in these enterprises is examined in detail. Although the study is essentially an analysis of McGhee's business career, it also deals with his political activities and his personal life.

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