The Faulkner family papers cover three generations of one of the most influential families in Berkeley County, West Virginia. Merchants and lawyers in Martinsburg, the Faulkners traditionally took an active part in the social, economic, political and judicial affairs of their county, the states of Virginia and West Virginia, and the nation.
James Faulkner (1776–1817), an Irish immigrant, settled in Martinsburg and in 1796 formed a partnership with merchant Michael McKewan as James Faulkner & Co. The company dissolved after two years, but JF continued to trade under his own name. His personal and business correspondence and financial records are mixed, however separate folders cover both James Faulkner & Co. and JF's later mercantile activities. Among JF's correspondents are Mathew Carey, Dr. Richard McSherry of Martinsburg, Virginia congressman James Stephenson, and Mason Locke Weems; a letterbook, 1799–1800, kept by JF also contains mercantile accounts, 1806–1807. The mercantile folders include not only licences, legal notices and store orders, but also records, 1795–1796, of John Tabb & Co. of Martinsburg and materials concerning the sale of lottery tickets (especially for the Vaccine Institution Lottery in Baltimore, Md.).
For many years JF served as an officer in the Virginia Militia. By the opening of the War of 1812, he had risen to the rank of major and commanded the Virginia artillery at Fort Barbour in Norfolk and at the Battle of Craney Island. His military records include early commissions, materials concerning the Martinsburg Independent Blues, 3rd Artillery Regiment, and muster rolls and returns, an orderly book, letters and other items concerning JF's service in the War of 1812 (Box 9).
Also found among JF's papers are land records concerning Martinsburg and Berkeley County; an account book, 1811–1820, kept in part by JF as president of the Berkeley County Overseers of the Poor; an account and will of JF's father-in-law, William Mackey; and estate materials, including an inventory, loose accounts, and records concerning a monument to JF in Martinsburg.
Elisha Boyd (1769–1841), a contemporary and friend of JF, and eventually father-in-law to JF's son, Charles James Faulkner, was a prominent lawyer of Martinsburg, involved in politics and local economic development. His papers include correspondence, notably with Richmond lawyer John Wickham, and with Charles James Faulkner while both served in the Virginia legislature; land records in Berkeley County and Martinsburg; and legal materials from EB's law practice in the Berkeley County Court and the Virginia Superior Count of Chancery at Winchester. Also, EB's papers contain records of Andrew Waggener, father of EB's first wife, including records, 1795–1800, of the mercantile firm of Waggener & Warner in Berkeley County; records concerning EB's service as commander of the 4th Regiment and 10th Brigade of Virginia Militia; estate materials including a will, deed, notes, etc.; and miscellany. There are also a few items for EB's third wife, Elizabeth Hill (Byrd) Boyd, and his son, the Revrend Andrew Hunter Holmes Boyd.
Charles James Faulkner (1806–1884) is certainly the key figure in this collection. There is some internal evidence that CJF was born "James F. Faulkner" (see JF's accounts, especially 1815, inventory of estate, and the will of William Mackey), but changed his name sometime before 1825. He attended Georgetown College and then read law at the prestigious school of Henry St. George Tucker at Winchester. He bagan to practice in Martinsburg about 1827. He entered politics shortly thereafter and remained active throughout the rest of his life, as the following paragraphs will indicate.
CJF's correspondence illustrates the full spectrum of his legal and political career. He corresponded frequently with leading politicians throughout Virginia and West Virginia, received letters from clients and constituents, and heard frequently from fellow attorneys, legislators and public-spirited citizens. Among the more familiar and prestigious correspondents are numbered Henry Bedinger (Va. congressman and diplomat), Arthur Ingram Boreman (U.S. senator, governor of W. Va.), John Rogers Cooke (Va. lawyer and legislator), John Blair Hoge (Martinsburg lawyer, legislator and judge), Edmund Pendleton Hunter (Martinsburg lawyer and newspaper editor), John Jeremiah Jacob (governor of W. Va.), Benjamin Watkins Leigh, Louis McLane (while president of the B & O Railroad), James Murray Mason (U.S. senator and diplomat), Charles Fenton Mercer (Va. congressman), Richard Parker (Va. judge), Edmund Pendleton (lawyer, political confidant, Va. judge), Philip Clayton Pendleton (Martinsburg attorney), John Hampden Pleasants (Whig editor in Richmond), William Harvie Richardson (Va. adjutant general and secretary of the commonwealth), Joseph Holmes Sherrard (Winchester banker and judge), Andrew Stevenson (Va. congressman and diplomat), James Erskine Stewart (lawyer, Va. legislator and newspaper editor), John Randolph Tucker (Winchester lawyer and congressman), and Benjamin Wilson (W. Va. congressman).
Among CJF's other papers (for a full list see guide) are records kept by John Weller, a fellow attorney who acted as CJF's agent during the latter's mission to France (see below). The records primarily concern the maintenance of the "Boydville" estate in Martinsburg, built by Elisha Boyd and inherited by CJF's wife. Boxes 45-46 contain additional records concerning "Boydville," particularly the acquisition of adjoining lands and contracts with laborers and tenants; and records of CJF's purchases and sales of land in Frederick County, Va. (the "Glengary" farm obtained from John Rogers Cooke in partnership with Philip Clayton Pendleton), Berkeley County, and Martinsburg.
CJF's law practice comprises the largest portion of his papers. Box 47 contains notes kept as a student at the Winchester Law School, 1825–1826, and general miscellany of his practice such as licences, accounts, notes on law, etc. The papers involving actual litigation or other services for clients are divided into several groups: by court, into case files (records of four or more items—including writs, summonses, proceedings, bills, notes, etc.— relating to specific cases) and suit papers (three or less items per lawsuit basically arranged chronologically); by client (records of legal services provided over time not necessarily involving litigation); and by estate (including estate settlements in which CJF served as court-appointed administrator and settlements involving pension claims for service in the Revolutionary War). Box 65 contains records kept by CJF and Edmund Pendleton as trustees for the Martinsburg mercantile firm of Lauck & Stephen. CJF practiced chiefly in the Berkeley County Court, Circuit Superior Court, and Circuit Court; the Jefferson County Circuit Court; Morgan County Circuit Court; and West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. One interesting folder (Box 59) concerns CJF's appearance as counsel for W. Va. in the U.S. Supreme Court in an action by Virginia to recover the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson in 1870.
Among the more important clients for whom CJF maintained files were the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company (see also correspondence with J. W. Garrett, Louis McLane and Thomas Swann); Bank of the Valley in Virginia (see also correspondence with Henry M. Brent, Hamilton G. Fant and Charles Webb); and the Hagerstown Bank, Hagerstown, Md. A complete list of case files, client files, and estate settlements is filed in Box 47.
CJF entered politics early in his career. The folders covering his first service in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate include campaign materials, speeches, resolutions and printed documents. While serving in the House, CJF was appointed commissioner to settle Virginia's boundary with Maryland. His records of that mission include documents signed by William Byrd II and reports CJF issued as commissioner. His Whig party activities were wide ranging; his papers contain materials from the 1840 and 1844 Whig presidential campaigns in Virginia, an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1843, and various political speeches (Box 69).
CJF entered Congress in 1851. His congressional files contain campaign materials, election certificates, records as chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs (he took particular interest in the armories at Springfield, Mass., and Harpers Ferry, Va. [now W. Va.], and in bolstering the U.S. Army), printed items and news clippings, and a large file of miscellany (Box 70). While serving in Congress, CJF switched to the Democratic party. He accepted the post of chairman of the National Democratic Resident Committee in Washington, D.C., which was charged with organizing "grassroots" support in the summer of 1856 for the election of James Buchanan as president (Boxes 71-72). The materials, arranged chronologically, include circulars, committee correspondence and financial accounts.
A grateful President Buchanan appointed CJF Envoy Extraordinary to France in 1860 upon the death of fellow Virginian John Young Mason. The records kept as minister to France include correspondence (primarily letters of introduction and American claims against French citizens, but with some official dispatches), credentials, invitations, biographical sketches of CJF (in French) and news clippings (Box 73). CJF served a full year, returned to Washington, and was arrested for several months in 1861, in effect as a political prisoner held for the exchange of a prominent northern congressman.
After his release, CJF remained primarily in Virginia and served for a time on the staff of Confederate General Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson. A lengthy broadside in the collection served to explain CJF's activities in those years, but brought forth howls of protest from former Confederates and pro-Union West Virginians alike (Box 73).
With the close of the war, CJF struggled to regain a position of standing in West Virgiia politics. He served in the 1872 Constitutional Convention as chairman of the committees on the judiciary and on revision. Boxes 74-75 contain speeches, documents, resolutions, judiciary plans (printed) and news clippings.
CJF returned to congress in 1875. His records contain election materials, materials concerning his service on a three-man Committee to Investigatge the Affairs of the Red Cloud Indian Agency (July–November 1875), papers kept as chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, petitions and applications, constituent requests, lists of voters, clippings and miscellany. After his retirement from Congress, CJF unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate and the office of governor of West Virginia (Boxes 76-77).
The few remaining boxes cover CJF's personal life and economic activities. He served as president and chief counsel of the Martinsburg & Potomac Railroad Co., president of the Berkeley County Agricultural & Mechanical Association, president of the West Virginia Historical Society, and regent of the West Virginia University at Morgantown (Box 78). Miscellany includes papers concerning a former servant at "Boydville," Mary McGuire; letters concerning CJF's visit to Great Britain in 1846; schools and education (including addresses); news clippings; freemason materials; and estate records.
CJF's wife, Mary Wagner (Boyd) Faulkner (d.1894), lived at "Boydville" most of her life. Her papers include correspondence; an account book and loose accounts; a commonplace book kept in France, 1860; records concerning a claim against the U.S. government for damages at "Boydville," 1863–1865; and personal miscellany (Box 81).
Elisha Boyd Faulkner (b.1841) lawyer, W. Va. legislator and judge, was the Faulkners' eldest son. He practiced law in Hopkinsville, Ky., after the Civil War, but returned to Martinsville in the 1870s to practice in partnership with his younger brother. Box 82 contains his correspondence, a few case files, and personal miscellany.
Charles James Faulkner (1847–1929) inherited "Boydville" from his mother. He practiced law, served as a W. Va. circuit judge, and entered the U.S. Senate in 1887. His records as a senator (arranged chronologically) include letters from constituents, petitioners, fellow Democrats and senators concerning congressional activities and Democratic politics; speeches and printed items; and news clippings (Boxes 87-88).
Several small folders of papers concern CJF's first wife, Sallie Winn (d.1891) of Charlottesville, Va., her mother, Mary Jane (Garrett) Winn (1818-1869), and her brother John Winn (b.1838?). Mrs. Faulkner's sister Elizabeth Garrett Winn (b.1840?) lived in Martinsburg for many years. She was a popular belle in Charlottesville in the immediate postwar years, and later became a teacher in West Virginia. Her papers include correspondence, accounts, a commonplace book, ca.1867, records of her teaching career, 1873–1880, at the Martinsburg Grammar School, and personal miscellany (Boxes 90-93). Another sister, Ellen Watson Winn (1842?–1893), cared for the children at "Boydville" after Mrs. Faulkner's death. Papers of the second Mrs. Faulkner, Virginia Fairfax Whiting (1867–1938), are entirely financial in nature (Box 93).
Lastly, Box 94 contains a few items each for Charles James Faulkner's sisters and their husbands, and his children. Miscellaneous Berkeley and Jefferson county records and some unclassified miscellany round out the collection.
Series I. James Faulkner (1776–1817), Martinsburg, Va. (W. Va.)
Series II. Elisha Boyd (1769–1841), "Boydville," Martinsburg, Va. (W. Va.)
Series III. Charles James Faulkner (1806–1884), "Boydville," Martinsburg, Va. (W. Va.)
Series IV. Mary Wagner (Boyd) Faulkner (d.1894)
Series V. Elisha Boyd Faulkner (b.1841), Martinsburg, W. Va.
Series VI. Charles James Faulkner (1847–1929) "Boydville," Martinsburg, W. Va.
Guide (Supplementary) -- Bound volumes added from the T. T. Perry Collection, April 1986*
Series VII. James Faulkner (1776–1817):
Series VIII. Elisha Boyd (1769–1841):
Series IX. Andrew Waggener:
Series X. Charles James Faulkner (1806–1884):
Series XI. Lauck & Stephen, Martinsburg, VA. (see trustee file, Box 65):
Series XII. Isaac S. Lauck & Co., Martinsburg, Va.
Series XIII. Charles James Faulkner (1847–1929):
* All additional bound volumes are filed on open shelves following Box 94.
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Last updated: March 21, 2005