[Abner, C?], letter, 1859. 1 p. Mss2Ab722a1.
Written at Charleston, S.C., to E. Kingsland, this letter of 18 November 1859 describes a visit to the slave pens in Richmond. The traveler had stopped there on the way to Charleston from Washington, D.C. He describes in particular the treatment of young African American girls at the slave pen.
Accomack County, commissioner of revenue, personal property tax book, ca. 1840. 42 pp. Mss4AC2753a1.
Contains a list of residents' taxable property, including slaves by age groups, horses, cattle, clocks, watches, carriages, buggies, and gigs. Free African Americans are listed separately, and notes about age and occupation sometimes accompany the names.
Adams family papers, 1698–1792. 222 items. Mss1Ad198a. Microfilm reels C001 and C321.
Primarily the papers of Thomas Adams (1730–1788), merchant of Richmond, Va., and London, Eng. Section 15 contains a letter dated 14 January 1768 from John Mercer to his son James. The writer wanted to send several slaves to James but was delayed because of poor weather conditions.
Adams family papers, 1792–1862. 41 items. Mss1Ad198b.
Concerns Adams and related Withers family members of the Petersburg area. Section 4 includes an account dated 23 February 1860 of John Thomas, a free African American, with Ursila Ruffin for boarding and nursing services in 1859. Also, contains an 1801 inventory and appraisal of the estate of Baldwin Pearce, including a listing of 14 male and female slaves.
Albemarle Parish, Sussex County, register, 1721–1787. 1 vol. Mss5:8BX5917 AL144:1.
Albemarle Parish was established in 1738 in the part of Surry County that became Sussex County in 1753. William Andrews and William Willie (d. 1776) kept the register, which records births, christenings, and deaths of Surry (and later Sussex) residents. Slave baptisms are listed in separate sections and include names of owners and estates but rarely name parents.
Alexander, Mark (1760–1804), diary, 1804. 1 vol. Mss5:1AL275:1.
Notes recorded on various pages of The Virginia Almanack for the Year 1804. These notes were written while Mark Alexander served as administrator of John Goode's estate in Mecklenburg County. The journal focuses heavily on crops and horse breeding but also includes a few brief notes on births, deaths, and escapes in which some slaves are mentioned by name.
Allen, John James (1797–1871), papers, 1820–1851. 19 items. Mss2AL5375b. Photocopies.
Papers of a member of the Virginia Court of Appeals. Letter of 29 October 1829 was written in Richmond by Judge Edwin Steele Duncan, Allen’s half-brother, while he attended the state constitutional convention. The chief issues being debated were suffrage and the role of slavery in determining the franchise; Duncan asks for ideas and commentary on those issues. Originals in private hands in 1989.
Allen family papers, 1850–1910. 106 items. Mss1AL546a. Microfilm reel B1.
This collection consists chiefly of the papers of Robert Henderson Allen (1817–1900), including a wide range of materials, such as accounts, correspondence, diaries, execution and judgment books, minutes, and business and legal agreements. The papers reflect the activities of this Lunenburg County planter with interests in his plantation, his school, and his tobacco business, with frequent references to his participation in local politics and activities as a justice of the peace.
The diaries, 1858–1895, describe farm management with references ranging from weather to labor. December and January entries through 1865 record prices from the annual hiring out proceedings. He also records births, deaths, and illnesses of slaves at Oral Oaks and the number of slaves and days involved in building a slave house with a chimney in November 1858. Numerous springtime entries concern heavy rains and whooping cough with related illnesses, usually requiring the care of a doctor. Pages 212–213 list his account with Jonathan Ragsdale, a free African American who later accompanied Allen's son to war. A brief eulogy for his old nurse Ginny and description of her funeral constitutes a January 1861 entry. Entries around election times, beginning with October 1867, record his comments on African American voting, Radical Republicans, and Virginia's failing agricultural economy, which he attributes to a less energetic work force. Entries in 1865 and 1866 indicate that Allen was an agent for the Freedmen's Bureau but tell little more about the agency.
Execution and judgment books, 1883–1900, survive in the collection (items a14 and a15); the earlier volume contains a few notations on African Americans near the beginning of the book.
Allen family papers, 1829–1918. 744 items. Mss1AL546c. Microfilm reels C447–448.
The papers of the Allen family contain a wide range of material concerning the management of a Buckingham County plantation. They include land records, administrator's accounts, contracts, and correspondence.
Although plantation life is reflected through the whole collection, details of African American life appear in a letter to John Allen from Esie Jones, a freedman, asking to rent a shop from Allen (section 9); a list of freedmen's accounts with Samuel Allen beginning in 1865, for items such as shoes, clothing, and meat (section 15); contracts and leases with freedmen for farming land in Buckingham County (sections 16 and 23; fourteen freedmen listed by full name); and an account book also containing tenant farmers' accounts (section 39).
Allmand family papers, 1796–1891. 573 items. Mss1AL566a. Microfilm reels C558–559.
The papers of the Allmand family of Norfolk concern several generations of family members with substantial shipping interests. The papers include accounts, deeds, correspondence, contracts, and court records. The bulk of the documents relate to contracts with the U.S. Navy for shipbuilding materials.
Among the papers of John Driver Allmand (1799–1851) is a letter to William H. Allmand (section 6) describing the 1846 capture of a slave ship by the USS Yorktown and return of the slaves to Africa. Also, among the papers of John Driver Allmand is a certificate of manumission, 1825, for Thomas, a young slave, and a receipt for $180 from the boy's grandmother, Phoebe Spencer (section 8).
Allyne, Samuel, receipt, 1746. 1 p. Mss2AL595al.
Receipt, 13 February 1745/6, issued to Thomas March in Boston, Mass., for sale of a slave, Crown.
Alston, John J., letter, 1825. 1 p. Mss2AL785al.
Letter of 25 October 1825 written while at Chatham, Pittsylvania County, to Asa Dupuy of Prince Edward County, concerning the availability of slaves for sale.
Ambler, Philip Barbour (1834–1902), scrapbook, 1860–1911. 142 pp. Mss5:7Am165:1.
Volume includes obituaries of family members, Civil War reminiscences and articles, and information on Hollins Institute, Hollins, Va., where Ambler served as an instructor. Enclosed with the volume is an article concerning Elijah Jones, formerly a slave of Jaquelin Ambler.
Ambler family (of Jamestown, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Amherst County), papers, 1638–1910. 142 items. Mss1Am167b. Photocopies.
Collection includes a deed, 13 February 1744/45, of William Broadnax of Prince George County to Christopher Perkins of James City County for the slave William Liverpool.
Ambler family (of Jamestown, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Amherst County), papers, 1772–1852. 159 items. Mss1Am167c.
John Ambler (1762–1830) was a lawyer, planter, and lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia. His correspondence (section 3) includes varied references to slaves, in particular, in letters from Samuel Coleman of Richmond (military orders to prevent an illegal assemblage of slaves), Rawleigh Colston (about a deed of trust concerning slaves), James Semple (discussing a dispute over the hiring out of four slaves), Littleton Waller Tazewell (about a deed of trust concerning slaves), and Spencer Watkins (describing an occurrence of measles and mumps among slaves on an Amherst County plantation). John Ambler's legal papers include a conveyance (section 5) of land and eleven slaves to Edward and Thomas Ambler for the benefit of the children of Mary C. Smith, daughter of John Ambler; an affidavit (section 6) of Charles McCook concerning two escaped slaves; and an affidavit of Charles Parke Goodall (section 7) stating that the escaped slave Sam belonged to John Ambler. John Ambler's estate papers, 1837 (also section 7), include a list of slaves at Westham in Henrico County, which provides the slaves' ages and values.
Papers from the estate of Catherine C. (Ambler) Moncure, wife of Henry W. Moncure, include a list of slaves at Mill Farm in Louisa County, also with ages and values.
American Colonization Society, Recording Secretary, letter, 1851.  p. Mss4Am353a4.
A letter, 1851 May 8, of J. W. Lugenbeel, as recording secretary of the American Colonization Society, apparently in response to a letter from William J. Winston of Louisa County concerning the cost and methods of sending freed slaves to Liberia. This matter is presumably in reference to settlement of the estate of William S. Winston.
American Colonization Society, Richmond and Manchester Auxiliary, check, 1825. 1 p. Mss4Am353a3.
Check dated 29 January 1825 issued to William McKinney for $300 for an unidentified expense.
American Colonization Society, Richmond and Manchester Auxiliary, notice, 1824. 1 p. Mss4Am353a2.
Notice dated 12 January 1824 announcing a meeting of the managers of the Auxiliary to be held in the clerk's office of the Virginia House of Delegates.
American Colonization Society, Virginia Branch, records, 1823–1859. 2 vols. Mss3Am353a. Microfilm reel C321.
A minute book covers the period 1823–1859. (The Society became independent from the national organization in 1828 and thereafter was known as the Virginia Colonization Society.) The book includes information on the debate over sending freed slaves to Haiti or to West Africa, philosophy and benefits of emigration, the social status of free blacks, farming, health and education in the new colony of Liberia, establishment of the Liberian government and military organization, slave trade, abolitionists, costs of emigration, special requests for sermons in support of colonization, and the social and political necessity of colonization. An account book records donations and subscriptions of both private individuals and churches, salaries and travel expenses for the society's agents and delegates, publication costs, and general emigration expenses.
American Colonization Society, Virginia Branch, list, 1831. 1 p. Mss4Am353a1.
List of emigrants, formerly the property of Thomas Pretlow of Southampton County, bound for Liberia.
American Life Insurance Trust Company, Philadelphia, Pa., policy, 1860. 1 p. Mss2M9894a1.
Policy issued 16 March 1860 to Caroline Myers on the life of Mary, a slave.
Anderson, Archer (1838–1918), papers, 1852–1911. 51 items. Mss1An233a.
Papers of a Richmond businessman primarily concerning Virginia and national Democratic party politics and race relations. Section three contains materials compiled by Anderson concerning incidents of racial violence throughout Virginia during the state election campaign of 1883 and charges of voter intimidation made by General William Mahone. Correspondence of Anderson, George Douglas Wise, and William Washington Baker in this section include letters of William F. Drinkard (enclosing a printed letter of Isaac Hill Christian concerning an incident at Charles City Court House), Charles Triplett O'Ferrall (concerning the shooting of a black man in Staunton), and Joseph Stebbins (enclosing a broadside "To the People of Halifax [County]"). Some of these letters, along with speeches and notes of Anderson, also contain references to riots at Danville and South Boston.
Andrews, Charles Wesley (1807–1875), correspondence, 1847–1855. 9 items. Mss2An263b.
Letters from Daniel Nelson, John Page, Peter Page, Robert M. Page, Solomon S. Page, and Peggue Potter, former slaves colonizing Liberia. Primary topics are health, education, and religion of the colonists; farming and blacksmithing; and trade, local government, the military, and politics. The colonists send specific requests for tools, building supplies, dry goods, books, and information about personal birthdates. The full text of the nine letters has been printed in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 59 (1951): 72–88.
Archer family papers, 1771–1919. 265 items. Mss1Ar247a.
The collection includes accounts, land records, and correspondence, primarily of Richard Thompson Archer (1797–1867), a plantation owner of Amelia County and later of Claiborne County, Miss. The papers reflect the routine management and business of plantations, from household accounts, children's education, general family health, and news to agricultural improvements.
Items of particular interest include a sale document concerning Bob (section 7), several accounts for advertising, medical care, clothing, and taxes (section 9), a will listing fourteen slaves on a Mississippi plantation, most by first name (section 11), a letter from Richard Archer to his wife, Ann, describing a typhoid outbreak and overcrowding among the slaves, a broadside providing political views on the Missouri Compromise, states' rights, and rejection of Texas's application to the Union, a letter to James Hobson concerning the slave Billy (section 13), an 1882 letter describing spread of whooping cough among African American children (section 20), and a list of seventy slaves of Jane Segar Archer (first names only, no date, section 21).
Armistead, Robert Augustus (1808–1891), papers, 1848–1888. 151 items. Mss1Ar552a.
This collection consists mostly of sermons written by the Reverend Robert Augustus Armistead, a Methodist minister who also served as a justice of the peace in Elizabeth City County. Section 3 contains an execution book kept while serving as justice of the peace, 1852–1861, which makes references to slaves. Section 4 includes a summons for Charles, a slave belonging to Mrs. L. Garrett, for the theft of corn.
Armistead, William Harrison (1820–1895), letter, 1839. 2 pp. Mss2Ar558a1.
Letter, 8 December 1839, written while at the University of Virginia to Philip Howerton of Halifax Court House requesting money and arranging the purchase of clothing for slaves.
Armistead-Blanton-Wallace family papers, 1827–1919. 96 items. Mss1Ar554b.
This collection covers a wide range of materials from correspondence and accounts to oaths, diaries, and scrapbooks, involving an equally wide range of topics—farming practices, urban life during the antebellum period and the war years, army life, and foreign travel. The diary excerpts, 1842–1853, of Frances (Scott) Miller (section 10) describe the management of a boardinghouse in the college town of Hampden-Sydney, and several entries reveal her expectations of her slaves and their performance of the duties required of them.
Armistead-Blanton-Wallace family papers, 1822–1939. 118 items. Mss1Ar554c.
A second group of Armistead-Blanton-Wallace papers also contains materials on a variety of topics. Among the financial and legal papers of Howson Hooe Wallace (1799–1844) is a bill of sale for a slave (section 6).
Armistead and Blanton family papers, 1856–1900. 155 items. Mss1Ar554d.
Concerns family members in Cumberland County. Section 1 contains a letter dated 10 August 1868 from Gustavus Ober to Jesse Scott Armistead (1797–1869) concerning African American labor problems in Virginia and Maryland, which he attributes to an unsettled state of affairs resulting from emancipation. Section 3 (item d15) consists of a bond for $70 of Jesse Armistead with Archibald Bolling dated 28 December 1866 to benefit three named freedmen: Isham Skipwith, Samuel Bolling, and Randolph Miles.
Armstrong, Sally, diary, 1863. 14 pp. Mss5:1Ar585:1. Copy.
Concerns her activities at Rose Hill in Culpeper County, with references to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac. Entries for 16 and 17 August report on several slaves who had run away.
Arnold, John, (b. 1782?), papers, 1812–1831. 4 items. Mss2Ar646b.
Collection consists of deeds for slaves belonging to this resident of King George County.
Arter, A. R., letter, 1864. 8 pp. Mss2Ar755a1. Photocopy.
Letter, 23 June 1864, written at Wilson's Landing, Charles City County, by a Union soldier concerning his observations of the war's effects on southern planters and their slaves and general views concerning African Americans from a northern perspective.
Atkins, James T., compiler, papers, 1864–1928. 56 items. Mss1At527a. Photocopies.
Materials collected while researching the life of Adam Boykin (1842–1927) of Surry County, who served in Company H of the 37th United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War. Boykin, also known as Adam Barkins, was born a slave in Isle of Wight County and after his service in the war settled in Surry. The collection includes a rough draft of a biography by Atkins; copies of a portrait; service records; affidavits regarding Boykins's three marriages in Surry County; record of a land purchase; pension records; and a death certificate (all section 1). Also include applications and correspondence regarding pension claims of the widow of Adam Boykin, Eva Crocker (Brown) Boykin (section 2), and research materials concerning the 37th Colored Infantry and African American troops from Lower Tidewater Virginia in the Civil War (section 3).
Austin, John, receipt book, 1847–1849. 31 leaves. Mss5:3Au7623:1.
Kept by Austin as a constable of Buckingham County, this volume contains records of the collection of debts, interest, and fees from judgments rendered by local justices of the peace. It also bears the draft of a letter to an unidentified physician by M. E. Twyman concerning medical treatment for a slave named Sammy.
Avary, Myrta Lockett (1857–1946), papers, 1895–1941. 117 items. Mss1Av164a.
Author of Dixie After the War (1906). One folder in this collection contains autobiographical notes of Harwood Alexander Lockett (b. 1812), especially concerning his boyhood in Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. A significant portion of the text describes relations between slaves and their masters in the antebellum period.
Aylett, Philip (1791–1848), list, [1831?]. 1 p. Mss2Ay444b5.
List of real and personal property assigned to Mrs. Annah H. Moore by Thomas Moore's estate in King William County, including names and values of slaves.
Aylett family papers, 1776–1945. 2,848 items. Mss1Ay455a.
Most of this collection comprises papers of William Roane Aylett (1833–1900), a prominent lawyer, planter, and politician in King William County.
The earliest part of the collection contains an account book of Philip Aylett (1767–1831) with entries (on lines 13, 18, and 19) for amounts paid for the sale and hiring of slaves. Additional accounts concern Sam Mann, a free African American (page 2), and records of tenants' accounts (page 43). Records of the estate of Philip Aylett (d. 1831) list sixty-six slaves and eight children, with values (section 5). Another list names six slaves hired out in 1832 and records prices (section 6). Correspondence of Judith Page Waller Aylett (1804–1860) includes a letter from an acquaintance about her suspicions of Mrs. Aylett's slaves and the theft of a neighbor's chickens (section 12).
The collection contains six boxes of letters written to William Roane Aylett. A sampling of one box indicates the truly diverse nature of the correspondence, which contains numerous opinions about the conduct of slaves and freedmen and reports specific incidents. For example, Charles Beakeley (1857) could not move to Virginia because his slaves had intermarried with his neighbors' bondspeople; William Braxton (1859) refers to an annual agreement to hire his aunt's slaves; W. F. Brockenbrough (1860) comments that the division and hiring of slaves from Bellevue had to be done at an unusual time; Jesse Butter (1856) addresses the request to have the slave Henry work on a house and the propriety of having a slave sleep in the same house as his family; Samuel Compton (1852) relates a conversation he had with an African American woman while on a stagecoach; Charles Cook (1871) offers views on removing African Americans from Virginia.
Other materials include two speeches, 1851–1865, one stating Aylett's views on the presence of free African Americans in a slaveholding community and calling for their removal, another conveying his opinion that the institution of slavery is advantageous to the South (section 27). A scrapbook kept in The Globe Almanac for 1868 (prefaced by his personal views) contains newspaper clippings about the entry of freedmen into the political arena; the almanac also records statistics on state conventions for that year (section 36). An affidavit, 1863, deals with the valuation and execution of Richard, slave of William R. Aylett (section 40). More legal material is contained in section 52, in particular material concerning a King William County case of Commonwealth v. Martha, a cook accused of lacing food with ground glass. Correspondence of Alice Aylett includes a letter from Emily Ann, 1863, describing community reaction to a slave's attack on a local man. In 1864 she discusses arrangements for hiring a free African American woman (section 70). A pass, 1862, authorizes John, property of Alice Aylett, to go to Richmond (section 71). Several incomplete bonds for hiring out slaves to Norman Sampson are dated 1859; two concern Betsey (section 75).
NOTE: This collection holds several large series of correspondence that contain brief references to African Americans. No attempt has been made to index all of those references.
Updated June 4, 2009