Thursday, May 26, 2011

Watts Collection, documents 101-125

Checklist of documents in the Watts Collection at the Historical Society of Western Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia. To consult these documents, go to and click on “Visit HMWV's Virtual Collection!” The documents can be found by a keyword search, or by catalog number using “Click and Search”.

The 25 documents in this set date mostly from 1833 to 1837, although not in chronological order. There is one from 1831, and none from 1836. Many are brief business accounts and receipts, of relatively little interest; but the long statements from the Lynchburg merchant Richard Tyree give a sense of the life and activity on the Oaklands plantation, both in the house and on the farm. There are a number of letters from George Hancock, who was living near Louisville, Kentucky, and trying to wind up his affairs in Virginia through Edward Watts; a few other letters relate to the same subject. As usual, some documents concern land sales. In 1998.26.116 Edward Watts purchased from John Buchanan Floyd and his wife Sarah (Preston) Floyd a tract adjacent to the Oaklands plantation. Documents 1998.26.123 and 125 relate to land held by the Stoner family, situated in the eastern part of what is now Roanoke County, along Glade Creek and the Great Road. Besides their farm, the Stoners ran a store. In 1845 Samuel Stoner died quite young, and the store failed, owing a large debt to a Richmond dry goods merchant, Fleming James. James employed William Watts to handle the lawsuits, which led over the following two or three years to James’s acquisition of the Stoners’ land. Copies of these documents were probably made in preparation for those lawsuits.

doc #

September 1833
Account statement from the Clerk of Botetourt County Superior Court, Virginia, regarding suits brought by Thomas Newman Eubank and Richard Shelton Ellis, administrators for John Ellis, on behalf of John Matthew Otey

April 1833
Account statement from the Sheriff of Botetourt County, Virginia, for services related to suits brought by Thomas Newman Eubank and Richard Shelton Ellis, acting as administrators for John Ellis, for the benefit of John Matthew Otey

September 1833
Account statement of John Matthew Otey from the Clerk of Botetourt County Superior Court, Virginia, relating to suits against Robert J. Yancey and George H. Joplin

about September 1833
Memo of expenses in the case of John Matthew Otey, assignee of Richard Shelton Ellis, versus Robert J. Yancey

July 1833
Memo of expenses owed to the sheriff of Botetourt County, Virginia, in the case of John Matthew Otey versus George H. Joplin

June 1833
Memo of expenses owed to the sheriff of Botetourt County, Virginia, in the case of John Matthew Otey, assignee of Richard Shelton Ellis, versus Robert J. Yancey

June 24, 1833
Letter from Henry Edmundson at Fotheringay, Montgomery County, Virginia, to Edward Watts at Big Lick (Roanoke), Botetourt County, Virginia, concerning payments due to George Hancock on notes from J. W. Richardson

                                                                                       Fotheringay June 24th 1833
Dear Sir, The first moment after communicating with Mr Richardson I employ in now answering your communication to me of 16th, which I offer as an apology for delay.

Fotheringay was the name of the estate of the Hancock family; it was located at Shawsville, Virginia, just west of Salem. When George Hancock left the Roanoke Valley for Kentucky, he sold or leased Fotheringay to Henry Alonzo Edmundson, and some dispute arose about payments. The house is still standing, and at least until recently belonged to descendants of the Edmundson family. There is an interesting article on Fotheringay at

February 1837-December 1838
Account of Edward Watts with J. Fetz for miscellaneous supplies and services

February 14, 1831
Letter from George Hancock near Louisville, Kentucky, to Edward Watts, near Salem, Virginia, regarding complicated arrangements about debts owed by Henry Edmundson and J. W. Richardson for land sales, involving several other people, identified only by last names but probably including Allen Taylor, Chiswell Dabney, William Langhorne, and William Lewis, and involving the Fotheringay estate in Montgomery County, Virginia

                                                                                                Near Louisville Ky Feby 14th 1831
Dear Sir, After mailing a letter to yo this morning on the subject of Mr Richardson's business I found in the office a letter from Mr Richardson on the subject enclosing one from Majr Edmondson in which he informs me that he had interpreted my letter to him as authority to release to Mr Richardson, although in it he was required to do so only "upon your written authority" and further states that if he has gone counter to my wishes that he will be responsible for the debt Richardson owes me. I am sorry that Majr Edmondson has done this and have so written to him, and have further requested him & Mr Richardson to arrange the business with you as directed in my letter sent this morning.

See 1998.26.107.

January 31, 1837
Receipt from David Palmer to Edward Watts for fifty dollars

December 31, 1837
Account of Edward Watts with Richard Tyree showing purchases of foodstuffs, household supplies, building materials, agricultural supplies and sundries, and sales of tobacco and pork; among the items mentioned are glass, grain, sheat iron, grindstone, nails, tea, brown sugar, oil and jugs, leather, coffee, cotton yarn, medicine for a horse and doctors’ bills.

[column 1]
Dr                    General Edward Watts in a/c
July     3  To Cash Pd for 59ll best brown sugar at 9¢ & kegs 1/6    $    7.63
  "        8  "  Cash Pd Freight on 10 sacks salt from Richm[on]d 3/        5.00
  "            "      "     "   Drayage on Same                                                     .50
  "            "      "  Cash for storage & Delivering same                              1.00
  "      11  "  Cash paid R. B. Norvell pr order                                         22.82
  "     24   "  Cash Pd expence on one Barrell glass from Richmond        0.38
  "     26   "  Cash Pd for 70ll grain 3 ps at 5¢                                         3.50

[column 2]
                        with Richard Tyree                                                         Cr
June  20  By Balance due to this date per a/c                                   $ 608.73
Sepr    1  By 1 Hhd Tobo one half Stemd viz
                        E. W. Martins no 1913.150.1578 at $730 $115.19
                        J. P. Coms $2.88 paid for Cooprage 3/-         3.38     111.81
Decr 11   By Sales of 20 old hams of Bacon 194ll at 1/-   $  32.33
                                  Coms off                                                .81         31.52

April-November 1837
Account of Isaac McDaniel, bringing suit against Meador for the benefit of Catherine McDaniel, with R. D. Mitchell, clerk of Bedford County, Virginia, for legal expenses

November 21, 1837
Memo from Thomas A. Lovelace to Edward Watts, asking that he pay John M. Petty with Lovelace's interest in some tobacco

November 4, 1837
Covenant between Elijah Kelley and Eli Arthur for the sale by Kelley to Arthur of a tract of land on Back Creek, in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia

November 1836-June 30, 1837
Account of Edward Watts with Richard Tyree showing purchases of foodstuffs, household supplies, building materials, agricultural supplies and sundries, and sales of flour, tobacco and pork; among the items mentioned are molasses, lemons, salt, a gudgeon, mats of wadding, a hat, grass seed, canvas, 40 apple and 2 cherry trees, green paint, white lead, a trunk, scythes, plaster, shipping costs, postage, and bills paid on Watts’s behalf to other merchants, including the Gwathmey family

November 7, 1833
Deed of John Buchanan Floyd and Sarah Buchanan (Preston) Floyd his wife, of Wythe County, Virginia, to Edward Watts, of Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, for the sale of about 175 acres of land adjoining the Watts estate; includes certifications from justices of the peace in Montgomery County, Virginia, and certification of admission to record by the clerk of the Botetourt County Court

his heirs and assigns, and that the sd party of the first part their heirs executors &c shall warrant and forever defend the sd tract or parcel of land, with all its appurtenances unto the sd party of the second part his heirs & assigns, against all and every person or persons claiming or to claim the same. In witness whereof the sd party of the first have hereunto set their names & affixed their seals this day and date first written, John B. Floyd {seal}, Sarah B. Floyd {seal}

John Buchanan Floyd (1806-1863) was elected Governor of Virginia on January 1, 1849, for a three year term. His mother and his wife were both members of the Preston family, and thus kin to the Watts family.

August 27, 1834
Letter from George Hancock at Louisville, Kentucky, to Edward Watts near Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, asking about the financial situation of people who owed him money and explaining his need to have the money quickly because of plans to purchase an estate in Louisiana

March 7, 1834
Letter from Henry Robinson at Taylorsville, Hanover County, Virginia, to Edward Watts in Botetourt County, Virginia, inquiring about redeeming land possibly sold for taxes and then reselling it

or in any other way that you may direct. I would thank you to answer this letter as soon as convenient. You will direct your letter to me Hanover Taylor's Ville. Yours with respect, Henry Robinson

Henry Robinson has not been identified. See also 1998.26.159.

December 14, 1834
Letter from Charles L. Mosby at Lynchburg, Virginia, to Edward Watts in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, asking for his help in obtaining money for members of the Kyle family from the estate of James Walson

I have said to him, that it can be done at your next court. You will please communicate with him, as soon as you receive this. Very respectfully I am yours &c, C. L. Mosby

Charles L. Mosby was an attorney in Lynchburg, but the parties involved in the case have not been identified.

January 24, 1834
Letter from George Hancock near Louisville, Kentucky, to Edward Watts near Big Lick (Roanoke), Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, mainly about recovering a debt owed by Henry Edmundson, but including a comment about the current political situation, hoping that Virginia will swing to support of Henry Clay and his bold challenge againt Andrew Jackson

August 23, 1834
Receipt from William Woodson to Edward Watts for a share in tobacco sales conducted by R. & T. Gwathmey in Richmond, Virginia, and Holcombe & Tyree in Lynchburg, Virginia, showing itemized expenses for shipping and processing

February 16, 1834
Letter from the Franklin Literary Society of Randolph-Macon College, in Boydton, Virginia, to Edward Watts, naming him an honorary member, signed by W. R. Drinkard, J. Carrol and C. H. Blake; the letter was addressed to Botetourt County Court House, that is, Fincastle, Virginia, and was forwarded to Big Lick (Roanoke)

                                                                                                Franklin Hall, February 16th 1834
Sir, As a body united in the name of the Franklin Literary Society for Randolph Macon College for our mutual improve[me]nt an[d] the promotion of literary knowledge, and considering honorary members highly necessary to the accomplishment of these ends, we have taken the liberty to elect you as an honorary member of the above named society. We do assure you we shall feel ourselves highly honoured by your accepting the appointment. Yrs Very respectfully, W. R. Drinkard, J. Carrol, C. H. Blake, Com[mit]te[e]. Genl Edward Watts

Randolph-Macon College was founded in 1830 by Virginia Methodists. It opened in 1832, and was originally located in Boydton, Virginia, but moved to Ashland, Virginia, in 1868. See There were chapters of the Franklin Literary Society at numerous American colleges in the 19th century. The papers of this chapter are on deposit at the college library. See

June 15, 1834
Letter from George Hancock at Louisville, Kentucky,  to Edward Watts, near Salem, Virginia, regarding payment of a draft on the Bank of Virginia for Henry Edmundson's debt, which has become expensive because of President Andrew Jackson's opposition to the banks

October 29, 1834
Plat and survey of land on Glade Creek in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, for Samuel Stoner, created by William Anderson, listing the smaller tracts acquired by the Stoner family, describing the boundaries, and setting out a reservation within the tract, which Daniel Stoner and his wife will retain until their deaths, at which time the entire tract will become the property of Samuel Stoner

            Glade Creek crosses the plat at the bottom, flowing to the left in a southeasterly direction. The Great Road also crosses the plat, just above Glade Creek. Two tributaries of Glade Creek are named, Welchman’s Run and Dry Branch, and Big Spring is shown right beside the creek. The north-south orientation line crosses the plat diagonally near the top. Although it is not marked on the plat, the survey indicates that the north-south line is close to the summit of Read Mountain, which was known as Mills Mountain at that time, and is also called Dead Man’s Mountain by local residents. This tract fills most of the area defined by the northeast boundary of Roanoke City, Glade Creek, the county boundary with Botetourt County, and the crest of Read Mountain.
            The column of figures at the top left adds the acreage of the tracts described in the document, and the total is written in the center of the map. The figures alongside the boundary lines give the direction in the form North or South, number of degrees East or West, and the length in poles. A pole, also called a rod, is equal to 5.5 yards.

November 10, 1834
Letter from Joab Early to Edward Watts, in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, asking him to obtain the dismissal of his suit against Benjamin Whiteneck and stating that he will see to the survey of Richardson's land

September 20, 1834
Agreement between Daniel and Samuel Stoner concerning the sale of the plantation of their father, Daniel Stoner Sr, to Samuel Stoner, providing for payments, reservation of certain parts of the land for lifetime use, and the schedule of delivery of full possession; the land was located in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia

All and each of us do bind our Selves in the sum of Five thousand dollars to comply with the with[in] agreements giving from under our hands and Seals this <17th> 20th day of September 1834. Witn[es]s [Witnesses’ names not copied]. Daniel Stoner {seal}, Samuel Stoner {seal}

More to come.

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