Thursday, June 2, 2011

Watts Collection, documents 126-150

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 from 1834, with one exception, 1998.26.137, an account statement for 1819-1824, which was related to the letter following concerning debts of George St Clair to Washington West, who had moved to Illinois. The first item is linked to the last documents in the previous set, regarding the land division among the Stoner heirs. A plat and survey in 1998.26.129 describes another land acquisition by Edward Watts, in a trade with Thomas Evans. The majority of the documents are letters received by Edward Watts in the course of practicing law, running his plantation, or serving as a leading citizen of the region. As a lawyer he collects debts for others and works on lawsuits. As a plantation owner, he buys a bathing vessel and a horse collar, sells flour, discusses shipping problems. As a citizen he is asked to support the James River and Kanawha Canal and to bring reports on the local militia up to date.

October 3, 1834
Agreement between John and Samuel Stoner concerning the division of the plantation of their father, Daniel Stoner Sr, specifying houses reserved to each and providing that John will employ his brother Daniel as storekeeper

December 3, 1834
Letter from Joseph Carrington Cabell in Richmond, Virginia, to Edward Watts, Col Henry Cartmill, Benjamin Carper and others in Fincastle, Virginia, urging them to support the James River and Kanawha Company; this letter is badly damaged and only partly legible

[Let us direct?] to the James River Interest whilst we can that which
[our past?] exertion has put in our power. Most respectfully yr friend & servt, Jos. C. Cabell

Joseph Carrington Cabell (1778-1856) was a state senator in Virginia, and one of the principal fund-raisers for the newly founded University of Virginia. He attended the meeting in 1828, presided over by John Marshall, intended to build support for internal improvements in Virginia, including canal construction. When the original state-sponsored plan to develop the James River as a waterway collapsed, Cabell led the campaign to revive the project as a public stock company. In 1834, the date of this letter, he had not yet raised the required funds, but would succeed early the next year, and on May 25, 1835, he was elected president of the James River and Kanawha Company. For the rest of his life he struggled in vain to complete a canal linking the East Coast to the Ohio River, by way of the James and Kanawha Rivers. At this time, the state of West Virginia was still part of Virginia. As will be seen in 1998.26.173, Edward Watts subscribed for stock in the company. See Langhorne Gibson, Jr., Cabell’s Canal: The Story of the James River and Kanawha (Richmond, VA: The Commodore Press, 2000).

July 28, 1834
Letter from Charles W. McClanahan to Edward Watts, asking for a loan of $1000 for one or two months

October 15, 1834
Plat and survey of a small tract of land in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, beside Evans' Spring Branch (now Lick Run), traded by Thomas Evans to Edward Watts, surveyed at the request of Jonathan Evans by William Anderson, Surveyor of Botetourt County

            Surveyed for Jonathan Evans administrator of Thomas Evans decd 28¾ acres which the said Thomas in his life time gave in exchange to Edward Watts. And the same is Bounded as followeth to Wit, Beginning at a Stake between three white oaks corner to the lands of the said Evans & Watts, & runeth thence with the lines of the same, N 41 E 214 po. to where 2 black oaks & a Spanish oak, Corner thereof, stood; thence S 54 W 171 poles to a Stake where three hickories stood, the Corner of the said land near a blazed black oak, thence (a division line) S 17 W 56 po. to a white oak & hickory on the North bank of the Spring branch, Corner to Evans's land, & thence with a line of the same S 69 E 19 poles to the beginning.
                                                                        Wm Anderson S. B. C., October the 15th 183[4]

Evans’ Spring Branch was an old name for the stream now called Lick Run.

August 22, 1834
Letter from William Harvie Richardson, acting adjutant general, in Richmond, Virginia, to Brigadier General Edward Watts of the 13th Brigade, in Botetourt County, Virginia, requesting that regimental commanders file new brigade returns to bring the number of officers they show into accordance with the numbers shown on the roll in the executive office

            In the 135th Regiment, the Brigade Return shews that there are 7 Captains, 5 Lieutenants and 3 Ensigns; whereas by the Roll, there are 8 Captains, 5 Lieutenants and 4 Ensigns.
            I am sir, respectfully, Your ob sert, Wm H. Richardson Acting Adj Genl, in the absence of that Officer

            William Harvie Richardson (1795-1876) served as a captain in a rifle company during the War of 1812. In 1821, he was elected clerk of the Council of State and served until 1852. He organized the Virginia State Library and served as the first librarian from 1828 to 1852. He was the first Secretary of the Commonwealth, holding that position from 1832 to 1852. In 1841, he was appointed adjutant-general of Virginia, a position he retained until 1876, except for a brief time following the Civil War. He also served as a member of the Board of Visitors for the Virginia Military institute from 1841 to 1876.

Filing notation indicating the start of documents for the year 1834

around 1834
Address slip for Dr Samuel G. Dawson of Putnam, Muskingum County, Ohio

September 20, 1834
Letter from George Hancock to Edward Watts, asking for money owed by Henry Edmundson to be sent to Kentucky by William Rogers

around 1834
Grocery shopping instructions to Mrs N. Burket concerning lard, fish and veal

May 30, 1833
Receipt from Edward Watts to Robert W. Luke for a bathing vessel

April 21, 1834
Invoice to Edward Watts for $1.37½ for a horse collar bought from Garth S. Watson who bought it from M. McClosky

June 5, 1824
Statement of the account of George St. Clair and others who owed money to Washington West, the account handled by Edward Watts in Botetourt County, Virginia, and the payments sent to Washington West at Belleville, Illinois, where he had moved

May 6, 1834
Letter from Washington West, at Prospect Hill, St Clair County, Illinois, to Edward Watts, in Botetourt County, Virginia, concerning the collection of money due on bonds of Sinkler and Palmer, asking it to be sent by James Mitchell

the same and should subsequently anything occur to make it nessessary to have your services in Botetourt County or Virginia, I wish you to attend to all matters of Law or Equity, for all other information I refer you to Cap. Mitchell. Our family is well as is our friends hear. My respects to your Lady & family. and am your sincere Friend, Washn West

January 4, 1834
Letter from Walter D. Blair, in Richmond, Virginia, to Edward Watts, near Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, announcing the shipment of household staples, with an itemized list and prices

October 2, 1834
Letter from Robert and Temple Gwathmey in Richmond, Virginia, to Edward Watts, in Big Lick, Virginia, regarding a possible lawsuit against Joseph W. Scott over tobacco and enclosing a letter from him, and sending news of the Gwathmey family and the tobacco business, and greetings to members of the Watts family

September 24, 1834
Letter from Joseph W. Scott in Campbell County, Virginia, to Temple Gwathmey in Richmond, Virginia, concerning undelivered tobacco, apparently sold improperly; the steps taken by Scott with William W. Watts, James L. Woodville, John Thompson and Edward Watts, to recover the loss; and prospects for the next crop

William Watts lives near Lexington, Va. I am unable to inform you any thing about the situation of the Estate. He certainly ought to have paid you before this. I will write again when I return from Bote[tou]rt and will inquire more particularly about the Tobacco crop and inform you. Sincerely with much Esteem & Respect, yr obt svt, Joseph W. Scott

            The William Watts mentioned in this letter is not Edward Watts’s son William, but William W. Watts, Edward’s first cousin, the son of his uncle John Watts. John Watts died in 1829 and William W. Watts was one of the executors of his estate. He became a debt collector in the southwestern frontier regions, and settled in Texas around 1840. He died there around 1846. Papers from this branch of the family are held at Stephen F.Austin State University in Texas. Joseph W. Scott was married to a member of the Watts family, and was probably also kin to Edward Watts’s mother, Mary (Scott) Watts.

April 22, 1834
Letter from Garth S. Watson in Buchanan, Virginia, to Edward Watts in Botetourt County, Virginia, acknowledging receipt of twelve barrels of flour and stating that 154 barrels have been shipped since July, and giving rates for shipping tobacco to Lynchburg and Richmond

February 5, 1834
Letter from Edmund P. White to Edward Watts concerning a document in a lawsuit; it was brought by the writer's brother Alexander White, and needs to be forwarded to court by the addressee in the absence of James Littlepage Woodville

January 27, 1834
Letter from Henry Landon Davies, in New London, Virginia, to Edward Watts, in Big Lick (Roanoke), Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, asking him to supply flour for New London Academy

New London Academy, Jany 27th 1834
Dear Sir, Being so often imposed upon in buying flour on the road, I would be glad to get all we use from you. If you could send us 8 or 10 barrels, or even a wagon load, I would take it. Please let me hear from you soon, whether or not you can furnish us, so as to obviate the necessity of purchasing elsewhere. very Respectfully, yr. obt. servt., H. L. Davies. / Mr Edward Watts

Many boys of the Watts and related families attended New London Academy, located a few miles southwest of Lynchburg, very close to Flat Creek, the Watts-Saunders estate. Henry Landon Davies was married to a daughter of Rev. Nicholas Cobbs, who had previously headed the school. The buildings still stand and are still in use as a school.

February 5, 1834
Letter from David Kyle, in Fincastle, Virginia, to Edward Watts, near Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, concerning a letter just received from Franklin County, Virginia, containing good news, about which Kyle hopes to see Watts at court in Fincastle

January 29, 1834
Letter from James Littlepage Woodville, in Fincastle, Virginia, to Edward Watts, in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, asking for assistance with his business before the court in Fincastle while he is absent in Culpeper, Virginia, because of his father's death

Court. I will thank you with our other Brethren to attend to any business of mine that may be acted on, in my absence, particularly the case of Kelly & Alexander. My respects to Mrs Watts. In haste, Sincerely your friend, Jas L. Woodville

James Littlepage Woodville (1791-1848) was the son, grandson and brother of rectors of St. Mark's Church in Culpeper, Virginia; he trained as lawyer, and practiced in Fincastle for many years; his son James Lewis Woodville married Mary Anne Breckinridge in 1852.

March 19, 1834
Letter from Garth S. Watson, in Buchanan, Virginia, to Edward Watts, in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, concerning shipments of flour, plaster, clover seed and iron, giving the price for plaster, announcing shipments of clover seed and plaster but a delay in sending the iron, and requesting the flour as soon as possible

March 22, 1834
Letter from Garth S. Watson, in Buchanan, Virginia, to Edward Watts, in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County, Virginia, concerning an oversupply of plaster, an adequate supply of iron but a lack of tin of the right thickness

Buchanan Mar 22nd 1834
D Sir, as Plaster is very plenty here and like to become a drug we thought it best to send on by Patrick thinking that you could dispose of it there to better advantage than it could be here. We have plenty of Iron but no tin that is thick enough. Respectfully, Garth S. Watson

July 2, 1834
Letter from Samuel McCorkle and John R. McDaniel in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Edward Watts in Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, concerning the sale of flour, with a detailed accounting of the sale of 15 barrels and an explanation of why the price was lower than expected

October 10, 1834
Letter from William C. Rogers in Sweet Springs, Virginia (now West Virginia), to Edward Watts at Fincastle, Virginia, concerning money to be picked up in Fincastle and taken to George Hancock in Louisville, Kentucky

over and receive it. Mr Hancock has sold the estate on which he lived and has purchased an other near Louisville at $35,000 payable most of it by the 1st of March. Will you do me the favour to drop me a line on this subject. yr obt sevt, Wm C. Rogers

More to come.

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