Checklist of documents in the Watts Collection at the Historical Society of Western Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia. To consult these documents, go to http://www.vahistorymuseum.org/ and move the cursor to the “Virtual Museum” tile at the top. Then click “Virtual Collections” on the menu that appears. The documents can be found by a keyword search, or by catalog number using “Click and Search”. Some or all of the documents described here may not yet be available online, but all may be consulted on site.
This is a relatively ill-assorted group of documents. They range in date from 1850 to 1853, and cover many different topics. The largest number (8) relate to various lawsuits in which William Watts was a lawyer or adviser. A small group (5) concerns the Exchange Bank of Virginia; William Watts had just taken the presidency of the newly founded Salem branch. Several documents (4) concern land sales, but with no relation to each other. Several (4) involve politics and public affairs. A final group (3) is made up of account statements and receipts. And one letter is a personal request for advice.
December 24, 1850
Letter from John Benjamin Irwin Logan, in Norfolk, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick, Roanoke County, Virginia, announcing his resignation as cashier of the new Salem branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, which he has submitted to William Willoughby Sharp
December 26, 1850
Letter from John Benjamin Irwin Logan, in Richmond, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick, Roanoke County, Virginia, withdrawing his tender of resignation as cashier of the new Salem branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, and trying to arrange a meeting with Watts in Lynchburg, where the letter was postmarked four days after being written; an apparent postscript from the postmaster Armstead P. Neal seems to request that the meeting be in Salem, Virginia
December 27, 1850
Letter from John Benjamin Irwin Logan, in Richmond, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick, Roanoke County, Virginia, trying to schedule a meeting with Watts either in Lynchburg or in Richmond, Virginia
December 31, 1850
Letter from John S. Wilson, in Buchanan, Virginia, to William Watts, in Roanoke County, Virginia, agreeing with Watts that the tolls are excessively high, given the condition of the road, and asking Watts to support Mr Boyd in Richmond in trying to have them reduced
March 13, 1851
Letter from William Wilson Corcoran, in Washington, DC, to Cary Breckinridge, in Fincastle, Virginia, asking for a reply to his offer to purchase lots in Washington, DC
I have therefore to ask an answer by return mail, and if the price I offer is not satisfactory, state the lowest figure, & I will determine, at once, whether I will take them. Respectfully yrs, W. W. Corcoran
See my earlier post on James Breckinridge’s land holdings in Washington, DC.
April 5, 1852
Letter from Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne to William C. Langhorne, demanding that he produce a letter from William Watts referred to in a deposition by Morton, and notifying William that further depositions will be taken at the tavern house of William Terry in Liberty (Bedford), Bedford County, Virginia
April 7, 1852
Letter from William C. Langhorne to William Watts, at Fincastle, Virginia, covering the return of the letter requested in 1998.26.481, suggesting that John A. Langhorne also give a deposition, reporting on his own ill health, noting that his brother Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne has retained counsel, and touching on other aspects of the lawsuit
April 17, 1852
Letter from Gustavus Adolphus Wingfield, in Liberty (Bedford), Virginia, to Alfred Terrell Dillard, proposing a compromise with John M. Patton regarding a fee and percentages of a recovery in the name of Dillard and Alexander Cabell
May 26, 1851
Letter from Robert Jamieson, in Alexandria, Virginia, to William Watts, in Richmond, Virginia, asking if Watts’s bank can supply Jamieson’s with some banknotes, because they are pressed for currency; also regrets a difficulty in Norfolk, and predicts earnings of 5 percent for the past six months
We are at present so greatly pressed for currency, that I shall feel much obliged, if your bank can furnish us with a parcel of your notes in exchange for ours, and beg you will let me know if it is in your power to aid us. If you have any notes in Richmond to fill up, I will undertake to letter and number them as before, after your name is inserted. Please let me hear from you at your earliest leisure and Oblige your Obt Servt [Obedient Servant], Robt Jamieson
Robert Jamieson was the son of a Scottish-born baker, who settled in Alexandria, Virginia, and founded a large bakery business there. Robert took over the direction of the business in 1821 and continued to run it after he became president of the Alexandria branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia around 1850. He was still president in 1861.
June 24, 1851
Two separate but related documents are classified under this number. Letter from William M. Cook to William Watts, covering a copy of the record in a court case concerning a slave named Daniel, and sending snippets of news. Letter from William H. Richardson, secretary of the commonwealth of Virginia, to William M. Cook, concerning the payment due to Cook from the auditor of public accounts in the case concerning the slave named Daniel.
July 24, 1851
Letter from Andrew Dannon, in Covington, Virginia, to an unnamed addressee, presumably William Watts, objecting to a plan to combine Alleghany and Craig Counties in an electoral district for a delegate to the state legislature, and appealing to the addressee to have the Constitutional Convention reconsider the matter
August 25, 1850
Letter from William Watts, at home at Oaklands, Roanoke County, Virginia, to William C. Langhorne, at Cloverdale, Botetourt County, Virginia, giving his opinion that an effort by Langhorne’s brother Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne to compel someone to go onto William’s land has no legal basis and will not be supported by the courts in Bedford and Botetourt Counties
August 25, 1851
Letter from John Robin McDaniel, in Lynchburg, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, asking him to name a price for lots he owns in Lynchburg
September 2, 1851
Letter from Charles Scott Carrington, at Halifax Court House, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, asking whether Big Lick would be a suitable place for his brother Paul Scott Carrington to practice medicine
Please remember me to my cousins, your lady & the family at Oaklands. Shall we not have the pleasure of seeing all of you in Halifax this fall? Very truly yours, Chas. S. Carrington
Charles Scott Carrington (1820-1891) lived at Mildendo in Halifax County, Virginia. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1839 and practiced law. William Watts and his siblings were second cousins of Charles Carrington, as follows: Charles Carrington was a son of William Allen Carrington and Sara Embra Scott; Sara Embra Scott was a daughter of Charles Tomkies Scott and Priscilla Read; Charles Tomkies Scott was a brother of Mary (Scott) Watts, grandmother of William Watts.
September 6, 1851
Letter from William Ransom Johnson, in Petersburg, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick, Roanoke County, Virginia, asking Watts to take depositions from Yelverton Neal Oliver for a case pending in the chancery court of Louisville, Kentucky
November 17, 1851
Letter from Samuel C. Robinson, in Lexington, Virginia, to William Watts, in Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, asking him to send the power of attorney to vote the shares of his father Edward Watts at a stockholders’ meeting of the James River and Kanawha Canal Company to Dr Archibald Graham, whose presence in Richmond, Virginia, would be more certain
Lexington 17th Nov 1851
Dear Watts, Please enclose to Dr Graham in Richmond the letter of attorney (which you promised me), to act as your father’s proxy in the meeting of the James River Company.
Samuel C. Robinson (c. 1815-aft. 1870) owned iron furnaces in Botetourt County, Virginia; by 1860, he had moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he was recorded in the census as lumber merchant (1860) and a merchant in iron works (1870). He married in 1849 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Margaret A. Graham (c. 1825-aft. 1870); she was a daughter of Dr Archibald Graham (c. 1794-aft. 1860), who lived in Lexington, Virginia.
According to Langhorne Gibson, Jr, in Cabell’s Canal: The Story of the James River and Kanawha (Richmond, Virginia: The Commodore Press, 2000), the company formed to construct a canal linking the James River with the Kanawha River was formed in 1785. It would have built and operated a waterway linking the mid-Atlantic cities of Richmond and Norfolk with the Ohio River in the Middle West. It was completed as far as Lynchburg in 1840, and was extended to Buchanan in 1851. Improvements to the North (Maury) River were to link Lexington to the network of waterways. The project had met constant financial difficulties, however, and by 1851 many of the backers wanted to turn the company over to the state. The development of railroads offered viable competition, and recurrent floods made the canal system unreliable. It was never completed west of Buchanan, and ceased to function in 1880.
November 26, 1851
Letter from George Plater Tayloe, at his home Buena Vista in Roanoke County, Virginia, to William Watts, at his home Oaklands in Roanoke County, Virginia, discussing plans for Tayloe’s electoral campaign for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates; mentions several Whig allies—Dr John Hook Griffin, Henry E. Blair, and James Kyle—and his Democratic opponent, Robert Craig, and several regions in Roanoke County—Stoner’s Store (Bonsack), Salem, Big Lick (Roanoke City), Catawba, Botetourt Springs (Hollins)
July 24, 1852
Bill and receipt from Adolphus E. Huff, signed by Thomas Baylor, to Edward Watts, by his agent W. M. Burks, for $6.50 paid cash in full for 39 yards of laid linen
August 14, 1852
Copy of a notice from John M. Patton to Alfred T. Dillard, demanding a copy of an earlier letter from the same to the same, regarding Dillard’s engaging Patton as his attorney in the case of Cabell vs Dillard, which Patton wants produced as evidence in the case Patton vs Dillard, pending in the Roanoke County Circuit Court
March 25, 1852
Plat and survey by John Snyder, surveyor of Roanoke County, Virginia, made for Charles Houts, of 114 acres of land, which Houts bought from Berryman Stoutmyer, part of the tract of Gasper Stoutmyer deceased, located in Roanoke County adjacent to lands of Edward Watts and Urias Powers, including a portion of Evans Spring Branch (Lick Run), and bounded in part by Cove Road and the Turnpike (Orange Avenue)
Surveyed for Charles Houts 114 acres of Land which he has bought of Berryman Stoutmyer, the S[ai]d 114 Acres is part of the Tract of Gasper Stoutmyer Deceased & is lying in the County of Roanoke and is bounded as followeth, Beginning on the East Side of Evans Spring Branch opposite a white oak corner to the land of General Edward Watts and Urias Powers at 1
Charles Houtz (c. 1826-1857) was born in Salem, Virginia, and died in Johnson County, Missouri. Berryman Stoutmyer (1822-1900) was born in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County and died in Clinton County, Missouri. His father Gaspar Stoutmyer (1787-1822) died in Botetourt (now Roanoke) County. These names, both first and last, are spelled variously.
The tracts belonging to Caspar Stoutamire and Uriah Powers are shown approximately in this detail of a map of “Roanoke County Farms 1825 to 1875” by J. R.Hildebrand.
September 1, 1852
Copy of a deed between Berryman Stoutamier and Elizabeth (Pettit) Stoutamier his wife of the one part, and Charles Houtz of the second part, for the sale to Houtz of a tract of 114 acres of land in Roanoke County, Virginia, adjacent to lands of Edward Watts and Urias Powers, including a portion of Evans Spring Branch (Lick Run), and bounded in part by Cove Road and the Turnpike (Orange Avenue)
October 18, 1852
Receipt signed by Thomas G. Huff to Hugh M. Burks for payment a note on John Bushong, executor, to Edward Watts
March 24, 1852
Receipt signed by William Moncure Woodson for $247.28 to Edward Watts in payment of all accounts, with Woodson accepting responsibility for paying a bill to Dr Thomas Goode for attending Hector
January 7, 1853
Letter from Harris, Turner & Hale, druggists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to William Watts, in Big Lick (Roanoke), Virginia, asking Watts to send a draft or check for the proceeds of their account against Dr John McChesney
May 31, 1853
Receipt from John Benjamin Irwin Logan, cashier of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, Salem, for two thousand dollars in notes received from Wright Southgate, cashier of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, Norfolk, by the hands of William Watts