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Collection Number: 01912

Collection Title: Blackford Family Papers, 1742-1953

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 6.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 4,000 items)
Abstract Blackford family members lived in Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, and Alexandria, Va. This collection chiefly contains correspondence of three generations of the Blackford family. Included are letters relating to the involvement of Mary Berkeley (Minor) Blackford (1802-1896) in the American Colonization Society; diaries, 1842-1844, kept by William Matthews Blackford (1801-1864) while serving as United States chargé d'affaires in Bogota, New Granada (now Columbia); Civil War letters from Launcelot Minor Blackford (1837-1914) and his brothers; scattered correspondence from missionaries and former slaves in Liberia; three issues of a newspaper, 1854, published in Cavalla, West Africa; Blackford family history information (typed transcriptions), including microfilm of a scrapbook of Launcelot Minor Blackford containing genealogical sketches of the Blackford, Minor, Byrd, Willis, Washington, Ambler, Mason, Jacquelin, and Gray families.
Creator Blackford family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Blackford Family Papers #1912, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from L. M. Blackford, Atlanta, Ga., and Reverend R. F. Blackford, Talladega, Ala., in 1947; James Baylor Blackford, Richmond, Va., in 1967; and Sally Bruce Blackford McClatchey, Atlanta, Ga., in 1994, 1997, and 2003.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Mary Berkeley Minor was born 2 December 1802, the oldest daughter and second child of Gen. John Minor (1761-1816), and Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor (1776-1855). The Minors were a prominent, if not wealthy, Virginia family. They tended to be active in politics and in reform movements, such as temperance and antislavery.

Mary had five brothers, all of whom appear in the papers: John Minor (1791-1862), Fredericksburg, Virginia; Lieutenant Charles Landon Carter Minor (1805-1833); Dr. Lewis Willis Minor (1808-1872); Lucius Horatio Minor (1810-1863), Edgewood, Hanover County, Virginia; Reverend Lancelot Byrd Minor (1813-1843); and Dr. James Monroe Minor (1815-1879), Brooklyn, N.Y. The Reverend Lancelot Byrd Minor, an Episcopal minister, went to Liberia as a missionary in 1837. In 1840, while visiting the United States, he married Mary Stewart of Baltimore, Md. He returned to Liberia, where he died in 1843. They had no children.

Mary and her husband, William Matthews Blackford, corresponded frequently with her cousins, including John Barbee Minor, law professor at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; Lucian Minor, temperance crusader, Louisa Court House, Virginia; Ann (Minor) Truehart, Galveston, Tex.; Richard Maury; and his son, Matthew Fontaine Maury. Mary was also close to Elizabeth G. "Cousin Betty" Hill, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va., who was the stepdaughter of Mary's aunt, Eliza (Minor) Hill.

William Matthews Blackford was born 19 August 1801, the third son of Benjamin Blackford (1767-1855), and Isabella (Arthur) Blackford (1765-1837). There is very infrequent correspondence from William's father, Benjamin, and his two brothers, Thomas and John. William's sister, Jane Agnes, married William Leeper and their child, Mary Caroline (b. 1820) remained close to the Blackford family. William Matthews Blackford, a lawyer, newspaper editor, diplomat, and banker, took an active interest in Whig politics, although he never ran for office.

Mary Berkeley Minor married William Matthews Blackford 12 October 1825. Most of the material in the collection dates after their marriage. From 1825 until 1846, the Blackfords lived with Mary's mother and brother John in Fredericksburg, Va., where William edited the Fredericksburg Arena. Mary opposed slavery and favored colonization of emancipated slaves in Africa. Through the 1830s, much of the correspondence deals with activities of the American Colonization Society and settlement in Liberia.

The Blackfords always depended on William's father for financial assistance. When in the early 1840s, Benjamin Blackford ran into financial difficulties himself, William was forced to find a job that would pay him enough to support his family adequately. He used his political connections in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the appointment as naval agent in Washington, D.C. Instead, he was appointed charge d'affaires in Bogota, New Granada. He left Fredericksburg in June 1842, taking his oldest son William Willis with him. They arrived in Bogota in September.

At the time of his departure, Blackford expected his wife and other children to follow him soon. Mary, however, kept delaying the journey because of her poor health. (She complained of ill health until her death at the age of 94.) According to one source, while in New Granada, Blackford "at least did the spade-work" for the United States' 1846 treaty with New Granada, known as the Bidlack Treaty. The treaty provided that the United States would protect New Granada's sovereignty over Panama in exchange for "free and open transit" across the isthmus.

Blackford left Bogota in December 1844, arriving in Fredericksburg in February 1845. He spent the next year looking for a job, eventually accepting a position as editor of the Lynchburg Virginian. He moved to Lynchburg in April 1846, and was joined by his family in July. In 1850, he was appointed Lynchburg's postmaster. In 1853, he became cashier of the newly-organized Office of Exchange Bank, the position he retained until his death in 1864. Mary Blackford stayed in Lynchburg until 1870, when she went to live with her son, Launcelot, at the Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va. She died in 1896.

The Blackfords had seven children who lived to adulthood: Lucy Landon, William Willis, Charles Minor, Benjamin Lewis, Launcelot Minor, Eugene, and Mary Isabella.

Born 6 November 1826, Lucy Landon was always her father's favorite. Although she is mentioned frequently, there are only a few of her letters in the collection. Lucy married Dr. John Staige Davis of Charlottesville, Va., on 10 July 1847, and they had three children: William Blackford, born 1848, who married Kentie Howland in 1871; Mary Jane, born 1851, who married James p. Harrison in 1879; and Lucy Landon, who died in infancy. Lucy (Blackford) Davis died 18 February 1859. Although John Staige Davis later remarried, he remained a close friend of the Blackford family.

William Willis "Willie" Blackford was born 23 March 1831. He accompanied his father to South America, and during this period he signed his letters William Wilberforce Blackford, apparently in admiration of the British statesman and abolitionist. He began working as a civil engineer in 1848, interrupting his career later for a year's study at the University of Virginia. In 1856, he married Mary Trigg Robertson (1835-1866), daughter of former Governor Wyndham Robertson. From June 1861-January 1863, he served in the Civil War with General Jeb Stuart, first as adjutant, later as chief engineer and staff member at headquarters. His memoirs, War Years with Jeb Stuart, were edited by Douglas Southall Freeman and published in 1945 by Charles Scribner's Sons.

After the war, William worked for the Lynchburg and Danville Railroad, then moved to a sugar plantation in Terrebonne Parish, La. When a flood in 1874 destroyed his crop and ruined him financially, he returned to Virginia, and in 1880 accepted a professorship of Mechanics and Drawing at the agricultural college, now Virginia Polytechnic Institute, in Blacksburg. After resigning in 1882, he went to work as a construction engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He retired in 1890 and purchased an oyster farm on Lynnhaven Bay, Princess Anne County, Va. He died of apoplexy 1 May 1905. William and Mary Trigg (Robertson) Blackford had four children: Lizzie Robertson (b. 1856); Wyndham; Pelham; and Gay Robertson (b. 1866?).

Charles Minor "Charley" Blackford was born 17 October 1833. As a child he lived for a while with Elizabeth G. "Cousin Betty" Hill, who ran a school at Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va. In the early 1850s, he attended the University of Virginia, and after graduation began practicing law in Lynchburg. He married Susan Leigh Colston in 1856, and they had three children: Nannie Colston, Charles Minor, and Raleigh Colston. Like his brothers, he served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War; a member of the Second Virginia Cavalry until 1863, when he became Judge Advocate of the Military Court of the Second Corps (Longstreet's) of the Army of Northern Virginia. In the 1890s, Susan Leigh (Colston) Blackford had her memoirs of the war (based largely on Charles's letters) privately printed. This was later published as Letters from Lee's Army (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947). When the war ended Charles resumed his law practice in Lynchburg. He died in 1903.

Benjamin Lewis Blackford was born 5 August 1835, and as a child, was called "Benny." At some point, he began to be called Lewis. Lewis attended school at Mount Airy and at the University of Virginia. Before entering the Civil War as a private in Samuel Garland's regiment, Eleventh Virginia Infantry, he had worked as a civil engineer. Later he was a lieutenant of engineers, stationed in Wilmington, N.C. After the war, Lewis went into the insurance business in Washington, D.C., and in 1869, married Nannie Steenberger (d. 1883). They had four daughters: Elizabeth Padelford "Lily"; Mary Berkeley "Daisy"; Alice Beirne; and Lucy Landon Carter. Lewis died in 1908.

Launcelot Minor "Lanty" Blackford was born 23 February 1837. Named after his uncle, Lancelot Byrd Minor, as an adolescent Launcelot added the "u" to his name. He attended the University of Virginia and became a schoolteacher. During the Civil War, he served as a private in the Rockbridge Artillery, as a clerk of the Military Court of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and finally as Adjutant of the Twenty-Fourth Virginia Infantry, William R. Terry's brigade, Pickett's division. After the war, Launcelot resumed teaching and in 1870, he became principal of the Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va., a position he held until his death in 1914. Launcelot married Eliza Chew Ambler (1856-1935), a descendant of Virginia patriot George Mason, in 1884. Many of her letters are in the collection, as well as some material relating to Mason and his descendants. Launcelot and Eliza had six children: John Minor (1887-1945), doctor in Seattle, Washington; Ambler (b. 1888), Episcopal minister in Virginia and South Carolina; Randolph Fairfax (b. 1890), Episcopal minister in North Dakota and Florida (the later papers in the collection are his); Anna Mason (1892-1893); Launcelot Minor (L. Minor, b. 1894), teacher of medicine at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; and Staige Davis (1898-1949), teacher of medicine at the University of Virginia.

Eugene Blackford was born 11 April 1839. After attending the University of Virginia, he accepted a teaching position in Alabama and when the Civil War started, became a major in the Fifth Alabama Infantry. After the war, Eugene became a dairy farmer at Cleve, Pikesville, Md. He married Rebecca Chapman Gordon and they had three children: Emily Chapman, Eugene, and William Gordon. Eugene died in 1907.

The youngest of the Blackford children, Mary Isabella "Mabelle," was born in 1840. During the late 1850s, she attended the Southern Female Institute, Richmond, Va., and in 1865, married James Cooke, a farmer. They lived alternately at Dewberry and Foxleigh, both near Richmond. The Cookes had five children: Lucy Landon, James Churchill, Mary Minor, Eugene Blackford, and Edmonia Churchill. Mary Isabella died in 1928.

For further information see: L. Minor Blackford, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Story of a Virginia Lady Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford 1802-1896 Who Taught Her Sons to Hate Slavery and to Love the Union. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1954); Susan Leigh (Colston) Blackford, Letters from Lee's Army: Memoirs of Life In and Out of the Army in Virginia During the War Between the States: Edited and abridged for publications by Charles Minor Blackford, III. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947); William Willis Blackford, War Years with Jeb Stuart. Edited and with an introduction by Douglas Southall Freeman. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1945).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Blackford collection consists of correspondence and other papers of three generations of the Blackford family, a prominent, although not wealthy, Virginia family. Most of the material relates to Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford (1802-1896), and her husband, William Matthews Blackford (1801-1864), Fredericksburg, Va., Lynchburg, Va., and Alexandria, Va. Later correspondence is that of their son, Launcelot Minor Blackford (1837-1914), his wife, Eliza Chew Ambler Blackford (1856-1935), Alexandria, Va., and their son, Randolph Fairfax Blackford (b. 1890), Homestead, Fla. Most of the correspondence is personal, containing news of the activities of the Blackfords, and their relatives and friends.

Most of the material in the collection dates from 1824, when Mary Berkeley Minor and William Matthews Blackford became engaged. The few papers prior to 1824 are scattered legal documents, commissions, accounts, and an 1819 school girl's letter from George Town [D.C.?].

The 1824-1841 correspondence deals primarily with the activities of the American Colonization Society and its counterpart in Great Britain. Most frequent are letters from Ralph Randolph Gurley, Washington, D.C., the Society's corresponding secretary, about American Colonization Society business and the anti-slavery movement. There are also letters from other American Colonization Society members in various locations, as well as a few letters from missionaries in Liberia. During the latter part of this period, American Colonization Society correspondence decreases and personal correspondence from the Blackfords' relatives and friends in Virginia giving news of themselves, their families, and their neighbors increases. There is also scattered correspondence of Mary Blackford's mother, Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, of Fredericksburg, Va.

The majority of the 1842-1844 material relates to William Matthews Blackford's service as United States charge d'affaires in Bogota, New Granada (now Colombia). The correspondence is divided into two groups: letters between Blackford and other diplomats in South America relating to his official duties, and his "diary letters," addressed to Mrs. Blackford, Fredericksburg, Va., containing descriptions of his activities, his observations of South American customs, and comments on politics both in the United States and New Granada. During this period there is also scattered personal correspondence of Mary Blackford with friends and relatives in Virginia and elsewhere. William Blackford returned to Fredericksburg in 1845. However, he maintained his correspondence with diplomats in South America and American officials in Washington about his work in New Granada for a few years.

In 1846, the Blackfords moved to Lynchburg, Va. The 1845-1860 material is predominantly personal correspondence of William and Mary Blackford, especially with their seven children as they left home for school and careers. The five Blackford sons wrote frequently from the school run by their cousin, Elizabeth G. "Betty" Hill, at Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va.; the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and elsewhere. These letters deal with family matters and neighborhood news-births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, social activities, with occasional comments on contemporary politics. As the Civil War approached in the late 1850s, discussions of slavery, abolition, and the national political situation became more frequent.

During this period Mary Blackford continued to receive occasional correspondence about American Colonization Society activities, including a few letters from missionaries and former slaves in Liberia. From 1846-1848 there are scattered letters to William M. Blackford from United States army officers in Mexico and Texas about the Mexican War.

In early 1861, the Blackfords' correspondence reflected their concern about the worsening national crisis. When the war started, all five Blackford sons enlisted in the Confederate Army. All served throughout the war, mostly in Virginia, but also in North Carolina and Tennessee. The 1861 correspondence includes letters from all five sons to their parents and each other about life in the Confederate Army. Although letters written 1862-1865 have been preserved, many are faded and virtually illegible. Most of the later correspondence that is legible is from Benjamin Lewis Blackford, with the engineering corps in Wilmington, N.C., to his parents about his social activities and romantic entanglements. These letters shed little light on military affairs and war life. Occasional letters to Mr. and Mrs. Blackford from John Minor, Fredericksburg, Va.; John B. Minor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; and Mary Trigg Robertson Blackford, The Meadows, Abingdon, Va., give a few glimpses of life on the home front. The 1865 correspondence deals with the effects, especially economic, of the war on individuals.

Most of the material from 1866-1892 consists of letters to Mary Blackford, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1866-1870, and Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va., 1870-1892, from her children, grandchildren, other relatives and friends in Virginia, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Texas, and elsewhere. The letters are personal, dealing with daily activities and news of friends and family. Most frequent are letters from Mrs. Blackford's daughter, Mary Isabella (Blackford) Cooke, writing from her husband's plantations, Dewberry and Foxleigh, in Virginia, about her domestic routine and the activities of her husband and children.

There is also scattered correspondence of Launcelot M. Blackford, Alexandria, Va., both personal and related to his job as principal of the Episcopal High School in Alexandria.

From 1893 to 1932, the collection consists of the personal correspondence of Launcelot M. Blackford, his wife, Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford, and their son, Randolph Fairfax Blackford about their own activities and those of their relatives and friends. Between 1893 and 1905, Launcelot M. Blackford took several trips to Europe, visiting England, Switzerland and France. His letters to his wife in Alexandria describe his travels. After 1910, there are several letters from Ambler Blackford in Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida, and Randolph Blackford in North Dakota, Tennessee, and Florida, about their experiences as Episcopal ministers. In addition, there are a few letters from Randolph Blackford to his mother written while he served as a chaplain with the American Expeditionary Force in France, 1917-1919.

The last group of papers, 1936-1953, includes miscellaneous correspondence of Randolph Fairfax Blackford, Florida, principally concerned with Blackford genealogy and family papers.

Non-correspondence includes: four pamphlets (three dealing with the Confederacy and the Lost Cause, and one about the life of Liberian missionary Lancelot Byrd Minor); genealogical information and obituaries of the Blackford, Ambler, Mason, Minor, Carew (Carey), Johnston, Brewster, DeWolfe, Lloyd, Richardson, Robins, Tilghman, and Young families; miscellaneous belles-lettres by William W. Blackford, Randolph R. Blackford, and others; unidentified photographs; and letters and articles written by Launcelot M. Blackford for the Southern Churchman, 1888-1903.

The volumes include an account book, 1850-1855; a recipe book, 1852; a University of Virginia alumni bulletin, 1914; and a "Sample Book" from Saint John's Episcopal Church, Homestead, Fla., 1940.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1743-1823.

8 items.

Miscellaneous letters and documents, including:

11 June 1743 Statement of debt owed by Thomas Barber to Benjamin Rush.
11 February 1790 Mary Lane to Robert Carter, asking permission to remove dead trees from his forest.
16 August 1797 Copy of a Letter of Attorney from Jn. Swanwick [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] to Phillip Janne [Leghorn, Pennsylvania].
30 October 1798 Statement of account from December 1794-30 October 1798.
1814 Leigh's Recd Code . pa. 164c51 sec 32 extract from a state constitution about rights to freedom of speech for assemblymen and state legislators.
14 April 1819 Nannie Martin, George Towen [D.C.?] to Dear Cousin Ben, a schoolgirl's letter describing her activities.
1820 Copy of a prayer of dedication.
January 1823 Commission of John Mason, Jr. as secretary of U.S. Legation in Mexico, signed by James Monroe and John Quincy Adams.

Folder 1

1742-1829 #01912, Subseries: "1.1. 1743-1823." Folder 1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1824-1838.

About 90 items.

Correspondence of William Matthews Blackford and his wife Mary Berkeley (Minor) Blackford of Fredericksburg, Va., mostly dealing with the activities of the American Colonization Society and its counterpart in Great Britain. Most of the letters are addressed to Mrs. Blackford, who apparently attempted to organize a colonization society in Fredericksburg. Correspondents include R[alph] R[andolph] Gurley, secretary of the American Colonization Society, Washington, D.C.; Beulah Sansom, Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1835-1837; Amelia Davidson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1835-1837; Elliott Cresson, England and Scotland, 1833-1838; and others. Letters to William Matthews Blackford from Charles Fenton Mercer, James Barbour, John Mercer Patton, and others, and copies of Blackford's letters to Lucian Minor, discussing current political issues. Scattered correspondence from various relatives of the Blackfords, and a few letters between William and Mary, written on the infrequent occasions when they were apart.

11 October 1825 William Matthews Blackford to Major John Graham, Rose Hill (near Frederick, Md.), announcing his forthcoming marriage to Mary Berkeley Minor, and describing his fledgling law practice in Fredericksburg.
1828 C[harles] F[enton] Mercer, Washington, D.C. to William M. Blackford, describing his role in sponsoring public education in the Virginia legislature, 1810-17
9 November 1831 Lieutenant Charles L[andon] C[arter] Minor, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to John Minor, Fredericksburg, Va., discussing fears of a large-scale slave insurrection in the slave states.
13 December 1836 S. Teague [?] Monrovia, Liberia, to Mary B. Blackford, discussing the problem of educating black women to be teachers and the life of missionaries in Liberia.
7 August 1837 Address of James Murray Mason, U.S. Congressman from Virginia, to Cherokee Indians, Red Clay, E. Tennessee, advising them of the advantages of removal.

Folder 2

1830-1831 #01912, Subseries: "1.2. 1824-1838." Folder 2

Folder 3

1832-1833 #01912, Subseries: "1.2. 1824-1838." Folder 3

Folder 4

1834-1836 #01912, Subseries: "1.2. 1824-1838." Folder 4

Folder 5

1837-1839 #01912, Subseries: "1.2. 1824-1838." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1839-1841.

About 50 items.

Miscellaneous business and personal correspondence of William Matthews Blackford and Mary Berkeley (Minor) Blackford, Fredericksburg, Va., including copies of Blackford's letters to Lucian Minor, Charlottesville, Va., about political news; scattered personal correspondence of Mary's mother, Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, Fredericksburg, Va.; letters, 1841, from various national political office-holders, including vice-president John Tyler, to the secretary of the Navy recommending William M. Blackford for the post of naval agent at Washington, D.C.; and correspondence between Mrs. Blackford and E[lizabeth] G. Hill and Charles Minor Blackford, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va.

30 November 1839 Home Gazette, a newspaper compiled by the Blackford children, including poetry, family news, sketches.
5 December 1839 Home Gazette
7 January 1841 Mary B. Blackford to Lancelot B[yrd] Minor, Cape Palmas, West Africa [Liberia] about family news, freeing slaves to send to Liberia, the low state of the religion.

Folder 6

1839-1840 #01912, Subseries: "1.3. 1839-1841." Folder 6

Folder 7

1841 #01912, Subseries: "1.3. 1839-1841." Folder 7

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1842-1844.

About 460 items.

Predominantly material relating to William Matthews Blackford's position as U.S. charge d'affaires in the Republic of New Granada (Colombia). Blackford and his oldest son, William Willis, lived in Bogota from September 1842 until December 1844, while Mrs. Blackford and the rest of the children remained in Fredericksburg, Va. Most of the correspondence is between Blackford and other diplomats, primarily Colombian, American, and British, in South America and is related to his official duties. Some of this material is in Spanish and has not been included in this description.

Also included, although filed separately from the diplomatic correspondence (see folder list), are Blackford's detailed "diary letters" to his wife, June 1842-December 1843, containing descriptions of his activities in Bogota, his observations of South American customs, and comments on politics, both in the U.S. and New Granada. The letters from June to August 1842, describe his journey to Bogota, first aboard the USS Falmouth, and in July and August, by land. Blackford was especially interested in observing South American slavery, and included his observations in his letters to his wife, with some comparisons between slavery in South America and the United States.

There is also some personal correspondence to Mary B. Blackford from friends and relatives in Virginia and elsewhere.

28 February 1843 M[ary Stewart] Minor, Tabbo River, Liberia, to Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, Fredericksburg, Va., discussing the Reverend Lancelot Byrd Minor's work with a school in Liberia, hsi students, and a recent illness. Reverend Minor, Mary Blackford's brother, and his wife Mary were missionaries.
12 June 1843 Diary letter. William M. Blackford, Bogota, New Granada, to Mary B. Blackford, comments on U.S. Whig party politics; election of new Episcopal bishop in Rhode Island; description of celebration of festival of Corpus Christi; discussion of his opposition to the Catholic Church and his detestation of persecution to Catholics in the United States.
31 March 1844 E. Atkinson, Richmond, Va., to Lucy (Landon) Carter Minor, Fredericksburg, Va. News of neighborhood interlaced with her antislavery views; opposition to annexation of Texas as a proslavery plot to enable the South to secede.
30 April 1844 Allen A. Hall, Caracas, Venezuela, to William M. Blackford. Summary of U.S. political news and highlights of international news. Hall, another American diplomat, wrote Blackford frequently and his letters are usually filled with news items of this sort, as well as his opinions on current issues.
1 June 1844 L[ucius] H. Minor, Edge Wood, Hanover County, Va., to My Dear Sister [Mary B. Blackford?] about outfitting Abram, a slave the Blackfords manumitted, with tools of his trade, including an itemized list of what he would need and the cost.
1 July 1844 John B. Minor, Charlottesville, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Comments on decline of temperance organization in Fredericksburg.
20 July 1844 William M. Blackford to Lucian Minor [location?]. Comments on U.S. politics; comparion of English and American literacy and scientific achievement.

Folder 8-9

Folder 8

Folder 9

1842 #01912, Subseries: "1.4. 1842-1844." Folder 8-9

Folder 10

1842 #01912, Subseries: "1.4. 1842-1844." Folder 10

Diary letters

Folder 11-22

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

1843 #01912, Subseries: "1.4. 1842-1844." Folder 11-22

Folders 14 and 22 are diary letters

Folder 23-31

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

1844 #01912, Subseries: "1.4. 1842-1844." Folder 23-31

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. 1845-1847.

About 200 items.

Personal and business correspondence of William Matthews Blackford, Mary Berkeley (Minor) Blackford, and their children, Fredericksburg, Va., and, after 1846, Lynchburg, Va. Much of the material is from diplomats in South America, relating to Blackford's assignment in New Granada. There are also letters from James Buchanan, John Young Mason, and William A. Hunter regarding Blackford's request for back pay. Occasional letters to Mary B. Blackford about the American Colonization Society from E. M. Lyle, New York, N.Y.; G. Wilson McPhail, Fredericksburg, Va.; and W. McLain, Washington, D.C., as well as one from J[ohn] Payne, Cavalla Liberia.

Most of the correspondence is between William, Mary, and their children, especially Charles Minor Blackford, Benjamin Lewis Blackford, and Launcelot Minor Blackford, all of whom spent some time at the home of their cousin, Elizabeth G. "Betty" Hill, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va., and deals with family matters and neighborhood news. In April 1846, William M. Blackford moved to Lynchburg, Va. The rest of the family remained in Fredericksburg until July, so there are some letters from Mary B. Blackford and the children to William M. Blackford. After July 1846, the group contains letters from Mrs. Blackford and the children to her mother, Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, Fredericksburg, Va., and a few letters to the Blackfords, from Mrs. Minor. Because Mrs. Minor was blind, her servant, Maria West, wrote for her, and occasionally included personal notes of her own.

Other correspondents include:

  • Benjamin Blackford, Lynchburg, Va.
  • Thomas T. Blackford, Lynchburg, Va.
  • Lucy Byars, Woodlands, Tennessee
  • Julius P. Garesche [Gausche?], with the army in Mexico
  • P. S. Herron, Washington, D.C.
  • E. G. Hill, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va.
  • L. M. Kean, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Mary Caroline Leeper, Mount Airy
  • C. L. C. Minor, Edgewood, Hanover County, Va.
  • John B[arbee] Minor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Thomas C. Nelson, Mount Airy
  • J. P. Phelps, Mexico
  • W. G. Rives, Castle Hill, Va.
There are also copies of William M. Blackford's letters to Lucian Minor, Louisa Court House, Va., that include discussions of contemporary politics as well as personal news.
4 January 1845 W. McLain, American Colonization Society, Washington D.C., to Mary B. Blackford. News of colony in Liberia, especially the Blackford's former slave, Abraham.
30 April 1845 E. M. Lyle, New York, N.Y., to Mary B. Blackford, news of missionary work in Liberia.
28 May 1845 John B. Minor, Charlottesville, Va., to William M. Blackford. Possibility of a job at University of Virginia; writing of a biographical sketch of the Reverend Lancelot Byrd Minor.
11 July 1845 John B. Minor, to William M. Blackford. Objections raised to his appointment as professor of law at the University of Virginia.
29 July 1845 John B. Minor to William M. Blackford, announcing his appointment to chair of law at University of Virginia.
20 November 1845 J[ohn] Payne, Cavalla Station, Near Cape Palmas, West Africa, to Mary B. Blackford. Reply to her request for a memoir of Lancelot Byrd Minor; description of Minor's work; his dying words.
11 March 1846 Typescript. Bill of sale for Negro girl Peggy, whom William M. Blackford purchased from Henry U. Miatt.
4, 14 January 1847 Julius P. Garesche [Gausche?], Camargo, Mexico, to William M. Blackford, Lynchburg, Va. Army operations in Mexico.
20 January 1847 J. C. Phelps, Camargo, Mexico, to William M. Blackford. Report on Mexican War: the weather, army life, the scenery, the Mexican people. Army life away from the fighting. Phelps and Garesche were in the army, and also served as correspondents for Blackford's paper, the Lynchburg Virginian.

Folder 32-35

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

1845 #01912, Subseries: "1.5. 1845-1847." Folder 32-35

Folder 36-37

Folder 36

Folder 37

1846 #01912, Subseries: "1.5. 1845-1847." Folder 36-37

Folder 38-39

Folder 38

Folder 39

1847 #01912, Subseries: "1.5. 1845-1847." Folder 38-39

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. 1848-1860.

About 950 items.

Personal correspondence of the Blackford family as the children grew up and moved away from home. Lucy Landon Blackford married Dr. John Staige Davis in 1847 and moved to Charlottesville, Va., but there are no letters from her in the collection. William Willis Blackford began working as a civil engineer in 1848. His frequent letters to his family from various places in Virginia describe his work, social life, and living conditions. He also wrote often while he was a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, fall 1849-June 1851. Charles Minor Blackford attended school at Minor's Folly, Louisa Court House, Va., in the spring of 1850, then attended the University of Virginia from the fall of 1850 through 1854. His letters deal with his health, studies, and extracurricular activities, especially his work with the Sons of Temperance. Charles' correspondence becomes more infrequent after he begins practicing law in Lynchburg. Launcelot Minor Blackford remained in Lynchburg until 1854, when he accepted a teaching job at Powhatan Court House, Va. He entered the University of Virginia in 1856, and remained there until June 1860. Letters to and from Benjamin Lewis Blackford and Eugene Blackford are infrequent. Lewis was in Jonesborough, Tennessee in 1854 and at the University of Virginia 1856-June 1857. He returned to Lynchburg when he left the University. Eugene attended school at Edgehill, in Albemarle County, Va., in 1854-1855, and the University of Virginia 1857-1859. Mary Isabella Blackford spent time at Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va.; Edgewood, Hanover County; she attended Southern Female Institute, Richmond, Va., 1857-1858. Mary B. Blackford made annual visits to friends and relatives in Charlottesville, Edgewood, Mount Airy, and Fredericksburg. In addition, she made longer trips to Philadelphia (October 1853-August 1854) and Florence Water Cure, Northampton, Massachusetts (December 1859-August 1860) for her health.

There are also letters to and from the Blackfords and other relatives and friends, including Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, Fredericksburg, Va., until her death in December 1855; Julian P. Garesche, Camargo, Mexico, 1848, and Port Isabel, Texas, 1851; L. M. Kean, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; Lucian Minor, Louisa Court House, Va., on temperance activities; John B. Minor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., on university life, contemporary politics; E. G. Hill, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va.; Mary Caroline Leeper, Woodstock, Va.; Helen Guinnan, Fredericksburg, Va.; Thomas C. Nelson, Frederick, Md.; V. M. Randolph, USS Albany, Pensacola, Fla., 1849, and Folkland, Alabama, 1858-1859; John Minor, Fredericksburg, Va.; Benjamin Blackford, Lynchburg, Va.; James Cephas Minor, Monrovia, Liberia; Lucy Byars, Brenham, Texas, Columbus, Texas, and Hopkinsville, Kentucky; H. R. Scott, Cavalla West Africa; C[harles] F[enton] Mercer, Paris, France; John Knott, Eastwood, Va.; James Minor, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mary Trigg (Robertson) Blackford, The Meadows, Abingdon, Va., and Richmond, Va.; C. L. C. Minor, Edgewood, Hanover County, Va.; W. C. Rives, Castle Hill, Va.; and Alexander H. H. Stuart, Richmond, Va.

Most of the correspondence deals with family news and neighborhood events-births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, social activities-with some discussion of contemporary politics. As the Civil War approached in the late 1850s, comments on slavery, abolition, and the national political situation became more frequent.

29 February 1848 Julius P. Garesche, Camargo, Mexico, to Mary S. Blackford. Disparaging comments on the Mexican people; moral debasement of Americans in Mexico; description of trips through countryside; climate; rumors of peace.
4 January 1849 E. G. Hill, Mount Airy, Caroline County, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Personal, family, and neighborhood news; description of degenerates who converted to Christianity and took the temperance pledge in the local Methodist chapel.
24 February 1849 Charles D. Drake, Washington, D.C., to William M. Blackford, Lynchburg, Va. Speculations on Zachary Taylor's choices for his cabinet. Drake was an employee of Indiana Congressman Caleb W. Smith.
12 March 1849 Helen Guinan, Fredericksburg, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. News of work for colonization in Fredericksburg and nationally; opposition to abolitionists.
18 July 1849 W[illiam] C[abell] Rives, Cobham, Va., to William M. Blackford. His appointment as junior minister to France; problems of negotiating a treaty with the French; portions of this letter are missing.
1850 John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to William M. Blackford. His views on slavery, favor of colonization.
1 February 1850 Ramon Leon Sanches, Cartagena, to William M. Blackford. Descriptionsof new charge d'affaires, Thomas M. Foote; domestic politics in New Granada; cholera epidemic; apprehension over slavery extension as a divisive issue in the United States.
7 February 1850 Mary B. Blackford to William M. Blackford, Washington, D.C. News of herself and the children; her support of Blackford's proposed move to Cincinnati: Virginia is a great place to be born in, but not to live in.
11 May 1850 Jeremiah Martin, Washington, D.C., to William M. Blackford, Lynchburg. Announcement of Blackford's appointment as Lynchburg postmaster.
23 August 1850 John B. Minor, University of Virginia to William M. Blackford. University news; comments on sectionalism and his fears of civil strife.
1 December 1850 Lucian Minor, Lochaven, Va., to William M. Blackford. Organization of the Sons of Temperance; opinion on slavery and the Compromise of 1850.
7 January 1851 Mary B. Blackford to Matthew Maury. Rough draft of her response to his plan to send slaves to the Amazon Valley.
3 October 1851 Benjamin Blackford, Lynchburg, to John A. Blackford, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Description of riots in Lynchburg by Irishmen working on the railroad and canal.
17 October 1851 James C[ephas] Minor, Monrovia, Liberia, to Mary B. Blackford. Personal and family news of Minor, a former slave of the Minor family, who was freed and sent to Liberia.
1852 John Payne, Port Conway, Va., to Launcelot M. Blackford, Lynchburg. His work as missionary in Liberia.
May, June 1852 Several Compositions by Launcelot M. Blackford on varied topics, including health, mathematics, and poetry. Also letters from William M. Blackford at Washington D.C.; Baltimore, Md.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Batavia, N.Y.; and Niagara Falls, N.Y.; describing places he visited and people he met on travels.
1852 James Cephas Minor, Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. Description of a shipwreck; comments on Liberian relations with Great Britain and Brazil; and on African Natives.
15 January 1853 James C. Minor, Monrovia, Liberia, to John Minor, Fredericksburg, Va. Formation of Masonic Lodge; political news.
18 January 1853 Charles M. Blackford, University of Virginia, to Mary B. Blackford. Possibility of his moving to a free state.
4 May 1853 Charles M. Blackford to Mary B. Blackford. His opinion of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
11 October 1853 James C. Minor, Monrovia, Liberia, to Mary B. Blackford. Political and personal news.
1854 The Reverend H. R. Scott, Cavalla, West Africa, to Mary B. Blackford. News of welfare and work of mission.
25 January 1854 John Minor, Fredericksburg, to Launcelot M. Blackford, Powhatan Court House, Va. Growth of Know-Nothingism in Fredericksburg.
December 1854 Letters concerning the death of Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor.
5 November 1855 John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to Willaim M. Blackford. Comments on Democrats, Fillmore, Freemont; fear of dissolution of Union accompanied by civil war and anarchy.
8 July 1858 Copy of Charles Minor's letter to his brother John, containing an account of his brother Lucian's death in Williamsburg made by Mary B. Blackford for John Minor, Fredericksburg.
21 October 1858 V. M. Randolph, Forkland, Alabama, to Richard Randolph, Zenia, Ohio. Proslavery argument and description of his treatment of his slaves.
1859 Launcelot M. Blackford, University of Virginia, to William M. Blackford, Lynchburg. Death of Lucy Landon (Blackford) Davis.
March-April 1859 Scattered correspondence from Whitelaw Reid, Zenia, Ohio; John Minor, Fredericksburg; and V. M. Randolph, Forkland, Alabama, to William M. Blackford, about the life, death, and philosophy of Richard Randolph, a Virginian who freed his slaves and moved to Ohio.
20 November 1859 W. C. Rives, Castle Hill, Va., to William M. Blackford. Comments on his recently published historical work (probably History of the Life and Times of James Madison, v. 1); response to criticism of historian Hugh Blair Grigsby.
25 November 1859 [William M. Blackford] to Launcelot M. Blackford, University of Virginia. Military spirit in Lynchburg; drills of Home Guard.
16 December 1859 Mary B. Blackford, Florence Water Cure, near Northampton, Massachusetts, to William M. Blackford, Lynchburg. Description of her journey from Virginia.
15 February 1860 Alex. H[ugh] H[olmes] Stuart, Richmond, Va., to William M. Blackford. Reply to Blackford's praise of Stuart's stand on John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry.

Folder 40-43

Folder 40

Folder 41

Folder 42

Folder 43

1848 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 40-43

Folder 44-46

Folder 44

Folder 45

Folder 46

1849 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 44-46

Folder 47-50

Folder 47

Folder 48

Folder 49

Folder 50

1850 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 47-50

Folder 51-54

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Folder 54

1851 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 51-54

Folder 55-58

Folder 55

Folder 56

Folder 57

Folder 58

1852 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 55-58

Folder 59-62

Folder 59

Folder 60

Folder 61

Folder 62

1853 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 59-62

Folder 63-65

Folder 63

Folder 64

Folder 65

1854 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 63-65

Folder 66-68

Folder 66

Folder 67

Folder 68

1855 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 66-68

Folder 69

1856 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 69

Folder 70-71

Folder 70

Folder 71

1857 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 70-71

Folder 72-73

Folder 72

Folder 73

1858 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 72-73

Folder 74-75

Folder 74

Folder 75

1859 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 74-75

Folder 76-78

Folder 76

Folder 77

Folder 78

1860 #01912, Subseries: "1.6. 1848-1860." Folder 76-78

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.7. 1861-1865.

About 225 items.

The papers for early 1861 are letters among John Minor, Fredericksburg, Va.; Launcelot M. Blackford, Staunton, Va.; William M. Blackford, Lynchburg, Va.; John B. Minor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and V. M. Randolph, Montgomery, Alabama, about secession crisis and preparations for war. Subsequent correspondence for that year consists for the most part of letters from the Blackford sons to their parents and each other about life in the Confederate Army. After 1861, most of the letters are from Benjamin Lewis Blackford to his parents, and shed little light on military affairs and war life. William and Lewis were in the engineering corps; William served from 1861-1863 on the staff of General Jeb. Stuart. Charles served as judge advocate with Longstreet's Corps. Launcelot served first with the Rockbridge Artillery then, after 1863, as clerk of the military court, Longstreet's Corps. Eugene was in the Fifth Alabama Regiment. All five spent most of the war in Virginia. Also occasional correspondence from John Minor, Fredericksburg; John B. Minor, University of Virginia; Mary Trigg (Robertson) Blackford, The Meadows, Abingdon, Va.

Many of the letters from 1862 are faded and virtually illegible.

16 April 1861 John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to Mary B. Blackford. On secession crisis; his aversion to both the cotton states and Lincoln; the role of women as moral exemplars in social crises.
April-June 1861 Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Richmond; Manassas Junction; Norfolk; to William M. Blackford, and Mary B. Blackford, on army life, rumor of military plans.
4 May 1861 H. Allen Johnson, New York, to William M. Blackford. Trip from Maryland to New York; problem of getting out of the South; troops and military preparations in New York; favorable description of Lincoln by a man from Illinois; mood and views of North regarding secession.
15 May 1861 George W. Bethune, New York, to Mary B. Blackford. Northern response to Ft. Sumter; why the North must fight to save the Union.
27 July 1861 William W. Blackford, Fairfax Courthouse, to John M. Minor, Fredericksburg, about the Battle of Manassas.
6, 9 December 1861 Launcelot M. Blackford, Martinsburg, Va., to William M. Blackford and Mary B. Blackford. Detailed description of troop movement and activities.
12 July 1862 Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Camp in Chesterfield [Va.?], to Mary B. Blackford. Describes Northern working class view of the war and slavery, based on a number of letters, apparently from Northern workers he came across while doing a survey. He was following in the wake of the carnage - immediately behind scenes of battle.
11 August 1862 Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Camp at Port Walthall Junction [Va.?], to William M. Blackford. Description of Jefferson Davis, who he had seen at church recently; army life (diet).
12 January 1863 Charles M. Blackford, Headquarters, First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, to Mary B. Blackford. Excerpts from his diary, December 1862; descrition of Battle of Fredericksburg.
23 January 1863 William W. Blackford, near Orange Court House, Va., to William M. Blackford. His regrets at leaving Jeb Stuart's staff.
27 March 1863 John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to William M. Blackford. Life on the home front: price of tobacco, kerosene, bees' wax for candles; investments.
10 July 1863 John B. Minor, University of Virginia, to William M. Blackford. War news; conditions at the University.
5 October 1863 Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Wrightsville, N.C., to Mary B. Blackford. Comments on his work; North Carolina and its people; prices and scarcity.
17 December 1863 Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Camp on Topsail Sound, to Mary B. Blackford. His disgust with Wilmington residents, who have been demoralized by blockade running; description of Kidder family in Wilmington. Much of his subsequent wartime correspondence deals with his ill-fated courtship of Miss Kidder.
1864 Mostly personal letters from Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Wilmington, Fredericksburg, Richmond. A few letters from Charles M. Blackford, Greenville, Tennessee, and Richmond. Rare letters from Launcelot M. Blackford and William W. Blackford in Virginia. Undated poem, The Battle of the Cows: A True Story of the War, about Hunter's raid into Virginia during the summer of 1864; probably written by Mary Isabella Blackford.
1865 Mary Isabella Blackford married Churchill Cooke on 15 March 1865, and subsequently there are frequent letters from her at her husband's plantations, Dewberry and Foxleigh, to her mother in Lynchburg.
11 June 1865 Charles M. Blackford, Lynchburg, to Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Richmond. His financial losses because of the war.
15 June 1865 William W. Blackford, Abingdon, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Description of his daily routine; problems with robbers and freed Negroes.
27 August 1865 Launcelot M. Blackford, Lynchburg, to Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Richmond, persuading him to emigrate to Brazil or Mexico.
1 November 1865 Maria (West) Campbell, Staunton, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Personal; inquiry about Mrs. Blackford's sons. Mrs. Campbell was a former slave of Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor, freed long before the war.
14 November 1865 R. R. Gurley, York, Pennsylvania, to Mary B. Blackford. News of Liberia; hopes that emancipated slaves will go there.

Folder 79-82

Folder 79

Folder 80

Folder 81

Folder 82

1861 #01912, Subseries: "1.7. 1861-1865." Folder 79-82

Folder 83

1862 #01912, Subseries: "1.7. 1861-1865." Folder 83

Folder 84-85

Folder 84

Folder 85

1863 #01912, Subseries: "1.7. 1861-1865." Folder 84-85

Folder 86-87

Folder 86

Folder 87

1864 #01912, Subseries: "1.7. 1861-1865." Folder 86-87

Folder 88

1865 #01912, Subseries: "1.7. 1861-1865." Folder 88

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.8. 1866-1892.

About 1050 items.

Letters to Mary B. Blackford, Lynchburg, 1866-1870, and Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va., 1871-1892, from her children, grandchildren, other relatives and friends. The correspondence is personal, dealing with daily activities, news of friends and family. Most frequent are letters from Mary Isabella (Blackford) Cooke, Dewberry and Foxleigh, writing of her domestic routine and news of her husband and children. Other correspondents include William Blackford, Somerset, Abingdon, Va., 1866-1870, and Powhatan, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, 1871-1874. These letters contain descriptions of his work as a planter and of agriculture in Louisiana. Subsequent scattered correspondence to Mary Blackford from William W. Blackford at various places in Virginia. There are also letters from Charles M. Blackford, Lynchburg; Benjamin Lewis Blackford, Alexandria, Va., and Lynchburg, 1866, and after 1872, Washington, D.C.; Launcelot M. Blackford, Norwood School, Nelson County, Va., 1866; Eugene Blackford, Alexandria, Va., 1866, and subsequently at Cleve, Pikesville, Md.; Mary Jane (Davis) Harrison, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1866-1878, and Danville, Va., after 1878; R. R. Gurley, Hartville, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.; E. G. Hill, University of Virginia; Lucy Byars, Columbus, Texas; John B. Minor, University of Virginia; Nannie C. Blackford, Lynchburg; E. E. Cooke, Dewberry, Va.; E. H. Craighill, Lynchburg; Gay Robertson Blackford, Abingdon, Va.; Ann Trueheart, Galveston, Texas; James Byars, Covington, Tennessee; Wyndham Blackford, Blacksburg, Va.; Rebecca C. Blackford, Cleve, Pikesville, Md.; C. L. C. Minor, Winchester, Va.; Kentie Howland Davis, Baltimore, Md., Ellen J. Minor, New York; James P. Harrison, Danville, Va.; Lancelot Minor, Briery Knoll, Amherst County, Va.; John Staige Davis, Jr., Fort Totten, Dakota Territory; Berkeley Minor, Staunton, Va. Scattered correspondence of Launcelot M. Blackford, Alexandria, Va., both personal and related to his job as principal of Episcopal High School, including letters from Col. L. Hoxton, Baltimore, Md., 1871; Richard L. Maury, Lexington, Va.; James C. Stansbury, Baltimore, Md., 1872-1873. Occasional letters to Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford, from relatives.

14 January 1866 William W. Blackford, Somerset, Abingdon, Va., to Mary B. Blackford, Lynchburg. Problems with obtaining house servants; idleness of freedmen; thievery among blacks and whites; personal and family news.
14 June 1866 W. McLain, Washington, D.C., to Mary B. Blackford. Death of a Liberian leader.
14 April 1873 William W. Blackford, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, to Sue Colston Blackford, Lynchburg. His experiments with white tenants as labor on his plantation.
19, 29 April 1874 William W. Blackford, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, to [?] and Mary B. Blackford. About the flood that ruined his plantation and sugar crop.
1879 William Davis, Fort Totten, D[akota] T[erritory] to Mary B. Blackford, Alexandria, Va. His experiences with Sioux Indians in the West.
6 May 1879 M. Payne, Petersburg, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Her experiences with teaching black children.
1879 Charles S. Minor, Paris, France, to Mary B. Blackford. His impressions of France and the French, including sketches of French clothing.
20 October 1881 J. M. Ambler to Edward Ambler. Copy of letter taken from the body of Dr. Ambler, the last survivor of the ill-fated Jeanette. Last messages to his family; description of the hardships he is suffering. Dr. Ambler was part of a polar expedition.
20 November 1881 Charles M. Blackford, Lynchburg, to his son, Charles. Explanation of the state debt.
1883 James P. Harrison, Danville, Va., to Mary B. Blackford. Description of Danville race riot.

Folder 89-90

Folder 89

Folder 90

1866 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 89-90

Folder 91

1867-1870 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 91

Folder 92

1871 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 92

Folder 93-94

Folder 93

Folder 94

1872 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 93-94

Folder 95-97

Folder 95

Folder 96

Folder 97

1873 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 95-97

Folder 98-99

Folder 98

Folder 99

1874 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 98-99

Folder 100-101

Folder 100

Folder 101

1875 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 100-101

Folder 102-103

Folder 102

Folder 103

1876 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 102-103

Folder 104-105

Folder 104

Folder 105

1877 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 104-105

Folder 106

1878 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 106

Folder 107-110

Folder 107

Folder 108

Folder 109

Folder 110

1879 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 107-110

Folder 111-113

Folder 111

Folder 112

Folder 113

1880 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 111-113

Folder 114-117

Folder 114

Folder 115

Folder 116

Folder 117

1881 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 114-117

Folder 118-120

Folder 118

Folder 119

Folder 120

1882 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 118-120

Folder 121-123

Folder 121

Folder 122

Folder 123

1883 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 121-123

Folder 124-127

Folder 124

Folder 125

Folder 126

Folder 127

1884 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 124-127

Folder 128-129

Folder 128

Folder 129

1885 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 128-129

Folder 130

1886-1892 #01912, Subseries: "1.8. 1866-1892." Folder 130

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.9. 1893-1905.

About 350 items.

Correspondence of Launcelot M. Blackford and his wife, Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford. During this period Blackford went to Europe several times, visiting London; Mainx; Chavenna, Switzerland; Paris; Leamington Spa, England; Melrose, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Durham, England; and York, England. He wrote descriptions of his travels to his wife, who remained in Virginia, at the Episcopal High School, Alexandria, and occasionally, Orkney Springs, and Parkersburg, West Virginia. Her infrequent letters to him describe events at home.

23 March 1896 Circular to descendants of George Mason asking for contributions to erect a monument on Mason's grave.

Folder 131

1893-1899 #01912, Subseries: "1.9. 1893-1905." Folder 131

Folder 132

1901-1902 #01912, Subseries: "1.9. 1893-1905." Folder 132

Folder 133

1903-1905 #01912, Subseries: "1.9. 1893-1905." Folder 133

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.10. 1906-1932.

About 350 items.

Correspondence of Launcelot Minor Blackford, Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford, and their son, Randolph Fairfax Blackford, containing personal news of family and friends.

August, September 1908 Letters from Launcelot M. Blackford and Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford on a trip to England, to their children, Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va.
18 November 1908 Walter A. Montgomery, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va. Announcement of Blackford's election to Phi Beta Kappa.
28 December 1908 Invitation to a dance at the White House, addressed to Randolph Fairfax Blackford.
1909-1914 Primarily letters from Eliza Chew (Ambler) Blackford, Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Va., to Randolph Fiarfax Blackford, Rockville, Md.; Ivy Depot, [Va.?]; and University of Virginia, Charlottesville, containing family news and news of life at the High School.
November, December 1910 Material relating to Randolph Fairfax Blackford's unsuccessful application for a Rhodes Scholarship.
1915-1916 Correspondence of Eliza C. A. Blackford, Charlottesville, Va.; Randolph F. Blackford, Fargo, North Dakota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Minnewauken, North Dakota; Ambler Blackford, Columbia, Va.; Virginia Mason, Charlottesville, Va.; and John Minor Blackford, Seattle, Washington. Both Randolph F. Blackford and Ambler Blackford were Episcopal ministers. A few of their letters to their mother, Eliza C. A. Blackford, and to each other, discuss their ministries, especially Ambler's work with a newly-formed Boy Scout troop.
7 February 1915 Harrold S. Shipps, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, to Eliza C. A. Blackford, praising evangelist Billy Sunday.
1917-1919 Correspondence of Eliza C. A. Blackford, Charlottesville, Va., including a few of Randolph F. Blackford's letters to her from France, where he served with the American Expeditionary Force.
8 March 1918 (illegible), Wuchang, China, to Eliza C. A. Blackford. Writer, a former Episcopal High School student, describes unsettled conditions in China
1920-1932 Correspondence of Eliza C. A. Blackford, Charlottesville, Va., and Randolph F. Blackford, Hartsville, 1920; Sewannee, Tennessee, 1922; Panama City, Fla., 1926-1930; Leesburg, Fla., 1931-1932. Later correspondence, 1932, among Randolph F. Blackford and his brothers, Dr. Staige D. Blackford, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Ambler M. Blackford, Tallahassee, Fla.; and L. Minor Blackford, about futre living arrangements for their mother, Eliza C. A. Blackford.

Folder 134

1906-1907 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 134

Folder 135

1908-1909 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 135

Folder 136-137

Folder 136

Folder 137

1910 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 136-137

Folder 138

1911-1914 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 138

Folder 139-141

Folder 139

Folder 140

Folder 141

1915 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 139-141

Folder 142-143

Folder 142

Folder 143

1916 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 142-143

Folder 144

1917-1919 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 144

Folder 145

1920-1926 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 145

Folder 146

1927-1931 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 146

Folder 147

1932 #01912, Subseries: "1.10. 1906-1932." Folder 147

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.11. 1936-1953.

About 25 items.

Miscellaneous correspondence of Randolph F. Blackford, Leesburg, Fla.; Homestead, Fla.; and Thomasville, Georgia. Primarily concerning Blackford genealogy and family papers.

November 1939 Several items relating to Randolph F. Blackford's taking an army extension course on Practical Duties of Chaplains.

Folder 148

1936-1953 #01912, Subseries: "1.11. 1936-1953." Folder 148

Folder 149-153

Folder 149

Folder 150

Folder 151

Folder 152

Folder 153

Undated #01912, Subseries: "1.11. 1936-1953." Folder 149-153

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Pamphlets.

5 items.

7 November 1864 Message of the President to the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America.
30 May 1893 'He Comes Again' Lines by a daughter of Virginia, Upon the Arrival of the Remains of Jefferson Davis at Richmond, May 30, 1893, by Lucy Ambler Mason.
Undated A New Sir Lancelot, by Julia C. Emery. Biographical sketch of the Reverend Lancelot Byrd Minor, missionary to Liberia.
Undated The Honor Roll. Names of Students Who Were Killed, Died, or Lost in Actual Military Service of the Confederacy. No place.
1850(?)-1855 Small account book, listing amounts of money Lucy Landon (Carter) Minor paid her grandchildren for memorizing Bible verses.

Folder 154

Pamphlets #01912, Series: "2. Pamphlets." Folder 154

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Genealogy.

10 items.

Genealogical information on the Blackford, Ambler, Carew (Carey), and Johnston families. Notes on genealogy of several original Massachusetts Bay families, including Brewster, DeWolfe, Lloyd, Richardson, Robins, Tilghman and Young. Handwritten obituary of Mrs. James M[urray] Mason, died 14 February 1874. Scrapbook is microfilm only (M-1912/1).

Folder 155

Genealogy #01912, Series: "3. Genealogy." Folder 155

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Belles-Lettres.

10 items.

Miscellaneous essays, short stories, and poems, most undated, by William W. Blackford, Randolph F. Blackford, and others. Several of the items are unsigned. Typescripts of short works by Jefferson Davis, Col. Shippen, and Clara Minor Lynn. An undated, handwritten booklet of advice to a newly-married woman.

Folder 156-157

Folder 156

Folder 157

Belles-Lettres #01912, Series: "4. Belles-Lettres." Folder 156-157

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Miscellaneous and Pictures.

About 25 items.

Unidentified photographs; crochet patterns; bookmarks.

Folder 158

Miscelleaneous and Pictures #01912, Series: "5. Miscellaneous and Pictures." Folder 158

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Newspaper Clippings.

About 25 items.

Assorted clippings related to the Blackford, Minor, Mason, and Ambler families - obituaries, etc.

Folder 159

Newspaper Clippings #01912, Series: "6. Newspaper Clippings." Folder 159

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 7. Southern Churchman Letters.

Letters and articles written by Launcelot M. Blackford for the Southern Churchman, 1888-1903. Most are letters written from England and Europe describing his travels.

13 August 1888 London
16 August 1888 London
20 August 1888 Dorchester, Oxon
25 August 1888 New Quay, Cornwall
31 August 1888 London
14 August 1889 London
19 August 1889 London
26 August 1889 London
30 August 1889 London
6 August 1891 London
7 August 1891 London
11 August 1891 London
21 August 1891 London
15 August 1892 London
20 August 1892 The Hague
25 August 1892 Brussels
7 August 1899 London
8 August 1899 London
16 August 1899 London (3 letters)
1 August 1900 Antwerp
3 August 1900 Munich
6 August 1900 Munich
25 March 1901 (article)
5 August 1901 London
12 August 1901 Bellonzono, Switzerland
19 August 1901 Bale
28 September 1901 (article)
23 March 1903 Obituary for Charles M. Blackford
5 August 1903 Paris
2 August 1903 Paris
20 August 1903 London
21 August 1903 London

Folder 160-161

Folder 160

Folder 161

Southern Churchman Letters #01912, Series: "7. Southern Churchman Letters." Folder 160-161

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 8. Volumes.

5 items.
Folder 162

Volume 1: Recipes in the Culinary Art, Together with Hints on Housewifery & c. Lynchburg: Blackford and Bro., First American Edition, 1852. Copyright by Launcelot Minor Blackford. #01912, Series: "8. Volumes." Folder 162

Handwritten. Illustrated. Described in the introduction as an "intellectual pantry," the book contains recipes for cakes, breads, meats, vegetables, and wines, interspersed with poems and sayings. Includes typescript transcription.

Folder 163

Volume 2: "Oblation," 1 September 1882-31 August 1882 #01912, Series: "8. Volumes." Folder 163

Launcelot M. Blackford's account book, listing debits and credits with notes about how money was spent, financial matters.

Folder 164

Volume 3: "Alumni Bulletin of the University of Virginia," Third Series, volume VII:2, October 1914 #01912, Series: "8. Volumes." Folder 164

Contains biographical sketch of Launcelot Minor Blackford.

Folder 165

Volume 4: "Sample Book of Saint John's Episcopal Church. Homestead, Fla. to assist he(sic) salesman in selling the Church to its members," 22 November 1940 #01912, Series: "8. Volumes." Folder 165

Includes letter from Randolph F. Blackford, Rector; picture of the church; history of the church; information on marriages, confirmations, transfers, within the past year; picture of choir; future plans; 1941 budget. Typescript.

Folder 166

Volume 5: "Blackford Family History," 1661-1899, 1900 #01912, Series: "8. Volumes." Folder 166

Family record compiled by William Willis Blackford (1831-1905). Contains genealogical data, along with biographical and personal data concerning members of the Blackford family. Typescript copy.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 9. Photocopies.

4 items.

Undated Old Bar by George Kennedy: 22 typed pages: concerning Launcelot M. Blackford and otehr members of the family.
13 February 1948 Letter from Dr. L. M. Blackford to George Kennedy, c/o The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., concerning the above named article.
21 June 1966 Brief record of Thomas T. Blackford (1794-1863) from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania.
Undated Clipping from Scientific American: communication from William W. Blackford on aerial navigation, undated.

Folder 167

Photocopies (miscellaneous items) #01912, Series: "9. Photocopies." Folder 167

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Additions after 1994.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Additions of 1994, 1844-1883.

7 items.
Folder 168

Volume 6 #01912, Subseries: "Additions of 1994, 1844-1883." Folder 168

Typed transcription of letters of Lancelot Minor Blackford (1837-1914), chiefly to family members. Letters dated 1855-1860 are from Blackford while he was a student at the University of Virginia. The transcriptions were made by Blackford's son L. Minor Blackford, Jr., and bound into a volume called "Father's Letters, 1844-1859."

Folder 169-170

Folder 169

Folder 170

Volumes 7-8 #01912, Subseries: "Additions of 1994, 1844-1883." Folder 169-170

Printed copies of travel letters of Lancelot Minor Blackford on trips to Great Britain, Europe, and Russia, 1880-1883. Some (perhaps all) of the clippings are from Southern Churchman of Richmond, Va.

Folder 171

"The True Gentleman" #01912, Subseries: "Additions of 1994, 1844-1883." Folder 171

Partial typed copy of essay on Episcopal High School of Virginia letterhead, L. M. Blackford, principal, 1890s.

Folder 172-176

Folder 172

Folder 173

Folder 174

Folder 175

Folder 176

Miscellaneous Blackford Documents #01912, Subseries: "Additions of 1994, 1844-1883." Folder 172-176

Photocopies of family documents, including writings by L. M. Blackford, letters to and from family members, pictures, clippings, and other items, compiled by the donor.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 1997, circa 1850.

5 items.

Two daguerrotypes and 3 photographs of the daguerrotypes of Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford (1802-1896).

Image P-1912

Photographic copies of miscellaneous family photographs (negatives on file). #01912, Subseries: "Addition of 1997, circa 1850." P-1912

Special Format Image SF-1912/1

Ambrotype of family member. #01912, Subseries: "Addition of 1997, circa 1850." SF-1912/1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of April 2003, 1798-1836.

6 items.

Photocopies and typed transcription of Blackford family records from the 1798 Bible of Benjamin Blackford. Recorded are places and dates of births or deaths of family members and of "Negro children belonging."

Folder 177

Addition of April 2003 #01912, Subseries: "Addition of April 2003, 1798-1836." Folder 177

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff, 1997

Encoded by: Margaret Dickson, March 2006

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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