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|Size||5.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2900 items)|
|Abstract||Francis ("Frank") Gildart Ruffin (1816-1892), was a planter of Chesterfield County, Va., Confederate colonel, 2nd auditor of Virginia, editor, and political writer. Ruffin served as chairman of the Virginia Sinking Fund Commission, secretary of the Miller Manual Labor School, and editor of the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch. Other prominent family members represented in the collection include Ruffin's uncle, Albert G. Ruffin (died 1829), lawyer in Mississippi and Alabama and planter in Hanover County, Va.; Albert's wife, Eliza Roane Ruffin (fl. 1825-1837); and Eliza's father, Spencer Roane (1762-1822), state senator and judge, of Hanover County, Va. Chiefly postwar business papers of Francis ("Frank") Gildart Ruffin, but there are also scattered antebellum and Civil War items for Ruffin and the antebellum legal, financial, and personal papers of Ruffin's relatives, Albert and Eliza (Roane) Ruffin, and Spencer Roane. These include papers relating to Albert Ruffin's law practice, to Albert and Eliza's plantation and family affairs, and to Spencer Roane's purchases of land. Correspondence includes both personal and business letters. Antebellum financial and legal items consist of deeds, bonds, receipts, court petitions, warrants, pleas, court dockets, plantation accounts, and slave bills of sale. Postwar business papers include correspondence, accounts, reports, legal documents, maps, clippings, and other items pertaining to the Office of the 2nd Auditor of Virginia, the Sinking Fund, the Miller Manual Labor School, and F. G. Ruffin's writings. Miscellaneous items include advertising circulars, broadsides, and an undated travel diary kept by F. G. Ruffin in England. Of particular interest are papers relating to land claims, estate law, and financial arrangements in the frontier territories of Mississippi and Alabama; plantation finances; antebellum and postbellum Virginia politics; and economic development and race relations in the Reconstruction era. Considerable information appears on the deepening of the James River.|
|Creator||Ruffin, Frank G.|
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.
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Francis Gildart Ruffin (1820-1892), planter of Chesterfield County, Va., 2nd Auditor of Virginia, editor, and political writer, was orphaned as a child. It is unclear who his parents or his legal guardian were, but his affairs were often tended to by his uncle, Albert G. Ruffin, and aunt, Eliza Roane Ruffin. He may have lived for a time with Eliza Ruffin after Albert's death in 1829.
A colonel during the Civil War, Ruffin served as the Commissary of Subsistence for the state of Virginia until his resignation in February 1865 due to poor health. After the war, he became heavily involved in Democratic party politics. He held the position of 2nd Auditor of Virginia from 1884 until his death in 1892, served as chairman of the Sinking Fund Commission, and acted as Secretary of the Miller Manual Labor School in Richmond, Va. Ruffin also edited the Richmond Dispatch in the mid to late 1880s and was the author of several political pamphlets, including "The Negro as a Political and Social Factor" and "The Cost and Outcome of Negro Education in Virginia."
Ruffin had at least three sons, Francis G. Ruffin Junior, George R. Ruffin, and W. U. Ruffin. He may also have had a daughter, Sally.
Ruffin's uncle, Albert G. Ruffin (died 1829), was the son of William (died 1825) and Margaret Ruffin of Raleigh, N.C. He had three brothers, William H., Robert R., and A. R. Ruffin. Early in his career, Ruffin sought opportunity in the Mississippi Territory, where he opened a law practice in Winchester in the spring of 1818. He remained there until 1821, when he moved to St. Stephens in the new Alabama Territory. Ruffin left Alabama upon his marriage in the spring of 1825 to Eliza Roane of Richmond and took up planting at Spring Garden, her plantation near Hanover Town in Hanover County, Virginia. He planted corn, wheat, and cotton and engaged in local politics until his death in 1829. Albert and Eliza had one son, Spencer (1826-1831). After her husband's death, Eliza moved with Spencer to her Newcastle estate in Hanover County and continued planting. Her brother, W. H. Roane, moved to Spring Garden.
Eliza and W. H. Roane were the children of Spencer Roane (1762-1822), planter, politician, and judge of Hanover County, Va., and Elizabeth Hoskins Roane (died 1825). Judge Spencer was educated at the College of William and Mary, where he studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1782, he became a state representative and senator, an advisor to Governor Patrick Henry, and a judge in the General Court and State Supreme Court of Appeals. A staunch Anti-Federalist, he started the Richmond Enquirer in 1804 as a vehicle for his political views.Back to Top
Over half the collection consists of the postwar business papers of Francis G. Ruffin. The remainder are scattered antebellum and civil war items for Ruffin and the antebellum legal, financial, and personal papers of Ruffin's relatives, Albert and Eliza Ruffin, and Spencer Roane. The collection is organized in four series, each arranged chronologically:
Series 1 (1802-1818) contains financial and legal papers and correspondence pertaining to the purchase of land by Spencer Roane in Hanover County, Virginia. No information appears on Roane's political career or family.
Series 2 (1817-April 1829) consists of correspondence and legal and financial papers pertaining to Albert Ruffin's law practices in Mississippi and Alabama and to his plantation affairs in Hanover County, Va. Scattered estate papers appear for his father, William Ruffin; his father-in-law, Spencer Roane; and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoskins Roane. Financial and legal items include correspondence, deeds, bonds, receipts, court petitions, warrants, pleas, court dockets, accounts, and slave bills of sale. Personal correspondence also appears for Ruffin. The papers provide information on land claims, estate law, and financial arrangements in the frontier territories of Mississippi and Alabama; information on Ruffin's personal and plantation finances; and insight into national and Virginia politics.
Series 3 (May 1829-1837) contains the personal and financial papers of Eliza Roane Ruffin. Consisting mostly of accounts and correspondence, her papers are useful for studying plantation finances, family life, and the treatment of slaves.
The papers in Series 4 (1838-1892) are those of Francis Gildart Ruffin. They include correspondence, accounts, reports, legal papers, maps, clippings, and other items pertaining to the Office of the 2nd Auditor of Virginia, the Sinking Fund, the Miller Manual Labor School, and Ruffin's writings. Included are the papers of Asa Rogers, Ruffin's predecessor as 2nd Auditor. Miscellaneous items include advertising circulars, broadsides, and a travel diary.Back to Top
Financial and legal papers, including deeds, legal agreements, court documents, land plats, correspondence, receipts, bonds, and lawyer's accounts pertaining to Spencer Roane's purchase of land in Hanover County, Virginia, near the town of Newcastle. Individuals involved in the sale of the land and subsequent law suits concerning its ownership are Nicholas and Elizabeth Syme, John Meriwether Syme, John Syme, Thomas Christie, Samuel Richardson, Benjamin Brand, Benjamin Oliver, and William Cunningham.
Of interest in the papers is a copy, dated 1802, of an appraisement made in 1799 of the estate of Colonel Patrick Henry (1736-1799) of Charlotte County, Virginia. Henry was Spencer Roane's first father-in-law.
Legal, plantation, and personal papers of Albert G. Ruffin, while a lawyer in Mississippi and Alabama from 1817 to 1825, and while a planter in Hanover County, Virginia, from 1825 until April 1829. A few items appear for Ruffin's wife, Eliza Roane Ruffin; his father, William Ruffin; his father-in-law, Spencer Roane; and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Hoskins Roane.
Early papers are mostly correspondence with clients and lawyers concerning court cases, and financial and legal items, including receipts, bonds, wills, petitions, pleas, court dockets, prayers, certificates, warrants, subpoenas, judgments, legal memoranda, bills to clients, and deeds. The papers cover legal transactions in several locations, including Greene, Wayne, and Marengo Counties, Mississippi, and Washington and Monroe Counties, Alabama. A number of letters appear from clients in New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, for whom Ruffin acted as a collection agent. The steadiest correspondent of these was David Gordon of Philadelphia.
Personal accounts and correspondence also appear. Most of the accounts are for household items and services provided by hardware and dry goods merchants, K. L. Sherrod & Co., W. R. Graham, and John McRae of Winchester, Mississippi. A few accounts suggest that Ruffin may have operated a business, probably a milling concern, with John Harman of Winchester, Mississippi; however, neither their relationship nor the nature of their business is entirely clear. Of note in Ruffin's personal correspondence are letters from William Brockenbrough and Thomas Ritchie of Richmond, Virginia, and Judge Powhattan Ellis of Mississippi.
Brockenbrough and Ritchie wrote in 1817 responding to Ruffin's requests that they use their political influence to help him obtain a position in the new Alabama Territory; they wrote later discussing the election of 1824, Lafayette's visit to Richmond in 1824, and Ruffin's upcoming marriage to Eliza Roane in 1825. Judge Ellis wrote Ruffin from New Orleans on 11 July 1820 concerning Mississippi politics; on 22 November 1820 criticizing President Monroe's policies and the idle wealthy; and from Natchez on 24 May 1819 concerning upcoming elections, his crops, and court affairs.
Scattered letters appear addressed to William Ruffin in August 1824 concerning a dispute he had with William Polk and A. S. H. Burgess over an article he published in the Raleigh Register, which they felt slandered them.
Ruffin's later papers, covering the period after his marriage in 1825, contain mostly personal and business correspondence and plantation and personal accounts. William Brockenbrough and Thomas Ritchie remained his primary correspondents and wrote mostly concerning family news and finances and national politics. Brockenbrough wrote often about the settlement of Spencer Roane's estate and the Ruffins' plantation finances. Both he and Ritchie discussed family visits, illnesses, and conflicts, and ventured their political opinions freely, especially on Jacksonianism and the election of 1828. Ruffin also received a few letters from his relatives Archibald Ritchie and John Brockenbrough, who also wrote about family and politics. A number of letters from commission merchants B. W. Dabney and T. H. Drew of Richmond pertain to the sale of Ruffin's crops and the balance of his accounts. Occasional letters appear from old Alabama and Mississippi acquaintances and clients.
Financial items are primarily plantation accounts and receipts for blacksmithing, dry goods, groceries, hardware items, building supplies, and taxes. Of note is a list of subscriptions, dated 1 January 1828, for the construction of a meeting house in Hanover Town, Virginia. Occasional items appear concerning slaves, including slave bills of sale and jail charges for runaways apprehended in other counties.
Items appearing for others include several 1825 accounts, mostly with Richmond jewelers, milliners, and dry goods merchants, for Elizabeth and Eliza Roane; estate papers for Judge Spencer Roane (1825), William Ruffin (1825), and Elizabeth Roane (1826); and scattered letters to Eliza from Archibald and Thomas Ritchie and William Brockenbrough mostly concerning Albert's failing health, the welfare of her son, Spencer, and her prospective financial situation after Albert's impending death.
Undated materials are primarily court dockets and Ruffin's notes on cases; letters to Ruffin from Thomas Ritchie and others concerning family and finances; and letters to William Ruffin from A. S. H. Burgess pertaining to finances and from Thomas Ritchie concerning family.
Financial papers and correspondence of Eliza Ruffin after her husband's death. The bulk of the papers are receipts and accounts for plantation and personal expenses, including blacksmith work, groceries, overseer's pay, farm work, hardware items, and taxes, and dry goods and doctor's bills. Other papers are loan notes and miscellaneous legal items, a few pertaining to the settlement of Albert Ruffin's estate. Numerous accounts appear with commission merchant T. H. Drew of Richmond.
Eliza's most frequent correspondents include her brother, W. H. Roane, who lived at Spring Garden; her cousin, William Brockenbrough; her Ruffin relatives, Archibald and Thomas Ritchie; and her friends, Caroline Marx of Richmond and Amelia A. of Locust Green Plantation. The Ritchies, William Brockenbrough, and W. H. Roane seem to have taken shared responsibility for helping Eliza arrange her personal and plantation affairs, and wrote her often discussing the sale of her slaves, the hiring of overseers, financial investments, and the guardianship of her nephew, Francis G. Ruffin. Of note is a letter from Archibald Ritchie on 8 February 1830 describing his opinions on the proper way to manage slaves. Letters from Eliza's female friends discuss mostly news of family births, weddings, visits and vacations, illnesses, and deaths, and troubles they experienced with their slaves. Of interest is a letter from Caroline Marx in July 1831 expressing sympathy over the death of Eliza's son, Spencer.
Undated items are mostly receipts, with scattered letters appearing from Thomas Ritchie, Caroline Marx, Harriet (Marx?), Francis (Frank) G. Ruffin, Amelia A., I. O. Lay, J. Myers, T. H. Drew, and Mary ?. Of interest are a letter Frank Ruffin wrote from Rumford, Virginia, where he was attending school at Colonel Ritchie's, concerning his coming home, and another Caroline Marx wrote from Richmond discussing a visit she planned to make to Eliza. She claimed that she did not feel afraid of Eliza's slaves, even though Eliza was alarmed herself, suggesting an uprising had been threatened.
Scattered antebellum and civil war papers of Colonel Francis G. Ruffin and extensive business and personal papers of Ruffin as 2nd Auditor of Virginia, as editor of the Richmond Dispatch, and as an author of several pamphlets on racial and political matters. Also included are the papers of Asa Rogers, Ruffin's predecessor as 2nd Auditor of Virginia.
Correspondence and receipts of Francis G. Ruffin and miscellaneous unidentified items. One letter, dated 18 October 1844, is addressed to Ruffin at Everettsville in Albemarle County, Virginia, from W. H. Roane at Tree Hill Plantation and discusses farming and politics. Roane expressed anger at having to pay "tribute" on his crops to the "upstartish swell heads of New England," and commented on his uneasiness over the presidential election. Two letters appear from Ruffin at Summer Hill, his plantation in Chesterfield County. One, dated 27 August 1855, is to his son, Roane, at school, explaining the need for an education and a Christian outlook. This letter provides an extensive rationalization for the rights of the educated to profit off the labor of others. The second letter, dated 16 August 1857, is to James Higgins, an agricultural writer of Baltimore, and concerns Ruffin's farm, located 10 miles below Richmond on the James River. He sought advice from Higgins on how best to improve his soil. One receipt for postage appears for Ruffin in 1837.
Miscellaneous items include a handwritten copy of an editorial from the Baltimore Daily Exchange, dated 1 March 1860, on the selection of Judge Hugh L. Bend, and unidentified financial papers pertaining to General I. B. Harvie. Undated items are a cure for headache; a garden plat; and a sermon preached at the funeral of Mrs. Gildart.
Correspondence and other items concerning supplying Virginia troops with salt and Ruffin's position as Commissary of Subsistence. Letters appear from Ruffin to Brigadier General J. M. St. John, Commissary General. Of note are a contract between Ruffin and A. T. Holladay for the supply of salt and Ruffin's resignation, dated 26 February 1865. Ruffin's oath of allegiance to the United States, signed 29 April 1865, also appears.
Papers of the 2nd Auditor's office of Virginia, 1869-1892, and Ruffin's personal correspondence and financial papers. Miscellaneous items include a travel diary, advertising circulars, broadsides, and clippings.
Only two items appear for 1868. One is a letter from Peyton & Starke, insurance brokers of Baltimore, to Francis Ruffin, concerning the stipulations of their policy. (Ruffin may have been an agent for them.) Enclosed with the letter are printed circulars on the company. The second item is a note from J. E. P. on Peyton & Starke stationery to Ruffin concerning a plat of Ruffin's quarry.
Papers between 1869 and 1881 are almost exclusively those of Asa Rogers, Ruffin's predecessor as the 2nd Auditor of Virginia. They consist mostly of correspondence with state officials, including the governor, state treasurer, and attorney general, and with individual citizens. Topics in the correspondence include the payment of the state debt, the Sinking Fund, the redemption of bonds and coupons, court cases pending on coupon redemption, spending for public schools, counterfeiting bonds, and the hiring of clerks in the Auditor's office. Of note is a letter, dated 1 January 1876, from Rogers to Governor James L. Kemper discussing the establishment of the Miller Manual Labor School of Albemarle as provided for in the will of Samuel Miller. Other papers are mostly reports to the House of Delegates and the Senate on the state of the debt, calculations of the state's indebtedness, reports by the Board of the Sinking Fund, reports by the Board of the Miller Manual Labor School, and clippings of newspaper editorials on the debt.
Scattered personal items appear for Ruffin in 1877 and 1881. A letter, dated 1 January 1877, from Master J. M. Blanton of the Patrons of Husbandry to Ruffin discusses an investigation into connections between certain agencies and outside banks and firms. It is unclear whether he is referring to internal Grange agencies or outside agencies. An unidentified letter, dated 6 May 1877, discusses fertilizer formulas. A bond, account settlement, and receipt from Fisher and Elaur appear for Ruffin in 1881.
Papers between 1882 and 1892 pertain mostly to Ruffin's tenures as 2nd Auditor of Virginia, as Secretary of the Miller Manual Labor School, as chairman of the Sinking Fund Commission, and as editor of the Richmond Dispatch. Correspondence, financial papers, and miscellaneous items also appear related to his publication of several pamphlets, including "The Negro as A Social and Political Factor" and "The Cost and Outcome of Negro Education in Virginia," and to his personal finances.
Ruffin's records as 2nd Auditor are similar to those of Rogers, including correspondence on the state debt, accounts of the debt, Board reports, legal papers pertaining to coupon cases, engineering reports, and pamphlets, broadsides, and clippings concerning the debt and other topics of interest to the Auditor's office. Included in the papers are extensive correspondence, accounts, and maps related to the deepening of the James River and correspondence regarding the establishment of Navy yards and gun foundries; the development of shipbuilding and railroad construction; the passage and interpretation of several bills before the Senate, especially the Riddleberger Bill of 1882; various tariff issues; and expenditures for the public schools. Ruffin's papers regarding the Miller Manual Labor School and the Sinking Fund include mostly correspondence, reports, and accounts. In addition to loose correspondence, two letterpress copybooks, dated August 1885 to 1 December 1887 and 10 January 1888 to 25 January 1892, appear.
Ruffin's personal papers provide considerable information on his and others' racial attitudes and political stances during the 1880s and early 1890s. His extensive correspondence with politicians and friends, among whom were Rep. George D. Wise, John E. Massey, E. J. Harvie, L. L. Washington, and John Scott, discusses internal Democratic politics, conflicts between Republicans and Democrats, and racial problems in Virginia. Extensive correspondence appears in the 1880s from readers of his writings in the Richmond Dispatch and of his political pamphlets. Most of the writers were supportive of Ruffin's positions and expressed strongly held opinions on racial matters. Representative letters appear to Ruffin from C. M. Reynolds of Woodburne, who wrote on 8 September 1882, complaining that the "New South" had ruined Negro labor, and from J. L. Tucker of Mobile, Alabama, who wrote on 21 November 1883, giving his ten-page opinion on the Negro's incapacity to govern himself and lack of mechanical ability.
Miscellaneous drafts and corrected galleys of Ruffin's writings also appear, along with newspaper clippings about him. A notebook labeled "The Conduct of Judges Atkins and Hughes in the Coupon Cases" contains an editorial, dated 27 August 1885, clipped from the Richmond Dispatch, possibly written by Ruffin. A personal notebook from 1887 contains five pages of handwritten extracts from a letter to the Richmond Whig and a letter Ruffin wrote in response to it.
Ruffin's financial papers consist of bonds; accounts with grocers, druggists, and printers; and miscellaneous receipts for insurance and other services. An account book, 1886-1890, contains his accounts (9 pages) with insurance agents, Warren and Quarles.
Other personal items consist of scattered letters to Ruffin from his children, George R. Ruffin of Hope, Arkansas; Francis G. Ruffin Junior, in Mobile, Alabama; W. U. Ruffin of Danville, Virginia; and Sally M. I. Ruffin of Talley Farm. Sally signed her letters as "Your daughter," but may have been W. U. Ruffin's wife. Francis Junior, wrote from Mobile in March 1891 concerning his successful prospecting there for minerals. George Ruffin wrote in December 1890 giving family news and a report of a Colonel W. M. Fishbank. W. U. Ruffin wrote in July 1890 and July 1891 concerning real estate prospects, family, and his economic predictions. Sally wrote in July 1889 and January 1890 mentioning Ruffin's late illness and the health of her children.
Miscellaneous items scattered throughout the papers consist of advertising circulars, broadsides, event programs, tickets, and calling cards. A final item in the dated material is a letter of 18 October 1909 from Edwin W. Alderman, president of the University of Virginia, to Bennehan Cameron of Stagville, North Carolina, expressing his regret that he had to cancel an engagement to make a speech.
Undated materials (8 folders) include a travel diary; correspondence pertaining primarily to the James River, the Sinking Fund, and Ruffin's writings; business papers concerning the James River and the state debt; drafts and galleys of Ruffin's writings; printed copies of legislative bills; and political broadsides. Of interest is a handwritten copy of an extract from "The Negro as a Soldier" and a genealogical chart showing the Ruffin and related families. The 25-page travel diary, both in the original and a photocopy, describes Ruffin's travels in England. One undated photograph, labeled "Miss Betsy" appears.
Processed by: Jill D. Snider, October 1991
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top