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|Size||1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)|
|Abstract||The family of George Hairston (1750-1827) of Beaver Creek Plantation, near Martinsville, Henry County, Va., and Elizabeth Perkins Letcher (died 1818) included their children Harden (1786-1862); John Adams (born 1799), who married and moved to Yalabusha County, Miss.; and Marshall (1802- 1882), who married his cousin, Ann Hairston. Marshall and Ann lived at Beaver Creek with their four children: John A., who was killed at Williamsburg, Va., in 1862; Elizabeth ("Bettie") Perkins, who married J. T. W. Hairston, son of Harden and Sallie (Staples) Hairston; Marshall, who never married; and Ruth Stoval, who married Robert Wilson of Danville, Va. The collection includes letters to Elizabeth ( "Bettie") Perkins (Hairston) Hairston from her mother, who wrote chiefly from Beaver Creek, the family plantation, 1850s-1890s; her sister, Ruth Stoval (Hairston) Wilson, who wrote from Danville, Va.; her brother, John A. Hairston, who wrote from school in Staunton, Va., 1855-1857; and her cousin, Jeb Stuart (1833- 1875), who wrote from West Point, 1853-1854, and while fighting against the Comanches in Texas, 1855. During the Civil War, Bettie lived with relatives in Yalabusha County, Miss., where she received letters from her family about life on the home front. There are also letters to Bettie, written after her marriage in 1873, from her husband, J. T. W. Hairston in Lowndes County, Miss., where he was trying to run a cotton plantation without slave labor. Other significant family correspondence documents the westward movement of various Hairston family members and includes some papers of George Hairston of Halifax County, Va., circa 1800-1820. In addition to correspondence, several account books document family life, including the involvement of family members in at least two stores in Henry County and Danville, Va., 1800-1829. A household account book, 1831-1869, gives detailed information about weaving, livestock raising, gardening, and other household production. There are also other financial and legal materials, including scattered bills, receipts, depositions, slave lists and other slave records, and labor contracts with freedmen.|
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Colonel George Hairston (1750-1827) built Beaver Creek Plantation in 1776 just outside Martinsville, Henry County, Va. In 1781, he married Elizabeth Perkins Letcher (died 1818), widow of William Letcher. They had twelve children: Robert (1783-1852), George (1784-1863), Harden (1786 1862), Samuel (born 1788), Nicholas Perkins (born 1791), Henry (born 1793), Peter (1796-1810), Constantine (born 1797), John Adams (born 1799), America (born 1801), Marshall (1802-1882), and Ruth Stovall (1804-1838). Elizabeth also had a daughter by her first husband. This daughter, Bethenia Letcher, married David Pannill and was the maternal grandmother of Jeb Stuart (1833-1864).
Marshall Hairston, eleventh child of George and Elizabeth, married his cousin, Ann Hairston, and they lived at Beaver Creek with their four children: John A., who was killed at Williamsburg in 1862; Elizabeth (Bettie) Perkins, who married J. T. W. Hairston, son of Harden and Sallie Staples Hairston, of Crawfordsville, Lowndes County, Miss.; Ann Marshall, who never married; and Ruth Stovall, who married Robert Wilson of Danville, Va. Robert Wilson was the son of Robert and Catherine Pannill Wilson. Beaver Creek descended to the children and grandchildren of Ruth Hairston Wilson.
Marshall's brother, John Adams Hairston, married Malinda Corn and lived with their five children in Yalabusha County, Miss. Bettie Perkins Hairston Hairston visited them often there.
J. T. W. Hairston was the seventh son of Harden and Sallie Staples Hairston. He was a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, a major in the Confederate Army, and a planter in Lowndes County, Miss. In 1873, he married his cousin Bettie. They had two children: Marshall, who died in infancy, and Watt H. Hairston (1876-1916), who never married.Back to Top
The bulk of the collection consists of letters to Elizabeth (Bettie) Perkins Hairston Hairston; thus there is more information about her correspondents' lives than her own. These correspondents include her mother, Ann Hairston Hairston, who wrote chiefly from the family plantations near Martinsville, Va.; her sister, Ruth Stovall Wilson, who wrote from Danville, Va., where she lived with her husband, Robert Wilson; her brother, John A. Hairston, who wrote from school in Staunton, Va.; her cousin, Jeb Stuart, who wrote to her from West Point and Texas. After 1873, there are also letters from her husband, J. T. W. Hairston, who wrote to her often from Crawfordsville, Lowndes County, Miss.
Other significant family correspondence documents the westward movement of various Hairston family members and includes some papers of Colonel George Hairston, who established the family plantations in Virginia. Scattered papers of Robert Wilson contain information about his business interests.
In addition to correspondence, several account books document Hairston family involvement in at least two stores in Virginia from 1800 to 1829; and a household account book, 1831-1869, gives detailed information about weaving, livestock raising, gardening, and other household production. Other financial and legal materials include scattered bills, receipts, depositions, slave lists, and labor contracts between Robert Wilson and various freedmen. These materials chiefly document family business in Virginia.Back to Top
Chiefly letters to Elizabeth (Bettie) Perkins Hairston Hairston from her mother, Ann Hairston Hairston; her sister, Ruth Stovall Wilson; her husband, J. T. W. Hairston; and various other family members, including her cousin, Jeb Stuart. There are very few letters written by Bettie herself. Early letters include those of Bettie's grandfather, Colonel George Hairston, and later letters include those of her son, Watt H. Hairston.
Correspondence of Colonel George Hairston with various business associates and family members, and correspondence of Marshall and Ann Hairston at Beaver Creek near Martinsville, Henry County, Va. Subjects are chiefly land and slaves, problems of farming, kinds of crops raised, and the westward migration of various family members.
Chiefly letters to Elizabeth (Bettie) Perkins Hairston Hairston. These include an 1853 letter offering motherly advice from Ann Hairston Hairston at Sassafras Grove, near Martinsville, Va., while Bettie attended school in Salem, N.C.; affectionate and descriptive letters from her cousin Jeb Stuart at West Point, 1853-1854, and fighting Comanches in Texas, 1855; news from her brother, Jack A. Hairston, at Eastwood School near Staunton, Va., 1855-1857; and letters, 1866, from Danville, Va., where her sister, Ruth Stovall Wilson lived with husband, Robert Wilson.
After 1854, Bettie spent much time at her Uncle John Adams Hairston's in Yalabusha County, Miss. There she received letters from a few family members fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War, but most correspondence concerns civilian issues--family news, war hopes and fears, accounts of contacts with troops, and problems of refugees--especially in Virginia and Mississippi. Letters after the war were written chiefly by Ann Hairston Hairston and Ruth Stovall Wilson, focusing on labor issues and adjustments to new political and economic realities with the end of slavery. Letters indicate that Ann apparently worked closely with a man named Townes to operate the Virginia plantations. Bettie continued to live alternately with family in Yalabusha County, Miss., and in Martinsville, Va. There are no courtship letters from J. T. W. Hairston, whom Bettie married in 1873.
The marriage of Bettie and J. T. W. Hairston marks a definite shift in correspondence. Thereafter, letters are chiefly from J. T. W. Hairston, of Crawfordville, Miss., to Bettie (usually in Martinsville, Va.) and their son, Watt. Hairston typically wrote about local events around Crawfordville and the Lowndes County seat, Columbus, Miss. He was preoccupied with farming and the problems of raising cotton without slaves. Letters suggest that he supplemented the family income by working as a land agent renting out property. His letters continue through 1906. Also of note are 1885 letters from Ann Hairston Hairston at the World's Fair in New Orleans and from Europe. Although most of the letters from Europe are undated, Ann seems to have spent an extended period there, perhaps from about 1888 to about 1898.
Letters from J. T. W. Hairston in Hairston, Miss., to his wife, and letters of other family members spanning the various generations represented throughout this collection.
Arrangement: chronological by type of document.
Slave lists, bills, receipts, agreements, depositions, and other documents. Of note are Robert Wilson's labor contracts with freedmen on his plantations, Danshill and Sandy River, 1865-1871.
|Oversize Paper OP-3149/1||
Includes floor plan, specifications, and bill for labor and materials.
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/1||
Accounts with individuals for liquor, merchandise, and labor, perhaps at Beaver Creek. The volume was also used as a scrapbook, and many pages have been pasted over with newspaper clippings and poems.
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/2||
Accounts with individuals showing labor performed and miscellaneous purchases. Also included is a "Cash account Halifax County," 1804-1805, and an "Inventory of the plantation utensils, household and kitchen furniture, and Stock of all kind delivd. to Washington Rowland by Parrish Green at Booker's ferry on the 19th day December 1804."
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/3||
Halifax County. Accounts with individuals for liquor, merchandise, and labor.
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/4||
"G. H. Ledger, Halifax." Entries made by George Hairston and Henry Hairston. In addition to ledger accounts with individuals with few itemized charges, the volume also contains "A statement of weights Tobo. made by James Elder at Bookers ferry in the year 1806" and "A Statement of Crop Tobo. made by Daniel Perkins in the year 1806."
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/5||
Account, 1811-1812, for Caswell County showing merchandize purchased and labor performed and daily accounts, 1818-1829, for the Goblen Town Store, Danville, Va.
|Oversize Volume SV-3149/6||
Household accounts for Beaver Creek and other plantations, possibly kept by Ann Hairston Hairston. A wide variety of entries document spinning and weaving, sewing, care of livestock, vegetable gardening, recipes, candle and butter making, and miscellaneous items purchased for the household. There is much information about slaves on the two plantations, including work performed, birth records, and clothing distributed. Many entries describe provisions lent or bartered to neighbors.
Processed by: Lisa Tolbert, January 1992
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top