Alfred Chapman Papers, 1779-1876 (bulk 1845-1869)

Creator: Chapman, Alfred, 1813-1876.
Collection number: 1545
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Abstract: Alfred Chapman (1813-1876), native of Orange County, Va., was an official of the United States and Confederate war departments. The collection includes scattered family and professional papers, chiefly 1845-1869, of Alfred Chapman. Included are early papers of Chapman’s ancestors in Orange County, Va.; payrolls of Virginia militia units during the Revolutionary War; family and business correspondence of Chapman at Staunton, Va.; about 40 letters from Chapman to his wife, Mary Edmunds Kinney Chapman, 1850-1852, while he was in Washington, D.C., working in the pension and Indian offices, about family matters, his work, and other topics. Among the letters is a brief recommendation letter, 23 June 1851, written by Daniel Webster on behalf of his former slave Paul Jennings, whom he had freed in 1847. Jennings had originally been owned by President James Madison. There are also very scattered papers pertaining to Chapman’s appointment in the Confederate government and to its operations; and letters, 1876, to Mrs. Bedford Brown, Alexandria, Va., from her son.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Folder 3 includes a recommendation letter, dated 23 June 1851 written by Daniel Webster on behalf of Paul Jennings, an enslaved man Webster formerly owned. Jennings had been raised a slave under the ownership of President James Madison. He was later sold to Webster, from whom he purchased his freedom in 1847.