Elizabeth Seawell Hairston Hairston papers, 1805-1943.

Creator: Hairston, Elizabeth Seawell Hairston, 1855-1945.
Collection number: 1518
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Abstract: Elizabeth Seawell Hairston Hairston was a Virginia genealogist. Papers of Elizabeth Seawell Hairston Hairston and of other members of the Hairston, Penn, Wilson, and related families, chiefly of Patrick and Henry counties, Va. Included are personal correspondence and genealogical data. Early letters are to and from members of the Penn family, especially Elizabeth Seawell Hairston Hairston’s mother, Elizabeth (“Eliza”) Penn Hairston (b. 1826), and describe growing and selling tobacco, the settling of new lands in Louisiana and Alabama, and student life at Washington College in Lexington, Va., the University of Virginia, the Greensboro (N.C.) Female Institute, and other institutions for women. Beginning in 1848, most letters are about family life, but a few comment on local and state politics, 1851- 1852, and on the condition of slaves, 1852. Civil War letters describe activities on the home front, the routine of camp life at various locations, chiefly in Virginia, and life in the Union prison at Point Lookout, Md. During Reconstruction, letters discuss family financial hardships and problems with freedmen. Letters in the 1880s and 1890s deal chiefly with family matters, except for a few 1898 letters that relate to George Hairston’s military service during the Spanish-American War. Hairston never left Virginia during his enlistment, and his discharge may have been connected with his company’s involvement with an affray involving a black man, 14 August 1898. After 1900, the majority of the letters are about Hairston, Penn, and Wilson genealogy, and such organizations as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Colonial Dames. Also included are clippings and scrapbooks, most relating to the Civil War.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Letters discuss the condition of slaves (17 April 1852); black Union troops (1864); anxieties over newly freed slaves (28 November and 12 December 1865- 1877); and agreements with Georgia freedmen (16 August 1865). Also included are several letters relating to George Hairston’s military discharge during the Spanish-American War, which may have been connected with his company’s involvement in an affray with an African American (1898). Partial microfilm available.