Frank G. Ruffin papers, 1802-1909.

Creator: Ruffin, Frank G.
Collection number: 640
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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 (d. 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 legalitems 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.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: In┬áSeries 2, there are papers concerning the treatment of plantation slaves (1829-1837), and slave bills of sale and jail receipts for runaways apprehended in other counties (1817-1829). In Series 3, there is correspondence about the management of slaves and hiring of overseers (1829-1839); and a female plantation owner’s fear of her slaves (n.d.; see Folder 45 and 56).

In Series 4.3, papers include items related to Asa Ruffin’s publication of several pamphlets, including “The Negro as a Social and Political Factor” and “The Cost and Outcome of┬áNegro Education in Virginia” (1882-1892);

Democratic 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.

In the undated folders at the end of this series, the collection also contains a handwritten copy of an extract from “The Negro as a Soldier” (n.d.).