George Hairston papers, 1778-1919.

Creator: Hairston, George, 1822-1866.
Collection number: 4477
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Abstract: George Hairston, tobacco planter of Pittsylvania County, Va.; his wife Anne Elizabeth Hairston George (1834-1925), who, after Hairston’s death, married Forney George; the Hairston’s son Samuel (1865-1933); and George’s first cousin Louisa H. Watkins (fl. 1851-1872), her husband Peter Wilson Watkins (fl. 1851-1865) of Henry County, Va., and their son Hairston Watkins (fl. 1864-1865). Chiefly correspondence and business papers of George Hairston, 1850-1860, and his estate papers, 1866-1898. There are also letters and financial papers of Anne Elizabeth Hairston George, Samuel Hairston, Major Peter Hairston (1752-1832), and George’s father-in-law William Lash (fl. 1834-1896). George Hairston’s correspondence is mostly letters with his older brother Peter W. Hairston (1819-1886).Topics include family and neighborhood life; plantation affairs, including conditions among the slaves; Virginia politics; estate settlements; civilian and military experiences during the Civil War, including the service of African-American soldiers and the service of Hairston Watkins with the 24th Virginia Cavalry Regiment and as a prisoner at Point Lookout, Md.; the work of freedmen in Virginia; and postwar finances.Of note is a series of letters in the 1850s concerning Robert Hairston’s estate in Mississippi, which he tried to leave to his child by a slave. Family plantations in Pittsylvania and Henry counties, Va., and Davie and Stokes counties, N.C., are documented. Business papers include deeds and land surveys, accounts, receipts, wills, land rental agreements, clippings, advertising circulars, programs, poems, school grade reports, calling cards, and line drawings.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights:Letters discuss plantation affairs, including conditions among slaves in North Carolina (1842-1861); antebellum free blacks in Philadelphia (1847); the well-attended execution of a black man in Virginia for murdering another black man (1844); the enrollment of black soldiers by Yankee forces (1864); a “Negro tournament” in Stokes County, North Carolina (1876); African-American voting in Virginia (1884); and accounts of crops produced by freedmen in Virginia or North Carolina (1866-98). Also included are a slave bill of sale and slave lists (1840, 1844-1865) and information concerning the attempt of Hairston’s step-grandfather, Robert Hairston, to will his lands in Lowndes County, Mississippi, to a slave child he fathered (1844-1865).