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Ruffin and Meade family papers, 1796-1906 (bulk 1848-1866).

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Creator: Ruffin and Meade family papers, 1796-1906 (bulk 1848-1866).
Collection number: 642
View finding aid.

Abstract: The Meade family of Prince George County and Ruffin family of Hanover County, Va. Principal family members are Rebecca Beverley Meade (d. 1867); John E. Meade, Jr. (1843-1862); Charlotte Meade Ruffin (fl. 1837-1900); Julian C. Ruffin (d. 1864); Eleanor Meade Platt (d. 1866?); and Bessie Meade Callender (b. 1832). Correspondence, mostly of women, and miscellaneous papers of the Meade and Ruffin families. Fullest between 1848 and 1866, the correspondence documents the family and social lives of the Virginia planter class, discussing courtship, religion, school life, plantation affairs, and family relationships. Some information also appears on the family and social lives of Meade relatives in Alabama and New Jersey. Letters in 1860 and 1861 comment extensively on secession and the outbreak of war, and Civil War correspondence often concerns camp life and women’s war work.Letters express strong opinions on the war and often mention local instances of slave resistance. Postwar letters, the bulk of which are dated 1866, concern family and financial matters. Scattered letters appear between 1867 and 1869 and 1897 and 1900. Miscellaneous papers consist mostly of school materials of John E. Meade, Jr., in the 1850s and early 1860s. There are only a few financial and legal items. Other items are poems, clippings, genealogical notes, a child’s scrapbook, and advertising broadsides.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Letters express strong opinions on the war and often mention local instances of slave resistance. Included are descriptions of the British seizure of ships near Rossgill, Virginia, and the exodus of many local slaves to the British  in 1814 (Folder 1); the public whipping of slaves in Prince George County, designed to deter an insurrection, dated 22 August 1861 (Folder 14 ).

There is also an 29 August 1866 letter describing a Virginia African American who supported his former mistress financially after her son was shot by another African American, as well as a fever which killed hundreds of African Americans in Alabama (Folder 17).

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