Eliza O. Perkins Burke papers  1846-1867
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Stringfellow family papers contain 82 items related to the family of pro-slavery Baptist minister Thornton Stringfellow of Culpeper County, Virginia, including letters, diaries, financial records, and legal documents. Some of the material pertains to legal disputes over slaves and property from Stringfellow's estate.

The Correspondence series (13 items) contains several letters later used as evidence in legal proceedings between James M. Spindle and James L. Stringfellow over Reverend Thornton Stringfellow's estate. James L. Stringfellow wrote his uncle, Reverend Thornton Stringfellow, about the Summerduck property. His letters provide information about agricultural production, slaves' health, and his personal finances. Other items include incoming business letters to James L. Stringfellow.

Two Diaries belonged to Reverend Thornton Stringfellow and Susie Stringfellow. Thornton Stringfellow composed sporadic entries in his diary between 1845 and 1863. The earlier entries pertain to the founding meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, held in Augusta, Georgia, in 1845, and the later entries concern his retirement and farm life. During the Civil War, Stringfellow wrote briefly about military actions, and disparaged the "Yankee Army." On May 30, 1863, he distributed pro-slavery pamphlets to Union soldiers passing his Bel Air estate. In October 1863, he wrote about his slaves' disappearance, which he blamed on the Union Army for promising them food, property, education, and social equality, and for threatening them. After his slaves ran away, Stringfellow noted the ways in which his wife and granddaughter managed the household (October 6, 1863).

Susie Stringfellow's diary concerns her experiences teaching school in the fall of 1931. She recorded students' arrivals and commented on her work in a school infirmary. The volume has a set of unattributed notes about soldiers from the French and Indian War and about the American Revolution, as well as a family tree connecting Susie Stringfellow to the family of James Gaines.

The Documents series is divided into two subseries: Financial Documents and Legal Documents. Financial documents include receipts and checks (26 items) regarding the financial affairs of Reverend Thornton Stringfellow and James L. Stringfellow, with bank records, inheritance documents, accounts, and purchase receipts, and R. S. Stringfellow Estate Documents (10 items) that pertain to Stringfellow's estate and to his trustees.

The Legal Documents subseries (12 items) concerns property ownership, real estate, and estate administration. Six items (approximately 140 pages) are depositions made in a legal case between James M. Spindle and James L. Stringfellow regarding Reverend Thornton Stringfellow's estate. Spindle, the plaintiff, acted on behalf of Elizabeth Taliaferro Spindle, his deceased wife and a granddaughter of Thornton Stringfellow, and James L. Stringfellow was the Stringfellow estate's executor. Spindle claimed that he was owed money earned from land sales in Kentucky, and that he did not owe "bond" money for two slaves bought of James L. Stringfellow. He disputed an agreement between Thornton Stringfellow and James L. Stringfellow over the latter's use of the slaves and property at Summerduck and questioned the distribution of Summerduck's profits.

The following people gave depositions. They were neighbors, former slaves, or members of the Stringfellow family.

  • E. D. Gibson (neighbor)
  • P. P. Nalle (neighbor)
  • George F. Stringfellow
  • Martin S. Stringfellow
  • Thornton Stringfellow
  • George Timpson (former slave)
  • Elizabeth Walker (neighbor)
  • Lewis Williams (former slave)
  • Sally Williams (former slave)

Additional items are legal statements from James M. Spindle and James L. Stringfellow, and documents that pertain to the disposition of the Summerduck estate in 1833 and 1853, to Thornton Stringfellow's estate, and to Mary Stringfellow's sale of a slave named "Susannah" (May 18, 1836).

The collection contains the following Photographs :

  • 8 cartes-de-visite of members of the Stringfellow family (undated)
  • 3 cabinet card photographs of members of the Stringfellow family (undated)
  • 2 silver gelatin prints depicting Petie Stringfellow's mother (20th century)

The Newspaper Clippings concern the deaths of Susie Stringfellow (ca. 1953) and Carrie Payne (July 14, 1960).

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