Stringfellow family papers, 1833-1960 (majority within 1833-1931)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Stringfellow family
- The Stringfellow family papers include correspondence, diaries, financial documents, legal documents, and photographs related to the family of pro-slavery Baptist minister Thornton Stringfellow of Culpeper County, Virginia. Some of the material pertains to legal disputes over slaves and property from Stringfellow's estate. The collection contains testimonies by former slaves.
- 0.5 linear feet
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Mary Parsons, April 2012, and Naomi Herman-Aplet and Meg Hixon, January 2013
- Scope and Content:
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).
- Biographical / Historical:
Thornton Stringfellow was born on March 6, 1788, the son of Robert "Tory Bob" Stringfellow (1736-1815) and Catharine Stigler (d. 1828). The Stringfellows lived in Culpeper County, Virginia, where Thornton became the first minister of the Stevensburg Baptist Church in 1833. He helped organize the Southern Baptist Conference (later the Southern Baptist Convention) in 1845. In 1848, he retired to his estate, "Bel Air," where he was a farmer. During the Civil War, he provided grain, wagons, and services to Confederate forces. In 1812, Stringfellow married Amelia Walker (1796-1829), the first of his four wives and the mother of his two surviving children, Penelope (1813-1852) and Elizabeth (b. 1817). His other wives were Ann Nancy Hill (1786-1842) and widows Elizabeth F. Gibson (née Gray) (1795-1867), and Emily Ann Bowen (née Spindle) (d. 1874). Thornton Stringfellow died on March 6, 1869.
James Lawrence Stringfellow (1816-1899), Thornton Stringfellow's nephew, was the son of James L. Stringfellow, Sr. (1775-1847), and Hannah Robinson Moxley (1781-1859). A lawyer, James L. Stringfellow managed Thornton Stringfellow's estates, and he later inherited Bel Air. He married Penelope Stringfellow, his first cousin, in 1843, and they lived at Bel Air and, later, Thornton Stringfellow's "Summerduck" estate. Penelope Stringfellow died in 1852, and her widower married Harriet Ficklin (b. ca. 1822) in March 1854. They had three sons: Thornton (1860-1923), George F. (b. 1861), and James (1863-1866). Thornton Stringfellow married Cora Bell Ewing (1859-1931), and they had seven children. He later inherited the family estates.
Elizabeth Stringfellow, daughter of Reverend Thornton Stringfellow and Amelia Walker, married Charles Catlett Taliaferro in 1832. Their children included Elizabeth C. Taliaferro ("Betty") (1833-1876), who married James Mortimer Spindle (1821-1907). Spindle served in the 4th Virginia Cavalry Regiment and the 51st Virginia Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The couple's six children included Elizabeth Spindle ("Lizzie") (b. ca. 1860) and Thornton S. Spindle (b. ca. 1862). Lizzie Spindle married her cousin George F. Stringfellow, the son of James Lawrence Stringfellow and Harriet Ficklin.
Susan Blanche Stringfellow ("Susie") (1870-1953), the daughter of Bruce William Stringfellow (1838-1908) and Sarah Broadus (1837-1899), was a great-grandniece of Reverend Thornton Stringfellow and a granddaughter of Robert Stringfellow (1809-1880) and Elizabeth Ann Martin. After graduating from Captain Penick's Culpeper Female Institute, she attended the University of Virginia and Mary Washington College. She taught school in Culpeper County, Virginia.
- Acquisition Information:
- 1992, 1997. M-2786; M-2816; M-3374; F-423 .
- Processing information:
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The collection is arranged into the following series:
- Series I: Correspondence
- Series II: Diaries
- Series III: Documents
- Subseries I: Financial Documents
- Sub-subseries I: Receipts and Checks
- Sub-subseries II: R. S. Stringfellow Estate Documents
- Subseries II: Legal Documents
- Subseries I: Financial Documents
- Series IV: Photographs
- Series V: Newspaper Clippings
Each series is arranged chronologically
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
The library's Book Division has printed works by Thornton Stringfellow. Search the library's online catalog for more information.
Stringfellow, Patty. "The Reverend Thornton Stringfellow." Unpublished manuscript.
Additional detailed background information is available in the Manuscripts Division.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Administration of estates.
Executors and administrators.
Women teachers--United States.
Card photographs (photographs)
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Receipts (financial records)
Southern Baptist Convention.
Gibson, E. D.
Nalle, P. P.
Spindle, James Mortimer, 1821-1907.
Stringfellow, George F., b. 1861.
Stringfellow, James Lawrence, 1816-1899.
Stringfellow, Martin S.
Stringfellow, Susie (Susan Blanche), 1870-1953.
Stringfellow, Thornton, 1788-1869.
Stringfellow, Thornton, 1860-1923.
Culpeper County (Va.)
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Stringfellow Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan