Tag Archives: iron

- Volumes Provide a Rare Glimpse Into the Life of Slaves at Furnaces

The inside back cover of the Etna Furnace Negro Book was used to record infractions and disciplinary actions.

In July 1814, entrepreneur William Weaver made a chance investment in the Virginia iron industry along with his new partner, Thomas Mayberry. Weaver and Mayberry purchased Union Forge (later renamed Buffalo Forge), located in Rockbridge County, and two blast furnaces, Etna Furnace and Retreat Furnace, in neighboring Botetourt County. Later, Weaver would become a prominent and successful ironmaster in Virginia and one of the largest slaveholders in Rockbridge County.

Initially, Weaver staffed his furnaces with a mixture of white laborers and hired slaves, but in October 1815 he purchased 11 slaves. Weaver would use this group of slaves, which included a valuable ironworker named Tooler, to form the basis of his large crew of skilled ironworkers.

In 1825, Weaver filed a chancery suit in the Augusta County courts to dissolve his partnership with Mayberry. It was a rather acrimonious dissolution, with contention over who owned the slaves purchased in 1815. In a cagey move, Weaver had the bill of sale for the slaves made out to himself, rather than to the partnership of Weaver & Mayberry, claiming that Mayberry was against slave ownership. While examining volumes found at the Augusta County Courthouse, I discovered nine volumes belonging to Weaver and his iron interests, which had been used as exhibits in the case.

The volumes cover a variety of topics and document the purchases Weaver and … read more »

- IRON, WHISKEY, RAILROADS, AND RACE ARE FINDS IN NEWLY PROCESSED CHANCERY COLLECTIONS

A page from a stock certificate book used as an exhibit in the Craig County case of Kanawha Valley Bank vs. Manganese Iron & Coal Co., etc., 1911-011.

Transcript of Sen. Glasgow’s letter.

(Editor’s Note: The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that scanning has now been performed on the Craig County and Pulaski County chancery causes. The digital collections are now available online through the Chancery Records Index.)

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that processing and indexing of the Craig County and Pulaski County chancery causes is now complete.  Each of Virginia’s circuit courts created chancery records that contain considerable historical and genealogical information. Because the records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses, they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of Virginians from the early 18th century through the First World War. The indexes for both counties have been added to the Library’s online Chancery Records Index and are now available for research.

Craig County chancery covers the years 1853-1942, with the bulk of the cases falling between 1853 and 1912.  One suit of particular interest to researchers of African American education is the suit of Paris W. Compton vs. Admr. of Cornelius Compton, 1913-009, in which Paris was suing his father’s administrator to receive his inheritance.  In his bill, he states that he and his mother had moved to “Ardmore near the city of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, at which place your complainant has been attending school, for the … read more »