William Staples to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 11, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia
Early in January 1861, Henry County businessman William C. Staples wrote to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, to complain about stagnant business conditions. He also endorsed Governor John Letcher's recent message to the General Assembly and speculated on proposals to call a state convention. Staples was doubtful, though, "If any possible good can result from a convention, let us by all means, have one—I however, greatly fear, that it is but a scheme of designing demagogues to hitch Va. on to the mad career, of So. Ca." Despite his misgivings, Staples went on to express, "I am for Southern rights, Southern honor and Southern institutions."