Skip to main content

E. A. Williams papers

Identifier: MS 0899


This collection contains personal and business papers of the Williams family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Papers are principally those of Captain Edwin Williams (1828-1873), who was an officer in the Confederate Army, treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, a bank trustee, lawyer, and tobacco grower. Papers of other family members include those of Captain Williams' second wife, Lucy Kennon; his sons, Carter N., Thomas Nelson, and Henry S. Williams; daughters-in-law Rose Haskins and Sue Withers; courtship letters of Alice Kennon Williams; and grandson, Edwin A. Williams, III of Baltimore, a noted genealogist.


  • 1749-1969


Conditions Governing Access

Public use of the Diary of William Chancellor (1750-1751) is restricted to microfilm. See microfilm reel MS 899.

Other material in the collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

Captain Edwin A. Williams (1828-1873) was the son of Jeremiah Williams, a Welshman who settled in Virginia. Captain Williams served in the Virginia militia from Charlotte County; in the Confederate State Army as a Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence; as a treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad; as a bank trustee, and was also a lawyer and tobacco grower.

Captain Williams was married twice. First to Elizabeth Hamlett, then to Lucy Page Kennon (1874-1889). His children were Carter N. Williams (1864-1884), Edwin A. Williams, Jr. (born circa 1843), Thomas Nelson Williams (1899), Henry S. (1864-1865), E. Kennon, and Alice Kennon Williams (1865-1878).

Edwin Anderson Williams, III, son of Carter N. and Rosa Haskins Williams and grandson of Captain Edwin Anderson Williams was a Baltimore businessman and noted genealogist.


2.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes (3 full Hollinger boxes; 1 flat box))

Language of Materials



The materials in this collection are arranged by series.

Captain E. A. Williams Papers

Letters (1842-1873) of Captain Edwin A. Williams (1828-1873) concern the building of a house and two-story brick tobacco factory; affairs of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, including an 1864 decision to invest in Confederate certificates, and the re-election of Henry Wood as president; servants wages; the return of some negroes hired from him by G. Wilkinson because the latter was leaving to serve in the war and could no longer be responsible for them (1861); property and insurance; a circular to citizens along the route of march from Major General Howard, the Maryland Guards of the Army of Tennessee about provisions procurement procedures of his unit; and Captain Williams' resignation from the Confederate Army (1865) because of his age and family responsibilities.

Other papers of Captain Williams include copies of legal agreements and property indentures (1828-1870) concerning land transactions, legal decisions in law suits, sale of railroad bonds, contracts for house and factory construction, a petition to the state legislature (Virginia) about navigation of the Roanoke River, and settlement of a personal dispute between him and another official of the Roanoke Valley Railroad.

Also, Mecklenburg County Tax Account lists (1841-1848) of insolvent and nonresident levies, and financial papers (1830's-1870) including account statements, promissory notes, bills and receipts for a variety of household and personal items as well as itemized bills for labor and materials for house and factory building construction.

Williams Family Papers

Letters (1874-1889) of Lucy Page Kennon Williams (Mrs. Edwin A. Williams) are to her step-son Henry and daughters-in-law Sallie and Sue, and concern the death of her child, and a flood in Clarksville (1871) in which Thomas Williams lost three barns of tobacco.

Letters of Henry S. Williams (1864-1865) are to his future wife, Sue Dabney Withers and concern visits. Sue's letters (1861, n.d.) are from her father, Colonel R. E. Withers from Camp Dickens urging his family to write, reporting that General Beauregard has taken command and remarking on his reputation, and saying that General Bonham was ordered to advance into Fairfax County (1861); and her mother, Mary Virginia Withers, wrting from Hong Kong, commenting on the building of Sue's church, the celebration of Christmas in Hong Kong, the servants, on Chinese feelingsfor their female children, and that her husband is out of debt.

Letters of Carter N. Williams (1864, 1865) are to his father, Captain Edwin Anderson Williams, and his brother, Edwin Anderson Williams, Jr. Writing from the camp of the 14th Virginia Regiment, he asks his father to pay a debt and for some equipment. In 1881, Carter wrote to his children, Hallie, Page, and Edwin, describing Richmond and telling them how city boys and girls amused themselves.

Rosa Haskins (Mrs. Carter Williams) letters (1910,1912) are to her son, Edwin Anderson Williams, III and daughter-in-law, Mary Thornhill Williams (Mrs. Edwin, III) and Sue Williams. They concern family visits and grand-children.

Letters of Alice Kennon Williams include courtship letters and poems from numerous suitors (1865-1878).

Letters to Thomas Nelson Williams (1899) from Addie Sinclair Feild discuss financial matters and relatives.

Edwin A. Williams III Papers

The papers of Edwin A. Williams, III (son of Carter N. and Rosa Haskins Williams, and grandson of Captain Edwin Anderson Williams) include two volumes of Plain Facts About Some Virginians, with an index. The volumes are letters, photographs and documents gathered for genealogical information. Also, includes letters (1908-1923) to his uncle Thomas Nelson Williams, from his aunt, Sarah Hamilton Williams (wife of Edwin A. Williams, Jr.), from a distant cousin, and a Texas cousin, all concerning family history. Among the letters are abstracts of legal documents concerning Captain Williams, Jeremiah Williams, and Christopher Haskins.

Miscellaneous Materials

Also in the collection is a folder of unidentified handwritten sermons and poetry (1836 and undated); family documents (1872-1921), including marriage certificates for Carter N. and Rosa Williams and Edwin A. Williams and Mary Thornhill, diploma and Mason membership certificates of Edwin Anderson Williams, III, and a commission for Thomas N. Williams as director of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute of Petersburg, Virginia.

Bound volumes of material include the diary of William Chancellor (1750-1751) describing a slaving expedition from New York to the coast of West Africa; an expense account book (1847-1855) and a book of Collections for Roanoke Valley Railroad Extension (both belonged to Captain Edwin Anderson Williams), and a book describing the marriage ceremony of Edwin and Mary Thornhill Williams, 1904.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mr. E. A. Williams, 1962.

Separated Materials

Photographs and tin type of E. A. Williams, III, Lucy Page Williams, Anna Nelson Williams, and Haskins Williams from 1872-1936 were separated in 1981 to create PP 0053, E. A. Williams photograph collection.

Scope and Contents

The E. A. Williams Papers (1749-1969) include personal and business papers (letters, financial records, legal agreements), documents, genealogical material, photographs, and other papers of the Williams family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

Most of the papers are those of Captain Edwin Anderson Williams, and relate to his activities as a lawyer, bank trustee, treasurer of the Roanoke Valley Railroad, tax collector, tobacco grower, and Confederate Army officer. His papers date from 1828-1873, and include letters, financial papers, legal papers, and tax accounts. His papers document his varied business and public activities and have references to slaves and the Civil War, but reflect little of his private life.

The letters of Captain Williams' second wife, Lucy Kennon, and his sons Carter N., Thomas Nelson and Henry S. Williams, daughters-in-law Rosa Haskins and Sue Withers, and his daughter Alice Kennon Williams complement his papers by reflecting family life. The letters of Alice Kennon Williams (1865-1878) are courtship letters from numerous suitors.

The papers of Edwin Anderson Williams, III include letters and documents and photographs relevant to family history (1908-1928). Also, two volumes of genealogical material, Plain Facts About Some Virginians and its index are included.

A significant item in the collection is the diary of William Chancellor (1750-1751), a ship's doctor who kept a diary during a slaving voyage from New York to the coast of West Africa.

Guide to the E. A. Williams papers
Under Revision
Edith Prise
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-09-18: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States