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1778 Parole Agreement for Robert Welford (sic)
The scanned original can be found by searching the American Memory Collections at theLibrary of Congress. Search for the name Welford (one L).American Memory - LOC
I Robt. Welford, Surgeon do promise and so hereby engage upon the word and honor of agentleman, that I will not directly or indirectly during my captivity say or do any thing by wordor deed injurious or in the least degree ?judicial to the interest of the United States of NorthAmerica, and that I will in all things till I am regularly and duly exchanged or otherwise properlyreleased.-- demean and conduct myself as a gentleman and prisoner ought to do.
Given under my hand this 15 day of June 1778.
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1778 Letter of Introduction for Robert Wellford by George Washington
Location of originals unknown. Apparently there were several copies signed by GeorgeWashington. A photographed copy of one of the originals is held by Wilson Trammell ofTallahassee, Florida.)
William Fitzhugh Esq.of Chatham
near Frederick Virginia
Brunswick, New Jersey, 1778
Dr. Wellford late of the British Army has an idea of settling in Virginia at the town ofFredericksburg. He will have the pleasure of presenting this to you. He is a gent. highly spokenof in his profession and deserves every countenance and support from us for his great humanity,care and tenderness for the sick and wounded of our Army in captivity. Hence it is, I take theliberty of recommending him to your civilities.
I am with sincere regard and affection to you
your most obedient friend
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1830 Letter to Robert Yates Wellford from John Spotswood Wellford
The original letter is in the possession of Wilson Trammell of Tallahassee, Florida (gggg-grandson of Robert Yates Wellford).
Fredericksburg - April 14, 1830
Your very welcome letter came to hand on Wednesday last evening 13.6.Willis? check onWashington for $308.38 which is placed to your credit with $266? W.J. Lane this day ? to thecare of B. Taylor & Brown a check in Baltimore for one hundred thirty dollars in a letter to yourwife, whose cap in her venerable worthy and most respectable father I do most ? and deeply ?,the money is also sent to Skinner for the ? register for Byrd say five dollars and both sumsamounting to one hundred thirty five dollars to your debit with ? 266. W.The costs were inFebruary I made a visit to my son Wm. and daughter Jane in the lower country and after beingwith them only two days was sent for in consequence of a severe illness with which our dearmother was served? and which continued for fourteen days with great severity and every dayduring the time gave fearful evidence that it was the last.Beverley slept in the house andcontinued almost constantly with her during the time.I have much pleasure in saying she ismending very gradually and most ???? will again to restored to her usual health.Charles hasbeen very unwell lately and has given us some ?? least his general health should be on thedecline for you know he has been long threatened with a breast complaint.Beverley washowever of opinion that he might leave home for the month and he accordingly left here forNew York on Thursday last and his letter form Philadelphia this morning stated his health to berather improving, he is ??? to make satisfactory replies to an injuries that may be maderespecting you on your ?It affords me great pleasure to leave that up ??? is more knowing? andthat you are determined to give it close and ?? attention.
My old and intimate friend Daniel ? has ? the ? of nature ? leaving me his first acting executorbut his affairs involve so much responsibility that I think it will be ??? in ?? is also left and is nowsomewhere in your country and is much wanted to take ?? of his affairs.
Say to my friend Ms. Willis her grandson is a fine ?? boy and in good health - that Ms. Stinedeparted this life on Sunday week last.
Your relatives and friends ? every care ? with ? in our ? good wishes for your health andhappiness.
J. S. Wellford
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1832 Letter to Robert Yates Wellford from Charles Carter Wellford
The original letter is in the possession of Wilson Trammell of Tallahassee, Florida (gggg-grandson of Robert Yates Wellford).
Fredericksburg - March 10, 1832
My dear Brother,
Week after week have I waited for a reply to two letters which were written you by me and oneby Beverley but either the irregularity of the ? or your business have deprived us of thatpleasure. There is nothing new with us we have had a winter of great severity which has tendedto make the roads intolerably bad and thereby business ?I received a letter from New York thismorning stating the pressure in the money market is almost unprecedented and a decline of 15 to20 percent in prices of goods has taken place particularly in French and India descriptions?, Ihope you have made successful sales with the purchases made for you by me as I was totallyunacquainted with the styles for the Florida market. It is my intention to leave here on thenorthern tour shortly ? as soon as the ? can be collected together ? .Mary Gray is to be marriedon the 12th of April to Dr. Wm. Brokenbrough of Tapp.? he is said to be a deserving youngman and their union meets with the entire approbation of our sister. My good woman presentedme with a daughter on the 1st February and we have determined to name her Lucy Gray.M.Dickinson informed me you and yours were well and that Richard is your head man in the store- say to him I hope he will ? his avocation and soon become a complete judge of good ?.Say toLouisa she might find leisure occasionally to ? matters move on. It would give me great pleasureto ? in upon you but the chains of business bind me faster and faster every year. How is Sophiaand the boys, intelligence from you all would be very gratifying. Mr. Willis requests me to sayyou will receive by the swift a bag of Rib Wort in care of Cotterall - he is in fine spirits from hislate success but says the Comet or cholera must be at hand. The Comet is dreaded by himbecause it will dry up the water and he says he shall continue to eat and drink until the choleramakes its appearance and then he shall fill up with charcoal as a sure prevention.
Let me hear from you - offer my best love to all dear to you and believe? me as ever.
Charles C. Wellford
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1832 Letter to Robert Yates Wellford from B. Willis
The original letter is in the possession of Wilson Trammell of Tallahassee, Florida (gggg-grandson of Robert Yates Wellford).
Fredericksburg - March 10, 1832
My dear Robert,
Don't believe a word of it we have not forgotten you nor yours.? you have said so a dozentimes there is no man out of my own family that would be half as good to us?We arewondering of your silence.Call. told me something of you or you might have been dead, my ?never ? and must have imparted to you the same ? pen, ink and paper " ? up for shame" put onyour specs, flourish your pen and let us have it.But I forgot to tell you No. 1340 with Wm.Roberts and Byrd Weller on the back of it drew $5000 in the Germanna lottery the other day,my past will cover the tops of my packet book and the bad bargain I made in the ? of that boycan?, same luck you ? after 40 years.
Spotswood has gone down to Laneville with Storrow to settle up his ? with Corbin.Charlesand Beverley say they have both written to you without hearing from you - this place is as dull ?as ? as nobody has religious? people except myself I go everywhere ? of the best, and suchducks such oysters and such rock?! ? and yet ? nothing to tell you your relations? are all welland I think ? my wife ordered me today not to show my face at home unless I ? to you to tellyou how much she loves you, your wife and family in ?I had been threatening to write for thelast six months but put it off.Procrastination is the thief to time says the Good Book and neverwas any ? truer ? "Have sent to Baltimore a bag of bib wort seed to be forwarded to you to bedistributed among my children and friends.In think it will resist your hot and dry weather betterthan any other grass. When young cattled sheep are very fond of it, besides it will give you a ?appearance about your ?I always thought that the lawn and ?? were tenderer than anywhereelse and they grazed upon a standing pasture where this grass was kept down and consequentlyyoung.It has a short top ? which enables it to resist the sun?? I am satisfied can not live inFlorida throughout the summer.There are among the seeds some locust and catalpa twas notknown by the ? that made the bag that such trees were to be found in Florida.However, youmay as well plant them.If ? In beg you to send a half bushel to Capt. Chase at Pensacola ?including locust and catalpa seeds.In have it ? very much the propagation of this grass in theterritory tho In am certain to incur the ? of some ? harder thing to keep ? in the corn fields. Besure ? were by ? in the yard at Llyona.
now God help you my dear fellow its hard to tell when a ? (an offer ?) can come home.
B. ? Willis
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1873 Letter from Joseph D. Wilson to Mary Richard Wellford (Wilson)
The envelope, which is tattered at the top appears to says Kurchens Of Mr. Francis.Below itsays Mrs. J. D. Wilson, Tallahassee, Fla. The original letter is in the possession of WilsonTrammell of Tallahassee, FL (gg-grandson of Joseph and Mary Wilson).
August 3rd, (18)73
I received your precious letter by mail and acting on the suggestion contained found at theP.O.all your letters. I will write by mail here after you do the same. You must not be impatient aboutthe change. I will certainly inform you as soon as I am all right. God preserve you precious boy?Yr Husband
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1908 Letter on family history to Mrs. Joseph D. Wilson (Mary RichardWellford) from Beverley Randolph Wellford, Jr.
Location of original is unknown.At the time the letter was received, it was re-typed.Thattyped copy is in the possession of Susan Schueler of Akron, Ohio (g-granddaughter of E.W.Wilson).
Columbia, South Carolina
April 17, 1908
Mrs. Joseph D. Wilson,
My Dear Mrs. Wilson:
May I not say My Dear Cousin Mary Richard Wellford? I feel abundantly justified in making thisclaim from information received from your friend, Mrs. R.E. Gibbes. You are the same littlecousin whom I saw in Fredericksburg in the Forties of the last century, when your Father's greataunt, Miss Sophia Sterrett, brought your mother and yourself to visit the Wellford kindred intheir ancestral homes. Your father was Richard Gitttings Wellford; whose life of honoredpromise was cut short by the tragedy of his father's family in September 1842. He was thenbeginning the practice od law in Tallahassee, but had already won his spurs in the battle ofWithlacoochee as the Boy Major of the Tallahassee Volunteers.
He had very recently married a Miss Smith and was spending his honeymoon at the house of herparents some 15 or 20 miles in the country adjacent to Tallahassee. Like a fire bell at night, hewas startled by hearing of the invasion of Yellow Fever of his Father's home and hurried toshare the duties and hazards. He returned only in time to be numbered as the last of the victimsof the family tragedy. His younger brothers, Edward Randolph and James Gittings, my oldercompanions at school in Fredericksburg, had only recently completed the family circle inFlorida. The yellow fever was prevalent then at St. Marks, a days travel from Tallahassee.Edward, a tall manly boy of 18 years, rode over on some matter of business and veryincautiously and it proved to be very disastrously spent the night in St. Marks. He therecontracted the infection and returned home to Tallahassee to die. He died on Friday, his brotherJames on the next Monday. His father died on Tuesday. His mother died on Thursday and yourfather, the last of the family, died the next Monday.
At that time there were only two mails during the week from Tallahassee. I will remember thegloom over our Fredericksburg home occasioned by a letter from Tallahassee to Mr. Wellford,brother of R.G. Wellford, of Florida. This letter was written, I think, by Thomas Brown,afterwards a Governor of Florida. One page of the sheet was a letter from Uncle Robertintroducing the write to his brothers in Fredericksburg. The other page explained the failure todeliver it in person, and was sent only to present him, with touching sympathy, as the bearer ofill tidings.
In that letter he told us of the death of Edward, James, and Uncle Robert, and of the illness ofAunt Louisa, adding in a postscript, "Prepare for the worst; Mrs. W has the black vomit. I willwrite by next mail." The next mail supplemented the tragic record by announcement of the deathof Aunt Louisa on Thursday and of your father on the next Monday. The whole Wellford familyand a negro cook were swept away. The only two white inmates who escaped were a veryfaithful and traditional nurse, a Mrs. Cowardin, and Aunt Louisa's maiden Aunt and Fost(er?)Mother, Miss Sophia Sterrett. They returned to Baltimore.
Your father was always the pet of Miss Sophia Sterrett and after your birth she was extremelysolicitous to have you brought in touch with your paternal Wellford kindred in Virginia and yournatural kindred of the Gittings and the Sterretts, honored names in the olden history ofMaryland. At her urgent invitation your mother brought you in babyhood to Baltimore and shebrought you both to Fredericksburg. Then and there when I was a boy in my teens I saw you.
Of course you have no personal recollection of these details of family history; but I think youhave enough to assure you that I am not in error in identifying you with the only survivor of myfather's brother, and as such a common inheritor with me of the unstained and in everygeneration the honored name of Wellford.
My own and your Father's Grand Father was the appreciated friend of George Washington, andhis noble help meet, our common Grandmother, was the direct descendent of the sameRandolph stock which has illuminated the pages of history by the Randolph's of the Revolution,Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall and among and above all others our ownincomparable Robert E. Lee.
The garrulity of old age tempts me to tax you with prolonging this letter. I am sure that themore you know of our family history the more you will appreciate the earnest, prayerful purposeof a waning old age to commend to our coming race the high ideals of noble and Christianmanhood and womanhood of our ancestral blood.
God forgive any of us or ours who will so depart from the hollowed memories of our assuredpast as to outlive or in lengthened life to be untrue to our Revolutionary or Confederate heritage.
Very Truly Yours,
B.R. Wellford, Jr.
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1908 Letter on family history to Mary Richard Wellford (Wilson) fromBeverley Randolph Wellford, Jr.
Location of original is unknown.At the time the letter was received, it was re-typed.Thattyped copy is in the possession of Susan Schueler of Akron, Ohio (g-granddaughter of E.W.Wilson).(See next letter where Mary R. Wellford writes that she couldn't read the history untilTalbot "type wrote" it for her.)
Dr. Robert Wellford
The name was spelled in England with a single L, and after my Grandfather's settlement inAmerica, his father sent him a sign bearing the inscription of
Dr. Robert Welford (with the one L)
I always understood from my father that his father claimed the original spelling of the name waswith a double L, and, in coming to America to be the founder of a new race in a new country hepreferred to revert to the old spelling. As a boy, I thought this to be a sort of fad with myGrandfather until I bought in after years a volume of British Judicial History (Foss" BiologicalWorks), with the names of all the old British judges from the old Norman days, and amoung theJudges of Richard Coeur de Lion and John 1, found the names of Ralph de Welleford and ofGoeffroy de Welleford. In never doubted afterwards the inspiration of my Grandfather's changeof the spelling of the name.
He came to America in 1777 as a surgeon of the Royal Grenadiers in Gen. Howe's Army ofInvasion. He was a very young man, beginning his practice with his father in Ware, England. Aprominent nobleman in driving through the country from London was the victim of a veryserious accident. In obedience to the summons for the nearest medical aid, my Grandfather, inthe absence of his father, answered the call and so successfully ministered to the relief of hispatient as to win his appreciation and friendship during a somewhat protracted confinement inbed, etc. This patient took a great fancy to my Grandfather and earnestly advised him to seek awider field for his professional life than the limited surroundings of Ware, and offered to procurefor him a position upon the Medical Staff of the Army then about to sail for India--or, as analternative, of the then projected Corps. of Gen. Howe for America.
He chose the latter, and came to America as Surgeon of the Battalion of Royal Grenadiers inGen. Howe's Army. His very high professional merits were readily recognized. He was withGeneral Howe when Philadelphia was captured, and, as a consequence, many wounded anddisabled American victims of the disasters of Brandywine and Germantown fell into the hands ofthe British requiring medical care and attention. They were inhumanly cared for, and manycurable wounded Americans died from utter neglect, if not wanton cruelty. To such an extentdid this ill treatment prevail that Gen. Washington made a formal complaint, with threat ofretaliation to Gen. Howe. He was so much impressed by the complaint and himself a humanegentleman, ordered investigation , which resulted in the disgraceful discharge of a TorySurgeon, then in charge of the Hospital, and the substitution of my Grandfather. Hisadministration of the high trust was eminently successful in preserving the lives of manyAmerican Officers and privates, and in winning for himself their affectionate regard. His successand popularity with the his patients provoked amoung the Hessians and other low toned Britishofficers an antagonism which occasioned some professional discourtesy to him by his superiorofficers of the line, in resentment for which my Grandfather, while the British were in occupancyof Philadelphia, tendered his resignation, proposing to remain in America as a private practitioner.
His many patients, relieved from captivity and restored to the Continental Army, were muchattached to him, and bore such unanimous and appreciative testimony to his humanity and skillthat his relations with the high officers of our Army were very cordial. One of his patients, whoalways attributed to him his preservation was desperately and it was supposed, mortallywounded at the battle of Brandywine or Germantown. He was Col. John Spotswood, son orgrandson of the always venerated old Virginia Governor, whose name was given to the countyof Spotsylvania, in which Fredericksburg was situated.
Gen. Washington's early local and social associations made the Spotswoods and Washingtonsvery close friends, and the first acquaintance and ever after unbroken friendship of myGrandfather and Gen. Washington then began. When Col. Spotswood's brother came fromVirginia to take his brother home, they both encouraged my Grandfather to accompany him--advising him, as he proposed to remain in America, to make his home in Fredericksburg, thenthe home of Gen. Washington's mother and many kindred and within a few miles of theSpotswood estate of Newport upon the Rappahannock River. Gen. Washington concurred inthis suggestion and proffered letters of introduction and recommendation to his old-time friendsand kinspeople. In have in Richmond the original autograph of one of these letters addressed toMr. Fitzhugh of Chatham immediately across the river from Fredericksburg, who was theGrandfather of Mrs. Robert E. Lee.
Gen. Washington's kindly estimate was repeated during his afterlife. In Spark's Life and lettersof Washington there is a letter to the Secretary of War, Jas. McHenry of Maryland, commendingDr. Robert Wellford for appointment on the medical staff of the Army, and when the VirginiaMilitia was called into service by United States, during Washington's administration, to suppressthe then very alarming Whiskey Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania, Gen. Washington visitedin person the Corps. commanded by Light Horse Harry Lee, of Revolutionary fame, thenGovernor of Virginia and father of Robert E. Lee. In this little army were three or four nephewsfrom Fredericksburg of Gen. Washington. In a public order dictated by him on the march of theforces in Maryland, he appointed my Grandfather, who had accompanied the FredericksburgCompany, Surgeon General of the Army.
It will be gratifying to yourself and your children to know these testimonials which ourGrandfather's high merits won and retained during a somewhat protracted but honored andhonorable life of usefulness until his death in 1823 aged 73 years. He married a young widow,Catherine Thornton, a daughter of one of three brothers Gates, (may be same as Yates later inletter) ministers in the Colonial Church. Her father, Robert Gates, whose name your father'sfather bore, and his brother, William Gates, married in England two sisters, daughters of theyoungest son, Edward, of the Ancestors of the Randolph clan of Virginia, William Randolph andMary Isham, his wife, of Turkey Island, Henrico County Va. They left a prolific race, numberingamoung them the Randolphs of the Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshalland several Governors of Virginia, one of whom, Beverley Randolph, was his mother's choicefor the name of her son, my own venerated father, whose name In inherit.
The Fredericksburg Wellford stock has borne an abundant and a healthful fruitage. Ourgrandmother was, as I have told you, a widow. When she lost her maiden and first marriagename in that of Wellford, which she dignified and adorned, for more than fifty years of life.When she married my Grandfather she was the mother of one son, Wm. Thornton, who waskilled in a duel in 1802, in which he and his antagonist, both cherished friends, fell victims to thevanity of a silly girl, a near kinswoman, perhaps a niece, of the after President of the UnitedStates, James Madison whose frivolous tongue wrought the agony of two desolated homes.
The only other child of Mrs. Thornton's marriage was, like yourself, a posthumous child, bornsome seven or eight months after her father's death. She was the Aunt Carter, of whom Mrs.Wilson's recollection of her visit to Fredericksburg speaks. She bore the name of hergrandmother, Mary Randolph, the then and for many after years widow of Rev. Robert Yates(note: typo here, should be Gates I think). From her infancy to her death she was identified withthe Wellfords. Her husband, Dr. Charles L. Carter, of the old King Carter stock, had died, andas a childless widow she was the ever loving older sister of the family and the repository of allthe family traditions and associations of her childhood and the associate of that childhoodreaching back beyond the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775.
The Wellford children began with Aunt Lucy Gray, who died in a venerated old age inTappahannock, Va.
Tho oldest son was John Spotswood Wellford, in whom, and through whom our Grandfathermeant to perpetuate the treasured memories of his earliest American life. My father earnestlyaccepted this idea of his own father and gave the name of John Spotswood to his first son.Uncle Spotswood left many descendants. To name them all would require a volume. My cousin,Mrs. Wilson, tells me she knew one, Francis Preston Wellford, my junior by a few months, thecompanion of my childhood, my boyhood and my opening manhood, as my schoolmate at homeand my roommate at College. In knew him intimately and well, and in the experience of a long,long life In have never known a nobler type of the highest Christian manhood. He went to hisdeath at what he thought and wrote to us in Virginia was the imperious call of His Master-- todie a martyr's death at the post of duty, a victim of that fearful Yellow Fever which had sweptaway your father and his family, your grandfather's younger brother Edward at sea, and mymother's youngest brother, Dr. James Alexander , in New Orleans.
The next son, my Uncle William-- so called from his grandfather in England-- died in earlymanhood leaving an only child, a noble Christian woman who married her cousin, Dr. Ro. C.Randolph of Clarke County, and was the mother of a heroic family, two or more of whom fellvictims to the Yankee invasion of their native state. One of them Col. Wm. Wellford Randolph,second to none in the heros roll of Stonewall Jackson's Corps. fell amoung the bushes of theWilderness at the head of his column in the crisis of its successful repulse of the hordes of theFederal Army.
The next of the sons was Robert, bearing his father's name, born in 1785 and dying in Novemberof the same year.
Then came your own grandfather, the second Robert, with the addition of Yates, the name ofhis mother's father. He was born April 16, 1787 and died in Tallahassee Sept. 28, 1842. (Of theyear the family record in the bible now in possession of my cousin Mary Roy, in Fredericksburg,is silent, and it may have been 1841. Of course my cousin, Mrs. Wilson, knows) In can addnothing to his family tradition except that as quite a youth he left Fredericksburg to engage inmercantile business in Baltimore. He was soon followed by his next younger brother, EdwardV., July 10th, 1788, who died at sea August 16th, 1809.
Some years afterwards my father spent two or three winters in Baltimore studying medicine atthe University of Maryland, from which he graduated before he was of age, to engage with hisfather, in the practice of his profession in Fredericksburg. While there he saw, much of course,of his brother, even after his marriage with Miss Louisa Gittings. My Uncle Edward was sent bysome Baltimore merchants as Supercargo of a vessel engaged in the West India trade and diedon the Gulf of Mexico shipboard near one of the Islands. His oldest sister, my aunt, Mrs. LucyGray, then lived in Tappahannock, was very much disturbed in her sleep and her husband, Dr.Gray, awakened her, to hear her vivid recital of a disturbing dream. She said that she had seen avessel lying to at sea and lowering into a small boat a dead body to be carried and buried in thesands of the shore, and that the body was the corpse of her brother Edward. Dr. Gray made anote of the time and circumstance. In these days no information from the vessel could e receiveduntil its return home. When its return was announced in the offing, Uncle Robert rode down in ahack to welcome his brother's return, but was startled by the report of the captain of his death atsea, at the very time of Aunt Grays dream and of his burial, as she saw it, upon the seashore ofan island. This remarkable story I have often heard as a boy in the family circle. I do notremember to have ever asked Aunt Gray about it, but I grew up accepting it as very fact.
Your father's next brother, the first victim of the family tragedy, was named by his father inloving memory of his lamented brother Edward Randolph. He and his younger brother, JamesGittings, were my schoolmates in Fredericksburg.
Next to Uncle Edward was my Uncle Horace, born Oct. 4, 1790 and died May 23, 1823, 13days after I was born. My father had been detained with my mother, and as soon after my birthas practicable he traveled the road some 70 miles to Richmond Co. on the northern neck tominister to his brother, but he arrived only in time to see him die. Uncle Horace was marriedtwice and left three children by his first wife, and one daughter by the second. Mrs. Wilsonremembers one of them, Cousin Evelina, not Evelyn, Spotswood, who, after her father's death,was always one of Uncle Charles family circle. She married very late in life and died childless.Through his other children Uncle Horace has living descendants in Virginia and Maryland.
The next child was a daughter, Jane Elizabeth Catherine, born Sept. 9, 1792, died
April 19, 1794. The death of this baby daughter was a life long grief to her mother, whotreasured up her little socks and shoes etc. to be buried with her in the then long after years.
Then came my father, born July 29, 1797, and died after a noble, laborious, but always honoredlife, Dec. 27, 1870. Of him and his In speak hereafter.
Then came the youngest of them all, Charles Carter, so called to gratify Aunt Carter's lovingmemory of her husband of her early youth, born Dec. 19th, 1802 and died two days after myfather, Dec. 29, 1870. He left three daughters and three sons. The oldest Betty Burwell marriedDr. Geo. L. Nicolson, and died leaving descendants, one of whom is now, In believe, aprominent physician in Atlanta, Georgia.
The next daughter, Lucy Gray, married very late in life the Rev. Dr. William Brown, for manyyears Editor of the Central Presbyterian Church. He was then a very old and almost helplesswidower, partially if not quite blind. Lucy ministered to him most faithfully in his southern homenear Tampa Florida, and after his death continued for some time to reside there. On a visit toFredericksburg some five or ten years ago she fell dead in a flash in the garden of the oldWellford home in Fredericksburg, then and now occupied by her surviving sister, Mrs. MaryCatherine Roy and her only child, Elisa. Her husband was my first cousin on my mother's side.
Uncle Charles' three boys led successful and useful lives. Charles Beverley, about ten monthsyounger than myself, after the war went to Memphis, and was soon followed by his youngerbrothers, John Leavitt and Thomas. Charley died unmarried. The other two survived and diedleaving large families. They were prominent men in business and in church circles. Both of themwere elders in the Presbyterian Church and left behind them in the Mississippi Valley to theirchildren and people the heritage of an honored and spotless name.
Now as to my own father. He inherited his father's name and practice and was chained down byit and the exacting obligations of parent of a large family to a very limited sphere of duty. Hewas tempted to remove to a larger field, but could not do so until after he was fifty years old.He accepted a professorship in the University of Virginia, and had been in the early years of theNational Medical Association elected as one of the first Presidents of that society.
He married very early and was left a widower with a little daughter before he was 21 years old.Her mother was a Page and her Grandmother a Nelson, historic names in Colonial Virginiahistory. She married the Rev. Dr. Atkinson, a brother of Episcopal Bishop Atkinson, but himselfa Presbyterian, and for many years Pastor of Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C. She died in1902, more than 83 years old.
My father's second wife was Mary Alexander, through her father a lineal descendant of the JohnAlexander whose name is perpetuated in Virginia Geography in the City and County ofAlexandria, to no small extent built upon his original purchase from the Crown as the firstemigrant of the name in Northern Virginia. She was the youngest child of a large family. One ofher oldest sisters, with whom, after her mother's death, when she was a girl of 12 or 13, shegenerally resided and from whose home she was married to my father in February 1824, wasMrs. Susan Seddon, the mother of James A. Seddon, Secretary of War in the C.S.A., and of mywife's mother, Mrs. Leah Seddon Taliaferro.
The children of this marriage were; 1st. My brother Dr. John Spotswood Wellford, EmeritusProfessor in the Medical College of Virginia, now living with his wife in a childless old age inRichmond. He was 83 years old January 4 (1908), and thus some three years and four monthsmy senior. I was married March 3, 1858, and he April 8, 1958. We have both recentlycelebrated our Golden Wedding, he in Richmond, and my wife and self were in Columbia.
2nd. My brother, Dr. Armistead Nelson Wellford, died some years ago leaving threerepresentative sons. The elder, now living upon one of the old Carter estates in the NorthernNeck of Virginia, the hereditary home of his mother, and the other two living in Richmond, onepracticing law and the other medicine.
3rd. The third child and son was myself. Next to me came, after the death in infancy of two babybrothers, my brother, Philip A. Wellford, a major in the C.S.A. After the war he engaged inbusiness pursuits and under his direct supervision the railroad from Charlotte, N.C. to Atlantawas constructed. A flourishing town in Piedmont, South Carolina, which has developed from arailway station transmits his name of Wellford upon the geographic map. He is now living inRichmond, Va., and a baby granddaughter, orphan child of his son, Thos. Spotswood, who diedin Newport News a year ago.
After a lovely girl, called after both paternal grandparents, Roberta Catherine, whose bright andbeaming promise was cut short by her death in her 18th year, the next of our family was CharlesEdward, named for my father's two brothers, a bachelor now living in Richmond, where he hasbeen for many years the Secretary of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Co. And the youngest ofall is a widowed sister bearing my mother's name, Mary Alexander. She married a grand nephewof Chief Justice Marshall, ho died leaving one daughter and two sons. They live in FauquierCounty, the old home county of the Marshall family.
Now as to myself and my children. I never was accused of being my own trumpeter, but Iconfess that I feel an earnest, honest pride in assuming the very grateful obligation of the FifthCommandment, as trumpeter, it may be, but I claim, however, only to be the Voice with whichor forebears speak from honored graves to their descending line through all the ages yet to be.My old brother in Richmond, whose own rounded life of duty speaks for itself, is the Patriarchof the Wellford Clan, and should I survive him the mantle will fall upon me. It is therefore not anunpleasant utilization of the leisure of my waning years to commend the true history andveritable traditions of the high race from which we sprung to all of those who may be commoninheritors with my children of the proudest heritage I can transmit to them.
I graduated from Princeton College as the Valedictorian of he Centennial Class of 1847. Ireturned to my Fredericksburg home to embark upon life with very brilliant prospects. Ipracticed law there and in adjacent counties for a few years, until the breaking up of my father'shome in Fredericksburg by his acceptance of a professorship in the New College of Virginiajustified me pulling up my stakes and seeking a wider field in Richmond. I very soon aftermarried my boyhood sweetheart, the best, as 50 years of life has proven, of wives, whose worthand beauty had won for her in all the social circles of Virginia, and well known to all the thenhabituees of the Virginia Springs as belle and beauty. I participated to no small extent in theformulating and vindicating in the press and on the stump the public opinion of my own peoplein preparation for the impending crisis of '61-'63. When the war began it was beyond expressionmortifying to me that I could no immediately go to the front. But at that time and for manymonths after I was so disabled by disease that I was refused the privilege of service in the field. Iwas therefore condemned during the war to a position in the War Department, which did not,however, as my health improved, disable me from not infrequent and laborious service in thetrenches around Richmond.
My wife had five brothers in the Army around us, all of whom made honorable and some verydistinguished records. Her oldest brother, Gen, Wm. B. Taliaferro, participated in all the Valleycampaigns of Stonewall Jackson, in Second Manassas, where he was badly wounded, and in theBattle of Fredericksburg. Thereafter he was transferred to South Carolina and commanded thedefenses of Charleston, etc., marshaling the gallant and brilliant successful defense of FortWagner. He abandoned Charleston with his command only to participate with Gen, Johnston inthe inconclusive battles of Bentonville and Aversboro, N.C., and was included in the surrenderof Gen. Johnston to Sherman. He was thereafter a very prominent member of the VirginiaLegislature and at one time a candidate for the Governorship of Virginia.
Now In depart from my own personal story to speak of the Confederate record of theWellfords. In cannot tell Mrs. Wilson how often in thought throughout the agony of '61-65 thatif good a Providence had spared the life of her father, the Boy Major of the TallahasseeVolunteers in the Battle of Withlacoochee, how proudly I could have hailed the name ofWellford among the foremost of the Gulf State contingent to the Army of his ancestral home inNorthern Virginia.
In do not know any of the name of Wellford, certainly none of the Males, who willed during thewar or subjected themselves to the reproach of that Old Roman, Jubal Early, as deserters afterthe war. My Uncle Horace's younger daughter, through her mother a descendent of Governorlater of Maryland, had married an officer in the U.S. Navy, who adhered to the .S. flag. I knowand loved her well in my incipient manhood, and well did I then know, as my communicationwith her after the war assured me, that in heart and soul she was a true scion of the Wellfordstock.
The death roll of the war does not half recall the contribution of the Wellfords to our cause. Itdoes recall the death of the gallant Willie Randolph and one or more of his brothers and of oneof Uncle Spotswood's grandchildren, Richard Corbin, who on his bed of death sent partingmessages to assure his kindred that he died with his back to the field and his front to the foe. Hewas a private in he Virginia Calvary and on temporary leave at his ancestral home, Moss Neck,in Virginia, when Stonewall Jackson made that habitation his temporary headquarters, pitchinghis tent on the surrounding grounds. Poor, noble Dick welcomed General Jackson, proffered hisservices in his dismounting, and then modestly said "General Jackson, this is my home, and Inwish you to exercise every possible comfort that it can be for you." Jackson appreciated butrefused the proffer and camped in the forest curtilage, while Dick Corbin, the owner of thehereditary acres, hurried back to his command to die as I have mentioned as an undistinguishedvictim of that execrable invasion by the Yankees of our home and firesides.
My two older brothers were both physicians, and faithfully served the Confederate cause inhospital service. John Spotswood had gone to Europe in 1860 to pursue postgraduate study inthe European hospitals. He was like my dear father and the elder Wellfords, both males andfemales, intense Whigs, and cherished to the last their old partisan antagonism to the Democratsas the promoters and prophets of an improbable future, and never believed in the possibility,even after the secession of South Carolina, of the impending crisis. They looked upon me andmy brother Philip as pariahs in our before breakfast, as they stigmatized it, secession ideas. JohnSpotswood, however, in Europe, from the talk of Northern visitors, had his eyes somewhatopened. He was in Italy when the news flashed across the water of the outbreak of war, andwithout one moment's delay he hastened to Liverpool to secure passage for his wife and himselfto America. When he arrived at New York, the gates of immediate access to Virginia wereclosed and every Southern man was an object of suspicion. Through some of our Southernfriends, however, in New York, he secured a circuitous railroad route through Ohio and Indianato Kentucky, and thus came in touch with his own people and through East Tennessee roadswas landed safely in Richmond. He immediately proffered his services and was commissioned asSurgeon, C.S.A., and sent to the Norfolk seaboard. While there he was a spectator of the battleof the Merrimac and Monitor, and after the evacuation of Norfolk, was sent to the field assurgeon of General Armistead's command.
In this service, he had abundant experience in active military movements, accompanying thearmy up to the battle of Gettysburg, where Armistead was slain just as he had ascended the hilland captured a Surgeon in charge of one of the largest hospitals in Richmond and there theevacuation of our city found him at the post of duty.
His brother Philip left Richmond at the first tocsin as Lieutenant of a Kid Glove company of thepicked young men of Virginia, from which in a few months a score or more of the privates wereadvanced to the highest officers of the line. Philip with his company participated underStonewall Jackson in the battle of Kernstown. He was thereafter transferred to the commissaryforce were his previous business experience was utilized for valuable services, and as the chiefcommissary in the Richmond Mills he spent the residue of his services in the war.
My youngest brother Edward (Charley Ned) was a boy cadet in the Virginia Military Institutewhen Breckinridge called for aid in the valley and as one of the heroic band of the flower ofVirginia youth he bore his share of the hazards and honors of the Victory at New Market. Hismetal badge of merit as one of the survivors of that field is now proudly cherished and worn byhis pet niece, my own youngest daughter. His experience at New Market bore a great similarityto that of your grandfather at the battle of North Point in 1814, when the British assault uponBaltimore was repulsed. My father often said that Uncle Robert as one of the Baltimoredefenders stood in the front rank as one of the low men in height, and in the attack of the enemya British bullet passed through his hair, found lodgement in the man behind him and killed him.So it was with my brother Edward at New Market. Some of his comrades around and behindhim fell, but he himself escaped, for a long after and still continued life of usefulness andbeneficence.
My own part in the war was an inconspicuous one, but my conscience has been ever clear thatIn did all that God's Providence permitted to share the hazards of my people in the defense oftheir and my homes and firesides. My then noble young wife, then, as now in old age, a type ofthe truest and loftiest womanhood, had around her the care of a young daughter, now the stayof our old age, and of another younger brother and sister, who were called away in infancy. Shehad five stalwart brothers in the forefront of the defending army of Richmond. Her oldestbrother Gen. Wm. B. Taliaferro, shared in all the trials and honors of Stonewall Jackson's ValleyCampaign, followed him to 2nd Manassas, where he was badly wounded and as soon as herecovered only to return to participate in the battle of Fredericksburg. He was then transferredto South Carolina and after an honorable career as the victor in the battle of Fort Wagner,carried his men to participate in the closing battles of Bentonville and Averysboro.
We were a race of slaveholders, to a limited extent the Wellfords, to a much larger extent mywife's Taliaferro race. The war shattered our fortunes. Before the throne of the Eternal thenegro slaves we lost will acquit us or our forebears of wrongdoing to them.
Here I begin the I ?I was one of the first batch of Judges who, after the days of theReconstruction, chosen by a representative Legislature of Virginia to hold the scales of justice inher High court in the City of Richmond. I was thus made Judge of the Metropolitan Circuit ofVirginia. I was thereafter thrice re-elected by the General Assembly without one dissentingvoice, and after a continuous service of four terms and more than a third of a century, I wasurged in my then 75th year to accept what I was assured would be a unanimous re-election. Icould not conscientiously ask the General Assembly to speculate upon the probabilities of mycontinued freedom from the proximate effects of old age for a period of eight more years, and Iretired from the Bench to be a practical pensioner in the waning years of their Mother andFather, upon our best of children. I therefore abandoned in February 1904, our Richmond home.Since then my tax-paying and voting home has been my wife's native county of Gloucester,Virginia; butt our children do not allow us to remain there except for a brief period in thesummer when they can be with us. The rest of the year we spend with our only son in NewportNews, Va., where he has been since the first year of the Seminary, pastor of the then feebleflock, but now the first Presbyterian Church, with a membership of over 400, and a daughterchurch in the same city of some 200 or 300 members.
Our youngest child is an unmarried daughter bearing her mother's maiden name, Susan SeddonTaliaferro.
Our oldest, Fanny Beverley, is the wife of Doctor Henry Alexander White, professor in thePresbyterian Theological Seminary in this city, and for many years professor of history inWashington and Lee University, well known in literary circles as author of a life of Robert E.Lee, in Putnam's series, and of several school histories of the United States, State of SouthCarolina, and wherever known, honored as one of the first scholars in our Southland.
I write you from their home, where my wife, self, and youngest daughter have beendomesticated during the winter, and In can assure you that Fanny would be delighted to greetyou or yours with all the cordiality of the Wellford clan.
Beverley Randolph Wellford Jr.
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1908 Letter to Edwin Woodberry Wilson by Mary Richard Wellford
The original letter is in the possession of Susan Schueler of Akron, Ohio (g-granddaughter ofE.W. Wilson).
August 28, 1908
My darling boy-
Received your letter this morning and am sorry you could not follow my cousin's history of theWellford family.He was my father's first cousin and all are as much my people as his. Dr.Robert Wellford, the founder of the family in Va. was also my father's Grandfather and my greatgrandfather.
My great grandmother was the widow, Catherine Thornton.He speaks of a daughter of RobertYates, whose mother was a daughter of Edward Randolph, whom he married in England, of theancestors of the Randolph clan of Virginia.
They left a prolific race, numbering among them the Randolphs of the Revolution, ThomasJefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall and several governors of Va. one of them BeverleyRandolph.
Read carefully and you will see my grandfather was the fifth child of the marriage of Dr. RobertWellford and Mrs. Thornton.My cousin says he can add nothing to his family tradition as heleft home when quite a youth to engage in the mercantile business in Baltimore.
My grandfather married Louisa Gittings, of one of the first families of Maryland and at the timeof marriage belle of Baltimore.My grandmother's mother was Mary Sterrett, daughter of John& Deborah Sterrett, and Deborah Sterrett was Miss Ridgely daughter of Charles Ridgely, whoat one time owned almost all of Baltimore.
In my cousin's first letter he said that the Gittings and Sterretts were honorably mentioned in theold histories of Maryland.My Grandfather moved to Tallahassee when Fla. was a territory.During the Indian War, my father, Richard Gittings Wellford, a boy of 18, went to fight Indianshe was aide to Gov. Call (Mrs. Brevard's father) during the battle of Withlacoochee. When thebullets and arrows were flying thick, Gov. Call asked who would volunteer to carry dispatchesacross the river.My father stepped out.He crossed with the dispatches the bag behind him wasriddled with Indian arrows, also his horse, which dropped dead just as it gained the other side.He was then and there, promoted Major.My cousin in his letters frequently mentions "the boyMajor of the Tallahassee Volunteers.
My father's next brother, Robert Gates, a boy of 16, remained in Tallahassee with myGrandfather.He was like my sons, fond of hunting and a very hot summer day while hunting,he became overheated, and went washing in one of the branches you used to love so much, hecaught cold, which settled on his lungs and went into rapid consumption.
At the beginning of the Indian War, my Grandfather sent Grandmother, Aunt Sophia Sterrettand the two small boys, Edward and James to Maryland.In those days traveling was by slowcoach, therefore news did not get from Md. to Fla. for months.My grandmother did not knowof her son's death until she returned home.Her husband feared, if she heard he was sick, shewould come home and he was afraid they would be killed by Indians on their way.
After the Indian War, my mother's family moved to Tallahassee, suppose in the year 1840.Mymother, Elinor Matilda Smith, was married to my father Aug. 15, 1841.He died of YellowFever six weeks afterward, also his whole family.I was born April 29, 1842, a small 2 lb. 7month baby.The last of the family.Joseph D. Wilson and I were married July 17, 1865.Wehad eight (8) children as you know.Our eldest boy Sterrett Gittings dying at the age of 3 yrs.and 9 months.Your father died Nov. 30th 1880, aged 39 years.We were only married 15years and 4 months.My children will have to continue the family history where I leave off.
Now for my mother's family.Her mother was Mary Ferguson, daughter of a Scotchman (of theclan Ferguson) during the Revolutionary War.He was killed at the head of his company inCarolina.He was Capt. Ferguson.
My grandmother first married Charles Gillison, Aunt Annie's father, he died leaving her withthree daughters.Aunt A, like myself, was born after her father's death, and was scarcely morethan an infant when Grandfather married her mother.In all they had 17 children, most wereraised to manhood and womanhood.
My Grandfather Smith's family had first moved to S. Carolina and settled on a large plantation,when they were all killed by Indians except my Grandfather's father, his twin brother (age 7) anda sister aged 16.The little boys were so small they hid in the woods behind logs, until theIndians were out of sight.They wandered for a great many miles, a farmer hearing childrencrying up a tree, went out and took them in.Grandfather's father, my great grandfather, had hismiddle finger shot off by the Indians.
The girl, 16 was rescued by two naval officers, named Carraway and Percival. She married oneof them.The names have always been in the family. Grandfather's name was Aaron Percival,and his eldest son he called John Carraway.
In cousin Beverley's letter he says "It will be gratifying to yourself and children to know thetestimonials which our Grandfather's high merit won and retained during a somewhat protractedbut honored life of usefulness until his death in 1823 aged 73 years"therefore you should knowthat these people that he writes about are my people too.Then again he says"It is thereforenot an unpleasant utilization of the leisure of my waning years to commend the true history andveritable traditions of the high race from which we spring to all of those who may be commoninheritors with my children, of the blue and true blood, and ever stainless name which I value asthe proudest heritage I can transmit to them."
He told me of course, all about his branch of the family, thinking no doubt, I would write allabout his Uncle Robert's branch. (My Grandfather)No doubt would have said more if I couldhave read his letter, but could not, until Talbot type wrote it for us.Like a great many lawyers,he writes very hard writing to read.
Your father knew nothing of his father's family.He was from Va., came to Tallahassee with oldCol. Fischer, whom you remember.They were related somehow.Your father's father ownedthe City Hotel and a great many valuable slaves, and other property.
When your father was 3 months old, his father was thrown from his horse, and injured so badlyhe died in three days, never regaining consciousness.Therefore his partner cheated his widowout of everything, she being young.
Your father's father was named David Fischer Wilson, I believe his mother was Rebecca Wilson,but no relation.Her family moved from S. Carolina to Quincy.I knew old Grandma Wilson,her mother, she must have come from nice people, as she was well educated and refined.Shewas about 85 when I married your father.If Uncle Davie is still living, perhaps he knows.
Ruby received the little present yesterday, believe she is now writing Mae. I want to see Mae,yourself, and precious baby Mamie dreadfully.When will you come?Ruby expects in October,she is almost too well, but she is not worried about herself.They want a large family I believe.Had a letter from Mary Gwynn from Panama, she Saad it rains constantly, so they cannot gofishing, or bathing.The weather here is dreadful, rains hard every day. No news, a great deal oflove, and kisses for all from
Your Devoted Mother
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1908 Letter to Susan Mae Banta Wilson (spouse of Edwin W. Wilson)fromMary Richard Wellford
This second letter is also in the possession of Susan Schueler of Akron, Ohio (g-granddaughterof E.W. Wilson).The letters appear to have been written within a few days of each other.
TallahasseeAug. 30th (1908?)
My dearest Mae
Your welcomed letter reached us yesterday,and I hasten to reply to show you how much Ialways appreciate your letters.I am so glad your health is now good, and you are now able toenjoy yourself and care for the babies.You certainly had a hard time since dear little Mamie'sbirth.She is sure a jewel of great price.I sincerely hope she will be special, to comfort Ed andyourself in your old age.I am counting the time until winter, am so anxious to see you all.Hope Mamie will learn to love her Grandma Wilson.I don¹t see how you can let her leave you,so long at a time.Mary Pringle tells everybody that she is coming to Tallahassee to live,Wednesday.Wee writes that Bud is wild about pets, that he brought a half dead rat in, and hispet cat got it, that he carried on dreadfully about it.She expects sometime, he will bring a snakein.Bud is a beautiful boy, he is the image of my son Joe, at his age, Joe and Wee resembledtheir father.Mary is the cutest little thing, the image of your Mamie, so both children must belike our family.I know you are stricter with Mamie, than the girls are with their little ones.Talbot has given Wilson all the ruining he ever had.Think it a blessed thing Ruby (Wilson)married when she did.Wilson (Joseph Wilson Trammell) is not a bad child, but a great tease, hehas every whim gratified, and is not contented, without he is spending money.I am always afterRuby, Mrs. Trammel was a spendthrift, and they should guard against it in the child.It is agood thing that there will be another child to pet.Everybodyloves well-mannered, sweet, oldtime children, so seldom met with these days.Mamie¹s family are still at Panacea, the weathernow is cool, like fall, but bright and beautiful, so they can enjoy now the fishing and bathing.Itrained in floods, the 1st week they were there.Cliff is going back in the land office in October,will hold both positions.Boots will neither work, or go to school.Poor Cliff, he cannotunderstand a boy like that, being so good himself.Humphrey is a good boy, and a greatpleasure to his parents.Alice is a great help to her mother, and thought very pretty.Lina ispretty also, and the most studiousof the whole family, she writes poetry.Mary will always justbe sweet little Mary, nothing more, does not know how to do one single thing.
About a week or ten days ago, a young white man of Eddie¹s acquaintance, named ChipleyVason (a son of Vason the lawyer, living a few miles from town) raped a small negro girl, 11years old, he came near killing the child.Dr. Shine, a friend of the Vason family, carried a paperaround to get the men to sign their names to have Vason sent to the Asylum, he was sent therelast Friday, Altho' no one thinks him crazy.The negroes were dreadfully put out about it, and itwould not surprise me at anytime, to hear of the same crime being committed here, by a negro.Several assaults have been committed in and near Pensacola in the last six weeks.When caught,the negroes have been lynched.Some of the men here were for giving Vason over to thenegroes, to do with as they pleased.They said, if they stormed the jail to get him, they wouldnot lift a hand to protect him.I am glad he was sent to the asylum, felt nervous while he washere in jail.
Eddie appeared disappointed at my cousin¹s letter, the old man of course used My Grandfatherin speaking of him, but his grandfather was also my father¹s grandfather, my great-grandfather,Eddie¹s great-great-grandfather.My grandfather, Robert Yates, was the old man¹s 5th child.His wife, the widow Thornton, had two by her first husband.I know who mygreat-great-grandfathers were on every side, wrote E. a long letter, and tried to make it plain,hope he understands.All send love, love and kisses for E., Mamie, and yourself.
Your devoted Mother
The little drapes were very pretty, Ruby sure appreciates them. (noted across the top of thepage)
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