Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Letters From Mrs. Harris E. Willingham To Edward Lawton

June 17, 2014




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Mrs. Harris E. Willingham

224 East Hunting Towers

Alexandria, Virginia

Jan. 17, 1965


My dear Mr. Lawton,

Yesterday I

mailed you the picture I

have of Peter Jones Trading

Station and Blandford Church

on Well’s Hill, built between 1734

and 1737, when Peter Jones

was vestryman.  It is now a

Confederate Memorial Chapel.  I

have a copy of “Bravest Surrender”

A Petersburg Patchwork, by Catherine

Copeland with illustrations by

P. Hairston as well (Copyrighted

1961 by P Hairston Seawell, Newport News

which has a prettier picture of

the church and one of

“Folly Castle” built 1768 by Peter

Jones a descendant of Peter Jones

for whom Petersburg named (a bachelor).

I enclosed a little picture

of “Springfield”, where I was born

and where in 1814 my great

grandfather Wood Jones married

Elizabeth Trent Archer, daughter

of Peter Field Archer, son of

John Archer of “Archer’s Hall”, Bermuda

Hundred and Elizabeth Trent.  “Archer’s

Hall” was burned by Arnold on his

way up James against Richmond

and Petersburg.

“Springfield” is falling down.  The

old parlor was panelled and here

the 18th Ga. Battalion officers slept

the night of the evacuation of

“Fort Jones”.  “Springfield” on Powhatan

side.  “Fort Jones” on Amelia Co side

opposite.  Flat bottom boats brought

things down the Appomattox to be

shipped on Richmond & Danville

R. R. to Richmond.  An old map

I have gives a number of buildings

at Mattoax.  Grandfather held

rank of Captain in Confederate army,

detailed during war at Mattoax

as Postmaster & Freight Agent.

After Lee’s army passed over and

Fort evacuated, he had all

the Freight piled on the Iron trus

bridge and set fire to it from

our side, “Springfield” on the

line of march, evacuated by family several times because of raids.  The

armies camped in the yard

burning fences and outbuildings

for their camp fires.  After the

surrender Grandfather was

ploughing a garden with an old

blind mule, all he had.  Union stragglers from Appomattox

coming by started to take this, but

one said, “let the old devil make

a living if he can!”  We were

terribly poor!  Barred by Iron-clad

oath for 2 years, Grandfather

then became Postmaster at Mattoax.

He did active fighting against Kautz’s

raid at Flat Creek, Amelia, where

the Yankees were repulsed

in their effort to destroy Mattoax

bridge.  After this the 18th Ga. Battalion

was stationed at Mattoax.  “The

Oaks” was some distance

from Mattoax.  I wonder if

“Fort Jones” named for Gen. Jones

or for my Grandfather who

was “holding the fort” there before

the Savannah Volunteers came

to help.  The scrap-book made

by Aunt Bernie (Hibernia Lewis Jones)

was made on “Mattoax ticket-book”

(paper so scarce).  They wanted

to run a road through the

fort across the river and a

mile through “Springfield” about

20 yrs ago and sent me

blue prints showing the road by battery

and how it would come through

my land (60 ft wide highway for

a mile)  I refused to give gratis

this mile.  I had a given already

permission to widen roads –

Grandfather right of way for R. R.

and a siding, a mile from Mattoax.

So I do have a drawing of

battery of “Fort Jones”.  Twenty-three

Yankees were killed at Flat Creek.

Lee sent reinforcement by Burkeville

to help them.  Grandfather cared

for wounded and dead who were

buried at Mattoax.  Many Northern

families came after the war to

thank him for his attention, and

his letters home to let them know.

The dead buried in a trench with

boughs over their faces to protect

them.  Grandfather kept prisoners

at various times in the old

parlor at “Springfield” – Gone with

the wind!  I did not expect you

to use picture of Springfield

and grandfather, but thought it would

interest you.

I don’t know anything about

Miss Boyd now,  but William Mason

daughter Mrs. Norfleet used to

live in Washington.  I can write

my cousin in Richmond, and

see what I find.

My husband descends

from Benjamin Themistocles Dion Lawton

and wife Jane Moss daughter

of Dr. George Moss.  I have a

picture of her and a Christmas

card from Harris’ cousin Mrs.

Broadus Willingham of Macon,

Ga. said, I believe, they had a

picture of Dr. Mosse.  I must write

her.  I have “Our Family Circle”,

and a “Family History”, by Ann

Willingham Willis.  I don’t want

to divert you.  Keep on with

your work!  More power to you!


Lynn Lewis J. Willingham

P.S.  I belong to D.A.R., Colonial Dames

of America, “F.F.Va”, Jamestown

Society, and Nat. Soc. Dau. of Barons

of Runnemede and in last

Vol III, “Living Descendants of Blood Royal”,

so you see I am a foolish old

lady about genealogy.


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Jan 23, 1965

My dear Mr. Lawton,

I thought

you would like my picture

of Peter Jones’ Trading Station,

and I treasure the Blandford

Church picture as my Peter Jones III

was vestryman when it was

built.  I had these made

36 years ago, and they were

not expensive.  I did not go

to the expense of having them

copied to send you as you

said you could have it done

free down there and I knew

time was important.  I would

like them back soon as you

can have copies made as I

keep them in my “Peter Jones

Genealogy,” by Fothergill and

would hate to lose them.

“Springfield” has about fallen

down.  This was taken many

years ago.  Father died in 1924

and his sister lived there for

a few years afterwards.  It is of

no value except for timber,

played out land!  Sentiment for me!

The Southern has cut out passenger

trains, and all the neighbors

moved away or died, even the old

darkies.  I thought you would be interested

in seeing Grandfather who guarded the bridge

before 18th Ga. Battalion.

I wrote my cousin in

Richmond to find out about Miss

Lizzie Boyd and “The Oaks”.  I will

let you hear.  Copy my notes

on “The Oaks” and send them

back.  How far back have you

gone on Sam Jones family have

you gone?  I infer you descend

on another line from Abram Jones.

I copied my Mallory line

from Va. His. Mag. and it had

picture of Hatton Conyers in it which

I had copied.  This gave Tempest Family

married into Washington family.  Battes

make us eligible for 16 lines in Barons

of Runnemede.  I joined on Randolph.


Lynn Lewis Willingham

(in the left margin)

We are in “Our Family Circle.”  I wrote

Willingham corrections for reprint.

Tom Lawton wrote Lawton corrections.


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Mrs. Harris E. Willingham

224 East Hunting Towers

Alexandria, Virginia


My dear Mr. Lawton,

I am

flying to Louisville, Ky to spend

a week with Harris Jr.  I had

this little scratched notes on the

Jones Family who lived at “The

Oaks” after the war.  It was a

quaint little place like out

“Springfield” – “Fort Jones”, on a

high bluff overlooking the Apomattox

river at Mattoax, Amelia Co. guarded the

iron-truss bridge of the Richmond

and Danville R.R. which was

the main artery from the South

for Richmond (near Southern R.R.)

I’ll write more when I

get home.  I am 70 and have

cataracts, but going strong and

love history.

I knew Miss Garnet here in Washington

now dead, who was of this branch

of the family.  She belonged to Club of Colonial Dames.

Aunt Anna may have made

mistakes in what she told me

but I put it down thinking I

would write a piece about”The

Oaks” because my family loved

the people there and admired

their struggle.  The girls put cloth

tops to old shoes, but were always

pretty, gay, and popular.  Everyone

was so poor!

Merry Christmas!   I have

wonderful things on the Battes,

Mallorys and Bishop Vaughan.  My

Sarah visited Chester Cathedral

when she an her husband were

in England 7 years ago.  They are now in Geneva

Switzerland Larence Biedenharn

Jr. Prof of Nuclear Physics at Duke,

on a years leave to study and with

grant from Nat. Science Foundation.  I

am in “Living Descendants of Blood

Royal” Vol III on Randolph & Isham lines.

Our Batte line is traced out on pp 589

591 – to King Henry I of France.


Lynn Lewis J. Willingham