James Washington Singleton Papers, 1770-1975
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Brief Description: The Papers of James Washington Singleton are a collection of family papers spanning the lifetime of five generations of Singleton descendants. The collection includes papers of James Singleton, the father of James W. Singleton, Lily Singleton Thomas Osburn, the daughter of James W. Singleton, the Thomas children, the grandchildren of James W. Singleton and Judith Ball Wysong Cofer, the great- granddaughter of James W. Singleton. A major portion of the collection dating from 1810 until 1940 principally concerns the lives of James Singleton, James W. Singleton and Lily Singleton Thomas Osburn.
Held at:
Special Collections and University Archives
Email: pbruce [at] odu.edu
Record Series Number: 00/MG 10
Created by: Singleton, James Washington (1811-1892)
Volume: 20.8 Linear Feet
Acquired: 01/14/1977.

The collection is divided into eleven series. They are: correspondence, legal and government documents, financial and bookkeeping records, business papers, military papers, speeches, miscellany, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, publications and photographs.

Series I: Correspondence

This series is divided into thirteen subseries. Within each subseries, the correspondence is arranged chronologically.

  Subseries A: James Singleton (1762-1815) Includes letters dating from 1787 to 1815. Most of the correspondence dates from the War of 1812 period and is concerned with Singleton's activities in that conflict.

  Subseries B: Joseph Holmes Sherrard (1802-1889) Includes letters dating from 1826 to 1911. This subseries also includes some correspondence of Sherrard's daughters, Virginia and Elizabeth Sherrard.

  Subseries C: James Washington Singleton (1811-1892) Includes letters dating from 1837 to 1892. Most of the correspondence dates from 1860 on. There are five folders of letters from 1860-1866 that give a limited view of Singleton's Civil War activities. Also included is correspondence from 1879 to 1883, the period when Singleton served in the House of Representatives. There is also correspondence from 1884-1885 when Singleton was seeking a position in Cleveland's administration as Commissioner of Agriculture.

  Subseries D: Parthenia McDonald Singleton (1824-1902) Includes letters dating from 1858 to 1898. The correspondence from 1864 to 1866 includes letters from her husband, James W. during his visits to Richmond.

  Subseries E: Anna Singleton McDonald (1836-1929) includes letters dating from 1858 to 1923.

  Subseries F: Lily Singleton Thomas Osburn (1857-1943) Includes letters dating from 1875 to 1942. The principal correspondents in this subseries are Lily's daughter, Cora and historian Matthew Page Andrews. The Andrews' correspondence (1926-1942) contains biographical information about James W. Singleton. Lily corresponded with many relatives and these letters are a good source of genealogical information.

  Subseries G: James Jones Singleton (1860-1848) Includes letters dating from 1891 to 1906. Most of the correspondence pertains to the death of his father in 1892 and the death of his mother in 1902.

  Subseries H: Louise Singleton Thomas Kemp (1884-1969) Includes letters dating from 1890 to 1911. This subseries is composed of the childhood correspondence of Lily's eldest daughter, Louise.

  Subseries I: Judith Ball Thomas Wysong (1887-1976) Includes letters dating from 1894 to 1923 is the childhood correspondence of Lily's daughter Judith.

  Subseries J: Francis Worthington Thomas, Jr. (1889-1910) Includes the letters of Lily's only son Francis dating from 1908 to 1910.

  Subseries K: Cora Elder Thomas (1894-1963) Consists of a few letters of Lily's youngest daughter Cora dating from 1906-1918.

  Subseries L: Judith Ball Wysong Cofer (1923- ) Dating from 1959 to 1975 includes one folder of letters from researchers requesting access to the Singleton papers or information on James W. Singleton.

  Subseries M: Parthenia Marie Thomas deLoach (1892-1983) Dating from 1908 to 1936. This subseries contains the correspondence of Lily's daughter Parthenia.

Series II: Legal and government documents

This series includes agreements, appointments, deeds, indentures, inventories, estate appraisals, licenses, summons, wills, and miscellaneous government documents.

Series III: Financial and bookkeeping records

This series includes agreements, appointments, deeds, indentures, inventories, estate appraisals, licenses, summons, wills, and miscellaneous government documents.

Series IV: Business papers

This is a small series including miscellaneous Papers concerning the Farmer's Bank of Virginia at Winchester. In addition there are several documents relating to Singleton's railroad interests with the Great Western, the Hannibal and St. Joseph, the Quincy Alton and St. Louis, and the Quincy and Palmyra Railroad Companies.

Series V: Military papers

Included in this series are commissions, orders and reports. In addition there is a 1794 Proclamation pardoning participants in the Whiskey Rebellion.

Series VI: Speeches

The series consists of several folders of speeches including those given by James W. Singleton during from 1874 to 1881.

Series VII: Miscellany

This series is divided into three subseries.

  Subseries A: Material of Matthew Page Andrews. Consists of articles on Lincoln and Singleton, book reviews, and notes.

  Subseries B: Genealogical and Historical notes collected by Lily Singleton Thomas Osburn. Includes notes on the Ball, Fauntleroy, McCarthy, McDonald, Singleton, Thomas, Throckmorton and other families.

  Subseries C: Other Subjects. A collection of materials such as poetry, creative writing, insurance policies, political papers, church papers, report cards, tributes, memorials and James W. Singleton's diary for 1870.

Series VIII: Memorabilia

This series consists of miscellaneous mementos such as calling cards, greeting cards, valentines, Confederate bonds, postcards, opera programs, recipes, and wedding invitations.

Series IX: Newspaper clippings

The newspaper clippings (1851-1865) are arranged by subject or name. There are many contemporary clippings concerning James W. Singleton. Some clippings are arranged separately in this series in chronological order.

Series X: Publications

The publications are divided into two subseries. Within each subseries the titles are arranged alphabetically.

  Subseries A: General. Includes books and pamphlets.

  Subseries B: Serial. Includes Harper's Magazine (1856 and 1883) and others.

Series XI: Photographs

The photographic collection is divided into three subseries. Photographic records with names or titles have been arranged alphabetically.

  Subseries A: Ambrotypes and Daguerrotypes. Includes images of Edward C. McDonald, Joseph H. and Ann Sherrard with daughter Lizzie, and Virginia Sherrard.

  Subseries B: Photographic Prints. Included in this series are photographs of James W. Singleton, Lily Singleton Thomas Osburn and her children, photographs of the ruins of Boscobel and photographs of Paxton.

  Subseries C: Prints, Sketches and Lithographs.

Oversize Newspaper Box: The collection also includes one oversize newspaper box of old newspapers. They are arranged by state and then alphabetically by place of publication. Newspapers of particular interest include three issues of the Daily Quincy Herald (1878, 1882 and 1919) and three issues of the Quincy Daily Whig (1882).

Access Restrictions: The collection is open to researchers without restrictions.
Subject Index
Copperhead movement
Singleton, James Washington, 1811-1892
Singleton family
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Congress. House
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.
Acquisition Notes: Mrs. Judith Ball Wysong Cofer  Gift. Accession #A77-5
PreferredCitation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], James Washington Singleton Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.