Elizabeth G. Elliott Papers

Dublin Core


Elizabeth G. Elliott Papers


African Americans--Virginia--Williamsburg.
Slavery--Virginia--History--19th century.
Slavery--Virginia--Tidewater (Region)--History--19th century.
Plantations-- Virginia--History.
Claims against decedents' estates--Virginia.
Estates (Law)--Virginia
Wills--Virginia--York County.
Taxation--Virginia--York County.
Mental health services--Virginia--Slaves.
Medical care--Virginia--History--Slaves.
Medical care--Virginia--History.
Plantation owners--Virginia--History--19th century.
Estates (Law)--Virginia.
Decedents' family maintenance--Virginia.
Distribution of decedents' estates--Virginia.
Contested wills--Virginia.
Attorney and client--Virginia.


Legal documents, correspondence, and receipts retained by Sydney Smith; the bulk pertaining to the estates of Kemp P. and Elizabeth G. Elliott.

Elizabeth Gillanson (abt. 1800-1856) and Kemp Elliott were married in 1816 in York County, VA, and remained there until death. Kemp died in the mid 1830s. His exact dates are unknown. The couple does not appear to have had any children, as all property is left in Kemp’s will to his wife for the remainder of her life, and then to his siblings’ children after her death. The earliest papers in this collection come from this will and its contests in the chancery court.

According to the 1850 census, Elizabeth Elliott was 50 years old, and her household included William Wood, an 18 year old overseer who appears in one of the general receipts, and nine slaves ranging in ages from nine to 61 years. Some names for them can be found in the bonds and promissory notes, the medical bills, and the general receipts. Some, like Peter and Patience, appear in multiple categories, allowing a degree of speculation on that person’s life.

Elizabeth Elliott died in about 1856, and the majority of the Elliott papers consist of bonds and receipts due to and from the estate. They fall into several broad categories: bonds and promissory notes, mostly for renting slaves; medical bills for Elizabeth and her slaves; tax receipts; and general receipts for goods and services required in the operation of a small plantation. This includes the purchase and maintenance of horses and carts, buying and selling foodstuffs, and clothing, blankets, and coffins for slaves.

The second half of the collection appears to be items collected by Sydney Smith (1821-1884) in the course of his legal practice in Williamsburg, including receipts for cases he represented, summonses, and several account books. Smith married Virginia Bucktrout, and had a number of children with her. They lived in what is now called the Brush- Everard House in what is now Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area. In 1850, Smith was listed in the census as a 28 year old lawyer. During the Civil War, he served in the 5th VA Cavalry. He is buried in the Bruton Parish Churchyard.

It is unknown how he came into possession of the Elliott papers and several of the account books, as some items are far too early to have been his, including a late 18th century attorney’s account book from York County. They may have been inherited, either from a senior partner or mentor, or they may have been from a case he took over when all other parties had died but the debts survived. A very few items date from after Smith’s death, and it is unknown how they came to be grouped together.

May be related to the Bucktrout-Smith papers, 1855-1929, Mss. Acc. 1997.14A and Acc. 1997.18, at the Swem Library at the College of Williams and Mary.

Table Of Contents

Legal Documents: Kemp P. Elliott
Legal Documents: Elizabeth G. Elliott
Bonds and Promissory Notes
Medical Bills and Receipts
Plantation Bills and Receipts
Tax Receipts


Elizabeth G. Elliott



Collection Items

View all 75 items