Scott and Gunnell family papers Scott and Gunnell family papers MSS 12202

Scott and Gunnell family papers MSS 12202


Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110

Sharon Defibaugh

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
MSS 12202
Scott and Gunnell family papers1772-1990
2.25 Cubic Feet
Scott , Richard Marshall, Sr., 1769-1833
Scott, Richard Marshall, Jr., 1829-1856
Gunnell, Francis Mackall, Dr., Surgeon General of the United States Navy, 1827-1922
Rittenhouse, Sarah Louise (Sarah Louise "Loulie" Rittenhouse), 1845-1942
English .

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation

MSS 12202 Scott and Gunnell Family papers, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.


Donated by Mrs. Bruce C. (Virginia Burt) Gunnell (1909-2009) in April 2002.

Biographical Note

The Bush Hill Plantation was originally owned by Josiah Watson, an English customs collector, who built the manor house in 1763. Watson sold the entire estate in 1797 to Richard Marshall Scott, son of John Scott (1732-1792) and Mary Marshall Scott (1735-1795). John Scott, an emigrant from Glasgow, Scotland, arrived in the colony of Maryland around 1753 with a cargo to begin a career as a merchant. After some financial set-backs, John Scott became a farmer. John Scott and Mary Marshall Scott had three children born to them, David Wilson Scott (1766-1827), Richard Marshall Scott (1769-1833), and Anna Scott (1772-1821). In 1780, the Scott family moved from Maryland, settling first in Fairfax County, Virginia, and then at Farmington, in former Loudoun County, in 1791.

Richard Marshall Scott, Sr. became a successful merchant and banker in Alexandria, Virginia, founding the Farmer's Bank of Alexandria, and served in the Virginia General Assembly in 1811-1812. He was active in gardening and horticulture and had a large private library. Richard Marshall Scott married three times. His first marriage was to Mary Love (1768-1812). He remained a widower until 1828, when he married his cousin, Eleanor Douglas Marshall (1807-1830). She bore his first son, Richard Marshall Scott, Jr. (1829-1856), five months before her death in 1830. His third marriage was to Lucinda Fitzhugh in 1832, who bore him a second son, Jonathan Mordecai Scott (1833-1924), in the same year as his death.

William H. Foote became guardian in 1834 for the young Richard Marshall Scott, Jr. who attended various schools for boys and read law in Alexandria, Virginia with Francis L. Smith. Scott returned to Bush Hill Plantation at about age sixteen and began to keep a diary on February 18, 1846. On September 15, 1846, at age seventeen, he married Virginia Gunnell (1826-1913) of Washington. Their children were Frank Scott (1849-1893), Eleanor Marshall Scott Johnston (1847-1905), Richard M. Scott (1851-1915) and Anna Constance Scott (1853-1882).

The 1850 Slave Schedule of Fairfax County lists Richard M. Scott with twenty enslaved persons. Fairfax County's 1859 Personal Property Assessment for Virginia Scott lists taxation for fourteen enslaved people. After the death of her husband in 1856, Virginia Gunnell Scott (1826-1913) managed the Bush Hill Plantation. During the Civil War, Bush Hill functioned as headquarters for Union officers, but the Scott family remained in the house. Bush Hill remained in possession of Virginia Gunnell Scott and her family until her death in 1913, when it passed to a cousin, Leonard Coleman Gunnell (1870-1941), and then to his son, Bruce Covington Gunnell (1907-1996 ), a Fairfax engineer. Beginning in 1942, the house was leased to the U.S. government and then to various day schools. Much of the property was sold to developers, with the historic building itself being destroyed by arson in 1977.

Information for this note came from materials in the collection and "Phase IA Documentary Study of 10.67 Acres at 4840 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia" by William M. Gardner and Gwen J. Hurst, November 1999, Thunderbird Archeological Associates, Incorporated:

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of bound volumes, journals, daybooks, and notebooks belonging to John Scott, Richard Marshall Scott,Sr., Richard Marshall Scott,Jr., James L. Gunnell, and Dr. Francis M. Gunnell, and a photograph album belonging to Sarah Louise Rittenhouse. Other materials include printed articles about the Bush Hill plantation,a copy of a book, "The Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville," and genealogical charts, tables and notes.

Separated Material

In 2002, about 140 print items (117 titles) from the "Bush Hill" library, including Congressional Registers, four Alexandria newspapers, other government documents, a hymn book, histories and a dictionary, were transferred to Rare Books. To locate these in the online catalog (VIRGO), do a subject search for: Bush Hill (Estate: Alexandria, Va.) .

Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Alexandria (Va.)--History
  • Daybooks
  • Gunnell family
  • Photograph albums
  • Plantation life
  • Scott family
  • Slavery--United States -- Virginia
  • clippings (information artifacts)

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Gunnell, Francis Mackall, Dr., Surgeon General of the United States Navy, 1827-1922
  • Rittenhouse, Sarah Louise (Sarah Louise "Loulie" Rittenhouse), 1845-1942
  • Scott , Richard Marshall, Sr., 1769-1833
  • Scott, Richard Marshall, Jr., 1829-1856

Container List

Text [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 1 Archival Resource Key
Article "The Gunnell Family of Fairfax County" by Karen Washburn in "Yearbook: The Historical Society of Fairfax County, Virginia Vol. 20-1984-1985"
1 folder(s)
Mixed Materials [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 2 Archival Resource Key
Articles and papers discussing "Bush Hill Plantation"
1 folder(s)
1990, undated
Text [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 3 Archival Resource Key
Book "The Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville" by Colonel L.L. Shlenker and Lt. Colonel F.V. Barnett, Army War College (Electrostatic Copy)
1 folder(s)
Mixed Materials [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 4 Archival Resource Key
Class Book for Sunday School Teachers' Minutes
1 folder(s)
1844, 1875-1876
Manuscripts [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 5 Archival Resource Key
Diary of Richard Marshall Scott, Jr.
1 folder(s)
1846 February-1847 November
Scope and Contents

Richard Marshall Scott, Jr. began keeping this diary when he moved back to the Bush Hill plantation from Alexandria, where he had been reading law with Francis L. Smith since October of 1845. On the first page, he records the names of all of his slaves living at Bush Hill plantation. He writes about work done on the plantation; the weather, including a heavy snow; social visits; his joy at having the Bush Hill plantation as his property at last; an injury to his slave, Aaron, while cutting timber; the construction of a new barn; church attendance; his first mention of his future wife, Virginia Gunnell (March 15, 1846); the illness, death and burial of his housekeeper, Isabella, who was treated by Dr Fairfax and Dr. Richard (April 7-21, 1846); his runaway slave, George, eventually sold to Richard Windsor (April 22-31, 1846); his friendship with Dr. Gunnell and his sister, Virginia; his suffering with mumps; attendance at events, such as the Great National Fair in Washington (May 21, 1846), various sessions of Congress, the anniversaries of national events, and his viewing of paintings in the Rotunda at the Capitol; mention of the Mexican War and General Taylor (June 8, 1846); the sale of slave woman, Catherine, for "improper conduct" to Joseph Bruin (August 10-11, 1846); national and state elections; his marriage to Virginia Gunnell (September 15, 1846); the birth of his daughter, Eleanor Marshall Scott (August 7, 1847); and the hiring out of some of his slaves at Samuel Catts on the first of January each year, beginning in 1847. This diary account continues in volumes marked "Notebook" in Box 4.

Manuscripts [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 6 Archival Resource Key
Diary of Richard Marshall Scott, Sr. (1769-1833) and of Richard Marshall Scott, Jr. (1829-1856) – Typed Excerpts (Electrostatic Copy), 1811-1859, abstracted by Edith M. Sprouse
1 folder(s)
Scope and Contents

The originals of these excerpts are labeled "Diary" and "Memoranda Books" on the covers of the volumes they were taken from and in the finding aid.

Manuscripts [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 7 Archival Resource Key
Genealogical Charts and Tables
1 folder(s)
Manuscripts [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 8 Archival Resource Key
Genealogical Notes concerning the Gunnell, Page, and Rittenhouse families
1 folder(s)
1989-1990, undated
Ledgers [X031747076] box: 1 folder: 9 Archival Resource Key
Journal kept for "Bush Hill Plantation"
1 folder(s)
Manuscripts [X031747077] box: 2 folder: 1 Archival Resource Key
Journal kept by Dr. Francis M. Gunnell (1827-1922), with some accounts
1 folder(s)
Scope and Contents

This private journal kept by Francis M. Gunnell, M.D., U.S. Navy, whose appointment was dated March 23, 1849, describes a cruise in the sloop of war "U.S.S. Falmouth." The crew began sailing for the Pacific on May 16, 1849, where the "Falmouth" was charged with protecting the new American settlements on the west coast. The ship also voyaged to various Pacific islands before returning to Norfolk on January 29, 1852. This account of the cruise occupies pages 1-72 of the volume. The second portion of the journal, pages 74-111, describe Gunnell's cruise aboard the U.S.S. Independence and appears to be written totally in French.

According to Wikipedia, the Independence "was recommissioned in September 1854 and departed New York on 10 October to serve as flagship of the Pacific Squadron under Commodore William Mervine. She arrived Valparaíso, Chile, on 2 February 1855. Her cruising grounds ranged northward to San Francisco and west to Hawaii. Proceeding from Panama Bay, she entered the Mare Island Navy Yard on 2 October 1857."

Ledgers [X031747077] box: 2 folder: 2 Archival Resource Key
Ledger of Richard M. Scott
1 folder(s)
Scope and Contents

Includes a broadside with a petition issued by the President, Richard M. Scott, and Directors of the Farmers' Bank of Alexandria, to Congress, May 26, 181[8?].

Manuscripts [X031747077] box: 2 folder: 3 Archival Resource Key
Medical Notebook, Diagnosis and Prognosis, of James L. Gunnell, with index
1 folder(s)
1819 December 10
Manuscripts [X031747077] box: 2 folder: 4 Archival Resource Key
Memoranda Book of John Scott
1 folder(s)
Scope and Contents

Chiefly describes agricultural activities, but does have some references to events during the period of the American Revolution, such as mentions of mustering with his battalion and seeing Men-of-War ships and transports coming up the [Potomac?] River, in July 1776. Some of the pages record the names of enslaved laborers with the farming activity, and also births, such as the birth of a boy to his "wench" Betty, July [4?], 1776.

Manuscripts [X031747078] box: 3 folder: 1-3 Archival Resource Key
Memoranda Books of Richard M. Scott, Sr.
3 folder(s)
Scope and Contents

The memoranda books of Richard M. Scott, Sr. record agricultural and horticultural events, social visits, activities of enslaved laborers, deaths and births of slaves, and inventories of property, such as the one concerning house linens, knives and forks, earthenware and plate at "Bush Hill" (February 4, 1812). He mentions the anniversaries of the tragic death of his wife, who died in 1812 from injuries sustained in the Richmond Theater fire of December 26, 1811.

He also writes about trips to the District of Columbia, the invasion of the Capitol by the British during the War of 1812 (August 24 and 28, 1814), trips to Warm Springs in Bath County, Virginia, for his health, and a fire at Bush Hill involving the servant hall, barn, stables, equipment and straw (April 8, 1823). Scott also mentions his blacksmith shop to be built by Henry Morris, a free man of color for a dollar a day (August 5, 1824), attended the funeral of "negro Betty, a free woman, wife of my servant Moses" (October 7, 1824), gave a holiday to his servants (slaves) to witness the entry and reception of General Lafayette on the 16th of October (October 23, 1824) and included a list of spirits and wine on hand (July 24, 1824).

Mentions the marriage of his servant and gardener, Townshend Crump, to Molly Turner, a servant of [J].E. Marshall (October 7, 1825); Daniel, a free man of color, a blacksmith, cutting chestnut for charcoal (February 15, 1826), and the death of Thomas Jefferson (July 4, 1826). Other topics include the marriage of his servant, Moses Johnston, to Kitty, "Mrs. James H. Hooe's colored servant girl" (December 27, 1826), the death of his brother, David Wilson Scott (1827 September 23, 1827), the bottling of 238 bottles of wine (November 8, 1827), his marriage to Eleanor Douglas Marshall (November 25, 1828), and the birth of a son (August 28, 1829).

Located in Box 1 Folder 6, there is a copy of typed excerpts from the memoranda books and diaries of Richard M. Scott, Sr. and Richard M. Scott, Jr.

Manuscripts [X031747078] box: 3 folder: 4 Archival Resource Key
Notebook on various school subjects, botany and natural philosophy, copy of the will of R.M. Scott, Sr., 1832 with a codicil in 1833, and a list of silver at "Bush Hill" (April 28, 1845).
1 folder(s)
Manuscripts [X031747078] box: 3 folder: 5 Archival Resource Key
Notebook on European History kept by Richard M. Scott, Jr.
1 folder(s)
1845 January 1
Manuscripts [X031747078] box: 3 folder: 6 Archival Resource Key
Notebook on French Language practice exercises
1 folder(s)
Manuscripts [X031747079] box: 4 Ledger: 1 Archival Resource Key
"Notebook" kept by Richard M. Scott, Jr. for the "Bush Hill Plantation"
1 folder(s)
1847 December -1855 December
Scope and Contents

This volume continues chronologically from the diary of Richard Marshall Scott, Jr. in Box 1, and includes information about weather, the hiring of an overseer, Mr. Joseph U. Sandford from Dranesville, who left after a year (January 11, 1848; January 26, 1849); the sudden illness and death of former President John Quincy Adams while serving in the House of Representatives (February 21-26, 1848); the hiring of his slave, Ellen Ann and one child, to her husband, David Grey, a "free negro living near Claremont," (January 11 and March 1, 1848) who, in subsequent years, was hired out to others; news of a revolution in France with the abdication of the King (March 20, 1848); and the purchase of a slave, Joe, from the estate sale of General John Mason for six hundred dollars (May 4, 1849).

Writes concerning Francis Gunnell, who sailed from Boston aboard the United States Sloop of War "Falmouth" as assistant surgeon (May 10, 1849) and the birth of his son, Frank (July 1, 1849). Scott mentions the amputation of the finger of his slave, Frank, hired out to the Rev. E.A. Dalyrmple, who broke Frank's finger with a blow from a stick causing it to became inflamed (January 11-15, 1850); visits to Congress, where he heard debates on slavery and the admission of new states to the Union, which had prohibited slavery, such as California (February 20, March 13, August 22, 1850); news about the deaths of John C. Calhoun on March 31, 1850 (April 2, 1850) and President Zachary Taylor (July 10, 1850); the construction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, with stops on his property (September 12, 1850 and June 8-July 4, 1851); a trip to Niagara Falls (October 15-November 8); his slave, Basil, ran away, fearing a flogging (August 4, 1851); and the birth of a son (September 13, 1851).

The volume continues with news of the deaths of Dr. Gunnell (April 28-29, 1852) and Dennis Johnston (July 24, 1852) both sixty-five years of age; a suicide of a neighbor (October 22, 1852); sale of two slaves, Robert and Nancy (November 17, 1852); mention that slave hiring prices were high and slaves in great demand (January 1, 1853); Work by bricklayers and others on a house of his on Prince Street, Alexandria (December 31, 1852-September 17, 1853) and for house on Washington Street to rent to the Cotton Factory (October 8-10); sale of Hannah and three children (September 7, 1853) and Adam (November 17, 1853); birth of daughter, Anna Constance (December 1, 1853); sale of boy, Lewis (February 6, 1854); an eclipse of the sun (May 26, 1854); marriage of his slaves, Charles and Mary Ellen (July 16, 1854); visit to the family graveyard at "Farmington" (December 11, 1854); the arrest of his runaway slave, Basil Gunt, in Frederick City, Maryland, where he had been living as a free man for three and a half years (March 3, 1855); children taken to town to have their daguerreotypes taken (August 4, 1855); and the death of slave, Mary Ellen (November 17, 1855).

The end papers contain a list of books kept in the secretary and bookcase at Bush Hill and a list of land lots [purchased in Virginia?].

Manuscripts [X031747079] box: 4 Ledger: 2 Archival Resource Key
"Notebook" kept by Richard M. Scott, Jr. and his wife, Virginia Gunnell Scott, for the "Bush Hill Plantation," 1856-1859, continued in use as a "Guestbook" for "Bush Hill" from 1919-1941, by its new owners Leonard Coleman Gunnell and Emily Nelson Gunnell
1 Volumes
1856 January-1859 September and 1919-1941
Scope and Contents

This volume completes the diary of Richard M. Scott, Jr. describing the sudden progress of his lung disease and trips to Cuba and the Red Sulphur Springs in Monroe County for relief, up to his death on November 13, 1856. His wife vows to continue the diary for her children's sake. Virginia writes about financial struggles and decisions that are hers as a new widow, sales of slaves that caused her "difficulties" including Margaret (April 25-May 4, 1857), the girl, May (May 3, 1859) and West (July 14, 1859); having a portrait of her husband made from a daguerreotype and sitting for her own portrait (May 14-29, 1857).

She continues to mention her financial difficulties (February 20 and April 3, 1858) since the death of her husband and her hopes for administrative help from her brother, James; notes her brother, Frank, who is going out in the "USS Frigate Niagara" to assist in the laying of the Atlantic Cable between coast of Ireland and Newfoundland (March 5-August 26, 1858); her brother, James, assisting Virginia in arranging slave hires, getting the manumission papers at Fairfax Courthouse for John Allen, who was freed under the will of her husband, and the sale of Letty in Richmond (January 1-18, 1859); the sale of the St. Marysville farm in Stafford to Mr. Hooe (January 27, 1859) and the Waterloo farm to William Hughes (June 2, 1859); an her brother, Frank, ordered to the Gulf of Mexico upon the steamer "Fulton" (July 13, 1859).

Mixed Materials [X031747079] box: 4 folder: 1 Archival Resource Key
Papers and Photographs of the Scott and Gunnell families
1 folder(s)
circa 1847-1950
Scope and Contents

This folder contains a stock certificate for four shares in the Exchange Bank of Virginia; a few letters to Dr. Francis M. Gunnell, Virginia Scott, and Emily Gunnell, 1869-1950; an account of the early life of Richard M. Scott, Sr. written for his son, copied by Virginia Scott from the first pages of a book left to Richard M. Scott, Jr.; and two photographs, one of John P. Nelson and a second of Bruce Covington Gunnell.

Photographs [X031747080] box: 5 Album: 1 Archival Resource Key
Photograph Album belonging to Sarah Louise "Loulie" Rittenhouse (1845-1942), chiefly with carte de visite and tintype photographs
1 Volumes
Scope and Contents

Most of these photographs have no obvious identification. There are some souvenir cartes de visite from Lima, Peru, and some of famous people, such as the portraits of George Washington and Martha Washington, and a medallion featuring the Empress Josephine.