Inventory of the Sarah C. Watts Papers 1807-1809 Watts, Sarah C. Mss. 65 W34

Inventory of the Sarah C. Watts Papers 1807-1809

A Collection in the
Manuscripts and Rare Books Department
Collection Number Mss. 65 W34


Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary

Special Collections
Earl Gregg Swem Library
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8794
Phone: (757) 221-3090
Fax: (757) 221-5440

© 2002 By the College of William and Mary

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Cynthia B. Brown

Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Collection Number
Mss. 65 W34
Sarah C. Watts Papers 1807-1809
12 items
Watts Family Jane Charlton
Letters, with a typescript of each, received by Sarah C. Watts from her parents while she was at school in Williamsburg, Va., and from women friends in Williamsburg after returning home to New London and Lynchburg, Va.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open to all researchers.

Publication Rights/Restrictions on Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Preferred Citation

Sarah C. Watts Papers, Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Acquisition Information

Gift 12/1950

Alternative Form

Available on microfilm from University Publications of America. Transcripts available with collection.

Biographical/Historical Information

Sarah C. Watts was from Bedford County, Virginia, and attended Leroy Anderson's female school in Williamsburg, Va.

Scope and Content Information

The letters from Sarah's parents give advice on marriage and the purchase of goods, as well as giving local news, and the letters from Williamsburg and Surry Co. Va. contain news of social events, local residents and activities at the College of William and Mary including the banning of parties by the President of the College, Bishop James Madison, the formation of a military company by the students and the fighting of a duel.



Collection is in one series.


Filed in chronological order.

Index Terms


  • Madison, James, 1749- 1812.
  • Subjects:

  • College of William and Mary
  • Dueling--Virginia
  • Women--Education-- Virginia
  • Geographical Names:

  • Lynchburg (Va.)-- History
  • New London (Va.)
  • Surry County (Va.)--History--18th century
  • Williamsburg (Va.)--History--18th century

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Eliza [Wright]
  • Eliza [(Wright) Mayo]
  • Jane C. C[harlton]
  • Jane C. Charl[ton]
  • Jane Charlton
  • Jane [C. Charlton]
  • Madison, James, 1749- 1812.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Bedford [Co., Va.]
  • Bedford, [Co., Va.]
  • Lynchburg (Va.)-- History
  • New London (Va.)
  • New London, [Va.]
  • Surry County (Va.)--History--18th century
  • Williamsburg [Va.]
  • Williamsburg (Va.)--History--18th century
  • Williamsburg, [Va.]
  • [Bedford Co., Va.?]

Contents List

Betsy Watts, Bedford [Co., Va.], to her daughter, Sarah C. Watts, Williamsburg, [Va.]4 April 1807. 1, Folder

Apologizes for not writing sooner; gives advice concerning whom one can trust, and states that "experience proves how few there are who deserve the name of friends"; mentions the classes she (SCW) is taking, including Arithmatick [sic] and History, and is curious why she isn't taking Geography; hopes that she will adhere to the idea of being an "old maid" for at least the next 6 years.

  • Including ALS from cousin Mary Watts, n.p., to Sarah [Watts, Williamsburg, Va.]"> 4 April 1807. 1, Folder

    sending her affections

Betsy Watts, [Bedford Co., Va.?], to her daughter, Sarah Watts, Williamsburg, [Va.] 29 May 1807. 2, Folder

Reports that her husband left [on business?]; tells of a recent camp meeting, and a sermon delivered by Dr. Genings, which offended many due to its numerous sexual allusions, and comments on her sex "thinking for themselves"; Cousin Mary did not get married, though she did have a wealthy suitor for a while; compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson; inquires how her teeth are feeling.

John Watts, Bedford, [Co., Va.], to his daughter, Sarah C. Watts, Williamsburg, [Va.]19 June 1807. 3, Folder

Cannot send the articles she wishes, but instead encloses $20.00 for her to purchase them in Williamsburg; recommends Mrs. Anderson if she needs help in selection; will be coming to Williamsburg in August to pick her up so that she will not be there during "the sickly season"; family is well, including ant [sic] Wallis.

Bernet?, Four Mile Tree, [Surry Co[urt] Ho[use], Va.],to Sarah C. Watts, Williamsburg, [Va.] 9 August 1807. 4, Folder

Disappointed in not hearing from her; sorry to hear that Christian has become ill; is so happy to be with such an "amiable" family; especially enjoying the walks with Sally; messages to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, specifically that she doesn't need any more "shifts"; there has been much company lately; has been drinking tea, and is amazed at the plentiful amounts of fruit, especially the fine "English grapes"; sends regards to Miss Charltons[sic], Miss Travises, "all Camp girls," John Anderson, and Mrs. Anderson; inquires about Nancy, and their moving Monday.

Jane C. Charlton, W[illia]msburgh [sic], [Va.], to Sarah C. Watts, New London, [Va.]13 September 1807. 5, Folder

Glad to hear about her return home; gives local news including details about the arrival of Eliza [Wright] and her subsequent illness, and the departure of the Savages and the Smiths; expresses her sadness at the "loss of your society" and how much she misses her and the other girls; Mrs. Faulcon left for Carolina; tells of Miss Donoville [sic][Deneufville] and Mr. Pryor tying the "gordianknot," and states that "Wmsbg. will be quite gay at that time, as they are to have a great wedding"; influenza rampant; tells of a party given by Mr. and Mrs. Mason, describing the handsome men, the dancing, and the fact that even Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Paradice [sic], and her mother were there; "war" is still the main topic of discussion, with revenge at the "epidemical" stage, even affecting the ladies; mentions E. Coleman and his politicing.

Jane C. Charl[ton], Williamsburg, [Va.], to Sarah C. Watts, New London, [Va.] 10 January 1808. 6, Folder

Tells of Miss Moir's birthday party, and helping her sister and Sally Bracken "look very smart" for it; Mr. Callaway, "a very genteel Young man," but "extremely homely," came to visit; gossip; mention of a literary society; "the Bishop"[James Madison] stopped the gentlemen's weekly parties because it was interrupting their studies, which she is disappointed by, because before the dancing began, the men discussed various political subjects, some speaking quite eloquently; Mr. Anderson ill, suffering from an ankle problem, and misses Sally Browne very much, as they all do; tells of a romance between Eliza [Wright] and Mr. Mayo; her mother is ill; freezing weather.

Eliza [Wright], Williamsburg, [Va.], to Sarah Watts, New London, Va. 4 May 1808. 7, Folder

Is anxious to hear from her; will be married in approximately one week to Mr. Mayo, and will be moving close to Linchburg[sic]; is nervous about the wedding; encloses a profile of herself.

Jane C. Charlton, Williamsburg [Va.], to Sarah C. Watts, New London, [Va.]8 May 1808. 8, Folder

Apologizes for not writing, but has been in Surry for the past month at Mr. Edwards', where there has been much company; S[ally] Bracken went with her, and they had a wonderful visit, but was not able to see Sally Browne; had a rough trip home on the James River, with pouring rain; Williamsburg will perk up a bit with some upcoming weddings, one of which is Eliza Wright's and Mr. Mayo's; encloses locks of hers and Mary's hair; doesn't fell well.

Jane C. Charlton, Williamsburg, [Va.], to Sarah C. Watts, New London, [Va.]14 July 1808. 9, Folder

Eliza [(Wright) Mayo]has gone to North Carolina to stay with her new in-laws, and seems very happy; tells of various speeches delivered in Williamsburg on July 4th, one on universal suffrage delivered by Mr. Greenhill, one on civil liberties delivered by Mr. [Bushrod?] Washington "(a nephew of the immortal General's)," and another delivered by Mr. McCandellish [sic][McCandlish], which was an eulogy on [George] Washington; Mrs. Pardice [sic] gave a ball which was too crowded; Mrs. Camp's girls have gone, including Maria Moody; students [at the College of William and Mary] are also leaving fast, and relates ill-feelings toward them; Mr. Anderson, a teacher, may be moving to Lynchburg; has heard she is to be married, and asks for the initials of his name and other details.

Jane C. C[harlton], Williamsburg, [Va.], to Sarah. C. Watts, New London, [Va.] 4 December 1808. 10, Folder

Cannot imagine why Mr. Callaway could have led her [JCC] to believe that she [SCW] was to marry Mr. Irvine; there are almost 70 eligible men in town, "which is a large number considering the Embargo"; Mr. Anderson is pleased to be in Lynchburg; mention of Mrs. Camp and Maria Moody; the students have formed a military company, and parade every Saturday in beautiful scarlet coats and "black velvet gaters," including her [SCW] handsome beau [Mr. Irvine?]; also heard that he is superior to anyone on the Junior Class, and hopes that she will pass the information on to his sister; has heard that Eliza [(Wright) Mayo] and her husband are doing poorly financially, neither of them being "economists"; more mention of various girls and their beaux.

Jane [C. Charlton], Williamsburg, [Va.], to Sarah C. Watts, Lynchburg, [Va.] 19 March 1809. 11, Folder

Mention of the harsh winter; there have been many parties, several of which were given by Mrs. Mason; did not attend any of the dancing parties, but did go to many card parties, because they are not as crowded, but are more fun; mention also of a party given by Mr. Radford; tells of a visit by Sally Browne, who has grown up quite a bit; Maria Savage is still there; teases about Eliza [(Wright)] Mayo becoming a matron and dressing "in the antique style"; tells of duel fought between Mr. Jones and Mr. Cabell, two students [at the College], and that both have been expelled; Mr. Jones received a wound to his thigh, which will more than likely render him a cripple; asks if she has seen Mrs. Ann E. Callaway, and comments that "perhaps matrimony has made as great a change in her sentiments as in Eliza Mayo's"; expects a dull Spring, as the Bishop [James Madison] has prohibited parties; regards to and from Mrs. Camp, S. Jackson, Mrs. Anderson, and the Brackens.