A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Henry A. Wise, 1856-1859 Wise, Henry A., Governor, Executive Papers of, 1856-1859 36710

A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Henry A. Wise, 1856-1859

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 36710


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© 2001 By the Library of Virginia.

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

Processed by: Craig Moore

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
36710
Title
Henry A. Wise Executive Papers, 1856-1859
Size
10.95 cubic feet (24 boxes)
Physical Location
State Records Collection, Record Group 3
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Use microfilm (Misc. reels 4193-4220).

Preferred Citation

Governor Henry A. Wise Executive Papers, 1856-1859. Accession 36710, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information unavailable.

Alternative Form Available

Also available on microfilm - Miscellaneous Reel 4193-4220.


Biographical Information

Governor Henry Alexander Wise was born in Accomack County, Virginia, in 1806. The son of Major John Wise, a member of the House of Delegates, and Sarah Corbin Cropper, Henry Wise was the fifth child of his father's second marriage. Wise attended Washington College in Washington, Pa., and later studied law at Judge Tucker's law school in Winchester, Va. He married Ann Jennings in 1828 and moved to Nashville, Tenn., to practice law. He returned to Accomack County in 1831 and entered into politics serving in Congress from 1833-1844 as a Jacksonian Democrat. Wise was nominated as United States Minister to Brazil on January 18, 1844. He was officially appointed by President John Tyler, February 16, 1844, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Brazil until August 1847. He was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1850. Wise defeated Thomas Flournoy of the Know Nothing Party in the gubernatorial election of 1855 and served as governor of Virginia from 1856 until 1859. Probably the most important event in his governorship was the raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry by abolitionist John Brown in 1859 and Brown's subsequent execution. After his governorship, Wise contributed to the Virginia Convention of 1861 in which the state seceeded from the Union and later was commissioned to form the "Wise Legion" during the Civil War. After the war, he resumed his law practice in Richmond and died on September 12, 1876.

Scope and Content Information

Governor Wise's Executive papers are organized into two series. Series have been designated for Chronological files and Subject files. The bulk of the material can be found in the Chronological files series which documents the day-to-day work of the governor from 1856 to 1859. Correspondence, court cases, pollbooks, pardons, receipts, clippings, reports, petitions, proclamations, requisitions, resolutions, and other items can be found in this series. The correspondence is primarily incoming and represents an array of concerns and issues. Noteworthy correspondents include Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis (March 10, 1856 & Oct. 8, 1856), Rembrandt Peale (Nov. 22, 1858), and former President John Tyler (Nov. 4, 1859). In addition, correspondence from George Washington Lewis, ancestor of George Washington, concerns the proposed sale of Mt. Vernon and Wakefield, the ancestral home of George Washington, to the State of Virginia. Correspondence from Charles Dimmock, Commandant of the Public Guard, concerns the erection of the Washington Monument in Capital Square (Jan.-Feb., 1858).

More substantial and significant, however, are the materials related to John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859. The majority of this series consists of correspondence asking for the pardon, commutation of punishment, or execution of John Brown. Many of the letters threaten the life of the governor and the invasion of Virginia in the event of John Brown's execution. Subject files located to the rear of the series contain intercepted correspondence to John Brown; correspondence from detectives pursuing escaped conspirators; correspondence by Charles P. Tidd, a conspirator with John Brown; and correspondence of Andrew Hunter, the prosecutor in the case agianst John Brown. In addition, there are receipts and vouchers of various expenses incurred by militia units, etc., during the raid.

Much of the correspondence consists of recommendations of Virginians to the governor for appointments. The governor appointed coroners; inspectors of tobacco, vessels, and lumber; auditors of public accounts; commissioners; Bank of Virginia directors; and notaries, to name a few. Numerous petitions accompany these recommendations. Letters by individuals stating their desire to be considered for a particular position are also present. One such letter documents J.E.B. Stuart's application to the Virginia Military Institutes's Board of Visitors (April 29, 1859). The governor also issued commissions for various elected positions such as justice of the peace, etc. As a result, pollbooks, which provide the results of the elections, are contained in the executive papers.

An important function of the governor was issuing reprieves and pardons. Copies of court cases, clippings, petitions, and correspondence supplement the pardons. Note that some of the pardons in 1859 are filed separately. The governor both received and issued proclamations and requisitions regarding escaped convicts and fugitives. Also found in the executive papers are reports from various state agents such as the Superintendent of the Western Lunatic Asylum, Commissioner of Tobacco Warehouses in Richmond, Superintendent of the Penitentiary, etc. Resolutions from other states concern boundary issues with Virginia and many relate to the Dred Scott decision and the expansion of slavery in the Western states.

The second series of Governor Wise's Executive papers contains subject files. Only two subjects are represented in this series: Monroe's Interment and John Brown's Raid. One folder of papers regarding the removal of President James Monroe's remains from New York to Hollywood Cemetery (Richmond, Va.) has been separated from the chronological files. This folder includes correspondence between the Mayor of New York City, the President of Hollywood Cemetery, and Governor Wise. It also includes proposals for a mausoleum to hold Monroe's remains.

Organization

Organized into two series: I: Chronological files, 1856-1859. II: Subject files, 1858-1859.

Contents List

Series I: Chronological Files
  • Box 1, Folder 1
    1856, January 1-15
  • Box 1, Folder 2
    1856, January 16-24
  • Box 1, Folder 3
    1856, January 25-31
  • Box 1, Folder 4
    1856, February 1-16
  • Box 1, Folder 5
    1856, February 17-21
  • Box 1, Folder 6
    1856, February 22-29
  • Box 1, Folder 7
    1856, March 1-14
  • Box 2, Folder 1
    1856, March 15-26
  • Box 2, Folder 2
    1856, March 27-31
  • Box 2, Folder 3
    1856, April 1-5
  • Box 2, Folder 4
    1856, April 6-15
  • Box 2, Folder 5
    1856, April 16-30
  • Box 2, Folder 6
    1856, May 1-9
  • Box 3, Folder 1
    1856, May 10-22
  • Box 3, Folder 2
    1856, May 23-31
  • Box 3, Folder 3
    1856, June 1-13
  • Box 3, Folder 4
    1856, June 14-30
  • Box 3, Folder 5
    1856, July 1-13
  • Box 3, Folder 6
    1856, July 14-30
  • Box 4, Folder 1
    1856, August 1-14
  • Box 4, Folder 2
    1856, August 15-31
  • Box 4, Folder 3
    1856, September 1-5
  • Box 4, Folder 4
    1856, September 6-15
  • Box 4, Folder 5
    1856, September 16-30
  • Box 4, Folder 6
    1856, October 1-15
  • Box 5, Folder 1
    1856, October 16-26
  • Box 5, Folder 2
    1856, October 27-31
  • Box 5, Folder 3
    1856, November 1-10
  • Box 5, Folder 4
    1856, November 11-29
  • Box 5, Folder 5
    1856, December 1-10
  • Box 5, Folder 6
    1856, December 11-20
  • Box 5, Folder 7
    1856, December 21-31
  • Box 6, Folder 1
    1857, January 1-12
  • Box 6, Folder 2
    1857, January 13-31
  • Box 6, Folder 3
    1857, February 1-13
  • Box 6, Folder 4
    1857, February 14-28
  • Box 6, Folder 5
    1857, March 2-6
  • Box 6, Folder 6
    1857, March 7-20
  • Box 7, Folder 1
    1857, March 21-31
  • Box 7, Folder 2
    1857, April 1-8
  • Box 7, Folder 3
    1857, April 9-23
  • Box 7, Folder 4
    1857, April 24-30
  • Box 7, Folder 5
    1857, May 1-20
  • Box 8, Folder 1
    1857, May 21-30
  • Box 8, Folder 2
    1857, June 1-15
  • Box 8, Folder 3
    1857, June 16-22
  • Box 8, Folder 4
    1857, June 23-30
  • Box 8, Folder 5
    1857, July 1-10
  • Box 8, Folder 6
    1857, July 11-19
  • Box 8, Folder 7
    1857, July 20-31
  • Box 9, Folder 1
    1857, August 1-21
  • Box 9, Folder 2
    1857, August 22-31
  • Box 9, Folder 3
    1857, September 1-11
  • Box 9, Folder 4
    1857, September 12-23
  • Box 9, Folder 5
    1857, September 24-30
  • Box 9, Folder 6
    1857, October 1-15
  • Box 9, Folder 7
    1857, October 16-31
  • Box 10, Folder 1
    1857, November 2-19
  • Box 10, Folder 2
    1857, November 20-30
  • Box 10, Folder 3
    1857, December 1-7
  • Box 10, Folder 4
    1857, December 8-22
  • Box 10, Folder 5
    1857, December 23-31
  • Box 11, Folder 1
    1858, January 1-11
  • Box 11, Folder 2
    1858, January 12-15
  • Box 11, Folder 3
    1858, January 16-30
  • Box 11, Folder 4
    1858, February 1-15
  • Box 11, Folder 5
    1858, February 16-27
  • Box 11, Folder 6
    1858, March 1-5
  • Box 12, Folder 1
    1858, March 16-23
  • Box 12, Folder 2
    1858, March 24-31
  • Box 12, Folder 3
    1858, April 1-7
  • Box 12, Folder 4
    1858, April 8-19
  • Box 12, Folder 5
    1858, April 20-30
  • Box 12, Folder 6
    1858, May 1-7
  • Box 13, Folder 1
    1858, May 8-17
  • Box 13, Folder 2
    1858, May 18-28
  • Box 13, Folder 3
    1858, May 29-31
  • Box 13, Folder 4
    1858, June 1-10
  • Box 13, Folder 5
    1858, June 11-21
  • Box 13, Folder 6
    1858, June 22-30
  • Box 13, Folder 7
    1858, July 1-13
  • Box 13, Folder 8
    1858, July 14-27
  • Box 14, Folder 1
    1858, July 28-31
  • Box 14, Folder 2
    1858, August 1-10
  • Box 14, Folder 3
    1858, August 11-26
  • Box 14, Folder 4
    1858, August 27-31
  • Box 14, Folder 5
    1858, September 1-13
  • Box 14, Folder 6
    1858, September 14-17
  • Box 14, Folder 7
    1858, September 18-27
  • Box 14, Folder 8
    1858, September 28-30
  • Box 15, Folder 1
    1858, October 1-10
  • Box 15, Folder 2
    1858, October 11-20
  • Box 15, Folder 3
    1858, October 21-31
  • Box 15, Folder 4
    1858, November 1-10
  • Box 15, Folder 5
    1858, November 11-30
  • Box 15, Folder 6
    1858, December 1-10
  • Box 15, Folder 7
    1858, December 11-31
  • Box 16, Folder 1
    1859, January 1-12
  • Box 16, Folder 2
    1859, January 13-21
  • Box 16, Folder 3
    1859, January 22-31
  • Box 16, Folder 4
    1859, February 1-10
  • Box 16, Folder 5
    1859, February 11-23
  • Box 16, Folder 6
    1859, February 24-28
  • Box 17, Folder 1
    1859, March 1-22
  • Box 17, Folder 2
    1859, March 23-31
  • Box 17, Folder 3
    1859, March - Pardons
  • Box 17, Folder 4
    1859, April 1-20
  • Box 17, Folder 5
    1859, April 21-29
  • Box 17, Folder 6
    1859, April - Pardons
  • Box 17, Folder 7
    1859, May 1-9
  • Box 17, Folder 8
    1859, May 10-16
  • Box 18, Folder 1
    1859, May 17-25
  • Box 18, Folder 2
    1859, May 26-31
  • Box 18, Folder 3
    1859, June 1-15
  • Box 18, Folder 4
    1859, June 16-26
  • Box 18, Folder 5
    1859, June 26
  • Box 18, Folder 6
    1859, June 26-30
  • Box 18, Folder 7
    1859, July 1-15
  • Box 19, Folder 1
    1859, July 16-31
  • Box 19, Folder 2
    1859, July - Pardons
  • Box 19, Folder 3
    1859, August 1-10
  • Box 19, Folder 4
    1859, August 11-31
  • Box 19, Folder 5
    1859, August - Pardons
  • Box 19, Folder 6
    1859, September 1-20
  • Box 19, Folder 7
    1859, September 21-30
  • Box 19, Folder 8
    1859, September - Pardons
  • Box 20, Folder 1
    1859, October 1-19
  • Box 20, Folder 2
    1859, October 20-31
  • Box 20, Folder 3
    1859, October - Pardons
  • Box 20, Folder 4
    1859, November 1-25
  • Box 20, Folder 5
    1859, November 26-30
  • Box 20, Folder 6
    1859, November - Pardons
  • Box 20, Folder 7
    1859, December 1-20
  • Box 20, Folder 8
    1859, December 21-31
  • Box 20, Folder 9
    1859, December - Pardons
  • Box 21, Folder 1
    Undated
Series II: Subject Files
  • Box 21, Folder 2
    Subseries A: Monroe's Interment, May 19-July 7, 1958
  • Subseries B: John Brown's Raid, October-December 1859
    • Box 21, Folder 3
      1859, October 17-26
    • Box 21, Folder 4
      1859, October 27-31
    • Box 21, Folder 5
      1859, November 1-5
    • Box 21, Folder 6
      1859, November 6-10
    • Box 21, Folder 7
      1859, November 11-15
    • Box 21, Folder 8
      1859, November 16-20
    • Box 21, Folder 9
      1859, November 21-24
    • Box 22, Folder 1
      1859, November 25-27
    • Box 22, Folder 2
      1859, November 28-30
    • Box 22, Folder 3
      1859, December 1-2
    • Box 22, Folder 4
      1859, December 5-7
    • Box 22, Folder 5
      1859, December 8-14
    • Box 22, Folder 6
      1859, December 15-22
    • Box 22, Folder 7
      1859, December 23-31
    • Box 22, Folder 8
      Undated
    • Box 23, Folder 1
      Clippings
    • Box 23, Folder 2
      Correspondence - Detectives
    • Box 23, Folder 3
      Correspondence - Hunter, Andrew (Prosecutor)
    • Box 23, Folder 4
      Correspondence - Intercepted Letters
    • Box 23, Folder 5
      Correspondence - Tidd, Charles P. (Conspirator)
    • Box 23, Folder 6
      Expenses - General
    • Box 23, Folder 7
      Expenses - Hospital & Sick
    • Box 23, Folder 8
      Expenses - Pay Rolls
    • Box 23, Folder 9
      Expenses - Purchase of Arms
    • Box 23, Folder 10
      Expenses - Quartermaster
    • Box 23, Folder 11
      Miscellaneous
    • Box 23, Folder 12
      Orders