A Guide to the William Leigh Letters, 1825-1836 Leigh, William, Letters, 1825-1836 18762

A Guide to the William Leigh Letters, 1825-1836

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 18762


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© 2003 By the Library of Virginia.

Processed by: Trenton Hizer

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
18762
Title
William Leigh Letters, 1825-1836
Physical Characteristics
54 pages
Creator
William Leigh
Physical Location
Personal Papers Collection, Acc. 18762
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

William Leigh. Letters, 1825-1836. Accession 18762. Personal papers collection. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from the Anderson Galleries, New York, New York, 11 December 1923.


Biographical Information

William Leigh was born in 1783 in Halifax County, Virginia, to William Leigh (1748-1787) and Elizabeth Watkins Leigh (d. 1799). He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1804 and was admitted to the bar in 1805. Leigh practiced law and served as a judge for the Halifax County Court. He represented Halifax, Charlotte, and Prince Edward Counties in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830. Under the new constitution, Leigh was appointed a judge of the Virginia General Court and the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery 1n 1831, holding the former position until the General Court was abolished in 1851 and holding the latter position until he retired. Leigh married Rebecca Selden Watkins (1786-1852) 15 December 1807, and they had seven children. Leigh died at "Leighwood" in Halifax County 19 July 1871, and was buried at St. John's Episcopal Church in Halifax County.

Scope and Content Information

Letters, 1825-1836, from William Leigh (1783-1871) of Halifax County, Virginia, to Peachy Ridgway Gilmer (1779-1836) of Albemarle County, Virginia, discussing Leigh's judgeship of the Virginia General Court and the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery; politics; John Randolph (1773-1833); Leigh's son Thomas; and Gilmer's sons George (1810-1875) and (Peachy) Harmer (1813-1872); and personal news. Leigh writes Gilmer about his election to the General Court; his serving as the judge for the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery circuit which includes Halifax County, and about the various courts he attends. Leigh informs Gilmer about John Randolph's running for Congress in 1831, and later about Randolph's death and the controversy surrounding Randolph's wills, including a provision to emancipate his slaves. Leigh offers Gilmer a private legal opinion regarding the will of James Breckenridge (1763-1833) of Botetourt County, Virginia. Leigh laments the current political scene, stating that he is an advocate of states rights and secession. He fears for civil liberties and criticizes President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), politicians, and political parties. Leigh regrets the expansion of suffrage in Virginia, and informs Gilmer of the election of his brother Benjamin Watkins Leigh (1781-1849) to the United States Senate by the Virginia legislature. Leigh updates Gilmer on George Gilmer's legal career in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Harmer Gilmer's medical career in Halifax County. He asks Gilmer to check on his son Thomas Leigh at the University of Virginia, expressing concerns over his studies. Collection also includes a letter, 17 August 1825, from Benjamin Watkins Leigh of Richmond, Virginia, to Gilmer, then living in Bedford County, Virginia, concerning efforts to prevent a call for a state constitutional convention.

Arrangement

Chronological

Contents List

Letter, 17 August 1825, Benjamin Watkins Leigh, Richmond, [Virginia], to Peachy R. Gilmer, Bedford County, [Virginia], discussing measures to oppose a state constitutional convention. Leigh comments on the Staunton Convention, suffrage, the interests of the slaveholding part of the state, and measures undertaken by convention opponents.
5 p., AL., signature removed.
Letter, 24 April 1831, William Leigh, Halifax County, [Virginia], to Peachy R. Gilmer, [Albemarle County, Virginia], concerning John Randolph's election bid, Leigh's being appointed to the General Court, Gilmer's son George, and personal news.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 22 July 1831, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer regretting that he will not be able to visit Gilmer and George Tucker. Also comments on John Randolph's horses as studs. Leigh states that Randolph will not run for Congress because of his health and comments on his possible successors, Thomas T. Bouldin and George W. Crump.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 18 November 1831, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer regarding John Randolph wanting to sell his horses; Leigh's meeting with the lawyers of Charlotte, Halifax, and Pittsylvania Counties; his duties as a judge of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery; and his concern that Shelton Cooper, a Pittsylvania lawyer, may be leaving for Missouri.
2 p., ALS.
Letter, 22 April 1832, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer concerning John Randolph's health; politics; Leigh's belief in state rights and his fear of a loss of civil liberty; George Tucker's work on a biography of Thomas Jefferson and Leigh's opinion of Jefferson; Leigh's plans to visit Gilmer.
2 p., ALS.
Letter, 25 November 1832, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer commenting on Gilmer's career and reputation. He asks Gilmer to check on his son, Thomas Leigh, at the University of Virginia and informs him that his son, Benjamin Watkins Leigh, has married. Leigh provides news about the Pittsylvania County court. Leigh states he doesn't know if he will be able to visit in the summer.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 4 February 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer thanking him for report on Thomas Leigh. Leigh discusses Gilmer's support for Andrew Jackson and Leigh's support for state rights, nullification, and secession. Leigh expresses his concern for the continuation of the Union. Leigh also provides family and personal news, and comments on George Tucker.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 12 April 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer, Botetourt County, [Virginia], regarding his difficulties with [William B.] Banks who has resigned as prosecutor of Halifax Superior Court. Leigh comments on state politics, especially recent elections. Leigh sends greetings to Gilmer's family and to mutual friends.
2 p., ALS.
Letter, 23 April 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer concerning illness in his family and in Halifax County. Leigh has little information on mutual friends in Pittsylvania County. He comments on George Tucker and his biography of Thomas Jefferson. Leigh regrets that his brother Benjamin Watkins Leigh is not a successful agriculturalist. Leigh states he may travel north in the summer.
2 p., ALS.
Letter, 25 June 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer, Albemarle County, concerning the death of John Randolph and his wills and estate. Leigh complains about his work load from the now-defuct chancery court which preceeded the current Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery and thinks it may prevent him from realizing his summer plans. Leigh looks forward to a visit from Gilmer.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 18 August 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer berating Gilmer for his self-deprecation. Leigh comments on John Randolph's wills and Leigh's difficulties with Randolph's brothers Henry St. George Tucker and Beverley Tucker. States that he will try to get Gilmer's brother's letters to Randolph. Leigh offers his legal opinion on the will of James Breckenridge. Thanks Gilmer for his offer of help. Mentions that he has been reconciled with Thomas T. Bouldin. Leigh asks Gilmer to remember him to Gilmer's family.
6 p., ALS.
Letter, 21 September 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer commenting on Gilmer's health, John Randolph's papers, and Leigh's travel schedule for court dates.
2 p., ALS.
Letter, 30 September 1833, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer regarding John Randolph's estate and Randolph's wills concerning the emancipation of his slaves.
2 p., AL., singnature missing.
Letter, 12 January 1834, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer describing Christmas in Halifax County and thanking Gilmer for his comments on Leigh's son Thomas. Leigh also remarks on John Randolph's estate and Leigh's efforts to get Francis Walker Gilmer's letters back for Gilmer. Leigh comments on the election of governor in the Virginia General Assembly.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 3 March 1834, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer offering condolences on the death of Gilmer's brother John and of William Wirt. Leigh comments on politics, especially on the election of his brother Benjamin Watkins Leigh to the United States Senate by the General Assembly and his own possible candidacy for the Supreme Court of Appeals. He informs Gilmer of the continuing controversy over John Randolph's estate. He offers news of mutual friends in Pittsylvania County and family news.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 22 November 1834, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer asking after his health and his family. Leigh plans to travel to Richmond to spend time with his brother Benjamin Watkins Leigh before his brother leaves for Washington. Leigh comments on John Randolph's estate and worries if refusing to give up his interest in the estate and not testifying in court, he might prevent Randolph's slaves from receiving their freedom.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 16 January 1835, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer regarding Leigh's stay in Richmond for the General Court. He comments on Gilmer's interest in politics and his own lack of interest. Leigh criticizes Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. He discusses John Randolph's estate and comments on George Tucker's career. Leigh sends greetings to Gilmer's family and notes his own is doing well.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 9 June 1835, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer concerning Gilmer's son Peachy Harmer Gilmer who is beginning a medical career in Halifax County. Leigh informs Gilmer of a visit he received from Bishop William Meade who asked Leigh to release his interest in John Randolph's estate so that he might testify on behalf of Randolph's slaves who were emancipated under one of Randolph's wills.
3 p., ALS.
Letter, 25 February 1836, William Leigh to Peachy R. Gilmer expressing concern over Gilmer's health and commenting on getting old and losing friends. Leigh bemoans the current state of politics which he blames on the expansion of suffrage. He remarks on Gilmer's plans to visit Halifax County later in year.
2 p., ALS.