A Guide to the James P. Elam Journal and Chesterfield County (Va.) Estate Records, 1835-1848 James P. Elam Journal and Chesterfield County (Va.) Estate Records, 1835-1848 1099712

A Guide to the James P. Elam Journal and Chesterfield County (Va.) Estate Records, 1835-1848

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 1099712


Library of Virginia

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© 2010 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Bari Helms

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
James P. Elam Journal and Chesterfield County (Va.) Estate Records, 1835-1848
Physical Characteristics
1 v.
Richmond (Va.) Circuit Court
State Records Center - Archives Annex, Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

James P. Elam Journal and Chesterfield County (Va.) Estate Records, 1835-1848. Local government records collection, Richmond Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

This item came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Richmond under accession number 37368.

Historical Information

James P. Elam operated a general store in Clarksville, Va., during the 1830s.

Chesterfield County was named for Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth earl of Chesterfield, British statesman and diplomat, and was formed from Henrico County in 1749. Silas Cheatham was a sheriff in Chesterfield County and later served as clerk to the circuit court from 1847 to 1865.

Scope and Content

James P. Elam Journal, 1835-1836, records the financial activities of Elam's general store on an almost daily basis. The volume was primarily used as a daybook to document customer purchases. Information found in those entries includes customer name, name and quantity of items purchased, and monies debited or credited to the customer's account. The account book was also used to record business expenses such as merchandise purchases, freighting fees, and the costs of building a new store. Occasionally family expenses were noted in the volume for travel expenses and purchases of items such as food, clothing, and furniture.

From 1844 to 1848 the volume was repurposed and used to document Chesterfield County estate cases in which Silas Cheatham served as administrator. Before becoming a circuit court clerk in 1847, Cheatham served as sheriff in Chesterfield County. Entries in the account book and numerous loose papers included in the volume relate to the appraisal and settlement of estates. Prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865 slaves were considered property and appeared in estate accounts.

Index Terms


  • Elam, James P.
  • Subjects:

  • Administration of estates--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • African Americans--History.
  • Consumer goods--Virginia--Mecklenburg County.
  • Dry-goods--Virginia--Mecklenburg County.
  • General stores--Virginia--Mecklenburg County.
  • Slaveholders--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • Slavery--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • Slaves--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Chesterfield County (Va.)--History--19th century.
  • Mecklenburg County (Va.)--History--19th century.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Account books--Virginia--Mecklenburg County.
  • Appraisals--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • Business records--Virginia--Mecklenburg County.
  • Estate inventories--Virginia--Chesterfield County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Richmond.
  • Added Entry - Personal Name:

  • Cheatham, Silas.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Chesterfield County (Va.) Circuit Court.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Chesterfield County (Va.)--History--19th century.
  • Mecklenburg County (Va.)--History--19th century.