A Guide to the John W. Wilson Collection, 1766-1963

SC Number 0122

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano and Lu Chima, September 1996

Revised by: Alicia Henneberry, September 2013

Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title:  John W. Wilson Collection

Collection No.: SC 0122

Creator: John W. Wilson

Extent: 2 boxes, .39 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: This collection is comprised of a variety of documents, including letters, deeds, indentures, receipts, and accounts, all relating to Jacob Bear, Benjamin Graves, Jacob Sipe, and the Dean (Deane, Deen) and the Harnsberger family.


Administrative Information


Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], John W. Wilson Collection, 1766-1963, SC 0122, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: Donated by John “Bill” Wilson Jr. of Port Republic, Virginia in December 1995.
Processing Information: In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 3012.


Bio/Historical Note: The Mount Vernon Iron Furnace was located in Brown’s Gap, Virginia, and was started by the Faussett family. It was built in 1848 and was operated by the Miller family, John F. Lewis, and a variety of others until 1878.


Scope and Content: The John W. Wilson Collection, 1766-1963, consists of a variety of documents (receipts, deeds, accounts, and letters) relating mostly to Jacob Bear, Benjamin Graves, Jacob Sipe, and the Dean (Deane, Deen) and Harnsberger (Hansberger) families of Rockingham, Madison, Orange, and Augusta counties, Virginia from 1766 to 1963. Of particular interest are the 1842 Elk Run Class Book; the 1858-59 Housekeeping Book, which lists household and farm items needed for life at the time; and accounts of the Mt. Vernon Iron Works (Rockingham County) from 1878-1879.



This collection is arranged chronologically with oversize documents housed together.

Bibliography: Wayland, John Walter. A History of Rockingham County, VA. Dayton, Va: Ruebush-Elkins Co., 1912.



Folder Title Box: Folder


Two wills of Jacob Bear (1787,1827)

Two account pages of B. Graves with J. Brock (1800-1801)

Land survey for Margaret Sipe by Joseph Mauzy (1813)

Purchase of dower right of land of widow of John Mungeo by Henry Mungeo (1814)

Distillery tax bill of Benjamin and John Graves (1814)
Page of purchases by Benjamin Graves of Simeon Graves (1815)
Notice of land sale (fragment), signed Tho. Eddins and Benjamin Graves (1816)
Notices (7) of property auction of Wm. Collins, deceased, of Orange County (1816)
Indemnification of B. Graves and T. Eddins as Adm. of Wm. Collins estate (1816)
Indenture for land to Jacob Runkle by George Cook (1817)
Receipt for board and tuition, B. Graves (1818)
Joel Banks promises to pay B. Graves (1820)
Summons for Richard Kinse[y?] (1820)
Letter from R. Kinsey to B. Graves re: tobacco (1823)
Letter from R. Kinsey to B. Graves  re: deed of trust (1824)
Letter from George McClammer to B. Graves re: money owed (1827)
Land rent agreement between Paul Lingle and Wm. Johnson, Rockingham County (1827)



Appointment of attorney by Joseph Haynes, re: estate of Geo. Berry, Rockingham County (1830)

Appointment of attorney by Lewis Berry (1834)

Letter from Elizabeth Hopkins to parents in Harrisonburg from school in Mt. Airy, Va. (1838)

Henry Keneagy of August County promises to pay Jacob Sipe, re: blooms of iron (1840)

Indenture for land to C. Yancey and J. Conrad by G. Blankenbaker (1841)

Agreement between Wm. Harper and J. Sipe (1842)
Elk Run Class Book (photocopy), undated

Receipt of payment by J. Sipe (1842)

Receipt of payment by J. Sipe (1843)
J. Sipe promises to pay Isaac Hardesty (1844)

Letter to Francis J. Hopkins from her sister (1845)

Letter to J. Sipe from John Haven re: will (1846)

Testimony concerning will of Margaret Sipe (1847)

Appointment of attorney Thomas King of Augusta County by Peyton Stanforth of Ohio (1847)

B&O RR Co. receipt for 60 barrels flour from W. Harper (1847)

Letter to J. Sipe from Eli Cook re: check (1848)

Deed for land sold to T. Carpenter by J. Sipe (1848)



Receipt of payment from J. Sipe (1851)

Letter to J. Sipe from John Hour (1852)

Agreement to sell land between A.W. Hudson and C.B. Yancey (1852)

“T.K. Harnsburger’s Book”, listing housekeeping and farming articles bought (1858)

Land plat of John Deane (1861)

Letter to Bettie from Frannie [Hopkins?] (1863)

Deed dividing land among Dean family (1866)

Deed for land to John Dean by Morgan Dean (1870)

Letter to B. Graves from S. Graves re:money (1878)

Letter to B. Graves from son A. Graves re: Mill Farm Seminary (1879)

List of articles sold from J. Harnsbarger estate, Elizabeth Harnsbarger estate (photocopy) (1880,1884)

Deed for land to T. Dean by John Dean (1881)

Receipt of Payment from T. Dean (1882)
Letter to W.R. Grains from T.K. Harnsberger re: land (1894)

Extract from letter to Gen. J. Roller from W.E. Barry, Texas Scout, re: Civil War Story (transcript, 1907)

Letter to Thos. K. re: graduation (written on Randolph-Macon Monthly, Ashland, VA letterhead) (1910)                 

Letter to C. J. Harnsberger from C. Bryant re: genealogy (1915)

A Brief Narrative, written for his grandchildren, by Lunsford L. Lewis, photocopy (1915)

Bills (3) of F.H. Blackburn at Root Gen’l. Merchandise (1916)
Harnsberger family newsletter with genealogical notes (1963)


Oversize materials, 1766-1879

Deed of Land to John Garth (1766)

Indenture (fragment) between J. Maggott and H. Powel (1804)

Land petition on dispute between C. Fudges and Adam Hansberger (1808?)

Survey of disputed land between S. Conrad and J. Harnsberger (1819)

Deed for land of James Deen (1827)

Deed (fragment) for land to E. Hansbarger by P. Parratt (1833)

Accounts of Mt. Vernon Iron Works (1878-1879)
Deed for land of T. Deane (1885)

OV 1:1