A Guide to the Margaret B. Burruss Collection of Scott and Saufley Family Papers, 1786-1912

Collection Number SC 0118

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano, September 1990

Revised by: Alicia Henneberry, October 2013

Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Margaret B. Burruss Collection of Scott and Saufley Family Papers, 1786-1912

Collection No.: SC 0118

Creator: Margaret B. Burruss

Extent: 3 boxes; XX cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: This collection consists of one Hollinger box of letters and a few family records and photos, 1786 to 1912; one 1/2 Hollinger box of Civil War letter transcripts; and the Hanna family Bible.


Administrative Information


Access Restirctions: 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 Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).               

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [box #, folder #], Margaret B. Burruss Collection of Scott and Saufley Family Papers, 1786-1912, SC  0118, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University,  Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: Donated in July 1990 by Mrs. Margaret B. Burruss, a great-granddaughter of Reuben A. Scott and Mary (Mollie) Saufley Scott.
Processing Information: At some point after acquiring this collection, Special Collections staff separated the correspondence from their corresponding envelopes. The separated envelopes have penciled notations on them referring back to their original letter. In an effort to not further lose original order by trying to marry each letter with an envelope, the two remain separated. In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. (The collection was also minimally reprocessed during this time.) This collection was previously cataloged as SC 2097.

Bio/Historical Note: Rueben A. Scott and his fiancée, later wife, Mary (Mollie) Catherine Saufley, lived near Port Republic in Rockingham County, Virginia. She was slightly older than Reuben, and was well educated, having attended Fair View Academy and Miami Seminary in Missouri. Reuben Scott joined the Confederate forces as a private in the Company B, 10th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, at least by April 1861 when he was in his twenties. He suffered a wound to the arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. He was then taken prisoner of war at Port Republic in September 1864, and later paroled on May 23, 1865. He returned to live a prosperous life as a farmer in Port Republic, and died in 1912.


Scope and Content: The Margaret B. Burruss Collection of Scott and Saufley Family Papers, 1789-1912, consists of three boxes containing letters, family records, photos, letter transcripts, and the Hanna family Bible. The bulk of the collection is in Series 1.

Series 1, Scott-Saufley Correspondence, 4/7/1861-5/23/1865 (& undated), is composed of six folders of Civil War correspondence between Reuben A. Scott and Mary Catherine Saufley (called Mollie). His letters describe camp life, preparation for battles, and his assignment of searching out and arresting deserters. Her letters describe events and news about family members and home. There are also several documents included that are relevant to the correspondence, such as the April 7, 1861 letter from Mollie’s father giving her permission to marry, a leave of absence for Scott in Septmeber, 1861, and copies of his muster rolls. Transcripts of letters in Series I and Series II are filed in Box 1A.

Series 2, Family Letters, 1786 [1851-1869] 1912 (& undated), contains miscellaneous letters from members of the Whitmer, Ewing, Brown, Graham, as well as the Scott and Saufley family. Letter from both R.A. Scott and M.C. Saufley to various relatives are filed here. Also filed here are notes of debts and R.A. Scott’s obituary and will.

Series 3, Miscellaneous, contains M.C. Saufley’s daybook and pamphlet, The Soldier’s Mission in the Crisis of 1861 that contains a note by R. A. Scott (“found on battlefield”). This folder also holds several clippings that were photocopied onto preservation paper for placement with the letters they accompanied.

Series 4, Photographs, consists of three cases photos of R.A. Scott, one cased photo of Mollie Scott identified and dated by the donor as 1861, and one mounted photo of R. A. Scott in his casket.

Series 5, Envelopes, are in Box 1A.

The Hanna Bible is located in Box 2 of this collection. Its title page is missing and has 2 pages of genealogical data. 1786-1912


Arrangement: This collection is arranged in five series:


Series 1: Scott-Saufley Correspondence, 1861-1865
Series 2: Family Letters, 1768-1912
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1859-1861
Series 4: Photographs, ca. 1860s, 1912
Series 5: Envelopes
Series 6: Transcripts

Folder Title Box:Folder