Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers, 1806-1880
- Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
- Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers
- Collection No.:
- SC 0201
- 3 digital files, .12 Gigabytes
- 2 folders, .08 Cubic Feet
- Language of the Material:
- English .
- The Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers, 1806-1880, comprise Nimrod Warden's copybook (only available as a digital facsimile), a sale bill probably for the estate of Lucinda VanNort Warden, and appraisal of Samuel Harnsberger's estate.
[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers, 1806-1880, SC 0201, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University.
Nimrod Warden (b. 1786) was the son of William Wallace Warden (1749-1823) and Sarah Chrisman Warden (1757-1829) of Hardy County, Virginia (now West Virginia), likely near Lost River. Until November 2019, it was assumed that Nimrod Warden was a prosperous merchant, wholesaler, and international trader. This was likely not the case given that the 1806 account book that these assumptions were based on is, in actuality, a copybook of an 1801 bookkeeping manual. Additionally, genealogical evidence strongly suggests that Nimrod Warden was born ca. 1786. It seems highly unlikely that he would have been the proprietor of such a successful international trading company at the age of 20, when the copybook was created (1806). Nimrod Warden's brother, Benjamin Franklin Warden (1790-1844), married Lucinda VanNort (1807-1880) in 1829. It is assumed that the sale bill in this collection dated November 5, 1880 and titled "Mother's Sale Bill" is likely from the estate of Lucinda VanNort Warden.
The Warden family of Hardy County is linked to the Harnsberger family of Augusta County, Virginia via Grace Gretchen Warden (1869-1941), granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin Warden and Lucinda VanNort Warden. Grace Gretchen Warden married Samuel Harnsberger Parkins (1863-1933), son of Isaac J. Parkins (1822-1872) and Christina V. Harnsberger Parkins (1828-1891). Isaac J. Parkins' name is at the top of Samuel Harnsberger's estate appraisal indicating he likely conducted the appraisal. Christina V. Harnsberger Parkins is the daughter of Samuel Harnsberger (1798-1851) and Anne G. Robinson Harnsberger (1797-1860), not their granddaughter as a note on the Harnsberger estate appraisal indicates.
An even more detailed account of the Warden-Harnsberger genealogical line is available in the collection's control file. Researchers should note that the Harnsberger surname is spelled Harnsbarger and Hernsberger in additional to other spelling variations.
Samuel Harnsberger resided in Augusta County, Virginia and was a farmer and enslaver by occupation. Harnsberger was also the second proprietor of a tavern and stagecoach stop located along the Valley Turnpike (Rt. 11) near Verona. According to the 1850 United States Census Slave Schedule, Samuel Harnsberger owned 20 enslaved persons ranging in age from 1 year old to 57 years old. There are 25 enslaved persons listed on the 1851 appraisal of his estate. All but two are listed by name.
Scope and Content
The Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers, 1806-1880, comprise Nimrod Warden's copybook (only available as a digital facsimile), a sale bill presumably for the estate of Lucinda VanNort Warden, and appraisal of Samuel Harnsberger's estate.
The copybook, previously thought to be an authentic account of Nimrod Warden's international business dealings, is actually a transcription of William Jackson's 1801 manual Book-Keeping in the True Italian Form of Debtor and Creditor by Way of Double Entry;.... Warden wrote "Hardy County" at the front of the ledger as well as at the top of each page. Otherwise, the copybook is a near exact transcription of Jackson's manual. It is possible that Warden's transcription of the text served as a tool to practice his bookkeeping and/or penmanship skills.
The copybook's handwritten title page reads: "Day Book January 24th 1806 Nimrod Warden. Hardy, County Virginia. Lost River." An inscription on the front pastedown provides some clues as to the provenance of the copybook as well as genealogical information. It reads: "This book is for Warden C. Parkins Aug. 20th 1934. Given to Warden, Jr. in 1960s (1968 probably) by his father." Jacob D. Dietrick's bookseller label is affixed to the front pastedown. Dietrick had a patent medicine and bookstore on Main Street in Winchester, Virginia.
The "Mother's Sale Bill," dated November 5, 1880, is likely a bill for the estate sale of Lucinda VanNort Warden who died in April 1880. The bill lists items sold, buyers' names, and the amount each item sold. Items sold include household goods (coffee pot, wash pan, jars, baskets, bedding), untitled books, farm implements, and livestock. Lucinda VanNort Warden's sons, Jacob/Jake Warden (1841-1927) and J[ames] M[cCoy] Warden (1839-1928) are listed as buyers on the sale bill. The notation "Susan Clagett Warden ?" was marked out, presumably by a previous owner of the document, as Clagett died in 1926 making it unlikely that the sale bill corresponded to her estate. The notation is also in a different hand from the bill and post-dates the creation of the document.
The Samuel Harnsberger estate appraisal, dated December 26, 1851, comprises an inventory and appraisal of Harnsberger's personal affects, household goods, livestock, and enslaved persons, taken two months after his October 1851 death. The items are listed according to their location in the house. Livestock, farm implements, and the enslaved persons are not associated with a specific room. All but two of the enslaved persons on the appraisal are listed by name. They include Easter, Eve, Joe, Bowley, Henderson, Frank, Henry, Andy, [Corse], Alexandra, Martha, unnamed girl listed with Bell, Amanda, Bill, Mountain Bill, Nancy, John, James, Big Jim, Stephen, unnamed girl, Angeline, George, and [Cap] Jane. Financial assets and liabilities are listed and include stock, cash on hand, and outstanding loans/bills/interest due. Notations at the top of the appraisal indicate that I[saac] J. Parkins was the estate appraiser. Additionally, notations post-dating the creation of the document indicate that Parkins was Warden C. Parkins Jr.'s great-grandfather. This information is correct based on documentary evidence. A note also suggests that I. J. Parkins was Samuel Harnsberger's grandson (by marriage). Given that Parkins was married to Samuel Harnsberger's daughter Christine, Parkins would have been Harnsberger's son-in-law.
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Converted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl.Revised by Julia MerkelCollection renumbered by Sarah Roth-MulletUpdated to reflect acquisition of Harnsberger estate appraisal and mother's sale bill and information about Nimrod Warden ledger. 2013-11-21April 2011April 2019November 2019
Collection is open for research. The Nimrod Warden copybook is only available in a digital format. 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.
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 (email@example.com).
In September 2010, the owner of the Warden and Harnsberger manuscript material contacted JMU history professor Dr. Michael Galgano and loaned him the documents and copybook. The owner gave Dr. Galgano permission to scan the materials which Special Collections completed in December 2010 and April 2011. The digital rights to the material were donated in October 2010 by the owner who wished to remain anonymous. The physical material was returned to the owner.
The Samuel Harnsberger property appraisal and mother's sale bill were acquired by Special Collections at Jeffrey Evans & Associates' 37th Semi-Annual Americana & Fine Antiques Auction featuring Virginia and the South on November 16, 2019. Per the auctioneer's catalog, the manuscripts descended directly in the Warden family to the current owner.
The Harnsberger appraisal and mother's sale bill were contained in the Nimrod Warden copybook, all of which had been held in the owner's family's possession until the time of loaning to James Madison University for the purposes of digitization. The originals were returned to the owner after digital copies were made. All three items were then consigned by Jeffrey Evans & Associates for his 37th Semi-Annual Americana & Fine Antiques Auction featuring Virginia and the South on November 16, 2019. Prior to the auction, Evans was alerted by a researcher that the Nimrod Warden ledger was not an authentic account of Warden's business dealings, but actually an exact transcription of William Jackson's 1801 manual Book-Keeping in the True Italian Form of Debtor and Creditor by Way of Double Entry;..., making it a copybook and not a daybook. As a result, the ledger was pulled from the auction and returned to the owner. Up until November 2019, the Nimrod Warden copybook was assumed by JMU Special Collections to be a legitimate account of Warden's Hardy County merchant house and farm. It was even cited as such in Steven Stoll's Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia (2017). The description within this finding aid has been updated to reflect the actual provenance of the Warden copybook.
Digitization of the Nimord Warden copybook was made with an EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT 8 megapixel w/ EX Sigma 50 mm F2.8 DG Macro lens, copystand illuminated w/ 4 GE 100watt Reveal incandescent bulbs, edited in AdobePhotoshop 5.0, with archival copies saved to 72 ppi LZW tiff. Digitized by Julia Merkel in December 2010.
"A List of the Property Appraised of the Estate of Samuel Harnsberger December 26th, 1857," and "Mother's Sale Bill 5th November 1880," were scanned by an EPSON Expression 10000XL set at 600dpi. The images were edited using Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and saved as high quality jpg's. A high-resolution tiff file was also created as the archival file. Digitized by Trevor Alvord in April 2011. Image files were converted to pdfs for access.
In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in 2017-2019. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 5023 and formerly titled Warden Ledger Collection. The collection was also renamed Warden and Harnsberger Family Papers to more accurately reflect its contents and creators. The biographical note and scope and content note were updated to reflect the fact that the Nimrod Warden copybook is not an authentic account of Warden's business dealings, but actually an exact transcription of William Jackson's 1801 manual Book-Keeping in the True Italian Form of Debtor and Creditor by Way of Double Entry;.... Previous versions of the collection's finding aids are available in the collection control file.
Location of Originals
The Nimrod Warden copybook is retained by the owner, a Warden family descendant. The Harnsberger appraisal and sale bill were also retained by the owner at the time of digitization by Special Collections. All three items were then consigned by Jeffrey Evans & Associates for his 37th Semi-Annual Americana & Fine Antiques Auction featuring Virginia and the South (November 16, 2019). Once it was discovered that the Nimrod Warden ledger was not an authentic account of Warden's business dealings, but actually an exact transcription of William Jackson's 1801 Book-Keeping in the True Italian Form of Debtor and Creditor by Way of Double Entry;..., the ledger was pulled from the auction and returned to the owner. JMU Special Collections acquired the Harnsberger appraisal and sale bill at the aforementioned auction and incorporated them into this collection.
Jackson, William. Book-Keeping, in the True Italian Form of Debtor and Creditor by Way of Double Entry: Or, Practical Book-Keeping, Exemplified From the Precepts of the Late Ingenious D. Dowling ... With the Addition of Computations in Exchange, and Tables Shewing the Proportion That the Weights and Measures of the Principal Cities in Europe Bear to Each Other. Philadephia: John Bioren, 1801.
- Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
Genre and Form
- Estate inventories
- Estate records
- Hardy County (W. Va.) -- Geneology -- Sources
- Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
- Copybooks -- West Virginia -- Hardy County -- Sources
- Estate sales -- West Virginia -- Hardy County -- Sources
- Estate sales -- Virginia -- Augusta County -- Sources
- Augusta County (Va.) -- Genealogy -- Sources
- Virginia -- History, Local -- 19th century -- Sources
- West Virginia -- History, Local -- 19th century -- Sources
"United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 ," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X3W-S9J?cc=1420440&wc=MJC6-92Q%3A1042937501%2C1042951501%2C1042951502 : 22 May 2014), Virginia > Augusta > Augusta county > image 28-29 of 61; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
Department of Historic Resources. "Willow Spout," Marker A-99, 1992.
|Nimrod Warden Copybook, January 24, 1806||Digital-materials SC0201-SET-001|
|A List of the Property Appraised of the Estate of Samuel Harnsberger, December 26, 1857||box 1||folder 1||Digital-materials SC0201-SET-001|
|Mother's [Lucinda VanNort Warden] Sale Bill, November 5, 1880||box 1||folder 2||Digital-materials SC0201-SET-001|