Barnhart Family Papers, 1836-1944

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Summary Information

Repository:
Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Creator:
Barnhart Family
Title:
Barnhart Family Papers
Collection No.:
SC 0237
Date:
1836-1944
Extent:
5 legal folders, .1 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
English
Abstract:
The Barnhart Family Papers, 1836-1944, is comprised of assorted documents chiefly relating to the Barnhart family of New Hope, Virginia in Augusta County, particularly George Barnhart II and his son Gideon Barnhart. Materials include correspondence, bills, receipts and invoices, deeds, and envelopes. The collection also includes many documents concerning the estate of George Barnhart II. There are also materials within this collection pertaining to persons not directly related to the Barnharts.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Barnhart Family Papers, 1836-1944, SC 0237, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Bio/Historical Note

The Barnharts of Augusta County, Virginia descended from German immigrant John George Barnhart (1748-1832), also referred to as George Barnhart I. George I first arrived in Philadelphia in 1767 and migrated to Virginia in 1778 where he married Catherine Myers (1756-1826). They originally took up residence in Shenandoah County, but moved to Augusta County by the early spring of 1790. They had four children including an only son, George Barnhart II (1778-1857).

George II married Polly Barnett (1785-1859) of Fairfield, Virginia. They went on to have four children including an eldest son, Gideon Barnhart (1814-1892) who married Martha Ann Weade (1825-1917) on March 13, 1845. Gideon was elected Captain of the 1st Battalion, 32nd., Regiment of Virginia in 1843 and held that position for seven years. At the outset of the Civil War, Gideon would likely have been too old to report for active duty. However, evidence suggests that Gideon was a private in Company A, 3rd. Battalion Valley Reserves and mustered in April 23, 1864. Gideon and Martha Barnhart had five children, four of whom lived into adulthood. Their son Henry George Barnhart (1860-1915) married Fannie Ann Gentry (1859-1917) and the couple went on to have seven children.

Materials relating to many of the aforementioned Barnharts and their children and grandchildren can be found in this collection.

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Scope and Content

The Barnhart Family Papers, 1836-1944, are comprised of assorted documents chiefly relating to the Barnhart family of New Hope, Virginia in Augusta County, particularly George Barnhart II and his son Gideon Barnhart. Materials include correspondence, bills, receipts and invoices, deeds, and envelopes. The collection also includes many documents concerning the estate of George Barnhart II. There are also materials within this collection pertaining to persons not directly related to the Barnharts.

Papers relating to George Barnhart II chiefly comprise estate documents, specifically lists of property sold by the administrators of George II's estate in April 1857. Types of items sold from George II's estate include sundry household items, farm implements, and livestock. His widow Polly and son Gideon are listed as buyers of multiple items. There are several variations of the list of property sold, though they all appear to date to April 1857. Additional materials include receipts, financial accounts, and a deed between George II and Polly and their son Gideon for a tract of land on the south side of Round Hill.

Papers specifically relating to Polly Barnhart include financial and estate documents. Of particular interest is a document dated April 25, 1857 in which Polly Barnhart grants power of attorney to her son Gideon. In this role, Gideon was to attend to his mother's interests in the estate of the recently deceased Lydia Barnett, likely Polly's sister. Two documents relate to George II's estate. One document, written on behalf of her children, allows Polly to take whatever property she wants from her husband's estate. The second document, written on behalf of Polly, surrenders all but one fourth share in the estate. She elects to divide the estate with her three living children.

The Gideon Barnhart papers include financial documents and accounts, receipts, and correspondence. Included is an August 2, 1837 letter to Gideon from his cousin Nancy Cullen (1819-1910) in Holland Grove, Illinois. Earlier that year, Gideon spent time traveling back home from Illinois where he visited with his Uncle John P. Cullen and his family. Nancy's expresses pleasure that Gideon has arrived safely home. She provides updates on the happenings in Holland Grove. Of particular interest is a document that evidence suggests is a love letter from Gideon Barnhart to Martha Ann Weade. It is dated June 3, 1844 and was written less than one year before their marriage. The letter is only addressed "Dear Miss," but within the body of the letter, the author, presumably Gideon, writes: "[I] am pleading my own cause Miss Marth when I think of the pleasant hours I have spent with you I must conclude there is yet thousand more yet unspent." He goes on: "I turn over one page and take the liberty of asking you whither my future visits will meet with your approbation not only as a parcial visitor but one who is trying to clime to the top of the top of the matrimonial chain. I do not wish to flatter you by saying to you your beautiful features and sparkling eyes rosey cheaks and prattling toung have left impressions uppon my mind." Lastly, this folder includes an April 17, 1857 document in which Gideon Barnhart purchases from the estate of George Barnhart a "negro Man Nathan" for the amount of $550.00. Several of Gideon's documents, including the love letter presumably penned by him to Martha Ann Weade, exhibit evidence of his signature having been clipped.

One folder contains documents relating to other Barnhart family members excluding George II, Polly, and Gideon. Materials include correspondence, financial documents, and empty envelopes. Persons featured in these documents William F. Cullen, son-in-law of George Barnhart I, Henry George Barnhart, Walter W. Barnhart, George Gray Barnhart, and Laura Ruth Barnhart.

Lastly, all other documents seemingly unrelated to the Barnhart Family are housed in one folder. These items include accounts between a Mr. Whitmore and Philadelphia merchants Schaffer & Roberts and Inskeep, Molten & Woodruff; a letter from W. H. Carrington to his uncle James Smallwood of South River in Augusta County; two letters penned by Francis Sigler of Indiana; a letter penned by Louisa D. Clagett; a family record outlining Clagett family marriages, births and deaths; and other miscellaneous papers and financial documents.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged by person or group of persons and further arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to 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).

Acquisition Information

Acquired at Ebay auction in March 2017 and August 2017 from a seller in Evington, Virginia.

Provenance

The materials within this collection originally comprised part of lot 177 of Jeffrey Evans & Associates' November 12, 2016 Americana & Fine Antiques sale. Jeffrey Evans' provenance note indicates that the materials originated from a private Shenandoah Valley of Virginia collection.

Processing Information

This collection was originally housed in a photo album with most documents placed in Mylar sleeves. The materials were without a clear arrangement scheme. The archivist removed the documents from the album and imposed an artificial arrangement based on person or group of persons.

Location

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Estate inventories
  • Estate records
  • Estate administration records
  • Deeds
  • Financial Records
  • Love letters
  • Envelopes
  • Receipts (financial records)
  • Invoices
  • Family papers

Subject

  • Augusta County (Va.) -- History
  • Augusta County (Va.) -- Genealogy
  • Augusta County (Va.) -- Social life and customs
  • Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- History
  • Virginia -- History, Local -- Sources

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Bibliography

Barnhart, Nat G. Barnhart Family History: Augusta County, Virginia, 1767-1967. Staunton, Va.: McClure Printing Co., 1967.

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
George Barnhart II Papers, 1841-1857 box 1 folder 1
Polly Barnhart Papers, 1857-1859 box 1 folder 2
Gideon Barnhart Papers, 1837-1872, undated box 1 folder 3
Assorted Barnhart Family Papers, 1836-1944, undated box 1 folder 4
Unidentified/Non-Barnhart Family Papers, 1839-1898, undated box 1 folder 5