Lara, A.S. Papers, 1856-1861

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Lara, Aaron S., 1824-1901
A. S. Lara Papers
Collection No.:
SC 0249
1 folder, .08 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
The A.S. Lara Papers, 1856-1861 consist of letters, receipts and documents relating to business dealings of merchant, Aaron S. Lara, in Rockbridge County and Augusta County, Virginia.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], A.S. Lara Papers, 1856-1861, SC 0249, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Bio/Historical Note

A.S. Lara (Aaron S. Lara) was born in 1824 and died in 1941. He was a merchant, dealing in basic sundries such as coffee, flour and butter, as well as tobacco, liquor and wagons. A letter addressed to him in "Goshenbridge, Rockbridge, VA" suggests that he did business in Goshen between the dates of 1857-1861. His correspondence indicate he dealt with suppliers and buyers in Leesburg, Craigsville, Walkers Creek, and Staunton.

Goshen is located in the northwest of Rockbridge County, Virginia, at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Great Calfpasture River. Goshen was a stop on the Virginia Central Railroad, which stretched about 200 miles across the state and connecting Richmond, Virginia in the east and Covington, Ohio at its westernmost point. Records indicate that the Virginia Central Railroad transported goods for Lara to such places as Fishersville, Staunton, and Richmond.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of letters, receipts and documents related to the business dealings of merchant, Aaron S. Lara, between the dates of 1856-1861. Letters reveal dealings with suppliers and clients in Craigsville, Walkers Creek, Leesburg and Staunton, Virginia. Of note is a letter from G. S. Catlett, of the Office of the Bank of the Valley in Virginia in Staunton, requesting "a nice lot of fresh butter…I am so confined in Bank that I have not time to attend the little market of this big town." A letter from James A. Walker at Walker's Creek, on December 12, 1858, discusses the sale of "two waggons [sic] – say some 25 or 30 barrels" of superfine flour. A letter from J.A. Craig of Craigsville, Virginia discusses the sale of two carts, also includes a 1 cent Franklin stamp.

The Lara papers include an 1858 bill for $10.02 from the Virginia Central Railroad regarding the transport of tobacco, lime, and sundries to such locations as Staunton, Fishersville, and Richmond.

A court summons of A.S. Lara, C.M King, and John Brown reveals a debt of $159.59, with damages of $20. The summons is signed by Clerk of the Court, J.D. Imboden, and addressed to the sheriff of Augusta County.

The Lara Papers contain two letters that reference enslaved people. A letter from December 4, 1860, discusses the sale of slaves owned by a Mr. O'Dell. A letter from L.P. Catlett, from the Office of the Bank of the Valley in Virginia, requests to buy enslaved person, Petunia, from A.S. Lara "as a nurse from my little girl aged 13 months old."

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The collection is arranged chronologically in one folder.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection 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 (

Acquisition Information

Item was purchased at auction on November 10, 2017 from Jeffrey S. Evans and Associates (Lot #195 and #229).


According to the record of sale, collection was formerly the property of a private collector from Augusta County, Virginia.

Processing Information

The A.S. Lara Papers consist of documents pulled from two separate auction lots, based on collection assessment at the time of purchase.


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL:

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Index Terms

Corporate Name

  • Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates

Genre and Form

  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Receipts (financial records)
  • Subpoenas


  • Virginia Central Railroad Company
  • Retail trade -- Virginia -- 19th century
  • Food prices -- 19th century
  • Receipts (Acknowledgments) -- Virginia -- 19th century
  • Business records -- Virginia -- 19th century
  • Slavery -- Virginia -- 19th century
  • Rockbridge County (Va.) -- History -- 19th century
  • Virginia -- Economic conditions -- 19th century

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Find A Grave. "Aaron S. Lara (1824-1901)." Find a Grave Memorial no. 62137797. Accessed December 11, 2017.

Morton, Oren Frederic. A history of Rockbridge County Virginia. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2007.

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
A.S. Lara Papers, 1856-1861 box 1 folder 1