Skip to main content

Lenaeus Bolling Diaries

Identifier: SC 00274

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Two small diaries kept by Lenaeus Bolling (1773-1836), a plantation-owner and lawyer in Buckingham County, Virginia.  One diary covers January through March 1820, and the other late November through December 1834.  The diaries contain notes on weather, crops, livestock, slaves, family, relatives and neighbors who visited and were visited, frequent errands in the nearby town Ça Ira (now defunct), purchases, medical ailments, lawyering and court duties, and efforts to establish a local gold mining company.  There are monthly indexes, except for December 1834.


  • Creation: 1820-1834


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Lenaeus (also Linnaeus) Bolling was the great-great-great-great-grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Born in 1773, Lenaeus was the son of Col. Robert Bolling and his second wife Susannah Watson. Col. Robert (1738-1775) attended school in England and returned to Virginia to study law in Williamsburg before settling in Buckingham County, where he built Chellow in 1760. He was a poet and vintner who represented Buckingham in Virginia’s House of Burgesses. He went to Richmond in July 1775 to attend the Virginia Convention, but he died there suddenly a few days after that body convened.

Lenaeus apparently inherited Chellow after his older brother Powhatan died without issue in 1803. At the time of these diaries, Lenaeus owned a second plantation, called Whispering, also in Buckingham County. It is not clear from the diaries where Lenaeus resided; it might have been at Whispering or at a third, unnamed property. He also owned several properties that he rented out.

Lenaeus evidently studied law, for he served as a judge or magistrate in Buckingham. He was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates intermittently between 1799 and 1822. In 1834 he was working with partners to form a gold mining company.

Lenaeus married Mary Markham in 1793, and they had five children who survived infancy. Mary died in 1825. Lenaeus died in 1836 and was buried in the family cemetery at Chellow. On the occasion of Lenaeus’s death, his first cousin William Bolling wrote a short tribute in his diary entry for 12 January 1836: “Death of Linnaeus Bolling of Buckingham – my friend & relation took place 7th a man of considerable acquirements, of eccentric opinions on many subjects – a very sociable"; agreeable companion and of highly respectable character.” Sources:

Brown, Stuart E., Lorraine F. Myers, and Eileen M. Chappel. Pocahontas’ Descendants: A Revision, Enlargement, and Extension of the List as Set Out by Wyndham Robertson in His Book Pocahontas and Her Descendants (1887). Combined with two volumes of corrections and additions. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994.

Lemay, J. A. Leo. “Bolling, Robert (17 August 1738–21 July 1775)”. Dictionary of Virginia Biography, vol. 2, pp. 68-69. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 2001.

The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1978.

“Buckingham County, VA – Cemeteries – Bolling-Hubard Cemetery”. USGenWeb Archives.

“The (1836-1839) Diary of Col. William Bolling (1777-1845) of ‘Bolling Hall’, Goochland County, Virginia”, copied and annotated by James S. Patton. Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, vol. 9, no. 1 (Spring 1977), pp. 33-57.


0.02 Linear feet

Custodial History:

The 1820 diary was previously cataloged as Mss. MsV D6 and the 1834-1835 diary was previously cataloged as Mss. MsV D9.


Other Information:

The 1820 diary was previously cataloged as Mss. MsV D6 and the 1834-1835 diary was previously cataloged as Mss. MsV D9.

Guide to the Lenaeus Bolling Diaries
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository