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.
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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.”
Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository
Lenaeus Bolling Diaries, 1820-1834, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. https://scrcguides.libraries.wm.edu/repositories/2/resources/2066 Accessed October 17, 2019.