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Garrett Family Papers

Identifier: Mss. 69 G19

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Correspondence of the Garrett family of Williamsburg, Va., concerning family and social news, politics, and the Civil War. Earlier letters deal mainly with business and political news, as several Garrett family members, including Richard R. Garrett, Alexander C. Garrett, and Dr. Robert M. Garrett, were involved in the politics of 19th century Virginia. Correspondence of Dr. Robert M. Garrett and his brothers Alexander C. Garrett and B. F. Garrett concerning the sale of "Yardley," Northampton County, Va. There are letters written to Dr. Robert M. Garrett's daughter, Lottie Garrett, by David E. Cronin concerning his memoir of the Vest Mansion and the Civil War occupation of Williamsburg and portraits owned by Lottie Garrett.

Includes letters, dated from 1897 to 1911, written to Miss Lottie Garrett by American novelist Mary Johnston (1870-1936). Also includes a letter, 25 December 1863, written by Asa Hartz, a Confederate soldier held at Johnson's Island Federal Prison, describing the everyday life of a prisoner during the Civil War. Collection contains certificate, 1832, of services of a black Revolutionary War soldier.


  • Creation: 1786-1928


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:

This collection contains material that starts with the marriage of Dr. Robert Major Garrett (1807-1885), to Susan Comfort Winder (1812-1878) and expands to include their families and their children.

Paternal GenealogyRichard Garrett (d. 1825), married Ann Major (1785-1855), and had several children including but may not be limited to the following: Richard R. Garrett (b. 1801); Dr. Robert Major Garrett (1807-1885); Polly Garrett, William Garrett, John Garrett and Edmund Garrett. Richard R. Garrett (b. 1801), attended William and Mary from 1828-1831. He married Laura A. and had a son George R. Garrett.

Maternal GenealogyThomas Gore married Comfort Quinton. They had a daughter Comfort Quinton Gore (b. 1791), who married John Hermanson Winder (b. 1784). This marriage resulted in several children including but may not be limited to the following: Susan Comfort Winder (1812-1878); Bettie A. Winder; Lauretta A. (Savage) Winder, Charlotte Winder and John E. Winder.

Dr. Robert Major Garrett (1807-1885), attended the College of William and from 1822-1826. He was a physician and later became superintendent of Eastern Lunatic Asylum of Williamsburg. He held the position of mayor of the city of Williamsburg from 1860-1861. Married to Susan Comfort Winder (1812-1878), their children include but may not be limited to the following: Benjamin F. Garrett (1821-1878); Alexander C. Garrett (b. 1823); Capt. William Robertson Garrett (1839-1904); Van Franklin Garrett (1846-1932); Mary W. Garrett (b. 1851); and Lottie Garrett. Benjamin F. Garrett (1821-1878), and Alexander C. Garrett (b. 1823), both attended the College of William and Mary. Benjamin studied law.

Capt. William Robertson Garrett (1839-1904), attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia receiving a degree in law. However his law practice in Williamsburg was interrupted by the Civil War. William Robertson served as a private in the 32d Virginia regiment and was elected captain. After the war, in 1868, he married Julia Flournoy Batte and moved to Tennessee, where he was employed as a professor of mathematics and later president at Giles College, Tennessee. Thus started his varied and important career in the education field. This including becoming Giles County superintendent, 1873-1875; establishing the Peabody Normal College for teachers, 1875 and later becoming chair of American History for the University of Nashville; editing the "American Historical Magazine," 1865-1902; holding the position of state superintendent of public instruction for Tennessee, 1891-1893; and becoming president of various state and national teaching organization including the National Educational Association. He fathered eight children.

Van Franklin Garrett (1846-1932), attended the Virginia Military Institute but left early to serve in the Civil War. He then attended the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia and the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, New York, receiving a degree in medicine. He returned to Williamsburg to farm and practice medicine. He taught at Giles College, Tennessee only to return to Williamsburg to accept a position of professorship of Natural Science at the College of William and Mary. He married Harriett Nicholls (b. 1846), and had four children: Van Franklin Garrett Jr, Carra (George Dillard) Garrett, Suzanne (Selator Montague) Garrett, and Harriet (William Hodges) Garrett. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


2.00 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Organization: This collection is organized into six series: 1. Letters 2. Accounts 3. Legal Documents 4. Writings 5. Calling and Place Cards 6. Printed Matter. Arrangement: This collection is arranged chronologically by date with those items lacking a date located at the end of each series. Series 1 is divided into subseries by ten or twenty year increments depending on the amount of letters.

Acquisition Information:

Gift: Ca. 200 items, March 1969.

Related Materials:

Materials related to this collection is the account book, 1842-1849, of B. F. Garrett, attorney, Williamsburg, Va. It includes accounts with John Tyler, Jr.

B. F. Garrett Account Book, Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. B. F. Garrett Account Book, 1842-1849.158 p. bound volume 32 cm.Collection number: Mss. MsV Al6

Artifacts transferred to the Manuscripts Artifact Collection (Mss. 1.03) include: Harrison & Reform Political Ribbon (Mss 69G19.01).

Separated Materials:

Artifacts transferred to the Manuscripts Artifact Collection (Mss. 1.03) include: Harrison & Reform Political Ribbon (Mss 69G19.01).

Guide to the Garrett Family Papers
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