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Jerdone Family Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 J47

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers of the Jerdone family, 1753- (1771-1845) -1890. It includes letters, letterbooks, and account books of immigrant Francis Jerdone (1721-1771), Scottish factor who lived in Hanover County, Yorktown and Louisa County, Virginia, and letters of his wife, Sarah (Macon) Jerdone.

Most of the collection consists of letters, accounts, and diaries of the next two generations of members of the Jerdone family including Francis Jerdone (1756-1841), planter of Louisa County; his brother John Jerdone (1764-1786); his brother-in-law, Alexander Macaulay of Yorktown, Virginia; and his sons, John Jerdone (b. 1800); Francis Jerdone (b. 1802); and William Jerdone (b. 1805). The letters reflect the daily maintenance of their plantations, "Jerdone Castle" [Louisa County, Virginia], "Providence Forge" [New Kent County, Virginia], "Mount Sterling" [Charles City County, Virginia] and an unnamed plantation in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

The family were absentee owners of "Providence Forge" and "Mount Sterling" and the two estates were managed first by a cousin, William Douglass, and later by hired stewards. (Eventually, William Jerdone lived at "Mount Sterling" and built a brick mansion there.)

The subjects covered in the collection include agriculture, the commission merchant business, the daily routine of men, education, farm management by stewards, and various aspects of slavery, including slave insurrections. In addition, there are many letters written to Virginia from Scotland and England.

The papers also contain the letterbook of Thomas Jett, Virginia representative of John Morton Jordan and Co., London, England; items from Perkins, Buchanan and Brown, merchants in London, 1769-1776; and documents, 1769-1799, concerning the lawsuit of Jordan v. Skinker.

An index of names in the papers is shelved with the collection.

All the additions to the Jerdone Papers are described under "Other Note" noted near the end of the page

Jerdone Family Papers, 1623-1957, in Swem Library’s microforms area, 12 reels, call number HD1471 .U5 R43 ser.L pt.2.

Francis Jerdone Account Book, King and Queen County, VA 1746-1757 in Swem Library’s microforms area, 1 reel, call number F232 .K4 J47 1999

Francis Jerdone Ledger, King and Queen County, VA 1748-1750 in Swem Library’s microforms area, 1 reel, call number F232 .K4 J47 2000

Artifacts listed in Boxes 17, 18, 19 are removed to the Manuscripts Artifacts Collection. Papers/letters with these artifacts are in Box 16.


  • Creation: 1753-1890

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:

Francis Jerdone (1721-1771) was born in Jedbury, Scotland in 1721, the son of John Jerdone, a magistrate and treasurer of the town. At the age of nineteen, in 1752, he immigrated to Virginia and settled in Hanover County, Yorktown, and Louisa County. He made his living as a merchant (factor), running a mercantile business. In the 1730’s, Glasgow merchants had begun sending factors to live in Virginia, buy tobacco and sell goods. Francis Jerdone (1721-1777) married Sarah (Macon) Jerdone (1732-1818) in 1753. The couple had several children including; Mary Jerdone Pottie (1754-1837); Francis Jerdone (1756-1841); Sarah Jerdone Braikenridge (1757-1793); Elizabeth Jerdone Macaulay (1759-1830); Isabella Jerdone Mitchell (1761-1825); Anne Jerdone Thompson (1763-1794); John Jerdone (1764-1786); Martha Jerdone (b. 1767) who died in infancy; and William Jerdone (1769-1772). Jerdone died in 1771. Additional information is available in the SCRC Wiki: .


9.70 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

This collection is organized into 8 series. Series 1 contains letters; Series 2 contains accounts; Series 3 contains inventories; Series 4 contains legal papers; Series 5 contains miscellaneous material; Series 6 contains manuscript volumes; Series 7 contains artifacts; Series 8 contain additions and accessions to the collection. Arrangement: This collection is arranged by into series. Series 1 is arranged in chronologically order by date and separated into subseries by individual year. The remaining series are primarily arranged chronologically by date.

Accessions 1998.7 and 1997.45 were not combined with the original accession and are boxed separately.  Acc. 1976.04 is shelved in the Small Collection as Addition 17.

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

Original Accession and additions physically and intellectually combined in 2009. When available, microfilm, photocopies, digital surrogates, or other reproductions must be used in place of original documents.

Acquisition Information:

Purchased: 1,784 items. Purchased: 389 items, 04/24/1939.Purchased: 407 items, 01/29/1940.Gift: 34 items, 07/10/1963.Gift: 16 items, 12/09/1964.Acc. No. 76-4; Gift: 5 items, 02/01/1976.Gift: 3 items, 10/01/1976.Gift: 1 items, 11/01/1976.Acc. No. 77-30; Gift: 1 items, 10/01/1977.Acc. No. 78-6; Purchased: 19 items, 01/01/1978.Acc. No. 83-64; Gift: 1 items, 12/01/1983.Acc. No. 84-26; Gift: 3 items, 04/01/1984.Acc. No. Sm. Coll. Add. 17; 4 items. Acc. No. 97-45; Purchased: 3 items, 08/07/1997.Acc. No. 98.7; Gift: 2 items, 03/06/1998.

Related Materials:

Most of the library belonging to Francis Jerdone is located in the Rare Books Department, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. This library contains approximately 100 books.

Colonial Williamsburg has five items that may prove useful to researchers. They are listed as follows:

Francis Jerdone Collection, Colonial Williamsburg Research Library, Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia. Account Book, 1751-1752.

Cargo Waste Book, 1748-1749.

Deed, from the heirs of Thomas Martin to Francis Jerdone for one thousand acres of land in Louisa (formerly Hanover) County, Virginia, 24 March 1752.

Letter from Norfolk, [Virginia], to Francis Jerdone, Mitchel's Store, Louisa County, [Virginia], 1809 January 26.

Letter from Hampton, Virginia, to uncle Francis Jerdone[?], 1803 September 29.

The Library of Virginia have multiple items that relate to Francis Jerdone and the Jerdone Family. The items listed below are an example of some of the larger collections being held at this institution, and is not meant to be a comprehensive listing. For more information see the Library of Virginia homepage: or search the archives and manuscripts at the Library of Virginia:

Personal Papers Collection. Accession 20939. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Balance book, 1750-1787.Items are available as photostats (negative). This collection includes a typescript copy of a record of balances of Francis Jerdone of Louisa County, Virginia, as attorney for Buchanan and Hamilton, Merchants, of London, dated 31 December 1750, as well as estate accounts of George Pottie, dated from 1764-1787, and notations of their settlement.

Francis Jerdone Papers, 1783-1822. Accession 21466. Personal Papers Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Francis Jerdone Papers, 1783-1822.Items are available as photostats (negative). Papers, 1783-1822, of Francis Jerdone (1756-1841) of Louisa County, Virginia, consisting of correspondence from Dr. Robert B. Honeyman (1752-1822) of Hanover County, Virginia, concerning the health and medical treatment of Jerdone's family and slaves.

Jerdone Family Papers, 1749-1873. Accession 20415. Personal Papers Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Jerdone Family Papers, 1749-1873.Miscellaneous reel 647Items are available in microform format. This accession includes a typescript of the accounts of Francis Jerdone of Louisa County, with a number of individuals. There is also a slave birth register, tax list, and crop accounts.

Jerdone Family Papers, 1762-1866. Accession 21607. Personal Papers Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Jerdone Family Papers, 1762-1866.This collection consists of papers, 1762-1866, of the Jerdone family of Louisa, New Kent, Orange and Spotsylvania Counties, Virginia, consisting mainly of correspondence to Francis Jerdone, Jr. (1756-1841), of Louisa County from his sons, relatives, friends, and business partners regarding personal, family, and business matters.

Jerdone Family Slave Record Book, 1761-1865. Accession 20415. Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Archives Branch, Richmond, Virginia. Slave Record Book, 1761-1865.Item is available as photostats (negative). Record of the slave births from 1761-1865, and the lists of tithables for Albemarle, Louisa, and Spotsylvania Counties for which the Jerdone Family was responsible.

Francis Jerdone, Sr. Memorandum and Account Book, 1766-1767. Accession 21659. Personal Papers Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Memorandum and Account Book, 1766-1767.Item includes entries on business matters, loans, tobacco, and other goods. There are also numerous entries relevant to sales of slaves.


Other Information:

Additional information may be found at

Guide to the Jerdone 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

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Original Accession and additions physically and intellectually combined in 2009 by Anne Johnson.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository