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William and Sally Newsum Papers

Identifier: MS 00321

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters sent from William Newsum Jr. to his wife Sally, nee Cary, from 1804 through 1806. William Newsum Jr. was a William & Mary alumnus and studied law. They were married on February 1, 1806 and had their first child late 1806 or early 1807. The letters to Sally begin when they are courting and end in December 1806.

Included is one letter from William Newsum to an unknown Sir and a letter from William’s mother Mary Bassett Stark Newsum to her daughter-in-law Sally. One of the letters still has its envelope. Also included are miscellaneous poems, from Anna Laetitia Barbauld, St. George Tucker, and various lines written to Martha Waldron Skipwith, born 1724, married to Fulwar Skipwith and Sally Cary by H. Tucker and F. Carr.

William writes about his excitement for his upcoming marriage and later the birth of his child. He writes about his longing to be with Sally and how much he misses her. He offers condolences on the loss of her younger sister Jane Cary in 1805. He talks about the value of education and exercise, as well as his thoughts on literature and friendship. He also discusses the finances of William & Mary, his desire to be a lawyer, and some of his tasks as a member of a public office.

Topics include marriage, education, literature, love letters, condolences, government, William & Mary, finances, and family.


  • Creation: 27 May 1804 - 11 December 1806

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 publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

William Newsum Jr. (Jan. 24, 1785 – Aug. 19, 1828) from Norfolk, Virginia married Sarah (Sally) Cary (1788 – Oct. 7, 1841) from Albemarle, Virginia on February 1st, 1806. William Newsum Jr. attended William and Mary and studied Law to become a lawyer in Norfolk. From 1806 to 1808 and again in 1816 he was a member of the House of Delegates for Norfolk. He was a Captain during the War of 1812.

Sally Newsum had older two brothers, Wilson Jefferson Cary (1783/4 – 1823) and Miles Cary (1786 – 1827), and a younger sister Jane Cary (1791 – 1805) whose death is the topic of one of William’s letters.

William and Sally had a son Wilson Cary Newsum (1808 –1873/5) and a daughter Mary Anne Newsum Skipwith (1806/7/9 – 1890). Wilson Cary Newsum married Cornelia Littlefield (1818 – 1873). Mary Anne Newsum married George Green Skipwith (1803 – 1852).

William and Sally may have had another child, Robert Starke Newsum, but this is unverified.

In 1823 the Newsum family along with Sally’s mother, Jane Barbara (Carr) Cary (1766 – 1819), moved to Maury County, Tennessee and established the plantation “Longwood.”

Note: Information found from “The Virginia Carys: An Essay in Genealogy” by Fairfax Harrison and “A Guide to the Carr-Cary Family Papers” from University of Virginia Library.


.21 Linear Feet



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dectora Coe Jeffers

Physical Description

The letters were previously folded, and several are in pieces.

Processing Information

Collection taken out of original order and arranged chronologically by letter date.

Guide to William and Sally Newsum Papers
Brielle Popolla, SCRC Graduate Assistant
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository