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Bennett Taylor papers--addition

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 9221

Content Description

MSS 9221 Bennett Taylor papers consist of family correspondence with letters to and from Bennett about education at the University of Virginia, descriptions of United States Civil War battles including the 19th Virginia Regiment Company F, Picketts Divison at 2nd Manassas, a prisoner exchange for Lieutenant Colonel Bennett Taylor from Johnson Island in Lake Erie New York, and family news of descendants of Thomas Jefferson and local Charlottesville families from 1851-1894. Correspondence of Bennett Taylor (1836-1898): 30 letters. In addition to the letters there is a University of Virginia examination report for Bennett Taylor's father John Charles Randolph Taylor, dated July 5, 1860.

Many of the letters are digitized on the Thomas Jefferson Foundation website. Also included is a compact disk containing scans of the 30 Taylor family letters.

While Bennett Taylor had a low income and probably did not enslave people, his relatives did. Some letters describe "servants" who are helping them with cooking or cleaning or experiencing sickness. One letter in particular mentions the selling of "Eugenia". (January 8, 1857) It is likely that this is an enslaved person.

This addition to the collection contains the original letters. The existing collection contains photocopies of the letters, and printed items including a circular about Bennett Taylor campaigning for Clerk of the Circuit Court (October 1, 1874), a Sketch of the Life of Lieutenant Colonel Bennett Taylor, Death memoriam of Jane Hollins Randolph (January 18, 1871), and information about the death of Captain Lewis Randolph. There is also an essay containing the genealogy of Rawleigh Colston.

There is a related collection in the University Archives that contains an autograph album of Bennett Taylor with signatures of his fraternity brothers, Alph Kappa at the University of Virginia. RG-30/17/1.821


  • Creation: 1851 - 1894

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Lieutenant Colonel Bennett Taylor was born in 1836 to Martha Jefferson Randolph Taylor (who was a great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson) (1817-1857) and John Charles Randolph Taylor (1812-1875) in Jefferson County Va. [now West Virginia]. He attended the University of Virginia from 1854 to 1859. At the onset of the American Civil War, he entered the 19th Virginia Regiment, Company F, Picketts Division. After the war he became the proprietor and editor of the Charlottesville Chronicle from 1868-1871. He became clerk of the Circuit Court in 1872 and remained in that office until May 1886 when he resigned.He was also the Town Magistrate and Justice of the Peace. He practiced as an attorney at the Albemarle bar until 1889 when he went to Radford where he resided until his death.He often helped poor clients and did not receive payment for his work while he struggled to pay his own rent. He wrote to his sons that he wished he had money to help them get started in their lives. Many of his family members worked for the railroad. He was married to Lucy Colston Taylor (1842-1928) from Frederick County and they had six children, Raleigh Taylor (1869-1952), Lewis Taylor (1871-1945), John Charles Taylor (1874-1962), Pattie Taylor (1867-1903), Jane Taylor (1881-1940) and Edward Taylor (1877-1940).


0.08 Cubic Feet (2 legal size folders including existing collection. One CD of digital files of the 30 family letters. ) : Original family correspondence (addition) photocopies (existing collection)

Language of Materials



Folder 1 contains the family correspondence of 30 letters from and to Bennett Taylor from 1851 to 1894 including an examination from the University of Virginia for his father John Charles Randolph Taylor. This folder is an addition to Folder 2.

Folder 2 is the original collection which contains photocopies of the letters in the family correspondence of Bennett Taylor from 1851 to 1894. It also has printed information about the Taylor family.

There is also a CD containing digital files of the 30 letters of family correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Elizabeth Page Kirk to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 17 October 2018.

Bennett Taylor papers addition
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States