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Wickham family papers

Identifier: MSS 15753

Scope and Contents

The Wickham family papers (1704-1950; 9.5 cubic feet) consist of papers of Richmond, Virginia and “Hickory Hill” plantation in Hanover County, Virginia, including the families of John Wickham (1763-1839), his son, William Fanning Wickham (1793-1880), grandson, Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888), and great-grandson, Henry Taylor Wickham (1849-1943).

The collection contains business correspondence, chiefly concerning legal and agricultural pursuits; family correspondence with immediate and extended relatives; personal correspondence from friends and political associates; two brief diaries discussing the secession and the beginning of the Civil War; financial and legal papers, including lists of books purchased, hires of enslaved laborers, the purchase of enslaved laborers, medical care for enslaved laborers, losses from invading soldiers during the Civil War, estate values, including those of enslaved laborers, indentures, deeds, receipts, plats and surveys, and lists of enslaved laborers by name and age; genealogies and genealogical charts; invitations and calling cards; military papers of General Williams Carter Wickham in the Civil War and Captain Williams Carter Wickham, U.S. Navy; news clippings; some notes and manuscripts of William F. Wickham; a few photographs and snapshots; poetry; hand-written recipes; school papers; and sympathy and greeting cards.

There is also a hand drawn map of Hickory Hill plantation, the Wickham family estate which may have been drawn by a descendant of an enslaved laborer. It shows a diagram of "Mammy's House" and surrounding buildings that were revisited in the 1980's. The pages following the illustration name African Americans who were still living and working at Hickory Hill estate in the early 1900's. Mentioned are the families of John Robinson, Albert Cash, Henry Toliver, Edith Jackson, Matt Foley, Maria Tucker, Ruben Lewis,Landonia Lewis, ALec Hewlett, Louisa and Albert Jackson, Henry Abrams, Betty Jackson, John Abram and Roselyn, Milton Hewlett, and Virginia Shelton.

Topics include the Civil War, the relationships between family members in both the North and the South, and attitudes toward secession; many aspects of enslavement, often naming the enslaved laborers involved; Virginia and national politics; the practice of agriculture in Virginia; the education of the children of Virginia planters, including attendance at the Howard School, Episcopal High School, Washington College and the University of Virginia; military service of General Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888), Captain William Carter Wickham (1887-1985), and other Wickham relatives.


  • Creation: 1704-circa 1950


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Note

This collection chiefly concerns the Wickham family of Richmond, Virginia and “Hickory Hill” plantation in Hanover County, Virginia, including the families of John Wickham (1763-1839), his son, William Fanning Wickham (1793-1880), grandson, Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888), and great-grandson, Henry Taylor Wickham (1849-1943). When other relatives and friends appear in the folder listing, their birth and death dates and relationships are noted if known. The family owned enslaved persons and lists them by age.

Attorney John Wickham married twice and had two lines of descent. His first wife was Mary Smith Fanning (1775-1799) by whom he had two sons, William Fanning Wickham of “Hickory Hills,” married to Anne Butler Carter (1797-1868), and Edmund Fanning Wickham of “Rocky Mount” (1796-1843), married to Anne’s sister, Lucy Carter (1799-1835).

After the death of his first wife, John Wickham married Elizabeth Seldon McClurg and had several more children. Some of these children are also represented in these papers.


9.5 Cubic Feet (19 legal doc boxes, 6 oversize folders.)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in four series, Series 1: Business correspondence arranged chronologically (Boxes 1-5). Several business correspondents warranted individual folders based on either the amount of material or the importance of the correspondent. Series 2: Correspondence of John Wickham, arranged alphabetically by the last name of the chief correspondent (Box 5); Series 3: Correspondence of the Wickham and related families, arranged by the last name of the main correspondent (Boxes 6-15); Series 4: Financial and Legal Papers and Miscellany (Boxes 16-19), all arranged in chronological order.


Purchased, 3 July 2014. The first addition to this collection, MSS 15753-a,was purchased from Beltrone and Company on 6 July 2016.


Added fa to VH 7 Dec. 2017.

Wickham family papers
Sharon Defibaugh
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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