Diary Anne Kinlock Meriwether

A Small Diary of 1845: Anne Kinloch Meriwether 

Introduction: Anne Page Brydon, an early member of the Meriwether Society, wrote the following article which was published in "The Magazine of Albemarle County History" vol. 33, 1975, vol. 34, 1976. An excerpt is presented here with additional comment and photographs by Sharon Pike. For more information about the Page family see that issue.

By Anne Page Brydon

In these days of rapid communication, it comes as a distinct surprise to realize the extent of which our great-grandparents of the horse and buggy era kept in touch with their relatives, not only on neighboring plantations, but also with those far removed.

A scrap of a diary recently discovered among some old letters describes in the sketchy words of a fourteen-year-old girl the day-to-day events that took place, including visits among aunts and uncles and “cousins by the dozens” in Albemarle County living at Kinloch, Belvoir, Keswick, Cloverfields, Castalia, Cismont, Castle Hill, Music Hall, and even in Charlottesville. But surely the highlight of that spring of 1845 must have been the trip to Charleston via train and steamboat to visit her relatives in the Low Country of South Carolina. (It is most tantalizing that the diarist never says who accompanied her – only once does she use the plural pronoun “we” – one can only guess that it may have been her mother or older sister or an aunt.)

Anne Kinloch Meriwether was in her fifteenth year when she kept the small diary reproduced below, covering the period from January 10 to July 1845. She was born in Albemarle County, Virginia on May 5, 1830. Her father, Dr. Thomas Warner Meriwether (1803 – 1862), a graduate in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, had a large and extensive medical practice in eastern Albemarle and adjacent counties, an in addition was a most successful farmer, being noted particularly for his fine “mountain tobacco” which was often shipped abroad. Her mother, Anne Carter Nelson (c. 1804 – 1858), was the daughter of Hon. Hugh Nelson and Eliza Kinloch of Belvoir. The plain two-story frame house at Kinloch (later enlarged and embellished with a portico) was built by Dr. Meriwether in 1839 on a portion of the Belvoir estate and named in honor of the Kinloch family of South Carolina from which his wife descended.

Kinloch      Kinloch in 1873    

Kinloch, home of Anne Kinloch Meriwether                        Kinloch in 1873 after portico addition and additions

Dr. Meriwether owned the eastern portion of "Clover Fields" which is now known as "Clover Hill". His medical office was at "Clover Fields" in what is today called "Sunset Cabin". He and his family early on lived at "Clover Fields", but later moved to "Kinloch" when his wife inherited the property from her family. "Kinloch" was a portion of "Belvoir". Dr. Meriwether built the original manor house which has since seen many modifications. In addition to his large medical practice, he was an elder at South Plains Presbyterian Church for nearly 40 years and a superb farmer.

Map of Albemarle Co. Virginia 1875

Map of Eastern Albemarle County, Virginia. Detail of Green Peyton's map published in 1875.

The diary was found among some old letters in a trunk that had belonged to the diarist’s daughter, Anne Nelson Page Coleman. Measuring 1 x 7 inches, the little notebook was homemade of strips of paper tied together with a large stitch in the center fold. There is no outside cover, and the diary begins without preamble. The entries are written consecutively with no separate paragraphs and very little punctuation. The handwriting is clear and firm with the long s’s in vogue at the time. In the transcript below, each entry is started on a separate line, and punctuation and capitals have been added where necessary for clarity. Words within brackets were supplied by the editor. Identification of persons and places mentioned was made from Edward C. Mead’s Historic Homes of the South-west Mountains, Virginia, (Philadelphia, 1899) (cited hereafter as Mead, Historic Homes), from the Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia, by Richard Channing Moore Page, M.D. (2d. ed., N.Y., 1839) (cited hereafter as Page, Genealogy), and from family records and other sources as indicated. Information on the South Carolina kin was obtained from H. D. Bull’s article on the Kinloch family of South Carolina cited below.

Five years after this diary was written, on December 24, 1850, Anne K. Meriwether was married to Frederick W. Page, son of Dr. Mann Page of neighboring Keswick. They lived in Lynchburg and Petersburg for several years before returning to Albemarle County to live at Pagebrook and later Millwood. She died on April 14, 1867, leaving her husband and seven children.

Anne Kinloch Meriwether    Frederick Page

Anne Kinloch Meriwether         Frederick W. Page

Diary of Anne Kinloch Meriwether, 1845

 Anne M.

 Jan. 10.          Made pair of drawers for myself.

Jan. 11            Pa staid away all night.1      Took a music lesson. 2

                                [1 “(Medical practice”) was written in ink at the bottom of the page in her daughter Anne N. Coleman’s handwriting.]

                        [2 Possibly from F. W. Meerbach, a famous German pianist who gave music lessons to young ladies in the neighborhood, mentioned in Page Genealogy, p. 134.]

Jan. 12           Sunday. Went to church, little Francis [Nelson] 3 was christened. Pa staid away all night.

                        [3 Son of her uncle Keating S. Nelson and his wife, Julia Rogers.]

 Jan. 13           Mond[ay]. Uncle Robert4 went down to Hanover. Papa staid away all night.

                        [4 Dr. Robert W. Nelson, who had married his first cousin, Virginia L. Nelson of Oakland, Hanover County, in 1844.]

 Jan. 14           Mr. Boyden5 was here in the morning. Papa staid away all night.

                        [5 Rev. Ebenezer Boyden, Rector of Walkers Church, later called Grace Church, from 1839 until 1879. An account of his family is given in Mead, Historic Homes, pp. 193-200.]

Jan. 15th         Finished reading Quentin Durward.  Papa staid away all night. Took a music lesson.

Jan. 16           Mildred & Eliza6 came from Charlottesville & Aunt Lou7 dined here.

                        [6 Mildred and Eliza, two of her sisters, later married George Macon and N. H. Massie, respectively.]

                        [7 Louisa Miller, wife of her uncle Charles J. Meriwether.]

Jan. 17           Finished my new calico dress. Finished pair of socks for the church.

Jan. 18           Took a music lesson & went over to Cloverfields in the evening.

Cloverfields        Cloverfields residents

 The original Cloverfields house. About 1846, the year after Anne wrote her diary, this house was replaced with a new structure. 

Jan. 19           Stayed at Cloverfields all day. Walked over to Aunt Frances’s 8 in the morning.

                        [8 This might be Frances Poindexter, wife of William H. Meriwether of Castalia, older brother of Dr. Meriwether. She could also be refering to Frances (Gambill) Tapp who married Peter Minor Meriwether. They lived at Cismont which adjoined Cloverfields on the west at the time of the diary.  Castalia, on the other hand, is some distance to the east but not as far as Kinloch, the diarist's home.]

Jan. 20           Monday. Stayed at Cloverfields all day. Made a pair of drawers for myself.

Jan. 21           Came home from Cloverfields in the evening. Papa staid away all night.

Jan. 22           Took a music lesson. Got a letter from brother.9 Aunt Julia & Uncle Keating [Nelson] dined here. Susan Lewis & Laura walked over in the evening. Read Castle Dangerous by Scott. Papa staid away all night.
                        [9 Dr. William Douglas Meriwether, her older brother, studied medicine at the University of Virginia in 1842-43; later settled in Culpepper.]

Jan. 23           Mary Walker 10 came here & staid all night. Went to Dr. page’s to see Jane.11

                                [10 Her first cousin, Mary Walker Meriwether of Cloverfields, later became the  first wife of T. J. Randolph, Jr.]

                        [11 Jane Page, daughter of Dr. Mann Page of Keswick.]

Jan. 24           Staid all day at Dr. Page’s & came home in the evening. Papa staid away all night.

Jan. 25           Wrote to Caroline Christian. Took a music lesson. Uncle George12 made a pair of slippers for me. Papa staid away all night.

                        [12 Uncle George may have been the Negro shoemaker on the place.]

Jan. 26           Sunday. Went to church. Mary Walker went home. Papa staid away all night.

Jan. 27           Monday. My dear Grandpapa13 died about 2 o’clock. Papa staid away all  night.  

                        [13 Capt. William Douglas Meriwether of Cloverfields, born November 2, 1761. His wife, Elizabeth Lewis, had died in March 1841.]

Jan. 28           Learned the verb avoir. Aunt Susan14 dined here. Read the Sofa, a part of the Turk. Papa staid away all night.                                                        [14 Wife of Capt. James Hunter Terrell of Music Hall.]

James Terrell and his wife Susan  Uncle Jimmy (Capt. James Hunter ) Terrell and his wife, Susan.

Wednesday, Jan. 29 1845  Went to dear Grandpapa’s funeral. The same day my dear friend Jane Page died, being 16 years & some months old.15

                        [15 Jane Walker Page, born Oct. 18, 1828, one of twelve children of Dr. Mann Page, was described as a brilliant and talented young lady who had studied music under the genius of Meerback (Page, Genealogy, p. 127).] 

Diary page 4   Page 4 of the diary (actual size 7" wide x 1-1/2" high)

Jan. 30           Went to see the last of dear Jane. Came home to dinner. Mrs. Gambill, Aunt Frances, Aunt Peggy, 16 Uncle Francis, Uncle James, 17 Mr. Howell Lewis & Uncle William dined here. I went to Cloverfields in the evening.

                        [16 Aunt Peggy was Dr. Meriwether’s sister Margaret, who married  1st) Dr. Frank T. Meriwether and 2d) Francis Kinloch Nelson (“Uncle Francis”); they lived at Cloverfields. Aunt Frances could refer to Frances (Gambill) Tapp who married Peter Minor Meriwether. Mrs. Gambill was her mother.]

                        [17Uncle James Hunter Terrell was a half brother of Capt. W. D. Meriwether  (See Mead, Historic Homes, pp. 153-54.)]  

Friday, 31      Aunt Lou & Uncle Charles went up. I dined at Uncle Peter’s18 came back to Cloverfields in the evening.

                        [18 Uncle Peter Meriwether had married (1st) Anne’s aunt (Polly) Mary Walker Meriwether; (2d) Mrs. Frances Tapp. They lived at Cismont.]

Saturday Feb. 1  Staid at Cloverfields all day, finished a pair of stockings for myself.

Feb. 2 Sunday  Read 3 of Blunt’s lectures. Rode over home in the evening to get some things & went back.

Feb. 3 Mon.   Went up to Aunt Lou’s, stopt in Charlottesville & did some shopping.

Feb. 4             Went to Charlottesville to get some things, went back to Aunt Lou’s to dinner. Made a black alpacco [sic] apron for myself. Finished a glove.

 Feb. 5             Came down to Cloverfields. Snow on ground.

 Thurs. 6          Came home. Uncle James dined here. Got myself in Charlottesville 1 pr. kid gloves, 6 jet black buttons. alpacco apron. 2 yds. black ribband.

Friday 7          Papa staid away all night.

Saturday 8     Cousin Judy Rives19 dined here. Took a music lesson. Finished a pair of gloves for myself.

                        [19 Judith Page Walker of Castle Hill, wife of Hon. William Cabell Rives. William mentioned below was their second son.]

Sunday 9       I went to church & heard Mr. Boyden preach on the 13 verse of the 2 chapter of Joel. Aunt Peggy, Uncle Francis, Mary Walker  & Charley dined here.20

                        [20 Rev. Ebenezer Boyden preached at Walker's, later named Grace Church for many years. Mary Walker and Charley Meriwether were Aunt Peggy’s children by her first marriage. Cf. note 16. ]

Monday 10       A beautiful day. Walked to Music Hall. Went to Dr. Page’s in the evening. Papa staid away all night.

Tuesday 11th    Staid at Dr. Page’s until after dinner & then came home.

Wednesday 12 Mr. & Mrs. Boyden dined here. Took a music lesson. Walked up to Aunt Julia’s.21

                        [21 Julia Rogers of "Keswick" was married to Keating Lewis Simmons Nelson. She, some years later, opened a church school for girls in Culpepper. The diarist’s daughter, Anne Nelson Page, taught briefly in this school, described in her “Diary of a Young Girl of Albemarle, 1873--,” ed. By Anne Page Brydon, The Magazine of Albemarle County History, XX (1961-62), 6-73.]

 Thursday 13th  Made a pair of cuffs for myself. Got a letter from Caroline Christian.

 Friday 14       Made a collar for Mama.

 Saturday 15th  Aunt Julia dined here. Took a music lesson.

 Sunday 16 of Feb.    Read 2 lectures of Blunt’s. Rode up to Aunt Julia’s in the carriage and brought her down. She staid here to dinner. Mr.      Watkins came here in the evening and staid all night.

Monday 17 Feb.       Cousin Judy Rives & William came here. Aunt Susan, Laurie & cousin Eliza. Dr. Badaraque came here to fix our teeth.

Tuesday 18   Dr. Badaraque staid here all day. Took a music lesson.

Wednesday 19 Thursday 20 & Friday 21             Dr. Badaraque was here.

 Saturday 22   Took a music lesson. Aunt Frances, Edward & Uncle Peter staid here all night.

Sunday 23d     A thunder cloud in the morning. Uncle Francis, Aunt Peggy, Mary Walker & Charley dined here & went home in the evening.

 Thursday 27  Took a music lesson got 4 new pieces of music. Went to Cloverfields & staid all night. Finished a bosom for Papa.

 Friday 28       Walked over to Uncle Peter’s in the morning. Rode to Mr. Watson’s in the evening, came back to Cloverfields & staid all night.

Saturday 1st March   Came home. Amilie22 [sic] & Eliza came over from Castle Hill. Dr. Liech23 [sic] came down & staid all night.

                        [22  Amelie Louise (b. 1832), daughter of “Aunt Judy” and Hon. William C. Rives, was the aunt of the famous authoress of the same name.]

                        [23  Dr. James A. Leitch of Charlottesville, whose wife, Mary Walker Lewis' mother was Elizabeth Meriwether, sister of Capt. William D. Meriwether. See Mary Rawlings, ed., Early Charlottesville; Recollections of James Alexander, 1828-1874 (Charlottesville, Va., 1942).]

Sunday 2       Finished reading Blunt on the 7 churches.

Monday 3       Cousin Ella & Cousin Anna 24 dined here. Mary Walker came over.

                        [Ella Page (b. 1818), daughter of Dr. Mann Page of Keswick. Anna (Cheesman) Page was the wife of Dr. Page’s oldest son, Francis Walker Page.]

 Tuesday 4         Dr. Badaraque came to fix our teeth. Brought me a new toothbrush.

 Wednesday 5    Took a music lesson.

 Thursday 6    [No entries between 5 March and 13 March.]

 Thursday 13  Went down to Gordonsville & staid all night.

Friday 14       Took the cars25 and went to Richmond. Spent the evening at Mr. Gardner’s.26 Staid at Mrs. Carleton’s.


                        [25 The Louisa Railroad, chartered 1836 (later the Virginia Central Railroad, parent of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway) in 1845 extended       from Hanover Junction on the R.F.& P. as far west as Gordonsville. The track was not completed to Charlottesville until 1850. From Gordonsville to Richmond was a trip of about five hours. Elizabeth Dabney Coleman, “Edmund Fontaine and the Virginia Central Railroad,” in America The Middle Period: Essays in Honor of Bernard Mayo, de. By John B. Boles (Charlottesville, Virginia., 1973). See also William H B. Thomas, Gordonsville, Virginia: Historic Crossroads Town (Verna, Va.,  1971), Chap. II, “The Coming of the Railroads.”]

                        [26 Perhaps the family of Miss Phoebe Gardner of Richmond, who was married in 1847 to the diarist’s brother, Dr. William D. Meriwether    (Page Genealogy, p. 178).]

Saturday 15    Went to the Jewish Synagogue. Spent the evening at Mrs. Mead’s.27

                                [27 Mrs. Ann Maria Mead had a large seminary for girls in Richmond. She was the mother of Edward C. Mead of Keswick, and a close       friend of the Meriwethers (Mead, Historic Homes, p. 228; conversation with Ernest C. Mead).]

Sunday 16      Heard Bishop Johns28 preach at St. John’s Church in the morning. Went to St. James’ in the evening. Took tea at Mrs. Mead’s,    heard Bishop Johns preach at St. James’ at night.

                        [28 Rt. Rev. John Johns, D.D. (1796-1876), fourth Episcopal Bishop of Virginia (1862-1876), was appointed Assistant Bishop in 1842;          served as President of the College of William and Mary 1849-1854; elected Bishop of Virginia on the death of Bishop William Meade in 1862. Dictionary of American Biography, s.v., “Johns, William.”]

Monday 17    Went shopping in the morning. Had an evening party at Mr. Carlton’s.

Tuesday 18   Called on the Miss Clarkes. Spent the day at Mr. Hubbard’s.29 Went to a concert at night.

                        [William H. Hubbard was a partner of James H. Gardner in the wholesale boot and shoe business from 1820 to 1877. They married sisters, and the Hubbards, who were childless, adopted the Gardner’s daughter Anna (Mary Windfield Scott, Houses of Old Richmond (New York, 1941), p. 298).]

Wednesday 19th March       Took the cars for Wilmington [N.C.] at 1 o’clock, travelling all the evening and night & got to Wilmington about 2   the next day. Took the steamboat for Charleston, travelled all night & got there about 8 o’clock Friday 21. Went to Miss Smith’s boarding house. Mrs. Frost, Mrs. & Miss Lesesne called on [us] before dinner. Mrs. Middleton30 and two Miss Middleton called in the evening.

Map of South Carolina plantations  Map of South Carolina plantations        

               [30 Harriet Kinloch (1801-1878) wife of Col. Henry Augustus Middleton, was first cousin of the diarist’s grandmother, Eliza Kinloch Nelson.  The Middletons had six daughters and four sons.]

Saturday 22       Went to ride in Mrs. Frost’s carriage. Dined at Mr. Middleton’s.

Sunday 23         Went to St. Phillip Church. Mrs. Frost & Mr. Lesesne called before dinner. Mrs. Holbrook & Miss Rutledge called in the evening.

 Monday 24       Rained hard all day.

Tuesday 25       Went on top of St. Michael’s steeple. Took a ride with Mrs. Frost. Spent the evening at Dr. Frost’s.

 Wednesday 26  Left Charleston at 9 o’clock in the steamboat, went up to Cowper [i.e. Cooper] River & landed at Mulbery.31 Took Mr. Simon’s carriage & went to Lewisfield, where we staid all night. Went on the next morning to Aunt Simons.32

                         [31 See Samuel Gaillard Stoney, Plantations of South Carolina Low Country (Charleston, S.C., 1938), for descriptions of Mulberry Plantation and Lewisfield, on the West Branch of the Cooper River.]

                        [32 Anne Cleland Kinloch (1789-1857), the widow of Col. Keating Lewis Simons (d. 1819), was half-sister of the diarist’s grandmother, Eliza Kinloch Nelson. Presumably she lived at Pond Bluff, which was not far from Eutaw Springs, probably on the Santee River, on a part         of the original Francis Kinloch I tract. Her son, Keating Lewis Simons, inherited Lewisfield which was built in 1774 by his grandparents, Sarah Lewis and Keating Simons. Her daughter, Sarah Lewis Simons, was married to Danial Lesesne, mentioned above.]

Saturday 29    Rode to the Utah [i.e. Eutaw] Springs.33 Read Picciola, a tale by Saintine.

                        [33 Eutaw Springs was the site of a crucial battle with the British during the American Revolution. The area has now been cleared for the           Santee-Cooper River development project.]

 Tuesday 1 April  Finished the Marring Man. Left Pond Bluff 21 of April. While at Pond Bluff read Persuasion by Miss Austin, The                   Expectant by Miss Pickering, Redwood, The Marring Man.

 Left Charleston 1st May. Got to Richmond 3d of May.

 Eliza Nelson and William Mead left here July 21st., ’45.

[The diary ends at this point, except for two entries made twenty years later, in the childish handwriting of her nine-year-old daughter, Anne Nelson Page.]

 Feb. 15, 1865  I have been reading Mama’s jurnal [sic] and think I will write one myself.

 17th. Ma and Pa went up to Cloverfields and staid all day. Pa just got well and is going to Rich [mond] Monday. Oh when will this war be over and Pa can come home. 34

                [34  Frederick W. Page served in the Confederate Army during the entire four years. According to the records in the Virginia State Library he was a corporal in Southall’s Battery, Virginia Field Artillery, known as Everett’s Albemarle Artillery,” commanded by Capt. William H. Southall. At the            close of the war, the Pages were living at Millwood, a part of the Kinloch estate which Anne Meriwether Page inherited in 1863 after the death of her father, Dr. Thomas W. Meriwether.]

References found online in full text:

Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia, Also, a condensed account of the Nelson, Walker, Pendleton, and Randolph families, with references to the Bland,  Burwell, Byrd, Carter, Cary, Duke, Gilmer, Harrison, Rives, Thornton, Welford, Washington, and other distinguished families of Virginia, by Richard Channing Moore Page, M.D. (2d. ed., N.Y., 1839)

Historic Homes of the South-west Mountains, Virginia, by Edward C. Mead (Philadelphia, 1899)

Meriwether Records

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