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, 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 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 ½ 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.
Diary of Anne Kinloch Meriwether, 1845
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.]
[4 Dr. Robert W. Nelson, who had married his first cousin, Virginia L. Nelson of Oakland, Hanover County, in 1844.]
[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.
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. 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.
[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.
[13 Capt. William Douglas Meriwether of Cloverfields, born November 2, 1761. His wife, Elizabeth Lewis, had died in March 1841.]
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).]
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.)]
[18 Uncle Peter Meriwether had married (1st) Anne’s aunt (Polly) Mary Walker Meriwether; (2d) Mrs. Frances Tapp. They lived at Cismont.]
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.
[19 Judith Page Walker of Castle Hill, wife of Hon. William Cabell Rives. William mentioned below was their second son.]
[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.
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.]
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.
Sunday 23d A thunder cloud in the morning. Uncle Francis, Aunt Peggy, Mary Walker & Charley dined here & went home in the evening.
[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.]
[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
[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.
[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.]
[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.]
[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.]
[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,
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) http://www.archive.org/stream/genealogyofpagef00page/genealogyofpagef00page_djvu.txt
Historic Homes of the
South-west Mountains, Virginia,
by Edward C.
Mead (Philadelphia, 1899)