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Brush Mountain Oral History Project

Kentland Archaeology
Slave Cemetery
Archaeological Survey


Manuscript Sources
National Register


Community Outreach


Selected Manuscript Collections in Special Collections at Virginia Tech Relating to Kentland and the Environs

Prepared by Tamara Kennelly

ADAMS, ELIZABETH KENT. PAPERS, 1813-1987. 0.5 cu. ft. Radford, Virginia, resident, and local historian. Papers include correspondence, news clippings, genealogical charts, essays, and other materials related to Kentland (her family home); her ancestors; and Radford, Montgomery County, and Southwest Virginia history. Also includes a photocopy of the handwritten autobiography of A.H. Putnam (her great-grandfather), photocopies of James Randall Kent's will and inventory of debts (1867), and photocopies and originals of other family papers. Ms1990-045. [41 images on VT Imagebase, images include photos and history of hand-made brick]

APPALACHIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT. RECORDS, 1986-1991. 1.25 cu. ft. Oral history interviews conducted by students of Dr. Jean Speer and Dr. Bohland in the Department of Humanities at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. Interviewees include Frank W. Bannister, Lillie A. Beavers, Julia T. Bratton, Thomas Cartmel Brown, Carol M. Caldwell, Freeman A. Cockram, Virginia B. Creger, Robert and Josephine Dolinger, Ora Evans, Donald R. Fessler, Anne W. Frame, David H. Halsey. Mildred S. Richardson, Judith C. Sale, Elizabeth M. Weatherford. Restricted interview materials include Georgia Croy, Carlton Harmon, Jack and Lillian Minnick, Ellison A. Smyth, and Keith Webb. Materials consist of audiocassette and mini-cassette tapes, tape logs, and student photographs and essays about some interviewees. Transcript available for the Hamblin interview. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms1993-025.

APPERSON FAMILY; see BLACK, KENT, AND APPERSON FAMILIES, PAPERS OF, 1779-1984 (Bulk 1821-1948). 7 l.f. John Samuel Apperson (1837-1908) served as a hospital steward under Dr. Harvey Black in the 4th Virginia Regiment and the field hospital of the Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, during the Civil War, and later became a doctor. Papers include Apperson's correspondence (ca. 1850-1900) and Civil War diaries (1861-65, 6 diaries); a medallion (1893) commemorating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America owned by John S. Apperson; the correspondence and genealogical notes (ca. 1920-85) of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Apperson; and a notebook containing a Blacksburg history (1944) by Mary Apperson. Also includes scrapbooks (1933-50) of clippings, correspondence, and telegrams with information about the political career of Harvey Black Apperson (1890-1948), who was a State Senator and Attorney General of Virginia. Includes leases and reports from the Blacksburg Mining and Manufacturing Company of Montgomery County, Virginia, of which Alex Apperson was a stockholder. Genealogical notes and sources compiled by Alex and Miriam Apperson include information on the Amiss, Crockett, Dudley, Mastin, Porter, Tynes, and Woodbridge families. The Appersons were connected by marriage to the Black and Kent families. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms74-003.

ASSOCIATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF VIRGINIA ANTIQUITIES, MONTGOMERY COUNTY BRANCH. RECORDS, 1754-1996. 6.0 cu. ft. Founded in 1889, the APVA has twenty branches which own and maintain historic properties. The Montgomery County branch maintains the Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg. Records largely document the recent history of Smithfield, ancestral home of the Preston family, especially its restoration beginning in 1962. Includes correspondence of George Green Shackelford (then director of the Montgomery County APVA), minutes, reports, clippings, programs, photographs, and architectural drawings, as well as APVA annual reports, newsletters (1982-88), and issues of Discovery (1977-89). Also includes historical documents of and genealogical information about the Preston family. Inventory available. Ms62-001.

BLACK APPALACHIANS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT. CASSETTE TAPES, 1991. 0.4 cu. ft. Oral history interviews (22 on 25 tapes) conducted by Dr. Michael Cooke of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of and about blacks in Appalachia, predominantly in Montgomery County, Virginia. Interviewees include Frank T. Bannister, Leola Burns, Alexandra Burford, Roxie Ida Byson, Rice Dobbins, James E. Dow, Rosa Thomas Holmes, Charles A. Johnson, Thompson V. Lester, Elizabeth Lester, Walter H. Lewis, William Burrell Morgan, W. Waymon Pack (transcript available), Cora Pack, J. Homer Pack, Christine P. Price (transcript available), Valerie Scott, Mason Scott, Homer C. Sherman, James E. Sherman, Ellison A. Smyth (transcript available), James C. Wade (transcript available), and Sarah J. Wade (transcript available). Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms91-019.

BLACK, KENT, AND APPERSON FAMILIES, PAPERS OF, 1779-1984 (Bulk 1821-1948). 7 l.f. Papers and artifacts of an interrelated family prominent in Blacksburg's history. Dr. Harvey Black (1827-88) served in the Civil War as a surgeon for the Fourth Virginia Infantry Regiment and as surgeon in charge of the field hospital of the 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Black assisted in the operation on General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson after he had been wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was a founder and was on the first Board of Visitors of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Virginia Tech. Papers include the Civil War correspondence of Confederate surgeon Dr. Harvey Black to his wife, the Civil War diary of hospital steward John S. Apperson, cotton books and correspondence of Germanicus Kent, nineteenth-century account books of Blacksburg mercantile establishments, a 1912 European travel diary, the political scrapbooks of State Senator and Attorney General Harvey B. Apperson, and genealogy research on the Black, Kent, and Apperson and related families. Also includes a manuscript notebook with a history of Blacksburg, as told to Mary E. Apperson by her mother Lizzie Black Apperson. The Blacks were connected by marriage to the Apperson and Kent families. Ms74-003. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms1974-003.

COWAN, JOHN T. (1840-1929). PAPERS, 1887-1917. 0.1 cu. ft. Born in Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). Member of the original board of trustees for the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute). Served with the Confederacy in the Civil War and represented Montgomery County, Virginia, in the legislature. Raised shorthorn cattle in Whitehorn, Virginia. Papers consist of pages from an account book, bills, notes, and correspondence relating to his personal and business affairs. Ms1969-005. [34 images on VT Imagebase]

HOGE FAMILY. PAPERS, 1781, 1817, 1848, n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. Early Southwest Virginia settlers. Papers consist of a letter (n.d.) from James Hoge (1732-1812) to John Preston (1764-1827) of Richmond and later Montgomery County, concerning the settlement of an account, and a certificate, dated September 10, 1781, entitling Hoge to 130 acres of land in Montgomery County that he settled on in 1769. Also includes a letter, dated March 6, 1817, to Hoge's son, General James Hoge (1783-1861) concerning land in Russell County to be sold for non-payment of taxes. Also includes a survey plat (1848) for General Hoge's 3,000 acres on Back Creek in Pulaski County, Virginia. Ms92-045.

KENT FAMILY. PAPERS, ca. 1818-1979; see BLACK, KENT AND APPERSON FAMILIES, PAPERS OF. Germanicus Kent (1791-1862) was a founder of Rockford, Illinois. Born in Connecticut, he lived in Huntsville, Alabama (ca. 1822-34); Rockford, Illinois (1834-44); and Blacksburg,Virginia (1844-62). Papers include a cotton book and letter book of Germanicus Kent (2 vols., 1821-1823); correspondence of Germanicus Kent (1834-60); miscellaneous correspondence and business papers of Germanicus, Aratus, and John E. Kent (ca.1834-60); correspondence with the Rockford, Illinois, Historical Society (ca.1966-77); and biographical and genealogical information. The Kents were connected to the Black and Apperson families by marriage. A searchable finding aid to the Papers of the Black, Kent, and Apperson Families is available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms74-003.

KENT, JACOB (1740- ). ACCOUNT BOOKS, 1765-76, 1784-93. 2 vols. Resident of Montgomery County, Virginia, Jacob Kent owned 1,340 acres in what was later the Shawsville area. For many years, he owned a four-room log inn on the "Great Road," later Route 11. This structure was located at the site of what would later be "Edgehill," the home of Mrs. Guy Weeks. Account books record items purchased, including rum, nails, buttons, and silk, and from whom the purchase was made. Ms92-031.

KENT, JAMES RANDALL (1825-1887). PAPERS, 1856-86, n.d. 0.4 cu. ft. Wealthy land and slaveholder in Montgomery and Pulaski counties, Virginia. Collection includes court records, correspondence, titheables to the Sheriffs of Montgomery and Pulaski counties, photographs, court summons, and other notes concerning Kent's property--Kentland--and his business affairs. Also includes a letter from Kent at Bank of Blacksburg to William H. Macfarland of Richmond, Virginia. Unprocessed. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project. Ms87-031.

NICOLAY, JOHN. PAPERS, 1790-1985. 1.4 cu. ft. Former Blacksburg, Virginia, resident and historian. Collection consists of papers Nicolay has used for his research on Montgomery County, Virginia, history. Topics include poverty in Montgomery County, blacks, local churches, and the Edie Family of Christiansburg, Virginia. Materials include oral history tapes, slides, and the transcript for Nicolay's paper, "Slave and Black Commentaries: An Oral History Project Reflecting on Wake Forest, Montgomery County, Virginia," written with Clyde Kessler; original documents, receipts, court records and warrants for arrest; historical photographs of the area by Earl Palmer; material from Moutainside Magazine, edited by Nicolay from 1983 to 1984, including writings by Beverly Brinlee, Jess Carr, Fred Waage, and William White; chapters from Ann Swain's Radford University thesis about the Christiansburg Industrial Institute; and other material relating to the history of Montgomery County. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms87-027.

PRESTON FAMILY (CHARLES PEALE DIDIER COLLECTION). PAPERS, 1747-1897. 282 items. Separate collection from the Preston family collection listed above. Papers include surveys, promissory notes, and land indentures (1747-70) relating to James Patton; list of quit rents in the Middle District of Augusta (1759-60); promissory notes and correspondence (1755-1806) relating to William Preston; and correspondence, surveys, and business papers (1780-1830) relating to John Preston. Inventory available Ms85-020.

PRESTON, JOHN (1764-1827). DEED, 1826, 0.1 cu. ft. Handwritten deed and bargain of sale between Henry Edmunson as trustee of John Preston of the County of Montgomery of the one part and John Walters and George Kester of the County of Montgomery of the other part for a 130-acre tract of land on the headwaters of Strubles [Stroubles] Creek and the English's Mill Creek. Indenture was made on March 30, 1826 and brought to the office of the Montgomery County Court Clerk on April 5, 1826. Born at Greenfield (the Preston family home prior to Smithfield), John Preston served in the Virginia militia and the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate throughout his life. Treasurer of Virginia from 1810 to 1819. Inventory available. Ms2005-014.

PRESTON, JOHN (1764-1827). PAPERS, 1806-20, 1844, n.d. 0.2 cu. ft. Born at Greenfield (the Preston family home prior to Smithfield), served in the Virginia militia and the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate throughout his life. Treasurer of Virginia from 1810 to 1819. Papers consist of letters and promissory notes, and documents stating the transfer of lands, slaves, and property. Also includes a letter from J.B. McBride at the Union Theological Seminary, to William M. Radford of Botetourt County, Virginia. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms94-034.

PRESTON, ROBERT TAYLOR (1809-80). PAPERS, 1829-71, n.d. 0.2 cu. ft. Born at Smithfield in Blacksburg, Virginia; built Solitude, his home near Smithfield, now part of Virginia Tech. Prior to the Civil War Preston served as a member of militia and justice of the peace. At the start of the Civil War he was appointed colonel of volunteers in the Provisional Army of Virginia, and in July 1861 was appointed colonel of the 28th Virginia Infantry, Confederate States of America, where he served until the infantry's reorganization in April 1862. Beginning in August 1864 he served as lieutenant colonel and then colonel of the 4th Virginia Reserves, and surrendered with the troops of General J.E. Johnston in North Carolina in April 1865. The collection consists of 218 letters, military orders, notes, certificates of military appointments, and other items, the majority collected or created by Preston during the period of May 1861 and December 1862. Includes several military orders signed by such members of the Confederate Army as Jubal Early, John B. Floyd, and George E. Pickett, as well as orders signed by Preston himself. Also includes a draft of a broadside written by Preston from Solitude on May 13, 1863, as a call to arms to the men of Roanoke and Montgomery County to repel the Union Army which was in the immediate vicinity. Selected transcripts available. Inventory available. Ms92-003.

PRESTON, SARAH BUCHANAN (1778-1846). LAND DEED, 1835. 0.1 cu. ft Born in Smyth County, Virginia; died in Abingdon, Virginia. Manuscript copy of a land transfer indenture statement for lands in Russell, Tazewell, and Scott counties, Virginia. Sold by Preston to John and Edward Fulton of Washington County, Virginia. Ms87-034.

PRESTON, WILLIAM (1729-83). LAND GRANT, 1773. 1 item. Surveyor and militiaman. Born in Ireland, came to the American colonies in 1738. Settled in area of Virginia that is now Montgomery County. Established the plantation "Smithfield" in 1773, which is now near the Virginia Tech campus and run by the Montgomery County branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Land grant is for 2175 acres in Botetourt County, Virginia (now the land that is Smithfield), purchased by Preston, signed by British King George III and Virginia colonial Governor John Murray Dunmore. Ms94-027.

PRICE, JAMES BAINE. ACCOUNT BOOKS, 1882-93. 0.4 cu. ft. Proprietor of Price's Fork Store in Prices Fork, Virginia. Store account books. Ms88-008.

PRICE, JIMMIE L. (1940- ). PAPERS, 1986-2003. 4 videotapes and 0.1 cu. ft. Blacksburg, Virginia, resident, minister, and local historian, and founder of the Coal Miner's Heritage Association. Author of Malissia Said and one of the co-authors of Millstone Manufacture in Virginia: Interviews with the Last Brush Mountain Millstone Makers and A Brief History of Several coal Mines of Montgomery County. Collection consists of three videotapes of interviews conducted by Price with Montgomery County present and former residents, including an interview in 1986 with Elizabeth Kent Adams about the Kentland property; interviews conducted in 1987 with four Montgomery County residents, including Robert H. Surface, Albert Hamlin, Evans Linkous, and Arnold Linkous, about coal mines and mining in the county; and an interview with Frank Bannister of Montgomery County, whose ancestors were slaves and later servants at Kentland; and an interview (7 August 2003) with Josephine Scrivenor, who lived at Kentland. Also includes sketches of Kentland and coal operations, drawn by Price as described by the interviewees. Finding aid available in EAD on the Virginia Heritage Project database. Ms87-048.

SMITHFIELD PRESTON FOUNDATION. PAPERS, 1784-1881, n.d. 204 items. Collection consists of letters written by two generations of members of the Preston family of southwest Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina, to James and Sarah Preston McDowell in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Most of the correspondents are the children and grandchildren of William and Susanna Smith Preston, settlers of Montgomery County, Virginia, who built their home, "Smithfield," in 1772. Inventory available. Ms97-002.

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