Thomson, William Quarles,
Manuscript Day Book of William Quarles Thomson, of Happy Valley, Louisa County, Virginia, including various cash accounts, dated 1845-1891

Octavo, 178 manuscript pages, bound in reverse sheep, embossed in blind, reinforced with red leather at top and bottom edges, black leather labels on spine extremities worn and rubbed, entries written in ink, in a legible hand, and dated 20 December 1845 to 7 March 1891.

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The volume is essentially in two sections contain accounts for widely separated periods of time: the ledger at the front of the volume consists of 42 manuscript pages, dated 20 December 1845 to 10 December 1855.  The Day Book contains 136 manuscript pages and is dated 1 May 1882 to 7 March 1891. The day book contains accounts pertaining to the everyday activities of Thomson, the running of his household and farm, labor accounts, hauling things, digging ditches, shoeing horses, paying for medical attention for his workers, selling farm products, etc. He lists the various individuals by name that he hires as day laborers, or sells things too. The daybook runs for almost nine years, thus giving a look at the day to day activities of running a farm in Post-Reconstruction Virginia in the 1880s.

The accounts section is broken up into various accounts such as Wm. Q. Thomson's accounts as executor of his father's estate, or as guardian of his youngest sister Virginia, his accounts for advancing money to other members of the family, and various business accounts.

There is an 8 page index located in the front of the ledger which correlates with the accounts section of the ledger. In this accounts section, several accounts mention slaves, either paying taxes on the slaves, or hiring them out, or clothing them:

"Nov 28 1850 - taxes on slaves & horses, clock & carriage $6.82"

"20 Dec 1850 - three wool hats for Negroes $2.25"

"11 Apr 1848 - Paid Dr. C. Dickens on visit and post mortem on Negro child $2.00"

"1846 hire of Negroes to Jan 1st 1850 $45.00"

William Quarles Thomson of "Happy Valley," Louisa County, Virginia, was born in 1823 and died 25 April 1891. The day book offered here was kept for almost nine continuous years leading up to his death. Thomason's last entry came on 7 March 1891, just forty-nine days before he died.

Thomson married twice. He first married Catherine Saunders, and, after her death, he married a second time on 22 September 1851 to Nicie H. Daniel. She was born in 1833, at Louisa County, Virginia.

Before the Civil War Thomson's net worth in 1860, per US census was valued at $12,500 for real estate and $13,948 for his personal estate. Included in his personal estate were the 18 slaves he owned. Enumerated next to his on the slave census were his sister Virginia M. Thomson who owned 5 slaves and Maria Thomson who owned 24. Looking back at the 1850 Census, William had once owned upwards of 18 slaves.

After the war, when the 1870 Census was taken, William of course lost his slaves, but still had several servants and domestics living with him, however they were white not African-Americans. The value of his estate went down to $8000 in real estate and $1000 in personal estate. Obviously the loss of his slaves is what caused the almost $12,000 drop in his personal estate. His real estate also went down in value by $4,500.

The 1880 Census shows William listed as a farmer. He is enumerated with his wife Nicie and his children: Henry C. (21), Mary H. (16), and Thomas Q. (13). Henry was the manager of the farm, his siblings in school. The family still had servants, but instead of the white domestics of 1870, they now had three African-Americans living in their household, one a 19 year old female servant, the other two 20 year old laborers, presumably farm hands.

Besides Henry, Mary, and Thomas, the Thomsons also had five other children who died young: Frances who died in 1870 at about one year of age; and Anna who died at about age four in 1865. The couple amazingly lost three children in 1857: Lelia at age 3, Tallula at about 5 and William Q. Jr. at about one year old.

William Quarles Thomson was the son of David Thomson, also of "Happy Valley," who was born about 1795, at Louisa County. David died sometime before 10 November 1845. His son William acted as executor of his estate. The ledger offered here contains six pages of accounts for David Thomson's estate dated 20 December 1845 to 10 November 1847.

David Thomson was the son of William Thomson and Frances "Frankie" Quarles. David married Maria Louisa Ellis on 24 May 1820, at Orange Co., Virginia. She was the daughter of Thomas Ellis and Elizabeth Hurt. Maria Louisa Ellis was born 26 June 1805, at Orange County and died in 1854, at Louisa County.

Together David Thomson and Maria Louisa Ellis had eight children, with William Quarles Thomson being the third eldest and the second eldest son. His older brother, (the eldest child of the David Thomson), was killed during the Civil War. A number of the Thomson family members, including siblings of William Q. Thomson and his mother, and perhaps his grandparents, are listed as having accounts in the ledger (Frances Thomson, David Thomson, Ms. Eliza J. Thomson, Margaret Ellis Thomson, Virginia M. Thomson, and Mrs. Marie Thomson). Virginia has an account under her name, as well as an account under William Quarles Thomson's name as "guardian" for Virginia.