Transcription of 1811 Letter from Charles Ware in KY to his brother, James Ware III, in Virginia by: Judy C. Ware

1811 Letter from Charles Ware in Kentucky to His Brother, James Ware III

© Judy Ware  2009


Missent & forwarded

From Winchester

June 30, 1810   I believe this was originally transcribed in error and the letter was actually written in 1811.  See below for reasons.

Mr. James Ware

Frederick County (would one day be Clarke County)


June 17, 1810 (1811)

Dear James,

I received, by our father, your letter and am glad to hear you are all well, which at the present is the case with us and I believe all (our) relations.

Winny Webb was married on Tuesday last to Thompson (Matthew Thompson) Scott, a very pleasing match to all parties.  Thompson Ware (brother of James) talks of building a brick house.  He has paid $90.00 and a horse toward it, but has put it off until next year.  William Conn has settled between Thompson Ware’s and his father.  (He) has built a brick house and cleared about 20 acres of land and put it in corn and hemp.  Thompson has (for the first time) a little hemp agrowing; by the way of speculation.  I raised, last year, some better than 2 ½ tons of hemp which I sold to Capt. John Richardson and son (who has established a Rope Walk on his farm)  at seven dollars p. hundred; payable in 12 months, which will expire the 15th of March next.  Hemp is worth about $6.00 now.  It was up for two weeks only last winter – worth $7.00.  I had a good deal of trouble with (the) breaking of my hemp, having taken it almost all up before it was well rotted.  Notwithstanding, it passed in great credit.  I’ll know better next time.

My father (James II), brother George, and Newland all have undertaken to give the news of your Shelby business.  I have (put), as directed by my father, $100.00 to Mr. Webb, $150.00 to George Ware, and other matters to the amount of the rent, accepting about $40.00.  I have at last (not without great labor) repaired the fencing in such a manner that with little trouble, (it) will last my lease, and I have 13 acres of hemp a growing that is promising; notwithstanding a severe drought this Spring.  From 1 April until the 10th of June was less rain than ever was known (by me) to have fallen in the same months.  Our flak and oats will, I fear, not be worth saving.  Wheat is good.  Corn is very low but looks very well.

Your buzzard colt is very large and promising.  I neglected to halter break her last Fall but will do it soon and shall do it with great caution as I know the danger.  I have a very stout 3 year old (and well broke) wagon horse that I think is just another horse as (good as) Rainbow was that I can spare very well which I will send to your wagon.  If a good opportunity offers, this horse I mean as a present for the boots you sent me by George, and (I) insist on receiving nothing else for him.

I applied to Mr. Webb who says that he has not a single dollar of the estate money in hand.  Neither does he expect to receive any soon as those in debt prefer paying interest to paying the money.

I sold my Shelby land to old Capt. Pearson (who is now living on it) for one thousand dollars only, payable in 1 year with interest from the date.  It was worth more money, but it was in a very invaluable part of the world.  I sold my tobacco that I had in that county for 14 shillings p hd.   My father’s man, Jim, is tolerably well satisfied.  (He) says nothing about returning to Virginia; I think will this fall or next spring.

I have nothing more to say at present.  I wish very much to see you, Harriet, and children, but never shall unless you should visit this country- which I flatter myself will be the case ere’ very long.  I enjoy but a moderate portion of health generally and not a great share of content.

Tell Harriet she must make haste and increase her family and send me one, as I fear Mrs. Alexander will not spare any of theirs.  Notwithstanding, give my best respects to her for I always was as fond of her as I was of anybody.  Tell Sally and Charles to write to me and not to forget that they once knew me.

My wife joins me in love to all

C. (Charles) Ware


Date confusion:

When Cornelia Ware Anker first transcribed these letters in 1945, she was using a very old typewriter.  It’s hard to tell if some of the misspelled words & grammar errors were due to faulty typing or merely an effort on her part to be true to the original writing. She admitted freely that “I have copied these letters as well as I could; most of them are very hard to read.  The penmanship is beautiful, but it is small and, of course, dim with age.”

In looking at the text of this letter and another one that was written by the father of both Charles & James in 1811, it clearly looks as if this letter was written in 1811 and not 1810.  There are several reasons why. In comparing the two letters, I will print excerpts of the one from James II in ALL CAPS and the one from Charles in regular print. Note the same time frame they are using.

(1) In the father’s letter, he mentions the following –


Charles writes: “Winny Webb was married on Tuesday last to Thompson Scott, a very pleasing match to all parties.

Several other references record the wedding date of Thompson and Winny Webb as June 12, 1811.


Since the date on the father’s letter was June 16th and the one from Charles was only one day later on the 17th , the verb tense HAS WRITTEN would validate the same year of 1811.


Charles writes: “My father, George, and Newland all have undertaken to give the news of your Shelby business.”


Charles writes: “I applied to Mr. Webb who says that he has not a single dollar of the estate money in hand.”

(5) In short, ALL the information that both parties wrote about (even down to the crops and horses) is in the same time period, and it would be highly implausible to think that there was an entire year spaced between the two letters.


Additional information:

Thompson, James, Charles, and George were all brothers.  At the time Charles wrote this letter, he was 36 years old and James III was 40.  Their father (James II) was 70.

“Winny Webb was married on Tuesday last to Thompson Scott, a very pleasing match to all parties.”

The man that Winny Webb married was, indeed, called Thompson Scott, but his full name was Matthew Thompson Scott. They were married on June 12, 1811. In records kept at the RB Hayes Library, it states that, “Matthew Thompson Scott was a cashier, then President of the Northern bank of Lexington.  He was a pall bearer for Henry Clay.”  Winny and M.T. Scott had 14 children together before Winny passed away in 1833 during the cholera epidemic.

“Thompson Ware (brother of James) talks of building a brick house.  He has paid $90.00 and a horse toward it, but has put it off until next year.”

In a letter from James Ware II to his son James III in 1812, he mentioned that: “Thompson (your brother) is very slow lived in his old cabin which I had as leave live in a barn if could have fire.”  Obviously Thompson did put off building his home for at least another year.

“William Conn has settled between Thompson Ware’s and his father.”

William Conn married Fanny Webb – the daughter of Mary “Polly” Webb and her husband Charles.  Fanny would have been the cousin of both James III and Charles.  Unfortunately, she died fairly young as her Aunt Lucy wrote in 1830 that her sister Polly had sorrowfully said, “O, if he (the doctor) could have only seen Fanny, I think she would have got well.” William was the brother of James Conn who married Kitty Webb (Lucy & Isaac’s daughter.) Lucy also wrote that “William Conn has bought James Conn’s place adjoining him.  They live there (if he ever pays for it) though the payments are quite easy.”  James later moved near the Blue Licks.

My father, George, and Newland all have undertaken to give the news of your Shelby business.”

There are other times that “Shelby” is mentioned in some family letters.  It refers to a section of land that rests between Lexington and Louisville; considered the heart of Bluegrass Country.  It would seem that James still had some business dealings there after he moved back to Virginia, and his family (including brothers George and Charles) were helping him handle things in his absence.

“My father’s man, Jim, is tolerably well – says nothing about returning to Virginia; I think he will this fall or next spring.”

It is highly possible this “Jim” was one of the slaves that came with the Ware family to help get settled in Kentucky.  Since it mentions him returning to Virginia, it is even conceivable that he is the same slave that eventually worked on Springfield farm.  Josiah inherited both land and slaves when his father died.  In his diary, he wrote: “Set the wheat machine in the evening. Big Jim, Jim Bell, Henry, Jo, Alfred, Samson, Violet, and myself worked it.” There were, of course, many slaves named Jim, but the fact that he calls him “Big” Jim begs one to wonder. We know that Josiah kept his slaves all the way into their retirement and then took care of them in their old age. If the man mentioned in the letter was even as old as 30, it would still be possible for him to be working for Josiah in 1827 and only be 46.  In the memoirs of Josiah’s son, he wrote the following statement concerning the treatment of slaves on Springfield.  “As they got old, light work was assigned, or none. . . how often I have seen the “retired ones” sleeping in the sun.

“I wish very much to see you, Harriet, and children.”

James III was first married to Elizabeth Alexander Ware.  When she died in 1806, however, he remarried in 1808 a lady named Harriet Taylor.  She raised his children from his first marriage and also had several children with James III herself.  Charles and his wife never did have any children.

“Tell Harriet she must make haste and increase her family and send me one, as I fear Mrs. Alexander will not spare any of theirs.”

At the time of this letter, Harriet and James had only been married for 3 years.  They had already had 2 sons together; hence the use of the word “increase.”  The “Mrs. Alexander” would have been referring to the grandmother of James’ children by his first wife, Elizabeth.  Her name was Sarah Snickers Alexander.

Harriet bore 6 children to James, but sadly, most died very young.  James W. Ware died at 18 on board the ship “Herald” that was bound for Charleston, South Carolina, Bushrod died at age 7, Marshall died at age 20, Harriet “Mary” died at 12, and Elizabeth died at 14 months.  The only child to reach adulthood, marry, and have children of their own was a daughter named Lucy Catherine.

“Tell Sally and Charles to write to me and not to forget that they once knew me.”

Charles had (at one time) lived with his brother James and his first wife, Elizabeth Alexander.  He wrote in an 1831 letter that “I did not go to live with him until the fall of 1793.  We then continued together almost until I married in 1803 and sometime after your amiable and affectionate Mother had quit this world for a more blessed aboard.” He was obviously living with them when they had all their children.  Sally (daughter of James and Elizabeth) was Sarah Elizabeth Taliaferro Ware who went on to marry Sigismund Stribling.  The son named Charles (that is mentioned) refers to the older brother of Josiah Ware who died at age 23.  Josiah was not mentioned in the letter because he would have only been a few months old when Charles moved back to Kentucky.

“My wife” Charles was married to Frances Whiting.


Letter from Charles Ware to his niece Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth Taliaferro Ware Stribling  in 1831.  Transcribed and researched by Judy C. Ware  April 2009

The Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association Volume XXIII 1983-1984 copyright 1985 by the Clarke County Historical Association – printed by Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 22655

Transcription of Letter from James Ware to his son, James (written from David’s Fork) – Nov. 4, 1812   Transcribed letter and background information supplied by Judy C. Ware  March 2009  Original letter provided by Cornelia Ware Anker in 1945.

Transcription of 1810 Letter to James Ware from unknown author

Information on all of James Ware’s family that settled in Kentucky provided by the Hayes Presidential Center.

Diary of Josiah Ware – dated 1830 – 1834

Memoirs of Rev. Josiah William Ware, son of Josiah & Edmonia Ware.  Written in 1924.  Courtesy of Martha Ware

The Ware Family Bible – This is kept in my home and has dates and names recorded in it that date back to the 1700’s.

VIRGINIA GENEALOGIES: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia by: Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A.  Printed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1891 – copyrighted 1885.

Letter from Lucy Webb to her niece, Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth Taliaferro Stribling  written June 5 (possibly 1830’s).  Lucy Webb was the sister of James Ware.

Letter written from Sigismund Stribling Ware to Sarah Ware in 1930.

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