The Resource Allen family account book

Allen family account book

Allen family account book, 1721-1754
Allen family account book
Inclusive dates
Account book, 1721-1754, of the Allen family of Surry County, Virginia, chiefly containing mercantile and personal accounts of John Allen (ca. 1684-1741 or 2). The accounts begin in 1721 and are carried on, irregularly, by an unspecified successor after Allen's death. In addition to Surry County, there are references to residents of and holdings in other localities, including Williamsburg. The book is a resource on topics including the tobacco business; slavery and indentured servitude; plantation life; the settlement of debts by barter of goods and labor as well as cash; and how overseers were paid, both with cash and in shares of crops. In addition there are references to the construction of various buildings, frequently mills or tobacco barns, giving dimensions and outlining how the properties were to be finished, and to repairs, including chimney work, making windows, and replastering. As well as highlighting the daily activities and business of the community, the book contains information of use to family historians. Familial connections are noted both in the accounts and in the identification of debtors, including mention of marriages of individuals with whom Allen had dealings. Also of interest are identifications of tobacco marks used by various growers, and notations about patents, the reissuing of patents in other names, surveys, and sales of rights. Notable names that appear in the book include Sir William Gooch (1681-1751)
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Additional physical form
Also available on microfilm (Misc. reel 5329)
Biographical or historical data
  • The Allen family was one of the wealthiest in the Virginia Colony. Seated in Surry County, first building and residing at "Bacon's Castle," then moving to "Claremont," the family possessed substantial property throughout eastern Virginia. This particular account book first belonged to John Allen (ca. 1684-1741 or 2). He was the son of Arthur Allen II (ca. 1652-1710) and his wife, Katherine Baker. Arthur was the owner of the house that gained fame by being occupied by Bacon's rebels in 1676, which incident led to its being dubbed "Bacon's Castle."
  • John Allen married Elizabeth Bassett (1697-1738), daughter of William Bassett of Eltham in New Kent County, and Joanna Burwell. This marriage allied Allen with several families with representatives on the Governor's Council. Allen's own career included work as a surveyor, clerk of Surry County, colonial militia colonel, and member of the House of Burgesses. By the time of his death, Allen had increased the approximately 1,300 acres inherited from his father to some 24,000 acres in Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, and Surry Counties.
  • Having no surviving children, John Allen named nephew William Allen (1734-1793), a minor at the time of John's death, as heir. The younger Allen first married Clara Walker (1737-ca. 1764), having with her one son, John Allen (ca. 1760-1793). After Clara's death, he married Mary Lightfoot (1750-1789), with whom he had eight children. William Allen built Claremont Manor, in Surry County, on Upper Chippokes land inherited from his uncle. For more information on the Allen family, see the Eve S. Gregory book CLAREMONT MANOR: A HISTORY (LVA call number F234.C59 G8 1990).
Cataloging source
Allen family account book
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • 1
  • 1
Governing access note
For preservation purposes, please serve microfilm copy (Misc. reel 5329)
Immediate source of acquisition
The Book Press, Ltd.
Type of unit
  • volume (912 p.)
  • reel.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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