Inclusive dates
  • Papers, 1811-1952, of the Blow and Cook families of Sussex County, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, Virginia, including the allied families of Allmand and Freeman. The collection contains correspondence, subject files, ledgers, and photographs relating to the descendants of Judge George Blow (1813-1894) and his brother William Nivison Blow (1822-1901), as well as Emma Blow Freeman (b. 1876) and Allen M. Cook (1870-1941)
  • The correspondence covers the years 1811 to 1952, but the bulk of it dates from 1900 to 1915. The earlier correspondence is sparse, but it includes a number of interesting letters. There is an 1819 letter to Richard Blow (d. 1833) regarding financial matters and the purchasing of stock in the Bank of the United States. Among the other early letters are those from Eliza (Waller) Blow (1791-1841) to her son George while he was away at school. They concern the health of the family, weather, and she also gives her son advice on the importance of a good education. There are also letters in the 1850's to Honoria Allmand (b. 1829) from her brothers John O'Grady Allmand (1831-1909) in Baltimore, and William H. Allmand (1820-1864) while he was serving in the Navy and stationed in England. Detailed descriptions of England and Ireland are given, including the religious observations of the citizens, and he also describes the various tourist attractions he visits
  • There is an 1878 letter from George Blow to his son George Preston Blow (1860-1922) while the latter was attending the United States Naval Academy. William Nivison Blow describes his poor financial situation and the possibility of losing his plantation "Tower Hill" in an 1887 letter to his son William N. Blow (1855-1907)
  • The majority of the letters after 1895 are written by Allen M. Cook (1870-1941) to his wife Emma Blow (Freeman) Cook (b. 1876). Subject include their courtship and marriage and family matters. Much of it also relates to his naval service in South America and South Africa, his duty during the Spanish-American War, in the Philippines and China during the Boxer Rebellion, as well as in this country
  • Finally, there is also a large amount of correspondence from William T. Blow (1883-1943) during the period 1914 to 1915. Much of it is to his mother Mary "Molly" Elizabeth (Thomas) Blow (1863-1943), as well as to officials at the American Farmers School in Minneapolis concerning correspondence courses in which he was enrolled
  • The subject files contain a variety of materials, including accounts and receipts, agreements, cancelled checks, an 1861 crop book, deeds, estate papers, genealogical notes on the Blow, Cook, and other families, an 1842 report card from West Point, resolutions of respect for Allen M. Cook, tax receipts, a transcription of Waller family Bible records, and other items
  • There are three volumes of ledgers belonging to William Nivison Blow (1855-1907) relating to the operation of "Tower Hill" plantation. They include farm and household accounts and expenses, as well as valuations of lands owned in Sussex and Southampton Counties, logs of persons employed, and amounts of various crops picked
  • There is one box of loose photographs and two boxes containing photograph albums. Many of the photographs are unidentified. The albums are in need of preservation
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • The Blow and Cook families were prominent residents of Sussex County, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, Virginia. George Blow (1787-1870) and his wife Elizabeth Waller (1791-1841) were married in Williamsburg on 12 December 1807. They had thirteen children. Among them were George Blow (1813-1894) and William Nivison Blow (1822-1901). George Blow was an attorney, and later judge of the Norfolk Circuit Court. He married Elizabeth Taylor Allmand (1823-1868) in Norfolk on 27 August 1846. They had twelve children, including Emma Blacknall Blow (1847-1914). She married Arthur Clarico Freeman (1845-1908) in Norfolk on 5 March 1873. They had four children, including Emma Blow Freeman (b. 1876). She married Allen M. Cook (1870-1941.)
  • William Nivison Blow (1822-1901) married Lavinia Cargill (1821-1868) in Norfolk on 4 March 1847. They had ten children, including a son also named William Nivison Blow (1855-1907). He married Mary Elizabeth Thomas (1863-1943) of Maine on 27 October 1882 in Denver, Colorado. They later resided at "Tower Hill," the family plantation in Sussex County, Virginia. They had one son, William Thomas Blow (1883-1943), who inherited the property after his father's death.
Cataloging source
Form designation
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Woolard, Joe
  • Woolard, Joe
Organization method
I. Correspondence. II. Subject Files. III. Ledgers. IV. Photographs.
Type of unit
cu. ft.

Library Locations

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