Elijah Fletcher (1789 - 1858)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Ludlow, Windsor, VT, USA
Death: Died in Amherst, VA, USA
Managed by: Lizzie Keitel
Last Updated:

About Elijah Fletcher

Elijah Fletcher Inherits Tusculum

In 1813, William Sidney Crawford's daughter, Maria, married Elijah Fletcher, a young schoolteacher from Vermont. Elijah began operating the Tusculum plantation upon his father-in-law's death in 1815. He eventually inherited the property from the Crawford heirs.

By 1819, Elijah Fletcher and his wife had moved to Elm Avenue in nearby Lynchburg, and he soon became one of its most prominent citizens. Between 1825 and 1841, Elijah published a Whig newspaper, The Virginian. He also served several terms on the Lynchburg town council and was elected mayor of the city in 1830 and 1832.

Elijah and Maria had four children together. Beginning in 1830, the Fletcher family began spending time at their new Sweet Briar plantation, named by Maria Crawford Fletcher for the herbaceous Eglantine rose growing on the property (Rosacea sweetbriarensis). While Sweet Briar is mentioned mostly as a summer residence, the family visited it and Tusculum all through the year. In corresponding with Crawford relatives in Kentucky, Elijah constantly remarked on the condition of Tusculum, the appearance of the garden, and the health of the slaves. It was obviously well loved by the family.

Source: http://www.tusculum.sbc.edu/Household.shtml

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Elijah Fletcher

A Vermont schoolteacher, Elijah Fletcher (1789-1858) traveled to New Glasgow, Va. (located a few miles north of Amherst) in order to take a teaching position. While teaching in this area, he became acquainted with the Crawford family of Tusculum and soon paid suit to daughter Maria Antoinette. They married in 1813 and would spend much of their married life in nearby Lynchburg. There, Fletcher developed a number of business interests, served as mayor for two terms in the early 1830s, served on the common council, and published The Virginian newspaper. He was a founding member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg. Williams was responsible for remodeling Sweet Briar House in 1851, creating today’s familiar Italianate façade.

Source: http://sbc.edu/museum/fletcher-williams-family

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Sweet Briar Plantation

A Brief Overview of the Fletcher Family at the Sweet Briar Plantation

In 1810 a young man from Vermont, Elijah Fletcher, left home to seek a position as a tutor in a far distant southern state. After an arduous journey of many months on a bay mare, he arrived in New Glasgow, Virginia in May 1811. He had accepted the presidency of the New Glasgow Academy (a private school for boys). He settled into the neighborhood quickly and soon met one of the leading families: the Crawfords (who lived at Tusculum). In April 1813 he married Maria Antoinette, daughter of William Sidney Crawford. They began their married life in Lynchburg, Eiljah soon left teaching and turned to land sales, politics, and eventually farming. In the 1840s Elijah tired of town life and decided to retire to one his favorite plantations, named Sweet Briar after a species of rose favored by his wife. They had four living children:

  • Sidney (1821-1898),
  • Lucian (1824-1895),
  • Indiana (1828-1900), and
  • Elizabeth (1831-1890).

When Elijah died in 1858 he deeded Sweet Briar to his eldest daughter, Indiana. Sidney had already inherited Tusculum, his mother's family's plantation and Elizabeth built a plantation across the road from Sweet Briar which she named Mt San Angelo. The fourth son, Lucian, did not inherit any land from his father.

Source: http://www.tusculum.sbc.edu/SweetBriarPlantation/history.shtml

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Enslaved Families at the Sweet Briar Plantation

The success of Elijah Fletcher's farm relied on the labor of enslaved individuals, both African American and Native American (from the nearby Monacan Confederacy). Although initially opposed to the "peculiar institution," Elijah owned over 110 slaves upon his death in 1858. In 1865, the slaves were freed, but some families settled nearby and continued to work for the Fletchers as paid laborers. Martha Penn Taylor, for example, moved to nearby Coolwell and became a nursemaid for Daisy (Indiana's only daughter).

Source: http://www.tusculum.sbc.edu/SweetBriarPlantation/enslavedfamilies.shtml

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Slaves Listed in Elijah Fletcher's 1852 Will
  • Robin and Nancy Lucy
  • Nancy Matthew and Ida
  • Nancy Wyatt Bob
  • Edmund, Jane & their children: Horace, Celia, Sarah, Frances, Virginia, Delphina, Pleasant, Geo. Washington, July, Emeline
  • Robinson Little Jane Albert Abraham Becca
  • Jimbo and Nic Caroline and Ellis
  • Daniel & his children: Moses, Julia, Nicy, Bristol, Martha, Cary, Joe, Beverly, Daniel Jr.
  • Nancy Collins & Harriet Archy and Rhoda
  • Ned, Pamelia & their children: Moses, Daniel, Archy, Edward, Alexander, Silla, Ellen
  • Tom, Hannah & their children: Martha, Rachel, Anid, Mourning, Marshall, Isham

Source: http://www.tusculum.sbc.edu/africanamericans/enslaved.shtml

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Elijah Fletcher's Timeline

1789
July 18, 1789
Ludlow, Windsor, VT, USA
1813
1813
Age 23
Virginia, United States
1820
August 6, 1820
Age 31
Amherst, VA, USA
1821
June 16, 1821
Age 31
Amherst, Virginia, United States
1824
January 11, 1824
Age 34
Amherst, VA, USA
1828
1828
Age 38
Amherst, VA, USA
1858
February 13, 1858
Age 68
Amherst, VA, USA
????
Sweet Briar Station, Amherst, Virginia, United States