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Hugh Adams Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: WLU-Coll-0373

Scope and Contents

The Hugh Adams Papers archive is comprised of approximately 75 documents concerning the emancipation of nineteen slaves of the Adams estate and their estate imposed emigration to Careysburg, Liberia. Adams was actively involved for many years with the American Colonization Society ( A.C.S.) which promoted and engaged in the emigration process of free or freed African-Americans to Liberia on the west African coast. Included in the archive is an original handwritten copy of the will of Hugh Adams. Within the will, Adams settles his estate and specifically outlines his plan for emancipating his slaves and for funding their imposed emigration. The archive also contains account documents for living expenses of nine of the nineteen freed slaves during the interim period between emancipation and their voyage to Liberia in May 1860.The surnames of the emancipated persons and families are Adams, Miles, Halliburton, Lewis, and Johnston or Johnson. Other noteworthy contents include an official Rockbridge County manumission document and two contracts detailing the purchase of enslaved husbands by their wives who were emancipated and funded by Adams' will. Other individuals whose names are found on documents within this archive include Rockbridge County lawyers Greenlee Davidson and David P. Curry, lawyers 'Gilkeson and McNutt', possibly of Augusta County, Virginia, Rockbridge County officials Samuel McDowell Reid, Charles Chapin, and David J. Whipple, estate executors A.M. Carson and Robert Hutcheson, and A.C.S. secretary Reverend William McLain. Click here to access the Hugh Adams Papers in WLU's Digital Archive.


  • Creation: 1857-1860


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Due to the physical condition of the Adams archive, under most circumstances, it is perferred that copies rather than original documents are used by researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Hugh Adams (1793-1858) was a landowner, farmer, and slaveholder in the vicinity of Brownsburg, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was a member and proponent of the American Colonization Society, the national organization promoting the emmigration of free African Americans to Liberia.


0.25 Linear Feet

Custodial History

The archive was collected by Hugh Robert Bolen of Bustleburg, Rockbridge Co., Virginia. It was discovered amongst family papers by John Bolen, son of the collector.

Online Access

This collection has been digitized in its entirety and may be viewed online via WLU's Digital Archive.

Guide to the Hugh Adams Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA