Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Not What You Think

Chatham, VA., Sept 24, 1912

D. T. Richardson,
Ringgold, VA

Dear Sir,

Please let me know when you can pay me the balance on the J H Mills execution which I paid for you last spring. The balance due amts to $15.08. Please let me hear from you by return mail and oblige.

Yours very truly
J A Heodwell Dpty Sheriff
Chatham, VA

As you can imagine, this document referring to an execution caused quite a bit of interest and speculation ( and concern) when found. This document was among papers that once belonged to my great aunt Elma Talbott Solomon, daughter of Esther Lee Richardson and Boss Henry Talbott. D. T. (Daniel Thomas) Richardson was Esther Lee’s father.

In this instance, execution is a legal term referring to “the carrying into effect of a sentence or judgment of a court” (Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1910). This letter would indicate there was a judgment between D T Richardson and J H Mills. Hopefully a search of Pittsylvania County court records will turn up the nature of the suit and settlement. The Richardson family lived in Pittsylvania County, VA and a search of turned up a J H Mills also living and working as a farm laborer in Pittsylvania County. No other connection between the two men has been found (yet).


  1. Love your blog. My mother was born in Pittsylvania county and descended from Lillian A Farson, sister of the Nannie Lee, Lucie Janie and George Farson mentioned several times throughout your writing. In the letter above, the deputy sheriff's name was Hodnett.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Paul. I believe I may have more photographs of Nannie Lee Farson and possibly her siblings. Watch for a post soon. I also have a letter written by Nannie Lee to Esther Lee Richardson. It is a wonderful letter written in her hand and I am happy to share it with you.


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