Guide to the Dismal Swamp Land Company records
Collection comprised of 9 boxes of company records and 5 ledgers of organizational material of the Dismal Swamp Land Company, a shingle production company in existence between 1763-1879. Letter books, receipts spanning the entirety of the company's existence, and legal documents make up the bulk of the collection.
- Collection Number
- Dismal Swamp Land Company records
- 4 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English.
The Dismal Swamp Land Company records consist of company records spanning the 17th-19th centuries, with the bulk falling in the mid-to-late 19th century. The majority of records consist of financial documentation, including receipts for the purchase of equipment by the Company and numerous receipts for customers detailing quantities and prices of shingles purchased. Monthly ledgers and an account book are also present. The records include legal documents surrounding surveys of the Dismal Swamp, indentures, wills, and several powers of attorney for shareholder meetings. Incoming correspondence intended for the Company's presidents, mainly from employees and shareholders, makes up the majority of the Correspondence series.
Materials arranged by topic, and then by date.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item.] Dismal Swamp Land Company, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Financial records of the Dismal Swamp Land Company, including bills of sale, monthly ledgers, insurance certificates, and dividends awarded to stockholders. A substantial portion of the series consists of receipts of payment to the company and its payments to various stockholders, vendors, and legal courts.
Legal papers of the Dismal Swamp Land Company. Includes separate folders related to Powers of Attorney for annual meetings and last wills and testaments for investors in the Company. Series also includes indentures, court cases filed by and against the Company, and legal guardian documentation.
The Dismal Swamp Land Company was founded by George Washington, Thomas Walker, William Nelson, Thomas Nelson, Robert Burwell, John Robinson, Fielding Lewis, Anthony Bacon, John Lyme, Samuel Gist, Robert Tucker, and William Waters. The number of shareholders grew as original owners divested their interests and family inherited stakes. The Company operated between 1763-1879 and was originally interested in agricultural pursuits (including rice cultivation), but the sale of cypress shingles and staves proved more profitable. The company went under as a result of post-Civil War economic conditions and concurrent decrease in the shingle trade.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Land companies -- United States
- Lumber trade -- Virginia
- Shingle industry -- Virginia
- Swamps -- Virginia
The Dismal Swamp Land Company Records was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1939.
Processed by Liz Adams, December, 2015.