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Guide to the W. Robert Leckie Papers, 1768-1906 and undated

Summary

Although filed under the name Leckie, the collection primarily consists of the papers of two individuals: W. Robert Leckie, and his son-in-law, William Hendrick. The papers of Leckie, who was educated in Scotland, are concerned with construction of public buildings, canals, arsenals, aqueducts, fortifications, masonry of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and surveying and building of walls in the District of Columbia. The papers of Hendrick and those of his wife, after his death, constitute a long record of the sales of plantation products and the purchase of supplies from commission merchants in Petersburg, Virginia, and the operation of a series of corn and grain farms.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11344
Title
W. Robert Leckie papers
Date
1768-1906 and undated
Creator
Leckie, W. Robert
Extent
3 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection is divided into two series: Correspondence and Papers, and Ledgers. The papers of W. Robert Leckie and William Hendrick overlap; both series contain records of Hendrick's ancestors. Both series are arranged chronologically by year.

In the Correspondence and Papers series, the papers of W. Robert Leckie are concerned with the construction of public buildings, canals, arsenals, aqueducts, fortifications, masonry of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and surveying and building of walls in the District of Columbia. The papers focus primarily on the prices of commodities used in construction work, rather than on qualities of military architecture itself. Also included are the records of a lawsuit between Leckie and James Couty; papers relative to experiments in the production of lime, cement, and bricks; nine letters from Isaac Roberdeau revealing practices of engineers of the period; and a 91-page bound report of the commissioners appointed by the president for planning the defense of the United States. This report, though undated, was probably made after the War of 1812 and includes extensive details relative to the problems of defense, including topography, waterways, roadways, population, distances, and probable expenses of constructing forts. Some of Leckie's papers reflect his efforts to obtain contracts for the construction of such buildings at the Augusta Arsenal.

The papers of William Hendrick and Mary Ann Leckie, his wife, constitute a long record of the sales of plantation products and the purchase of supplies from commission merchants in Petersburg, Virginia, and the operation of a series of tobacco and corn farms. In addition, Hendrick's children wrote letters from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; Virginia Military Institute, Lexington; and various other academies. Also includes two writing exercise books for children.

In the Ledgers series, among the volumes from Leckie are the following: diary and accounts, 1828-1829, of engineering contracts and cement stone quarries at Shepherdstown, Va., Seneca, Md., Baltimore, and a point near the Monocacy River; a memorandum book containing data for surveying water lines, leveling streets, and building aqueducts in Georgetown and Washington, D.C.; and a memorandum book of John Leckie, associated with his father, W. Robert Leckie. Among the volumes from Hendrick are several plantation account books, a memorandum book, and accounts of a mercantile firm. The account books dated 1799 and earlier were kept by Hendrick’s forbears.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

The collection is sorted into two series: Correspondence and Papers, and Ledgers. Both series are arranged chronologically.

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], W. Robert Leckie Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence and Papers, 1768-1906 and undated

In the Correspondence and Papers series, the papers of W. Robert Leckie and William Hendrick overlap. Both series are arranged chronologically by year.

The papers of W. Robert Leckie are concerned with the construction of public buildings, canals, arsenals, aqueducts, fortifications, masonry of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and surveying and building of walls in the District of Columbia. The papers focus primarily on the prices of commodities used in construction work, rather than on qualities of military architecture itself. Also included are the records of a lawsuit between Leckie and James Couty; papers relative to experiments in the production of lime, cement, and bricks; nine letters from Isaac Roberdeau revealing practices of engineers of the period; and a 91-page bound report of the commissioners appointed by the president for planning the defense of the United States. This report, though undated, was probably made after the War of 1812 and includes extensive details relative to the problems of defense, including topography, waterways, roadways, population, distances, and probable expenses of constructing forts. Some of Leckie's papers reflect his efforts to obtain contracts for the construction of such buildings at the Augusta Arsenal.

Correspondents with Leckie include: Daniel Carroll, W.F. DeSaussure, Charles Gratiot, and Alexander Macomb. One letter is of particular interest: an 1829 letter from Leckie to Joseph Elgar, Commissioner of Public Buildings, for “bringing water to the Public Buildings” on Capitol hill in Washington D.C. Correspondence after 1835 is largely comprised of communication between members of the Hendrick family, including letters from the Hendrick’s children at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; Virginia Military Institute, Lexington; and various other academies.

The papers of Hendrick and those of his wife, after his death, constitute a long record of the sales of plantation products and the purchase of supplies from commission merchants in Petersburg, Virginia, and the operation of a series of tobacco and corn farms. Also includes two writing exercise books for children.

Correspondence and papers, 1768-1829
(5 folders)

Correspondence, looseleaf financial ledger documents

Box 1
Correspondence and papers, 1830-1844
(4 folders)

Correspondence, financial documents, checklists of belongings, loosely bound account book

Box 2
Correspondence and papers, 1845-1906
(5 folders)

Correspondence, financial documents

Box 3
Correspondence and papers, undated
(3 folders)

Correspondence, financial documents

Box 4
Report of the United States Commerce of Defence, 1821

Handwritten bound volume

Box 4
Mary Ann Hendrick exercise book in writing, 1824

Yorkville, South Carolina

Box 4
Henry Clay Hendrick exercise book in writing, 1854

Logsdale, Virginia

Box 4

2. Ledgers, 1792-1851

In the Ledgers series, among the volumes from Leckie are the following: diary and accounts, 1828-1829, of engineering contracts and cement stone quarries at Shepherdstown, Virginia, Seneca [Maryland?], Baltimore, Maryland, and a point near the Monocacy River; a memorandum book containing data for surveying water lines, leveling streets, and building aqueducts in Georgetown and Washington, D.C.; and a memorandum book of John Leckie, associated with his father, W. Robert Leckie. Among the volumes from Hendrick are several plantation account books, a memorandum book, and accounts of a mercantile firm. The account books dated 1799 and earlier were kept by Hendrick’s forbears.

William Hendrick account book, 1792-1793

Handwritten bound volume; Mecklenburg County, Virginia

Box 4
William Hendrick account books, 1794-1795
(6 folders)

Contains 6 handwritten bound volumes of financial transactions; Palmers Spring, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

Box 5
William Hendrick account books, 1795-1829
(3 folders)

Contains 3 handwritten bound volumes of financial transactions; Palmers Spring, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

Box 6
William Hendrick account book, 1829-1833

Brunswick county, Virginia

Volume 1
William Hendrick account book, 1836-1837

Brunswick County, Virginia

Box 6
William Hendrick account book, 1839-1851

Logsdale, Virginia

Volume 2
Journal of Work Done in 1833, 1833-1834

Notebook ledger of work done "by the carts and horses in 1833"

Box 6
W. Robert Leckie diary and account book, 1828-1829

Handwritten bound volume of diary entries and records of financial transactions

Box 6
John Leckie memorandum book, 1830

Memorandum book of John Leckie, associated with his father, W. Robert Leckie

Box 7
W. Robert Leckie memorandum book, 1832

Memorandum book containing data for surveying water lines, leveling streets, and building aqueducts in Georgetown and Washington, D.C.

Box 7
 

Historical Note

W. Robert Leckie was a civil engineer educated in Scotland. After emigrating to the United States, Leckie engaged in the construction of public buildings, canals, arsenals, aqueducts, fortifications, masonry of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and surveying and building of walls in the District of Columbia. He had at least three sons and two daughters, one of whom, Mary Ann, married William Hendrick in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He built canals in South Carolina, constructed the public buildings of York County, South Carolina, was superintendent of the masonry work of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, built walls around the Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C., and did much of the survey work in the city. He also likely built an arsenal at Fayetteville, North Carolina. At the height of his business in the 1820s and 1830s, he collected fees in excess of $14,000. Leckie died shortly before 28 August 1839.

William Hendrick of Palmer Springs in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, married Mary Ann Leckie at an unknown date. Hendrick was a planter; he owned roughly 3000 acres in both Mecklenburg County and Warren County, North Carolina. His farms included over 85 slaves in 1857. His chief products were tobacco and corn. Several of Hendrick’s children attended Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, and other various academies. They wrote letters while away from home. Hendrick died around the year 1857.


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Provenance

The W. Robert Leckie Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1936.

Processing Information

Processed by Paul Sommerfeld, November 2016

Accessions described in this collection guide: 1936, 2008-0220