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.
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.