W. Robert Leckie papers, 1768-1906 and undated
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- Leckie, W. Robert
- 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.
- 3 Linear Feet
- Materials in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
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.
- Biographical / historical:
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.
- Acquisition information:
- 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
The collection is sorted into two series: Correspondence and Papers, and Ledgers. Both series are arranged chronologically.
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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[Identification of item], W. Robert Leckie Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.