Sunday, July 06, 2008

John Henry Lett, Sr. Family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia

This is an article I wrote a few years ago for "The Heritage of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, 1765-2006." The first image was provided by Hilda Hood.

John Henry Lett, Sr. (6 November 1844-28 April 1910), son of Joseph A. and Jane C. Lett, married Margaret Ingram Rolfe (27 May 1838-21 January 1911), daughter of Edward Roffe (c. 1786-bef. 1860) and Margaret Puryear (c. 1798-bef. 1860), 13 February 1867. Margaret was the paternal granddaughter of Edward Roffe and Miney Burton and the maternal granddaughter of Peter Puryear and Phebe Burton.

According to his obituary, John was “a thoroughly good man, affectionate husband and father, kind neighbor and successful farmer. He was a courageous soldier of the Confederacy, and faithful soldier of the Cross. Being an honored and useful member of El-Bethel Methodist Church for many years.” He served Virginia as a private in Co. B., 4th Heavy Artillery and later in Co. B., 34th Infantry. John was described as having a fair complexion, light hair, blue eyes, standing five feet and ten inches.

The Letts settled on approximately 130 acres, located on the North side of Saffolds Road, two miles North of Stony Cross. This tract was formerly owned by John's grandfather, Pennington Lett. Their lifestyle was that of subsistence farmers but the Letts produced tobacco and butter for sale at market. John was also involved in various social movements. By 1885, he was a member of the "Baskerville Grange" which aimed to improve the social, economic, and political status of local farmers. He was also president of the local Farmer's Education and Protective Association.

John and Margaret had seven children, four boys and three girls. Joseph Edward Lett (30 January 1868-29 June 1953) married cousin Martha Washington Rolfe (November 1870-1921) on 5 March 1893 and Alice Pearl Winn (7 February 1898-8 February 1984) on 26 November 1924. Thomas Shelburne Lett (16 September 1869-11 December 1947) married Brelia Ann Cole (February 1873-bef. 1905) on 2 July 1893, Sarah Francis Davis (26 February 1869-25 March 1918) on 14 June 1905 and Emma Elizabeth Sullivan (28 April 1880-28 June 1964) on 20 November 1918. Beulah Lee Lett (27 January 1872- 23 January 1930) married Melville Peterson Walker (2 October 1868-16 August 1945) on 17 March 1893. Gertrude Witt Lett (30 August 1874-2 April 1962) married Charles Alexander Smiley (11 March 1874-1 June 1931) on 31 January 1897. Maude Ingram Lett (7 September 1877-20 August 1913) married Isaiah Albert Johnson (21 November 1864-3 March 1920) on 7 February 1900. John Henry Lett, Jr. (11 July 1879-5 October 1931) married Mary Elizabeth Cole (30 July 1877-22 October 1967) on 5 June 1901. Luther William Lett (26 June 1883-20 February 1958) married Emma Iola Sculthorp (13 January 1889-11 December 1960) on 19 January 1908.

The Lett home place still stands along highway 675. The brick structure is a facade over the old wooden home and the family cemetery is to its North. This photo was taken at the home c. 1890. Left to right, top row: Gertrude, Joseph, Maude, Thomas and Beulah Lett. Middle row: Sally Ann Rolfe, John, Sr. and Margaret Lett. Bottom row: Luther and John Lett, Jr.

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