Joseph H. Chumbley Collection
AC 003

Summary Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections
Chumbley, Ellen Hanna Shell.
Creator - Contributor
Chumbley, Joseph H., 1844-1917
Joseph H. Chumbley Collection
AC 003
Date [inclusive]
3.0 Linear feet 1 - 16" X 20" flat archives box 1 - Letter size 6" archival storage box
Locked in compact shelving, level 1, shelf 15C.

Preferred Citation

Joseph H. Chumbley Collection, Radford University Appalachian Collection, McConnell Library, Radford University, Radford, VA.

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Biographical note

Joseph Harper Chumbley (November 7, 1844-July 24, 1917) was a merchant, bank president, notary public, and magistrate who ran a general merchandise store in the town of New River and a woolen mill in Radford. The store was originally called Chumbley & Einstein, and co-owned by Chumbley's partner Henry Thomas Einstein. He later partnered with J.T. Harper who ran a branch store in Morristown, TN. Chumbley was a native of Pulaski County and served in the 39th VA Cavalry Battalion as a courier for Generals James Longstreet, Gabriel C. Wharton, and Robert E. Lee. Chumbley was married to Ella Hanna Shell (June 22, 1846-October 24,1930) and had four children: Eula, Anna C., Ella J., and Robert Edward Lee Chumbley. Chumbley was a Presbyterian and a member of the Masons.

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Scope and Contents

Contains the personal, business, and legal correspondence, business records, newspapers, and other ephemera of Joseph H. Chumbley and the ledger book of business accounts of Chumbley & Harper Company of Radford, VA, dry goods and general merchant. The ledger book contains 400 pages of account transactions with individuals, plus detailed accounts payable information to suppliers, Bank of Radford accounts, and other business accounts, such as the account ledger for the building of Chumbley’s house in Radford. Personal correspondence includes letters of Chumbley's wife, Ellen Hanna Shell Chumbley to various Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and letters of Laura Kirkwood to various friends and family members from the 1870s-1890s. Coverage includes 1861-1918.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections

McConnell Library
PO Box 6881
Radford, Virginia

Restrictions to Access

An appointment for research is required. Collection is open for research. No interlibrary loan.

Processing Information

Processed by: Gene Hyde July 2009. Additional processing by Adrian Whicker, March 2012.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Kirkwood, Laura.


  • General stores Virginia Radford.

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Collection Inventory


Box 1: Ledger Book 


Chumbley & Harper Ledger Book 1889-1894   2.0 Linear feet 1 - 16" X 20" flat archives box

Box 2: Documents and other materials 


Folder 1: Joseph H. Chumbley correspondence 1880-1917 

Folder 2: Ellen H. Shell Chumbley correspondence 1861-1900  (Bulk, 1864)   Contains personal correspondence between Ellen Chumbley and family members and suitors during the Civil War, and a letter from a teacher named Mrs. Sayers in 1900..

Folder 3: Laura L. Kirkwood correspondence. 1864-1895   Contains personal correspondence of Laura Kirkwood with various friends and family.

Biographical/Historical note

Laura Luemma Pepper Kirkwood (5/30/1841-8/29/1898) was the wife of Robert H. Kirkwood. Joseph Chumbley and H.T. Einstein were the executors of Robert Kirkwood's estate.

Folder 4: Robert H. Kirkwood estate settlement 1894-1905 

Biographical/Historical note

Robert H. Kirkwood was a carriage and wagon maker in New River Bridge, VA. Joseph Chumbley and Henry Einstein were executors of Kirkwood's estate.

Folder 5: Business receipts, ledgers, cancelled checks 1872-1927 

Folder 6: Civic organization correspondence 1877-1916   Contains receipts and correspondence from various civic organizations

Folder 7: Insurance policies and annuities 1875-1911   Contains insurance policies and correspondence for Joseph Chumbley, Robert E. Lee Chumbley, and Brig. General Gabriel C. Wharton along with solicitations and promotional advertisements for insurance products.

Folder 8: Civil War papers 1864-1865   Contains four documents relating to Chumbley's service in the Civil War.

Folder 9: Newspaper clipping 1970   Contains newspaper clipping from December 6, 1970 Roanoke Times article titled "Carnegie City Had Short Life" by Goodridge Wilson.

Biographical/Historical note

This article is about the former community of Big Spring (now Elliston) and the Barnett family. Ellen Chumbley was related to this family and her correspondence contains letters from them.

Folder 10: Promotional materials, catalogs, advertisements 1890-1918 

Folder 11: Newspapers 1876-1885   Contains several newspapers from Virginia

Scope and Contents note

Contains June 20, 1876 edition of The Grayson Clipper with "Houghton Robbins" and "H.W. Robbins" written on paper; December 17, 1879 edition of The Tri-Weekly News (Lynchburg) with "R. Kirkwood" written across the top of the page; March 31, 1880 edition of The Tri-Weekly News with "R. Kirkwood" written on top of page; August 20, 1882 edition of The Daily News (Lynchburg) with "R. Kirkwood" written on top of page; August 22, 1882 edition of The Daily News (Lynchburg) with "R. Kirkwood" written on top of page; November 2, 1882 edition of The Daily News (Lynchburg) with "R. Kirkwood" written on top of page; December 5, 1885 edition of The Daily News (Lynchburg) with "R. Kirkwood" written on top of page.

Folder 12: Transcribed correspondence 1884-1894   Contains two hand-written letters transcribed from the originals by Mrs. John M. Aldrich. One is a letter to Joseph H. Chumbley and the other is a diary entry from Chumbley.

Folder 13: Joseph H. Chumbley's checkbooks 1889-1894   Contains two checkbooks.