Ownership signature on front endpaper "Property of John E. Roller, Harrisonburg, VA." Harrisonburg, VA, Archer City, TX, and other locations, nd [ca. 1898]. 16mo. 120 numbered pages (of which 40 have been used for manuscript entries, in pencil and ink); approximately 3500 words. Roller (1844-1918), a native of Rockingham County, Virginia, entered the Virginia Military Institute in December, 1861, and graduated in July, 1863, entering Confederate army service immediately as second lieutenant, Company G, 2nd Confederate States Engineers, and serving to the end of the conflict with the Army of Northern Virginia. Following the war, he resided in Harrisonburg, Virginia, working as a lawyer, state legislator, and brigadier general in the Virginia state militia. Good copy, the manuscript quite legible. Cheap leather (spine completely eroded, as are edges and corners). (#6204). Item #57693
This neatly written journal, probably kept by one or more of Roller's agents in Texas, gives a detailed picture of his agricultural property in Knox County, the River Valley and Holliday Creek near Wichita Falls, and town lots in Archer City and Wichita Falls (in all, some 6000 acres). The journal provides a full description of each property, including access to water, railroad stations, churches, and schools, and in some cases titles to the land are traced. One of the farms "needs 300 lbs. of wire to repair and rebuild fence for the benefit and protection of the place; they are now building a wooden bridge 46 feet in length over Holliday Creek on the east line of this place — crops all in good condition — lands level." Information on the crops, trees, dwellings, and out-buildings are recorded; some properties had a good supply of pecan trees, some Mesquite trees were big enough for fence posts; some properties were leased to farmers who grew corn, wheat, and oats as cash crops. At the end of the journal, an agent has recorded a "to-do" list which includes a note to get "original contracts of tenants and take copies and send one to Gen. John E. Roller and retain one." In addition to various farm properties, Roller owned 30 town lots in Archer City. The agent was circumspect about them: "There can be little said about the Archer City lots, they are not fenced or marked but I had some of them located for me — some are located very well but others are too far out. Archer City is hoping for a Rail Road — if they get it their town will build up and your lots will be worth something. The County treasurer told me your lots were worth from ten to twenty five dollars a piece — I asked him if he would give that for them, he said no not now." (According to the Handbook of Texas, Archer City finally got its railroad in 1910.).