Nathaniel E. Venable was born on December 5, 1791 at the Springfield Plantation in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1808 and served as a Captain in the militia during the War of 1812. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and of the State Senate, and was a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1827 until his death in 1846.

In 1814, Venable married Mary Embra Scott of Halifax County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Colonel Charles Scott, a Cornet in the Revolutionary Army and a member of the original Society of Cincinnati. Her mother was Priscilla Reade, whose father, Colonel Issac Reade was also a Revolutionary Soldier.

Also in 1814, Nathaniel E. Venable was given the Longwood Estate and Plantation by his father, Samuel Woodson Venable, who had previously inherited the property from his brother, Abram Venable, after his death in the Richmond Theater Fire in 1811.

Shortly after acquiring the property, the original home was destroyed in a fire. Nathaniel E. Venable began building the present-day Longwood House in 1815 and moved his family into the home in the fall of that same year. The home and property were later sold by Venable’s descendants in 1873, and were eventually acquired by [then] State Teachers College in 1924. Longwood House now serves as the home of the president of Longwood University.


It is unknown when, or by what means, this letter came into the possession of Longwood University or the Greenwood Library Archives.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a letter, written by Nathaniel E. Venable to his wife Mary E. Venable, and is dated, November 9, 1815. The letter is addressed to Mary E. Venable in Scottsburg, Halifax, where she was recuperating after the birth of their second child, Mary Priscilla Venable. In the pages of the letter, Venable expresses his joy at the birth of their daughter and his happiness that his wife is recovering her health. He discusses the state of affairs of their home and plantation in Prince Edward County, the ill health of his overseer, news of Prince Edward County, and the death of a Mrs. Lacy.


This collection consists of .80 linear feet contained in (1) archival flat box.


There are no restrictions to access or use for research purposes.


Submissions from 1815


Correspondence, Nathaniel E. Venable to Mary E. Venable, 1815, Nathaniel E. Venable