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Alexander Haight family collection

Identifier: C0159

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials created and collected by the Haight family. Materials include correspondence, household financial records, photographs, documents from the Civil War-era, and artifacts, such as Native American arrowheads. Most of the materials date from the mid to late 19th century and the early 20th century, but the collection also includes a ledger dating from before the American Revolution and a few items dating from after the First World War.

Series 1: Correspondence. This series contains letters to and from members of the Haight family and their friends. Haight family members represented in this series include George, Helen, Henry, Margaret, and Phebe. Some of the letters refer to the California Gold Rush in which Alexander Haight's brother-in-law, George Sweet (1821-1898), participated as a "49er". Other letters refer to the Civil War in which Henry C. Haight's father-in-law, John M. Young (1831-1864), fought under the Union Army.

Series 2: Legal and Financial Documents. This series contains personal legal and financial records of the Haight family, including deeds, receipts, contracts, and documents from the Fairfax County Court House. Specific items include court orders from 1852-1853 appointing Alexander Haight as "surveyor of the county road"; an 1864 letter from Virginia District Judge John C. Underwood on a forthcoming war-time property-confiscation trial of Alexander Haight; bank receipts of Elizabeth Haight from 1914-1919; deeds of gift from George Haight, 1895-1903; correspondence from March of 1884 regarding damage claims by Phebe Haight from the West and Sisson railroad company for damaged packages of butter; and a financial accounting record of farm land sold to Samuel Titus and Nehemiah Sweet, dated January 16, 1843.

Series 3: Photographs. This series contains around twenty original photographs and reproductions belonging to the Haight family. Subjects include Alexander, Phebe, Elizabeth, George, and Helen Haight; Fairfax County Court House; Sully Plantation; Fairfax Station during the Civil War; Alexander Haight's prize horse; and Clio, a young woman whom Phebe Haight enslaved at the Sully Plantation until 1862.

Series 4: Civil War Documents and Currency. This series contains various Civil War-era materials such as civilian passes, diary excerpts, and Confederate currency. Specific items include Civil War maps and photographs; an official order from General Jackson on the day of the Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill) prohibiting the theft or destruction of private property; documents granting passage of Alexander Haight and company into and out of Virginia; a hand-written note from the Union Major General Julius Stahel to the Union Army, attesting to the good standing of Alexander Haight; receipts of Alexander Haight for Union and Confederate supplies given out during the war; and a typed manuscript detailing the Civil War experiences of the Sutton family in Fairfax, excerpted from the diaries of Charles and Phebe Sutton.

Series 5: Publications and Serials. This series contains seven illustrated monthly magazines and a book titled War Reminiscences by the Surgeon of Mosby's Command (1890). The magazines include issues of The Century, The Cosmopolitan, and McClure's.

Series 6: Miscellaneous Documents. This series contains miscellaneous printed materials, notes, and facsimiles. Materials include old business cards; brochures on local history; a newspaper facsimile (circa 1975) on old Fairfax families, the Haights and Milans; a scrap book of old newsclippings; and a ledger full of accounting records dating from before the Revolutionary War.

Series 7: Oversize. This series includes Confederate bonds; a centennial print of the Declaration of Independence; and newspapers chronicling the sinking of the Titanic, the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and other historical events.

Series 8: Objects. This series contains Civil War-era objects as well as Native American arrowheads and tools. It includes three muskets, ammunition, a sword with scabbard, two bayonets, a cavalry bridle, and a hand-made crutch.


  • 1764-1977


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

All materials created before 1926 are in the Public Domain with no known restrictions.

There are no known restrictions on the rest of the collection.

Biographical Note

Alexander Haight (1822-1880), son of Amy C. Haight (1787-1863) and Jacob Haight (1782-1862), lived at Sully Plantation from 1842-1874. The Haights were Quaker farmers from Dutchess County, New York, and moved to Sully at Jacob's urging. In 1845, Alexander married Phebe Sweet (1824-1898), and in 1851 they finished building their new home, "Little Sully," on Haight property just south of the main Sully house. Despite Quakerism's condemnation of enslavement, the Haights enslaved at least two individuals on Sully Plantation.

The effects of the Civil War on daily life in Northern Virginia are evident from the personal letters and military documents that have been preserved. Phebe and her sister-in-law, Maria Haight Barlow, were left to defend their homes when Jacob and Alexander were forced to flee to Alexandria and Washington to avoid incoming Confederate troops who suspected the Haights of being Union sympathizers. The Haights did, in fact, support the Union, and toward the end of the war Alexander Haight joined the Union Army.

Alexander Levi Haight (1891-1981), the eponymous donor of this collection, was the son of Henry Clement Haight (1859-1936) and Emma Jane Young (1858-1939) and grandson of Alexander and Phebe Haight of the Civil War period.


13 Linear Feet (19 boxes and 12 unboxed objects)

Language of Materials



This collection contains materials of the Haight family who owned Sully Plantation during the Civil War. Materials include correspondence, household financial records, photographs, documents, and artifacts. The artifacts in the collection consist of Native American arrowheads and Civil War-era items. Most of the materials date from the mid to late 19th century and the early 20th century, but the collection also includes a ledger dating from before the American Revolution and a few items dating from after the First World War.


Arranged into eight series by subject with each series organized alphabetically by title.


  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1838-1901; 1918-1920; 1974 (Box 1)
  2. Series 2: Legal and Financial Documents, 1813; 1843-1918 (Box 2)
  3. Series 3: Photographs, circa 1863-1920 (Box 3)
  4. Series 4: Civil War Documents and Currency, 1861-1865 (Box 4)
  5. Series 5: Publications and Serials, 1884-1900 (Box 5)
  6. Series 6: Miscellaneous Documents, 1764-1976 (Boxes 6-8)
  7. Series 7: Oversize, 1863-1966 (Box 9)
  8. Series 8: Objects, 1860s (Boxes 10-19 and Unboxed Objects)

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Alexander Levi Haight in 1978.

Alternate Form Available

Digitized selections from this collection appear in the Sesquicentennial Civil War Documents Project, hosted on Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS).

Related Material

The Special Collections Research Center holds other collections pertaining to local history and the Civil War, including the Milton Barnes papers.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections Research Center staff. EAD markup completed by Eron Ackerman and Jordan Patty in April 2009. Finding aid updated by Amanda Brent in April 2022.

Guide to the Alexander Haight family collection, 1764-1977
Alexander Haight family collection
Eron Ackerman
2006 By George Mason University Libraries. All rights reserved.
Language of description
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Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center Repository

Fenwick Library, MS2FL
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax Virginia 22030 United States
703-993-8911 (Fax)