Bond of Iron

Buffalo Forge, an extensive ironmaking and farming enterprise near Lexington, Virginia, was bought in 1812 by a Philadelphian, William Weaver. By the Civil War, Weaver had amassed a great estate, including 70 slaves of his own plus 100 slaves hired annually to run his blast furnaces and farm his 20,000 acres. Weaver and his successors were fastidious record keepers. A unique treasury of documents has survived - of births, marriages, illnesses and deaths - as well as working ledgers that provide an insight into the day-to-day life of the slave community of that period.