Sterne-Waller Family Papers, 1775-1917

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Sterne-Waller family

Title:  Papers, 1775-1917

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection:  1 cu. ft.

Location Number:  Mss. A S839

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence and business, land and legal papers concerning the Sterne-Waller family who emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky in the late 1700s.

Early letters in the collection (pre-1836) tend to focus on a disputed inheritance from the estate of Charles Sterne’s father (especially who should inherit a number of slaves) and Charles Sterne’s activities as sheriff of Pendleton County, Kentucky. Later letters focus on family life of relatives in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and California.

Receipts include record of payments for legal fees, land transactions, Charles Sterne’s duties as sheriff of Pendleton County, Kentucky, and various goods and services.

Accounts document the expenses of Sarah Waller, John Waller, Charles Sterne, Francis Sterne and various other individuals.  Also included is a record of the estate of Charles Sterne dated 1818.  Account books document legal judgments for and against various individuals.

Legal papers consist of indentures and records of land disputes in Pendleton County, Kentucky.

Land papers consist of records of land transactions, surveys, and land purchases in Pendleton County and Falmouth, Kentucky.

Military papers consist of a document listing fines for residents of Falmouth, Kentucky for neglecting various militia duties, and John W. Sterne’s application for a pension for his service in the War of 1812.

Education papers consist of lists of student attendance and expenses for Waterville school house in Adams County, Illinois.

Miscellaneous papers include a broadside for a lottery for the Louisville Free Public Library, a list of songs performed by T. D. Woodruff of Quincy, Illinois, a Quincy, Illinois bank book, and other documents.

The collection also includes records of receipt for land and property transactions, and Charles Sterne’s expenses as sheriff of Pendleton County, Kentucky. Educational papers from Adams County, Illinois are also included.


Biographical Note

Sterne family

Charles Sterne (circa 1756-1818) was born in Stafford County, Virginia, and achieved the rank of sergeant in the American Revolutionary War.  Sterne and Susan (Susanna) Waller (circa 1762-circa 1834 and daughter of John Waller and Mary Matthews) married in the state of Virginia about 1789.  The two moved to Pendleton County, Kentucky, prior to the year 1800.  Charles Sterne served as Pendleton County Sheriff for approximately fifteen years.

John W. (Waller) Sterne was one of five children (four sons and one daughter) of Charles and Susan Sterne.  Born in Culpeper County, Virginia, John W. Sterne and others founded the town of Falmouth in Pendleton County, Kentucky in 1799.  Sterne served in the War of 1812 and moved from Kentucky to Adams County, Illinois in 1829.  John W. Sterne and Elizabeth Duncan, who was born in 1801 in Pendleton County, Kentucky, married in 1823.  The two died in 1880.

William C. W. Sterne was the only child of John W. and Elizabeth Sterne.  Born in Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky on 3 December 1824 William married Elizabeth Penrose of Washington County, Pennsylvania, on 13 March 1851.  The two had five children, and Elizabeth died in 1865.  William remarried to February 1876 to Sarah F. Benson (daughter of Leven Benson and Susan Sharp) of Warsaw, Illinois.  William and Sarah had one daughter, Anna Gertrude Sterne, and lived in Ellington Township, Adams County, Illinois.

 Waller family

Susan Waller (born circa 1762 and daughter of John Waller and Mary Matthews) married Charles Sterne in the state of Virginia about 1789.  The two moved to Pendleton County, Kentucky, prior to the year 1800.

A second John Waller, likely a son of John Waller and Mary Matthews, was one of the early settlers of Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky.  John Waller served in the American Revolutionary War, and knew Charles Sterne.

Sarah and Mary Waller were also early settles of Falmouth, Kentucky.  Sarah Waller never married and lived with her sister Susan and her husband Charles Sterne in Kentucky.

Descendants and relations of the Sterne-Waller family resided in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and California.


Folder List

Folder 1:          Correspondence, 1796-1823

Folder 2:          Correspondence, 1826-1830

Folder 3:          Correspondence, 1831-1834

Folder 4:          Correspondence, 1835-1838

Folder 5:          Correspondence, 1840-1856

Folder 6:          Correspondence, 1857-1867

Folder 7:          Correspondence, 1874-1917, undated

Folder 8:          Receipts, 1780-1800

Folder 9:          Receipts, 1801-1805

Folder 10:        Receipts, 1806-1807

Folder 11:        Receipts, 1808-1809

Folder 12:        Receipts, 1810-1814

Folder 13:        Receipts, 1815-1840

Folder 14:        Receipts, 1854-1877, undated

Folder 15:        Accounts, 1775-1797

Folder 16:        Account book, 1803-1807

Folder 17:        Accounts, 1804-1810

Folder 18:        Account book, 1810

Folder 19:        Accounts, 1812-1819

Folder 20:        Accounts, 1820-1835

Folder 21:        Accounts, 1837-1881

Folder 22:        Accounts, undated

Folder 23:        Legal papers, 1793-1812

Folder 24:        Legal papers, 1816-1859

Folder 25:        Land papers, 1779-1868, undated

Folder 26:        Military papers, 1805-1871

Folder 27:        Education papers, 1842-1874

Folder 28:        Miscellaneous


Subject Headings

Abolitionists – Kentucky.

African Americans – Education.

Arkansas – History – Civil War, 1861-1865.


Harrison, William Henry, 1773- 1841.

Jackson, Andrew, 1767- 1845.

Kansas – Politics and government – 1854- 1861.

Kentucky. Militia.

Louisville Free Public Library.

Money – Confederate States of America.

Pendleton County (Ky.)

Slavery – United States.

Sterne, Charles.

Sterne, John Waller.

United States. Army – Recruiting, enlistment, etc. – Civil War, 1861- 1865.

Waller family.