William B. Archer (21 Dec. 1814-between 28 Oct. and 31 Dec. 1847) was born in Richmond, VA. I believe him to be the son of Colonel William Archer (1780-1822) of Powhatan, and his wife, Charlotte Clarke, daughter of Major John Clarke of Keswick (“The Archer Family,” 19 May 1889).
Young Archer attended the University of Virginia in sessions 9-10 & 12 (1832-1834 & 1835-1836), earning a Bachelor of Law. (UVA Matriculation Books) In sessions 9 and 10, William B. Archer’s guardian was named as Major John Clarke, possibly his maternal grandfather.
On 12 Jan. 1837, Archer married Mary Marshall (1816-1878) (Alexandria Gazette, 5 Jan. 1878), a granddaughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. ([Wedding announcement], Richmond Enquirer) The couple had three children, Thomas Marshall, William Segar, and Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Archer. Thomas later attended U.Va.
“William B. Archer and others announced in the Enquirer on December 8 , their intention to organize a company in Richmond to consist of volunteers from the eastern counties which could not raise companies.” (Wallace, p. 49) William B. Archer, now a captain in Company I (the Marshall Guard) of the 1st Virginia Volunteers, and his men arrived in Mexico in early in 1847 to join General Zachary Taylor’s army. The Virginia Volunteers returned to Richmond in early August of 1848. (“Arrival of the Volunteers”)
In the year that they were in Mexico, many of the men and officers succumbed to disease. By 9 Aug. 1847, Captain Archer was back in Richmond, VA. From there, his doctor sent a letter to the War Department stating that Archer was too ill to return to active duty. Two months later, on 28 Oct. 1847, Archer wrote to the U.S. War Department—again from Richmond—saying that he was still too ill to return to duty. With that letter is a letter from Archer’s doctor stating that Captain Archer was “suffering from disordered bowels.” (Possibly a case of dysentery caught in the camp?) (Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General Main Series 1822-1860) In any case, Captain William B. Archer died sometime between 28 Oct. and 31 Dec. 1847.
Currently, I do not know where Captain Archer is buried. Mary Marshall Archer and two of the Archer children, William Segar Archer and Lizzie Archer, are buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Thomas Marshall Archer is buried in Thornrose Cemetery, in Staunton, VA.
[Note: William B. Archer’s date of birth is taken from the UVA Matriculation Books, for sessions 10 and 12; in session 9, he gave the date of his birth as 29 Dec. 1814. I should also warn the researcher that there were several men named Archer in the ranks of the volunteers in the Mexican War, including one man also named William B. Archer who later settled in Illinois. In addition, there is a contemporary William S. Archer who served both in the Virginia House of Delegates and the United States Senate and House of Representatives.—JLC]
Thomas Marshall Archer (5 Oct. 1837-28 Nov. 1881) was from Fauquier County, VA, the son of William B. Archer (above) and his wife, Mary Marshall. He attended the University of Virginia in sessions 33-34 (1856-1858), and studied to be a lawyer.
T. Marshall Archer served in the Confederate army in the 38th Battalion of the Virginia Light Artillery (Fauquier Artillery) as a second lieutenant. He was wounded in August 1862 at Rappahannock Station, VA., and was wounded again at Plymouth, NC on 20 Apr. 1864. He was on sick leave until late December 1864, when he was assigned to light duty in Richmond, VA. He surrendered at Appomattox Court House, on 9 Apr. 1865.
After the war, T. Marshall Archer lived in Culpeper County, VA, where he was a lawyer with the firm of Archer & Morton. (Alexandria Gazette, 5 Jan. 1878) He was a representative to the Conference of Conservative Electors in 1872, representing Culpeper.
The following excerpt appeared in the Daily Dispatch on 13 Feb. 1878,
The friends of Mr. T. Marshall Archer will be pleased to learn of his improved condition since he has been an inmate of the lunatic asylum at Staunton. His family have received a letter from one of the resident physicians of that institution to that effect, and giving encouragement to hope that he may ultimately be restored. He was adjudged a lunatic by a commission consisting of Mayor Stanard and Justices Alcocke and Nalis, upon the evidence of Drs. Rixey, Lewis, and Jeffries, and sent to the asylum about two weeks ago.
In 1881, he died in Staunton, Virginia, and was buried at the Thornrose Cemetery in that city. At this time, I do not know if he was married or had any children.
[Note: Thomas Archer’s birth date is from the UVA Matriculation Books. The death date of 28 Nov. 1881 is from Historical Data Systems. Archer’s tombstone in Thornrose Cemetery says he died on 5 Nov. 1881.—JLC]
- “The Archer Family,” part 1, The Critic (Richmond, Va.), 5 May 1889, p.3; part 2, The Critic (Richmond, Va.), 19 May 1889, p.3.
- Archer tombstones, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA & Thornrose Cemetery, Staunton, VA. Findagrave.com.
- “Arrival of the Volunteers.” Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA), 8 August 1848, p. 4.
- Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia. Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations , compiled 1903-1927, documenting the period 1861-1865, record group 109, reel 254.
- “Culpeper County.” Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 13 Feb. 1878, p.3.
- Goode, George Brown. Virginia cousins; a study of the ancestry and posterity of John Goode of Whitby. Richmond, VA, 1887.
- Historical Data Systems, Inc. “Thomas Marshall Archer,” in American Civil War Research Database [online]. copyright 1997-2016. http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?SoldierHistory?C&351972
- “Letter from Richmond,” Alexandria Gazette (VA), 5 Jan. 1878, p.2.
- Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General Main Series 1822-1860, in Letters Received, compiled 1805-1889. NARA M567. Unbound letters, with their enclosures, received by the Adjutant General, 1822-1860, roll 0331, file A194.
- Paxton, W. M. The Marshall Family. Cincinnati, OH, 1885.
- Robarts, William Hugh. Mexican War Veterans; a complete roster. Washington, D.C., 1887.
- Schele de Vere, Maximilian. Students of the University of Virginia; a semi-centennial catalogue. Baltimore, MD, 1878.
- Sorley, Merrow Egerton, comp. Lewis of Warner Hall; the history of a family. Baltimore, MD, 1979, p. 110-113.
- “United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F926-T4Z : 4 December 2014), T. Marshall Archer, Sergeant, Company G, 49th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, Confederate; citing NARA microfilm publication M382 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 2; FHL microfilm 881,396.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
- “Virginia, Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5Y7-RMY : accessed 27 Nov 2014), Mary M Archer, 03 Jan 1878; citing Richmond City, Virginia, reference p 1 cn 1; FHL microfilm 2048592.
- Virginia National Guard Historical Society, Inc. Preserving Virginia National Guard History. c2011 http://www.vnghs.org/styled-18/styled-25/index.html
- Wallace, Lee A., Jr. “First Regiment of Virginia Volunteers 1846-1848.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, v.77, No. 1, Part One (Jan., 1969), pp. 46-77.
- [Wedding announcement.] Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA), 19 Jan. 1837, p.3.