Benjamin Franklin Gravely to Christopher Yancy Thomas, January 28, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.
Late in January 1861, Benjamin Franklin Gravely, of Henry County, wrote to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia and the brother-in-law of his uncle, Peyton Gravely. The letter includes family and personal news and comments on the stagnation of business. Gravely also referred to the national Peace Conference that would assemble in Washington, D.C., on February 4, 1861, to the campaign for election of delegates to the Virginia Convention that was to take place on that same date, and to his and Thomas's views on the secession crisis. "If the people could be allowed to vote on the preservation of the government," Gravely concluded, "It would not be broken up." At the election on February 4, Peyton Gravely, who opposed secession, defeated John T. Wootton, who favored it, by a vote of 705 to 335; and 77.9 percent of Henry County's voters insisted on requiring the ratification referendum.