A lesser-known name in the history of Westover Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia, is Clarise Sears Ramsey, who owned the property from 1899 to 1921. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture has a small collection of silver and photographs associated with Ramsey and Westover during that period of ownership. The collection came from Clarise’s daughter, Elisabeth Sears Harrold, who never married and who left the collection to her friend Anna Agassiz (Mrs. Gordon Chickering) Prince (1896–1973). She then passed it to her eldest son and his wife, who donated the collection to the VMHC in 1991.
Clarise Sears Ramsey
Charlotte Clarise Sears Risley Harrold Ramsey (1867–1922), whose parents were Joseph Henry Risley and Mary Elizabeth Bishop, was a descendant on her mother’s side of Benjamin Bishop, who served in the American Revolution. Clarise is also said to be a Byrd descendant. According to a letter written by Elisabeth Harrold in 1932, a transcript copy of which is in the VMHC collection, Clarise is descended from Mary Shippen Willing Byrd (1740–1814), the second wife of William Byrd III (1728–1777).
Clarise was married twice. She had three children with her first husband, Elam Worthington Harrold (1839–1897): John Sears Harrold (1887–1955), Bishop Sears Harrold (1888–1954), and Elisabeth Sears Harrold (1893–1965). The family lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and Ventura County, California, moving to Virginia after Elam’s death.