Dates: 1913-1967; 1994

Collection Number: MS 287

Physical Location: Archive Room File Cabinet

Extent: 1 folder.

Creators/Collectors: Long, William F., 1874-1967

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

User Restrictions: No restrictions.

Acquisition Information: Transfer from University of Virginia Library, 1971.

Biographical/Historical Information:

William Fife Long was born in Charlottesville on February 2, 1874, the son of John Cralle Long. His father, a Baptist minister, moved shortly after William’s birth to Crozier, Pennsylvania, where he taught history at Crozier Theological Seminary. It was not until 1895 after graduating from Richmond College and teaching for a year that William Long returned to Charlottesville to attend law school at the University. He received his law degree in 1897 and hung out his shingle in the spot where seventy years later he would end his law practice. This little building, No. 220 Court Square, had earlier served as law office to U.S. Senator Thomas S. Martin. Long slept in one room and saw clients in the other. To make ends meet he also worked for a time at the Michie Company. After serving in the Spanish American War in 1898 as a member of the Charlottesville Monticello Guards, he formed a partnership with John S. White, son of Judge John M. White of the Circuit Court of Albemarle County. In 1914 he became Commissioner of Accounts of the Circuit Court, a position he held for 53 years, until he closed his law office about two weeks prior to his death.

Robert Watson Sadler was born in Charlottesville on October 19, 1899, the son of William Robert and Mary Ann Hall Sadler. Watson served in World War I, attended Randolph-Macon College and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1923. When Long’s partner left law practice to become Charlottesville’s postmaster, he took Watson Sadler as his partner. For the next 25 years Long and Sadler practiced together, although Sadler handled most of the cases since Long was occupied as Commissioner of Accounts. During the last two years of the partnership, Sadler was also justice of the peace, and civil and police justice for Charlottesville. In 1951 he was appointed Corporation Court judge, a position he held until a cerebral hemorrhage caused his sudden death in 1957. From the time Sadler became judge Long practiced alone, although for a number of years prior to his death he shared office space with his friend Henry B. Goodloe. Toward the end of his life he employed office assistants, first, Anne Irving Cox and later, Emily Y. Wilson.

Both Long and Sadler were active in many Charlottesville civic activities. Long was a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals for almost 25 years and pushed the City Council to pass the “Architectural Design Control Ordinance.” In May 1962, the Charlottesville and Albemarle Bar Association held a special meeting to express its affection for Long, its senior member, by presenting him a framed resolution naming him the first Patriarch of the Bar. Sadler’s memberships included the Lions’ Club, Elks’ Lodge, American Legion, Young Men’s Business Club, and Red Land Club.

William Long was married to Ada Perry; their one child, Frances, who married James B. Hodges, had five children. Ada Long died in 1960, and William died March 11, 1967 at the age of 93. Watson Sadler was married to Elizabeth Randolph Dey, and their children were Mrs. John L. Sadler [?], Diane Randolph Sadler, and Robert Watson Sadler, Jr. Watson Sadler died on June 23, 1957 at the age of 57.

Scope and Content:

This collection is primarily the inventory list of the Long and Watson papers. The originals are on deposit at the University of Virginia Law Library (MSS-88-3).

Included in this collection is a business card for W.F. Long, a memorial biography, two poems dedicated to Long, and correspondence regarding the deposit of the originals at the Law Library.

Persons: Long, William F., 1874-1967


  • Lawyers--Virginia
  • Charlottesville (Va.)--History--20th century

Record Types: Correspondence.