From the Richmond Times, 10/31/1900, p. 5, c. 6
PERSONAL PROPERTY SOLD.
Large Crowd Gathered at Van Lew House Yesterday.
Hundreds of people attended the sale of such of the personal property of the late Miss Van Lew as was not shipped to Boston.
The crowd was so dense at times that there was a little disorder in the house. Some one dropped a match in a pile of paper in the garret and a small fire resulted, but it was quickly extinguished.
All of the valuable relics were shipped to Boston a week ago. What was sold yesterday consisted of what might be called “odds and ends” of furniture.
The auction sale offered an opportunity for the people to satisfy their curiosity by inspecting the Van Lew house. A steady stream of people poured in and out of the house as long as the sale was in progress. A large percentage of the visitors was ladies. They inspected the “secret chamber” in the garret, where, it is believed, Federal soldiers were secreted during the war.
There were many relic-hunters on hand, but they found nothing of much value for their purposes. There was a large file of newspapers printed during the war. These quickly disappeared, the visitors carrying them off.
Many of the relic-hunters broke off twigs from the trees in the yard and carried them away.
As already stated, there was nothing of special historic value offered for sale, but the furniture brought fairly good prices. An old skillet, probably used during the war, sold well.
Mr. George W. Mayo was the auctioneer and the sale was under the direction of Mr. J. R. V. Daniel, counsel for the Van Lew estate.
Prior to the sale the house was fumigated by officers of the Board of Health.