Washington County, Virginia Minute Book 1, January 1777-August 1784


This volume is the initial minute book for Washington county; within its pages are the earliest references to individuals in this sprawling southwestern Virginia County. References abound to Revolutionary soldiers, Tories, lands in Kentucky, early roads, bastardy, criminals, as well as the voluminous court cases between residents.

This volume completes the transcription/abstraction of all the surviving minutes books for Washington County from its inception through 1866 and the end of the War Between the States

From the introduction:
Minute Book 1 of Washington County, Virginia contains such entries as: Names of court appointees and admin. of oaths, as needed (overseers of roads, constables, for purposes of estate settlements and other business such as relating to ad quod damnums), jurors, etc.; guardian bonds; acknowledgements of deeds/indentures of bargain and sale, settlement of estates, inventories and appraisements, releases, mortgages, renunciation of dower rights, etc.; payments due from county; granting of certificates of probate; excuses from county levies and poor rates for infirmity; various legal causes/cases: In Debt, In Chancery, Motion on Forthcoming Bonds, In Detiner/Detinue; Covenant, Attachments; appointments to view and appraise estates; fees for ordinary and house of entertainment licenses; recognizance bonds; assignments of dower; attestations of military service, warrants related thereto, reimbursements (French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Cherokee Expedition); dismissal of causes/cases; cases designated for arbitration, appeals; certifications of ordination to perform marriage ceremonies, to practice as attorney in Washington County, Virginia, court opinions on criminal indictments (whether to dismiss or send to the General Court in Williamsburg), Grand Jury indictments, occasional depositions and other interesting information.

This book has been transcribed "as is" with italics being the opinion of the transcriber. As it was constructed by several court clerks, the spelling, grammar, capitalization, and so forth vary immensely. I have taken the liberty of adding (especially) commas to some of the work to facilitate reading and understanding. Be aware that the original work used commas sparingly and sometimes in the wrong places (retained)! Of course, the apostrophe was rarely used in the earliest years and has not been placed by me where it should be. Otherwise, this Minute Book has been transcribed "as is", with many "variations" of the clerk signaled by underline. There is a great gap between approx. Aug. 1784 through 1818 in the Washington County, Virginia minute books (and again 1822-1836). The "classical version" I have heard is that they were burned when the courthouse was burned in 1864; if this be the case, it is very fortunate that for some providential reason Minute Book "2" (which was likely about Minute Book 6 or 7 or so) detailing the years 1819-1821 survived. In order to supplement the valuable material lost in these lost or destroyed minute books, one can consult the execution books and the fee books and also newspapers such as The Political Prospect into which notices of causes in chancery were frequently published. The transcription or abstraction of these works is a very important effort remaining lacking in the work to be done on Washington County records. After Minute Book 2 (1819-1821), there is a missing gap until 1837 when Minute Book 3 picks up.

Jack Hockett and Donald Helton

2012, 8" x 10", every-name index, 237 pp.