Essex County, Virginia Revolutionary Public Claims. Janice L. Abercrombie and Richard Slatten. 2005.
As Continental forces and Virginia militia units were engaged in winning independence, American quartermasters and provisioners struggled to provide these units with all the necessities of life, from meals and guns to meat, fodder for horses, the horses themselves, firewood, and every other type of material. Much of this was requisitioned from the civilian population and certificates were issued payable in either continental or state funds, depending on the units supplied, upon presentation to court authorities. Thousands of these certificates issued to Virginians were duly entered by the courts, and they provide a fascinating insight into the period of the Revolution. These "Publick" Claims booklets contain interesting and useful information about the contributions of ordinary people to the Revolutionary War. They provide some details of people's service in the militia or as guards for prisoners of war; they indicate where some bodies of troops were at particular times; and they identify providers of horses, wagons, cattle, grain, or other supplies. Much of the information in these booklets cannot be found anywhere else, which makes the surviving records particularly valuable. Also remarkable is the fact that records survived from virtually every county in the state at that time with the exception of the newly formed Kentucky counties. This makes the collection even more valuable in covering areas which heretofore in this time period have suffered from a lack of personal data. The "Virginia Publick Claims" are published by counties. In addition to a faithful transcription by Janice Luck Abercrombie and the late Richard Slatten, a complete index is provided for each county booklet. This series is an extremely important genealogical tool for searchers in Revolutionary-era materials.