Proceedings of the Commissioners Respecting the Records of Henrico Court Destroyed by the Enemy.
In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution Henrico officials assessed the damages to official records done by Benedict Arnold’s recent capture of Richmond.
Adam Craig, the new Clerk of Henrico Court, placed a notice in the Virginia Gazette of 7 Sep 1782, that the justices of Henrico County would take depositions, hear and examine witnesses, and receive all original papers and attested copies of persons affected by the destruction of records of the County Court. He alerted the public that the following records were found to be missing:
Deeds from 1718 to 1725, 1744 to 1737 [sic], 1774 to October 1781;
Wills from 1718 to 1725. 1744 to 1737 [sic], 1767 to October 1781;
Judgments and Orders from 1710 to 1714, 1731 to 1737, and 1769 to 1772.
A commission was established by which documents which had been recorded and subsequently destroyed by the British could be established by sworn testimony, even where no copy survived. Between 1783 and 1789 the commssion compiled the results of this re-recording effort.
Not every destroyed document was re-recorded. This was not an attempt to recreate the record books that had existed. Only documents produced or described by persons seeking to have them recorded again were considered, either by the Court or by the Commission. As a result, significant gaps remain in the records.
The current volume is not a full transcription. More properly described, it is a collection of notes taken by the author on the actual document examined in the form of a photostat of the original, which is clearer than the microfilm. These notes contain more information than would typically be found in an abstract of the document. They frequently use the words of the original entry, but only occasionally are exact quotations. Dates are rendered numerically, not writing out the full date. All the language essential to understanding the entry is presented.