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The compiler of this BULLETIN will be glad to have his attention called to such errors and omissions as almost necessarily occur in a compilation of this character,-and the more especially to any sources which may have escaped him,—while the student is warned that this does not claim to lie an absolutely final list of the Virginia Counties, but only such as the compiler has been able to identify.
Although these pages will doubtless be of convenience to title examiners, as well as to genealogists and to students of Virginia history, there are several items of particular historical value to which attention should be called,—in the order in which they occur:
an attempt has been made to print in full the proceedings of the first court of each of the counties, the exact date of the actual origin of which is unavailable, as in the cases of Lancaster and Stafford (see also the captions of the first courts of Accomack and Middlesex)—these proceedings giving the earliest positive dates for these counties which we have been able to ascertain,-while a copy of the proceedings of the first court of Brunswick is quoted in full, not only because the original has been destroyed, but also because it shows that the county was not organized until 1732,-nearly twelve years after the passage of the act authorizing its formation.
there appear under several counties statements of efforts made to save their records from fire, accident, and the public enemy,—an especially interesting one narrating the part played. by a masonic flag in saving the records of Brunswick, during the War between the States.
there is a set of unpublished maps, which has been in-
This Preface, in addition to the foregoing, is composed of a "general” section and of seven sub-sections, which might be called "departmental" sections for want of a better term,—these "departmental" sections dealing individually with the seven parts of the text, while the "general" section deals with those phases which concern the BULLETIN as a whole; and since this compilation has been prepared for ready reference and for convenience, it has been thought better to re-print at the beginning of each Part the section of the Preface which deals with that portion of the text individually, appending thereto a list of the abbreviations which appear in that particular Part.
From February 7 to December 31, 1914, the undersigned (before assuming the duties of Archivist of the Virginia State Library) was stationed at this Library in the capacity of "Historian for the War and Navy Departments”, under authority of an Act of Congress of March 2, 1913, "authorizing the Collection of the Military and Naval Records of the Revolutionary War, with a view to Publication” (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 37, pt. i, 723); and during that tenure he made to the Director of Public cation of Revolutionary War Records, Washington, D. C., a report upon the “Development of Virginia Counties",—of which the alphabetical portion of this text is substantially a copy.
One of the most constant sources of annoyance to title examiners and to workers in genealogy and in Virginia history is the absence of some handy reference volume which gives in concise form reliable data concertiing the dates of formation, the territory from which formed, and the origin of the names, of the counties which have resulted from Virginia legislation,with references to the sources upon which these data are based.
With this phase of the situation in mind, application was made for permission to print the material of the above-mentioned report as a number of the BULLETIN of the Virginia State Library; and it is to the courtesy of Captain Hollis C. Clark, Director of Publication of Revolutionary Military Records, No. 25942 War Department Building, Washington, D. C., that the Virginia State Library owes this privilege.
Permission having been obtained in May, 1915, it appeared desirable to re-arrange the same data in chronological form, in geographical form (in which part of the work are inserted eleven unpublished maps), and in what is called "genealogical” form (with an index),—to which are appended an alphabetical list of the counties, giving the source of the name of each one, and the full text of eleven Acts of Assembly (concerning counties) which do not appear in Hening. There is also a bibliography and, of course, a general index.
It is of more than ordinary interest to cite the fact that while there are at present only one hundred counties in the State of Virginia, yet at least one hundred and seventy-two counties have resulted from Virginia legislation. Naturally one asks, "What has become of the other seventytwo?” This question is answered in the following table.
Of the one hundred and seventy-two counties here listed as resulting from Virginia legislation. the following are the ones which are at present extinct,* and which are in Kentucky, and are in West Virginta ,—the remaining one hundred being still in Virginia :
• A county is classified as “extinct", when it ceases to exist, either by a change of name or by a division of its area into new counties of different names. † Each marked with a superior "E": .
Each marked with a superior "K": . || Each marked with a superior "W": w.
Counties listed in this BULLETIN as resulting from Virginia legislation...172 Counties here listed as resulting from Virginia legislation, but now extinct : Extinct (area now in Virginia),....
.10 Extinct (area now "on western side of the Ohio river [Illinois]")
1 Extinct (a rea now in State of Kentucky (Kentucky)).
1 Estinct (area now in western Pennsylvania (Yohogania)) 1-13 Counties here listed as resulting from Virginia legislation, but now in Kentucky
9 Counties here listed as resulting from Virginia legislation, but now in West Virginia...
Counties in Virginia, Census of 1910....
Each of the extinct counties shows the limiting dates of its existence in the parentheses immediately under the name, while these limiting dates are explained in the notes given under the Alphabetical Arrangement, Part I.
No account is taken of the "County of Denbigh” (Denby), the only mention of which we have observed being in Hening i, 148, 179, 203, and in the “Virginia Magazine of History and Biography”, ii, 68-9; iii, 177, 279; iv, 81, 83, 202; and xx, 34,-in which former its burgesses are noted, though at that time it was but a plantation : or of “James County" ("Journals of the House of Burgesses” (Virginia State Library) 1659 /60—1693, 32), which is obviously a transcriber's error for "James City County".
"Chickacoan” (“Chickawane”, “Chickcoun”: H. i, 337, 352) is covered by Northumberland; while "West Augusta District” and “Kentucky District" find their places in the notes under Augusta and Kentucky Counties, respectively.
In the selection of a proper caption for the date-columns, there were available the words, "create”, “erect", "establish" and "form”. An historical study of the use of these words in the titles and the texts of the Acts of Assembly providing for new counties, and in the editors' marginal notes referring to these texts, shows that their usage was substantially as