STAUNTON – Augusta County Clerk of Circuit Court R. Steven Landes today announced that his office recently received four important historic records back after extensive conservation work was completed on each record book. The restored records include: Deed Book No. 2 Part 2; Freedman’s Bureau Record of Freedmen 1865-1868, Deed Book 103, and Marriage Register Colored 1863-1887.
“The Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office was very pleased to have been successful in obtaining the 2019 Library of Virginia Circuit Court Records Preservation Program Grant so that these four important records could be preserved for future generations,” Landes said. “I want to thank my predecessors in their diligent efforts to preserve and conserve Augusta County’s historic records, and I am committed to doing the same during my tenure as Clerk.”
These works were recently returned to the Clerk’s Office, and the conservation of these four important public records was achieved because of the financial assistance of a 2019 Library of Virginia (LVA) Circuit Court Records Preservation Program grant worth $10,123. The grant was applied for last year by Interim Clerk of Circuit Court Gina R. Coffey. The grant from the LVA also allowed the Augusta County Circuit Court to obtain digital images of the records, ensuring future public access to the documents.
The Clerk’s Office has applied for these grants since 1994, and the most recent application was submitted on September 22, 2020, which will cover the 2021 grant cycle. The most recent grant requests funds to restore and conserve Will Book No. 3 (1761-1767); Marriage Register Colored 1888-1910; Deed Book 29 (1796-1798), and Order Book 24 (1796-1799).
Historians can break down the records conserved in the most recent grant cycle into two distinct categories. The first two documents encompass historical information about Augusta County's economy. Deed Book No. 2 Part 2 comprises records involving the purchasing of real estate located in the County. The documents in this book date back as far as the late 1740s. Deed Book No. 2 Part 2 contains information regarding land prices in the County during the pre-revolutionary period. Deed Book No. 103 contains similar records to Deed Book No. 2 Part 2 just 140 years into the future. The volume provides critical insight into how the real estate economy of the County changed from the late 1740s to the 1880s.
The next two historical documents delve into the social history of Augusta County. Marriage Register Colored 1863-1887 is a document rich in African American history. The marriage register contains the names of African American couples who were married during and after the Civil War. Freedmen's Bureau Record of Freedmen 1865-1868 is a record created by the Freedmen's Bureau and given to the County in the 1868. The volume records information such as marriage records of former slaves whose unions became recognized as legal in 1866 after the conclusion of the Civil War and names of children who belonged to the couples.
The Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk is the steward of historic records dating back to 1745. The Clerk’s Offices throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia possess a wealth of historic records. These historic records require constant protection and preservation work to ensure these artifacts remain in existence for future generations. The Virginia General Assembly created the special grants preservation program, which is managed by the Library of Virginia, and this program allows Clerks to use state grant funding to perform preservation and conservation work to restore and protect Virginia’s valuable history.
The Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is in downtown Staunton at the Augusta County Courthouse. The Clerk serves as the recorder of deeds and probate judge, issues marriage licenses and is the official court administrator for all civil and criminal cases. The Clerk creates and maintains all court files and records, prepares court orders and jury lists, contacts jurors and issues summons and court processes. More information about the services of the Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office can be found online at www.co.augusta.va.us/government/circuitcourt-clerk.