Sunday, February 28, 2016

PW County Historic Records Released to the Public!

Several years ago, the Prince William County County Clerk's Office began the daunting task of digitizing historic papers in the courthouse archives, including (but not limited to) Deed Books, Will Books, and loose documents.   As part of the project, volunteers have been working diligently to index every single document scanned.

In October 2015, the County released the first set of Prince William County Clerk's Loose Papers via an online portal.  This first release of digitized copies of original documents has over 100,000 images covering a wide range of subjects, including slavery, criminal and civil cases, letters, notes, attachments, and prisoner lists.

In January 2016, PWCo Deeds prior to 1918 were added to the database.

I am very excited to announce that the website is now live and presently free to the public at the following URL:

NOTE:  For best results, the website should be accessed using Internet Explorer with the Silverlight add-on.

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The launch of this online archive is exciting news for historians and genealogist alike!

Literally within five minutes of searching the index of Loose Papers, I had the answer to one of my personal brick wall questions -- when did my great-grandmother Martha Lynn pass away?  All I knew was that it was somewhere between the birth of her son in 1891 and the death of her mother in 1900.  And suddenly, there was the answer among the online Loose Papers in a suit against the physician who attended her!

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I would like to thank the Prince William County Clerk's Office for launching this project and making these priceless resources available to the pubic.

But I am especially grateful to Ron Turner and all of the other volunteers who have been working (and continue to work!) so hard to create the master index!  (You folks totally rock!)

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas Harrison / James Colquhoun

Daily National Intelligencer
12 January 1816


Suddenly, at his seat near Dumfries, Virginia, on Saturday last, THOMAS HARRISON, Esq.  In this dispensation, his deeply afflicted wife and children have sustained a loss the most poignant, and to whom, none could be so irreparable which must be long and keenly felt -- for no husband ever was more affectionate -- no parent more attached -- and those of his most intimate friends and acquaintance have to lament the loss, and to feel the blank it has occasioned.  With those who knew him best, few men stood higher in relation to correct principles of honor and integrity.

Alexandria Gazette
20 September 1815

DIED, at Dumfries, Va. on the 5th instant, Mr. JAMES COLQUHOUN, in the forty ninth year of his age, an old and respectable inhabitant of that place.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Newspaper Tidbit: PWCo Items - September 1, 1873

Alexandria Gazette
1 September 1873

Prince William County Items
[From  the Manassas Gazette]

The pic-nic and tournament on Tuesday last at Brentsville was well attended by both ladies and gentlemen.  Fifteen Knights contested for the honors of the day.  L. B. Pattie was the successful Knight and crowned Miss Sallie Lewis, Queen.  Miss Camelia Bean, of Washington, was crowned first maid of honor by J. L. Keys, Miss Lucy M. Lynn second maid, by D. C. Cole and Miss Barbour, of Georgetown, third maid, by J. A. Nicol.  A very beautiful coronation address was delivered by Dr. Barbour, after which The Royal set was danced.  The charge was delivered by J. J. Davies, esq., who did ample justice to his subject.  There was an elegant pavillion for dancing in a fine grove, and near by a refreshment stand, sufficient to supply all present.  About 4 o'clock it commenced to rain, causing a premature ending of the day's proceedings.

We have learned that George Hill, esq., of the District of Columbia has in contemplation the purchase of the property at Buckland, in this county, known as the Buckland Woolen Mills, with a view of turning the same into an extensive establishment for the manufacture of wood paper.  If it be true that such is his intention we congratulate our people on a prospect of so valuable an acquisition to the business of their county, as well as having added to their population a most excellent and sterling gentleman.  We shall be glad to welcome Maj. Hill and his family to our State, and know that every citizen will welcome him also.

On Tuesday last a match game of base ball was played between the Modocs of Manassas, and White Stockings of Occoquan.  At the eighth inning in consequence of the rain, the game was called by the Umpire, at which time the scores stood for the White Stockings 44, and for the Modocs 40.

A circular race track will be laid out and graded near Manassas as soon as the weather will permit, for the purpose of trying the speed of fast horses, and for racing purposes.  It is proposed to have a sweepstakes race soon.

Mr. Allen Howison, in a card, says please discontinue my name as one of the candidates for the Legislature; and respectfully decline; fully appreciating the compliment my friend or friends are disposed to pay me.

The dedication of the M. E. church at this place, which was announced for Thursday, Sept. 4th, has been postponed till Sunday Sept. 14th.

There is to be a mass meeting of the Conservatives of Prince William county, at Brentsville on Monday (court day).

Monday, February 22, 2016

Military Monday: Volunteer Rifle Company

Alexandria Gazette
1 December 1859

A volunteer rifle company of fifty odd men was organized at Haymarket, Prince William County, Saturday, November 26, under the superintendence of Col. Brawner.  An election was held for officers, which resulted in the choice of Dr. Geo. S. Hamilton, Captian; John B. Grayson, 1st Lieutenant; Thomas S. Shirley, 2d Lieutenant; the other officers to [be] chosen at the next meeting.  The arms have been ordered, and arrangements are being made to have the company equipped at as early a day as possible.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Church Record Sunday: To Welcome Bishop Hendrix

Richmond Times Dispatch
2 August 1916


Methodists of Prince William Will Hold Jubilee on Bull Run Battle Field

Manassas, Va., August 1. -- The Methodists of Prince William County are planning to hold an impromptu jubilee on Tuesday, August 8, on the Bull Run battle field to welcome Bishop Hendrix, senior bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, who is coming to Manassas as the guest of Lieutenant George Carr Round.  Bishop Hendrix and Lieutenant Round were fellow-students fifty years ago at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.

Bishop Hendrix being a warm advocate of a reunion of the Methodist Churches, Bishop Cranston, senior bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was invited to attend this reception, to be held on the battle field, which was the scene of the first reunion of the Blue and Gray.  Bishop Cranston's ill health rendered it impossible for him to journey from Michigan to Manassas, and he has designated Rev. John F. Goucher, of Baltimore, to represent him at the jubilee.

The jubilee committee includes Charles R. McDonald, president of the National Bank of Manassas, and Lieutenant Round, associate chairman, and five Methodist ministers, Revs. E. A. Roads and Jacob Halpenny, of Manassas; C. K. Millican, of Gainesville; C. W. Mark of Nokesville, and G. T. Tyler of Fairfax County.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friend of Friends Friday: Hale - Deed of Emancipation

Hale to Dorcas
Deed of Emancipation
PWCo Deed Book 3, pg. 305

Whereas Joseph Hale of Prince William County in the State of Virginia being legally possessed of three slaves, named Dorcas, Jacob & Dorcas Slaves for life – for divers good causes and considerations [to] me thereunto moving as well for the sum of six hundred and on dollars lawful money of the united states to me in hand paid the receipt whereof is acknowledged do hereby fully clearly and absolutely emancipate liberate and set free the said negro slaves from slavery forever and I do hereby for myself my heirs exors and assigns remise release and forever quit claim unto the said slaves all my right, title and interest as well to those person as services & estates hereby declaring them absolutely free from and against me and my heirs and against all and every person & persons claiming by from or under me.  In Witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal this 18th day of July one thousand eight hundred & seven.

Jos. Hale {seal}

Signed sealed & delivered
In the presence of

Jere: W. Bronough
John Bronough
James C. Bronough

At a Court held for Prince William County October 5th 1807 this Deed of Emancipation from Joseph Hale to Dorcas (Jacob), Jacob and Dorcas was acknowledged by said Hale to be his act and Deed and Ordered to be recorded.


J. Williams clk

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Lion / Shoemaker

Richmond Times Dispatch
19 August 1916


Manassas, Va., August 18. -- Comfort W. Lion, son of Thomas H. Lion, Commonwealth's attorney for Prince William County, and Miss Sallie Mae Shoemaker, daughter of A. D. Shoemaker, of Homaker, Russell County, were married in Washington on Wednesday by Rev. L. Morgan Chambers, pastor of McKendree Methodist Episcopal Church.  The young couple will live in Chester, PA.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Will: Richard Stonnel (1805)

Prince William County Will Book I, pg. 60
17 Jan 1805; proved 2 Jul 1805

In the name of God Amen I RICHARD STONNEL of Prince William County Planter being weak in body but having my perfect reason and right of sence and understanding do hereby make this my last will and testament.  I promis to give and be queath unto my sun in law WILLIAM LOYD one feather bed & furniture when he needs it.  I give and bequeath unto my be loved wife SALLY STONEL all the rest of my estate as long as she may live after all my just debts is paid and at her death for what is left to be divided amongst all my children and my wifes two sons:  JOHN CORNWELL & GEORGE CORNWELL.  This instrument of righting made the seventeenth day of January one thousand eight hundred and five.


Signed sealed and acknowledged and deliverd in presence of


At a Court held for Prince William County July 2nd 1805.

This last will and testament of RICHARD STONNEL decd was presented to the Court and being proved by the oaths of WILLIAM BAWSELL, ALLEN BLAND and JESSE WARDER was ordered to be recorded.  And administration with the will annexed of the estate of RICHARD STONNELL decd is granted to SARAH STONNELL she having taken the oath prescribed by law and executed and acknowledged a bond with security according to law.



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Annie M. Shortridge

Fresno Morning Republican (California)
4 October 1916

Mrs. Annie M. Shortridge, a pioneer resident of the county, died on Monday morning at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Lutie Turner on Woodstock avenue in her 71st year.  Mrs. Shortridge has been an invalid for many years.  She was born in Prince William county, Virginia and had lived in Fresno county over forty one years.  She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. W. D. Reyburn of Los Angeles, Mrs. J. E. Morrish of Berkeley and Mrs. Lutie Turner of Clovis.  The funeral was held this morning at 10 o'clock.  Interment at Redbanks cemetery.

[Annie M. Shortridge appears in the 1900 Fresno, California census with her husband William -- married 27 years -- and daughter Kittie.  In 1910, Anna is divorced and living with her daughter and son-in-law, Lutie and James Turner.~cgl]