xt71ns0kw662 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt71ns0kw662/data/mets.xml Powhatan County, Virginia Virginia Historical Records Survey 1939 Prepared by the Historical Records Survey, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Work Projects Administration; Other contributors include: United States Work Projects Administration Division of Professional and Service Projects; 202 pages, 28 cm; Mimeographed; Includes bibliographical references and index; UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries; Call number FW 4.14:V 819/no.73 books English Richmond, Virginia: Historical Records Survey This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Virginia Works Progress Administration Publications Inventory of the County Archives of Virginia, Number 73 Powhatan County (Powhatan Court House) text Inventory of the County Archives of Virginia, Number 73 Powhatan County (Powhatan Court House) 1939 1939 2015 true xt71ns0kw662 section xt71ns0kw662 `   {   ~ *   41 5 `   e{~·v¢jSrjQF· I ,  —

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    m - INVENTORY or aim oomvtry ARGHIVJQS
f ·‘,_‘   or VIRGINIA _
P   - . I   j’y_i·i.i·—.:;     y `
Qt Prepared by
V § 1 The Historical Records Survey
{g Division of Professional and Service Projects
Q' Work Projects Administration
li A ·
  2 _ -,;:0; 73.1- PowHATAN GOUNTY (Povvi1A·1‘ANo;co1JRT Hover.)
R R V1?
ll   Richmond, Virginia
  The Historical Records Survey
it »_   August 1939   y_

 . i
The Historical Records Survey 9
Luther H. Evans, National Director Y
Elizabeth B. Parker, State Director
 : ~ Division of Professional and Service Projepts if
I Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner
ly · Izetta Jewell Miller, Chief Regional Supervisor ‘
g~ , _H Ella G. Agnew, State Director . r
4;- . F. C. Harrington, Commissioner
_,V` F. H. Dryden, Regional Director
x William A. Smith, State Administrator I

g The Tnjeptggy gf Cggnty ggghives gf yipginig is one of a number of
i bibliographies of historical materials prepared throughout the United States by
T workers on the Historical Records Survey of the Work Projects Administration.
{ The publication herewith presented an inventory of the archives of Powhatan
County, is number 73 of the Virginia series.
The Historical Records Survey was undertaken in the winter of l935—36 for
the purpose of providing useful employment to needy unemployed historians,
lawyers, teachers, and research and clerical workers. In carrying out this
objective, the project was organized to compile inventories of historical ma-
terials, particularly tho unpublished government documents and records which
are basic in the administration of local government, and which provide invalu-
able data for students of political, economic, and social history. The archival,
guide herewith presented is intended to meet the requirements of day—to—day
administration by the oficials of the county, and also the needs of lawyers,
business mon and other citizens who require facts from the public records for
c the proper conduct of their affairs. The volume is so designed that it can be
; used by the historian in his research in unprinted sources in the same way he
jg uses the library card catalog for printed sources.
gi The inventories produced by The Historical Records Survey attempt to do more
than give merely a list of records - they attempt further to sketch in the
historical background of the county or other unit of government, and to describe
Q precisely and in detail the organization and functions of the government agencies
? whose records they list. The county, town, and other local inventories for the
entire country will, when completed, constitute an encyclopedia of local govern-
ment as well as a bibliography of local archives.
The successful conclusion of the work of The Historical Records Survey,
even in a single county, would not be possible without the support of public
officials, historical and legal specialists, and many other groups in the
community. Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged.
The Survey was organized and has been directed by Luther H. Evans, and
operates as a nation—wide project in the Division of Professional and Service
Projects, of which Mrs. Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner, is in charge.
* F. c. masikcrom
@ Commissioner

The Historical Records Survey, a project of the Division of Professional
{ and Service Projects of the Work Projects Administration, was organized
{ nationally in January l936 under the supervision of Dr. Luther H. Evans,
Q U National Director. In March, work was begun in Virginia as part of the Federal
` Writers' Project with Dr. H. J. Eckenrode as State Director and Dr. Lester J.
Cappon of the University of Virginia as part-time Assistant State Supervisor
in charge of the Survey.
In November 1936, when the Survey became independent of the Federal
Writers' Project, Dr. Cappon became part-time State Director and Elizabeth B.
Parker, a former supervisor, Assistant State Director. Following Dr. Cappon's
resignation in June l937, Miss Parker was appointed State Director.
The principal objective of the Survey in Virginia has been to discover,
preserve, and make accessible the basic materials for research. Complete
inventories of the records of the State, counties, cities, towns, and other
local public archives are being made and will be prepared for publication and
deposited with the appropriate agency of the Federal Government. In addition,
a complete list of manuscript depositories in the State is being prepared and
Q an inventory of important manuscript collections will be made. A considerable
l amount of work has been done in listing early American imprints and approximate-
Yi ly one-third of the church records in the State have been inventoried. The
g Survey has also been responsible for assisting State and county officials in
sorting, arranging, and in some cases labeling and indexing loose papers and
t unbound materials. Furthermore, as a result of our efforts, many county
g officials have provided more adequate space for storing their records. In-
? formation in the entries in this volume is given as to the dates of all extant
_ records, the quantity, the contents of series, tho arrangement, indexing, and
location. Records are arranged according to the functional destination of the
record. In the subject index the material is arranged alphabetically; in the
A chronological index it is arranged by decades. Proceding the entries for each
office is a brief account of the history, functions, and records of that office.
The Inventory pf the County Archives pf Virginia will, when completed, con-
sist of a separate number for each county. The numbering will be according to
the respective position of the county in an alphabetical list of counties. Thus
Powhatan County is number 73. The inventory of the State archives and municipal
and other records will be issued separately.
The original inventory was undertaken in Powhatan County from January 7
to April 20, l937 by McGuire Morris under the supervision of Elizabeth B.
Parker. During the period between November 19 and December 12, 1937, the
G storage material was removed to the jury room where it was assorted, bundled,
labeled, and filed by Edward Baucom and Clyde Sirles and placed on shelves
l and in cabinets built by order of the board of supervisors at the suggestion
bt of the project. A final recheck of the records was made in June 1939 by
W Harry A. Parker, under the supervision of Harold A. Lovenstein.
U The inventory was edited in the Aichmond office through the combined
1 efforts of the editorial staff headed by Celia L. Meyer. To Ellis Miller, Jr.,
A head of the legal research, Hamilton Enslow, and Pincknoy H. Walker goes most
y of the credit for the legal essays. Dr. Evans and his editors in tho Washington
office examined and criticized the manuscript before it was printed, but re-

sponsibility for its completeness and accuracy lies with the Virginia staff.
The Survey is indebted to Mr. G. C. Fisher, regional supervisor of The
Historical Records Survey, and to the officials of the Virginia State Law
2 Library for their assistance in the preparation of this volume, as well as to
{ the officials of Powhatan County for their cooperation while the inventory was
U being made. Upon request, a limited number of copies of this volume will be
distributed free of charge to state and local public officials and to public
libraries and government agencies outside of the State. Further inquiries
regarding this publication should be addressed to Elizabeth B. Parker,
Historical Records Survey, American Building, Richmond, Virginia.
Richmond, Virginia State Director
August l, 1939 The Historical Records Survey

 - 1 -
A. Powhatan County and its Records System
~ Page
y 2. Governmental Organization and Records System ...................... 14
` Chart of COuHty GOVGTHMBHD •••••••¤••••••••¤¤•••••¤•••••••¤•••••• 41
3. Housing, Care, and Accessibility of the Records ................... 43
4. Abbreviations, Symbols, and Explanatory Notes ............ .... ..... 48
B. County Offices and their Records
I; Board of Supervisors ••¤•••••••••••••••••••••••¤•••¤•¤••o•••¤•••••• 51
Proceedings. Financial:. claims; warrants; reports.
II; County C1GTk ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••¤¤••¤••• 57
Deeds. Liens: real property; personal property. Judgment Liens.
Taxation: ·real property; personal property. Conservation.
Vital Statistics: births; deaths; marriages. Registers.
Military. Elections. Financial. Miscellaneous.
Chancery: case papers; dockets and proceedings. Common Law:
case papers; dockets and proceedings. Judgments. Executions.
Witnesses. Probate: wills; fiduciary. Oaths. Bonds: official;
fiduciary; indemnifying; execution. Lunacy. Delinquent Land
Sales. Deeds and Wills. Financial: banks; fees, fines, and
A costs; collections and disbursements. Miscellaneous.
Iv• COHHEY Court ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••¤•••¤••••••••••••••••• 94
Case Papers. Dockets and Proceedings: chancery; common law.
Judgments. Executions. Witnesses. Oaths. Bonds: official and
fiduciary; bail; replevin; injunction; appeal; apprentice; ordinary
license. Roads. Liquor Licenses. Financial. Processioners.
v• COmmOHW€<h Attorney •••••••••••••••••••••••••¤••••••¤•••••••••••• 107
Dockets: civil; criminal; juvenile and domestic relations.
VII• JuStiCG of the Peace ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••¤••••••••• 111
T§ XU) Commissioner of the Revenue ....................................... 123
a Tax Assessments: real property; personal property and income.
E Licenses.
J XIIL Assessors •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••¤••••••••••••••• 129

 .. g ..
-Table of Contents
' Xv• County TTGBSHTGT-•¢•••••••••••••p••••••••••••••••••••••••o•••••••• .133
Financial: receipts; cash books and ledgers; warrants and
checks. Taxation: real property; personal property;
capitation. Dog Licenses. Correspondence.
XVII; COUHty El€CtOr&1 Board ••••o•••••••••••»•••••••••••••••••••••••••• 142
Proceedings. Registration. Poll. Elections.
'“ XVIII• School TTUStG€ E1BGtOT&l Board ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 144
Proceedings. Financial: collections and disbursements;
Warrarrizs. C0rI‘eSpOnde1*1ce,
- XX. Division Superintendent of Schools ................... ..... ....... l50
Reports. Teachers. Census. Correspondence. Miscellaneous.
“ XXI. Local Board of Public Welfare (0verseers of the Poor) ............ 155
l Proceedings. Financial. Federal Relief. Correspondence.
5 XXII. Superintendent of the Poor ....................................... 160
Y XXIII• Parish VGStFY •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• lél
XXV. COUHty NUYS9 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••p•n 164
Contracts. Allotments. Correspondence.
1 Bj-blj—Ogra·phy_4••••••••••••o••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••  
w Chronological IHdGX •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••pp• 189

 , 3 ,
(First entry, p. 55)
( Powhatan County was originally a part of Henrico shire, one of the eight
, shires into which the colony of Virginia was divided in 1634.l It was a part
of Goochland County which was cut off from Henrico in 1727,2 and in 1748 came
within the bounds of Cumberland County which was formed from Gooch1and.3 The
rapid development of the Piedmont during the third quarter of the eighteenth
century made another division advisable,4 and an act separating Powhatan from
_ Cumberland was passed in May 1777. The new county included the entire parish
if of Southam and a part of the parish of King William.5 It was named in memory
of Chief Powhatan, the most notable of the Indian chiefs whom the early Virginia
_.. settlers encountered.6 Its boundaries on the north reach to the James River
* which separates it from Goochland County; on the east, to Chesterfield County;
on the south, to the Appomattox River which separates it from Amelia County; and
on the west, to Cumberland County.7 These bounds are the same as those of 1777
except for a small portion of Chesterfield County which was acquired in 1850.8
The area of 273 square miles extends in an east-west length for agproxi-
mately 25 miles and in a north-south width for approximately 14 miles. Midway
and running the length of the county is the dividing line between the many
tributaries which the waters of Powhatan County furnish the James and Appomattox
The county is chiefly agricultural; its total income last year (1938) from
Q crops, dairying, and livestock amounted to approximately a million and a half
[ a¤11ars.1l
A The total population numbering 6,143 is largely native born; 3,155 of
the inhabitants are co1ored.l2 In 1936 there were 24 Federal income tax
personal returns.l3
· 1. William Waller Hening, compiler, The Statutes gt Large . . L (1619-1792),
_ lst ed., Richmond, etc., 1809-23 [hereinafter cited as Hening, Statutes; »
*‘3 for complete citation, ses Bibliography], I, p. 224.
2. Ibid., IV, p. 240.
3. Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, Virginia Counties, Virginia State Library
2 Sglletin, IX, nos. 1-3, Richmond, 1916, p. 48.
4. Hening, Statutes, IX, pp. 241, 257, 325, 420; Charlotte Allen, compiler and
- editor, Virginia, Richmond, 1937, p. 13.
5. Hening, Statutes, IX, pp. 322-323.
6. Charles Massie Long, Virginia County Names, New York and Washington, 1908,
p. 167.
7. Rand McNally Commercial Atlas gpg Marketing Guide, Chicago, 1939 [herein-
after cited as Commercial Atlas], p. 407.
2 8. Robinson, gp. git., p. 104; Acts gf thg General Assembly gf thg State gf
{ Virginia, 1809--, Richmond, 1810-- [hereinafter cited as Acts] 1849-50, p. 26.
Q 9. Commercial Atlas, pp. 406-407, 411.
ji 10. Ibid., p. 407; conversation with Mr. W. F. Michaux, County Agricultural
3y Agent of Powhatan County, May 1939.
LQ ll. Conversation with Mr. W. F. Michaux, County Agricultural Agent of Powhatan
, County, May 1939.
A 12. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, Population, III, Reports by
` States . . ., pt. 2, Washington, 1932, p. 1166.
13. Commercial Atlas, p. 411.

 . , 4 -
Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 55)
There is no incorporated city, but the county is dotted with many villages,
j one of the largest being Powhatan Court House, the centrally located county
, seat, with a population of 160.14 Joining these communities and their rural
7 areas are approximately 120 miles of hard·surfaced roads. The chief highway is
{ Route 60, a Federal Highway which follows the divide through the length of the
· cdunty. Near the center, it is joined by State Highways 13, 16, and 49 into
which another State Route, 44 runs, There are also many sand-clay roads
intersecting these highways.l$
Serving the inhabitants are various corporations among which are the
Greyhound Bus Line, the Southern Railway which cuts across the southeast corner
of the county, several Postal Telegraph stations, a Western Union station and
the Powhatan Bank, which is located at Powhatan Court House.l6
Powhatan operates under the board of supervisors plan of government, has
three magisterial districts - Macon, Hugenot, and Spencerl7 · and is in the
fourth judicial circuit with the counites of Chesterfield, Amelia, Nottoway,
Dinwiddie, and the City of Petersburg.18 Jointly with Chesterfield County it
is entitled to one member in the House of De1egates.l9 It is in the ninth sena-
torial district along with Amelia, Nottoway, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward
C0unties.zO .
6 The first court of Powhatan County was held in the home of Littlebury
Q Mosby, July 17, 1777, the m gistrates being John Netherland, William Flemming,
Q Littlebury Mosby, John Mayo, William Smith, Thomas Turpin, Jr., Robert Smith,
A Edward Haskins,:John Harris, Richard Eggleston, Vincent Markham, John Swann,
A Richard Crump, William Mayo, and Edward Logwood. Robert Smith became the
first sheriff and Thomas Miller, the first clerk. At this session, William
Flemming was recommended to the Governor for appointment as county lieutenant
and John Harris as lieutenant co1one1,2l both men being later c0mmissioned.22
Littlebury Mosby was made colonel of militia and Edward Haskins, major.23 The
first mention of various other county officials occurred as follows: In 1778
when Edward Munsford presented his survsyor's commission from the College of
William and Mary24 and when Thomas Hall was appointed constable;25 in 1783 when
14. Ibid., pp. 405-415.
15. Commonwealth of Virginia, County Maps gf the Primary gpg Secondary Systems,
‘ State Department of Highways, Richmond, 1936, p. 73.
16. Commercial Atlas, pp. 411-415; see footnote 11.
17. Acts 1938, p. 1068; Board of Supervisors, pp. 51-52.
18. gpg Virginia Code gf 1936, Charlottesville, 1936 [hereinafter cited as
A Code 1936], sec. 5888.
1 ].g• Ibidoy S€C• 78•
g 20. Ibid., sec. 79. ·
Q 21. Powhatan Co, Order Book Records (1777-84), July 17, 1777, pp. 1-5, in
g Common Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
Q 22. Ibid., Aug. 21, 1777, p. 9.
Q 23. Ibid., Aug. 21, 1777, p. 6.
g 24. Ibid., May 21, 1778, p. 39.
} 25. Ibid., May 21, 1778, p. 40.

 - 5 -
Historical Sketch (First entry, p.55)
_ Joseph Turpin, Jr. became coroner;26 in 1787 when William Clark was appointed
t tax commissioner;27 in 1787 when Goodrich Crump was named treasurer;28 and in
1794 and 1799, respectively, when William Clarke was recommended as escheator
and Moses W. Cardoza appointed jailer and caretaker of the courthouse.29 The
earliest mention in the order books of a commissioner of revenue was in 1801,
the incumbent's name not being mentioned.3O
During this session the court, in addition to giving the oaths of office,
viewed the several proposed sites for the location of a courthouse and also
considered plans for laying off the county seat,3l Scottsville, named in memory
of General Charles Scott, a resident of the county and a Revolutionary hero.32
The lands of Betty Bailey and of Richard Ligon were chosen as the site and lots
8 were to be sold at public auction.33 By legislative enactment the town was to
be 1,300 feet in length, 900 feet in width, to consist of six blocks of land each
300 feet square and each surrounded by a street 100 feet wide. One block was to
be set aside for county buildings · a courthouse and prison with pillory and
stocks.34 The court ordered that the prison with pillory and stocks be built,
with the specification that it be completed within 12 months. Size, dimensions,
and plans of the courthouse were to be similar to those of Buckingham court-
house and the building was to be paid for in three installments, a third "when
a sufficient quantity of brick' should have been burned, another third when the
walls were raised, and the remainder upon completion of the building.35 In
spite of this order, more than a year later there was some thought of buying
the old Cumberland courthouse at Deep Creek Bridge and moving it in case no bids
for constructing a new courthouse were received. 6 In 1780 court was being
, held at the house of Thomas Po1lock37 and 2 years later it was ordered that 15
pounds sterling be paid to him for the 3 years' rent of a courthouse.38 The
next year a second order by the court was issued to "let to the lowest Bidder
the building of a Courthouse . . . in . . . Scottsvil1e,"39 while in 1789 "Sheriffs
Bars and Decks, to the Courthouse" were ordered to be erected4O and in 1791 an
26. Ibdd., Sept. 18, 1783, p. 312.
27. Order Book (1786-91), Dec. 20, 1787, p. 217, in Common Lew Orders,
Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
28. Ibdd., Jan. 8, 1787, p. 74.
29. dpdd., (1791-94), Feb. 20, 1794, p. 367; Orders (1799-1804), Sept. 18,
» 1799, p. 139, in Common Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
30. Iydd., (1799-1802), Sept. 16, 1801, p. 517. ”
31. See footnote 21.
32. Henry Howe, Historical Collections gf Virginia . . ., Charleston, S. C.,
1846, p. 430.
33. Powhatan Co. Order Book Records (1777-89), May 21, 1778, p. 39; June 18,
1778, p. 40, in Common Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
34. Hening, Stgtutes, IX, pp. 322-323.
35. Powhatan Co. Order Book Records (1777-84), July 16. 1778. PP- 53'54s in
_ Common Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
‘ ( 36. Ibid., Nov. 19, 1778, p. 73.
? 37. lbdd., June 15, 1780, p. 151.
yr 38. Ibid., Aug. 15, 1782, p. 235.
7, 39. jpid., Aug. 21, 1783, p. 310.
40. Order Book (1786-91), June 18, 1789, p. 430, in Common Law Orders, Powhatan
' County Court, see entry 175.

Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 55)
g order was issued for keeping the courthouse clean and in repair.4l
" { The specifications for construction of the jail were to "let to the low-
` est Bidder the building of a Log Prison twenty two feet long by sixteen feet
‘ wide on the publick square . . . to be built of square logs . . . .*42
As for the clerk's office, one writer states that Abner Crump, clerk from
1786 to 1802, kept the office at his residence 8 miles from the courthouse.43
As early as 1795, however, there was an_order by the board to let to the lowest
· bidder a c1erk‘s office with specifications named.44 Again the next year, a
like order was given with specifications more general; the building was to be
24 by 20 feet with fireplace and such other necessary apartments as they thought
fit, and it was to be brick and covered with slate.4 Not only did the magis-
trates seek to safeguard county records with respect to the building material
~ used in the c1erk's office, but periodically they appointed a person to inspect
’ the records of the county and make a report of their condition to the court.46
A brief description of Scottsville about 1781 by a French traveler stated
that it was a more rustic settlement than Cumberland, consisting of "two mean
huts, one for the purpose of holding the sessions, the other by way of public
house; but which hitherto is scarcely fit for the reception of trave11erS."47
Besides Scottsville, which still was the name of the county seat as late as 183698
there were in the early days several other villages, namely, Jefferson, Carters-
_ ville, Saundersville, Petersville, Mt. Pleasant, Genito, and Manakin Town which
` was built by French refugees about 1700.49
A distinctive feature of Powhatan's history before its separate organiza-
tion was the settlement of this group of French Huguenots who came to Virginia
after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They settled on the south bank of
the James on 10,000 acres of land which had been occupied by the extinct Manakin
tribe of Indians.5O This land had been given them by the Virginia Government
— 41. Ibid., (1791-94), July 21, 1791, p. 1.
- 42. Powhatan Co. Order Book Records (1777-84), July 16, 1778, p. 54, in Common
Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
43. Frederick Johnston, Memorials gg gig Virginia Clerks, Lynchburg, Va., 1888,
p. 311.
44. Orders (1794-98), Aug. 21, 1795, p. 144, in Common Law Orders, Powhatan
County Court, see entry 175.
45. Ibid., May 20, 1796, p. 240.
46. Powhatan Ce. Order Book Records (1777-84), Dec. 19, 1782, p. 254, in Common
Law Orders, Powhatan County Court, see entry 175; ibid., Sept. 16, 1784,
p. 47; Order Book (1786-91), Sept. 20, 1787, p. 199, in Common Law Orders,
Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
I 47. Marquis de Chastellux, Travels in North·America in gpg Years 1780-81-82,
New York, 1828, pp. 264-265.
¤ 48. Joseph Martin, A Ngw gpg Comprehensive gazetteer gf Virginia, Charlottes-
2 ville, 1836, p. 265.
i` 49. Powhatan Co. Order Book Records (1777-84), Order Book, C. C. (1784-86),
§ Order Book (1786-94), Orders (1809-11), pgssim, in Common Law Orders,
Powhatan County Court, see entry 175; Dr. H. R. Mcllwaine, "The Huguenot
Settlement at Manakin Towne", gpg Huguenot, VI (1933), p. 74.
» 50. Howe, gg; gig., pp. 430-431; Eng Virginia Magazine gf History and Biography
[hereinafter cited as Virgin a Maggzine], II, no. 1 (July 1894),-pp. 86-87.

 - 7 -
Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 55)
together with money, provisions, and a "brief to entitle them to the charity of
- well disposed persona", and the privilege of exemption from public levies for
a period of 7 years.5l Extending along the river for 25 miles and reaching
(_ back from the bank for 1 mile, the land was divided in such a way as to give
J ` each holder a water front. The southern boundary, marked by cuts in trees,
·» was known for a hundred years as “the French line." Their town they called
Manakin Town.52 In 1702 they began the making of wine from wild grapes but
a historian states that this industry never became extensive, and that the
`J chief occupation was farming.53
‘ To encourage settlement at Manakin, the community was permitted to become
. a separate parish in 1700, to be known as King William Parish.54 Although there
¥ was a parochial dispute which resulted in the emigration in 1707 of some of their
number,55 the inhabitants of Manakin Town maintained their ethnieal solidarity
for some time as their Register and Vestry Minutes, written in French and
I partially preserved, attest.56
French names today, such as Fontaine, Chastaine, Flournoy, Mayo, Michaux,
Sublett, Boisseau, Maury, and many others, remind one of the earlg Huguenot
colony,57 as do those of their manors which are still preserved.5 Today their
descendants, who have spread over the United States, have organized the Huguenot
Society. Its members from time to time make pilgrimages to old Manakin Town.
Recently there has been erected a granite cross in memory of the French refugees
who found haven there.59
The fact that Powhatan County has been and is today predominantly an
agricultural region is attributable in part to topographical and climatic
conditions and to the character of the soil. The section in which Powhatan
lies is more like a plain than any section of Virginia;6O the growing season
varies from 7 to 8 months while the precipitation, which is advantageously
distributed over tho growing season, 1 is from 32 to 34 inches per yoar.62
— The nature of the soil also varies; in some parts one finds a red clay soil
51. Hening, gtgtutes, III, p. 201; Howe, gp. git., p. 431; Mcllwaine, gp. git.,
p. 74.
52. Vjggipgg Magazine, II, no. 1 (July 1894), pp. 86-87; Mcllwaine, gp. ggt.,
p. 75.
53. Howe, gp. git., p. 431; Mcllwaine, gp. git., p. 75.
54. Hening, Statutes, III, p. 201.
55. Virginia Magazine, VIII, no. 1 (July 1900), p. 59.
56. R. H. Fife, "The Vestry Books of King William Parish, Va.“ (1707-50), in
Vjggipig Magazine, XI, no. 3 (Jan. 1904), pp. 293-304.
57. Eownatan Go. Order Book Records (1777-84 ), passim, in Common Law Orders,
_ Powhatan County Court, see entry 175.
* 58. Viggggig Magazine, I, no. 4 (Apr. 1894), p. 469; Qilliam gpg Mggy College
Qgartggly, XVI, series 1, no. 4 (Apr. 1908), p. 284.
· 59. Righmgnd Times Dispatch, Apr. 14, 1939.
60. Jedediah Hotchkiss, compiler and editor, Virginia: Q Geographiggl gnd
Qglitical §gmmagy_, . ., Richmond, 1876, p. 13.
61. See footnote ll.
62. Hotchkiss, Virginia, p. 57.

 - g -
h Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 55)
A I which is well adapted to wheat raising; in other sections, a sand-clay soil best
1 fitted for general farming, and along the rivers a rich alluvial soil in which
tobacco thrives.63 Top soil varies from 8 to 10 inches in thickness but in
1 places "strikes" of rock interfere somewhat with cultivation. Another dis-
" advantage is that after a few croppings much of the land becomes acid and must
be iimed. 64 .
A great deal of the history of Powhatan County could be written around the
story of tobacco. The Piedmont, southside section, was the chief tobacco-grow-
ing area in the State for some time before 1870.65
Writing of the middle of the eighteenth century, Howe states that tobacco
culture below the fa11—1ine having exhausted the soil, its culture had been
l steadily advancing westward where fresh lands were to be had; and he adds that
the tobacco-growing district lacked the foliage and marks of personal comfort
` apparent in the region in which its culture had been abandoned. Yet the de-
mand, and the inviting price paid for the plant, encouraged the settlers to raise
_ it to the neglect of other crops.69 Cabell, writing also of the Colonial Period,
_P says that the colonial policy of the mother country drove the planters against
their inclination to tobacco raising as the readiest, most certain, and almost
‘ exclusive source of revenue.67
By the close of the eighteenth century at least, there was some diversifi-
cation of crops, for wheat was being grown.é8 Flour was commercially inspectedég
I and Powhatan was a chief source of flour for the Army in 1781.70 However, the
county, along with the State in general, continued to use the same methods of
extensive rather than intensive cultivation, so long as fresh lands were easily
The organization about 1820 of a State Agricultural Society was one of
the first concerted efforts to make planters aware of a need for change in
agricultural methods.72 Although several citizens of Powhatan County were members
of this progressive society,73 a letter of 1834 indicates that the foresighted
efforts of this group of Powhatan planters did not reap deserved rewards.
It attributed to tobacco raising the fact that the county presented "so melancholy
an aspect." It further stated: ". . . Here, to the unsuccessful culture of
63. Ibid., pp. 31-32; see footnote 61.
64. See footnote 11.
65. "The Status of Virginia Agriculture in l870" in Report gf thg Commissiogg;
gf Agricultgrg fg; thg Iggy 1819, Washington, 1871, p. 271.
66. Howe, gp. git., p. 133.
67. Nathaniel Francis Cabell, Early History gf Agriculture gg Virginia, dashing-
ton [gg. 1860], pp. 16-17.
68. William P. Palmer, gt ggg., editors and compilers, Qglggdgg gf Vir inia
§§@§g Pggggg gpg Other Manuscripts (1652-1869), Richmond, 1875-93 therein-
after cited as Calendar], V, p. 148.
69. Hening, Statutes, X, p. 290.
» 70. Qglggdgr, II, pp. 248, 384.
. 71. "The Status of Virginia Agriculture in l870," p. 268.
72. Ibig., p. 268.
73. Mgmoirs gf tgg Society gf Virginia fg; Promoting Agriculture . . ., Richmond,
` 1818, pp. xi-xii.

 Historical Sketch (First entry, p.55)
A f grain and grasses, we add a tobacco crop, the worst of all others to import any
{ benefit to the soil . . A ." This writer advised the exclusive cultivation of
t grains and grasses with only a small crop of tobacco.74 Efforts to rehabilitate
A t the soil were in evidence around 18