DAR Sponsorship to Preserve Records of Revolutionary War Payments

The Library of Virginia (LVA) recently completed the reformatting of the Auditor of Public Accounts, Receipts and Disbursements Journals, 1778-1797, (Accession APA 45). These twenty-one volumes are now available in our Reading Room as Miscellaneous Reels 6251-6262. Funding for this project was made possible in part through the sponsorship of the Virginia State Society, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

These volumes are comprised of daily entries of revenues and expenditures, many of which document payments for Revolutionary War service and public service contributions. Entries include payments for military service in the militia and Continental Line and for other military services rendered, relief payments to disabled soldiers and widows, interest paid on military certificates, and reimbursement for impressed property, as well as payments to individuals for civil services and to members of the General Assembly.

Typical examples from this time period include the warrant on 27 April 1782 for Elizabeth Jones, the poor widow of soldier Richard Jones who was killed at Sewell’s Point in 1777; the authorization on 15 December 1778 to pay Thomas Jefferson for provisions furnished to the Albemarle Militia; a warrant from 4 February 1779 to James Nichols for lodging three prisoners belonging to the British warship Swift; a payment authorization from 27 April 1782 for George Rogers Clark, for building boats to be used on the western frontier; a 1 May 1782 warrant for Simon Murray, who cleaned and repaired the ceremonial mace of the House of Delegates; and a pension dated 8 May 1782 for John O’Neal, who was injured at the Battle of Camden.

The volumes also include other entries that beg for further investigation, such as warrants for payment to Catherine Bryan for her services as a nurse at the Flying Hospital, 4 March 1782; to John Boyd for pay as a spy, 19 December 1778; to John Gerrault for his services as a French translator and interpreter in the Illinois territory, 19 June 1782; to James Morton for his full pay while he was a prisoner of the Indians, 25 June 1782; and to John Davis for the loss of his boat and compass while conveying the baggage of Major General the Marquis de Lafayette from York to Annapolis, 2 August 1782.

These volumes contain a wealth of information relating to the Virginia men and women of the American Revolution. The information will be of great interest to family and historical researchers, as well as members or potential members of patriotic or lineage societies. After years of use, however, the original volumes have become fragile, the ink has begun to fade, and, until now, the records could only be used on-site at the Library. Microfilm reformatting will not only help to preserve these volumes, as the film can be served in lieu of the originals, it will also provide access to a much wider audience of researchers via interlibrary loan. A copy of this film will also be available at the NSDAR library in Washington, DC.

The Library of Virginia is grateful to the Virginia State Society, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution for their generous support in preserving the documentary history of the Commonwealth.

 

–Paige Neal, State Records Archivist

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