About: Dale

Dale joined The Library of Virginia in 2006 in the circulation department and liked the work so much that he decided to start library school as soon as possible. He has since graduated from Florida State University with a degree in library science and now works in the Local Records Department as an archival assistant. He is a native of Southside Virginia and was always interested in history, especially Virginia history.

Author Archives Dale

Volumes Provide a Rare Glimpse Into the Life of Slaves at Furnaces

The inside back cover of the Etna Furnace Negro Book was used to record infractions and disciplinary actions.

In July 1814, entrepreneur William Weaver made a chance investment in the Virginia iron industry along with his new partner, Thomas Mayberry. Weaver and Mayberry purchased Union Forge (later renamed Buffalo Forge), located in Rockbridge County, and two blast furnaces, Etna Furnace and Retreat Furnace, in neighboring Botetourt County. Later, Weaver would become a prominent and successful ironmaster in Virginia and one of the largest slaveholders in Rockbridge County.

Initially, Weaver staffed his furnaces with a mixture of white laborers and hired slaves, but in October 1815 he purchased 11 slaves. Weaver would use this group of slaves, which included a valuable ironworker named Tooler, to form the basis of his large crew of skilled ironworkers.

In 1825, Weaver filed a chancery suit in the Augusta County courts to dissolve his partnership with Mayberry. It was a rather acrimonious dissolution, with contention over who owned the slaves purchased in 1815. In a cagey move, Weaver had the bill of sale for the slaves made out to himself, rather than to the partnership of Weaver & Mayberry, claiming that Mayberry was against slave ownership. While examining volumes found at the Augusta County Courthouse, I discovered nine volumes belonging to Weaver and his iron interests, which had been used as exhibits in the case.

The volumes cover a variety of topics and document the purchases Weaver and … read more »

Pre-Civil War Chancery Causes Rediscovered in Middlesex County Courthouse.

This volume in the Middlesex County Courthouse was no more exciting than the title though the lipstick promised more.

Local Records archivists recently travelled to the Middlesex County Circuit Court Clerk’s office to transfer their pre-1913 chancery causes to the Library of Virginia as well as identify a large number of volumes stored in a small room separate from the main records room. While one group pulled the boxes of chancery causes, another group conducted an inventory of the volumes. They identified permanent records such as court minute books, bond books, business records, election records, and fiduciary records that dated from the 1790s to mid-1900s.

 The archivists also located two boxes of early 1800s chancery causes that had been pulled from their original drawers in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as part of its inventorying of courthouses. This was a significant discovery given that much of Middlesex County’s loose records were destroyed during the Civil War.  They were transferred to LVA along with the aforementioned pre-1913 chancery causes to be processed and indexed.  Budget permitting, they will be digitally scanned and the images will be added to the Middlesex County chancery presently found in the Chancery Records Index.

 The archivists also identified records that are nonpermanent, mainly printed material, of which the circuit court clerk can dispose. Moreover, the archivists identified volumes in need of conservation treatment including the county’s Free Negro Register, a record of great historical importance to African American … read more »

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First L.A., then Manhattan. LVA Staff in the News.

Two Library of Virginia staff members were mentioned in recent newspaper stories in both the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

 Edwin Ray, Reference Services Librarian, was featured in a Wall Street Journal story about the recent rethinking of accepted Civil War casualty figures. Ray is the driving force behind the Virginia Military Dead database which draws from 937 different  sources to document the death of Virginia soldiers in service to Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederates States of America. The database is an ongoing project and should prove useful to historians and genealogists.

 A Los Angeles Times story gave a touching account of the CW 150 Project’s visit to Warrenton. Renee Savits, Senior Project Archivist, is part of a team that is travelling the state to digitize Civil War-related documents that have, until now, remained hidden from public view in family hands. We are so happy to know that these stories will be preserved for future generations.

 -Dale Dulaney, Local Records Archival Assistant.… read more »

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Antique License Plates

The tin wagon license plate submitted by J. H. Gallagher as part of his bid for a contract to make the plates of the City of Manchester.

At the 24 February 1910, meeting of the Manchester Ordinance Committee, committee member W. W. Workman moved that the city auditor be requested to advertise for bids for tin wagon license plates.  J. H. Gallagher, house and sign painter, submitted his bid for the job by letter declaring he would do the job at 5 cents per license for the year 1910.  Included with his letter were two identical samples of his work.  Measuring 2 x 7 inches, the tin signs are painted a dark yellow with black numbers and red letters.  The initials l.H.W. possibly mean licensed hack wagon, while C.M. surely stands for the City of Manchester.

 The following meeting of the Ordinance Committee was held on 23 March 1910, when Mr. Broaddus moved that the bids for the license plates be laid on the table until the next meeting.  Unfortunately for Mr. Gallagher and any other bidders, no one was to receive the job.  The City of Manchester was annexed to the City of Richmond in April 1910.

 The original licenses and the Ordinance Committee Minute Book, 1904-1910, are available on microfilm.

-Sarah Nerney, Senior Local Records Archivist

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New Children’s Book About LVA Published! Book Signing March 17.

Tameka Hobbs will sign your copy on March 17th from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM at the Library of Virginia.

Tameka Hobbs will sign copies of To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia at the Virginia Shop on March 17 from 4:00 to 7:30 PM. The new children’s book, published by the Library of Virginia, teaches young people about the important work done by Library staff. The book uses engaging cartoon figures—Archie the Archivist, Libby the Librarian, and Connie the Conservator dedicated to fighting Archival Enemies called Liquid Lenny, Andy Acid, Mildred Mold, Bartholomew B. Bug, Fred the Flame, Lucia Light, Surge, and Worm.i.am—to explain the roles of librarians and archivists in keeping historical documents safe for future generations. The illustrations are by Les Harper of Lightbox Studios, who previously worked with the Library on the graphics for the Library’s 2009 exhibition Poe: Man Myth, or Monster.

 The first 50 elementary teachers will receive a FREE copy of the book. The Virginia Shop will offer a special discount to educators throughout the evening. The book was funded through a grant from the Garland and Agnes Taylor Gray Foundation. The Library will distribute copies of the 36-page softcover book to students who attend programs at the Library and to select schools in Virginia. Individual copies can be purchased through the Virginia Shop (804-692-3592) for $15.99.

 There is free parking under the Library for this event. Enter from … read more »

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Grant Allows Jefferson’s Papers To Be Preserved

Thomas Jefferson was featured on this 1904 commemorative postage stamp.

The Library of Virginia recently received a highly competitive Save America’s Treasures grant in the amount of $110,000 for the conservation of the gubernatorial papers of Thomas Jefferson.

The correspondence, letters, and documents pertaining to Thomas Jefferson’s service as the second governor of Virginia bring to life the daily challenges faced by him and other leaders during the Revolutionary War, while drafting the Articles of Confederation, and when addressing frontier relations. The list of Jefferson’s correspondents in the collection reads like a who’s who of American history and includes John Jay, James Madison, Baron Frederick von Steuben, John Paul Jones, George Rogers Clark, among other notables. The collection consists of 1,992 manuscript pages, and three letterbooks. This Save America’s Treasures grant will facilitate the preservation and digitization of the entire collection, ensuring public access to these valuable materials.

 This will be the second time these particular documents will go through a preservation process. In the 1930s, The Library of Virginia (then the Virginia State Library) partnered with William J. Barrow, a pioneer in conservation practices. Barrow and his Richmond-based company began work on colonial- and revolutionary-era records held by the archives utilizing his new laminating technique. This new method, which used cellulose acetate film, was widely accepted as a stable and effective means of preserving documents. Within a few decades, however, archivists and librarians … read more »

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Happy Belated Presidents Day

Writ of Capias for George Washington from Frederick County.

Washington Writ Transcript

This writ of capias caught our eye for two reasons. First, it concerns George Washington. Second, Washington, probably with sword or firearm, refused to enter the custody of the Frederick County Deputy Sherriff William Green to answer a complaint in court against him by John Harrow. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding this capias writ. Perhaps our readers could add some context to the events as described by Green.  Use the comment box below.

-Dale Dulaney, Archival Assistant… read more »

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And They’re Off!

Plat from an Augusta County chancery cause.

The long anticipated start of the Augusta County Chancery scanning project has begun! The first 50 boxes of chancery cases were transferred to LVA’s digital vendor (Backstage Library Works) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on February 4th. Scanning of the papers began last week on the portion of the collection dated from 1867 to 1912. Case files dated from 1745 to 1866 will be scanned at a later date after archivists complete additional arrangement, indexing, and conservation of these fragile papers.

The Augusta County chancery causes are the most voluminous of any locality in Virginia and are one of the longest and most complete continuous collections of chancery records of any locality in the country. They document an unusually large geographic area. For the period 1745 to 1770, the boundaries of Augusta County encompassed most of western Virginia and what became the states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio, and parts of present-day Pennsylvania as far north as Pittsburgh. In fact, the Augusta County court held sessions at Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh when claim to that area, known as the West Augusta District, was in dispute. Even after the county was reduced to roughly its present size in 1778, the Augusta County Court continued to be the repository for chancery causes from 28 localities, which were heard by the Staunton Superior Court of Chancery from 1801 … read more »

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CW 150 coverage from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Check out this video of the CW 150 Legacy Project in action here at the Library of Virginia. It’s provided courtesy of the Richmond Times Dispatch. The accompanying newspaper story is here.… read more »

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Emmitt Smith in the Mecklenburg County courthouse. Photo by Kent Eanes courtesy of NBC.

Genealogists, take a break from the microfilm machine and those dusty documents! Find a seat on the couch and get ready to see your passion brought to life on the small screen.

The second season of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? begins this Friday, February 4, at 8 P.M. As you may know, each episode of the show follows a celebrity whose family tree is researched by experts – how fabulous it is to be a celebrity! The celebrities discover their hidden family stories and secrets as they travel to the archives that house their family records and the places where their ancestors lived. One episode last season featured Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith and revealed his family’s connection to Mecklenburg County, Virginia. See the episode here. Smith traveled to the county courthouse in Boydton to view records there and visited historic Boyd Tavern across the street.

This season promises more connections to Virginia with celebrity participants Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams, and Ashley Judd.

If you are inspired to begin tracing your ancestry after watching the show, the Library of Virginia is a great place to start. Our collection contains a wealth of Virginia records that cannot be found anywhere else. We also provide free access to Ancestry.com … read more »

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