Editor’s note: This blog post marks the close of the grant-funded Montgomery County chancery processing project (in Civil War terms, the “Last Dispatch”). Thanks to generous support by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), over 200 boxes of Montgomery County chancery are now flat-filed, indexed, conserved, and awaiting digitization. Dedicated LVA staff Sarah Nerney, Regan Shelton, and Scott Gardner, along with assistance from Clerk of the Circuit Court Erica W. Williams and her staff, completed not only the processing of chancery records but the organization and identification of scores of other historical court records. To revisit some of the discoveries made over the course of this two-year project, re-read some of the earlier blog posts. The chancery causes are now slated for digital reformatting. Researchers should contact the Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk’s office with inquiries regarding access or copies.
When one thinks about the Civil War, usually the first thoughts are about military battles, but there were many battles fought in the courts over resources such as supplies and land. The chancery records in Virginia’s courthouses can provide tantalizing insights into conflicts on the home front. They also reveal how complicated life became in Civil War Virginia as individuals, businesses, and even localities fought each other and the Confederate government to defend their property or what they viewed as rightfully … read more »
“My health is so very bad that I do not know whether I will ever reach New Orleans or Cuba again.”
– Martin Duralde, Jr., to Henry Clay Duralde, 8 August 1846
“My cards are laying with the cock-roaches on the shelf.”
- Martin Duralde, Jr., to Allen Jones, 12 August 1846
Wracked by tuberculosis (or consumption as it was then called), 23 year-old Martin Duralde spent a month and a half during the summer of 1846 at several Virginia springs in a futile attempt to recover his health. As Duralde, the grandson of the legendary Henry Clay of Kentucky, traveled to the Blue, Red, and White Sulphur Springs of Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, (West) Virginia, he kept a letterbook that is now part of the LVA’s collection (Accession 22281).
Duralde’s companion for part of this trip was a man named L. H. Coulter, called “Old C.” in the letters. Travelling up the Kanawha River towards the springs, the two men stopped in a small town where they had heard that “there was a great superfluity of money.” While running a card game there, Old C. was caught dealing two cards off the deck and “ruined a fine prospect” of the two winning between several hundred and two thousand dollars. Their prospects didn’t pan out at either the Blue or … read more »