A History of Orange County Virginia

In the rich tapestry of American history, the local narratives often provide the most vibrant and intimate glimpse into the nation’s past. “A History of Orange County Virginia” by William Wallace Scott is one such treasure, offering a detailed chronicle of this pivotal region from its formation in 1734 to the end of the Reconstruction era in 1870. Published in 1907, this 292-page volume encapsulates the political and social evolution of Orange County.

Scott embarked on this monumental task driven by a belief in the importance of preserving the history of Orange County—a region he deemed notable enough to warrant such dedication. His lamentation that no earlier historian had undertaken this endeavor underscores the urgency and passion with which he approached his work. By meticulously combing through the county court’s minute books and other available records, Scott has managed to salvage and immortalize a narrative that could easily have been lost to time.

This book navigates through the complexities of historical documentation, including the interpretation of archaic terms and practices, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the county’s legacy. Scott’s refusal to omit the darker chapters of the county’s past, such as instances of severe punishment, reflects his commitment to an unflinching and truthful portrayal of history. His narrative, enriched with accounts of legal and social institutions, conflicts, and the day-to-day lives of the county’s inhabitants, offers a panoramic view of the shaping of a community.

The structure of “A History of Orange County Virginia” is thoughtfully organized, although it eschews a chronological order in favor of thematic grouping. This approach allows Scott to delve deeply into subjects, connecting events and developments separated by time but united by relevance. The book also features a wealth of appendices and eschews genealogy, aiming instead to focus on broader historical narratives and insights.

Scott acknowledges the assistance of notable historians and local officials, underscoring the collaborative nature of historical scholarship. His work stands as a testament to diligent research and a deep appreciation for the county’s past, offering readers a detailed and nuanced understanding of Orange County’s role in the broader American story.

The inclusion of a glossary to navigate the historical and legal terminology used in the book, alongside a list of illustrations, maps, and biographical sketches, makes this work an invaluable resource for historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in the heritage of Virginia.

A History of Orange County Virginia

Table of Contents for A History of Orange County Virginia

  1. The Seating of Virginia 13
  2. The Genesis of Orange 17
  3. Organization of the County 26
  4. The Courthouses 33
  5. The Colonial Churches 42
  6. Other Old Churches — The Dissenters 46
  7. Indian Antiquities 52
  8. French and Indian Wars 58
  9. Orange in the Revolution 63
  10. Germanna and the First Settlers 77
  11. Progress to the Mines 87
  12. The Knights of the Horseshoe 98
  13. Physical Features 114
  14. Social and Economic 121
  15. Crimes and Punishments 133
  16. The Orange Humane Society 138
  17. From 1848 to 1861 144
  18. The War Period 148
  19. Reconstruction, 1865 to 1870 160
  20. Fiscal and Statistical, 1870 to 1907 166
  21. Miscellaneous 174
  22. Biographical Sketches 181
    • Barbour, B. Johnson
    • Barbour, James
    • Barbour, Philip Pendleton
    • Barbour, Thomas
    • Bartley, James Avis
    • Chew, Colby
    • Chew, Larkin
    • Cleveland, Benjamin
    • Crenshaw, William G., Capt.
    • Franklin, Jesse
    • Fry, Philip S.
    • Gordon, James
    • Gordon, William Fitzhugh
    • Kemper, James Lawson
    • Leland, John
    • Madison, James
    • Mills, Roger Q.
    • Morton, Jackson
    • Morton, Jeremiah
    • Newman, James
    • Spotswood, Alexander
    • Sumpter, Thomas, Gen.
    • Taliaferro, James Piper
    • Taylor, John
    • Taylor, Zachary, President
    • Waddel, James
    • Williams, Lewis Burwell
  23. Historic and Other Homes 202
  24. Being a Personal Retrospect 216
  25. Importations 225
  26. Census, 1782 230
  27. Will of President Madison 239
  28. War of 1812 244
  29. War of The Revolution 247
  30. Commissions, 1734-1783 258
  31. Roster of the Montpelier Guards During John Brown Raid, 1859 263
  32. Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861 to 1865 264
  33. Members of the Various Conventions 278
  34. Members of the Colonial House of Burgesses 279
  35. Index 281

List of Illustrations in A History of Orange County Virginia

  • Montpelier Frontispiece
  • At Burlington 126
  • Barboursville 36
  • Cameron Lodge 88
  • Church of the Blind Preacher 46
  • Clifton 176
  • Frascati 18
  • Hawfield 96
  • Map of Orange County 13
  • Mayhurst 160
  • Montebello 112
  • Mount Sharon 56
  • Pleasant View 144
  • Rocklands 80
  • Soldier’s Rest 72
  • Somerset 64
  • Tomb of Madison 206
  • Woodley 168
  • Wood Park 136


Scott, William Wallace, A History of Orange County, Virginia, from its formation in 1734 (O.S.) to the end of reconstruction in 1870, Richmond, Va. : E. Waddey co., 1907.

Orange County VA,


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