"Warwick County" (now city of Newport News) Court Records

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Accession Number: 50416
Genre: manuscript material
Date: 1688-1751
Dimensions: seven manuscript documents
Description: The Library of Virginia recently recovered these seven documents that had been removed from the Warwick County (now city of Newport News) courthouse by a Massachusetts soldier, Wallace A. Putnam, a second lieutenant in the 10th Massachusetts Regiment, during the Peninsula Campaign in April 1862. The court records, dated from 1688 to 1751, include wills, a bond, and other legal documents. These documents are of particular importance to researchers since the vast majority of pre-Civil War Warwick County records were destroyed by fire. One of the original Virginia shires created in 1634, Warwick County suffered a number of records losses, mainly during the Civil War period. The clerk’s office was burned on 15 December 1864 with both county court minute books and loose records from 1787 to 1819 destroyed by the fire. Additional records were burned in Richmond on 3 April 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the War. Ironically, if Putnam had not removed these records during his 1862 visit to Warwick, they likely also would have been destroyed in the subsequent fires.
Restoration Needs: The fragile documents are sewn to paper, lined with decaying linen, and have suffered from iron gall ink corrosion. The documents will be first washed, repaired and then be strengthened by in-filling losses. There was also a small book that the originals were folded and stored within. This small book will be retained and encorporated into a new custom clamshell box that will house all the documents in mylar sleeves.

The following groups made sizable donations to the conservation of these manuscripts: the Daughters of the Barons of Runnymede, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Warwick County Historical Society, and the Jamestowne Chapter of the Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century . Thank you for your generous contributions! We have been able to fully conserve these fragile documents. http://www.lva.virginia.gov/agencies/CCRP/

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