Saturday, December 19, 2015

Petitions to form Tazewell County.

aunt minerva collection
During the last half of the eighteenth century southwestern Virginia was developing rapidly. County after county was formed. Creating a county was very simple-as soon as an area had what they considered a sufficient number of residents to support a county government, they petitioned the state, setting forth in the petition the proposed boundaries. The request was not always granted. A total of six petitions were submitted before Tazewell County became a reality. These documents are extremely valuable. Many names appear on them which are not in the tax lists. Primarily these new namesw are those of young sons. No law has been found which establishes the minimum age for petitioners, but some of those in these lists may have been 18 years, or less. Some cheating on ages may have occurred.
The petitions reveal important information concerning the contiguity of the residents. Unlike the tax lists, which have been rearranged so that all surnames starting with the same initial letter are together, the names of gthe petitioners are in the order in which they signed...and it appears someone carried the paper from house to house soliciting the residents support.
One must be alert to inaccuracies in these records. It is obvious that some supplicants names appear more than once in the same petition, and there may be errors in names as well. Also keep in mind that signing was voluntary. Mere absence from a list does not prove nonresidency.
Petition of inhabitants of Wythe and Russell counties to form a new county. (Virginia Legislative Petitions, Wythe Co.-Oversize Box 13, #2989, October 23, 1793.) To begin on Flat Top Mt., northwest of the Clover Bottom, thence with Montgomery County line to where it crosses between houses of Henry Harmon and Robert Evans, thence to top of Garden Mt., where the road crosses the same between Garden and Spangler's Mill, thence to top of Garden Mt., where the road crosses the same betweenm Garden and Spangler's Mill, thence with the top of said mountain to Clinch Mt. and along the top of Clinch Mt. to a point from which a line to run due north will strike the house of George Greene in Russell County, and from thence on the same course to a point from which a line to run due east will strike the beginning. (denied) Petitioners:
James Maxwell.
John Maxwell.

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