21 February 2013

Metal Detecting Post #96 - More Colonial Intrigue In Augusta County, Virginia

The more time I spend metal detecting, the more passionate and intrigued I become about the history that lies just beneath our feet in ground we walk over every day. It's quite breathtaking to consider. As I was born and raised in Waynesoboro, Virginia and surrounding Augusta County, I do most of my exploration and metal detecting right here. Some older, but very detailed post-war maps of Augusta County, have provided some amazing details and information. Augusta County holds more than it's share of history:

Augusta County was created from Orange County in 1738. For seven years, until the population grew large enough, Augusta’s records were kept in Orange. In 1745, Augusta elected a sheriff, a vestry, a county court, a minister, and a clerk of court. A courthouse was built on the same site in Staunton (originally called Beverley’s Mill Place) as the current courthouse. The county’s records have been kept continuously at the courthouse since 1745. In that year, the county included all of present southwestern Virginia, most of present West Virginia and even stretched to the Mississippi River. As people began to settle in those western areas, new counties were cut off from Augusta, beginning in 1769 with Botetourt County, then Rockingham and Rockbridge in 1778.

The Augusta Militia, today the 116th Infantry, was formed in the 1740s and represents one of the oldest and most storied military units in the country. Descendants of the original militia became the famed “Stonewall Brigade” in the Civil War, and during World War Two, this unit hit Omaha Beach on D-Day. (Source Augusta County Historical Society)
While my primary interest has always been (except as a boy) primarily the Civil War era, I'm also  quite interested in the colonial era as well. My interest in this era of our nation's history has been intensified in recent years due to my metal detecting activity. I've recently been exploring a site in a rather remote area of Augusta County. In previous posts, I've noted some of my recoveries: An 1801 Large Cent and counter-stamped token and part of a colonial shoe buckle. I've also found a couple of colonial pewter buttons, spoons, and another shoe buckle.

Below are some of these finds, which I've not posted before:

Above are parts of pewter spoons - circa 1750-1820

Above: Pewter button #1 - circa 1790-1810

Above: Pewter button #2 - circa 1790-1810
Above: Colonial shoe buckle #2 - circa 1790-1810


cenantua said...

Nice pewter spoon heads, Richard.FYI, you may be even more interested in Hotchkiss' wotking notebook. He covered some areas in greater detail, not necessarily captured in his maps

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hi Robert. Thanks. I've only glanced at that once and had completely forgotten about it. Thanks so much for the reminder. His maps are amazing. (I know you meant "working.")

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

BTW, for those interested - whatever part of my collection which is not passed onto my children will be donated to one or two of local museums when I become a buried relic. ;-)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert - thinking about this some more, I'm not sure I've seen the notebook you're talking about. I saw a collection of things at the AHS in Staunton a while back and also one, I think, at the museum in Dayton. Maybe that was the notebook you're referring to, maybe something else, I just can't be sure. Has this notebook been published?

cenantua said...

Richard, The sketchbook/notebook (actually, I think there's more than one) are located in the Library of Congress, along with the "make me a map of the Valley" map. I last saw the map and the sketchbook/notbook, around 2002, when I was working on the book for Page County. The sketchbook/notebook(s) has/have not been published. Hotchkiss' maps became a matter of controversy when he died. His daughters fought over them, and that's why many were scattered about in different collections. When I visited "The Oaks" a few years back (an interesting place... Hotchkiss used seven types of wood throughout the house), I had a chance to walk into the vault in which all of the maps were once houses. Quite amazing.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert.

The Relic Seeker said...

Love me some colonial relics. Most of the digging this yankee does is colonial and early American from cellar holes. Civil War is a big treat for me.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I wish we had those cellar holes down here like you folks do. I do have one not to far from my home, but haven't found much there. I actually believe it's an old spring house.