Thursday, October 13, 2011

Virginia's "Best Rifle Counties" ca. 1781

Link to Western Va county maps showing the evolution of counties from 1738 on:

Virginia's Counties in 1738

Virginia's Counties in 1770

 Virginia's Counties in 1776

Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette May 29th, 1781 (Lafayette in the American Revolution Vol IV page 143)

"I am sorry it has not been in your power to send me the County Returns of Militia. I assure you returns weekley are indispensably necessary to enable the Executive to keep Militia in the Field. I did however on receiving Information from Colo. Walker that the Enemy were reinforced call for one Fourth of the Militia of Washington, Montgomery, Botetourt, Rockbridges Augusta Rockingham and Amherst, which (the last excepted) are our best rifle Counties. They will rendezvous at Charlottesville and there expect your orders..."

An article titled Henry County. From Its Formation in 1776 to the End of the Eighteenth Century (The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 9, No. 4, Oct 1902) contains some very interesting extracts detailing the prices of arms for the use of that county during the American Revolution. In all, Henry county impressed 10 smooth bored guns/shot guns and 8 Rifle Guns for the militia of the county from 1776 to 1781.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fun link: the "Mayo Island" Powder horn

From Colonial Williamsburg's excellent online Emuseum

Mayo Island powder horn
May 20, 1774
Maker: George Deval
Origin: America, Virginia, Richmond area
OL: 14" OW: 3 1/8"
Cow horn, wood, ink & brass
Museum Purchase

Acc. No. 2011-4
Engraved powder horn with faceted & carved spout, embellished with a reinforcing ring set slightly back from the tip. The whole of the horn goes from a dark cream color to a darker greenish color as it nears the spout. Its rounded soft wood base plug is retained by 5 cast brass tacks (one of which is missing) and has a rectangular patched repair, with a tiny brass wire loop, is inlet into the center of the plug. Engraving shallowly executed, a problem compounded by subsequent wear.
Inscription(s): "George Deval His Powder Horn Come From Isld. Mayo May 20, 1774"
By the French and Indian War, engraved powder horns were extremely popular in the American Colonies, and were carried hunting and during military duty alike.
This horn was created either by or for a George Deval of Mayo Island in the spring of 1774. Since the only locatable Mayo Island is in the James River at Richmond, this piece is an extremely rare example of a pre-Revolutionary War Virginia powder horn.

Engraved on the horn is a scene of large masted ships and manned rowing craft filling the waterway around a hilly town, likely representing Richmond. Other decorative engravings include geometric designs, trees and a bird. In a band spanning the lower portion of the horn is the inscription "George Deval His Powder Horn Come From Isld. Mayo May 20, 1774."