Loudoun Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary M. Clemens’s Historic Records and Deed Research Division will host “The Voices of Slaves from Loudoun County’s Chancery Records” during Leesburg’s First Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 1.
The first of four Historic Records First Friday Programs planned in 2019, the exhibition is drawn from the Historic Records Division’s documentation of all slave-related cases from Loudoun County’s chancery files from 1757 to 1866.
A chancery court heard cases that could not be readily decided by existing written laws. Decisions were rendered by a judge, not a jury, and were based on fairness or equity as opposed to traditional common law.
The exhibition, at the Loudoun County Courthouse, will feature some of the unique chancery records found during the project, including records concerning the colonization of former slaves to Liberia, emancipation, sale of slaves, and slaves suing for their freedom.
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, a National Trust Historic Site, has partnered with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the event. Oatlands will display documents on its original owner George Carter; the community of Gleedsville, which was founded by former slaves at Oatlands; and other records from one of Loudoun’s most historic landmarks.
Members of the Historic Records Division staff and volunteers will be on hand during the event to answer questions about the court documents and the history of the Loudoun County Courthouse and courtyard grounds.
More information about the Clerk’s Historic Records Division go to loudoun.gov/clerk-archives.