West Augusta District, Virginia
History[edit | edit source]
During the formation of the British colonies on the North American continent vague Charters, issued by the English Crown, created boundaries which overlapped, causing years of border disputes. One of these border disputes helped to establish the District of West Augusta.
The District encompassed land that today includes Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The border dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia became apparent as settlers from both colonies pushed west and some settlers filed claims with Virginia and Pennsylvania. Prior to 1768, Pennsylvania had prohibited the legal settlement of its southwest corner, but this did not halt squatters from taking possession of the land. On the other hand, Virginia was offering land for settlement in the area and also supplied protection for their settlers. In fact, Virginia had been handling the affairs of the area as Augusta County since 1754.
In order to have a more official presence in the area, Pennsylvania, in 1773, created Westmoreland County. This same year, Virginia established the District of Augusta and three years later broke the District into three counties: Monongalia, Yohogania and Ohio. Virginia also established land office and surveyors in each of the counties.
In 1779, to settle the ownership dispute, the Mason and Dixon Line was extended to the current western boundary of Pennsylvania at 80° 31’. However, prior to the line being extended, Virginia had issued certificates to those holding land north of the Mason and Dixon Line. This made it possible for those settlers to be eligible for Pennsylvania warrants. If a conflict arose over land ownership, the property was given to the older claim regardless of the state which had issued the claim.
Virginia formally dissolved its overlapping claims with Pennsylvania in 1786, reducing Monongalia and Ohio County and entirely extinguishing Yohogania County.
Virginia claims located in the current counties of Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Allegheny may be accessed by using the warrant registers for the proper Pennsylvania county. The survey should include reference to the Virginia certificate.
- A list of land claimed by the settlers and preemptioners in the District of Kentucky; [Monongalia, Yohogania, and Ohio; Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier; Washington and Montgomery] and for which certificates by the commissioners have been granted FHL film 7811 Item 2
- Early landowners of Pennsylvania: land tracts transferred from Virginia to Pennsylvania jurisdiction 1779-1780 FHL book 974.8 R2ms; At various libaries (WorldCat)
- Records of the district of West Augusta, Ohio County, and Yohogania County, Virginia : District of West Augusta, minutes of the court (1775-1776), deeds (1775-1776); Ohio County, minutes of the court (1777-1780); Yohogania County, minutes of the court (1776-1780), wills (1776-1780) FHL book 975 P2L; FHL film 1035976 Item 8
- Virginia claims to land in western Pennsylvania : published with an account of the donation lands of Pennsylvania FHL book 974.88 R2e; At varoius libraries (WorldCat)
- Unpatented land records for Monongalia, Yohogania, & Ohio Counties, Virginia 1776-1794 FHL book 975.452 R2m
Resources[edit | edit source]
West Augusta District furnished many soldiers to Virginia Regiments during the Revolutionary War. In particular in the 13th Virginia Regiment, many men served in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th Companies. In the 12th Virginia Regiment many men served in the 4th Company.
References[edit | edit source]
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Donna Bingham Munger, "Pennsylvania Land Records: A History and Guide for Research" (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1991), 133-135. WorldCat 22707760; FHL book 974.8 R2m
- G. Wayne Smith, "History of Greene County, Pennsylvania" (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania: Cornerstone Genealogical Society, 1996), 6-8. WorldCat 36230349; FHL book 974.883 H2s vol. 1
- E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra, A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787 (Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1978), 69. FHL Book 975.5 M2s.
- E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra, A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787 (Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1978), 67-68. FHL Book 975.5 M2s.