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Posted on: February 25, 2019

First Friday Event: The Voices of Enslaved People from Loudoun’s Chancery Records

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Loudoun Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary M. Clemens invites the community to join the Clerk’s Historic Records and Deed Research Division on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., for the first of four Historic Records First Friday programs in 2019.  

The March 1 exhibition, entitled “The Voices of Enslaved People from Loudoun County’s Chancery Records,” is drawn from the 2018 documentation by the Historic Records Division of all slavery-related cases in 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 will be held at the Loudoun County Courthouse, 18 East Market Street in Leesburg. It will feature some of the unique chancery records found during the project, including records concerning the colonization of former enslaved people in Liberia, emancipation, the sale of enslaved people and enslaved people who sued for their freedom.    

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, a National Trust Historic Site, has partnered with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in this event. Oatlands will display documents on its original owner George Carter, the community of Gleedsville, which was founded by people who were formerly enslaved 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 is online at www.loudoun.gov/clerk-archives.

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