Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens last week rolled out a set of collectable cards highlighting Loudoun’s central role in American history and the nearly unparalleled collection of historic records at its courthouse.
“Loudoun is one of the few jurisdictions in Virginia that has all their historic records intact since the origin of that respective county or city,” Clemens said during a July 27 press conference on the step of Loudoun’s historic courthouse. “So we have a real fiduciary responsibility to make sure we are protecting, and we are preserving, and we are promoting the value of our historic records here in Loudoun County.”
Loudoun also played a central role in much of Virginia and American history—such as when the Declaration of Independence was read from the Loudoun courthouse steps in August 1776.
The Clerk of Court’s Historic Records Division has done that work with the aid not only of state funding but local partners like the Ketoctin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Van Huyck family. The Van Huycks recently contributed $12,000 through the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier County, which was used to digitize records, and the Daughters of the American Revolution have given nearly $25,000 over the past four years to help preserve minute books and other court records dating to the 1700s.
Al Van Huyck, a former Loudoun Planning Commission chairman and longtime planner and preservationist in Loudoun, recalled inheriting an 1800s memoir through his mother. It was the story of his ancestor Alfred Ashfield, who started a coal company in West Virginia, mentioning in the memoir that a street was named after him there. More than 100 years later, he said, Ashfield Street still exists.
“That’s the excitement of keeping these records, because they bring life today—they’re not just dead records, they bring light today—to us all, and it’s worthwhile and I’m very pleased, Gary, you gave me the chance to participate,” Van Huyck said.
Kecia Dyer Brown, regent of the Ketoctin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was on hand to present yet another check to help the Historic Records Division’s work.
“The restoration of all of our old documents brings to life the historic past of this place and especially promotes the history of individuals who created our nation,” Brown said. “This is more than a simple birth or death record of our founders—these provide a fuller story of daily interactions.”
Clemens introduced a set of 13 baseball card-style cards with some of the notable records in Loudoun’s extensive collection—including one actual baseball player, Maurice Dailey “Toby” Atwell, a Leesburg native who played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Braves from 1952 to 1956.
The cards are available from the Historic Records Division and public libraries, Clemens said. They were created with assistance from the Department of Economic Development, which has seen success with its farmer trading cards promoting Loudoun’s agriculture.