Welcome to the Isle of Wight County (Virginia) Historical Society

Antioch Church on Antioch Road

Hear Ye  Hear Ye

Press Release – 23rd Annual Heritage Day

The 23rd annual Heritage Day 2016 will be Saturday, September 10th, 2016 9:15 - 4:00 pm in Courtland, sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society and the Heritage Village /Agriculture & Forestry Museum at 26315 Heritage Lane in Courtland, VA. Admission at the Ag & Forestry Museum is $5 for adults and $2 for school age children. Preschoolers are free. The Ag & Forestry Museum will also be celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Museum equipment such as the saw mill, grist mill and printing presses will run intermittently during the day. Crafts people from Virginia and North Carolina, many in period costumes, will demonstrate old crafts, with craft items for sale. Lunch will be for sale on the grounds – BBQ, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple and sweet potato jacks, water, and soft drinks.

The Museum of Southampton History, adjacent at 22541 Linden Street, will feature several special exhibits, including six amazing to-scale models of local homes and historic buildings built by E. B. Gayle and photographs of many more of our old homes. Our towns and cities grew up around trains—the Trains of Southampton features a working train representing downtown Courtland in the 1950’s and includes photos of depots, trains, and more. The Prehistory Exhibit displays prehistoric shells, sharks’ teeth, and whale vertebrae from when Southampton County was part of the ocean floor. The very popular Military Room highlights the service of our local soldiers in all wars through uniforms, photos, memorabilia, and weaponry. Entry here is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Jeff Hines will sell and autograph his three books. He will have a short presentation at noon outside the museum on the movie "Walk with You", based on his book about Dred Scott.

Dr. Will Dunstan and Rick Francis will be at the Rebecca Vaughan House, on site, from 10 til 2 to answer questions about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection.

Always a popular attraction, the museum’s grist mill will be grinding fine cornmeal which will be available for a donation. Samples of hot corn bread, made from that meal will be given away throughout the day. Volunteers will demonstrate the old technique of type setting on the museum’s two old printing presses, an 1885 Chandler & Price and a Columbian #2, treadle operated, hand fed. Visitors can print a free bookmark bearing the museum’s logo.

Antique cars and tractors will be on display. Small gasoline engines will be "put-putting" throughout the day. In addition, the 1920’s ground sawmill and planer mill will be in operation several times during the day. The blacksmith shop too will be open, with blacksmiths at work.

Among the crafts being demonstrated and for sale visitors will find painted gourds, baskets, handmade jewelry , sewing, quilting, candles, floral arrangements, wreaths, paintings, yard art, as well as various types of needlework and wood work. Artisans from the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will blend contemporary and traditional art through beadwork, flute making, wood carving, quilting and pottery making. Other special demonstrations include wood carving, spinning, crocheting and knitting. Some of the old crafts to see are lye soap making, butter churning, hominy making, cracklings and lard rendering.

A state certified local trapper will demonstrate how to handle and tan fur. String music by Potecasi Creek String Band from Murfreesboro can be heard resonating around the grounds. See a bee keeper with a live hive. Gourds, pumpkins, produce, pickles, jams, jellies, and baked goods will be for sale.

"Shiloh Grass," a local blue grass band and crowd favorite, will entertain during the day. The little country church is always an attraction, and this year will feature old-fashioned hymn sings. Don Spence, Hillbilly Poet, will recite poems about local history. Come see special exhibits of old Blacksmithing Tools, an assortment of Old Washing Machines, as well as corn-cob pipe making, washboard washing of clothes and story- telling in the one room school.

Children of all ages will have a ball in a Petting Zoo featuring healthy, gentle pet farm animals. Have you ever seen baby chicks pip their way out of eggs? They will be hatching on Sept. 10th! Smokey the Bear will visit, and there will be hay rides, face painting, wheel barrow rides, and a hen house of chickens. Also, young folks can learn the art of milking a cow by practicing on "Mattie," our replica "cow."

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings and Heritage Village, which includes a country store, one room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, smoke house, old post office, and two outhouses, among other buildings. A newly restored barber shop will be open with family members telling stories about its history.

This 23rd Heritage Day event promises to provide a wholesome and fun outing for the whole family. Visitors will see how the older generations lived, how hard they worked to make a living. For the older generation, it’s a stroll down memory lane. Come and learn how they made the items in their homes and on the farm. Farming activities, by the way, included the whole family. We offer something for all ages to enjoy.


For more information, feel free to contact me, Lynda Updike at 757-654-6785 or at updikes@earthlink.net or at 33335 Statesville Rd., Newsoms, VA 23874.

Photo #1: Potecasi Creek String Band

Photo #2: Civil War Reenactors 41st Va. Co. F

NOTE: All photos by Anne W. Bryant


Windsor Castle Kitchen Outbuilding

Wolftrap Plantation on Emanual Church Road

Roland Edwards house, now owned by Thomas Barlow ... after fire in 2006

Old Bethany Church


Family Search Project Update

The FamilySearch project has been completed. All digital images of genealogical/historical records, including deeds, wills, marriage records, order books, land tax books, bond books, etc. can now be viewed on the FamilySearch website.

The link to FamilySearch has been provided on our Home Page – Genealogy section.
Working with Tony Gilreath from FamilySearch was a pleasure, and the project ran smoothly.

I also want to thank the Isle of Wight County Historical Society and all those who volunteered their time in unfolding all loose papers and documents and preparing the documents for digitization. The efforts of the volunteers made it possible to complete this project within a four-month period.

On a personal note, thank you again Volunteers! Your time is greatly appreciated.
Sharon Jones, Clerk

Genealogy / Research

The Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court is a good place to conduct genealogical research. The Clerk’s Office contains the following materials:
Will records beginning in the 1600′s
Deed records beginning in the early 1700′s
Birth records 1853 to 1885
Death records 1853 to 1876
Marriage records beginning in 1772

We invite you to visit our spacious records room, where you can view documents on our public computers or pull the actual books from the shelves.

The Clerk’s office provides SRA (secure remote access) to our land records.($300.00 for six months subscription. SRA provides Internet access to Deeds and Wills…Date Range 1647 to present for Wills; and Date Range 1701 to present for Deeds. Also available are Marriage Licenses, Judgments, and Financing Statements…Date Range 1993 to present. The hardware and software used to generate these electronic records are supplied and maintained by Logan Systems, Inc.
If you are interested in signing up for SRA, please read our SRA cover letter and submit an application.

SRA Cover Letter
SRA Application

In 1980 documents of pre-1913 chancery causes (also known as “loose papers”) were transferred to the Library of Virginia, and said documents were then scanned and indexed by LVA, and are available to anyone free of charge. Just visit http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/, or simply go the http://www.lva.virginia.gov/ and search for Chancery Records Index. The digital images as well as the original case files are maintained at LVA at no cost to the County.
For additional records and information on how to begin tracing your family history visit the Library of Virginia’s Website. Many of the records stored in the Clerk’s Office can be accessed through this link.

On May 21, 2012 FamilySearch began capturing digital images of genealogical/historical records, including deeds, wills, marriage records, order books, land tax books, bond books, etc from 1647 to 1917. Today, all of these records are available online through the FamilySearch website.

For your convenience, if the researcher provides a book and page number reference, the Clerk’s Office staff will make copies at a cost of 50 cents per page. When you send in your request, please be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for returning of documents.


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This Page Updated:September 01, 2016