Supervisors punt on Confederate statue control

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors will not seek authority from the Virginia General Assembly in January to move or remove a statue of a Confederate soldier that stands in front of the county courthouse.

On Wednesday, the supervisors narrowly defeated a motion by Board Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) to request that the General Assembly amend state law to give the county discretion over the bronze statue, which was erected in 1908. Under state law, Virginia localities are not permitted to “disturb or interfere with” war memorials.

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The Washington Post, Sept. 22, 2017

Records document a century of segregation

Carolyn Nicholson and her grandson, Adonis Taylor, 10, of Ashburn, look at some of the records displayed at the open house.

An open house at the Loudoun County Courthouse on Feb. 11 highlighted the century of segregation in Virginia that followed the Civil War and the abolishing of slavery.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office displayed records that document the separate and unequal treatment of African Americans in the county during that time. Documents reveal how segregation pervaded all areas of life, including the education, public services and land transactions.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 26, 2017

200 years of criminal records indexed

Although Rachel Steer, John Lambag and Arthur White lived in three different centuries, they have at least one thing in common: At some point in their lives, each ran afoul of the law in Loudoun County.

Records of their offenses have been kept and catalogued by the historic records division of the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which recently completed an index documenting more than 10,000 criminal cases from 1757 to 1955 — a project that took about eight years. Office staff members showcased some of the most interesting criminal records Oct. 7 at an open house in the historic courthouse in Leesburg.

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Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2016

Preserving historic documents

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From left: Judy Hall, R. J. Hall, John Burcham and Diane Burcham, all of Leesburg, look at a restored book of records that had been laminated.

During downtown Leesburg’s First Friday event this month, scores of people got a glimpse of a war being quietly waged every day in the Loudoun County Circuit Court archives: the battle against the ravages of time, including mold, bookworms, rust and acid-laden cellophane tape.

About 160 people stepped through the doors of Leesburg’s 122-year-old courthouse — away from the sounds of al fresco diners and street musicians — to learn how the county’s historic records are being preserved and restored.

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Washington Post, June 12, 2016

Fairfax slavery indexing project

In 1799, a 40-year-old man named Aleck was working as a carpenter at Lexington Plantation on Mason Neck. Kate, a 50-year old woman with impaired vision, was working in the plantation’s main house.

Aleck and Kate might have been forgotten if their names had not been recorded in a will book at the Fairfax County courthouse. Both were slaves owned by George Mason V, son of the statesman George Mason of Gunston Hall, and their names were recorded in an inventory of his property.

A project now underway in the Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center is making personal information about Aleck, Kate and thousands of other enslaved people more accessible by creating an index of slaves mentioned in the county’s will and deed books.

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Washington Post, October 21, 2015

Support for memorial to slaves

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted last week to support a proposal to build a memorial on the county courthouse grounds in Leesburg to commemorate the slaves who were sold on the building’s steps and the soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

The board voted Wednesday to contribute $50,000 toward the memorial, which the local chapter of the NAACP has proposed as a way to present a more complete history of Loudoun’s involvement in the Civil War. The only commemoration of the war at the site is a statue of a Confederate soldier.

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Washington Post, September 6, 2015

Law camp ends with mock trial

Two juries agreed: Washington Senators starting quarterback Robert Triffy IV was not guilty of malicious wounding and assault and battery. Triffy had been charged with the crimes after his errant pass struck receiver LeSean Trackson in the face as Trackson chatted with a cheerleader on the sideline. Trackson suffered a broken nose and was eventually traded to another team.

The fictitious scenario — inspired by players for another Washington football team — played out simultaneously in four Loudoun County courtrooms June 20. The teams of attorneys on both sides were actually high school students participating in mock trials, the culmination of the 14th annual Thomas D. Horne Leadership in the Law summer camp.

Washington Post, June 29, 2014