Processioning In Old Augusta

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The following is a temporary article under development. An excellent article about processioning may be found at Bob's Filing Cabinet and should be mined for additional information and insight. ___________________________________________________________
In pursuance of the Act of Assembly for settling the titles and bounds of lands for preventing unlawful hunting and ranging thereon, Court orders the Vestry to divide so much of their parish as lies in Augusta into precincts for processioning, to appoint two intelligent, honest freeholders in each precinct processioners, and times to be between last day of September and last of March.
Chalkley, 1912-1913(1):139

The above quote is from court records for Augusta county, in 1767. The practice of "Processioning" well predated this particular codification. In this practice the processioners "walked the boundaries" of land owners properties, together with the landowner and his adjacent neighbors. The intent was to ensure that adjacent landowners agreed on their respective property lines. This may be a variation of "good fences make good neighbors", and was probably intended to forestall boundary disputes before they arose.

The earliest records regarding processioning in Augusta County date from 1747. At that time the process was in the hands of the Church Vestry for the County. The following provides information about the formation of the Vestry in 1746 [1]

From: Chalkley, 1912-1913(2):432-434

AUGUSTA PARISH VESTRY BOOK.

Page 1.--On __ _____, 1746, Commission from Gooch to the Sheriff to Elect Twelve of the most able men of the Parish to be sworn a Vestry, the Sheriff caused to come to the Court House all the Freeholders and Housekeepers, who elected James Patton, John (S) Buchanan, John Madison, Patrick Hayes, John Christian, John Buchanan, Robert Alexander, Thomas Gordon, James Lockhart, John Archer, John Mathews, John Smith, who qualify.

Page 1.--6th April, 1747: First meeting. Present, viz: James Patton, John Madison, and all the others. They accept Rev. John Hindman conditionally, viz: That he will not insist on the Parish's purchasing Glebe lands. Building a glebe and such other necessaries as are prescribed by law for the space of two years until the Parish be more able to Bear such charges, and that he agree to preach in this Court House and in People's Houses of the same persuasion in the different quarters of the Parish as shall be most convenient, and that he administer the Sacrament in the Court House instead of a Church and in different quarters of the Parish as aforesaid unless the Governor thinks proper to reverse the same, which shall not be by complaint of said Hindman or any person for him. John Madison unanimously chosen clerk. Robert Alexander and James Lockhart chosen Church Wardens.

Page 3.--20th July, 1747: Vestry met; all present. Robert Alexander, James Lockhart, John Buchanan, John Archer, John Smith, John Madison directed to meet to purchase land for a Glebe convenient to the lands of Col. Patton near Leeper's Old Plantation, which is adjudged the most convenient place to build a church. Patton agrees to give timber, stone and five acres convenient to a spring; they are to agree with workmen to build a dwelling house 32 x 18 with a partition staircase, a brick or stone chimney at each end, floored above and below, a stable 14 x 18, of square logs, a dairy 10 feet square, framed, to be finished by the first of October, 1748. Mr. Hindman allowed £20 yearly for his board, until the Glebe be purchased and buildings completed. John Smith, Gent., and others have leave to build a Chappel of Ease on Daniel Harrison's plantation, provided it doth not affect the Parrish now or hereafter.

Page 4.--3rd September, 1747: Processioners appointed[2] viz:

  • Capt. James Campbell and Erwin Patterson, on waters of Roanoke
  • John Sloane and Hugh Caruthers, on South Side of South Branch of James River joining Roan Oke
  • Joseph Long and Richard Woods, in Forks of James River
  • Alex. McClure and Robert Huston, from North Branch of James River to Andrew Baxter's, thence on a straight line to John Hayse's Mill, joining the North Mountain
  • Francis McCown and John Montgomery, from Andrew Baxter's on a straight line to John Hayse's Mill, joining the North Mountain to the Upper line of Beverley Manor
  • John Mitchell and James Fulton, from Upper line of Beverley Manor opposite to Robert Ramsey's as low as the Sugar Loaf, thence on a line to William Long's
  • Wm. McFeeters and Patrick Martin, from upper line of Beverley Manor, near Robert Campbell's, to the Buffalow Gap, from thence to William Ledgerwood's by the Sugar Loaf
  • Robert Christian and James Caldwell, from William Ledgerwood's in a line as low as John Madison's, thence to Samuel Davis's, near the South Mountain
  • John Linn and Robert Young, from Buffalow Gap as low as John Madison's, from thence as high as Ledgerwood's
  • James Hogshead and John Moffett, from Buffalow Gap to Walter Trimble's, from thence to Alex. Blair's, thence to John Finla's
  • Thomas Stevenson and David Edmonston, from Alex. Blair's to Capt. Samuel Gay's
  • Edward Erwin's and Wm. McGill, from Alex. Blair's to Samuel Wilkin's, thence to Henry Smith's
  • Wm. Thompson and Samuel Givens, from Samuel Wilkins to Capt. Henry Downs's, Jr.
  • Robert Craven and Thomas Harrison, from Samuel Wilkins' to the lower end of the Great Plain to Fairfax's line, thence with the said line to the South Mountain
  • Daniel Haldman and John Riddle, from Fairfax's line to the Narrows and across to the North Mountain
  • Mathias Selzer and Abraham Shickler, from Fairfax's line to the extent of the County between the two mountains
  • Daniel Harrison and Morgan Bryan, from Samuel Wilkins' to the Great Plain to Lord Fairfax's line, thence with the said line to Henry Smith's
  • John Denton and Abraham Collet, from the Narrows to the extent of the County from mountain to mountain
  • Wm. McCutchen and James Carlile, Sr., on Little River of Calf Pasture, and the Great River below Dunlap's Gap
  • Thomas Weams and John Graham, from Dunlap's Gap, including all the waters of Great
Calfpasture.


Footnotes

  1. Only the year (1746) is given in the records for the formation of the Vestry. The first meeting was held on 1 April 1747, which probably means the election was held in early 1747 in modern notation.
  2. At this time there were 1670 tithables in Augusta County. This included the area from the Roanoke River, north through Borden's Grant and Beverly's Manor, to Lord Fairfax's Line, and westwardly of the James to the Calfpastures.
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