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The Vestry Book of Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County Virginia, 1677-1793

By: Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, Pub. 1933, Reprinted 2019, 446 pages, Index, ISBN #0-89308-244-9.

Considering the fact that Gloucester County is a “BURNED” county prior to 1865, makes this book one of only a few sources of information about this county during this colonial period.  This BURNED County was formed from York County in 1654 and is the parent county of: Hanover, King William, and King & Queen counties. When the parishes were formed by the General Assembly of Virginia, the Vestries were assigned some of the civil administrative functions and all such civil functions were official in nature and the records of actions taken were recorded in the vestry books.  Such records contained in the Vestry book contained among other things such things as: upkeep of bastard children; payment for the upkeep of the ferry; prosecution of fornicators; appointment of road work crews; apprentice young people to others in the parish for training in crafts or other livelihoods; providing clothing, food and shelter for the poor and elderly; burial of the dead and many, many other similar duties.