The following book review was written by Bobbi King:
A History of Louisa County, Virginia
by Malcolm H. Harris
Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD. 2010.
This is a reprint first published by The Dietz Press, Richmond, VA in 1936.
In 1935, Malcolm H. Harris, M.D. completed this very large (445 pages) history of Louisa County, Virginia. From his introductory remarks, I’d say he and his parents were born and raised in the county, and his love for the province is evident in the extensive amount of detail he’s compiled into the book.
His early chapters of Political History sketch out the topographic details of the district. And detailed details they are: “On the North Anna the creeks flowing into that river from Louisa are Hickory, Duckinghole, Goldmine, Contrary, Chamberlains, Elk, Little Rockey, Great Rockey, and Bear Swamp. There are several others of lesser importance. Some have had their names changed. Gladys Creek is, for instance, written on the Fry and Jefferson map of 1775 as Gladey, and lies between Contrary River and Elk Creek.”
The chapters include stories with lots of names, with frequent short biographical sketches. Information he recites is supported by transcribed newspaper and court documents, a lot of it pre-Revolutionary War business and goings-on. The TwoPenny case introduces the patriot Patrick Henry as a resident of the county.
I find these books published decades ago very interesting. The style of writing is more out of the ordinary, different from today’s styles, and offering a sense of the decorum of the time and place of the author. As an M.D. I’m going to venture that Mr. Harris is used to meticulous study, thorough investigation, and careful attention to outcome. These traits are reflected in this work, extensive reporting of the features of the county, the people, and the events. Characteristic of the attitudes of the early twentieth century, the Indians are blamed for historic difficulties and slave histories are absent from this book.
The book is divided into chapters on political history, military history, highways and homes, churches and parishes and ministers, and educations.
The second half of the book in comprised of the appendixes: the marriages at Louisa 1767-1800, family genealogies (156 pages), listings of various county officials, a bibliography, and an index of over 7100 names.
Mr. Harris’s source citations, characteristic of early references, are lacking the complexity and completeness we’ve become accustomed to these days. I imagine one could backtrack the documentation fairly easily, this being a county history book, and assuming the original resources are still extant.
This book holds a wealth of information about the county, and reading it imparts not only the county facts, but a glimpse into the history of the region as a whole.
A History of Louisa County, Virginia may be found at the publisher's web site at http://www.genealogical.com/products/A%20History%20of%20Louisa%20County%20Virginia/9831.html as well as on Amazon at http://goo.gl/sGj9S.