Augusta County History
Augusta County was formed in 1738 from Orange County. For seven years Orange County maintained the court records but as the population of the county grew, a courthouse was built in Staunton, and the first court was held in 1745. At the time of its formation the western borders of the county were unknown—it was primarily unexplored frontier territory extending as far west as the Mississippi River.
Therefore, early Augusta County records are comprised of court records of present-day Augusta, Rockbridge, Rockingham, and Botetourt Counties, as well as most of present-day southwestern Virginia and West Virginia.
As early as 1720 the first settlers had begun arriving from Pennsylvania, Maryland and eastern Virginia. Many Germans and Scots-Irish traveled down the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia through Lancaster and York to the Shenandoah Valley. Most German speakers were from the German Palatinate, west of the Rhine River, and Switzerland, whose families had immigrated to the port of Philadelphia. They were Lutheran, Brethren and Reformed. A larger number of settlers were Scots-Irish Presbyterians from Northern Ireland. Many of the early settlers purchased land from William Beverley, owner of an 112,000-acre land grant from the colonial government. As the population of Augusta County grew, new counties were carved out of Augusta.
- Botetourt County was formed from Augusta in 1769;
- Fincastle County created in 1772 from Botetourt abolished in 1776 later divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties. Kentucky became a state in 1792.
- Greenbrier County was formed from Montgomery and Botetourt Counties. Montgomery was formed from Fincastle in 1777.
- Rockbridge and Rockingham Counties were formed from Augusta in 1778.
Map of VIrginia, 1738-1770