Savior of the County Records

George K. Fox, Jr., Clerk of the County Court, is one of the unsung heroes of the Civil War in Loudoun County. On May 14, 1861, the justices of the Loudoun Court signed an order “that the Clerk of this Court (at the expense of this County) remove to a place of safety, and there keep in his custody, the records of this Court, for the last 20 years, upon the approach of the enemy.” In February 1862, in anticipation of Union occupation of Leesburg (the county seat of Loudoun), Fox removed not just the records of the previous twenty years, but all of the county records dating back to its founding in 1757, loaded them into a wagon, and carried them away to safety. Many counties in Virginia suffered severe damage to their records when the court houses and clerk’s offices were occupied by Federal troops, but Loudoun’s were saved because of the efforts of George K. Fox, Jr.

A memorandum written by Fox in the county minute book in use at the time states, “Owing to the continuance of the War, no court was held in the county from February 1862 to July 1865.” Exactly where Fox took the records for the thirty-nine months has been shrouded in mystery, although the latest research points to the likelihood that they were taken to Campbell County in south-central Virginia. In May 1862, Fox became Deputy Clerk for the Circuit Court of Campbell County, proof that he was a resident there. In his final amnesty deposition, in April 1867, he states, “I carried the records of the County of Campbell, where I kept them there until after the termination of the war.”