West Augusta District, Virginia
During the formation of the British colonies on the North American continent vague Charters, issued by the English Crown, created boundaries which overlapped, causing years of border disputes. One of these border disputes helped to establish the District of West Augusta.
The District encompassed land that today includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The border dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia became apparent as settlers from both colonies pushed west and some settlers filed claims with Virginia and Pennsylvania. Prior to 1768 Pennsylvania had prohibited the legal settlement of southwest corner but, this did halt squatters from taking possession of the land. On the other hand Virginia was offering land for settlement in the area and also supplied protection for their settlers. In fact, Virginia had been handling the affairs of the area as Augusta County since 1754.
In order to have a more official presence in the area Pennsylvania, in 1773, created Westmoreland County. This same year Virginia established the District of Augusta and three years later broke the District into three counties: Monongalia, Yohogania and Ohio. Virginia also established land office and surveyors in each of the counties.
In 1779 to settle the ownership dispute, the Mason and Dixon Line was extended to the current western boundary of Pennsylvania at 80° 31’. However, prior to the line being extended Virginia issued certificates to those holding land north of the Mason and Dixon Line. This made it possible for those settlers to be eligible for Pennsylvania warrants. If a conflict arose over land ownership the property was given the older claim regardless of the state which had issued the claim.
Virginia claims located in the current counties of Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Allegheny may be accessed by using the warrant registers for the proper Pennsylvania county. The survey should include reference to the Virginia certificate.
West Augusta District furnished many soldiers to Virginia Regiments during the Revolutionary War. In particular in the 13th Virginia Regiment, many men served in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th Companies. In the 12th Virginia Regiment many men served in the 4th Company.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra, A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787 (Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1978), 69. FHL Book 975.5 M2s.
- E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra, A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787 (Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1978), 67-68. FHL Book 975.5 M2s.