It's April, and taxes are due. While the Federal income tax was imposed in 1913, taxation has a long history in this country. After all, it was a protest by the Sons of Liberty, against the Tea Act in 1773 that was enacted by the British parliament, that helped spark the American Revolution - no taxation without representation.
The Center holds many tax records, but one is special. It is one of the earliest primary source documents in our collection, "Assessments of Land 1702." It is a very revealing 12 pages. The names are in alphabetical order and list property owners in King George County. Berry, Champe, Clift, Crismond, Dade, Elkin, Fitzhugh, Gordon, Green, McCarty, Suttles, Taliaferro, Thornton, Waugh and Willis are all names we recognize.
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Each assessment shows the property owner's name, number of acres, value in pounds and shillings, and the tax rate. Several property owners were women. Mary Doniphan owned 200 acres valued at 70 pounds. William Fitzhugh of "Eagles Nest" owned 2,175 acres valued at 2070 pounds and James Bailey owned a mere 5 acres valued at 29 pounds 15 shillings. It is unclear how the particular tax rate was determined, but it was not based on acreage alone as the rates vary. Nearly 400 names give a sense of land ownership in King George County over 200 years ago.
How did this document come to the Center in 2003? A researcher in Alabama had purchased the list on the internet. When he finished his project, he believed this primary source document should "go home" and he contacted The Center. How fortunate that the owner was a preservationist. Although the document showed its age when it arrived at The Center, it was still legible and intact. Several years ago, The Center had the list stabilized and preserved using money from a fund dedicated to preservation, insuring that it will be available to future researchers.
Visit The Center to see "Assessments of Land 1702" and other examples of primary source material.