Tazewell County in southwestern Virginia was formed from Russell and Wythe counties in 1799. Notwithstanding its considerable and unique contribution to Virginia history, Tazewell County takes on added importance for Virginia genealogists for lying adjacent to the great Augusta migration trail which traversed southern Virginia.
John Newton Harman’s Annals of Tazewell County, while nearly 75 years old at this point, is nonetheless a colossal undertaking and still the starting point for Tazewell genealogy and history. Originally published in separate volumes in 1922 and again in 1925, Harman’s opus is less a history–with one notable exception–than it is a vast extraction of county court records. The main exception consists of Harman’s reprinting of Geo. Bickley’s 1852 History of the Settlement and Indian Wars of Tazewell County Virginia as the final 100 pages or so of the 1922 volume. Otherwise, Volume I contains abstracts of court orders, wills, and deeds; the names of all civil and military officers of the county; all lawyers admitted to the bar; all preachers licensed to celebrate the rites of matrimony and an exact copy of the Tazewell marriage registers from 1800 to 1852; every deed made to churches of all denominations from 1800 to 1922; the names of all Tazewell representatives in the General Assembly of Virginia from 1800 to 1852; and a list of Revolutionary pensioners.
Volume II continues the principal features of Volume I from 1853, with marriage records to 1868; the names of all devisers and devisees of wills to 1924; lists of Tazewell soldiers in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War I; various court orders; and a fairly complete list of Tazewell churches and church officers in 1924. The concluding 250 pages of the book, moreover, consist of lengthy genealogies of the following pioneer families of Tazewell County: Bandy, Barns, Bowing, Chapman, Coulling, Crockett, Deskins-Maxwell-Witten-Fields, Gillespie, Gose, Graham, Graybeal-Greear, Greever, Hankins, Harman, Higginbotham, Holmes, Hopkins, Laird, Linkous, Litz, Lockhart, Maxwell, Martin, Mays, Moore, McGuire, Peery, Stras, Sparks, Thompson, Tynes, Ward, Whitley, Witten, Wohlford-Mustard, Yost, and Young. All told, this huge work contains references to nearly 40,000 persons.