Built by 1822 with the Courthouse and Jail, the Clerk's Office was located here. The three buildings created a symmetrical design within the Public Lot. The Clerk's Office was built to be "?26 feet by 16; pitch 18 feet; walls of the foundation 2 feet thick and of stone; those above 22 ½ inches of brick; scantling of good oak and to be covered with slate". * This building was meant to be fireproof. Legal business was usually conducted inside the Clerk's Office or in local taverns rather than the Courthouse.
Palladium of Liberty, Vol IV no. 25, September 1820, Warrenton, VA
(caption for lower, left picture)Phillip Devereaux Dawe served as the Clerk of the Prince William County Court from 1813 until he died in May, 1832. Numerous court documents from this period display Dawe's elegant handwriting.
Like all other Clerks of the Court, Dawe was a County resident and was paid from the fees he collected for various services.
(Photograph) Courtesy of the Prince William County Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court
(caption for upper, center picture) This drawing illustrates how the Clerk's Office may have appeared. ?Sketch by Ray Goodrow.
Clerk of the Court
The County Clerk was one of the few Court members trained in law. His knowledge was essential to County Justices. The Clerk and his assistance recorded Courthouse business. In the early 19th century, the Clerk was elected by the County Magistrates and served until they voted to remove him.
Effects of the Civil War
During the Civil War, the Clerk's Office was destroyed by armies passing through Brentsville. Many of the County's records were lost or destroyed. After the war, local houses served as Clerk's Offices until the Clerk moved into the Courthouse. The Brentsville School was built over part of the Clerk's Office foundation in 1928.
(caption for lower, right picture) John Keys and William Keys and all the rest of your Keyses - if you are any relations of mine you had better keep shady at least - till this "cruel war is over"
Right: Federal soldiers certainly perused County documents when they were in Brentsville. William F. Keys of Co. K, 143rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, could not resist commenting on cases involving local Keyses. On April 21, 1864, he wrote the above words in the 1834 - 1861 Minute Book.