Loudoun Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary M. Clemens is hosting "Famous Signatures," an exhibition of historic court records bearing the signatures of famous Virginians and Americans, on May 3, 2019, as part of the Town of Leesburg’s First Friday festivities. The highlight of the exhibition is the original Last Will and Testament of George Washington. Other documents on display include those signed by other presidents, some of the country’s Founding Fathers and other famous Americans. The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County John T. Frey and his historic records team have teamed up with Clemens’ historic records team to provide this unique opportunity. Leesburg’s Thomas Balch Library is also participating in the program.
President George Washington drafted his will only six months before his death in December 1799. The First Friday program in Leesburg is the first exhibition of George Washington’s will in Loudoun County. The Last Will and Testament of Martha Washington will also be on display.
In addition, the exhibition will include:
- The 1774 Pew Deed from the Pohick Church in Lorton, Virginia which contains the signatures of George Washington and George Mason.
- A letter written by John S. Mosby to the Fairfax Clerk of Court in 1865
- The 1765 Rough Minute Book with the signatures of George William Fairfax and George Mason
- Records signed by four U.S. Presidents from Virginia: George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Tyler
- The Last Will and Testament of George C. Marshall, a five-star general and Nobel Peace prize winner
- A deed executed by Senator Daniel Webster
- A criminal forensic laboratory report endorsed by former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover filed as evidence in a Loudoun County Circuit Court case
- Documents signed by prominent civil right activist Charles Houston
- Documents signed by Robert Pleasants, a Quaker abolitionist who founded the Virginia Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery
- Ship’s passport signed by James Monroe and John Quincy Adams
- Academic certificate issued to Susan Chichester signed by Margaret Mercer of the Belmont Academy
- The Lizzie Johnston autograph album signed by Confederate soldiers visiting Leesburg from 1861-1862
- Cartoons signed by Walt Kelly, former artist for the Walt Disney Studios
“This is one of the most fascinating programs my Historic Records Division and I have hosted since we started the First Friday history programs,” said Clemens. “We are pleased to have a partnership with John Frey and his team from Fairfax County along with our friends at Balch Library to collectively offer this unique exhibition.”
The exhibition will be hosted in the historic Loudoun County Courthouse at 18 East Market Street in downtown Leesburg from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2019. For more information about this program and more information regarding the historic records program in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, visit loudoun.gov/Clerk-Archives.
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