Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Revolutionary War Public Service Claims Index

An index to the reimbursement claims submitted by Virginia residents for goods and services supplied to the Militia, State Line, and Continental troops during the Revolutionary War

Search the Index

Revolutionary War Public Service Claims Index

Overview

This is an index to the reimbursement claims submitted by Virginia residents for goods and services supplied to the Militia, State Line, and Continental troops during the Revolutionary War. These were not payments for military service. Claim records may include certificates, county court booklets and lists, rejected claims lists, and the claim commissioners account books.

All individual claim records are included in this index. Some additional records that document the reimbursement processes are not included. See the Finding Aid for a detailed description of the collection. 

Most indexed claim records are available on microfilm that may be borrowed from the Library through interlibrary loan. Rejected claims records have not been microfilmed. These records are available to be viewed in the Archives Research Room.

Claims Process

In 1780, the Virginia General Assembly passed “An act for procuring a supply of provisions and other necessaries for the use of the Army.”  The law authorized the governor to appoint provision commissioners in each county to locate the needed supplies or services, and make purchases or impress goods. In return for their goods or services, individuals received certificates with their name, the date, a description of the item or service provided, and its set value. Individuals who received the certificates could assign their reimbursement right to other people, and that assignment was often recorded on the back of the certificate.

Individuals submitted their certificates to county courts between 1781 and 1783. Once the court approved the claim and determined a compensation amount, the county clerks recorded the claims in booklets that were sent to the public claims commissioners in Richmond. The commissioners approved the claims in 1783, recording in account books the name of the individual, descriptions and valuations of the goods or services provided, and the date payment was authorized. They provided a warrant to the claimant, who then submitted it to the state treasurer's office for payment or state tax credit.

Search Tips

  • Entries can be searched by name and county of residence.
  • Using quotes around phrases may return fewer, more relevant results.
  • Wildcards can be used to find variant spellings. The question mark (?) will match any one character. For instance, “Ols?n” will match “Olsen” or “Olson”. The asterisk (*) will match any number of characters (including zero characters). “Ch*ter” would match “Charter”, “Character”, and “Chapter”, and “Temp*” would match “Temptation”, “Temple”, and “Temporary”. Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search or within phrase searches (quotation marks).

Related Resources

Archival Collections

  • Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776–1928). Commissioner's Books of the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (Public Service Claims), 1783. Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory Entry No. 243, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Available on microfilm, Reels 36–37.
  • Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776–1928). Impressed Property Claims Certificates of the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (Public Service Claims), 17801783. Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory Entry No. 241, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Available on microfilm,  Reels 18–35 (arranged by name within each county). 
  • Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776–1928). Impressed Property Claims Court Booklets, Indexes and Lists of the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (Public Service Claims), 17791788 (Bulk 17801783). Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory Entry No. 242, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Available on microfilm,  Reels 1–17 (arranged by county).

Books

  • Abercrombie, Janice L. and Slatten, Richard, comp. Virginia Revolutionary "Publick" Claims. 3 vols. Athens, Ga.: Iberian Pub. Co., 1992.
    Transcriptions of court booklets for 69 of the 75 counties then in existence.
  • Chisholm, Claudia Anderson, comp. Revolutionary Public Service Claims of Louisa County, Virginia. Richmond: Expert Graphics, 1976.
    Transcribed from the Court Order Books, 1774–1782, 1782–1783 and the Minute Book, 1784–1787.
  • Smith, John H. "Report of the Commissioner of Revolutionary Claims," in Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia… 1835–1836, Doc. 6. Richmond: Samuel Shepherd, 1835. Available online (Hathitrust).
  • Weisiger, Minor, comp. Virginia Revolutionary War RecordsRichmond: Library of Virginia, 2006.

Revised February 2021