THE ARCHIVE STORY
Stories of family, of the frontier, of revolution and the state of Franklin, of slavery and emancipation, railroads and commerce, of the Civil War and Reconstruction, of schools and temperance and elections, of world wars and the Great Depression, and so much more are all found here. They are found in deeds, in marriages, in wills and inventories, in records of births and deaths, in trial transcripts and court depositions, in tax lists and election returns. Sad stories and happy tales. Records provide the “story” part of history. The records housed in the archives are the single most important source for documenting the public history of Washington County.
The Department of Records Management and Archives, commonly known as the Washington County Archives, preserves the historic records created by the offices and departments of county government and makes this material available to researchers. Records held by the archive reach from the British colonial period when King George III ruled the area through the Watauga Association era and down to the dawn of the 21st century, though the majority of records held end in the mid-20th century. The collection includes documents created under three state governments—North Carolina, Franklin, and Tennessee. The principal records held are for the offices of Circuit Court Clerk, Clerk and Master (Chancery Court), County Clerk, and the extinguished Superior Court of Law and Equity that was replaced by Circuit Court in the early 1800s.
Written guides are available for each office, providing the researcher with detailed information on exactly what records are found in the archive. These guides will help you identify documents that may help you in your research whether that research is on the history of your family or on the multitude of topics in local and regional history found in the historical events of the past 250 years.