Maud Carter Clement's An Abbreviated History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Editor's Introduction, by Henry H. Mitchell, 2002.

Maud Carter Clement

Maud Carter Clement, author of many books on local history, wrote an abbreviated history for use in the Pittsylvania County Public Schools.

Around 1990, Joel E. Shelton, supervisor of secondary education for the Pittsylvania County Public Schools, discovered a typed carbon copy of a short history of Pittsylvania County, prepared by Maud Carter Clement for the county schools, probably in 1952. The manuscript was among materials being discarded from one of the school libraries. Mr. Shelton gave a photocopy of the manuscript to me with the thought that the Pittsylvania Historical Society might be interested in publishing it.

Charles Hagberg

Charles Hagberg, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Pittsylvania County Schools, encouraged Mrs. Clement to write a history of the county for use by local students.

In attempting to trace the origin of the manuscript, I talked to a number of local individuals, most notably Mary Rutledge Clement Ward, granddaughter of Mrs. Clement. It seems that the drafting of the publication by Mrs. Clement was encouraged by Mr. Charles Hagberg, then the assistant school superintendent in charge of curricula, and the original draft was typed by Mrs. Frieda Hagberg. It was hoped the manuscript could be printed as a supplementary textbook for a local history unit as part of a Virginia History course. It further appears that an initial distribution of just a few carbon copies was made to the schools for evaluation, but that the project languished and no formal publication and distribution was ever made, probably due to the anticipated labor and cost of such an effort.

Joel Shelton

Joel Shelton, Supervisor of Secondary Education for Pittsylvania County Schools, discovered a copy of the manuscript among discarded materials nearly forty years after it was drafted.

At several points since Mr. Shelton's discovery, the Pittsylvania Historical Society's board has looked at the manuscript, but at each consideration it has been collectively decided not to publish it in "hard copy." One major consideration is that the Society already publishes Clement's History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, which is a far more detailed account, and includes extensive genealogical detail. Thus the larger Clement history is more suited to use as a hardbound permanent reference.

David L. Mitchell

David Mitchell transcribed the Clement manuscript into electronic format.

In the meantime, my son David L. Mitchell entered the text of the discovered Clement document into electronic format, initially for the purpose of more thorough evaluation for its publishing potential by the Society's board. However, with the advent of web publishing, the existence of the electronic document suggested its posting on the web, where it might serve its original purpose: as a relatively brief introduction to Pittsylvania's history for the use of students and casual researchers. In 2001 the Hon. Whittington W. Clement, grandson of Maud Carter Clement, gave permission on behalf of the Clement family for our family to post the manuscript on our website in association with our guide to historic Chatham.

Therefore, I wish to offer my gratitude for the seemingly boundless community spirit of the late Mrs. Clement and her descendants and the Hagbergs, for the alertness and historical awareness of Joel Shelton, for the well-reasoned advice of the officers and directors of the Pittsylvania Historical Society, and for the careful and patient labor of David Mitchell in constructing this electronic document. It is evident in reading the document that it was created during and for the early 1950's. However, it is our hope that it will still be of great benefit to many, as Mrs. Clement and Mr. and Mrs. Hagberg had anticipated a half-century ago.

Sadly, the last pages were missing from the document found by Joel Shelton. Perhaps a complete copy will eventually be discovered so that this text may be completed.


Related Book

(Available from the sponsor.)

History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Maud Carter Clement: History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia (1929)

This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House, Chatham, Virginia. (See also guides to Pittsylvania County, Chatham, and Danville.)