Welcome to the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia

hswcv_icon.png Located in downtown Abingdon, Virginia, the Historical Society of Washington County (HSWCV) is headquartered on Main Street. Since its founding in 1936 the Society has grown from a small collection housed in founders' homes into one of the finest small historical and genealogical research facilities in Virginia. The Society has achieved this reputation through the depth of our holdings and the ability to make information easily searchable and available to visiting researchers. We have a reference library of over 7,000 volumes, and searchable databases of over one million indexed records (the index is available on this site), and over 180,000 digital images of photographs and historical documents. The Society also owns many rare artifacts pertaining to the history of the county. Our Vision is to be an educational resource and community leader committed to collecting, preserving and sharing the records of people, places and events, so that future generations may find common interest and knowledge in the unique heritage of our County and surrounding region. We encourage you to visit us, either in person or online, and find your Southwest Virginia roots.

facebook.png In addition to using our website, we invite you to visit our HSWCV Facebook group. Keep up with what's going on with the Society and share research with other members on our Facebook group page. Just click on the Facebook icon to log in to Facebook and go straight to our group page. Anyone can read the posts, but to be able to reply, ask to join. You will be added to the group within a day or two. We currently have over 3,000 members so there are lots of possible undiscovered cousins out there!

Most of our staff are volunteers. We derive funding from memberships, donations and store sales. Monies received are used to meet library operating expenses and for the preservation of our regional history. Your donation supports our mission to collect and preserve the history of Washington County, Virginia. Please give what you can. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated.

tripadvisor.png So whether you would like to volunteer, become a member, or just visit as you are passing through town, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to browse or search our website and, if you can, come by and see us. Oh, and leave a review at TRIP ADVISOR by clicking the link on the right. The feedback will help us improve the services we provide to visitors. We make sure to read each review so tell us how your feel about your visit.

amazon_smile.png Finally, if you shop at Amazon, please participate in their AmazonSmile program. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Every item available for purchase on is also available on AmazonSmile ( at the same price. You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages.

Bulletin Board

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HSWCV Newsletters

To keep our members up to date on the latest activities at the Society, the HSWCV publishes two to three newsletters a year. We maintain an archive of the latest issues online. Just click on the links below to view both the current issue and preceding back issues. Please contact us if you would like to contribute content or help with editing the newsletter. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

June 2018
January 2017
April 2016
December 2015
April 2015
Nov 2014
Mar 2014
October 2013
May 2013
February 2013
October 2012
July 2012
April 2012
January 2012


Volunteering is the cornerstone of the Society organization and activities. Volunteer opportunities range from greeting visitors, program and event planning, genealogy research, assisting guests in the research library, researching and setting up new exhibits in the museum, and cataloging items. We seek a diverse group of volunteers of any age who can apply their skills, interests and experiences to a wide range of assignments either on a regular basis or for a one time project/event. Please consider volunteering, your help and support are needed.

To inquire about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Society by email at or give us a call at 1-276-623-8337. We would love to hear from you.


Members of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia are joined in a profound respect for history and share a sense of duty to maintain the historical record of the past people, places, and events which have defined our region. We invite you to join us in our preservation efforts. Become a member and receive exclusive discounts and privileges, including: invitations to member-only events, a subscription to the Society Newsletter, and member access to research resources.
If you wish to apply or renew, just click on the icon to the right to access the Memberships section of our Store page. You may also call the office at 276-623-8337 and mail us a check for your dues.


Cinder's Picks


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A new book by Donna Akers in the Images of Modern America series.

This collection of photographs and postcards is intended to allow residents and visitors to recall the decades from the 1950s to the 1980s with images of streetscapes, buildings, businesses, churches, schools, friends, and community leaders.

Soft cover, 9 x 6", 95 pages, 2017
Item: 411
Price: $22.99


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By Muriel Kenly Vance and Elizabeth Baker Grant

The artists (now deceased) were residents of Abingdon and have captured in pen and ink 16 images of the town's historic houses and buildings, circa 1976. Each image is suitable for framing as is. Pages are approximately 12x17. These images are also excellent for an older child to colorize.

Item: 039
Price: $2.50

Friendliest Town on the Trail

Friendliest Town on the Trail

By Bunny Medeiros

The Appalachian Trail was opened by 1937 and by the mid-fifties a handful of people had walked its entire length. As "thru-hiking" took hold, more and more hikers were coming through Damascus, Virginia. Their adventures prompted a change in the character of the town, leading to its reputation of being "the friendliest town on the Trail". In this book you will meet some of the people from the town during that period and learn more about the five trails passing through the area.

Soft Cover, 6 X 9", 111 pages, 2014
Item: 270
Price: $12.95

Working for Stuarts: Life on One of the Oldest and Largest Cattle Farms East of the Mississippi


By Kathy Shearer

Working for Stuarts reveals the rich history of this immense farming operation whose family roots reach back to 1776. Stories and pictures from the 1900s to the present tell of the lives of the men and women who worked and lived on the four farms: Elk Garden, Rich Mountain, Clifton, and Rosedale.

Soft cover (8 X 10), with 100s of photographs, 2015, 575 pages with index
Item: 401
Price: $40.00


Published by Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 545 pps, Hardbound.

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Item: 010 Price: $10.95


Abingdon, c. 1845

Abingdon, sketched about 1845 by Henry Howe and published in Historical Collections of Virginia, 1852. The sheet is 8.5 x 11 inches and the image area of the sketch is 8.5 x 6.25 inches. Printed on cream colored heavy stock and suitable for framing.

Item: 340
Price: $1.00


80th Logo Tee

All cotton, mid weight, white unisex tee
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL (please specify on order form)
Item: 342
Price: $12.35

a Sketchbook

Abingdon book

By Carol Farris Blevins

The essence of Historical Abingdon, Virginia, captured in seventy watercolor and graphite images by artist Carole Farris Blevins, representing some of the most iconic architectural buildings and landscapes in and around the Main Street community. Noted with historical observations, these visual portraits by the artist create a beautiful keepsake of time and place.

Hardcover with Jacket Cover, 9 x 12, 32 pages, 2016
Item: 407
Price: $39.99


Victorian Marriage Certificate
This Matrimonial Certificate has been digitally reproduced from a late 1800's Washington County family Bible. It is printed on matt finish 13x19 inch photo paper (so the names can be written in), and is suitable for framing. This would make a unique gift for a wedding, anniversary, or any special family occasion. The Certificate is not printed until ordered, and is sent by regular mail only.

Item: 062
Price: $6.95



This essay is an examination of what happened during the Reconstruction Era in one place in the South, Washington County, Virginia. When the Civil War ended, the people struggled to reestablish their economy and cope with the frequently changing political situation. Although most white people bitterly opposed political reconstruction, they persevered and gradually accepted their new situation, rebuilt old institutions, and formed new ones. The time was not as bleak as most would imagine, at least not in this place.

Soft cover, with photographs, 2015, 119 pages with index

Item: 329 Price: $18.99