Orange County, Colony of Virginia, was Great Britain's largest county in Colonial America. Established (around August 8th) in 1734 to honor the March 25th wedding of King George, II's eldest daughter, the Royal Princess Anne, to Prince William, IV, of The House of L'orange (-Nassau), Netherlands. The county was first reduced in approximately 1739 with the annexation of what is today the lower halves of Michigan and Wisconsin. The majority of changes occurred in the 1740s-'50s. The dilemma of the strip of western Pennsylvania was settled by the courts in the 1790s. Virginia lost the County of Kentucky in June 1792 with the creation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In June 1863, West Virginia was the last annexation of land of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Map image from "Orange County 1734-1934", published in 1934 by the Orange County Bicentennial Commission.
We have two booklets from the 1934 bicentennial celebrations in Orange.
The smallest in size, 5 1/2" x 3 3/4", is a poem by "The Vagabond Poet":
Where the blue ridge yearns it greatness,
As it did years go,
When our fore-fathers faced the dangers,
Of Orange County to explore.
Two hundred years now have passed,
And all of them have gone,
But they left for us a treasure,
As they were passing on.
Every day its stones we turned,
To till its hills and blaze the way,
Carrying out the plans they laid.
Oh! if they were here today.
They would wonder what has happened,
Through the change that years have made,
They would see how great the structure,
We built upon the plans they laid.
To the nation this county gave,
Two presidents to rule its land,
Madison and Taylor will ever live
In the heart of every man.
Those men laid the great foundation,
Where our country got its start,
Then as years went rolling on,
Every man would do his part.
Two centuries now have come and gone,
Since those men swung wide the gate,
To a county more like heaven,
Than is found in any state.
This year we're commemorating,
The memory of this untiring band,
Along with heroes of our land.
This (9 1/4" x 6 1/8") booklet, published by the Orange County Bicentennial Committee, contains the history of the county in vignette style.
The topics covered:
County's founding, Alexander Spotswood (Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, Germanna and Mining), historic points of interest, persons of historic prominence, the wars (American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War), Presidential Cousins (James Madison and Zachary Taylor), government, historic buildings, the agricultural achievements, and the good number of citizens directly related to the earliest families to settle in Orange.
The funding for publication was credited to the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, The National Bank of Orange, and the American Silk Mills, Inc. It was donated by Ms. Lurli Gay in 2002.