1816.115: Burk's History of Virginia (vol. 4).

Published: 1816

Full Title: The history of Virginia; commenced by John Burk, and continued by Skelton Jones and Louis Girardin. Vol. IV.

Author: Girardin, Louis Hue (1771-1825), Skelton Jones (1775-1812), & John Daly Burk (1772-1808).

Place Issued: Petersburg

Issuing Press: Marvel W. Dunnavant

Description: 558 pgs.; 22 cm. (8vo).


The long-delayed final volume of the first document-based history of Virginia; encouraged by Jefferson, and drawing on materials gathered by William Waller Hening, John Daly Burk had begun writing this history in 1802; the first volume of his planned five-volume set (1804.057) issued from the Petersburg press of Dickson & Pescud in 1804; volume 2 (1806.058) issued in mid-1806 and volume 3 (1806.059) in late 1806; however, the project came to an abrupt halt with Burk's death in an April 1808 duel. In summer 1808, Burk's backers engaged journalist Skelton Jones to finish the work, though he determined to compress the last two volumes into a single one; but again, circumstances intervened; it took three years for Jones to gather the materials needed and to begin writing; but in October 1812, Jones also died, with the War of 1812 then drying up both funding and supplies until mid-1814. About that time, Jefferson convinced educator/editor Louis Hue Girardin, then conducting a school near Monticello, to complete that last volume; however, he too was stymied in the effort; Girardin's finished manuscript, and many of the printed volume 4 sheets, were destroyed in the Great Petersburg Fire of July 1815; a manuscript reconstruction that fall led to publication in 1816, nearly ten years after volume 3 issued. Yet there was still a considerable amount of unpublished material, as Girardin noted in the preface here, as this volume ended with the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, and not with the 1800 Jeffersonian ascension as Burk had originally planned. Shaw & Shoemaker listed the four volumes eventually issued under a single entry (5951); as a result, the Early American Imprints Series filmed all four volumes under that same number.

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