"These papers identify a cross-section of interests, problems, concerns, and values held by Rockingham County citizens during the first half of the nineteenth century. Within the petitions written to the Legislature of Virginia, the reader discovers local interests: the incorporation of towns, orderly town government, a centrally located state capitol, the rights of freed slaves, lotteries to finance public works, regulation of flour grades for consumer information, a mutual fire insurance company, divorce, and a cemetery for Harrisonburg." - exerpt from Introduction by Nancy D. Stewart.
Over 50 petitions from 1800-1850 served as the basis of a research assignment for Harrisonburg High School students. A number of the papers' authors won awards in creative writing, history and literary competitions on the state and national level.