10/7/2016 - The High Sheriff of Spotsylvania


William Henry Mansfield (above right) was born on March 25, 1825 in near Ware Crossroad’s Louisa County, Virginia.  He was one of eight children born to John George Mansfield and Mary Bush Streit.   He moved to Spotsylvania in 1852 and established residence at at Leavetts' Level in the Belmont area near Twyman’s Store and became a successful farmer.  By 1860 he had 6,000 acres of land valued at $11,500.   He married Cordele Daniel Powell (above left) on November 3, 1852 and the union would produce three children.

In 1861 he was elected Sheriff of Spotsylvania County.  His duties included not only enforcement of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth, but also served warrants for all civil matters, collected taxes, oversaw the sale of property for delinquent taxes, and ensured elections were carried out without issue and oversaw the jail.   He ran for re-election in 1864, but his term was cut short when Virginia came under military rule at the end of the War of the Rebellion.

Due to change in Virginia Law in 1860, the County became responsible for the care of the families of soldiers called into service for defense of the State.  Mansfield served as a procurement agent and traveled the area purchasing food and distributing it to needy families. The list above shows some of the families he was serving. Mansfield ran for re-election in 1864 (Broadside Above).  The end of the war in 1865 brought an end to his duties as Sheriff due to the instigation of military rule.


Mansfield returned to farming at Belmont and died March 29, 1898.  Cordele passed in 1900 and they lie together in the Powell Family Cemetery at Green Level (above) in Spotsylvania County.


Today, Green Level is a distant memory (above left). The resting place of William and Cordele has been vandalized and their stones are no longer recognizable.