The Botetourt Museum is thankful for the history-minded local citizens who created this coat-of-arms. When Botetourt County was preparing to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial year, a committee of five businessmen, F.V. Clarkson, Harry M. Williamson, H.W. Steger III, Joseph B. Buhrman and W. Rayford Marstin, set out to create an original design to mark the occasion. They commissioned artist Jacqueline Hundley Rader to design this heraldic symbol representing Botetourt County. It was printed by J. Wesley Noble at his silk screening business north of Fincastle. The motto was originated by James J. Madine, another Botetourt citizen. It was presented for and by the citizens of Botetourt County as a salute to the nation’s bicentennial. The motto reads “Honoring the Past, Searching the Future.”
In 1970 it was chosen for Botetourt’s celebration of its own 200th anniversary. The bear and the wolf on each side were abundant here two centuries ago. Their stylized appearance symbolizes the courage and patriotism demonstrated by early citizens during the Revolutionary War. The Blazon of Arms is an “argent, a torch erect or, flammant proper, in base the sun rising in his glory gules; on a canton the arms of Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt.” The crest at the top is a demi-cogwheel which reads Botetourt County. It is a reminder of the numerous water-powered mills in Botetourt’s early days and of the industrious characteristics of those pioneers who laid the foundations of the land. It also is a reminder that Botetourt was an important “cog” in the nation’s early machinery. The gold torch symbolizes truth, generosity and triumph in times of adversity. Its “flammant proper” are the flames issuing forth from the torch and represents the destruction of the forces of evil. Gules means red. The sun in the bottom of the shield is emitting red rays which symbolize hope for the future; and in military application also signifies fortitude. Much thought went into the creation and the heraldic symbols for this coat-of-arms by Botetourt’s citizens many years ago. It is displayed in the foyer of the museum at 26 Main Street, Fincastle, which is open Monday-Saturday,10-2, and Sundays, 2-4.
~ Botetourt County History Museum