A Guide to the Northampton County (Va.) Criminal Causes, circa 1722-1816 Northampton County (Va.) Criminal Causes, circa 1722-1816 1168307-1168310

A Guide to the Northampton County (Va.) Criminal Causes, circa 1722-1816

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1168307-1168310


Library of Virginia

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© 2008 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Northampton County (Va.), circa 1722-1816
Physical Characteristics
1.8 cu. ft. (4 boxes)
Northampton County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Northampton County (Va.) Criminal Causes, circa 1722-1816. Local government records collection, Northampton County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Northampton County.

Historical Information

Northampton County probably was named for the English county, of which Obedience Robins, a prominent early resident of the Eastern Shore, was a native. The county, which originally included all of the peninsula south of Maryland and which was one of the eight shires established in 1634, was first called Accomac. The name was changed by legislative action in 1643.

Scope and Content

Northampton County (Va.) Criminal Causes, circa 1722-1816 are criminal court cases and consist primarily of warrants, summons, indictments, and verdicts handed down by grand juries and other legal authorities in order to prosecute individuals who violated the penal code. These offenses ranged in severity from murder, rape, assault and battery, and larceny to tax evasion and slander. Criminal offenders and victims who appear in cases prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865 included both free and enslaved persons.

Warrants were issued by grand juries, judges, and justices of the peace directing law enforcement officials to either arrest and imprison a person suspected of having committed a crime or to cause an individual to appear in court to answer accusations made against them. Peace warrants directing an offender to "keep the peace of the Commonwealth" or to restrain from any violent acts are commonly found in assault and battery cases.

Summonses were used to call a suspected person to appear in court. A summons could also be issued to direct witnesses or victims to come before the court in order to provide evidence or information deemed pertinent to a case.

An indictment is the official, written description of the crime that an accused individual is suspected of committing, which is approved by a grand jury and presented to a court in order to begin legal proceedings. Due to this process, indictments are often referred to as "presentments."

Verdicts are the formal pronouncements made by juries on issues submitted to them by a judge or other law enforcement official. In the case of a guilty verdict, a judge will sentence the offender. Sentences may include a fine, corporal punishment, and/or imprisonment. Coroners also submitted verdicts such as "death by suicide," "death by natural causes," etc. when determining the cause of a suspicious or sudden death.



Related Material

Additional court records for Northampton County can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm.

Additional Northampton County criminal records may be found at the Northampton County Courthouse and the Library of Virginia.

Separated Material

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Northampton County (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans -- History
  • Assault and battery -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Crime -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Criminals -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Larceny -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Libel and slander -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Murder -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Rape -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Slavery -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Tax evasion -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Geographical Names:

  • Northampton County (Va.) -- History
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Indictments -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Summons -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Verdicts -- Virginia -- Northampton County
  • Warrants (Law) -- Virginia -- Northampton County