A Guide to the Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808 Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808 1200389-1200397, 1207268-1207269, 1208488-1208490, 0007573136

A Guide to the Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1200389-1200397, 1207268-1207269, 1208488-1208490, 0007573136


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© 2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Ed Jordan

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
1200389-1200397, 1207268-1207269, 1208488-1208490, 0007573136
Title
Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808
Physical Characteristics
6.65 cu. ft. (15 boxes)
Collector
Accomack County (Va.) Circuit Court
Location
Library of Virginia
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808. Local government records collection, Accomack County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Accomack County under the accession number 44262.


Historical Information

Accomack County was named for the Accomac Indians, who lived on the Eastern Shore at the time of the first English settlement in Virginia. The word means "on-the-other-side-of-water place" or "across the water." It was one of the original eight shires, or counties, first enumerated in 1634 and spelled Accomac without the k. The county's name was changed to Northampton County in 1643. The present county was formed from Northampton about 1663. In October 1670, the General Assembly temporarily reunited Accomack and Northampton Counties as Northampton County. In November 1673, Accomack County was again separated from Northampton. In early records, the county's name was spelled many ways. In 1940 the General Assembly adopted the present spelling, Accomack. The county gained a small part of the southern end of Smith's Island from Somerset County, Maryland, in 1879, after the United States had approved boundary changes between Virginia and Maryland that had been agreed to in 1877. The county seat is Accomac.

The District Court was created in 1788. The purpose of the creation of the District Court was to alleviate congestion in the General Court which had caused unreasonable delays in the adjudication of common law cases. Virginia was divided into eighteen districts, each composed of several counties, plust the district of Kentucky. Courts were held in each district twice yearly and cases were heard from the several counties in that district. The District Court always met at the same place in each district, and its records were kept at that one location. The District Courts were abolished in 1808 and were replaced by the Superior Courts of Law.

The District Court for Accomack and Northampton counties met in the county courthouse of Accomack County.

Scope and Content

Accomack County (Va.) District Court Papers, 1789-1808, consist of civil suits and commonwealth causes that were heard in the District Court of Accomack and Northampton Counties. The majority of cases in this record series relate to matters of debt. Documents commonly found in civil suits include declarations or narratios that explain the plaintiff's complaint, executions, affidavits, and depositions. Suits may include exhibits such as wills, plats, deeds, indentures, estate inventories, and business records. Names of slaves are commonly found in the District Court papers. Additional types of suits heard by the District Court include land ejectment suits and petitions for freedom made by slaves.

Additional records filed with the District Court papers include witness attendance payments, commonwealth claims, subpoenas, summons, judges' appointments, jury records, and copies of deeds, wills, and bonds recorded in the District Court. Also filed with the District Court papers was a copy of suit heard in the Adimiralty Court held in Williamburg, Virginia, in 1783 titled Berry Floyd and others versus Brigantine Sampson and others.

Arrangement

Chronological and then alphabetical by surname of plaintiff within each month.

Related Material

Additional Accomack County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia web site. Consult A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm.

Separated Material


Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

  • African Americans -- History
  • Civil procedure -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Crime -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Debt -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Estates (Law) -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Right of property -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Geographical Names:

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

  • Affidavits -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Business records -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Decisions -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Deeds -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Depositions -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Judicial records -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Petitions -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Plats -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Wills -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Accomack County (Va.) District Court

Selected Suits of Interest

1794 Oct., Commonwealth vs. James (free negro):

Found guilty of assault and battery.

1794 Oct., Thomas (slave) vs. Edward Roberts:

Thomas sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. He petitioned for his freedom claiming that he had been set free by Roberts' mother's last will and testament. She became a Quaker while living in Philadelphia, PA and her new religious convictions influenced her to free her slaves.

1795 May, Mary (slave) vs. Edward Roberts:

Mary sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. He petitioned for his freedom claiming that he had been set free by Roberts' mother's last will and testament. She became a Quaker while living in Philadelphia, PA and her new religious convictions influenced her to free her slaves.

1796 May, George alias George Cook (slave) vs. John Walker, Jr:

George sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. He petitioned for his freedom from slavery claiming he was a descendant of Native Americans.

1801 May, Major (slave) vs. Anna Maria Andrews:

Major petitioned for freedom from slavery claiming he was a descendant of Native Americans.

1802 May, Commonwealth vs. Adah Beckett (free negro):

Adah Beckett was found guilty of murder.

1802 May, Petition of Cyrus (slave):

Cyrus petitioned for freedom from slavery claiming he was a descendant of Native Americans.

1802 May, Griffith's lesse vs. Freshwater's heirs:

Ejectment suit that includes several plats. One is an oversize plat that is a survey of large amount of property found on the seaboard side of the Eastern Shore.

1803-1804, Commonwealth Causes vs. multiple slaveowners:

Numerous criminal suits involving multiple slaveowners on the Eastern Shore who were indicted for allowing their slaves to go at large and hire themselves out as free people. The time frame for these suits occured shortly after Gabriel's rebellion.

1804 Oct, Mary (slave) vs. Robert Andrews:

Mary sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. She petitioned for her freedom from slavery claiming she was a descendant of Native Americans. A depostion given by Mary Buck from a freedom suit titled Annis versus Caleb Bradford heard in the District Court of Williamsburg in 1802 was filed as an exhibit in the suit.

1805 May, Commonwealth vs. Esther Collins (free negro):

Esther Collins was found guilty of assault and battery against a slave.

1805 Oct, Ibby alias Abby Harmon (slave) vs. William S. Roberts:

Ibby sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. She petitioned for her freedom from slavery claiming she was a descendant of Native Americans. The suit includes a deposition that recounts Ibby's genealogy.

1806 May, Lydia (slave) vs. John Mears:

Lydia sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. She petitioned for her freedom from slavery claiming she was a descendant of Native Americans. She successfully won her freedom.

1808 May, Joe (slave) vs. Exr. of Jacob Lilliston, etc.:

Joe sued for damages claiming false imprisonment. He petitioned for his freedom from slavery claiming that he had been set free by Lilliston's last will and testament.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Accomack County (Va.) -- History
  • Business records -- Virginia -- Accomack County
  • Northampton County (Va.) -- History