A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Collection numbers: Augusta County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1746-001-1912-095
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Patrons are to use digital images of Augusta Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.
Augusta County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1746-1912. (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Augusta County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
These items came to the Library of Virginia in transfer of court papers from Augusta County under accession numbers 43054, 43089,43167, 43449, and 43608.
Chancery Causes are cases of equity. According to Black's Law Dictionary they are "administered according to fairness as contrasted with the strictly formulated rules of common law." A judge, not a jury, determines the outcome of the case.
Augusta County was named for Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, who married Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, and was the mother of King George III. It was formed from Orange County by a statute of 1738 that stipulated that when the population was large enough the new county government would begin to function. The county court first met on 9 December 1745. The county courthouse is in Staunton, and the county administrative offices are in Verona.
Augusta County was the site of a Superior Court of Chancery that held court in Staunton from 1802 to 1832. The Superior Courts of Chancery were created by an act of the General Assembly passed on 23 January 1802. In order to expedite the hearing of chancery suits, the High Court of Chancery was abolished and the state was divided into three chancery districts with a Superior Court of Chancery for each district. For this reason these courts were sometimes called "District Courts of Chancery." Suits heard in these courts were typically cases appealed from the local courts. A transcript of the suit from the local court was commonly filed with the appeal. Litigants could by-pass the local courts and file their suits in the chancery district court directly. Of the three original Superior Courts of Chancery - Staunton, Richmond (City), and Williamsburg - only the records of the Staunton district remain.
From 1802 to 1812, the Staunton district consisted of localities found in the western half of the Commonwealth including the ones in present day West Virginia: Augusta, Bath, Berkeley, Botetourt, Brooke, Frederick, Grayson, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lee, Monongalia, Monroe, Montgomery, Ohio, Pendleton, Randolph, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Shenandoah, Tazewell, Washington, Wood, and Wythe counties.
In 1812, the General Assembly created additional Superior Courts of Chancery which reduced the number of localities in the Staunton district to the following: Albemarle, Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Mason, Monroe, Nelson, Pendleton, Rockbridge, and Rockingham counties.
Augusta County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1746-1912, are indexed into the Chancery Records Index. Cases are identified by style of suit consisting of plaintiff and defendant names. Surnames of others involved in a suit, including secondary plaintiffs and defendants, witnesses, deponents and affiants, and family members with surnames different from the plaintiff or defendant are indexed. Chancery causes often involved the following: divisions of estates or land, disputes over wills, divorces, debt, and business disputes. Predominant documents found in chancery causes include bills (plaintiff's complaint), answers (defendant's response), decrees (court's decision), depositions, affidavits, correspondence, lists of heirs, deeds, wills, business records, or vital statistics, among other items. Plats, if present, are noted, as are wills from localities with an incomplete record of wills or localities other than the one being indexed.
Chancery causes are useful when researching local history, genealogical information, and land or estate divisions. They are a valuable source of local, state, social, and legal history and serve as a primary source for understanding a locality's history.
Additional Augusta County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia web site. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm
See the Chancery Records Index to search for chancery suits of additional Virginia localities.
- Augusta County (Va.) Circuit Court.
- African Americans--History.
- Business enterprises--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Debt--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Divorce suits--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Equity--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Estates (Law)--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Land subdivision--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Augusta County (Va.)--History.
- Chancery causes--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Deeds--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Judicial records--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Land records--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Local government records--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Plats--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Wills--Virginia--Augusta County.
- Augusta County (Va.) Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery.
- Augusta County (Va.) County Court.
- Augusta County (Va.) Superior Court of Chancery.
Genre and Form Terms:
Added Entry - Corporate Name:
Additional Augusta County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia web site. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm
See the Chancery Records Index to search for chancery suits of additional Virginia localities.
Included in this suit is a bond of performance to Arthur Baret of Orange County for 850 acres of land and if the survey shows a problem with the 850 acres, Borden will refund some of the money Mr. Baret paid for the land. The bond is dated 23 January 1739-40. Both men were living in Orange County at the time of the bond.
Joseph Carpenter is Jeremiah Seely's father-in-law and had given him bonds to use to buy land near said Joseph. Because of the French and Indian War being fought in the area of Jeremiah's home, he moved his family to Maryland during the conflict. When he returned he found that Joseph had given his land to John Mann. Jeremiah sued to get the land back.
In John Buchanan's answer to the Bill, he states that Col. Patton was killed sometimes in the year of 1755. He had intended to take out a patent for land on the New River but got in a dispute with the Governor over a fee of a poistole for signing the patents which Patton and others refused to pay. Patton was killed by the Indians on the Frontier while he was in the service of the Government during the Indian War. Before Patton's death, the Governor hindered Patton and others from settling and getting patents on lands on the waters of the Mississippi River. The people were told to withdraw from that area.
Samuel's brother lived on the Frontier of the Colony upon the waters of the Yawyawganie. In the last war he was taken prisoner by the Indians and his house was burned. Garret Zinn had bought land from the brother. Garret took his family to North Carolina to prevent them from being murdered in the last war. He died there and Valentine Zinn is his son and heir at law.
John Smith formed a company in 1741 with Zacariah Lewis, William Waller, Ben Waller, Robert Green, and James Patton to take up and survey 100,000 acres between the waters of the James River and the Roanoke River. James Patton overtime bought out the shares from the partners and got his own grant for the land. John Smith had surveyed the land and wanted payment. Patton also offered him a sixth part of Zachariah Lewis' land. This suit was an effort to settle John Smith and James Patton's business arrangements. From reading the bill, one can infer that John Smith was captured by the French and Indians in 1756 and held until 1758.
William Bell's father David Bell wanted to buy land from Mr. Francis. Mr. Francis wanted to buy a slave. Mr. Bell promised to go to Maryland and buy a slave for a lower price. Unfortunately, when Mr. Bell arrived in Maryland, the price of slaves had grown and he did not purchase a slave. This suit concerns the disagreement that resulted because Mr. Bell did not buy a slave.
This suit concerns the purchase of a slave named Rachel who ran away and the purchase of a slave named China in her place.
William and Samuel Bell, Daniel Ofriel and John Cunningham agreed to purchase beef and pork for the Albemarle Barracks. They encounter much difficulty, including snow, but finally bought the animals in Halifax County, NC. Lots of depositions are included in this folder.
Richard Mathews agreed to sell John Campbell salt and deerskins. The price of salt fell and things got bad. There are business letters from 11 September 1781 through March 2, 1786 included in the folder.
John Fudge purchased slaves Libby and Will for Mr. Thompson. There was a disagreement over how much he had paid and how much he owed. It turned out "Libby" and "Will" were really "Kitty" and "Billy", mulatto children of Sarah Otway. The Church Wardens of Littleton Parish in Cumberland County had bound them to Benajah Thompson in August 1775. Benjamin Wilson, a Justice of the Peace, gave a statement that the two children were free persons and that they were carried out of the county by Bartlet Thompson.
Samuel McChesney and his father-in-law Samuel Herring were involved in buying servants on consignment in 1787. This suit has copies of accounts.
James Kelzo, James Wilson and Samuel Chesney purchased servants together. The Bill list the name of some of the servants: Darby Hart, Martin Supple, John Haley, Pierce Jenkings, Bridget O Daniel and Elizabeth Insol. The answer names some of the people who bought the servants and Hines and Kelly, two of the servants. There is information about the servants in the accounts. One account gives the names of over 30 servants.
There were two lotteries held to get money to build a Lutheran Church in Strasburg, Shenandoah County. The cause concerns the mistakes the people running the lotteries made.
James Bailey was described in the depositions of Cornelius Dorman and James Gold as a man whose principle support came from "horses jockeying, buying, selling, swapping, and trading in other properties" and they "believe he is capable of taking any advantage in his power to accomplish without respect to Justice..." This cause concerns a gray horse that was said to be blind.
James Rumsey according to the Bill "was versed in the Doctrines of Hydrostatics, central forces, and the Law of gravitation" and came up with an invention that was a steam boiler that could be used to cause improvement to Doctor Barkers Mill. A group of men formed a Rumseyan Society in 1784 to help pay for the experiments of Mr. Rumsey's invention. They hoped that Mr. Rumsey's invention would be able make "boats sail against rapid streams". Mr. Rumsey eventually moved to London and the suit includes letters written from London in 1789, 1791 and 1792. There is one letter dated 1788 written in Philadelphia just before he left for London. The letters talk about ship building, the building of a canal in Ireland, the situation in France and other interesting remarks.
There was a fight at George Black's Tavern that Mr. Black claimed resulted from Joseph A. Smith and Jacob Keller being drunk and attacking him. Mr. Black claims they broke his leg. The jury in Shenandoah County believed his account of the event. Mr. Smith and Mr. Keller have a different story about the event and they are suing in the Chancery District Court to have the County Court verdict overturned.
Joas and his daughter Rebecca obtained two judgments against Edward for getting her pregnant. Edward took the case to the High Court of Chancery to get an injunction against the judgments. Edward and his witnesses said the neighborhood men took great liberties with Rebecca and her sisters. The Millers' witnesses said Rebecca and her sisters were well behaved. There are at least 14 depositions.
This cause concerns the selling of the Glebe Land of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Norborne Parish (Norbourn Parish) by the Overseers of the Poor for Jefferson County (and Norbourn Parish).
William Bryan's brother Morgan was considered a lunatic. There are numerous depositions about his behavior. This cause gives information about how society dealt with people who were insane.
John Doyell sold Elizabeth land on 23 February 1795. She discovered that he did not own the land. He sued her to get her to pay all of her bond for the land. She sued for an injunction in 1799. She was back in court in 1803, at which time the land he sold her was surveyed and the true owners proved ownership.
Dispute over western Virginia property owned by Gen. Thomas Nelson - signer of the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War hero, and governor of Virginia. Nelson's last will and testament is an exhibit in the suit.
In 1803, Washington Academy burned down. The inhabitants of Lexington wanted to rebuild the Academy in Lexington. Robert Gold sold them the land but problems arose about getting water for the academy from a spring on the other side Mr. Gold's property. There is a copy of the Rector and Trustees minutes from the meeting concerning the arrangements made for the new buildings in Lexington. There is a copy of the minutes concerning getting the water for the Academy. (Washington Academy eventually became Washington and Lee University.)
George Mitchell bought land at a trustee sale of William Bowyer's land. Jacob Kinney, the trustee would never give him a deed for the land. Mr. Mitchell searched for the land and could not find it. Mr. Mitchell concluded that there was not any land. Mr. Kinney had obtained a judgment against Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Mitchell obtained an injunction in April 1806. There is a copy of a deed, dated 29 August 1806 for the land that was used as an exhibit.
Thomas Boydstone purchased land from two men who had obtained Northern Neck Land Grants from Lord Fairfax. Thomas Caton had received his grant for 196 acres on 31 May 1751 and Vacheal Metcalf (Medcalfe) had received a grant for 300 acres on 7 January 1755. Mr. Boydstone bought 112 acres of the 300 acres grant. He did not have any problems about his land until 1791 when Abraham Sheppard sued to get ownership of his land. There had been a dispute between Lord Fairfax and the Crown. This cause gives a history of this dispute and other disputes over the patents and grants issued in that area of Virginia.
Both parties made several surveys and entries on same land grant in state of Pennsylvania.
Land dispute involves Thomas Lord Fairfax, proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia, settling a very valuable tract of land lying on the south branch of the Potowmack River
Suit references the selling of valuable stud horse for 800 acres of military land.
The defendant visited the plaintiff and offers to cure his cancer.
The plaintiff sued the defendant over possession of slave Rachel and her seven offspring.
This suit was land dispute on border between Virginia and North Carolina - where there was "no established line separating the two states." The contestants disagreed on the location of the NC-VA border. References made to surveys of the border made by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson and Virginia and North Carolina border commissions.
This suit was an early divorce suit involving charges of abuse and destitution.
Pendleton was a surviving partner of Virginia's Loyal Company, influential land speculators, involved in many of Augusta's counties early chancery suits.
The suit involved the possession and lease by Robert E. Lee's father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee of a certain farm in Rockbridge County known as "Sidney Cove."
The suit involved the violation of local ordinance by Heiskell for not opening a ditch to convey water to the town through his lot. Fackler at the time of his death had a lease and was in possession of mills on the stream from which said water is contemplated to be taken by the corporation. One of Fackler's executors is a nearby resident and the other serves as a member of the town's Common Council.
The suit involved a plot to get rid of wife to state of Kentucky because she had become rendered helpless by severe rheumatism. Plot centers on a horse, some money and a letter sent by a mysterious individual.
The suit involved a contract dispute over partnership in a public house at Hot Springs, Bath County and profits of the labor of slaves purchased by partners. Includes detailed accounts of eighteenth century business in Bath County.
The suit includes a plat of the town of Warm Springs in Bath County.
The defendant in the suit served as mayor of Fredericksburg during the 1790s and early 1800s. At this time, he is now a merchant that apparently owes the plaintiff a quantity of butter and cheese.
The suit involves the establishment of a public road - contains plats and petitions. The answer of one of the defendants sums up the history of the case.
The suit involves a mulatto petitioning for his freedom. He assumed another person's identity. The defendant was the grandson to Lewis Randolph.
John Hook of Franklin County appealed suit from Montgomery County Court to the Superior Court of Chancery in Staunton to deny Nanny Pege (or Nanny Pagee) and her children their freedom. See also Nanny Pegee et cetera versus John Hook and Zachariah Stanley, 1808 Apr. heard in Franklin County (Va.) District Court where the suit began and ended.
A dispute over a supposed breach of marriage contract.
A dispute between Maxwell and Col. William Ingles over property rights in Tazewell County. In his bill of complaint. Maxwell references the death of his daughters that took place 20 years earlier during an attack by Native Americans.
The suit involves settlement on the Ohio River in the state of Kentucky.
The suit involves a divorce by extreme cruelty. Husband has considerable wealth and court is last resort for plaintiff who after 40 years of marriage has nothing.
The suit involves thousands of acres of military land in Kentucky.
Andrew Moore was a member of Congress and VA State senator from 1804-1809. The suit involves disputed tracts of land in present day Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
The suit involves contesting a will and land in Shenandoah County.
Combined with other suits to be heard at the same time, The suit includes the will of John Hite of Berkeley County which bequeathed land in the Western District of Augusta County. The will mentions land Hite acquired from Cherokee Indians.
The suit involves the purchase of land on the Roanoke River in what became Botetourt County in 1757 by Erwin Patterson of New Castle, Delaware. The family then moved on to Kentucky.
The suit contains letters, dated 1795, concerning surveying of western lands; one letter from Greenbrier County.
Concerns business interests and trade with France, through Alexandria. Depositions from Oswego, New York, Alexandria, Hampshire County.
Contract dispute over terms of an agreement to hire two enslaved men to carry produce and other articles from Lynchburg and other places along the James River to Richmond.
Case contains multiple depositions about alleged mistreatment of an enslaved woman.
Case concerns a 5,000-acre estate in Botetourt containing "valuable ore banks" and iron works.
Suit relates to a dispute over the ownership of slaves in Rockbridge County. A bill of sale for 31 of the slaves is an exhibit in the suit. It list the names of the slaves, family relationships (husband, wife, children), occupations and the appraised monetary value of each of the 31 slaves.
Plaintiff is a free man of color suing to get his wife back. His wife was taken in payment of a debt.
Suit concerns dispute over a marriage contract, which is included in the case.
Case includes a copy of a 1754 proclamation from Governor Dinwiddie to encourage men to enlist in defense of the colony and help build a fort on the river Ohio "to oppose any further encroachments or hostile attempts of the French and the Indians in their interest."
The bill and affidavit describe the birth of a bastard mulatto child named Molly to a convict servant woman named Rose Fitzgerald, in Albemarle County in 1762 and 1763. The child, Molly, was bound by the parish to Joseph Kincaid until she reached the age of 31. Robert Logan bought the time of the Molly, and when Robert Logan died his son James Logan inherited the time. James Logan let her go free when she turned 31. He sold the time of two sons, Marcus and Andrew, Molly had while she was bound to Logan to Moses Cawood of Washington County. In Washington County, Molly sued Logan for false imprisonment and damages, alleging she had never been bound legally to Joseph Kincaid, and she sued others for the freedom of three sons, Marcus, Andrew, and Joe. The jury awarded her damages and loss of time she had been legally confined, and on behalf of her sons. Logan appealed to the District Court but the court record from Washington County couldn't be found. The District Court reversed the decision concerning the sons, but not Molly, costing Logan 700 dollars. Since that time, Logan found a witness, Andrew Greer, of Carter County, TN, who married a daughter of Joseph Kincaid, and Logan is now suing to stay the proceedings at law. Logan wins the case, and doesn't have to pay damages.
Case pertains to a land warrant granted in return for military service in the company of Charles Scott, present Governor of Kentucky, on a "Cherokee expedition" organized by Francis Fauquier in 1760. Several plats of land in Randolph County.
Case involves patents given to soldiers who fought under Washington in Braddock's War (French and Indian War). Contains numerous copies of land warrants issued to soldiers for their service in that war. Case also involves adjustments of claims to unpatented lands in the counties of Monongalia, Yohogania, and Ohio, 1783.
Plaintiff states that George Stoneham, in his lifetime, emancipated several of his children of colour, of which plaintiff was one, after a period of 6 years, to give him time to pay off claims that might be made against, them and to give them time to learn an industry to enable them to better make their way through the world. Deed of emancipation was made in 1806; George Stoneham died in 1807. Administrator is the son-in-law of the deceased.
Bill describes an effort to arbitrate marital discord by two neighbors, who draw up a separation and alimony agreement.
The suits relate to a dispute between Idle, who brought a slave named Hagar to Virginia from Maryland in 1787, when she was a young girl, and Gaines, who bought rights to her from Idle's step-children, and debt. Case hinges on the location of the oath Idle is alleged to have signed when he brought Hagar to Virginia from Maryland. Idle accuses Gaines of trying to steal the oath he signed when he imported the slaves into Virginia, and petitions to have the suit moved from Grayson to Staunton; also accuses Gaines of trying to have Hagar liberated, so he won't have to give her up to Idle to pay a debt. Exhibits include record of charges of assault and battery made by Hagar against Frederick Idle. Numerous depositions. She sued on grounds she had been brought into Virginia illegally in 1787 by Philip Gaines, one of the defendants, in violations of the law passed in 1785 to prevent the importation of slaves. Court upheld the Grayson court finding that Hagar was a slave, and ordered Gaines to deliver her and her children to Idle, as found in the detinue (order to return property) issued by the Grayson County court.
Plaintiff is a free man of color suing to get his wife back. His wife was taken in payment of a debt.
The suit includes a plat showing a diagram of pipes for carrying water to a distillery, a sawmill, and a meadow.
Many years before the death of the plaintiff, he formed an illicit connection with a woman of color his own slave by whom he had a number of children. The defendant states that the deceased left little or no estate except the female negroes aforesaid and her children all of whom he emancipated.
The bill of complaint of William McCampbell represents that a certain James McCown purchased from Benjamin Borden Sr. deceased four hundred acres of land, part of his large survey of 92,000 acres. A certain James Trible who then acted as a surveyor in the county surveyed the said tract of land, beginning at white oak on the Southside of a Timberwidge turning thence North ten degrees West one hundred and sixty poles to a black oak, thence South seventy six degrees East four hundred poles to a post by a Hickory sapling, thence South fourteen degrees East one hundred sixty poles to a post, thence North seventy six degrees West four hundred and ten poles to the beginning. The surveyor in setting down in his field notes the second course of the said survey, through mistake as your orator alleges insisted the letter N instead of the letter S so that the course according to the abbreviation manner usual with surveyors, would read North seventy six degrees East instead of South so many degrees East. The error not being discovered at the time of your orator alleges a deed was written in which the said second course was inserted according to the error aforesaid.
Robert Lewis made a contract with a certain Nelson Bardsdale acting as agent for a certain James Minor for the purchase of a slave by the name of Will. The orator charges that the slave was represented and warranted to you to be of good character and that in consequences of said warranty and agreement to deliver the negro to him at the plantation in Albemarle Co. The orator charges that since the said contract, he received a report from the neighborhood from whence he was brought that he was a slave of most infamous character, he being a notorious nuisance, a rogue and other issues too tedious to mention.
A certain Frederick purchased of a Walter Frazer a tract of land 160 acres and agreed to pay therefore to Frazer the sum of $168.00. The sum of money according to a contract with Frazer, applied to your orator to advance him of money for that purpose and promised your orator that he would give to him as his security of the said money due him advanced, 45 acres of the aforesaid tract of land. The orator thinking he would be in so doing although ignored in such matters, he did advance toward the payment of the land $147.00 as will more fully, be appear by the article, etc.
Case contains a chart documenting the hiring of slaves belonging to the estate of John Edmondson in 1810. Chart includes the name of slaves, as well as family information such as "son of"; to whom hired, securities, and sums.
The suit concerned a valuable stud horse named Soratis.
The defendant being appointed surveyor for the county of Rockingham with a reservation in his commission to the said College of the sixth part of the legal fees that should be received by the said defendant and having at the date aforesaid given his bond according to the Act of Assembly in such cases made and provided conditioned for the faithful payment in October of each year of one sixth part of all his fees and profits for surveying and conditional also to render to the Treasurer of the college for the time being a true and faithful account upon oath of all surveyors, stops and times made by him the said defendant or his deputies and what fees the parties employing him should pay which bond is hereto annexed as part of your orators bill of complaint and in conveyance. The said defendant proceeded in the executor of his office and your orators further show unto your honor that your orator some years ago instituted their suit in the honorable court and obtained a decree for the amount of fees due to the said college up to the 1st. day of July 1805, which decree did not embrace the fees for surveyors made under orders of court all which will more fully appear reference being made to the proceedings in the suit which your orators refer to. Your orators further show unto your honor that since the 1st day of July 1805 the said defendant hath rendered no account lot even of the surveys performed by him or his deputies which is contrary to equity and good conscience.
The orator lost his pocket book on the highway and he thinks he had seven hundred and thirty dollars and bank notes. Two or three days after losing his pocket book, he set up several adventures in the neighborhood, of which he has marked as exhibit A. The pocket book was found by the Robert Houston. The said Robert was seen to pass along the road on which the pocket book was lost very early next morning and is the first person who was seen to pass. The said Robert has been known for years to have very little money at command and to have had his property sacrificed at sheriff and constables sale for want of money, etc.
Your orator and oratrix Joseph Gray and wife, that your oratrix Margaret is the daughter of William Blaine and Margaret Blaine of Ireland. The said William Blaine was lawfully married to Margaret Blaine whose maiden name was Stephenson and had by her two daughters to wit your oratrix Margaret and Nancy Blaine married to one James Hannegan. Many years ago, William Blaine, from the same cause with which your orator and oratrix are not well informed, left Ireland leaving there his wife and her sister and migrated to the United States. The said William eventually settled in the town of Salem. After coming to this country, he married a woman named Elizabeth Thompson. His wife, the mother of your oratrix then living in Ireland and continued to live with the said Elizabeth Thompson until her death which happened about three or four years since about eighteen months since the said William Blaine married Elizabeth Hook with whom he continued to live until his death which happened last year. Your orator and oratrix state it as a fact which they are able to prove that as the time of this marriage with Elizabeth, his first wife Margaret was still alive and living in Ireland and known by the said Blaine to be alive. Your orator and oratrix would show unto your worship that the said Elizabeth Hook pretending to be the wife of the said Blaine has taken possession of his real property in and near the town of Salem consisting of houses and lots and between fifty and sixty acres of land.
The orator (blacksmith) who was at the time an overseer of the poor took an apprentice a boy about seven years old named James Davis. Davis lived with your orator about two years as an apprentice, but was too young to learn anything of the trade, not being large enough even to blow the balloons. During this time, he was clothed and fed by your orator and treated with kindness and gave him attention. Davis started running off into the neighborhood and loitering about from place to place staying away from home for several days and nights. In order to break him of this vicious practice, your orator frequently threatened the boy telling him that the bears would catch him. At length, your orator would whip him.
The plaintiff purchased a mare from the defendants only to find out that the mare was blind.
Your orator represents that the said testatrix, besides other property, left a chest, in which were deposited various papers belonging to herself and also various papers belonging to the estate of John Mackey deceased of whom she was executrix and of which she had the custody as such besides some lien of the property of said Mary. There was also deposited in the said trunk a sum of money belonging to Mary. The said chest at the time of Mary's death was in her dwelling house. Shortly after Mary's death, William Mackey took possession of the said chest, together with the papers linen and money and removed the same from the house and still has it in his possession.
Slaves to be emancipated and set free.
Smith who became the master of John Darsinger an imported white servant and a native of Germany who in 1818 was bound by indentures to serve Smith for three years. In the month of March of the same year, Smith sold the servant to Swink for 100 dollars.
A free negro named Sampson is codefendant. He asked Cravens, a Methodist minister, to purchase his wife and a male child, both slaves, from Smith Loffland. Sampson agreed to work for Cravens to pay off his debt to Cravens. Sampson's wife and child were held by Cravens as collateral. According to Cravens, Sampson worked off the debt. Cravens promised to take Sampson and his family to a free state should he move. Cravens planned to move to Indiana/Illinois and take Sampson and family with him. Sampson became indebted to John Morris prior to the move. Morris sued Sampson for repayment of debt. Morris visited Cravens informing Cravens of Sampson's debt. Cravens said that Sampson would repay debt but Sampson's wife and child were Cravens property and he was going to take them to Indiana/Illinois. Morris claimed that the Sampson's wife and child were the property of Sampson and not Cravens. Morris issued execution on Sampson's child Fanny for her to be sold as a slave by sheriff to recover his debt. Cravens' nephew John Cravens bought Fanny before Morris could. Morris claimed John Cravens did so unfairly and with William Cravens consent. Cravens claimed his nephew did it on his own initiative with no encouragement by William Cravens. He was out of town at the time of sale. After being purchased, Fanny "disappeared and that she is probably at this time in the state of Indiana." Cravens claimed that he was the owner of Fanny and not Sampson; therefore, she should not have been sold to repay Sampson's debt to Morris. Cravens stated that the only reason he purchased Fanny was to grant her her freedom. His nephew accomplished this objective by removing Fanny to a state "where a slave was never known." Cravens agreement with Sampson was fulfilled and no longer claimed Fanny as his property. Cravens acknowledges that the only reason he purchased Sampson's family was to secure their freedom.
Suit surrounds the purchase of property in Botetourt County by Mayberry and Weaver from Wilson for the purpose of establishing an iron works business. References to Retreat Furnace, Etna Furnace, and Union Forge. Backround info on the iron works. Defendants claim to have been defrauded. Property was not as advertised.
Case involves a title dispute for land surveyed by the Loyal Co. The original bill of complaint refers to James Anderson, who settled on Cove Creek, a branch of the North Fork of the Holstein, 1770 or 1771 and was killed by the Indians in the year 1774. Contains 5 plats.
Freedom suit. Isaac was the the son of a free negro named Derry Freeman and a slave to John Milles of Botetourt County. Derry attempted to purchase his son's freedom but did not have sufficient funds to do so. He convinced John Beale to purchase his son from Mills. Derry would then purchase his son from Beale. Beale died and Isaac became the property of Beale's widow. Derry still unable to raise funds to purchase his son. Derry died leaving a will which is found in the suit. In it, he directed his executor James Boyd to procure the emancipation of Isaac. Isaac claimed that there were more than sufficient funds from his father's estate to purchase his freedom, but Boyd failed to do so although he wanted to. Boyd died. Isaac suing Boyd's executors and Beale's representatives in order to get the 450 dollars necessary for his freedom. Court judged in Isaac's favor. Isaac was represented by a negro named Hannah. She asked questions to white deponents on behalf of Isaac.
The dissolution of the partnership of Weaver and Mayberry that owned the iron furnaces Buffalo Forge and Etna Furnace. The main issue in the case is the ownership of eleven slaves, some of whom were valuable iron workers.
Bolinger, the father of a "seduced" woman, sued the man who supposedly debauched his daughter - the father paid jail fees for 12 months because the accused man refused to post bail.
Includes information regarding General George Washington's estate settlement.
These ten cases concern a land grant of almost 100,000 acres, between Lexington and Staunton, given to Benjamin Borden after the 1705 law which forbade purchase of more than 4000 acres. Borden, a land speculator, was one of the few entities allowed to purchase such a large acreage. The land was purchased at some point in the 1730s. Included in the collection are 67 plats.
Case involves the sale of a Negro woman named Matilda 22 years old (along with her 2 year old child) was considered to be "defective" because she was given to having "fits" or "hysterical incidents."
Case involves a free colored man (Cochran) suing James Donathan over a plot of land he purchased and for the title deed to the land. Donathan apparently sold the same land to an Abraham Smith; the case involves Cochran efforts to get the deed.
Case of Daniel Webster (a former slave but a "freeman of color"). Slave in 1834 in the Commonwealth owned by David Hanger, requesting 300 dollars Hanger had left him in his will. Webster purchased a slave girl from L.L. Stevenson named Eliza with permission of his master Hanger. "Your orator is well aware the said girl became the property of his master, but his master had always permitted your orator to retain and treat said girl as his own property, ever since her purchase by your orator of Stevenson." Hanger sold Webster to John N.C. Stockton for $550 with the agreement that Stockton purchase Eliza as well. Also Webster could earn his freedom from Stockton after working for him for a certain period of time. Webster agreed to the transaction on the condition that he would receive his freedom. Stockton purchased Webster and moved to Florida. Stockton died before emancipating Webster. Before his death, Stockton refused to give Webster evidence of his freedom until they returned to VA. Stockton's heirs refuse to grant Webster his freedom. Webster won his freedom in Albemarle County court in 1840. Copy of suit used as exhibit. Hanger's executors refuse to give Webster the 300 dollars claiming Webster was a slave at the time of Hanger's death in 1837. Webster argues that although he was legally free in 1840 he was in fact free in 1835 or 1836 based on the agreement between Hanger and Stockton; therefore, he should receive the 300 dollars. The defendants claimed that the reason Hanger sold Webster to Stockton was because Webster attempted to poison Hanger in an effort to gain his freedom sooner. Hanger no longer concerned if Webster ever gained his freedom. Webster lost the case.
Reference to Louisiana Purchase in suit and its negative impact on property values in the western mountains.
Freedom suit. Slave Manumission as recorded in a will by Susan Wayt. Freeing of John Bridget, Jeff, Martha, Ann. The will states that Ms. Wayt wanted her "servants" freed, given the sum of 800.00 and should be "permitted to reside in some other state of the Union. Pennsylvania or some other state of the union where such difficulty may not exist or to the Colony of Liberia."
Tap Teter a free man of color and Daniel Faber were business partners in a blacksmith business. Mr Teter believed he was being taken advantage of by Mr. Faber. Mr. Faber was cheating Mr. Teter out of proceeds for his portion of the work in the business.
Personal property suit involving Archibald Trotter who purchases a workhorse from John H. Bates, "the mare promptly decides not to work" for Mr. Trotter. The mare is described as wild and dangerous and will kick! This is why Trotter wanted his money back.
Johnston sues Sam, a former slave to the Johnston family, for repayment for supporting Sam after he purchased his freedom.
During the French and Indian War, George Washington led a regiment of Virginia soldiers in the Battle of the Great Meadows, also known as the Battle of Fort Necessity, which would become Washington's only military defeat. After the battle, the soldiers were given a land grant that would become known as the Savage Grant in 1772 when Virginia governor John Savage made the grant legal. As commanding officer, Washington was in charge of surveying the land and directing the portions to which claimants were entitled. A letter written by Washington in 1772, not found in the suit, details Washington's involvement and his desire to be finished with the situation. In 1772, the interested parties were supposed to meet to divide and distribute the land. Very few of the recipients actually inhabited the land. They either sold the land to third parties or the land was taken away due to lack of improvements. The suits involve heirs who say their ancestors never received the land to which they were entitled. There are no decrees included in the case.
After the death of her husband, Maria Jamison struggles to provide income for her family. The suit is a request to sell property so that the dower may be restored to Maria and so that she can move the family closer to town to make her sewing business more profitable. The case provides an interesting account of a woman struggling to manage an estate/farm and to support her family.
Aude emigrated to the U.S. from Great Britain and became a U.S. citizen. He owned a substantial amount of real and personal estate in Augusta County. Aude died without a will. He had no wife or children. All his relatives lived in Great Britain. They made claims to his property in U.S. Problems - a) It was unlawful in the U.S. for aliens to inherit property unless they declared to be citizens of the U.S. They all stated they would become U.S. citizens. b) To receive their portion of Aude's estate, they had to prove they were kin to Aude. Exhibits filed in the suit include numerous certificates of burials, marriages, and baptisms copied from church registers in England going back to the 1700's. Also included is a genealogical chart illustrating their relationship to Aude.
References to a suit vs. US Government related to US Revolutionary War service of Henry W. Nicholson, cornet of cavalry in VA Line.
Contains naturalization papers of Michael McAleer of Ireland, 1843 Rockbridge Co.
Heirs sued to overturn will of Via who freed all of her slaves and left 4000 dollars to send them to a free state. Will was upheld. Receipts and extensive account documenting executor's trip to Columbus, Ohio in 1861 with freed slaves including purchase for them of a farm and household goods. Also includes names, ages, and physical description of each slave.
Freed slaves of Samuel McCune were left money from sale of his goods and property in 1835 and moved to Ohio. Agent to infants William Craig being sued by now-adult infants Daniel and Gilbert McCune, former slaves, for not doing his job properly. Big question of the suit seems to be question of court jurisdiction to decide the case. Suit dismissed due to lack of activity.
Case pertains to the disbursements of the estates of Chapman Stuart and his father Alexander Stuart. Mary Stuart was the infant daughter of Chapman who was seeking more funds as she became of an age to go about in society. There is a great amount of documentation on the expenses and purchases of a young woman during the period, which includes biannual account ledgers of her purchases for the years 1860 to 1862. The executor Archibald H. H. Stuart explains why there is not as much money in the estate as her father had originally thought when he composed the will, and he includes receipts showing how the estate is being funded. Included in the case are receipts signed by J.E.B. Stuart for funds that were allotted for his education at West Point. There is also information on slave property with several slaves mentioned by name.
Pamelia, a free woman of color, sues her brother's widow, whom she accuses of being of unsound mind, for control of his estate. Mention is made of their mother Mary Jones who was once a slave.
Rebecca Ann Vickers, freeborn, married her first husband George Washington, a slave who went over to fight with the Union and was later presumed dead. Subsequently Rebecca Ann married George Vickers under the agreement that she would return to her first husband if he should prove to be still alive. After having children with her second husband, Rebecca Ann did return to her first husband when he reappeared in Augusta Co.
George, a freedman, sued for divorce on grounds that he was forced into marriage with Dinah Bumgardner. George's bill includes a story of being apprehended by two military guards, one black and one white, and forced to Staunton. There he was given the choice of marrying said Dinah or being taken to Richmond as a prisoner. After being reassured by an officer that he could leave after the ceremony, George entered into the ceremony at bayonet point. There is an implication in the bill that Dinah's employer Strouse was involved in the case, and he in fact provided a deposition in her favor. Dinah claims that George promised to marry her and then had "carnal knowledge" of her. After the ceremony, George claims that he never cohabitated with the defendant.
Includes interesting material on what is like to be married while a slave, including the discussion of the deaths of two of their children while the third was sold to another plantation. Thomas discusses his former owner Blackwood who he continued to be employed by after the war. Thomas also briefly worked with the Freedmen's Bureau; although, no real information is provided.
Landes, who describes himself as being of "advanced age," was still considered to be of military age and was afraid of conscription into the Confederate army. Landes listed being allegiant to the United States as one of the reasons that he hired sixteen-year-old George H. Curry to be his substitute. Landes agreed to a series of payments amounting to $850 to be paid through the year 1866 to George Curry or his mother. George Curry died during the war and his parents took up a suit on his behalf and sued Landes successfully for the money owed to them according to the contract. Landes appeals that ruling in this chancery suit by claiming that the contract was illegal because it served to further the rebellious cause of the confederacy. The judge disagreed and claimed that the contract was a personal one and not subject to the outcome of the war.
Case concerns a marriage settlement for Mary in which most of her property remained in her control; although the actual control of the money and property was maintained by her uncle. Mary is suing because her uncle invested most of her money in Confederate bonds and stocks without her knowledge. Case includes an interesting deposition of Mary in which is discussed the relationship of women and business.
Dyer hired out three slaves. Slave Fanny was sent to a second hire, of which Mrs. Dyer claimed no knowledge or consent. Her new owner Mason was given "occasion to correct her ... for some fault," and the slave Fanny ran off back to her home with Dyer. Dyer refused to return Fanny to Mason who she claimed "had given her a very severe whipping for some alleged fault." Dyer said that Fanny returned to her after being "cruelly beaten" and "lodged in jail."
John J. Rusmisel served in the 25th VA Infantry (Heck's Regiment); POW at Ft. Delaware (per bill); includes (as an exhibit) letter from John J. Rusmisel to his brother (written from battlefield-Orange County, VA, 1 April 1864); mentions that Grant has taken over Union Forces. Image numbers 252-253
Land dispute involving Methodist Episcopal Church of Staunton and Methodist Episcopal Church South; dispute covers sale of land containing church building. One of the defendants is Mary J. Baldwin (for whom Mary Baldwin College, formerly Augusta Female Seminary, is named.)
Plaintiffs are former slaves (who have taken Pelter's name); dispute over land bequeathed to the plaintiffs. Argument includes fact that Sampson Pelter died after Civil War was over, and plaintiffs had been freed.
Causes mention a slave named Matilda, owned by the late James Crawford, who was hired out to the Western State Asylum. Includes a copy of Matilda's bill of sale between Thomas Stribling and James Crawford, 5 December 1825.
Includes depositions of former slaves, who had been owned by the Henton and Reamer families. Also includes report of sale of Silas Henton's slaves.
Case includes a genealogical chart of the heirs of Jacob Dull (who died unmarried with no living children). Image number 1765
Case includes personal correspondence between John Hix (Ironton, OH) and Annie E. Ryan (Staunton, VA) who were cousins. Hix found her by writing to the superintendent of the lunatic asylum. Hix had lost all contact with his family (even though his sister lived in Huntington, WV, about 20 miles away). Much of the content involves the estate of Aunt Sallie (or Sally) Ryan and distribution of funds from the sale of her property.
Case includes two architectural drawings, showing a building addition that Plunkett and others were charged with building.
John M. Brown and his wife Clara C. Brown nee Lamb sue Philip Palmer who was her guardian and controller of her father's estate. Brown alleges that Palmer misappropriated the funds and did not care for Clara properly. Several depositions in the case discuss Clara's role in the family and work done by women. Also include are eight fabric swatches entered as an exhibit for the deposition of Catharine Ott. Ott states that they are fabric samples from eight Sunday dress owned by Clara Lamb.
Plaintiff and defendant were former slaves, whose marriage was validated by the Act of the [General] Assembly of the 27th of February 1866. Defendant packed all the plaintiff's belongings into a hired coach while he was at work and deserted him and their children.
Plaintiffs filed for injunction against the Laflin and Rand Powder Co., which was trying to build a powder magazine near their houses (three others were in existence, in some cases closer than the one proposed). Laflin and Rand was the number 2 producer of explosive powder, behind the DuPont Company, which later acquired it. Both were part of the "powder trust," broken up by Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th Century. Includes a letter from the Repauno Chemical Company (manufacturer of Atlas powder) explaining how safe (as compared to black powder) its product is.
The City of Staunton purchased land upstream from the plaintiff and diverted the streams that flowed through both (both pieces of property were purchased from the same family). The plaintiff claimed that this destroyed the value of his property because there was not enough water to power mills and other things. After he filed suit, the city condemned the section of his property through which the stream ran.
Divorce case in which the defendant left his wife after about 4 years of marriage for her mother (the husband and mother had one child after that).
The defendant built a slaughterhouse and stockyard very near plaintiffs' house (bill gives exact distances), polluting a stream and causing insufferable smells and noises.
Case involves the estate of General Samuel Blackburn, and Revolutionary War general. He was the son in law of General George Mathews, also a Revolutionary War veteran and later governor of Georgia (resigned after the Yazoo Land Fraud)
Marriage license was obtained in the bride's absence (per bill)-groom claimed that she was 20 years old, when she was in fact 13. She had run away from her adopted father's house, where the couple returned a few days after the marriage. The defendant abandoned the plaintiff after about two months of marriage.
Plaintiffs brought suit to stop the county school board from closing and selling two public schools. Much of the argument involves the fact that the students would have to travel over a busy bridge (or railroad bridge) to get to their new school.