A Guide to the Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov 0007383884

A Guide to the Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number 0007383884


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Processed by: Sarah Nerney

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
0007383884
Title
Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov
Physical Characteristics
.15 cu. ft. (1 box)
Collector
Henrico 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

Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov. Local government records collection, Henrico County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court papers from Henrico County.

Commonwealth causes concerning insurrections other than Gabriel's that used to be filed with these are now filed: Commonwealth vs. Arthur (1802 May) in Henrico County (Va.) Judgments and Ended Causes, barcode 1118211; Commonwealth vs. Ben and Commonwealth vs. Isaac (1806 May) in Henrico County (Va.) Judgments and Ended Causes, barcode 1118229.


Historical Information

Henrico County was named for Henry, Prince of Wales, the oldest son of James I. It was one of the eight original shires established in 1634.

Gabriel's Insurrection was a large slave insurrection planned for the fall of 1800 by Gabriel, a blacksmith owned by Thomas Henry Prosser of Henrico County, and other conspirators. A heavy rainstorm postponed the plot which aimed to take Richmond, hold the governor hostage, and bargain for the freedom of all slaves. After the storm, two slaves informed their masters and the white community marshaled the forces of the governor, the militia, and the courts to root out and punish the conspirators. Gabriel was captured on a schooner in Norfolk and returned to Henrico for trial. The end result of the trials were that twenty six slaves were executed, including Gabriel and his brothers Solomon and Martin. Others were convicted but pardoned; several were sold out of state.

Fears of an even more widespread rebellion haunted white Virginians for years to come. Gabriel and his fellow conspirators had recruited followers at religious and other meetings in Richmond and at plantations in the area surrounding the city. He was able to meet and communicate with so many other slaves due to the relative freedom of movement between city and county with slaves running errands for their masters and slaveowners hiring out their slaves to others. After Gabriel's rebellion was discovered and until the close of the Civil War, the General Assembly passed a myriad of laws aimed at restricting the movement, assembly, and education of slaves and free negroes within the state's borders. Most of the laws were aimed at controlling these populations so as to reduce the chance of future revolts.

Scope and Content

Henrico County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes related to Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800 Sept-Nov, consist principally of the informations filed in the criminal cases brought in the county in the court of oyer and terminer against sixty-two slaves charged with participation in the planning of a slave insurrection to be held in Henrico County and the city of Richmond. The information contains the name of the slave, the name of the slaveowner and owner's county of residence, the charges, and the names of witnesses on whose evidence the charges were brought. A few causes also contain a mittimus charging the sheriff to bring a slave or slaves to the jailer, and one suit contains a petition asking that a witness be allowed to give testimony at trial.

Also included is a petition to the county court from citizens asking that the gallows be moved due to the distress the number of executions is causing their family members, and a letter from then governor James Monroe stating that he cannot do anything about the location of the gallows.


Index Terms

    Persons:

  • Monroe, James, 1758-1831.
  • Prosser, Gabriel, ca. 1775-1800.
  • Corporate Names:

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

  • Gabriel's Insurrection, 1800.
  • Slave insurrections -- Virginia.
  • Slaves -- Insurrections, etc.
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- 19th century.
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- History -- 19th century.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Henrico County (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Criminal court records -- Virginia -- Henrico County.
  • Letters (correspondence) -- Virginia -- Henrico County.
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Henrico County.
  • Petitions -- Virginia -- Henrico County.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Henrico County (Va.) Court of Oyer and Terminer.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Monroe, James, 1758-1831.
  • Prosser, Gabriel, ca. 1775-1800.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Henrico County (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.