A Guide to the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849 Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849 0007404579

A Guide to the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007404579


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The Library of Virginia
Barcode number:
Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849
Physical Characteristics
0.15 cu.ft.
Grayson County (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849. Local government records collection, Grayson County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court records from Grayson County.

Historical Information

Jarvis C. Bacon was a young member of the Allegheny Wesleyan Conference. In 1848 he was appointed one of several missionaries to the South, in Grayson County, Virginia. His field of labor was where many were converted by his labors, and a church of eighteen members the first year increased to 111. But the uncompromising hostility to slavery, which refused slave-holders admission to the church, developed malignant antagonism and mob violence. Three hundred armed men at one time met to drive him from the State. But other armed men said nay, very positively, and the first party were content to resolve his expulsion, and offer a reward for his arrest, if found in Virginia aftger August 5, 1848. After three years of arduous labor, under great privations, he returned North, to die peacefully at home - Cyclopedia of Methodism.

In 1849, a Grayson County grand jury issued indictments against Reverend Bacon for circulating two abolitionist publications: Frederick Douglass' autobiography called Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and an antislavery sermon delivered at the Sixth Presbyterian Church of Cincinatti, Ohio. Both trials were held in September. A jury quickly found him not guilty regarding the Douglass autobiography, but the other jury had a more difficult time reaching an agreement of "not guilty" regarding the sermon pamphlet.

In response to the threat posed by the abolitionist societies, the General Assembly of Virginia enacted stricter legislation in 1836 to suppress the circulation of abolitionist publications. Anyone speaking, writing, printing, and/or circulating "incendiary doctrines" that deny the right of people to own slaves or encouraging slaves to rebel would by fined and imprisoned. Postmasters were required to give notice to local authorities if they receive abolitionist publications. The local authorities were to burn the publications immediately and arrest the individual who was to receive them.

Grayson County was named for William Grayson, a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1784 to 1787 and one of the first two United States senators from Virginia. It was formed from Wythe County by a statute adopted on 7 November 1792. The county court first met on 21 May 1793. A portion of Patrick County was added in 1810. The county seat is Independence.

Scope and Content

Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jarvis C. Bacon, 1849, consists of indictments, presentments, summons for grand jury, and subpoenas.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

  • Antislavery movements -- Virginia -- Grayson County.
  • Geographical Names:

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

  • Criminal court records -- Virginia -- Grayson County.
  • Indictments -- Virginia -- Grayson County.
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Grayson County.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Grayson County (Va.) -- Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

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