A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Prince George County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1809-001-1917-012
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Processed by: Sherri Bagley
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Patrons are to use digital images of Prince George County (Va.) Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.
Prince George County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1809-1917 (bulk 1869-1916). (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Prince George County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
Digital images were generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program.
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.
Prince George County was named for Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne of England. It was formed from Charles City County by a statute adopted on 28 August 1702 to take effect on 23 April 1703. The county seat is Prince George.
Most court records of Prince George County were destroyed in 1782 by British troops during the Revolutionary War and again in 1864 by Union troops during the Civil War. A few volumes that record deeds, court orders, and wills exist.
Prince George County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1809-1917 (bulk 1869-1916), 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, slave records, 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 cases 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 Prince George 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.
See the Chancery Records Index found on the Library of Virginia web site for the chancery records of other Virginia localities.
Prince George County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Prince George County Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Collection at the Library of Virginia. Search the Lost Records Localities Digital Collection available at Virginia Memory.
For more information and a listing of lost records localities see Lost Records research note.
- Prince George County (Va.) Circuit Court.
- African Americans -- History.
- Business enterprises. -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Debt -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Divorce suits -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Equity -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Estates (Law) -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Land subdivision -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Prince George County (Va.) -- Genealogy.
- Prince George County (Va.) -- History.
- Chancery causes -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Deeds -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Judicial records -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Land records -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Local government records -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Plats -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
- Wills -- Virginia -- Prince George County.
Genre and Form Terms:
Slave at center of dsipute was ill and could not be sold.
Participants in suit wanted court's assistance to sell the slaves because they were running away.
Participants in suit wanted the court's assistance to divide the slaves belonging to the plaintiff and defendant in four equal parts.
The plaintiff charges that the executor has paid the debt and expenses of the estate and has given over the special legacies of the negroes to the different legacies to the widow. The six choice negroes left her and to the other legacies their bequest, but has obtained from your plaintiff the two children Dinah and Mary, the increase of Sealy and assert that they do not belong to the plaintiff, but pass under the residency clause of the will to sell them shortly for a division in violation.
The slaves were family servants, both the orator and his said children are much attached, but if the said slaves were sold under the said deed, they may be sent out of state and separated from their families.
The defendant, a free man of color, died without sufficient amount of personal property to pay his funeral expenses.
Listed in the will of James Bishop, a slave named Angelia was emancipated and set free and was given all the land for her lifetime and at her death, the land will be given to her son Henry.
The court doth adjudge, order and decree that the administratix of John Eldridge deliver up as soon as convenient all the slaves now in her charge as his administratix except the two proposed to be soon sold to pay debts, for the purpose of having one-third of said slaves assigned to the widow for and during her life, and the other two/thirds divided in kind into three equal parcels as near as may be and assigned one-third to defendant in rights of his deceased wife.
Suit involves sale of a slave and invest proceeds into interest bearing funds.
Suit makes reference to a lumber business getting slaves and boating them away.
Suit references an Englishman who migrated to the United States.
Suit includes a will in which a slave named Moreal was liberated and other slaves were to be sold and money put out or in interest for the benefit of the plaintiff's wife and daughter
Suit includes a letter from clerk stating that there was no receipt of marriage kept as far back as 1852 or if there was, it must have been destroyed by the "Raiders" during the Civil War.
William left no property of any kind, so far as your orator knows, except a claim against the United States government for property taken by the Federal Army during the late war, upon which claim the Southern Claims Commissioner awarded him the sum of $1,000
Suit includes a will in which the testator did not want slaves hired at public, but privately to kind and humane masters even if attended with a sacrifice. The slaves were emancipated as a result of the Civil War.
The will was lost or destroyed in the general destruction of the papers and records of the county court clerks office by the federal army in 1864, doth adjudge order and decree that the said papers marked (A) be and the same is hereby established as the true last will and testament.
Matilda filed for a divorce because her husband has been sentenced to ten years in jail for stealing one bay horse.
Simon Bolling filed for a divorce because he thinks his wife had an affair with a white man and became pregnant. Simon and his wife are very dark and the child proving to be a bright mulatto. Simon charged upon his wife the crime of adultery and she confessed the truth of the accusation and admitted that a white man was in fact the father of the said mulatto child. There are two witnesses who stated that she was an unlawful wife. The matter was brought before the church of which Simon and his wife both are members. Simon retained his membership and she was expelled. Francis has frequently acknowledged it since to others and particularly to James Hall and Booker M. Harris who both gave depositions.
Robert is filing for a divorce because his wife gave birth to a child and he alleges that the child is not his as he has had nothing to do with her since he left. A witness states that Robert was forced to leave his wife because by the abusive treatment of him and that she had a child about two years old. Robert has not lived with her since he was forced to leave her because of her conduct. Another witness states that Vina Edwards was seen on the public street following her husband and abusing him and with rocks in her hands threaten to throw them at him.
Before the Civil War, the defendant was a very wealthy man, but due to the emancipation of the slaves, his property lessened in value greatly.
The plaintiff's counsel wrote the following: "whole difficulty in this case is owing to the fact, that as the result of the late war, the slaves belonging to the estate of John C. Daniel were emancipated."
Parties in the suit operated sturgeon fishing business.
Divorce suit - The plaintiff was kind and affectionate to his wife and did all he could to make her happy, but she was unkind and cruel to him. She moved all of her things from the room upstairs in their house and put them in one of the rooms downstairs where she lived separate and apart from him, refusing at all times to allow him to enter the said room where she had taken up her adobe and lived as above stated until she was sent to Central State Hospital, having being adjudged insane. She was discharged from the hospital on Sept. 30, 1903 and returned home. She was sent back to Central State Hospital in June 1904 and was charged with lunacy. In March 1904, before she was sent back to the hospital, she came pretty closed to killing Cain by fully scalding him with boiling hot water, and as a result of the scalding, he was disabled for the greater part of a year and she is still at Central State Hospital.
The plaintiff filed for a divorce because her husband beat her so bad one day that he almost knocked her eye out. He was also very mean to their two children. She left because he told her he would kill her.
Plaintiff filed for a divorce because her husband is a bigamist. His punishment was to spend three years in penitentiary and the court being of the opinion that he instead of being sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary should be sentenced to hard labor on the public roads. It was ordered that the defendant be delivered into the custody of the Superintendent of the penitentiary to be kept by him a member of the sate convict road force in accordance with the law.
The orator was a colored man about seventy-two years old who was raised as a slave and is without education and absolutely ignorant of the ways of business or the laws of real property. He purchased from W. H. Belch a certain lot of parcel of land in Prince George County. Cubit being very ignorant and considering that he was old and had not very long to remain in this world, placed the title of his property in the name of his eldest daughter, Lucy Stith, who was then seventeen years old, and working in Berkley Virginia and unmarried. She later married and moved to New York state. The suit involved a dispute over the property. The plaintiff never recorded a deed to the property. He needed Lucy to sign the deed, but she refused. The value of the property had significantly increased due to DuPont building a plant in the vicinity. "Your orator states that she now refuses absolutely to give him any deed for the said property and claims it and the improvements which he has erected from his funds and by his labor as her own; that she is talking about selling the property and is threatening to turn him out of the said property as well as her mother, which would leave them homeless in their old age. Your orator avers that when recently, after her return to this county, he requested her for a deed for the said property, but she cursed him and used abuse too foul to repeat."