A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Lee County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1857-001-1912-023
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Processed by: Bari Helms
There are no restrictions.
Patrons are to use digital images of Lee County Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.
Lee County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1857-1912. (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Lee 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.
Lee County was named for Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, governor of Virginia from 1791 to 1794. It was formed from Russell County in 1792. Part of Scott County was added in 1823. Its area is 438 square miles, and the county seat is Jonesville.
A significant number of loose records prior to 1860 including chancery and judgments are missing. They were probably destroyed when Union forces burned the courthouse in October 1863 during the Civil War. Most volumes including deed books, will books, and order books exist because a local judge removed them from the courthouse for safekeeping before the fire occurred.
Lee County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1857-1912, 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 Lee 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.
- Lee County (Va.) Circuit Court.
- African Americans--History.
- Business enterprises--Virginia--Lee County.
- Debt--Virginia--Lee County.
- Divorce suits--Virginia--Lee County.
- Equity--Virginia--Lee County.
- Estates (Law)--Virginia--Lee County.
- Land subdivision--Virginia--Lee County.
- Lee County (Va.)--History.
- Chancery causes--Virginia--Lee County.
- Deeds--Virginia--Lee County.
- Judicial records--Virginia--Lee County.
- Land records--Virginia--Lee County.
- Local government records--Virginia--Lee County.
- Plats--Virginia--Lee County.
- Wills--Virginia--Lee County.
Genre and Form Terms:
Debt suit. Defendants were part of the Casket Co. (formerly known as Banner & Index Co.) that published the Emory and Henry Casket a newspaper at Emory and Henry College. The newspaper's first volume is included as an exhibit.
Mary Pennington, wife of defendant William Pennington, sues to gain control over land gifted to her by her father that was subsequently sold to cover her husband's debts.
Railroad company attempts to halt payments to Noe received in a condemnation proceeding by claiming that Noe falsely represented the damages and losses done to his property by the railroad.
Arguments over construction of the Cranks-Jonesville road which ran along the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Suit includes two plats.
Divorce suit includes letter from husband to his wife describing the other women he had had affairs with.
F. E. Parsons, widow of M. C. Parsons, sues her late husband's heirs seeking dower rights to lands inherited by her husband. The heirs claim that the land was conveyed to them before the marriage. In her bill, F. E. Parsons accuses the heirs of attempting to intimidate her by circulating "false and scandalous charges" including accusing her of having an abortion before the marriage and having her and her father arrested for stealing from the M. C. Parsons estate. The heirs claim that F. E. Parsons, who was around nineteen at the time of her marriage, married their sixty year old father only to gain ownership to his property.
Case seeks distribution of a settlement given to B. H. Loyd's family after his death in a railroad accident. Loyd was an engineer with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co., and the case includes a brief description of the accident.
Divorce suit. Husband raped a twelve year old girl in front of his wife who was in bed sick with typhoid fever.
Divorce suit. Includes a mutilated photograph of W. E. Neff sent to his wife by an unknown person.
Debt suit. Plat has picture of lumber machinery on it.
African American divorce case in which husband accuses wife of adultery. Includes testimony from doctor stating that the wife gave birth to a white child.
Elizabeth Smith sues for control over a tract of land deeded to her by her father that was then sold by her husband Samuel L. Smith to J.K.P. Legg for a set of blacksmith tools. Elizabeth refused to agree to the contract but her husband "commenced to abuse her and threatened to beat her, and to kill her father B. W. Barker if she did not sign the deed." Her bill was dismissed by the court.
Members of the congregations of Old School Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Regular Baptist Church argue over partitioning of land.