A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Prince Edward County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1754-001-1913-039
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Patrons are to use digital images of Prince Edward County (Va.) Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.
Prince Edward County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1754-1913. (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Prince Edward 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.
Prince Edward County was named in honor of Edward Augustus, a son of Prince Frederick Louis, a grandson of King George II, and a younger brother of King George III. The county was formed from Amelia County in 1753. The county court first met on 8 January 1754.
Prince Edward County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1754-1913 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 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.
Organized by case, of which each is assigned a unique index number comprised of the latest year found in case and a sequentially increasing 3-digit number assigned by the processor as cases for that year are found. Arranged chronologically.
Additional Prince Edward County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm
See the Chancery Records Index to find the chancery records of additional Virginia localities.
- Prince Edward County (Va.) Circuit Court.
- African Americans--History
- Business enterprises--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Debt--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Divorce suits--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Equity--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Estates (Law)--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Free African Americans--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Land subdivision--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Slavery (Prince Edward County, Va.) -- History.
- Prince Edward County (Va.)--Genealogy.
- Prince Edward County (Va.)--History.
- Chancery causes--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Deeds--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Judicial records--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Land records--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Local government records--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Plats--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
- Wills--Virginia--Prince Edward County.
Genre and Form Terms:
Additional Prince Edward County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm
See the Chancery Records Index to find the chancery records of additional Virginia localities.
Contract Dispute. Davison, who was hired by Walker to work as an overseer of a plantation and eight slaves, alleges he never received his share of the crop. He accuses Walker of allowing a horse and hogs to be turned into the cornfield, damaging the crop, then hiring another overseer and refusing to settle with Davison.
Divorce/Separate Maintenance. The plaintiff accuses the defendant of abandonment and cohabiting with "a woman of ill fame and reputation" in the same parish and county. She sues for support, claiming she and her children will be left to support themselves on her labor, which, she argues, "is very little being upwards of 47 years of age and very infirm." The couple was married in 1729.
Contract Dispute. Hastie sues Zachariah Leigh for his share of tobacco earned for his work as an overseer for Leigh.
Debt. The plaintiff is trying to recover 100 pounds awarded to her in common law court for slander by forcing the sale of two slaves. She charges the defendants with fraud for promising to sell the slaves, but refusing to carry out the sale, thereby evading the judgment against them.
Contract Dispute. Randolph directed his overseer, Tyree, to negotiate a mortgage with Thomas Wood for two slaves to secure Wood's debt to Randolph. Randolph charges Wood with fraud and alleges that Wood owes him money for the care of Ambrose, an enslaved boy who was too young to work.
Debt. The suit pertains to LeGrand's mortgage of slaves to secure a debt to Alexander Speirs and Co., Scottish merchants. This case is one of several from the period documenting planters' debts to Scottish merchants.
Contract dispute. Dejarnett accuses Hansford of leaving before the end of his three-year term as a carpentry apprentice and stealing goods bought for him for the apprenticeship. Dejarnett had already sued for breach of contract on the law side of the court and lost.
Contract Dispute. The dispute involves Scott's request to purchase two enslaved people and other items while he was in Petersburg in 1778. The case contains a 1779 deposition of Peyton Randolph with information about the sale of the Falling River Estate in Prince Edward County to Thomas Scott, Jr. He also mentions the appraisal of the slaves at his Long Island Estate at 200 pounds each.
Contract Dispute. The case is one of several in the collection that contains a detailed invoice showing the cost of building a house.
Divorce/Separate Maintenance. Agness Hannah charges her husband with treating her in an "unjust barbarous and cruel" manner, abusing her verbally and physically, threatening to kill her, and carrying on a "criminal correspondence with his own negro woman slave." Since she left the home, she alleges, she hasn't had access to any of the estate set aside for her by the terms of a marriage contract, and she has been forced to rely on the charity of acquaintances. Depositions describe sexual assault against an enslaved woman and assault with a gun and hammer against Agness Hannah.
Separate Maintenance/Divorce. This suit is one of several in the collection that contain allegations of several physical abuse.
Contract Dispute. The suit involves a dispute between two people working as factors of Scottish firms and a store in the town of Osborn. It contains records documenting discussions of tobacco prices.
Contract Dispute. The dispute involves the purchase of a "new Negro African slave." It is unusual to find a reference to the importation of slaves from Africa during this period.
Debt. Blanton sues for payment for his service to the U.S. army as an express rider in 1782. The case contains articles of agreement for the work arrangement.
Business Dissolution. The case involves a business dispute between two partners in a business in Manchester, Virginia. It contains business records, affidavits, depositions, accounts; a broadside advertising the sale of French's Store in Prince Edward County, with an inventory, and correspondence pertaining to a business deal. Letters contain references to plans to sell the inventory of the store quickly and persuade planters to sell their tobacco and ship it. A letter from 1784 contains a reference to the undue influence in the community of "old Venable" especially with "the Presbyterians," and his alliances with other people of influence in the community. Another letter contains a reference to "Peter your child and wench," thought dead, but discovered to be alive.
This case is one of several involving accusations against Philemon Holcomb for not doing his job as sheriff, at the expense of "penniless children."
Debt. John Clarke is suing to force Overstreet to sell at public auction an enslaved man Jack, a blacksmith, to pay a debt. The defendant's answer describes the terms of agreement to hire out Jack, a "valuable tradesman" at the blacksmith's trade, and divide the profits.
Contract Dispute. The defendant alleges he is being treated unfairly by Smith, his creditor. He claims that in Virginia, unless explicitly stated otherwise by a contract, there is an implied agreement that merchants in country stores will allow creditors one year of interest-free debt, due to the scarcity of mercantile and market towns, which renders planters incapable of paying for goods when they purchase them.
Contract Dispute. The case concerns a dispute concerning dower rights to the title of an estate known as Pleasant Grove owned by Patrick Henry.
Debt. The case involves a dispute over the terms of repayment of a bond, and the rapid depreciation of currency during the Revolutionary War.
Contract Dispute. This suit is one of two in the collection that involve a dispute over title to a land warrants in Kentucky and the northwestern territory. The warrants were given to Benjamin Lawson in return for military service during the Revolutionary war.
Estate Dispute. The case involves Henry's handling, as a guardian, of the affairs of the Fontaine family.
Estate Dispute. A step-father is suing the children of his wife's first marriage for ownership of slaves they inherited from their father on the grounds that he raised them with his own money as part of his family.
Estate Dispute. The suit is one of many estate disputes that documents how slaves were hired out until heirs came of age, and to support trust funds for the case of widows. In this case, the estate was governed in part by a marriage contract. The case contains multiple depositions about what was intended by the contract and how the executors tried to fulfill the terms of the contract.
Contract dispute. The suit documents payments made to a slave-owner for his slave's work repairing a "cotton machine" in 1795. The testimony includes references to slaves working to repair a gristmill, slaves working on Easter Monday, and references to a barter economy (payment in fish and pork).
Contract dispute. The suit is a dispute with two people in North Carolina who were hired to build a house in Prince Edward County.
Contract Dispute. This suit involves a dispute over the terms of the sale of two enslaved boys who were security for a debt. The plaintiff argues he should have had a year to repay the loan before they were sold. The case contains several depositions describing the "pawning" of the two boys, efforts to enlist friends to recover them before they were sold, and difficulty obtaining credit and recovering debts in the local economy.
Estate Dispute. This case involves a dispute over the handling of two young enslaved children who were to be separated from their mother by the terms of a will.
Estate Dispute. Henry was appointed guardian of Christian when he was very young. Christian's estate included a plantation in Kentucky called Fort William and Saltzburg, and a piece of land with a salt spring. The plaintiff is suing for rents from the land from 1790 to 1798 and the labor of a slave and horses sold by Henry. The case includes detailed accounts of Henry's guardianship of Christian's estate.
Fowler is suing his mother-in-law for fraudulently taking his property (housekeeping items and an enslaved girl, Edith) and selling the enslaved girl. He claims he gave his property to his mother-in-law to protect it from being taken to pay for damages awarded by a jury to Nancy Taylor. Taylor charged him with assault and battery for, Fowler admits, "a good baisting which he had given her." The case contains several depositions describing the incidents and disputes.
Contract Dispute. Pankey, a house builder, sues a client, Richard Ligon. The case contains an invoice for making 3,500 bricks, raising the still house walls, and attending making of bricks.
The case contains two depositions of Reverend Drury Lacy (1758-1815), regarding his purchase of 400 acres of land from John Price.
Contract Dispute. The plaintiff is suing the defendant for selling him a slave who was not actually enslaved. The documents show that the alleged slave, Tom, was sold several times before recovering his freedom in the Charlotte County Court. Paul Michaux Cunningham testifies that he and his partner Paul Cunningham received the enslaved man for one or two years in partial payment for carpentry work completed for Edward Scott.
Estate Dispute. This case involves heirs accusing a trustee of mismanaging their estate by failing to provide clothing and other necessary items for the slaves in the estate.
Estate Dispute. The case involves a dispute among heirs over title to an enslaved woman. The case contains several depositions about the handling of the issue. One witness suggests one brother gave "his Negro woman" to his brother and sister in return for her room and board alone to ensure that she was not hired out, as he "expected she would have children and did not wish to have her abused."
Debt. This case is one of several involving British merchants trying to collect debts from the Revolutionary period.
Contract Dispute. The bill contains a description of the operation of a brandy still that the plaintiff inherited from his father.
Estate Dispute. The case involves an enslaved man, Toney, who is identified as a blacksmith, and his claim about rights granted him in a disputed will. The plaintiffs allege Toney confiscated the will, which was written before the Revolutionary war, held onto it, then produced it after the Benjamin Kidd died, contrary to Kidd's intentions. The case was appealed to the Superior Court of Chancery-Richmond District.
Estate Dispute. The plaintiff accuses his father's widow and her new husband of mismanaging and "destroying" the portion of the estate that she received as her widow's dower by hiring out slaves annually, but not sharing the proceeds with the estate, and by selling a valuable enslaved boy to pay a debt.
Contract Dispute. This case involves a dispute over terms of hiring out slaves. It contains several depositions about the practice of bidding for annual contracts for the hire of slaves, and prices for hiring two enslaved boys.
Contract Dispute. Dispute over the sale of a slave who returned, after the sale, to the place where she was reared.
Contract Dispute. Dispute over the health of an enslaved person who was hired out. The answer includes a description of medical treatment of the enslaved man, and the doctor's warning that he should not "run the river" while recovering. The plaintiff accuses the defendant of using the slave against doctor's orders and causing him permanent damage, resulting in a financial loss to the owner.
Estate Dispute. The case involves a woman and her husband suing to claim her dower rights. The case contains several dispositions with testimony about morality and conduct of Mrs. White.
Freedom Suit. The plaintiff alleges his owner agreed to free him in exchange for wages he earned when he was hired out, but failed to include the provision in his will. The case contains a reference to a law pertaining to emancipation of slaves over age 45. In the answer, Baker's widow mentions Andrew Baker's intention to free all his slaves, his decision to wait until after he died to let them know for fear the slaves would find out their freedom depended on his death, and his widow's difficulties in carrying out his wishes.
Contract Dispute. The plaintiff charges the defendant with selling him an enslaved man who was known to be a poisoner. This suit is one of several suits in the collection alleging fraud in the sale of a slave or slaves due to slave's alleged injury, illness, or difficult disposition.
Divorce/Separate Maintenance. The plaintiff alleges her husband turned her out of house and home, inflicted "cruel and brutal treatment," withheld "measures of obtaining food and raiment" The case includes an affidavit from the plaintiff's married daughter about her father's alleged severe abuse of her mother.
The case includes correspondence discussing treatment of cancer.
The case contains correspondence with a reference to Captain John D. Richardson and his Company, which saw action at the Battle of Craney Island in the War of 1812.
Divorce/Separate Maintenance. The defendant alleges his wife threatened him with murder and beat him, and that he had to take the children away to protect the children from her bad influence. The allegation of physical abuse inflicted by a wife unusual.
Contract Dispute. This case involves a property dispute between two free African Americans who were members of the Israel community, Samuel White, son of Hercules White; and Dick White. It includes a plat of property along the Buffalo River owned by Hercules White and others.
Contract Dispute. The bill describes a partnership between a man and woman in a carpentry business. The depositions describe business dealings with Elizabeth Dillon, one of the partners.
There is a reference, in the answer, to the assumed death of Joshua Davidson the elder and his family at the hands of Native Americans, then enemies of the U.S., in 1779 in South Carolina.
Contract Dispute. The case includes a description of a business partnership for the purchase and sale of slaves.
Estate Dispute. The case concerns a bequest to educate a nephew in state of Ohio, and a request that he come back to Virginia and rescue "my negro woman Nelly and her son Terah and conduct them to State of Ohio, and be as a guardian to them."
Contract Dispute. The case involves a dispute over the purchase of a slave who returned to Cumberland County, where his wife lived, after he was purchased.
Estate Dispute. The suit involves free African Americans who were descended from slaves emancipated by Richard Randolph.
Estate Dispute. The case was appealed to Superior Court of Chancery, Richmond District. It contains depositions about disputes about the management of slaves, for example, whether there were too many around the house, whether they were kept busy, etc., and discussions of migration to Lowndes County, Alabama. The records also include detailed accounts.
The case involves Randolph, who sold some slaves, and left others in care of people in Prince Edward County when he moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1810. The case concerns his efforts to provide support for some slaves left in Prince Edward, and to keep a mother and children together.
This suit concerns free African Americans, descendants of the slaves emancipated by Richard Randolph.
This suit concerns Nathan Homes, a free man of color, and his purchase of a lot and a home in the county.
The plaintiff is suing for compensation for a penalty he paid for conviction of assault and battery against Nancy Davis. The depositions describe a battle between a white man and a white woman over authority over an enslaved girl, as well as alcohol, violence, and guns.
Estate Dispute. This suit contains records of marriages and births for the Legrand family, and records of slaves born in the eighteenth century.
This case contains a letter from Merit Hix, in St. Louis, Missouri, to his father James Hix, 1830, describing the state of business there ("very dull" due to the slow flow of the Mississippi River) and urging his father to emigrate to Missouri because land is cheap, and the country is settling quickly.
This case involves a married woman who is trying to protect her family estate and prevent the sale of more slaves to pay her husband's gambling debts in Richmond.
The defendant is the owner of Steger's Tobacco Factory in Farmville. The case contains a broadside advertising the sale of the factory and a description of the property as "sufficiently large to work one hundred hands to advantage."
Estate Dispute. The case contains depositions from Ohio, Indiana, and New York.
Estate Dispute. This case includes information about a slave auction and estate accounts documenting expenses for keeping enslaved people and hiring them out.
Contract Dispute. The case contains a contract for construction of the Prince Edward courthouse and a bill for construction of a brick house.
Estate Dispute. The case includes a letter from a widow in Danville asking help to prevent the sale of the slave Clem.
Estate Dispute. The case involves a dispute over a tract of land given to Brown's father when he was emancipated by Richard Randolph.
The defendant is an artisan from Milton, North Carolina, who was contracted to build a Presbyterian Church in Prince Edward County. The case includes a letter to Cosby about the debt, and a letter from Cosby explaining he didn't have employment in Prince Edward, so he went to Milton where there was plenty of work.
Estate Dispute. The case contains a list of the 44 grandchildren of Simon (?) Wooldridge and a detailed genealogy, including the children of Ralph Wooldridge, Jonah Wooldridge, Nancy Baugh, formerly Wooldridge; Robert, Wooldridge, Polly Inge, Edward Wooldridge; and Rhoda Scruggs, formerly Wooldridge, as well as some of the grandchildren's marriages. The accounts contain yearly wages paid for work as overseer.
The case involves a proposal to construct locks to improve navigation on the Appomattox River.
Estate Dispute. The case contains an agreement between Lucy Anderson and Thomas Anderson to allow Lucy to move west with her dower slaves.
Estate Dispute. The case contains multiple combined suits documenting migration to Madison County, Alabama, and Christian County, Kentucky. It contains several letters from Madison County, Alabama territory, 1818-1820, and from Lawrence County (state?).
Contract Dispute. The case involves a dispute over division of a Presbyterian Church in Cumberland County, in Hanover Presbytery.
Estate Dispute. The valuation of slaves in this case document slave marriages and families.
Contract Dispute. This case documents the money spent per slave on corn and the amount of corn grown by slaves for themselves on a plantation in 1819. It also documents expenses paid for a midwife.
Business Dissolution. This case involves a dispute between former business partners. It documents their tobacco business which involved the buying, selling, and manufacturing of tobacco.
Debt. This case documents Saluda Gallion's work as a school teacher in Prince Edward County before she was married, and her efforts to collect claims from families.
Contract Dispute. This case involves the right to use Page's patent for a portable circular sawmill and includes a copy of the patent.
Estate Dispute. This case pertains to the estate of Philip Bowman, a free African American man who was married to an enslaved woman owned by the Venable family. When Philip Bowman died, his mother sued to acquire property he had tried to leave to his wife, who was still enslaved. The Venable family tried to protect the widow's interests by promising to care for her, but later put her in the poor house to live out her days there.
This case documents the treatment of Samuel P. Rice, president of Hampden Sydney College, with leeches, and the hiring of slaves from Rice by the Trustees of Hampden Sydney College for the year 1845.
Estate Dispute. The defendant is described as a slave trader, buying up slaves "to be carried to the South." The plaintiff alleges his inheritance in slaves is unjustly being sold and carried South.
Estate Dispute. This case involves James Madison's embezzlement of funds from Josiah Chambers' estate, and the fraudulent selling of lots in the town of Farmville. This case includes testimony about the legitimacy of the marriage of Chambers, who was declared mentally unsound by the court; about the sale of slaves for profit by Chamber's Committee, and the provision of seasonal clothing for Chambers. It also contains receipts of medical care for slaves.
Estate Dispute. This large case pertains to a marital separation, an accusation of insanity for wanting to ruin the family by selling all the slaves; a plea to avoid the sale of a young child away from his mother "from a humane motive," the sale of certain slaves to acquire money to buy a plantation for the trustees; accusations of fraud. The records include accounts for hiring out and selling slaves to administer a trust.
Estate Dispute. The case contains a will, written in St. Augustine, Florida and proved in Chesterfield County in 1847, describing two slaves who "have been raised in a factory in Richmond, and would be of little value in the country."
Contract Dispute. This case concerns a contract to keep the Eagle Hotel in Farmville. The records include accounts that document furnishings of the hotel, such as plates, glasses, mustard, pillow cases, towels, etc.
Estate Dispute. This case involves conveyance in 1804 of a property called Gold Mine in Buckingham County, wherein there "was a mine of gold ore, or other valuable metals."
Estate Dispute. This case includes accounts listing the prices of tobacco sold at Randolph's warehouse in Farmville from 1831-1840.
Estate Dispute. This suit involves the plaintiff's efforts to regain a slave family, a mulatto woman and her children, who "plaintiff was unwilling for particular reasons to part." Plaintiff claims slaves were sold to a creditor at half their market value, on the provision that plaintiff could regain the slaves when he repaid the purchase price. When his daughter loaned him the money, the defendant claimed no such agreement had been made, and informed her he had already sold the slaves. The case includes a deposition taken at a store house owned by McNaught and Ormand in Newport, Wakulla County, Florida.
Estate Dispute. In this case, the heirs of David Ellington seek unsuccessfully to revoke Ellington's bequest to two emancipated slaves.
Estate Dispute. This suit identifies several enslaved people who were carpenters; it also documents migration to Yazoo City, Mississippi, and Alabama and a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation.
Estate Dispute. This case contains a petition to sell a slave, George, described as "disorderly, rebellious, and thievish," and one whose "influence tends to corrupt other slaves."
Estate Dispute. This case includes a list of slaves, their occupations, and to whom they were sold as part of the estate division (Images 462-464). In some instances, familial relationships are noted.
Estate dispute. This suit documents the emancipation and removal to Liberia of 66 enslaved people in 1857. The court record includes a list of people freed, with names, approximate ages, family relationships, and the number of deaths among them after reaching Liberia. The plaintiffs are suing the executors for distribution of funds intended for their use in Liberia.