A Guide to the King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913 King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913 King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-001-1913-014

A Guide to the King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-001-1913-014


Library of Virginia

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© 2012 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Bari Helms and Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index
King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-001-1913-014
King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913
Physical Characteristics
Digital images
King William County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Patrons are to use digital images of King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.

Preferred Citation

King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913. (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, King William County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Digital images were generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program.

Historical Information

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.

King William County was named for William III and was formed from King and Queen County in 1701. Its area is 285.7 square miles, and the county seat is King William.

Most records were destroyed by a courthouse fire on 17 January 1885. Only a few order books and deed books exist.

Scope and Content

King William County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1868-1913, 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 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.


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.

Arrangement of documents within each folder are as follows: Bill, Answer, and Final Decree (if found.)

Related Material

Additional King William County Court Records can be found on microfilm at The Library of Virginia. See A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm

King William County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional King William 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.

See The Chancery Records Index to find the chancery records of additional Virginia localities.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • King William County (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--History.
  • Business enterprises--Virginia--King William County.
  • Debt--Virginia--King William County.
  • Divorce suits--Virginia--King William County.
  • Equity--Virginia--King William County.
  • Estates (Law)--Virginia--King William County.
  • Land subdivision--Virginia--King William County.
  • Geographical Names:

  • King William County(Va.)--Genealogy.
  • King William County(Va.)--History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Chancery causes--Virginia--King William County.
  • Deeds--Virginia--King William County.
  • Judicial records--Virginia--King William County.
  • Land records--Virginia--King William County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--King William County.
  • Plats--Virginia--King William County.
  • Wills--Virginia--King William County.

Selected Suits of Interest

1885-008, William Maxwell and Patrons of Colored Public Schools of West Point vs. Board of School Trustees, West Point:

A T. H. Jones was a 3rd grade teacher at the school and was then appointed as Principal. Jones was also a Pastor at a local church. The patrons of the school want him removed from the school as a teacher and principal for "living in a state of unlawfull [sic] cohabitation" and not fit or qualified to teach. They also hoped to remove him from the church too.

1886-019, Richmond Ice Company vs. Mrs. Hattie A. Marlow and husband:

Two representatives of the Richmond Ice Company are suing Mrs. Marlow for money owed to them for their products. Although Mrs. Marlow is being sued, her husband was appointed her business agent and is accused of being insane "is not a careful and prudent man in the conduct of his business affairs." She also owes money to The West Point Loan and Building Fund Association for lands they own. All business is in her name.

1886-025, A. S. Richardson, etc. vs. J. B. Jennings, etc.:

The local town council election is proven to have been fraudulent for various reasons; The judges of the election left the election room during the voting, votes were cast while some of the judges were missing from the room, the tally that the judges returned was incorrect because many of the votes were made by people that were not residents of the town and two non-residents nor citizens intimidated voters into voting for a specific candidate during the voting.

1888-010, B. N. Robinson, etc. vs. R. W. Trice, etc.:

From the election fraud of 1886, the defendants are claiming to be elected councilmen of the town of West Point but because the election was declared fraudulent, the plaintiffs (former councilmen) do not want the fraudulently elected councilmen to be recognized as councilmen of the town. Also, the plaintiffs want to still be recognized as councilmen until they are succeeded with newly elected councilmen.

1888-016, George W. Washington vs. J.B. Slaughter, Trustee, etc.:

Washington, an African American slave owned by William Robinson and later his son Benjamin Robinson, purchased property with his own earnings in 1859, but Benjamin Robinson secured the deed in his own name. Washington lived on this land essentially as a free man, keeping his wages and anything else that he earned. In January 1873, Benjamin Robinson deeded the property away as a lien for a debt then died unexpectedly in December. Washington brought this suit to the county court in an effort to prevent his land from being sold out from under him. The case took 10 years to settle and went all the way up to the Supreme Court of appeals, and it was ultimately decided that in 1859 George was a slave and had no civil rights and was therefore incapable of entering into any type of contract with anyone. The final decrees in the case show that the land was sold to someone other than George.

1891-014, W.K. Gatewood vs. W.C. Nunn, etc.:

Gatewood is suing Nunn, the mayor of West Point, to prove that he is a citizen of the town and eligible to hold the newly created town position of Quarantine Inspector in the town port. It has been alleged that he is not a citizen of the town and cannot therefore hold the position. It is also revealed that this position was created unbeknownst to the mayor and he did not want Gatewood to hold the position.

1895-002, George F. Custalow vs. James S. Robinson, Trustee:

Custalow is suing Robinson in appeal of a judgment that was made over a land dispute. Custalow and his wife are members of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe and purchased land but Austin Key, also a member, claimed to own the land they bought. It was brought to court and Key won the title to the land but Custalow is contesting that judgment.

1897-006, Laura Lipscomb Kelley vs. John S. Kelley:

A divorce case with a wife making accusations of abuse and a husband sharpening a knife while saying he was going to kill somebody versus a husband with a tale of losing a loved wife. Extensive depositions and correspondence provide both sides of the he said, she said marriage.

1897-008, Herbert Richardson vs. Lavinia Beverly Richardson:

Divorce suit: after his wife give birth to a child she admitted was not his, Herbert Richardson told her to leave and "I would like my house to be cleaned out of such trash."

1898-011, Henry Hill vs. Evelyn Hill:

A divorce suit between former slaves in which Henry Hill accused his wife of desertion. Evelyn Hill claimed she had moved to Richmond to be with their grown sons, with the expectation that Henry would follow, after Henry lost his house and land in an ejectment suit. Depositions detail Henry's affair with Polly Fells and a trial held at the Hill's church.

1898-013, Mary C. Lipscomb by etc. vs. Walter E. Lipscomb etc.:

Mary Lipscomb sues to have her trustee removed and to have her lands put under her control.

1898-029, Creditors of Thomas B. Henley vs. Thomas B. Henley and wife etc.:

Debt suit involves the sale of the Terminal Hotel, built in 1887. The hotel was a four-story summer resort in West Point until another sale of the property in 1913, after which it was converted into apartments. The Terminal Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1926.

1900-009, Creditors of West Point Driving Park and Fair Association vs. West Point Driving Park and Fair Association:

Debt suit involves the sale of fair grounds and race track located in West Point.

1901-006, Martha Ann Whiting by etc. vs. William H. Whiting:

Divorce suit involves dispute over property along with accusations of desertion and adultery.

1902-002, Thomas H. Burnett vs. Nannie W. Burnett:

Divorce suit includes several letters signed "You Know" and "Sad at Heart" written by Nannie W. Burnett to her lover Jerry Seabrook in which she described her job in a clothing factory in Baltimore, requested money for an eye examination, and discussed her feelings toward Seabrook versus staying with her husband, Thomas Burnett. Depositions in the case detail the affair with Seabrook and include the actions of another woman -- Nellie Selby. There is an additional letter in the case written by Nannie Burnett to a Capt. Bennett and Mr. Biddle, apparently Nellie Selby's employers, asking that Selby be allowed to retain her position and not lose her employment because of Burnett's actions.

1902-015, Robert S. Ryland vs. County of King William, etc.:

Suit involves the settlement of accounts between the County of King William and Robert S. Ryland for his time serving as treasurer for the county. Criminal proceedings were brought against Ryland for embezzlement of funds; however, he alleged in the chancery suit that the copies of the land and property books he worked from had been mistakenly or fraudulently copied. He accused Burnley Taylor, Commissioner of Revenue, of miscopying the books.

1904-026, Anderson Bourgeoise, Annie Estelle Bourgeoise, and Laura C. Rothwell vs. Daniel L. Risley:

Three combined debt suits involve the Terminal Hotel property.

1906-016, Richmond Bland, etc. vs. Town of West Point:

Suit involves the dividing up of a large parcel of land in the town of West Point. Also involves the Terminal Hotel property.

1907-006, Walter Miles vs. Alice Miles:

Divorce suit of a Native American couple. Walter Miles, a member of the Pamunkey tribe living on the reservation in King William County then known as Indian Town, was charged before the tribe's council with seducing Alice Myers under the promise of marriage. Walter claimed he was forced to marry Alice or face expulsion from the tribe.

1911-016, John L. Ware vs. Mamie Ware:

Divorce suit accuses wife of desertion and claims that Mamie Ware's mother will not allow her to return home to her husband. Suit contains several letters between husband and wife. In one letter, John Ware writes his wife as she is about to give birth to a child and asks if the child is his. Another letter written by Lucy S. Minter, the mother-in-law, asks that John Ware "never to enter our gate again" and that she "hopes never to see [him] in this world."

1913-014, Rose Cliff Fruit Farm vs. Town of West Point, etc.:

Rose Cliff Fruit Farm sues the town of West Point and its mayor, H. Anderson, for stopping their sales of cider and arresting one of their employees. The fruit farm claimed that according to Virginia law they were permitted to sell cider because it did not contain alcohol.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • King William County(Va.)--Genealogy.
  • King William County(Va.)--History.