A Guide to the Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919 Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919 1184512-1184541

A Guide to the Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1184512-1184541


Library of Virginia

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© 2008 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Sarah Nerney

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919
Physical Characteristics
10 cu. ft. (30 boxes)
Staunton (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

For Commonwealth Causes, use microfilm, Staunton (Va.) Reels 16-46.

Preferred Citation

Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919. Local government records collection, Staunton (City) Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in transfers of court papers from Staunton under the accession number 43238. The microfilm was generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program.

Historical Information

The city of Staunton is located in Augusta County. Established as a town in 1761, it was incorporated as a town in 1801 and as an city in 1871. It is one of Virginia's independent cities and therefore functions administratively separately from the county in which it is located.

Scope and Content

Staunton (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1807-1919, are criminal court cases and other criminal papers that consist primarily of warrants, summons, subpoenas, indictments, recognizances, and verdicts handed down by grand juries and other legal authorities in order to prosecute individuals who violated the penal code. These offenses ranged in severity from murder, rape, assault and battery, and larceny to tax evasion, slander, liquor law violations, prostitution, and contempt of court. Criminal offenders and victims who appear in cases prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865 included both free and enslaved persons.

Warrants were issued by grand juries, judges, and justices of the peace directing law enforcement officials to either arrest and imprison a person suspected of having committed a crime or to cause an individual to appear in court to answer accusations made against them. Peace warrants directing an offender to keep the peace of the Commonwealth or to restrain from any violent acts are commonly found in assault and battery cases.

Summonses were used to call a suspected person to appear in court. A summons could also be issued to direct witnesses or victims to come before the court in order to provide evidence or information deemed pertinent to a case. Subpoenas were also used to order witnesses to court to give evidence.

An indictment is the official, written description of the crime that an accused individual is suspected of committing, which is approved by a grand jury and presented to a court in order to begin legal proceedings. Due to this process, indictments are often referred to as presentments.

Verdicts are the formal pronouncements made by juries on issues submitted to them by a judge or other law enforcement official. In the case of a guilty verdict, a judge will sentence the offender. Sentences may include a fine, corporal punishment, and/or imprisonment.

Recognizances were bonds or obligations made in court by which a person promised to do a certain thing such as keep the peace or to appear when called. They are common in assault and battery cases. Often they functioned as a bail bond that guaranteed an unjailed criminal defendant's return for a court date.

Overseers of the Poor causes consist of prosecutions for bastardy or summons to show cause why a child should not be bound out as an apprentice or why an apprenticeship bond should not be broken.

Certificates of justice were notices sent by the jailer that he had committed a certain person or persons to the jail to await trial or other court action.


Arranged by ended court date then alphabetically by defendant surname.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Staunton (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Apprentices -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Assault and battery -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Contempt of court -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Crime -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Criminals -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Forgery -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Illegitimacy -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Larceny -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Libel and slander -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Liquor laws -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Murder -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Prostitution -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Rape -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Tax evasion. -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Staunton (Va.) -- History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Indictments -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Subpoenas -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Summons -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Verdicts -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Warrants -- Virginia -- Staunton.
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Staunton (Va.) Corporation Court.
  • Staunton (Va.) Hustings Court.

Commonwealth Causes of Interest

1808 September, Abraham:

slave going at large and hiring himself out

1812 March, Isaac Collett:

printing a false and scandalous libel

1812 March, John G. Flack:

uttering opprobrious words to a justice of the peace

1814 March, David Phillips:

fornication with a female slave

1817 November, Charles Bankhead:

sending a challenge to fight a duel

1818 March, Washington Doake:

refuse to help constable take a slave to the whipping post

1820 November, Sally Bush, free negro:

being at an unlawful meeting with slaves

1823 August, Lavinia Hewlett and others:

for not registering as free negroes

1828 May, William Carroll Sr.:

habitual intoxication, abuse of his family and obscene language

1829 November, many free negroes:

for not registering as free negroes

1833 July, John H. Ast:

public nuisance: slaughterhouse

1837 April, Erasmus Stribling, clerk of court:

permit his slaves to trade as free persons

1843 February, Harman J. Lushbaugh:

obscene graffiti

1849 September, Eli Smith, free negro:

use provoking language to a white man

1857 July, Thomas O'Connell and wife:

permit unlawful assembly of slaves, trade with slaves, sell liquor to slaves

1860 February, Samuel Cooper:

publicly exposing his private parts

1860 July, Michael Carmody:

playing at bagatelle

1860 July, James Edwards:

assemble with negroes in the night time

1860 July, Howard Grove and Margaret Sinclair:

lewd and lascivious cohabitation

1863 June, Bridget McCarty alias Bolin:

received goods stolen from Confederate States government

1863 December, George Pforr:

attempted rape of his daughter

1868 February, Thomas Harris:

rape of multiple children under 12 years of age

1882 March, Margaret alias Mag Lewis:

keep house of ill fame

1882 May, Love Smith:

buggery with a mare

1884 September, Crawford and Lalley:

sell liquor on an election day

1884 December, David Kayser:

public nuisance: backhouse and privy

1886 February, John Harris:

seduction under promise of marriage

1887 July, Demetta alias Doctor alias Duretta Liverpool:

seduction under promise of marriage

1889 March, Nettie Mays alias Fox:

extortion and blackmail

1893 December, W. L. Oliver:

exhibit semi-nude photograph in his window

1894 March, Preston Moon:


1899 March, John T. Todd:

abduction with the intent to deitem

1901 January, N. C. Watts, jailer:

permitting the escape of a prisoner from the county jail

1901 September, Horace Miller:

house burning

1906 February, Kemp Howdyshell:

escape from jail

1906 May, David M. Kyle:


1908 September, Canary Morris:

possession of cocaine with the intent to sell; selling cocaine

1908 October, Albert Spiers:

attempted murder

1909 July, Walter D. Hoge:

illegal voting

1916 December, Edward Bryant:

buggery with a child

1917 September, John H. Johnson: