A Guide to the Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912) Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912) Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-001-1912-064

A Guide to the Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912)

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-001-1912-064


Library of Virginia

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Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
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© 2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Greg Crawford, Rachel Muse, and Bari Helms

The Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index
Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-001-1912-064
Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912)
Physical Characteristics
Digital images
Franklin County (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

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

Preferred Citation

Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912). (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Franklin 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

Franklin County was named for Benjamin Franklin and was formed from Bedford and Henry Counties in 1785. The county court first met on 2 January 1786. Part of Patrick County was added in 1848. The county seat is Rocky Mount.

Scope and Content

Franklin County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1787-1912 (bulk 1833-1912) 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, 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.

Related Material

Additional Franklin 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.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Franklin County (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

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

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

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

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Franklin County (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Franklin County (Va.)--History.

Selected Suits of Interest

1859-002: John Hunt, etc. v. Harvey W. Hunt, etc.

The suit imvolves a federal Bounty Land Warrant No. 25323 (80 acres) given to Mexican War vet, Obediah (Obadiah) Hunt. When Hunt dies, his heirs become embroiled in an estate dispute. Some of his heirs also reside in Wythe County, Virginia.

1867-005: James C. Smith vs. Lucy F. Smith:

The suit involves a scandalous divorce between James C. Smith and Lucy F. Smith. James Smith returned home from fighting in the Civil War only to learn that his wife had been unfaithful while he was away. The suit includes depositions given by Mrs. Smith’s lovers describing their secret getaways.

1870-006: Nancy Ferguson vs. Thomas B. Ferguson:

The suit details the many difficulties women encountered while managing estates. The plaintiff, Nancy B. Ferguson, entrusted the defendant, her nephew Thomas B. Ferguson, with running the day to day affairs of her estate which included numerous slaves. Unfortunately, Mrs. Ferguson had a weakness for strong drink. Her nephew took advantage of her condition to defraud her of much of her property, especially slaves.

1873-050: Elisha Potter, etc vs. Nancy Oakes, etc.:

Suit includes a detailed report on the division of slaves (image numbers 10-12). It also includes the ages of the slaves.

1895-037: Joseph T. Childress, etc. vs. Admr. of Laban Childress, etc.:

Estate dispute. References an event that occurred prior to the Civil War – the sell of Laban Childress’ personal estate which included slaves. One of the deponents, Martha Childress, was a former slave. She testified about the day she was sold.