A Guide to the Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated 0007339659, 0007451842

A Guide to the Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 0007339659, 0007451842


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Library of Virginia

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

Processed by: Greg Crawford

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
0007339659, 0007451842
Title
Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated
Physical Characteristics
.90 cu. ft. (2 boxes)
Collector
Arlington County (Va.) Circuit Court
Location
Library of Virginia
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated. Local government records collection, Arlington County 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 Arlington County.

Historical Information

Slaves sued for emancipation in freedom suits based on the following: they were descendant(s) of a free female ancestor, typically a Native American (Hening Statutes, volume 2, p.170); failure of slaveowner(s) to abide by the 1778 slave nonimportation act (Henings Statutes, volume 9, pp. 471-472); or claimed to have been freed by slaveowner(s) by deed of emancipation or last will and testament (Henings Statutes volume 11, pp. 39-40)

Arlington County was originally named Alexandria County. It was formed from a portion of Fairfax County that Virginia in 1789 ceded to the federal government for use as the site of a new national capital. In 1801 the area officially became part of the District of Columbia, although Congress named it Alexandria County. By an act of 9 July 1846, Congress returned the county to Virginia, and the General Assembly extended the commonwealth's jurisdiction over the region effective 20 March 1847. By an act of assembly passed 16 March 1920, the county's name was changed to Arlington, the name of the Custis family mansion (the home of Robert E. Lee), which is located in the county. An urban county, Arlington contains no incorporated towns or cities. The county courthouse is in the county.

Scope and Content

Arlington County (Va.) Judgments (Freedom Suits), 1795-1858, undated, consist of suits initiated by slaves seeking to gain their freedom on the law side of the court. 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. Also identified are names of slaves and slaveowners found in suit as well as whether slave(s) won their freedom. Predominant documents found in freedom suits include petitions, records of suits, depositions, affidavits, wills, among other items. Information found in documents include slave's argument for freedom, acquisition of slaves by slaveowners, slave ancestry, and relationship between slaves and slaveowners.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Related Material

Additional Arlington County Judgments are found at the Library of Virginia.

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

Additional freedom suits may be found in the Arlington County Chancery Causes. Search the the Chancery Records Index found on the Library of Virginia web site. Enter the tilde symbol in the plaintiff surname field.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

  • African Americans -- Virginia.
  • Free African Americans -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Free African Americans -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Slavery -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Slavery -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Geographical Names:

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

  • Civil actions -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Civil actions -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Freedom suits -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Freedom suits -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Judicial records -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Judicial records -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Local government records -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Petitions -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Petitions -- Virginia -- Arlington County.
  • Wills -- Virginia -- Alexandria County.
  • Wills -- Virginia -- Arlington County.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

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