A Guide to the Elizabeth City County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913) Elizabeth City County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913) Elizabeth City County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-001-1913-051

A Guide to the Elizabeth City County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913)

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index: Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-001-1913-051


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Processed by: Sarah Nerney

The Library of Virginia
Chancery Records Index
Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-001-1913-001
Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913)
Physical Characteristics
Digital images
Hampton (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Patrons are to use digital images of Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes found on the Chancery Records Index available electronically at the website of the Library of Virginia.

Preferred Citation

Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913). (Cite style of suit and chancery index no.). Local Government Records Collection, Hampton (City) 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.

The Chancery Records Index and images for Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes are available electronically at the web site of the Library of Virginia by clicking the link found in this record.

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.

Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit was named for Elizabeth, daughter of King James I, and was one of the original shires, or previous hitcounties next hit, first enumerated in 1634. It became extinct on 1 July 1952 when it was incorporated into the city of Hampton, which was the previous hitcounty next hit seat.

Hampton was located in Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit, which is now extinct. It takes its name from Hampton Creek, earlier called Southampton River in honor of the earl of Southampton, an important figure in the Virginia Company of London. An Indian town stood on the site in 1607, when Captain John Smith visited the area. The colonists established a village there in 1610 and a trading post in 1630. Hampton was established by an act of assembly in 1680 and was designated as a port of entry in 1705. It was first incorporated as a town in March 1849, but the act was repealed the following December. It was incorporated again in 1852, but the act of incorporation was repealed in 1860. The General Assembly incorporated the town of Hampton in 1887 for a third time, and it became a city by court order on 4 March 1908. It was greatly enlarged on 1 July 1952 by a merger with Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit and the town of Phoebus; the previous hitcounty next hit and town thereby became extinct.

Records were burned or destroyed during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Additional records were burned in Richmond on 3 April 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the Civil War. A few pre-Civil War volumes such as deed books, will books, and order books exist.

Scope and Content

Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1747-1913 (bulk 1870-1913), 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.

Related Material

See the Chancery Records Index found on the Library of Virginia web site for the chancery records of other Virginia localities.

See 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 .

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Hampton (Va.) Circuit Court.
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans--History.
  • Business enterprises--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Debt--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Divorce suits--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Equity--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Estates (Law)--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Land subdivision--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Geographical Names:

  • Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit (Va.)--History.
  • Hampton (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Hampton (Va.)--History.
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Chancery causes--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Deeds--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Judicial records--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Land records--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Plats--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.
  • Wills--Virginia--Elizabeth City previous hitCounty next hit.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Elizabeth City County (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Elizabeth City County (Va.)--History.
  • Hampton (Va.)--Genealogy.
  • Hampton (Va.)--History.

Selected Suits of Interest

1855-001, James S. French vs. General James Bankhead: .

Two suits by French claiming that U.S. soldiers and contractors are not keeping to the boundaries set out for Ft. Monroe and that the Fort is firing cannon onto private property to the detriment of citizens.

1876-008, Clark and Wilson] vs. Harrison Phoebus trst etc: .

Contains inventory of the Hygeia Hotel including buildings and all furniture, dishware, etc.

1878-005, Jane Shields vs. Anne Bailey: .

Includes will of Nancy Tarrant (written 1843; proved 1869) where she emancipates "my niece Louisa and her child George"; also mentions husband named Jim Bailey. Other section of will instructs that money be used towards the purchase and emancipation of her niece Jane owned by Capt. Harding and nephew Matt owned by Edward King.

1878-017, Norfolk County Ferry Committee etc vs. Herbert L. Smith etc: .

Case sent from Norfolk Co. court. Norfolk Board of Supervisors voted to lease docks to Smith. Committee and others claim that the docks have always been public; wants lease nullified. Evidence cited back to 1695 to prove public-ness of dock. Includes 2 plats of docks area. Lease nullified.

1879-026, Carl Pölckow etc vs. August Pölckow etc: .

Estate settlement of Frederick Pölckow who has descendants in the Grand Duchy of previous hitMecklenburg next hit-Schwerin. Suit includes power of attorney and other documents in German (with English translation) including fancy German seals.

1881-017, Charles E. Hewins vs. John C. Davis, oyster inspector: .

Hewins requests an injunction against the oyster inspector's ruling that he has to remove his planted oyster beds from the Chesapeake Bay. Extensive depositions from oystermen about the oyster industry over the years in the Hampton area.

1883-003, Jerome Titlow etc vs. Maria E. Curtis: .

Contract dispute over land sale. Much discussion over the coming Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and deepwater terminal at Newport News which would affect land values. Titlow accused of concealing this fact from Curtis in order to get a lower price for her land. Collis P. Huntington's land agent, Mr. Hamlin, was said to be living w/ Titlow at the time.

1886-016, Mary Susan Williams vs. Admr of James Williams etc: .

James Williams was a slave pre-war. Plaintiff claimed to be his daughter. She was bought in Virginia as a slave and moved to Montgomery, Alabama with her owner. Suit is a dispute over who was a "real" wife and child. Information given in suit about different family members, former owners, pre- and post-war marriages, and current locations of family members. Both pre- and post-war wives and children validated by court.

1899-005, Clara Bell Jordan vs. Harry Oscar Jordan: .

Divorce suit that includes as evidence an undated letter from Harry to his wife written while he stationed in Cuba the U.S. army. He mentions visiting the site of sinking of the Maine, going to Havana, and how much he disliked the Cuban people, as well as gifts from other women and visiting a Cuban whorehouse—some of the grounds for divorce.

1904-001, Newport News and Old Point Railway and Electric Co] vs. James V. Bickford, and James V. Bickford vs. Newport News and Old Point Railway and Electric Co]: .

Suits charge Bickford with a violation of his lease of Buckroe Beach hotel and resort while Bickford charges illegal incursions of the railroad onto his leased property. A central problem involves questions about the maintenance of a fence and gate and security guards that existed mostly to preserve the segregation of Bickford's resort as white only and to keep out "negroes and persons of bad character."

1906-001, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute vs. David Johnson, Treasurer of Elizabeth City County etc: .

Hampton Institute claiming exemption from state taxes based on its status as an educational institution.

1906-034, S. W. Phillips etc. vs. Virginia Graves etc: .

Estate inheritance case. See especially depositions about 33 year long institutionalization of Jacob Ham heir Mary Lou Ham at Eastern State Hospital. Contains details about her insanity, her institutionalization, and ESH operational details about admittance, patient records including the fire of 1885 that destroyed records, and paying vs. non-paying inmates. Also includes copy of her admittance before Executive Committee and bill for her keep.

1908-008, Solomon E. Brown vs. Robert M. L. Brown: .

Settling ownership of jointly purchased land. Browns are African American. See letter from Robert in Helena, Montana, to Solomon in Hampton trying to convince his brother to move to Montana saying, "this is a fine country no Jim Crow cars, everybody votes, no lynching, a[nd] plenty of churches."

1908-047, Annie S. B. Welch vs. Mary E. Hawkins etc: .

Plaintiff claims defendants are blocking her riparian rights and have built a footbridge on her land. Includes 7 photos of Mill Creek, the Welch property, and area property (located just north of Phoebus boundary line). Depositions speak about how the area has physically changed over the years due to tides, human alterations, etc.

1909-008, Board of Supervisors of Elizabeth City Co. vs. City of Newport News etc: .

City of Newport News has bought land to build what is alternataively called a poorhouse, almshouse, pest house, and hospital in Elizabeth City Co. and the Board of Health and Board of Supervisors of Elizabeth City Co. want to put a stop to it citing public nuisance and public health risks.

1910-063 and 1910-064, Sallie H. Peek vs. City of Hampton etc and Frank H. Lake vs. City of Hampton etc: .

Two suits with identical complaints: city's bridge construction plans are going to interfere with their land and riparian rights and they deserve compensation for this. Both suits contain plat(s) of the area in question and a plan of the bridge.