A Guide to the Powhatan County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881 Powhatan County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881 0007619199

A Guide to the Powhatan County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode number: 0007619199


Library of Virginia

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© 2016 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Greg Crawford Library of Virginia staff

The Library of Virginia
Barcode number
Powhatan County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881
Physical Characteristics
.45 cu. ft. (1 box)
Powhatan County (Va.) Circuit Court.
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Powhatan County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881. Local government records collection, Powhatan County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in shipments of court papers from Powhatan County.

Historical Information

Powhatan County was named for the paramount chief of the Powhatan Indians in the tidewater of Virginia in the late sixteenth and early years of the seventeenth century. It was formed from Cumberland County in 1777, and part of Chesterfield County was added in 1850. The county seat is Powhatan.

In 1806, the General Assembly passed a law to suppress the manumissions of slaves by tying emancipation with deportation. The law stated that all emancipated slaves, freed after May 1, 1806, who remained in the Commonwealth more than a year would forfeit their right to freedom and be sold by the Overseers of the Poor for the benefit of the parish.

Scope and Content

Powhatan county (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1850-1881, are criminal court cases and indictments handed down by grand juries in order to prosecute individuals who violated the penal code. The majority of the commonwealth causes involve Free African Americans indicted for remaining in the Commonweath more than one year. One commonwealth cause is a murder case that involves individuals associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

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."

Related Material

Additional unprocessed Powhatan County commowealth causes and court records are available at the Library of Virginia.

Additional Powhatan County Court Records can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm."

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

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

  • African Americans--History.
  • Women--History.
  • Geographical Names:

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

  • Indictments--Virginia--Powhatan County.
  • Local government records--Virginia--Powhatan County.
  • Verdicts--Virginia--Powhatan County.