Two original court order books are included in this book of abstracts, with Volume 26 (2 January 1773 to 3 December 1773) beginning on page one and with Volume 27 (25 January 1774 to 29 April 1777) beginning on page 75; together their 854 handwritten pages span four years and four months of debts, misdeeds and legal issues in Accomack County, Virginia, as the colonial period drew to a close. Except for justices Thomas Parramore and Andrew Newton, who both died in 1774, all the court justices mentioned in these records were commissioned on 25 April 1775, when the Governor dispatched to Accomack County an approved list of seventeen individuals. The court business proceeded as usual with the records giving only occasional hints of impending military activities. Then on 30 July 1776, all magistrates were required to swear allegiance to the newly formed United States. The court dealt with colonists from all levels of society. The introduction provides background information and highlights the more interesting or unusual incidents found among the court orders issued during those years, including accounts of the court and American independence; the sheriff, constables and the prison; domestic animals; assault, murder and slander; bastardy and incontinent living; daily life; the grand jury; the levy and taxes; slaves and servants; and, theft. “In wills and deeds the genealogist can learn about his ancestors’ relatives and possessions; in court orders he can learn about his ancestors.” This chronological collection of court orders reaches into the everyday lives of ordinary Virginians living on the Eastern Shore. A full name index adds to the value of this work, which is intended as a guide to the original court order books. Proper names appear as they were written in the original record.
JoAnn Riley McKey
2017, 5½x8½, paper, index, 324 pp.