of the District composed of the Counties of Augusta, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Pendleton.
Some examples from the author's Introduction are reproduced here:
The Court met twice a year, in April and September, in the Courthouse at Staunton, in Augusta County.
For finicky detail, this may possibly be the most challenging volume I have transcribed. One entry alone (page 34 of original manuscript) contained 41 names. I have done my best to reproduce the text as it is written, misspellings and all. For the index I adopted one standard spelling, as far as I could be reasonably sure that the entries referred to the same person. However, do check also other probable spellings. I am certain I have misread many names. Sorry. Quantum in me fuit!
Many of the cases were sent up from their respective county courts, but many were filed here as the court of origin. Unless agreed by the parties or dismissed by the plaintiffs, very few were settled at the first hearing. Most carried on from court to court, being continued even in spite of a jury verdict upon an appeal for a new trial. This makes the material in this volume quite repetitive. I have edited some entries, to remove the ‘boilerplate’ and focus on what really happened. All names have been retained, of course. Where I have omitted or abbreviated material, the summary is given in square braces. I shall give here, in the introduction, examples of the terminology which is repeated over and over.
An example from the beginning of page 12:
John McClery Plt
against In Debt
James Hawthorn & James Scott Defts
This day came as well the plt by his Attorney as William Scott Security for the Deft James Scott by his attorney, and There upon came also a Jury to wit Mathew Gamble, James Montgomery, Adam Bratton, James Hogg, John Bradshaw, James Knowls, Joseph Bell, James Guy, Joshua Parry, James Divier, George Benson and Edward Erwin who being elected tried and sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined upon their oath do say that the said Deft hath not paid the Debt aforesaid as the plt in replying hath alledged, and they do assess the plts Damages by occasion of the detention of the said Debt to one penny besides his Costs. Therefore it is considered by the Court that the plt recover against the said Deft James Scott and William Scott his Security aforesaid Three hundred and one pounds eight Shillings, the debt in the declaration mentioned and his damages aforesaid in form aforesaid assessed, and his Costs in this behalf expended & the said Deft in Mercy &c.
But this Judgment is to be discharged by the payment of One hundred and three pounds two Shillings, with Interest on One hundred and fifty pounds fourteen Shillings to be computed after the rate of five per centum per Annum from the twenty third day of September 1784 ‘til the eighth day of August 1785 and then on one hundred and Ten pounds two shillings ‘til the 27th day of September 1785, and then on One hundred and three pounds two shillings ‘til paid and the Damages aforesaid and the Costs.
In many cases concerning land title fictitious names are employed, such as Aminidab Seekright and Ferdinando Dreadnought. Others are Thomas Trytitle or Henry Goodtitle against David Notitle, or Soloman Saveall against Simpleton Spendall. As the case progressed, some individual would petition to be named the defendant in the case ‘in the room’ of the said Dreadnought or Spendall. If no one appeared to defend the case, the court would respond in this fashion.
Karen Wagner Treacy