Washington County, Virginia Chancery Order Book B: 1847-1859


Washington County, Virginia Chancery Order Book B begins at a Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery, Monday, 11 October 1847 in a chancery cause involving Isaac Thomas, Pltf. vs Jacob Barb and others (withdrawal of papers) and ends 413 pages later on Saturday, 23 April 1859 with a case involving James S. Glenn and c., Pltfs. vs W. Y. C. White and c. Defts. (cause set for hearing), or, in other words, almost to the eve of the Civil War. Although most cases involve the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery held at Abingdon, there are also causes which were tried at the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia (held at Wythe Court House) as well as the Supreme Court of Appeals held at Lewisburg, VA (now WV). Most of the cases are "in chancery" (suit pending in court of equity) or "on injunction" (court order wherein an individual is required to perform or restrained from performing a particular act). Many of them involve long-standing causes which deal with the resolution of debts or the partitioning of land; hence, a considerable amount of genealogical information can be found in this Circuit Court Book B. The stacked up cases appear over and over and periodically. There is a limited amount of information on slaves.

The book is especially rich in the estimation (or sometimes the exact) date of death of many individuals, often with the wording as to their decease, "since the last term of this court". Among individuals mentioned as being deceased are: Sarah G. Preston; John Jamison; Christopher Haynes; Elizabeth Crockett; Lewis Smith; Nancy Talbert; Sally Campbell Preston; Rhoda (McNew) Hurst; John S. Berry; Joseph Miller; Lilburn H. Trigg; Samuel Meek; Aaron Bowman; John M. Cunningham; Solomon Fleenor; James Beaty; James White; W. M. Gray; Abraham Zimmerman; Wm. R. Buchanan; James Brooks; Sally Berry; William R. Buchanan; Samuel Logan; John P. Mathews; Chas. C. Gibson; and Samuel Meek.

Divorces mentioned include: John Clark from Nancy A. (Grubb) Nancy's right to remarry later restored; Addison Wyatt from Sally (Bailey); Carey Spriggs from Elizabeth (Hurst); Abram Snodgrass from Elizabeth Snodgrass; James Ross from Charlotte (Vernon); Stark Jett from Sarah Jett; Richard H. Massingill from Harriett Massingill; Malinda (Kennedy) from Hugh Ingram; and Calvin T. Cunningham from Mary G. (Buchanan).

Further, tracing migrations to a degree is also useful from information given in this work; examples of non-residents of the commonwealth include: William, Anderson and Fairman P. Bryan; Polly (Mary McNew) Bradley; William McNew; Christopher, Adam, Jacob and Samuel Fudge and Christina Trough; Wm. A. Dunn and Gorge E. Naff; John and John C. Shaffer; John G. Pearson, John Lambeth, Walter A. Wilbein; Charles A. Clark; Roger C. Luckett; William Lee; William Hensley and wife.

The chancery causes involving the partitioning of land are especially rich in genealogical material; examples are estates of the following or persons involved in such estates (some entries providing metes and bounds of the lands partitioned), i.e., James Meek; Milbourn Land; James White; Edward Jamison; Ann Snodgrass; Elisha McNew Sr. estate; Hogue Land; James L. White's widow; James White (Wm. King estate); Wood's land; A. Conn's heirs; Robt. L. Bradley/Morrison land; Roberts Tract; Jacob Baker's heirs; Dr. Daniel Trigg; McChesney land; Keller land; heirs of Samuel Snodgrass; Statzer Land; Benjamin Reid and; Solomon Fleenor; McChesney/Gray Land; Polly Branham; Aker/Cunningham)

Many of the cases have roots and references going back to the early and mid-1800s and not infrequently various plaintiffs or defendants die before the resolution of the suit. Suit "dismissions" were common due to non-residents and others not paying the proper court fees.

The punctuation of the clerks is "wild"; some has been retained and others corrected for the ease of reading. There is great difficulty sometimes distinguishing between I. and J., T. and F., etc. Some annotations have been made with credits to the Michele Epps, "Mary Marble (Blevins)"; Robert Sherwood and Diana Powell and others as named. General works such as Marriage Books of Washington County, Virginia, Censuses of Washington County, Virginia, ancestry.com, ramblingroots.net and other works are the sources of many of the annotations.

Jack Hockett and Donald Helton

2021, 10.5" x 8.5", index, 266 pp.