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Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, Volumes 1-6
Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, Volumes 1-6
Product Code: US0623-3
Number of CDs: 1
Author: Daniel Call
Pages: 1188
Pub. Date: (1902) 2009
Qty in Cart: none

In 1801, Daniel Call published his first volume of Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Largely unknown to the family historian, these volumes contain a wealth of information useful to the genealogist. Whether one is looking for an explanation of the application of a law or information from a burned county, the pages of these legal tomes can frequently provide the answer. The first case presented was argued in 1797 and dealt with the issue of who could be appointed administrator of an estate. Among other details supplied in the synopsis of the case was the name of the testator's brother, the name of his wife's brother and the exact date of death of Willis Wilkinson, his wife and one of his three children. Another case involving Robert Read of Staunton provides the name of his father and brother in Ireland, notes that his half-sister married William Buchanan and had a son William living in Virginia before 1804, that his nephew Robert Read arrived in Virginia in 1784 with his niece, Frances Read, who married Hugh Ballentine and was living in Greenbrier in 1786. That Hugh Ballentine took the oath of allegiance on 28 November 1787 and that another nephew Collin Read arrived in Virginia in 1786 and "has never taken the oath of allegiance."

Some suits provide details over a long period of time. For example, the suit Selden v. King, October Term, 1799, concerned a tract of land originally entailed in a 1699 will. The judge's discussion of the points of law involved in the will provide insight into how the law dealt with the inheritance and entailment of land. In addition to the discussion of the estate tail, the case provides a detailed picture of two Nansemond County families from 1699 to 1799.

That Joseph Achilly on 11th day of March 1699/1700, made his last will and testament in which he named his wife Mary Achilly. Joseph Achilly died before the 12th day of April 1700; his wife Mary Achilly, soon after his death, was delivered of a daughter who was named Achilly Achilly. The said Joseph Achilly had no other issue; Achilly Achilly was his heir at law.

Mary, the wife of the said Joseph, intermarried with a certain John King, by whom she had issue a son named John, grandfather of the defendant:,who is heir at law to the said Mary Achilly and to the said John King her son.

That Achilly Achilly, the daughter, intermarried with Bartholomew Selden. That the said Achilly Selden died about the year 1722 having never had issue. That shortly afterwards, the said Bartholomew Selden intermarried with a certain Sarah Hilliard. Bartholomew Selden, wrote his willon 4 January 1726/7 leaving land "I now live on" and my land that is at Hampton" to wife during her life; if my wife should not prove with child, to brother John Selden. He also named negroes called Buckroe Tony and old Tony and two children Betty and Nanny. He had no lawful issue, his wife Sarah died on 12 June 1778:

John Selden, Bartholomew brother, survived him; and made his last will on 27 December 1754; leaving to his son Joseph Selden "my plantation and tract of land, lying and being in the county of Nansemond and late in the possession of Bartholomew Selden." Joseph Selden, on 23 December 1774, sold to John Selden [no relationship stated], "all that tract or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the county of Nansemond and now in the possession and occupation of Doctor John King [heir-at-law to Mary Achilly] and is the said lands mentioned in the will of Joseph Achilly."

Court suits often provide a richness of detail on families found no where else. They also can help us understand the law and its application. Just as the above case includes an extensive discussion points of law regarding entailed lands and the construction of wills, other cases provide instruction in points of law that can be helpful in interpreting events. For example, the Wilkinson case notes: "administration [of an estate] is first to be granted to the husband or wife, and then to the child or children or their legal representatives." A helpful point when attempting to identify parties in an intestate estate.

Points of law determined in the cases described in these reports include the following:

All British subjects became aliens to this country, upon the declaration of independence.

A slave, born in Virginia, was carried to Maryland; and there sold to a person, who brought her back to Virginia, and kept her here for more than 12 months: she was entitled to freedom.

If the widow does not renounce the provisions made for her, under her husband's will, within one year after his death, she loses her distributive share of the personal estate, and is confined to the provisions of the will; but is entitled, nevertheless, to her dower in the lands.

If, since the act of 1792, and before that of 1794, concerning wills, a man having children makes a will and devises his whole estate among them, after which he marries a second wife by whom he has children, and dies without altering his will, the second marriage and birth is no revocation of the will.

If the wife renounces the will of her husband, who has no child alive, she is entitled to dower in his slaves, and a moiety [one-half] of his personal estate, in absolute property, although he left grandchildren.

Some of the other topics include codicils to wills, devises, guardians, impressments, insanity, land entries, marriage contracts, patents, settlement rights, slaves, surveys, wills, and other points on dower and aliens. For those wishing to have a clearer understanding of not only what the law was, but how it was interpreted or who simply are interested in uncovering details on families unavailable in other sources, Call's Virginia Reports offers a rich resource.

Summary by Barbara Vines Little, CG
for Archive CD Books USA

This electronic book includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer.

Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, Volumes 1-6
Price: $19.95

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