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Virginia Reports, Jefferson -33 Grattan, 1730-1880: Volumes 1 and 2, Virginia Cases, Volumes 1 and 2
Virginia Reports, Jefferson -33 Grattan, 1730-1880: Volumes 1 and 2, Virginia Cases, Volumes 1 and 2
Product Code: US0623-2
Number of CDs: 1
Author: Daniel Call
Pages: 926
Pub. Date: (1902) 2009
Qty in Cart: none

This volume contains the following original volumes:

  • A Collection of Cases Decided by the General Court of Virginia Chiefly Relating to the Penal Laws of the Commonwealth, Volume I, Commencing in the Year 1789 and Ending in 1814. Copied from the Records of Said Court with Explanatory Notes by Judges Brockenbrough and Holmes [1815]

  • Virginia Cases or Decisions of the General Court of Virginia, Chiefly on the Criminal Law of the Commonwealth, Commencing June Term 1815 and Ending June Term 1826 with an Index of the Principal Matters in This and the Preceding Volume, Volume II by William Brockenbrough, One of the Judges of That Court. [1826]

  • Reports of Cases Decided in the Special Court of Appeals of Virginia, Held at Richmond by John M. Patton, Jr., and Roscoe B. Heath, of the Richmond Bar, Volume I. [1856]

  • Reports of Cases Decided in the Special Court of Appeals of Virginia Held at Richmond during the Years 1856 and 1857 by John M. Patton Jr. and Roscoe B. Heath of the Richmond Bar, Volume II. [1857]
The General Court was the "supreme criminal tribunal in Virginia" and the cases in Virginia Cases, Volume 2 are primarily criminal cases brought by the Commonwealth and appealed to the General Court; however, there are a few civil cases noted as well. The Special Court of Appeals was established in 1848 to hear cases pending (some as long as seven years) in the Supreme Court of Appeals; it was reauthorized by the 1851 constitution.

Court reports are valuable tools for researchers; burned county researchers should always check them for references to court cases for which records no longer survive at the county or lower appellate level. In Virginia even the court papers for the highest courts no longer survive leaving only the published reports as a source of information. Reports should also be consulted to determine points of law-under what conditions, if any, can a creditor claim the dower property of a widow; can a husband sell property a woman brought to the marriage without her permission; what portion of a father's estate can a child born after he died claim; did a British citizen still have title to land in Virginia after the Revolutionary War;-these and, many other points of law dealing with inheritance, the estates of those declared insane, and those charged with minor and major criminal offenses are discussed in these pages.

While some of the descriptions are brief others provide great detail such as the trial in 1796 of Robert Mitchell for the murder of Frederick Becktoll. Others deal with less mundane crimes, such as the one which questioned whether different people charged with three different crimes: James Heydon, a dissolute and disorderly person, charged with exhibiting a faro bank; Edward McGuire, Samuel Vowel and J. Tidball for playing at such a bank; and James Edmondson for knowingly suffering such conduct in his house (a tavern in Winchester) could all be charged in one indictment. Others provide extensive family information such as the case involving dower slaves brought by Julia Ann Grosjean of Kentucky in 1845 in the Hanover County Superior Court of Law and Chancery in which she states that her husband was the son of John J. Grosjean, who died in Hanover in 1805, leaving a widow Mary, who afterwards married William Cunningham by whom she had a daughter Mary who married Richard Smith. We also learn that William Cunningham was dead and his widow survived.

Another Hanover County case provides not only family information but information about community members as well: on 20 December 1828 Meriel H. C. Colley, otherwise called Meriel H. C. Rhodes, a widow, being about to marry William Boyer, made a deed conveying her whole estate (242 acres of land and sixteen Negroes) in trust for her sole and separate use and the maintenance and education of her only child, Charles Lorenzo, and any other children she might have. Boyer died childless and she married Apperson and had Elizabeth Ann and Sarah F. The trustee Charles F. Mitchell was replaced by order of Hanover County court with Michael R. Jones, who was succeeded by Wm W. Anderson who was succeeded by George W. Doswell. Anderson and William Bagby were merchants with whom Meriel dealt. Dr. George Fleming was her doctor.

A Buckingham County case provides evidence of two marriages: Ann Jane Boyden was twice married, about 1831 she married her first husband, Edward W. Curd, who died in the year 1847, and the following year she married Lucius Boyden. She and her current husband brought suit in Buckingham County court to recover her dower interest in land her first husband had sold.

Other research jewels include the text of Thomas E. Poythress's will recorded in Charles City County in 1847, a list of the bequests made by Henry Toler, the elder in his will probated in 1808 in Caroline County (he owned land in Hanover County), a list of the devises made by William O. Winston to his four daughters in his will probated in Hanover County in 1817, another suit with ties to Hanover County references legacies in the will of John Burnley who died before1793, and yet another lists the heirs of William Tinsley, who died intestate in Hanover County before 1809.

Whether you uncover a missing ancestor or learn about the doctrine of hotchpot and under what circumstances it applied to an inheritance or that the court determined that "natural landmarks, marked lines and reputed boundaries, should be preferred to mere magnetic lines, which may be described by mistake in deeds and surveys" you'll leave these reports with a better understanding of Virginia law and how it affected people's lives.

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

Virginia Reports, Jefferson -33 Grattan, 1730-1880: Volumes 1 and 2, Virginia Cases, Volumes 1 and 2
Price: $19.95

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