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The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that the Accomack County chancery causes, 1727-1805, and Fluvanna County chancery causes, 1779-1882, are now available on the Chancery Records Index.  The Accomack County material consists of chancery suits recovered from court records found in the attic of the clerk’s office in 1996. Additional chancery from Accomack County will be added at a later date. The Fluvanna County chancery causes were separated from court records housed at the Library of Virginia. Additional Fluvanna County chancery records are available at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

A number of the Accomack County chancery causes for this date range concern the division of slaves. An example is Accomack County chancery cause 1799-019. This suit includes a report of a division of slaves (image # 7) among the heirs of William Taylor.  Accomack County chancery cause 1783-013 (image # 13) contains a September 1777 letter that references British losses at the Battle of Brandywine.  Accomack County chancery cause 1801-005 is a freedom suit filed by a slave named Mary claiming freedom on the basis of her mother’s Native American ancestry. She argues that her mother, Mall Cook, was “one of the native aboriginal Indians of this country” (image #2).

Fluvanna County chancery causes suits of interest include 1812-007, concerning title to lands of British subjects escheated by Act of the Commonwealth in 1779. Exhibits include a 1725 patent, a list of landowners in Fluvanna County in 1796, and multiple plats (image# 146).  Fluvanna County chancery cause 1807-004 contains information on a mercantile partnership at Old Ferry, a house at Point of Fork, business interests in Richmond and Petersburg, a schoolmaster to the Cary family in Fluvanna County, the mental health of an African American woman named Mary, and the murder of an enslaved man by another enslaved man. The defendant in this suit was David Ross, a prominent Virginia businessman and landowner. His answer to the complaint includes details about his business with his business partner in the town of Columbia in the 1790s and early 1800s (image # 8). Finally, Fluvanna County chancery cause 1841-006 includes an 1840 letter from Crawford County, Arkansas, to a person in Kentucky, describing farm land in Arkansas, unhappiness with the current President of the United States, and a loud celebration of the Fourth of July (Image # 33 and 34).

For more information on these collections and to see additional suits of interests, see the EAD guides for Accomack County Chancery Causes, 1727-1805 and Fluvanna County Chancery Causes, 1779-1882.

These localities join forty-eight counties and cities whose chancery causes have been digitally reformatted and made available through the Library’s innovative Circuit Court Records Preservation Program, which seeks to preserve the historic records of Virginia’s Circuit Courts.

To date, The Library of Virginia has posted over 5.7 million digital chancery images. Additional localities are presently being scanned and will be posted in the coming months. However, because of reductions to the Library of Virginia’s budget in recent years, the pace of the agency’s digital chancery projects will necessarily proceed more slowly. Please know these projects remain a very high priority for the agency and it is hoped that the initiative can be resumed in full when the economy and the agency’s budget situation improve. Please see the Chancery Records Index for a listing of the available locality chancery collections.

-Vince Brooks, Senior Local Records Archivist & Gregory Crawford, Local Records Coordinator

Vince Brooks

Local Records Program Manager

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