A Guide to the Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914 Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914 1164993, 1176655-1176667, 1176674

A Guide to the Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1164993, 1176655-1176667, 1176674


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
URL: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

© 2008 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Sam Walters

The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
1164993, 1176655-1176667, 1176674
Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914
Physical Characteristics
6.75 cu. ft. (15 boxes)
Westmoreland County (Va.) Circuit Court
Library of Virginia

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914. Local government records collection, Westmoreland County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

These items came to the Library of Virginia in multiple shipments of court papers from Westmoreland County including a transfer under the accession number 41889.

Historical Information

Westmoreland County was named for the English county. It was formed from Northumberland County in 1653, and part of King George County was added in 1777.

Scope and Content

Westmoreland County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1776-1914 are criminal court cases that have not been processed and consist primarily of warrants, summons, indictments, and verdicts handed down by grand juries and other legal authorities in order to prosecute individuals who violated the penal code. These offenses ranged in severity from murder, rape, assault and battery, and larceny to tax evasion and slander. Criminal offenders and victims who appear in cases prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865 included both free and enslaved persons.

Warrants were issued by grand juries, judges, and justices of the peace directing law enforcement officials to either arrest and imprison a person suspected of having committed a crime or to cause an individual to appear in court to answer accusations made against them. Peace warrants directing an offender to "keep the peace of the Commonwealth" or to restrain from any violent acts are commonly found in assault and battery cases.

Summonses were used to call a suspected person to appear in court. A summons could also be issued to direct witnesses or victims to come before the court in order to provide evidence or information deemed pertinent to a case.

An indictment is the official, written description of the crime that an accused individual is suspected of committing, which is approved by a grand jury and presented to a court in order to begin legal proceedings. Due to this process, indictments are often referred to as "presentments."

Verdicts are the formal pronouncements made by juries on issues submitted to them by a judge or other law enforcement official. In the case of a guilty verdict, a judge will sentence the offender. Sentences may include a fine, corporal punishment, and/or imprisonment. Coroners also submitted verdicts such as "death by suicide," "death by natural causes," etc. when determining the cause of a suspicious or sudden death.

Related Material

Additional court records for Westmoreland County can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm."

Additional Westmoreland County criminal records may be found at the Westmoreland County Courthouse and the Library of Virginia.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Westmoreland County (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Subjects:

  • African Americans -- History
  • Assault and battery -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Crime -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Criminals -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Larceny -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Libel and slander -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Murder -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Rape -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Slaveholders -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Slavery -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Slaves -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Tax evasion -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Geographical Names:

  • Westmoreland County (Va.) -- History
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Indictments -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Summons -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Verdicts -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County
  • Warrants (Law) -- Virginia -- Westmoreland County

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Westmoreland County (Va.) -- History