A Guide to the Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa 1046884, 1046930, 1046931, 1046936, 1046937, 1046960, 1046994, 1047005, 1047007, 1047035, 1047082, 1183604, 1183605

A Guide to the Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers: 1046884, 1046930, 1046931, 1046936, 1046937, 1046960, 1046994, 1047005, 1047007, 1047035, 1047082, 1183604, 1183605


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Library of Virginia

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© 2011 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Collection is unprocessed.

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Barcode numbers
1046884, 1046930, 1046931, 1046936, 1046937, 1046960, 1046994, 1047005, 1047007, 1047035, 1047082, 1183604, 1183605
Title
Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa
Physical Characteristics
13 cu. ft. (13 boxes)
Collector
Petersburg (Va.) Circuit Court
Location
State Records Center - Archives Annex, Library of Virginia
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa. Local government records collection, Petersburg (City) Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

This collection came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court papers from the city of Petersburg.

Historical Information

Petersburg was formed from parts of Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Chesterfield counties. A garrison and fur trading post called Fort Henry was established in 1645 on the site of the Indian village of Appamattuck. The present name, suggested in 1733 by William Byrd II, honors Peter Jones, Byrd's companion on expeditions into the Virginia backcountry. Petersburg was established in 1748 and incorporated as a town in 1784. In the latter year the towns of Blandford, Pocahontas, and Ravenscroft were added to Petersburg. It was incorporated as a city in 1850. Petersburg was enlarged by annexation from both Prince George and Dinwiddie counties in 1972.

Scope and Content

Petersburg (Va.) Commonwealth Causes, 1786-1920 circa, are criminal court cases heard in Hustings court and Circuit Court. They 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.

This collection is unprocessed. The commonwealth causes are filed in bundles with other record types such as judgments, tax and fiscal records, and fiduciary records.

Related Material

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

Additional processed Petersburg commonwealth causes are available at the Library of Virginia.

Index Terms

    Corporate Names:

  • Petersburg (Va.) Circuit Court
  • Subjects:

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

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

  • Indictments -- Virginia -- Petersburg
  • Summons -- Virginia -- Petersburg
  • Verdicts -- Virginia -- Petersburg
  • Warrants (Law) -- Virginia -- Petersburg
  • Added Entry - Corporate Name:

  • Petersburg (Va.) Hustings Court