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District Court Information


District Courts (1789-1808)
- The District Courts were created by an act of the General Assembly passed on 22 December 1788. The purpose for the creation of the District Courts was to alleviate congestion in the General Court which had caused unreasonable delays in the adjudication of common law cases. The state was divided into eighteen districts, each composed of several counties, plus the district of Kentucky. The districts were as follows: Richmond (City), Williamsburg, Northumberland County, King & Queen County, Fredericksburg, Winchester, Staunton, Charlottesville, Dumfries, Monongalia, Montgomery County (prior to 1792) or Washington County (after 1792), Suffolk, Petersburg, Brunswick County, Prince Edward County, New London (prior to 1800) or Franklin County (after 1800), Accomack County, and Lewisburg or Botetourt County (alternately) or Sweet Springs (after 1795) or Lewisburg (after 1806). The records for the District Courts held at the following locations are missing: King and Queen Courthouse, Richmond (City), Suffolk, and Williamsburg. The district courts were abolished by an act law passed 1 February 1808 and were replaced by the Superior Courts of Law.

Judicial Districts:

District Court held at Accomack County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: Accomack and Northampton.

District Court held at Brunswick County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: included Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg.

District Court held at Charlottesville heard cases originating in the counties of: Albemarle, Amherst, Fluvanna, and Louisa as well as the city of Charlottesville.

District Court held at Dumfries heard cases originating in the counties of: included Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William.

District Court held at Fredericksburg heard cases originating in the counties of: Caroline, Culpeper, King George, Orange, Spotsylvania, and Stafford as well as the city of Fredericksburg.

District Court held at King and Queen County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: Essex, King and Queen, King William, and Middlesex.

District Court held at Lewisburg or Botetourt County Courthouse (alternately) or Sweet Springs (after 1795) or Lewisburg (after 1806) heard cases originating in the counties of: Botetourt and Greenbrier.

District Court held at Monongalia County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: Harrison, Monongalia, Ohio, and Randolph.

District Court held at Montgomery County Courthouse (prior to 1792) or Washington County Courthouse (after 1792) heard cases originating in the counties of: Montgomery, Russell, and Washington.

District Court held at New London (prior to 1800) or Franklin County Courthouse (after1800) heard cases originating in the counties of: Bedford, Campbell, Franklin, Henry, and Pittsylvania.

District Court held at Northumberland County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland.

District Court held at Petersburg heard cases originating in the counties of: Amelia, Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Sussex as well as the city of Petersburg.

District Court held at Prince Edward County Courthouse heard cases originating in the counties of: Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, and Prince Edward.

District Court held at Richmond heard cases originating in the counties of: Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, and Powhatan as well as the city of Richmond.

District Court held at Staunton heard cases originating in the counties of: Augusta, Pendleton, Rockbridge, and Rockingham as well as the city of Staunton.

District Court held at Suffolk heard cases originating in the counties of: Isle of Wight, Nansemond, Norfolk, Princess Anne, and Southampton.

District Court held at Williamsburg heard cases originating in the counties of: Charles City, Elizabeth City, Gloucester, James City, New Kent, Surry, Warwick, and York as well as the city of Williamsburg. 

District Court at Winchester heard cases originating in the counties of: Berkeley, Frederick, Hampshire, Hardy, and Shenandoah as well as the city of Winchester.

Source: “The Virginia State Court System, 1776-[the present]: A Preliminary Survey of the Superior Courts of the Commonwealth with notes concerning the present location of the Original Court Records and Published Decisions,” by Thomas Jefferson Headlee, Jr. Virginia State Library, 1969.