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Superior Courts of Chancery Information


Superior Courts of Chancery (1802-1831)
- The Superior Courts of Chancery were created by an act of the General Assembly passed on 23 January 1802. In order to expedite the hearing of chancery suits, the High Court of Chancery was abolished and the state was divided into three chancery districts with a Superior Court of Chancery for each district. For this reason these courts were sometimes called "District Courts of Chancery." The initial district courts met at Staunton, Richmond (City), and Williamsburg. On 28 January 1812 three additional districts were authorized and met at Wythe County, Winchester, and Clarksburg. In 1814, the number of courts increased again, with the localities of Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, and Greenbrier County being added. Each court heard cases from the counties which constituted its chancery district, but the court met at only one place in the district and its records were kept in that one location. The Superior Courts of Chancery were abolished in 1831 and their jurisdiction was assumed by the newly created Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for each county. The records of each Superior Court of Chancery were transferred to the nearest county Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery. The records for the Superior Courts of Chancery held at the following locations are missing or were destroyed: Richmond (City), Williamsburg, Wythe County.

Superior Courts of Chancery Chancery Districts, 1802-1812:

Staunton Superior Court of Chancery: included Augusta, Bath, Berkeley, Botetourt, Brooke, Frederick, Grayson, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lee, Monongalia, Monroe, Montgomery, Ohio, Pendleton, Randolph, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Shenandoah, Tazewell, Washington, Wood, and Wythe Counties.

Richmond City Superior Court of Chancery: included Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Caroline, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Culpeper, Dinwiddie, Fauquier, Fairfax, Fluvanna, Franklin, Goochland, Greensville, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, King George, King William, Loudoun, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Orange, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince William, Prince George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford Counties.

Williamsburg Superior Court of Chancery: included Accomack, Charles City, Elizabeth City, Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Nansemond, New Kent, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, Princess Anne, Richmond, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Warwick, Westmoreland, and York Counties.

Superior Courts of Chancery Chancery Districts, 1812-1814:

Staunton Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Albemarle, Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Mason, Monroe, Nelson, Pendleton, Rockbridge, and Rockingham.

Wythe County Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Russell, Tazewell, Washington, and Wythe.

Winchester Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Berkeley, Frederick, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, and Shenandoah.

Clarksburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Brooke, Harrison, Ohio, Monongalia, Randolph, and Wood.

Richmond City Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as in 1802-1812. See list above.

Williamsburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as in 1802-1812. See list above.

Superior Courts of Chancery Chancery Districts, 1814-1831:

Staunton Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as in 1812-1814. See list above.

Wythe County Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as 1812-1814. See list above.

Winchester Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as in 1812-1814. See list above.

Clarksburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the same counties as in 1802-1812. See list above.

Richmond City Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Buckingham, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Goochland, Greensville, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, King William, Louisa, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, and Sussex and the Cities of Richmond and Petersburg.

Lynchburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Amherst, Bedford, Campbell, Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania and the City of Lynchburg.

Williamsburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Accomack, Charles City, Elizabeth City, Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Middlesex, Nansemond, New Kent, Norfolk, Northampton, Princess Anne, Southampton, Surry, Warwick, and York and the City of Norfolk

Fredericksburg Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fairfax, Lancaster, Northumberland, Madison, King George, Orange, Prince William, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Essex, and Westmoreland and the City of Fredericksburg.

Greenbrier County Superior Court of Chancery heard cases originating in the counties of: Bath, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Mason, and Monroe.

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.