GoldenWest Marketing
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Henrico County, Virginia Court Records, 1678-1693
*with Plat Maps from 1642 to 1789
*(in print & CD-ROM versions only)

Transcribed from the microfilmed pages of the originals.

Order item B092  
The book is 440 pages, with every-name index, soft cover with a plastic comb binding, and available for $59.98 plus $3.99 shipping & handling charge (Add $2.00 S&H for each additional volume ordered). 
*This edition includes an appendix with 11 full-color plat maps showing the locations of the major water courses and the locations of the land patents with many of the patentee's names provided on the grid.

Order item B092.1  


Available on CD-ROM disk. Book saved in Portable Document Format (PDF) which can be read by the Adobe Acrobat Reader program.  This program is free and is included on the disk.  Cost is $14.95 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. (add $1.00 S&H for each additional disk ordered).
* This edition includes an appendix with 11 full-color plat maps showing the locations of the major water courses and the locations of the land patents with many of the patentee's names provided on the grid.

Order item B092.2  


The entire text of this 440 page book with thousands of early Henrico residents referenced is available for unlimited viewing online via the Internet. 

The book's full text has been converted to PDF format.  

The Adobe Acrobat Reader software program is required in order to view this book online.  Using the Acrobat Reader program you can easily search for names, dates, locations, etc., which appear in the book. You can also print a paper copy of the book. The software program is free and may be downloaded by clicking on the button below. 

Cost is $12.50 to obtain the URL address and password which will enable you to view the book.

Charge to your credit card (above), or send cash, check, or money order along with your current E-mail address to GoldenWest Marketing, 1630 W. Covina Blvd., Spc92, San Dimas, CA 91773-3410. The password and the URL address of the book file will be returned to you via E-mail the same day your payment is received. If an E-mail address is not included, the password and address will be sent by regular mail. 
Click here to view the book online. (Password required)

Index only:

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Order the index to the court records to find out if the name(s) you are researching appear in these records.  You may then purchase the individual pages from the book which the index shows have your name(s) on them.  Cost is $3.99 plus $2.00 for shipping and handling..

Individual pages from the book:

Order item B092.4


After consulting the index, either by purchasing it, or by viewing it online, you may purchase individual pages extracted from the book which contain the name(s) you are researching for $0.25 each.  Postage varies, depending on the number of pages ordered. 
Call 1-800-445-8925 for postage quote. 

     In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a transcript of this record book was made, since the original was beginning to deteriorate badly. This book is a transcription made from a microfilmed copy of the latter transcript.

     Previously these records were available only by viewing the microfilms in a library with machine readers. This is a cumbersome and time-consuming task since there are no indexes to them. The other alternative was reading the serialized version published over a period of seven years beginning in August, 1991, and culminating in the summer of 1998; and here again, a difficult job with only year-end indexes.

     GoldenWest Marketing has scanned all of the pages of the serialized version, assigned new, consecutive page numbers and prepared a single, comprehensive, every-name index. This has made a laborious, tedious research endeavor into a simple, streamlined, enjoyable reading.

     The items brought before a county court varied from the mundane to the spectacular. Then, as today, the bulk of the court's time was spent in resolving disputes. Among those found in these records are two involving horseracing. Capt. William Soane sued Mr. John Brodnax and Mr. Stephen Cocke sued Liggon over the outcome of races in which their horses were involved. The final decisions in the suits do not appear in the transcripts presented here, for, as usual, the cases were not settled at the first court appearance.

     Horseracing was a popular sport among the gentlemen of the county. According to Bruce's Social Life of Virginia in the 17th Century, Henrico County had at least five racetracks; one at Bermuda Hundred, a second at Farina, the third at Malvern Hill and two others called Ware and Conecock. Nor do the Liggon, Soane and Cocke families appear to have been strangers to settling races in court. Bruce references a race in July 1678 between Mr. Abram Womack and Richard Liggon in which one of the horses was ridden by Thomas Cocke. Cocke complained of an unfair start. In 1683 Liggon and Womack were again involved in litigation over the results of a race. And in 1690 Captain William Soane entered a suit against Mr. Robert Napier for ten pounds sterling which he claimed to have won by default at Varina, Capt. Soane appears to have often carried his recreational pursuits into court. On page 146/1 of the following transcripts we find him suing John Brodnax over a wager concerning the weight of gold and quicksilver. One wonders whether he was a habitual gambler, or someone who just didn't like losing. Few records tell us more about our ancestors than those which detail their often litigious nature which we have apparently carried with us to the present.

     Another interesting case, described on page 236, involves Samuel Fowler suing John James for the latter having said "these words Viz.t That he (viz.t ye plt) & all his Generacon were banish'd prsons & that they had left their Country to save their necks from ye Halter...". True or not, in 1690 them was fight'n words.

     Colonial marriage records are difficult to find. Few exist outside the extant parish registers. However, those researchers attempting to document a colonial marriage in which one of the participants was a widow or due an inheritance can often find a reference to the marriage and an approximate date in county order books. In the following transcripts from Henrico County Record Book No. 2, 1678-1693, we find three such entries. At August Court 1687 Gill Fuquett petitioned the court for the estate of the grand-daughter of William Humphrys given by Humphrys to Fuquett and his wife before his death. Since Maurice Floyd petitioned the court for payment of the funeral expenses for William Humphry at the same court, we can place the marriage at some time prior to August 1687. 

     At Orphans Court held 20 August 1687, Thomas Newcomb who recently married the widow of John Clyborn stated that he had fully administered Clyborn's estate. Backtracking from this event, on 2 dune 1686, we find Mary, administratrix of John Clyborn, deceased, in court. She must have married Newcomb between this date and 20 August 1687. At October Court 1687 Thomas Bott successfully evaded a suit brought against the estate of Henry Kent whose wife he had married. Too much time had elapsed since the decedents death. On 2 August 1686 Mrs. Amy Kent was appointed administratrix of the estate of her late husband Hen: Kent deceased. Thomas Bott must have married the Widow Kent between August 1686 and October 1687. 
Although it is rare that an exact date can be determined, an approximation within one-two years can usually be made. On occasion these entries also mention children which, in an intestate death, may be the only proof of parentage available.

     Among the orders presented here is one which orders John Thomas to serve his master John Branch an additional seven months and twenty-two days for absenting himself from his master's service eight days and charges for Branch, another person and two horses for four days spent in recovering him. The law enacted in March 1661/2 required that "all runaways that shall absent themselves from their said masters service, shalbe l yable to make satisfaciton by service double their times of service soe neglected, and if the time of their running away was in the crop or the charge of recovering them extraordinary the court shall lymitt a longer time of service proportionable to the damage the master shall make appear he hath susteyned''. It is apparent that the cost of catching Thomas was considerable since he was to serve seven months and four days beyond the sixteen days for the eight days he was absent.

     In the February, 1687 session of the court, Eliza. Fargus, a femme sole, and Thomas Holms were both charged by the grand jury and ordered fined for planting tobacco on the 4th and 9th of July respectively contrary to law. The colony began the regulation of tobacco quite early. The first law of record was enacted in March 1629. It limited the number of tobacco plants which could be cultivated by each individual in a household to 2000 (women and children could be counted). In February of 1632 the limit was changed to 1500. Further regulation outlawed the planting of suckers or slips (seconds) since this affected the quality of the tobacco. The law under which Holms was convicted dealt with the issue of quality as well. Enacted in October 1686, it decreed that no tobacco could be planted after the last day of June since late planted tobacco had insufficient time to come to full growth and maturity and consequently lowered the quality of the product. There are frequent references in county order books to neighbors or king's attorneys bringing charges against individuals for evading the regulations. Although fines were frequently assessed, they appear to have had little effect on the practices.

     Court records provide a window into the past for they record the everyday concerns of our ancestors and a study of their proceedings often provide us with the clues we need to interpret the documents and understand the actions of our ancestors and the laws and practices under which their society and government functioned Researchers with seventeenth-century Virginia ancestors will profit from reading these transcriptions line-by-line even if their ancestors never set foot in Henrico County.

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© 2004 Richard R. Dietz, all rights reserved