Virginia Memory Chancery Records Index

John P. Williams vs Admr of John P. Price – Case: 1836-011

Peter Howell Deposition

Amanuensis Monday

Finding records for ancestors in antebellum Virginia are always a treasure.  One of my favorite record sets is the Chancery Records Index available through Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia.  Although it says it is an index, it is much more.  Not only does it provide a search capability of an index, once you find a record you may also download the original document images. They even provide a batch download of all the images in a set as a ZIP file instead of needing to download all the files one at a time – A very handy feature when a record has 90 images.

I was recently looking for records regarding my wife’s 4th great-grandfather John Price and looked at the Virginia Chancery Records Index for possible information. Sure enough, a search for anyone with the surname Price being the plaintiff in a case between 1779 (when John was 21 years old) and 1840 (a few years after his death). There were 11 records returned and four of them related to a John Price as the plaintiff.

A similar search for Price being the defendant returned 12 records with three of the results relating to the administrator of John Price’s estate being the defendant. With these records, I thought I’d look at the details of the John Price cases to see what might be there.

Woo-hoo! One of the cases includes testimony from Peter Howell, whom I have been searching for information regarding for quite some time.  Would his affidavit show anything new? Here is my transcript of the document.


Image of the Peter Howell Deposition in the John P. Williams vs John P. Price 1839 Virginia Chancery case.
Peter Howell Deposition

Virginia Memory – Chancery Records – John Williams vs. John P Price – Page 0030 – Transcript

The Deposition of Peter Howel of lawful age. Taken agreeable to notice
on Thursday the 31st day of March 1836. At the house of William Newton in
The County of Buckingham, Virginia. to be read as evidence in a certain
Suit defending in the Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery in
Cumberland County Va on the Chancery side of said Court. In which
John P Williams is Plaintiff and William D. Price as administrator
of John P. Price. deceased, is defendant. This deponent being
duly sworn deposits and saith that I recollect that
Mr. John P Price and Mr. John P William came to my
house sometime between the first and 15th of June
1830 on about that time at which time Mr. Williams
applied to me for [???d] dollars which I owe him
for the reason of an irmaue[?] in the spring of 1829
to his Hames and upon appreciation I present to Mr.
Williams a thirty dollar note it being the smallest
I had at that time Mr. William informed me that
he had no small money and could not change
the note I forwarded in in convergence of which
Mr. Williams turned to Mr. Price and told him
he would leave a receipt with him and get him to collect
the money and after the 16th of June 1830 Mr.
Price told me he was able to change the note I
offered to Mr. Williams I paid him the Money
on the same day and took a receipt
which I have now in my possession and further this
deponent saith not.

Peter Howell

Sworn to transcribed before me this 31st day of April 1836

Benj. D. c Induson[?]


Facts:

  • John P Price and John P Williams came to Peter Howel’s home in June 1830.
  • Peter Howell testified (was living) on 31 March 1836.
  • William Newton lived in Buckingham County in March 1836.
  • William D. Price was the administrator of the estate of John P. Price.

Peter’s deposition doesn’t provide any important new information regarding him or his life. However, there are 90 pages within this Chancery case, and the Peter Howell deposition only provides two of those pages.  There is a lot more to look at and see what I can learn.  There is a deposition from a “William Holman.” I’ll bet this is the William Holman that married Peter Howell’s half-sister?  If so, maybe that will provide fresh new areas of inquiry. There are also several other documents in Virginia Memories Chancery Records that should be reviewed closely. Ninety pages of transcribing hard-to-read 19th-century handwriting is always a chore (for me), but it has the potential of opening new areas of research.

Future Research:

There are some 23 Chancery cases from Cumberland County, Virginia, that might apply to my wife’s Price ancestors; I need to review them and glean any new facts I can find.

Recommendation:

Use Virginia Memory  Chancery Records Index to look for Virginia ancestors who lived in Virginia between 1750 and 1912.  Be sure to check by specific county and/or city to your research processes to avoid searching for information from counties not covered by the index.

 

Virginia Memory – Chancery Database

It has been quite a while since I last blogged here. I have many other projects and activities going on. First, I was in Minnesota visiting my mother. I put together many questions and recorded about 4 hours of material, about one hour per session four of the 11 days I was there. I have a project to transcribe the information there and include in my personal tree.

I also did DNA tests for both my mother and me and sent them in to 23 and Me. The great thing about doing both of us is that any relationship matches for me alone must come from my unknown father’s side and any that match on both of us must come from her side. I have also been spending quite a bit of time working on a Burlison line out of Oklahoma for a friend.  I’ve had many interesting findings there as I’ve begun plucking lots of “low hanging fruit.”

I subscribe to many genealogy blogs. One of them is the “Search Tip of the Day – Almost Every Day.”  Michael John Neill’s May 31st blog reminded me about the Virginia Memory site, which is wonderful. He reminded me of the Chancery records there. There are over 220,000 cases indexed in the Chancery database and nearly 5.6 million images of Chancery causes available online. I’m back working on the Howell line, so I thought; I’ve got a couple difficult research areas. I’ll see if maybe I can find something in the Chancery records. 
A quick search for Howell yielded a case between JOHN P WILLIAMS and the administrator of the JOHN P PRICE estate. The case involves 90 pages of documents including a deposition by Peter Howell. It is always wonderful to find a document in an ancestor’s own hand with a signature. His deposition didn’t tell me anything new; Peter lived in Buckingham County in both 1830 (date of the event he wrote about) and 1938 (date of the litigation). However, it does indicate he knew both John Williams and John Price, which may be useful later. There are also many references to Mrs. Pankey who is probably Peter’s wife’s mother; (her father died  about 1829). There are also several references to Holman/Holeman. Peter’s half sister married a Holman about 1819-1820 and there are several Holman’s in Cumberland County during that period. I still need to go through all the documents with a fine tooth comb and see what I can find out about Holman’s as possible. The database includes so many records for Howell, Pankey, and Holman that I should eventually be able to make some new determinations and connections. Just the Chancery records at the Virginia Memory site should keep me busy for days. 

Marriage Bond – The Library of Virginia

Peter M. Howell – Caroline M. A. Pankey

Marriage Bond – The Library of Virginia

Getting there:

I have long know of the marriage of Peter M. Howell to Caroline M. A. Pankey. Ancestry.Com Virginia Marriages has reference to it.  I also recently encountered a book, Marriage Records 1749-1840 Cumberland County Virginia compiled by Katherine B Elliott, at the Georgia Room at the Cobb County Public Library. It too is an index but had more information than the Ancestry.Com index had. So, I wondered what else might be in the actual records. Besides which, it would be wonderful to upgrade the quality of my sources from two and three stars to four stars with copies of actual documents. 
I called the Cumberland County,Virginia, Clerk of Court’s office. A lovely woman there informed me that they no longer had the records.  They had been sent to the the Library of Virginia.  I should be able to get a copy through them. I contacted them via their website, and indicated:

The Cumberland County Courthouse indicated that I should contact you. I am looking for any documents regarding the marriage of Peter M. Howell and Caroline M.A. Pankey, 11 June 1829 in Cumberland County.

They replied back in just a day that

Copies of a specific record may be ordered by using the Archives Record Request Form. The link to this printable form is found below.  Prepayment of the appropriate nonrefundable service fee for each request is required. http://www.lva.virginia.gov/whatwehave/ARSform.pdf

I looked at the form and thought holy-moly, $25.00 for them to search and they don’t guarantee that they will find it.  Then I saw, 

Or, microfilm copies may be borrowed from the Library of Virginia through the interlibrary loan service of local public libraries.  You will need to request the following reels: 

Cumberland County 
Microfilm Reel 42
   ILL
  Marriage Bonds, 1822-1830, No index.
Cumberland County 
Microfilm Reel 69
   ILL
  Abstracts of Marriage Bonds, 1749-1853 – Females (D-V), unpaged.
  
Cumberland County 
Microfilm Reel 68
ILL
Abstracts of Marriage Bonds, 1749-1853 – Males (P-Z), unpaged.
Well, the Abstract of marriage bonds for Males is the wrong microfilm for Peter M. Howell and I had an abstract already.  But the Marriage Bonds, Reel 42 looked fantastic; just what I want to see.  
I printed out the information and headed to my local library and submitted an interlibrary loan request. The folks there didn’t think it would be accepted as they hadn’t ordered reference microfilm via interlibrary loan before but they would try.  A couple weeks later the library called, they had finally contacted the Library of Virginia and learned how to order it. Another week or so later the microfilm arrived. 
I tried looking at it on my local library’s reader, however, the image adjustment wasn’t working.  I was extremely pleased that they allowed me to take the microfilm out to the Family History Center.  I went there. The wonderful folks there helped me get set up view the film and to be able to print to JPG.  I started looking; no index meant slow going, then I found a date marker, 1823. I zoomed ahead to the 1829 marker and began reading.  About 50 pages into 1829 I found the information I was looking for. First a permission to marry note, both sides of an envelope that probably held the money for the bond, and the marriage bond.  

The Finding:

———–
To Mr. Woodson, Clerk of Cumberland 
County  Sir this is to authorize you to issue 
licence to Peter M. Howell to intermarry with 
my daughter Caroline,, M,, A,, Pankey 
Thomas Pankey
Elizabeth Ann Lyall [or Loyall]
Alexander Langhorne [or Langhorse]
Pleasant F Agee
——
Peter M Howell.
To ?? M. S. Bond 
The Governor
1829 June 11th
————
Sworn to before and in due form
by Pleasant F Agee the 11th day of
June 1829
L S Tunnally [???????] 
————-
Know all men by these presents, that we Peter M. Howell and Pleasant F. Agee are held and firmly bound unto Wm. B. Giles Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the just and full sum of One Hundred and Fifty dollars, current money, to be paid to the said Governor for the time being, and his successors in office: to which payment, well and truly to be made, we do bind ourselves, and each of us, our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals, and dated this 11th day of June 18 29.
The Condition of the Above Obligation is such, That whereas there is a Marriage shortly intended o be had and solemnized between the above bound Peter M Howell and Caroline M. A. Pankey daughter of Thomas Pankey of this county:
Now, if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage, then the above obligation to be void, else to remain in force.
Sealed and delivered in the presence of
L S Vunnally [?????]
Peter M Howel
Pleasant F Agee
Thanks to The Library of Virginia; they are an awesome resource and are on my list of preferred sources. 

[Please note: I have higher quality images of these documents available. Contact me if you are interested.]

The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Himself

This week I began research on the Howell Family Tree (my wife’s).  I had very little on her grandfather, a bit more on his father (who was in the Civil War) and very little about his father Peter Howell.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, her grandfather, went by his initials most of the time. I knew he was a Baptist preacher in North Carolina. So I started searching Baptist records in North Carolina just searching for “Howell” and not his first name, nor his initials, just “Howell.”  Suddenly a WOW!  Up popped a book, “The Life and Travels of Peter Howell”.  My wife’s great and her 2nd great grandfathers were both named Peter Howell.  Could this be the same Peter Howell.  Found the book was at a library in Raleigh reference section.  I then searched around for the title elsewhere and found it at archive.org, which is a must site for your searches.  I downloaded the files and began to read.  It was the right one, born 1805, married to Caroline Pankey, lived in Virginia…. it was the right Peter Howell.

The first page was a bit of a disappointment, he mentions his birthdate (which we didn’t have before) but not his parent’s names.  He spent his adult life as an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town preaching in people’s homes, at court houses, at Methodist and Baptist churches, even on occasion at quaker meeting halls, masonic temples and a Catholic Church. He walked almost everywhere putting on over two thousand miles walking in one year preaching at hundreds of places.  He describes town, buildings, such as the Virginia and North Carolina State Houses, as well as places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  He mentions churches,  and most importantly people throughout his travels. Sadly, he mentions very little about his personal life or his family, but the book does provide a wonderful insight into the life of a itinerate preacher of the 1840’s.

He seldom ever mentions his two daughters.  He does correct one name Lousianna (I had Laurana previously) but never mentions the name of his second son nor his second daughter. He confirmed the name of his first son and, in the book, corrects the name I had for his youngest child.  More importantly, he provides county information for his parents, marriage information for a sister, and the names and living locations for a couple brothers that I had no information about.

It took many hours to go through the book, determine genealogically interesting information, and incorporate them and the source references into my tree.  

Of course one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing of the author, Peter Howell (b. 1805).