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[?]


  • 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.


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.


William Price (1762-1846)

52 Ancestors #6 — William Price (1762-1846)

Logo of the Daughters
of the American Revolution
Thanks to the wonderful records on the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) website, I knew that my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, William Price was a descendant of the patriot, William Price, Sr. I also knew that William was born on 14 Feb 1762 in Martin County, North Carolina and that he died in Martin County.  With his birthday coming, I thought I’d research more.
Nothing is known about his childhood.  According to the DAR information he married circa 1778, at the age of 16. Other research found that his wife was probably Mary Brown. I suspect that he and Mary were married somewhat after 1778 because, apparently, their first child, Hardy Brown Price wasn’t born until 1789.  All of their children were born in Martin County, North Carolina.
Courtesy: Wikipedia
Their first daughter, Cherry, (my wife’s 3rd great-grandmother) was born in 1793.  About 1795 another daughter, Rebecca was born. 
The DAR lineage report indicated that both his parents, William and Martha, died 27 Jan 1800. I’m quite certain that that is not the case. I found William Price, Sr. Will and it was dated 27Jan 1800.  He mentions that he was weak of body but provides for his wife in the will. 
In 1802, a third daughter Roxanne was born and in 1805 a fourth daughter, Mary was born. 
Some records indicate that about 1816, William’s oldest son, Hardy died at the age of 27 and the following year, they had another child named Hardy B. Price.  I find this unlikely as Mary would have been well into her 40s.  So, either there was a second wife, named Mary, or the reports of Hardy’s death are incorrect. We do know that Hardy was dead in 1843 as his heirs are mentioned in William’s will. It possible that a first Hardy had two children before dying at age 27 or that a second Hardy was born and had two children and died before dying before age 26.  In either event, this is an area that requires more research.
Daughter Rebecca died about 1829.
The 1830 Census indicates that he, at age 67, was living with a young woman and three  children under 10, a boy and two girls. It is not clear who this was yet.  His daughters Roxanna and Mary both had a boy and a girl living in 1843, so it is possible that it was one of them living with him.  Again, this is an area that additional research would clarify the situation.
In 1837 his daughter Cherry died.  
Guilford flag (North Carolina)Source: North American
Vexillological Association
The 1840 Census indicates that William was a Revolutionary War Pensioner.  There were several William Prices that fought in th™revolution. Certainly his father did.  There is another William Price who married a Mary Butler of Kingwood, Preston Co. Virginia (Now WV), who some researchers appear to confuse with the Martin County William Price. This is an area for future research to solidify this William’s Revolutionary War service. 
William Price’s will in August of 1843 is silent regarding regarding William H Price (III) so it appears that child, if he existed — and I’m not sure that he did — died before 1843 without issue. 
William Price’s will indicates the following children:   

Hardy Price (Dec.)
Cherry Bryan (Dec.)
Mary Johnson
Rebecca Bryan (Dec.)
Roxana Bryan

There are many grandchildren mention including Evelina Bryan and Joseph Bryan whose mothers are not identified.  Note that it appears that three of Williams four daughters married Bryan men.  
William died sometime between August 1843 (when he signed his will) and January 1847 (when his will was probated).  He asked to be buried in the family cemetery.   
Although some land is passed through the will, it appears that much more of his land was passed via sales.  I have several records of land transfers that I need to go through in the future. 
Last Will & Testament – William Price – 22 August 1843
Amanuensis by Don Taylor
 Probated – January Term 1847
North Carolina
Martin County
Martin County Wills Records
1810-1868, Vol. 02 Image 196 (Pg 326) – Cropped
Thanks to Family Search 

Know all men by those present that I William Price being in sound mind and memory thanks be to God for the same but knowing the uncertainty of death do make and ordain this my last will and testament as follows:

1st I commend my soul to Almighty Good my body to be entered in a descent christian like manner in the family Grave yard.
2nd The negro girl Hannah I trust my daughter Cherry at her marriage after my death it is my will and desire that said negro Hannah increase except one boy by the name of Luke, be equally divided between the children of my daughter Cherry and these being from my Daughter Cherry being dead it is my will wish and desire that the increase of said negro Hannah she being dead also be equally divided between Robt. Rebecca, Martha, John & Benjamin Lewis Bryan children of said Cherry after my death and to make said division I do nominate and appoint Jno P. Turner Robert Bryan and same. Saml A. Long to do the same.
3rd The negro girl Silva I let my daughter Rebecca have at her marriage and my daughter Rebecca being  dead and said nigro also best said nigro silva having an increase it is my will and desire that Jno Bryan, husband of my said daughter Rebecca have said negros to him and his heirs forever.
4th the negro girl Liza I let my daughter Roxana have at her marriage it is my will and desire that my daughter Roxana have said girl and increase her life time and after her death. I give said nigros to her (sasfue?) children.
5th The negro boy thisosehilus which was sold and the profits equally divided between my daughter Mary and her two children Joseph and Martha remain so forever.
6th I give unto my grand daughter Evelina Bryan one nigro girl by the name of Hannah, should the said Evelina Bryan die without a lawful heir it is my will and desire that the said nigro Hannah be sold and increases of (???) and the proceeds rising from the said sale be equally divided among my heirs.

Martin County Wills Records
1810-1868, Vol. 02 Image 197 (Pg 327) – Cropped
Thanks to Family Search 

7th I give unto my grandsons Benjamin F Price and Hardy B. Price, sons of my son Hardy B Price one hundred dollars each before the property I have on hand is divided.
8th I give unto my grandson, Joseph R. Bryan our tract of land said land I bought of B. F. & H, M. B. Price containing forty acres more or less and all its improvements thereon forever.
9th It is my will and desire that the nigros I have not given away after my death to be equally divided between my heirs in the following manner (viz) one fifth to Hardy B Price heir, one fifth to the Cherry Bryan heirs, One fifth to Rebecca Bryan children, one fifth to Roxana Bryan her lifetime and after her death to her children, one fifth to Mary Johnson her lifetime and after her death to her children leaving and giving my executions forever  to appoint commissions to allot and divide said nigros between said heirs according to the above statement.
10th I give unto my daughter Mary Johnson one track of land known as the Johnson Tract containing fifty acres more or less running south with the fence to her and her heirs forever also one negro woman by the name of Ninny to her and her heirs forever.
11th It is my desire that the balance of the land I have not otherwise disposed of except the family graveyard be sold and equally divided between my son Hardy B Price and the  heirs of daughters Rebecca, Cherry, & Roxanna in like manner, as the negros.
12th I give to unto my grandson Joseph R Bryan one bed and furniture.
13th It is my will and desire that my Executor sell at public auction my perishable estate and after paying my land debt the balance with what monies or land that I may have to be equally divided between the heirs of my son Hardy B. Price and the children of my daughter Rebecca and the children of my daughter Cherry and Roxana and Mary in like manner as the nigros.
14th It is my will and desire that my Executors retain in their hand, if not applied for property before the part of any estate which I give unto my daughter Roxana and her heirs seven years if not adopted for in that time then to be equally divided between my other heirs.
15th It is my will and desire my executors retain in their hands the property which I given unto my grand children until they arrive to the age of twenty one or married, I do hereby constitute and appoint my friends Archibald Stanton and William R Brown Executors to this my last will and testament revoking all others that I may have made prior to this date. In witness where of I have (??ents) set my hand and seal, this the twenty second day of August One Thousand Eight Hundred and forty three.

Signed:  William Price {Seal}

Signed in presence of us
Bryant Bennett
Jos. Waldo

A Great Lineage:

Ann Debora Long’s mother was
Martha Ann Bryan, whose mother was
Cherry Price, whose father was 
William Price (The subject of this posting). His father was 
William Price, whose father was 
John Price.