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.


The Estate of James Ashley Hobbs (1843-1920)

Amanuensis Monday

Wills and probate records can provide valuable insight and speculation into family dynamics that I find fun to consider. Such is the case of James Ashley (J.A.) Hobbs (1843-1920).
J.A. Hobbs was a civic leader. He was the Clerk of Superior Court in Williamston, Martin County, North Carolina. He died on 29 November 1920; his wife preceded him in 1913. At the time of his death, he had five living children.

Only three days after his death, on December 2nd, his oldest daughter, Annie E. Armstrong, applied to be the administrator of his estate and indicated that her father died without a will[i]. Also, in that application she mentioned that the five living children, Charles L Hobbs, R.R. Hobbs, J Floyd Hobbs, Mary L. Howell, and herself would be the heirs to the estate. Although Charles would have been the oldest child, Annie applied, and was granted administration of the F. A. Hobbs estate.

Martin County (North Carolina) Courthouse
Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr [CC by NC 2.0]
About six weeks later, on 14 Jan 1921, a will, dated 10 Sept 1918, was filed with the courthouse[ii]. This will established “friend and lawyer” A. P. Dunning as the executor of the will. In the will, Mary L. Howell was to receive the entire estate, except for $100 to go to A. P. Dunning. Subsequently, Mary L. Howell received everything and the other four children, Charles, RR, Floyd, and Annie received nothing.
Many questions regarding family dynamics come to mind. Was Annie trying to pull a fast one or did she really not know that J.A. had a will?  Three days after a person’s death seems to me pretty quick for someone to file in probate court. Why did J.A. write out all of the other children and leave Mary Lillian, his youngest daughter, (who was 33 years old) as his only heir? Were the other four estranged from their father?  I wonder if J. A. felt that his other children were doing well enough and didn’t need the support that Mary Lillian needed as the wife of a struggling minister. Many questions we may never know the answer to, but it is fun to speculate and wonder.


Source: Ancestry.Com – North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998; North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts., North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,, Wills, 1774-1963; Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Martin County); Probate Place: Martin, North Carolina – Pages 578 & 579.

North Carolina}Martin County}      I, J. A. Hobbs, of the county and state aforesaid, being of sound mind and memory but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existence, to make and declare this my last Will and Testament.

First: My executor herein named shall give my body a decent burial, pay all funeral expenses, together with all my just debts, out of the first moneys which may come into his hands belonging to my estate.

Second: I give, devise and bequeath to my daughter Mary L. Howell, all the property of which I may devised and possessed, both real and personal, of whatever nature, ??? or description and wherever situate, including all money that [Page 579]
 I may have on hand at the time of my death, all notes and bonds of every kind and all other evidences of debt that may be due me at the time of my death. Also my personal affects, including my gold watch and chain, all my household and kitchen furniture, and also any and all insurance policies of mine regardless as to whom some may be payable in the face or faces thereof, including also, two lots of land situate in Beaufort County in Washington Heights, and any and all other property not above enumerated, of which I may die sized and possessed; it being my express purpose and intention to give, devise and bequeath to my daughter, Mary L. Howell, everything of the shape of property of which I may die dived and possessed to have and to hold to her absolutely and unconditionally forever in fee simple.

Third, I hereby constitute and appoint my friend and lawyer, A. P. Dunning, my executor, to execute this my last Will and Testament according to the true intend and meaning of the same and every fact thereof, hereby revoking and declaring utterly void all other Wills and Testaments by me heretofore made, and in full compensation for his services in executing this my last Will and Testament, I give and devise unto the said A. P. Dunning the sum of $100 one Hundred Dollars.

In witness whereof, I the said J. A. Hobbs, do hereunto let my and and seal this 10th day of Sept. 1918.

                                               J. A. Hobbs {Seal} 


Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said J. A. Hobbs to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, we subscribe our names as witnesses thereto.   A. Hasill   L. C. Burnett 


[i] North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts., North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,, Administrators, Guardians Appointments and Records, Accounts, Inventories, Years Support, Executors and Widows Dowers, 1869-1963; Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Martin County); Probate Place: Martin, North Carolina – Page 218.
[ii] North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts., North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,, Wills, 1774-1963; Author: North Carolina. Superior Court (Martin County); Probate Place: Martin, North Carolina – Pages 578, 579, & 580.
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Transcription of Will: Annie D. (Long) Hobbs

There have been many articles and blogs regarding the newly available Ancestry.Com Wills and Probate Records. I thought I would give it a try. My goal was to find wills for my Howell/Hobbs project. The Hobbs family lived in Martin County for many years so I decided to search for the surname “Hobbs” in Martin County, North Carolina. I immediately found two that were appropriate for my research. The first one was regarding Mary-Alice’s great-grandmother, Annie Deborah Long Hobbs.

In reading through the will, I was surprised that I didn’t learn anything new, only confirmation of other facts I had known. For example, I knew that four of James Ashley and Annie D. Hobbs’ nine children were alive in 1913 and the will and probate records confirm that. Had I not already had that information, the will and probate record would have been invaluable.

It is interesting, however, to note that Annie indicated she was in “feeble health,” because she signed the will the day before she died.

Amanuensis Monday

Transcription of Will: Annie D. (Long) Hobbs (1846-1913) 16 May 1913
North Carolina}
Martin County}

I, Annie D. Hobbs, of the state and county aforesaid, being of sound mind and memory, and being in feeble health do hereby make and declare this to be my last will and testament.

Item 1.   I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary L Howell my state Bond of Five Hundred Dollars.

Item 2.   I give and devise to my daughter Annie Armstrong, my son’s, Roland R. Hobbs and James F. Hobbs, the sum of one Hundred Dollars each.

Item 3.   I give and devise to my sister, Mary F. Long the sum of One Hundred Dollars.

Item 4.   At my death, after paying all necessary expenses of my funeral and the purchase of a lot in the Cemetery at Hamilton as near the burial lot of my aunt, Arrista Bryan as can be purchased, The residue of my estate I give and devise to my beloved husband, J. A. Hobbs for his use and benefit during his life and at his death the same shall be equally divided among my four children, R.R & J. F. Hobbs, Annie Armstrong and Mary L Howell share and share alike.

Item 5.   I hereby constitute and appoint my beloved husband J. A. Hobbs, my lawful executor of this my last will and

 [page break]

testament to execute the conditions of the same. In testimony of which I hereto set my hand and seal this 16th day of May 1913.

Annie D Hobbs (her mark) (her Seal)


Sealed, signed & declared by Annie D. Hobbs to be her last will and testament, in our presence who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other subscribed our names as attesting witnesses thereto.
This May 16-1913

        R. J. Peel
A. S. Frassell. [?? name is unclear]

Notes from the Order Papers:

The will was probated in Washington County, although Annie was “late of Martin County.”

EXECUTOR’S OATH was signed by J. A. Hobbs on 20 June 1913.

PROBABE OF WILL – Received and accepted on 20 June 1913.

Application for Letters Testamentary posted 20 June 1913 identified estate worth $600.00 and Parties entitled to property include: Annie F Armstrong, Mary L Howell, R R Hobbs J. F Hobbs, Mary A. Long and J A Hobbs.

Source: North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts., North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,, Martin County Wills, Ca. 1663-1978; Estate Papers, 1831-1916; Index to Estate Records, 1831-1916; Author:North Carolina. Superior Court (Martin County); Probate Place: Martin, North Carolina.

Letter of Delores Sarah Brown Pribbenow dated Letter – 4 April 2005.

Amanuensis Monday 

Transcript of Letter from Delores Brown Pribbenow

I find Facebook to be one of the absolute best resources I’ve ever used for research. A few months ago I was able to “friend” a first cousin once removed. “BLZ’s” mother, Delores, and my grandfather were siblings. As such, she is a contemporary with my mother. She also lived near my grandfather and great grandmother for many years and had her own stories. She also has some of the old records and writings of her mother, Delores, and her grandmother (my great-grandmother) Mary Brown. I wrote Delores in 2001 and received a wonderful letter that I’ve incorporated into my research long ago. I found out from BLZ that her mother wrote another letter, this time for her children, in 2005; of which, my cousin scanned and sent me a copy. This 2005 letter included many new (to me) tidbits of information regarding family. I admit I have a difficult time using old handwritten documents so I transcribed it for my use.

There are many new tidbits of information.  One of the best was my grandfather’s middle name.  He changed his name from Clifford D. Brown to Richard Earl Durand to Richard Earl Brown.  I have never found a document which included his “D.” middle name.  Delores’ letter is the first place I’ve ever seen a middle name for him — Durwood.  Durwood fits as it was his father’s middle name. There is also mention of a great grand uncle, Robert Manning, that I had never heard of before.  I knew that a Robert J Manning lived with Enoch, Minerva, Mary, and Phoebe as shown in th 1885 Minnesota Census but I never knew the relationship. So, it appears that all three children were living with their grandparents in 1885.  I learned the occupations of several great uncles and the surname of the man Adia/Ada married. All-in-all a very helpful letter.

If you are able to connect with a cousin, start with sharing photos or stories, eventually, you may find the cousin has fresh documents you haven’t seen before. Cousins can be great resource to enhance your understand and knowledge of your family.

Below is a copy of the letter and my transcript. There are a couple of words I can’t quite make out, so, anyone who wants to help please feel free to comment. I have also highlighted new tidbits of information.

— — — — — — (Page 1) — — — — — — 

April 4th, 2005
Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 1 Dated April 4, 2005
Source: BLZ

I, Delores Sarah Pribbenow, being of sound mind do write this truth for my children to refer to:

I was born the 11/7/1917 to Arthur Durwood Brown and Mary Elizabeth Manning. Mary was born 1876 April 17, lived to be 107. She died on mothers Day. Born 1876 in Kernsville, Kentucky, maiden name Manning. Art was born in Lansing Michigan, they had twelve children raised 10 to adulthood. Two died as infants (Dorothy & Martin) of measles. Children are as follows: Clyde Leroy B. Clarence Andrew B, Victoria Cocialia, Cora Elsie, Clifford (Dick) Durwood, Edward, Louis B., Arthur Eugene B. Charles W B. Delores Sarah, Nettie Mae Viola, the youngest. My mom passed away in Bethany Home in Brainerd. My father passed away in Walker Minn. in hospital, I remember it well. My momn& I camped on the campgrounds at Leach Lake to be near him at his last moment. He died in the night time during a terrific storm. Power was all out. So we didn’t hear until morning when we went to see him, we transported his body by train to Sylvan depot and he was buried in Sylvan or Gull River Cemetery. My Dad, Arthur had surgery in Brainerd for Gall Stones and appendicitis, never recovered his health. Doctored in Rochester, Mayo Clinic, and other doctors ended up in Walker. No help. I’m sure it was cancer he had yellow jaundice and lot of pain with chills, he kept is appendix and gall

[———– Next sheet (Page 2) ————-]

Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 2 – Source: BLZ

bladder & stones in a glass jar until his death. My memories of him are seeing him sitting in a chair braced up against a tree with a straw hat on and smoking a corn cob pipe. Also walking with hands clasp behind his back – while viewing his crops in the field. We raised cucumbers for the Heinz pickle company acres and acres of them. Back breaking job to get them ready to sell. We lived many miles from towns had to transport by team & wagon at least twenty miles one way. My mother had one sister Phoebie and a half brother Robert Manning.

My dad had many Sisters and Brothers, ???? I remember them

Uncle William 
   “  Clyde
   “  Clifford – Wife Lou Lou 
   “  Edward – farmer wife Dora 
   “  Fred was a barber – wife Anna 
   “  Charlie – A cook – Minnie his wife 
Aunt – Ada – husband Ben Mayers – a lawyer owned an island in Gull Lake also a gold mine
   “  Bertha
   “  Minnie 

In the old days they had a child every 9 months it seemed up to a dozen and they continued to rename the child after the aunts and uncles – making it very confusing. I had many uncles and cousins I never ever met.

[———– Next sheet (Page 3) ————-]

Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 2 – Source: BLZ

My Mothers Sister Phoebe Brown, Richmond. Sisters married Brothers, my uncle Clyde Brown, my dads brother married my mothers sister Phoebe. They had two children, Stella Brown Barnet, Henry Brown – They were my double cousins. Then Uncle Clyde was crushed between to box cars on the M N I rail road he was a brake men, Phoebe later remarried to William Richmond they had Billie, Mahala, Norman, George Herbert Jim Gilbert uncle Will R. died and Phoebe remarried to Milo Upton.

Uncle Bob Mannings wife was Martha – She died in the State of Washington they had sons named Grant & Herbert, that I new

Uncle Ed Brown died of cancer – had button put in this throat talked there that also my Brother Ed had the same thing many years later – Cancer has taken all of my family – I am the only one left.

Clarence Eduard Huber Baptism Certificate.

I’ll admit it, I don’t read German.  I try my best but sometime the characters don’t scan correctly to my eye.  Either way for Amanuensis Monday, I’ve given it my best shot but still come up just a tad short.  I really love Google Translate.  It is simple to use and you can usually get the gist of a message enough to change the Google Translation to English by adding syntax.  It is a simple baptism certificate but there are two words that elude me. First is gu or gee or something like that.  Now I suspect is means at or in in this context.  But it would be good to know for certain it doesn’t mean “near” or something like that.

The second word seems to be to be “daselbit” to me.  It must be some kind of parents but I can’t figure out what it means.  It might make a difference in where the Baptism actually occurred.

Anyone who knows what the meanings are, please post a comment and let me know.

Birth Certificate  My Reading Google Translate
Click to enlarge

Clarence Eduard Huber
John von Heren Johann Huber
und frau Bertha geb Trumpi
geboren 24ten december 1909
gu Elberta, Baldwin Co, Ala.
ist am 26ten May 1910
im Hause der Elter en daselbit
im namen des
Dreieinigen Gottes
getauft worden
Taufzeugen waren
Maria Bruss
Karl Keller

welches hierdurch
bescheinigt wird
H. O. Bruss
ev. Luth Pastor

Clarence Ediard Huber
John of Heren Johann Huber
and wife Bertha born Trumpi
born 24th december 1909
gu Elberta, Baldwin Co, Ala.
on 26th May 1910
in the home of the parent s daselbit

in the name of the

Triune God
been baptized

sponsors were
Maria Bruss
Karl Keller

which thereby
is to certify
H. O. Bruss
ev. Luth Pastor