Justices of the Peace, Colonial Virginia, 1764-1771

Justices of the Peace
Colonial Virginia

According to the introductory note of the Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, the manuscript recorded here in the Bulletin was deposited in the library by the Hon. Charles A. Johnston, State Treasurer in 1921 for safe keeping. “It appears to be a record kept for convenience in the period immediately preceding the Revolutionary War by that official whom it most concerned to have at hand a list of all the justices of the peace of the various counties of colonial Virginia… the record is undoubtedly an authentic one and … may be relied upon as being accurate.”

The purpose of the list is unclear to Edward Ingle, the writer of the Preface who was a student of colonial history of Virginia at Johns Hopkins University; however, “such a compilation would have given the Governor a handy working basis for continuing Justices in their positions, for filling vacancies in their number caused by death, removal from a county or disinclination to serve, or for making entirely new appointments.”

According to Mr. Ingle who quotes from Hening’s A Collection of Laws of Colonial Virginia, the Monthly Court was composed of “four or more of the Justices” and met monthly and had jurisdiction over all cases which fall under the common law or chancery except those criminal cases where the judgment, if convicted, should be “loss of life or limb.” Or causes of outlawry (prosecution of a person who no longer has the protection of the law); or cases involving less than “25 shillings sterling or 200 pounds of tobacco.” The latter cases were judged by a single Justice who was empowered “to keep the peace generally.”

There are 253 lists of Justices presented in the “Bulletin;” however, I am submitting only those few that have a bearing on my family research; namely, those where a possible ancestor is listed. The researcher may want to consult the full list of names in the April-July, 1921, issue of the “Bulletin of the Virginia State Library.”

Source: McIlwaine, H. R.,Ed; “Bulletin of the Virginia State Library”, Volume XIV, April-July, 1921; Richmond: Virginia State Library

Justices of the Peace, Halifax County, Date of Commission: Dec. 21st, 1764
Thomas Dillard
Robert Wooding
John Gordon
Thomas Cobbs      Sheriff
James Roberts    junior
William Stoakes
Edward Booker
Hampton Wade       dec’d
Nath Terry
John Bates
Arch. Gordon
Thomas Dillards   Junior      Quo:
Hugh Innes
George Watkins
Thomas Green
Theopohilus Lacy
Wm. Hoskins
John Coleman
John Donelson
James Bates
Armistd Wathington {Wattington}
Walter Coles        and
John Wilson      Gent

Justices of the Peace, Lunenburg County, Date of Commission: Dec. 21, 1764
Lyddal Bacon
David Stokes
Joseph Williams
David Claiborne
Thomas Tabb
David Garland Quo
Abraham Maury
Henry Blagrave
Tscharner Degrafenriedt
John Jemmings
Christopher Billips      &
Thomas Chambers,     Gent:

Justices of the Peace, Brunswick County, Date of Commission: May 1st 1765
Nicholas Edmunds
Drury Stith
John Clack
Edward Goodrich
Christopher Mason    Sher.
Isaac Rowe Walton
William Thornton   Quor:
Thomas Stith
John Jones
James Wall
William Stith
Sterling Edmunds
Jemru Cocke
Silvanus Stokes
Exum Williamson &
Thomas Washington   Gent:

Justices of the Peace, Brunswick County, Date of Commission: Nov. 24th 1766
Nicholas Edmunds
Drury Stith
John Clack
Edward Goodrich
Christopher Mason
William Thornton
Thomas Stith    Sherif
John Jones
James Wall
Sterling Edmunds
Silvanus Stokes    Quor:
John Coleman
Thomas Simmons
James Wortham
William Edwards
Christopher Clinch
Thomas Peete
Douglas Wilkin
John Turner    &
Irvin Brown Gent:

Justices of the Peace, Halifax County, Date of Commission: Octr 22d 1767
Nathaniel Terry
Robert Wooding
Thomas Cobbs
Wm Stokes
Wm Hoskins       Sh.
James Bates
Armistead Wadlington
Walter Coles
Thomas Yuille
John Lewis   Quo:
Wm Thompson
Thomas Meriwether
John Foushee     dead
John Williams
Nathaniel Barksdale
Radford Maxey
John Orril Tunstall
George Boyd
Ezekiel Slaughter    &
James Turner     Gent

(page torn) Justices of the Peace, {Hali}fax County, Date of Commission: May 8th 1767
Robert Wooding
Thomas Cobbs
William Stokes
Edward Booker dead
Nathaniel Terry
William Hoskins
James Bates
Armistead Wallington
Walter Cole
Thomas Yuille
John Lewis       Quo:
William Thompson
Thomas Meriwether
John Foushee
John Williams
James Murdock no Inhabitant
Nathaniel Bayksdale (Barksdale)
Radford Maxey
John Orril Tunstall
George Boyd
Ezekiel Slaughter    &
James Turner Junr

Justices of the Peace, Brunswick County, Date of Commission: February 5th 1770
Nicholas Edmunds
Drury Stith
John Clack
William Thornton
Thomas Stith
John Jones
Silvanus Stokes
John Coleman
Douglas Wilkins   Quorum
George Walker
James Wall
William Edwards
Thomas Maclin
James Belfour
Henry Mounger
Benjamin Jones
Simon Turner      &
John Turner       Gent:

Justices of the Peace, Halifax County, Date of Commission: June 14th 1770
Nathaniel Terry
Robert Wooding
William Stokes
William Hoskins
James Bates
Walter Coles
Thomas Yuille
John Lewis
Radford Maxey   Quo:
John Orril Tunstall
George Boyd
James Turner
George Muter
Evan Ragland
Henry Hopson
Isaac Coles
William McDaniel    and
Edward Wade       Gent.

Justices of the Peace, Brunswick County, Date of Commission: April 30th 1771
Nicholas Edmunds
Drury Stith     dead
John Clack
William Thornton
Thomas Stith
John Jones
Silvanus Stokes
John Coleman
Thomas Simmons
Douglas Wilkins
George Walker    Quo:
James Wall
William Edwards
Thomas Maclin
James Belfour
Henry Mounger
Benjamin Jones
John Flood Edmunds
Richard Elliott
Augustine Willis   &
John Powell     Gent:

Justices of the Peace, Charlotte County, Date of Commission: May 8th 1771
James Hunt
Thomas Bedford
Thomas Spencer
Joseph Morton
John White
James Venable
Josiah Morton
James Boulden
William Price
Thomas Carter     Quor:
William Morton
John Brent
Sion Spencer
Joel Watkins
Silvanus Stokes
Joseph Friend
Matthew Watson
Mackerness Goode Jr
Joseph Moore     &
John Pettus       Gent.

*”Quo” “Quorum” “Quor”–According to Hening, the monthly court was to be made up of four or more of the Justices, one of which must be “of the quorum,” hence, the indication that one of the justices in each county was designated as “the quorum.”