Thursday, April 2, 2009

Warwick County, VA Early Records


Warwick County is an extinct county in Virginia. It was created as Warwick River Shire, one of eight created in the Virginia Colony in 1634. Located on the Virginia Peninsula on the northern bank of the James River between Hampton Roads and Jamestown, the area consisted primarily of farms and small unincorporated towns until the arrival of the Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1881 and development led by industrialist Collis P. Huntington.

With the railroad came the coal piers, several local stations in Warwick County for passenger service and shipping produce and seafood to markets, and a branch link to the resorts and military facilities in neighboring Elizabeth City County at Old Point Comfort. The community at the southeastern edge on the harbor of Hampton Roads became the independent city of Newport News in 1896 and soon hosted the world's largest shipyard.

At the outset of World War I, the U.S. Army facility which became Fort Eustis was established in the county. After the war, Camp Patrick Henry, a former military facility, became the site of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. After sparring over annexations and exploring various plans to refine and/or combine local governments, by mutual agreement, after existing for over 325 years, historic Warwick County was politically consolidated with the younger city of Newport News in 1958, The better known name of Newport News was assumed for the combined entity, forming one of the modern Seven Cities of Hampton Roads.

Colonial period
During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the settlement at Jamestown in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants.

Warwick River Shire took its name from Robert Rich, second Earl of Warwick and a prominent member of the Virginia Company who was proprietor of Richneck Plantation. Warwick River Shire became Warwick County in 1643.

The first courthouse and jail were located at Warwick Towne, established in 1680. The colonial port was located at Deep Creek and the Warwick River on 50 acres (200,000 m2) of Samuel Mathews' land.

Statehood, 19th century
In 1790, Warwick County recorded 1,690 persons in the Federal Census, making it the third smallest county population-wise in Virginia. After the American Revolution, in 1809, Warwick Towne was abandoned, and the county seat was moved to the area of Denbigh Plantation, near Stoney Run.

The new county seat was at Denbigh, where in 1810 Warwick's first brick courthouse was built. It also served as clerk's office and jail. In 1864, a large courthouse was erected on the same tract, the clerk retaining the old building. Both served until the merger with the city of Newport News in 1958.
Submitted by Shelley Murphy

Vol. 1-Judicial Cases conerning American Slavery and the Negro, published in 1926, Cases from the Courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky

RE: Gowin, McIlwaine 233, October 1670. "It is ordered that Gowin an Indian Servt. to Mr. Tho. Bushrod Serve his said master six years longer and then to be free." (pg. 78)

Negro Phillip Gowen v. Lucas, McIlwaine 411, June 1675. "Phillip Gowen negro Suing Mr. Jno Lucas...for his freedome It is Ordered that the said Phill Gowen be free from the Said Mr Lucas his Service and that the Indenture Acknowledg'd in Warwick County be Invallid and that the said Mr Lucas pay unto the [said} Gowen three Barrels of Corne att the Cropp According to the Will of Mrs Amye Boazlye deceased with Costs."


From: Warwick County, Virginia, Colonial Court Records in Transcription, Presented to the Hampton Library by Betty Page Wyatt In Honor of Gerry Lassiter for her dedication to the Virginiana Collection, Revised Edition, Richard Dunn Editor

Newport News Museum & Archives at Virginia War Museum
[Acc.No. 34287: Miscellaneous Paper in the Library of Virginia: “Collection of  Newport News Museum & Archives.” The originals are located at the Virginia War Museum in Newport News.

[NN92.7.1AR] [Cover]
Old Legal Documents/ taken from Warwick Court house VA / When held by the Union Army / under McClellen

[NN92.7.4AR] Mr. Andrew Cole _9ber 18th 1686
To a bottle of Alamsey & bottle:        0-4-[torn]
27        To 3 ½ pts’ of ditto                           0-3-0
            To a pt of ditto                                  0-2-0
            To a pot of Corne                              0-0-6
            To a bottle of Mamsey                       0-4-0
            To a hatt for his wife….                      0-0-0
June 11 To a pt of best wine                           0-2-[torn]
            To ½ bottle of ditto                             0-2-0
            To ½ bottle of ditto                             0-2-0
This is a Just and True Acct                             1-3-0    March ye 16:th …..John Gawen
Jurat Coram me….Francis Page [Sr?] in Just Court….
            [reverse: “Mr. Jno Gawen  account   Judmt…upon this Acc”]

For a Chronological History of Warwick County Visit:

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