Caroline County (Va.)

A New Cache of Old Records

A New Cache of Old Records

When I began began doing genealogical research many years ago, like all beginners I focused on marriage records, birth and death records--when they were available, and wills. Then came deeds and other land records, and through using them I discovered the world of "courts of chancery" and "chancery records."

Not all Virginia courts judged cases the same way, you see. Some courts decided cases based on written laws that either specifically allowed or specifically prohibited various actions in certain circumstances. There was in these courts no latitude for judicial interpretation; there were no "grey areas."

Other courts, however, dealt with issues of equity or fairness in a much more flexible way--Chancery Courts. These courts decided cases which codified law could not readily accomodate, and these cases were usually land disputes, divisions of estates, divorce petitions, and business partnership disputes.

Chancery Court files are filled with subpoenas, depositions of witnesses, affidavits and other items of enormous interest to genealogists!

The Library of Virginia in Richmond has been diligently digitizing and indexing old chancery records, covering cases from the early eighteenth century through World War I. The database now includes hundreds of thousands of items. Several jurisdictions of interest to us are already completed! You may now find and view online the scanned chancery records for Westmoreland County, 1753-1913; Caroline County, 1787-1849; and Culpeper County, 1829-1913. Others will be made available in due course.

Secretariat's Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend

By Kate Chenery Tweedy, Leeanne Ladin, Wayne Dementi

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"On March 30, 1970, Secretariat drew his first breath in a little white foaling shed on a historic farm called The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia. Three years later he would leave the nation breathless as he captured the Triple Crown, shattering records and rivals alike. At The Meadow, America's Super Horse learned to gallop across its rolling fields and its loamy track. There, Secretariat first felt the calming hand of a groom, the taste of a bit in his mouth and the weight of a rider on his back. At The Meadow, the foundation was laid for a legend. Though much has been written about his spectacular racing career, the complete story of Secretariat s birthplace and the Chenery family who raised and raced him has never been told...until now. And a Chenery granddaughter is telling it. Secretariat's Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend reveals an intimate picture of this storied place from the viewpoint of Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery (Tweedy) and granddaughter of Meadow Stable s founder Christopher T. Chenery."

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The Death of John Wilkes Booth

By Lieutenant Edward Doherty

The Account of the Officer in Charge

On April 24, 1865, Lieutenant Edward Doherty sits on a bench across from the White House conversing with another officer. The arrival of a messenger interrupts the conversation. The messenger carries orders directing Doherty to lead a squad of cavalry to Virginia to search for Booth and Herold. Scouring the countryside around the Rappahoneck River, Doherty is told the two fugitives were last seen at a farm owned by Richard Garrett. Doherty leads his squad to the farm arriving in the early morning hours of April 26.