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January 29, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Gentleman Justices, 1777-1793

Buckingham County: Courthouse

Buckingham Courthouse, Photo by Joanne Yeck

Many of Buckingham County’s planters were asked to serve as Gentleman Justices or Magistrates.  Interestingly, as this record covering 1777- 1793 indicates, many declined or never qualified.  This list is practically a “who’s who” of Buckingham County’s earliest families. Some, however, such as Randolph Jefferson, are conspicuous by their absence.

The list below, recapitulating Buckingham County commissions, was recorded in the Virginia State Papers on July 8, 1793.

In the New Republic, how did a Justice “qualify”?  What was meant by: “don’t act.”

My ancestor, Robert Moseley, is mentioned here.  If you recognize one of yours or can correct a name, please comment.

The first commission of the Peace for the county of Buckingham, since the late Revolution, dated the 20th Day of December, 1777, directed to the following Justices, to-wit:

John Nicholas, resigned.

George Hooper, resigned.

John Cabell, 1789, Aug. court, took the oath agreeable to Act of Congress.

Jeremiah Whitney, Dead.

Charles Patteson, qualified, but not taken the oath agreable (sic) to act of congress, but don’t act.

William Cannon, Do.

Charles May, Do.

John Johns, Do.

Henry Bell, 1789, August court, took the oath agreeable to act of congress.

John Bernard, Do.

Dolphin Dren (Drew), dead.

Robert Cary, never qualified.

Hardin Perkins, never qualified.

Thomas Read, Removed to Prince Edward.

John Benning, never qualified.

Hickerson Barksdale, qualified, tho’ not taken the oath agreeable to Act of Congress, but don’t act.

John Moseley, Sheriff, took the oath agreeable to act of congress.

William Dinguid (Diuguid) , resigned.

Thomas Anderson, Qualified, tho’ not taken the oath agreeable to act of congress, but don’t act.

William Perkins, Jr., took the oath agreeable to act of congress, 1789, Aug. court.

Flamstead Ransom (Ranson), Gent, qualified, tho’ not taken the oath agreeable to act of Congress, but don’t act.

2d Commissions issued 27th March, 1781, adding the following Justices, to- wit:

Joseph Cabell, Sen’r, never qualified.

Anthony Winston, Sen’r, never qualified & since dead.

John Crouch, never qualified.

3d Commissions issued 17th June, 1783, adding the following Justices, to-wit:

James Dillard, qualified, tho’ not taken the oath agreeable to Act of Congress, but don’t act.

William Watt, Do., resigned.

Anthony Murray, never qualified.

 4th Commissions issued the 15th April, 1784, adding the following Justices, to-wit:

Edmund Wilcox, never qualified & since dead.

John Nicholas. Jr., never qualified — removed. Benjamin Mosely, Jr., never qualified — refused.

Benjamin Mosely, Jr., never qualified — refused.

Robert Mosely, never qualified — refused.

David Parrish, resigned.

Anthony Winston, Jr., 1789, Aug. Court, took oath agreeable to Act of congress.

Benjamin Morris, Do.

5th Commissions issued the 23d day of June, 1788, adding the following Justices, to-wit:

David Coupland, qualified, tho’ never took the oath agreeable to Act of congress — Don’t act.

Joseph Cabell, Jr., 1789, Aug. Court, took the oath agreeable to Act of congress.

Samuel Allen, 1789, Aug. Court, took oath agreeable to Act of congress.

Joel Watkins,   ”    ”    ”   ”

Boaz Ford, 1789, Aug. Court, took oath agreeable to Act of congress.

Thomas Blakey, never qualified— refused.

6th & Last commissions issued the first of March, 1790, adding the following Justices, to-wit:

David Bell, qualified & took agreeable to Act of congress.

Josias Jones,                      Do.

Peter Guerrant,                Do.

William Allen,                     Do.

Charles Moseley,             Do.

Edmund Glover, &           Do.

George Duiguid (Diuguid), refused to qualify.

Teste: ROLFE ELDRIDGE, CI. B. court.

Coming Next: Clerk of Court, Rolfe Eldridge, lists Buckingham County Justices in 1793

10 Comments

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  1. Catherine Levering / Feb 15 2021 6:25 pm

    John Benning’s Father, Anthony Benning was my 6GG, through Anthony daughter & John’s sister, Judith Benning,.

    John Benning was a member of the Voluntary Militia of King William County VA & fought in the 1755 battle in the French & Indian War. In 1756 Benning’s name was listed in the pay roll of volunteer soldiers for King William County, VA adjacent to Henrico County where Benning was born & located along the northern side of the James River. In 1758 John Benning (age 21) & his older brother Joseph Benning (1733-1807) fought in the Bedford Co. VA Colonial Militia. Prior to the Revolutionary War, John Benning lived in Goochland Co. VA, where he then joined the VA Militia with rank of major.

    On 20 Jul 1775, at the age of thirty-eight, John Benning married Sarah Cobb, nineteen years younger than he. Sarah ‘Sallie’ Cobb, born on 20 Nov 1756 in Buckingham County, VA, was the daughter of Colonel Thomas “Old Tom” Cobb(s) (c. 1722 – 1833) who later dropped the ‘s’ from his name, and Susannah Moon (c. 1739 – Bef 1833). For at least 8 years after their marriage & the end of the Revolutionary War, John & Sarah Cobb Benning lived in Buckingham County, where their oldest son Joseph Benning was born in 1776 and their fifth child Pleasant Moon Benning was born in 1783.
    In 1782 John Benin was taxed in Buckingham County where he owned 1200 acres of farmland & 23 slaves. after 1783, John $ Sarah Cobb Benning left VA with her Cobb parents & other Cobb and Benning family members to settle in Columbia Co., GA along the Savannah River.

    John and Sarah Cobb Benning had ten children according to the Benning Family Records: 1. Joseph Benning (in father’s 1809 will)(30 May 1776-1 May 1820) Wife #1 Martha Matilda Moore; Wife #2 Jane Meriwether; 2. Thomas Cobb Benning (in father’s 1809 will)(1 Jan 1778-Aft 1850) Wife: Ann LNU: 3. Elizabeth Benning Thompson (in father’s 1809 will)(14 Nov 1779-aft 1809) Mrs. Leonard; 4. Rowanna (Roanne)Benning (in father’s 1809 will)(1780-aft 1813); 5. Susannah Benning Moore (in father’s 1809 will)(24 Jun 1782-aft 1809) Mrs. Thomas; 6. Pleasant Moon Benning (executor of father’s 1809 will)(3 Oct 1782-25 Nov 1845) Wife: Malinda Lewis White; 7. John Benning, Jr. (13 Jul 1786-aft 1809); 8. Martha D. Benning Martin (in father’s 1809 will)(16 Mar 1789-aft 1809) Mrs. Benjamin; 9, Sally Cobb Benning Lamar (in father’s 1809 will)(13 Feb 1797-1 May 1877) Mrs. Joshua; 10. Nancy Benning Martin (in father’s 1809 will)(3 Nov 1794 -Jun 1842) Mrs. George Washington;

    Written by Sandra Harris Carney, 4G-granddaughter)

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 16 2021 7:52 am

      Catherine,

      Many thanks for adding this extensive information about the Benning family.

      Joanne

  2. Mary Ailes / Feb 25 2014 4:21 pm

    I am descended from Charles Moseley (b1748) – parents were Arthur Moseley Jr (1718-1769) and Mary Lockett (1725-1791). Is this the Charles Moseley referred to in this list?

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 25 2014 4:38 pm

      Mary, I can’t say for sure. There may have been more than one Charles Moseley living in Buckingham at the time. It’s a big family! Joanne

  3. Dave George / Feb 4 2014 1:48 pm

    Hi cuz. As you may remember, my relative is George Hooper. Just making sure you’ve got him attached to me! It’s been kind of cold here but that at least helps to kill the mosquito larvae. Cheers, Marion

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 4 2014 2:13 pm

      Marion, Thanks for dropping in. Joanne

  4. Jeremy Winfrey / Jan 29 2014 11:23 am

    Rolfe Eldridge Jr succeeded his father as clerk of the Circuit Court of
    Buckingham County. He was clerk from 1806 to 1859. He had entered his
    father’s office in 1795 at the age of 15, and in 1797 qualified as deputy
    clerk. He was appointed to succeed his father and immediately moved nearer
    the court house as a convenience for attending to the business which was
    rapidly increasing. He was clerk from 1806 to 1859. He died in the spring on
    1861.

    From “Genealogical Records of
    Buckingham County, Va.”, Whitley.

    I see lots of familiar names on the list. What on earth were the requirements that forced so many to be “unqualified”. Furthermore, seems like it may have been a thankless job, seems lots of men refused the appointments.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 29 2014 11:44 am

      Thank you Jeremy! I will add these details about the Eldridges to the followup post. Indeed, these are familiar names to many us. I wonder if the men didn’t bother to qualify — a passive way of declining? Just a guess. Being a Justice was a big commitment and these were busy men. The status may not have been worth the work in the eyes of many.

  5. Kimberly / Jan 29 2014 10:29 am

    Any idea how long Rolfe Eldridge was Clerk of Court? I see him all over everything, up through the 1840s, I think. That’s a looooong career.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 29 2014 10:49 am

      Kimberly, Rolfe Eldridge was a lifer as Clerk of Court. Followed by his son, Rolfe Eldridge, Jr. It was an Eldridge dynasty! Perhaps a Slate River Ramblings reader can comment with exact dates. Joanne

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