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February 2, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

The Courthouse Burned: Scruggs vs Pankey

srr_the-richmond-whig

The Richmond Whig, Courtesy Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia

After the Buckingham County courthouse burned in February of 1869, many citizens in the county rerecorded deeds and wills, protecting what was rightfully theirs. Chancery cases that were in progress were thrown into chaos. Depositions had to be taken to reestablish suits in progress.

In June of 1869, a notice appeared in The Richmond Whig concerning documents concerning the case of Scruggs versus Pankey:

The petition of Jane Scruggs this day filed before me represents that, at the September term, 1868, of the Circuit Court of Buckingham County, she recovered a judgment against James E. Pankey and William T. Pankey for $500, with lawful interest from January 14, 1862. . . . .

Some of the monies due Jane Scruggs had been paid to her; however, there was a “residue” which remained unpaid. All evidence of this judgment was destroyed by fire with the clerk’s office of the county and Jane Scruggs requested that the time and place be made for “taking proof to reestablish the contents of the said records are destroyed.”

Robert T. Hubard, Jr., then a Special Commissioner for Buckingham County, announced the following:

It appearing by affidavit that James E Pankey is a nonresident of the State of Virginia, the said James E Pankey is hereby notified that I have appointed TUESDAY, 13 July, 1869, between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M., at my office, at Buckingham Courthouse, as the time and place for taking proof to re-establish the said record; and said James Pankey is required to appear at the time and place aforesaid, and do what is necessary to protect his interest in these proceedings.

Did James E Pankey appear before Mr. Hubard? Did Jane Scruggs get the monies owed her?

Surely many cases like these went unresolved due to the burning of the courthouse.

Coming next: Robert T. Hubard, Jr.’s request concerning Woodfin vs. Brown

3 Comments

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  1. Stuart / Feb 3 2017 10:34 am

    Presumably, this is exactly the kind of situation the arsonist was trying to create. It is possible, of course, that the offense against him was far greater than failure to repay a loan. Not that it matters much; a fire is a fire. Happily in my case, my ancestor rerecorded her deeds. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 3 2017 11:24 am

      Stuart, I, too, am grateful for re-recorded deeds and wills. As we’ll learn in upcoming posts, apparently, not everyone had personal copies to re-record. Houses fires were frequent occurrences as well. Joanne

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 3 2017 11:24 am

      Stuart, I, too, am grateful for re-recorded deeds and wills. As we’ll learn in upcoming posts, apparently, not everyone had personal copies to re-record. Houses fires were frequent occurrences as well. Joanne

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