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February 6, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

The Courthouse Burned: Woodfin vs. Brown


The Richmond Whig, Courtesy Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia

When the Buckingham Courthouse burned in February of 1869, James Woodfin needed to reestablish his purchase of land from Garland Brown in 1841. The following announcement appeared in The Richmond Whig in the summer of 1869.

The petition of James Woodfin this day filed before me represents that on – day of August, 1841, Garland Brown sold and conveyed, with general warranty, by deed duly executed and delivered to him, the petitioner, a track of land of (255) two hundred and fifty five acres, lying and being in the county of Buckingham, adjoining the lands of the petitioner and others; that shortly thereafter the said deed was recorded according to law in the clerk’s office of the county court of Buckingham county; and said record, together with the original deed, has been destroyed by fire, and prays that a time and date may be appointed for taking proof to re-establish the said record.

Apparently, Garland Brown was no longer a resident of the State of Virginia. The notice in the newspaper requested him to appear before Robert T. Hubbard Jr., on 13 July 1869, at his office at Buckingham Court House.

In the same issue of the paper, a second notice appeared concerning James Woodfin’s purchase of 30 acres from John J. Brown in 1853. Mr. John J. Brown, apparently a non-resident of the State of Virginia, was also requested to appear at Hubbard’s office.

How did James Woodfin come to lose his own copies of these deeds? Did the Browns appear as requested?

To learn much more about the burning of Buckingham Courthouse, please consult: “Incalculable Loss: The Burning of Buckingham Courthouse” in “At a Place Called Buckingham.”


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