[1816 Virginia Legal Subpoena involving the Extended Family of George Washington in a Chancery Suit brought by His Nephew Lawrence A. Washington].
Subpoena issued to over 50 members of the extended family of George Washington “...to appear at the clerk’s office of our superior court of chancery holden at the court house of Greenbrier county…to answer a bill in chancery exhibited against them by Lawrence Augustine Washington.”
Lawrence Augustine Washington (1813–1882) was the son of President Washington’s full-brother, Col. Samuel Washington (1734–1781) of Berkeley County, Virginia, now Jefferson County, West Virginia. Lawrence and his brother, George Steptoe Washington (1773–1809), are mentioned in President Washington’s will as being under his protection. That portion of the will concerns land in Berkeley County. The present 1816 chancery subpoena, because it references a number of heirs of President Washington, may be related to that land or proceeds derived from its sale.¹
The subpoena orders the Sherif of Culpepper County, Virginia to summon the family members to Greenbrier Court House at Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, Virginia, now West Virginia. The document is signed by Luke Bonyer, Clerk of the Court at Greenbrier in Lewisburg, Virginia, now West Virginia.
Among the names listed in the subpoena are Bushrod Washington, Eleanor P. Custis Lewis, Richard Washington, Bushrod C. Washington, John Washington, William and Sally Washington, Augusta C. Washington, Alexander Spottswood, Jane Washington Thornton, John T.A. Washington, George Washington, Andrew Parks, Walter Washington, William Washington, Martha P. Custis Peters, and George F. Washington.
Other family names seen include Herbert, Payton, Ball, Hammond, Fitzhugh, Ashton, Davidson, and Law.
Because so many individuals are named in the partly-printed subpoena form, standard verbiage printed in the middle has been crossed-out in ink. After completing the list of those subpoenaed, this verbiage was re-written by hand later in the document.
A contemporary endorsement on the verso, signed by Samuel Washington, acknowledges his lawful receipt of the subpoena. This is likely Samuel Washington (1767–1832), son of President Washington’s full-brother Charles Washington (1738–1799), the founder of Charles Town in Berkeley County, Virginia, now the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia.
Description: [1816 Virginia Legal Subpoena involving the Extended Family of George Washington in a Chancery Suit brought by His Nephew Lawrence A. Washington].
[Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, Virginia, now West Virginia] Greenbrier Court House, February 13, 1816. p. Partly-printed Form, completed and with emendations in manuscript. 6¾ x 8 inches. Laid paper with partial watermark. Contemporary endorsement on verso. Folds; old remnants of paper mounts on verso; very good.
Note. 1. See Ford, editor, Wills of George Washington and His Immediate Ancestors (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1891), pp93–95.