Friday, July 15, 2016

Sheriffs Served Summons and Subpoenas

Last week I told you how 5th Great Grandfather Frederick Hanger’s children and spouses needed the Augusta County, Virginia Chancery Court to help settle his estate. (See What you want and What you get.)

Brothers Peter and Charles inherited their father’s lands and were supposed to pay each sibling an equal share in annual payments. No legacies were paid so Augustine Argenbright, the husband of Barbara Hanger, acted as the spokesman for his fellow Plaintiffs

Frederick Hanger Jr.’s executors and executrix,
George Hanger,
Martin Hanger and
Jacob Fridley and wife Hannah

in Staunton Chancery District Court.

The rest of the Hanger siblings were named Defendants in the suit.

The Bill of Complaint presented in Court wasn’t dated leaving me to wonder when this action was initiated. I know the bill was filed in the court records April 3, 1816 but suspect the Plaintiffs planned well before this date.

My instincts were right. William S. Eskridge, a clerk in Judge John Brown’s Chancery Court, authorized the Sheriffs in Augusta and Greenbrier Counties to summon

Peter Hanger
Charles Hanger
Charles Shaver (perhaps counsel or lawyer, not a Hanger sibling)
John Hanger
John Wise and his wife Catherine
Peter Eagle and his wife Ann Eliza
George Eagle and his wife Mary Eliza
Warner Peters and his wife Eve and
Betsey Thomas

to appear at Superior Court of Chancery January 3, 1814 to answer a bill in Chancery. The clerk’s summons was dated Nov. 17, 1813.

Peter Hanger, John Hanger, Catherine and John Wise, Eve and Warner Peters were those Defendants living in Augusta County when the citation was issued. Mary Eliza and George Eagle were the Greenbrier County residents. After selling his lands to his brother Peter, Charles left Virginia and moved to Ohio. Betsey Thomas and the Peter Eagle family made their home in Ohio too. Just to let everybody know about the summons would take time.

1814 was a quiet year for the brothers and sisters. No documents, receipts or vouchers of any kind were found in the Chancery cause. Could this mean the Hanger brothers and sisters were hoping to handle things out of court? Or are papers missing from the file?

After publication of a legal notice requesting the Defendants appear in Court April 1815, more summons came out of Judge John Brown’s courtroom. The Greenbrier County Sheriff served Mary Eliza and George Eagle a summons dated April 10, 1815. 

Peter Eagle and wife Ann Eliza Hanger were paying attention to the proceedings from Montgomery County, Ohio. On June 12, 1815, they prepared a signed deposition giving Jacob Argenbright permission to receive and hold any legacy owed Ann Eliza.

No one else answered the Plaintiffs Bill of Complaint. This time William S. Eskridge sent a subpoena rather than a summons Sept. 13, 1815. The document stated “the bill of the plaintiff is taken for confessed”. In other words, if the Defendants didn’t answer to the bill of complaint, the Court would make a final decree on the 10th day of the next court term.

Three months passed with still no answer from the Defendants. More subpoenas were prepared ordering the defendants to appear in Court. They were risking a penalty for non-appearance.

To be continued …..

My Ancestry
5th Great Grandfather Frederick Hanger and wife
4th Great Grandmother Eva Margaretha Hanger and Daniel Joseph
3rd Great Grandfather John Joseph and wife Elizabeth Piper
2nd Great Grandfather William Wilson Joseph and wife Eliza Jane Spitler
Great Grandfather Daniel Franklin Joseph and wife Flora Belle McFall
Grandfather James McFall Joseph and wife Lucy Leora Clemmer
My Father

To view the 1819-003 Chancery Cause 1819-003 ‘Augustine Argenbright & wife, etc.
vs. Peter Hanger, etc.’ on the Library of Virginia website click here


  1. What a great, insightful record set these chancery records are. Although it's disheartening to see the family at it with each other.

    1. I like these records too. Money can get a family bickering!