The Resource Arlington County Chancery Cause John Mason versus John Muncaster and others

Arlington County Chancery Cause John Mason versus John Muncaster and others

Arlington County Chancery Cause John Mason versus John Muncaster and others, 1822
Arlington County Chancery Cause John Mason versus John Muncaster and others
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Title variation
Arlington County Chancery Cause 1822-018
  • John Mason versus John Muncaster and others, 1822, was a chancery suit that originated in Alexandria County, now Arlington County and was heard in the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia. It involves a dispute related to the purchase by Mason of glebe land in Fairfax Parish from the Protestant Episcopal Church of Alexandria, or as it became known in 1814, Christ Church. The source of contention between the plaintiff and the defendants was the question of whether Christ Church of Alexandria had jurisdiction within Fairfax Parish and therefore had the authority to sell the land. The plaintiff in his bill and amended bill and the defendants in their answer provided very detailed legal and historical arguments to support their claims. Both provided evidence to support their arguments such as a copy of a bill from a previous chancery case involving Christ Church, a copy of a Supreme Court mandate, a copy of a deed, and correspondence. The chancery cause also includes miscellaneous papers related to the case such as subpoenas, affidavits, and depositions
  • The defendants in their answer presented a history of how Christ Church acquired land in Fairfax Parish from the parish's inception in 1765. In the process of doing so, they discussed the nature of the relationship between the two churches in the parish, Falls Church and Christ Church; how the parish was governed; and the decline in membership of Falls Church
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Biographical or historical data
  • The chancery case had its origins in the purchase of glebe land by James Mason from the Protestant Episcopal Church of Alexandria at an auction held in 1815. The source of contention was the boundary lines of the land which would affect the price Mason would pay. Both the Protestant Episcopal Church and Mason had the land surveyed separately with the former showing a greater number of acres than the latter. The Protestant Episcopal Church refused to accept Mason's survey. Mason believed he was being treated unfairly by the Church and brought his case before the chancery court in Alexandria County, now Arlington County, to settle the matter.
  • When Fairfax County was formed from Prince William County in 1742, the area of the new county, including the village of Belle Haven, which became the town of Alexandria in 1749, was embraced by the Parish of Truro. In 1765 Truro Parish was divided and boundaries for the parish of Fairfax were established. The parish contained two places of worship, one in Falls Church and the other in Alexandria. In 1767, the parish vestry ordered the construction of new buildings in Falls Church and Alexandria. The Falls Church building was designed by James Wrenn and completed in 1769. The Alexandria church was designed by James Parsons and completed in 1773 by John Carlyle. It was given the name Christ Church on January 1, 1814. The parish vestry held meetings at both churches until October 1, 1792 when it began to meet exclusively in Alexandria. Following the disestablishment of the Anglican church in 1784, the Falls Church congregation went into gradual decline and was virtually abandoned. The vestry made vain efforts to revive the church during the 1790's and the first decade of the 1800's and decided to abandon further attempts. In the 1820's, the doors of Falls Church were reopened under the leadership of Francis Scott Key and Henry Fairfax.
  • Arlington County was originally named Alexandria County. It was formed from a portion of Fairfax County that Virginia in 1789 ceded to the federal government for use as the site of a new national capital. In 1801 the area officially became part of the District of Columbia, although Congress named it Alexandria County. By an act of 9 July 1846, Congress returned the county to Virginia, and the General Assembly extended the commonwealth's jurisdiction over the region effective 20 March 1847. By an act of assembly passed 16 March 1920, the county's name was changed to Arlington, the name of the Custis family mansion (the home of Robert E. Lee), which is located in the county.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
For additional information on this cause and other chancery records, please consult the Chancery Records Index found on the Libray of Virginia web site.
Arlington County Chancery Cause John Mason versus John Muncaster and others
Digital images were generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program
  • The Library of Virginia
Digital images.
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Backstage Library Works
Organization method
Organized by bill, answer, and decree followed by miscellaneous papers.
Terms governing use
Do not serve originals. Use digital images available on the Chancery Records Index.

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