The Resource Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian

Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian

Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian, 1912
Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian
Inclusive dates
  • Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian, 1912 Apr. - 1912 Aug. 16, contains the Commonwealth Cause against Virginia Christian. Christian was convicted 1912 April of murdering her employer, Ida V. Belote, on 1912 Mar. 18 and sentenced to death by electrocution. According to evidence submitted by the Commonwealth, Christian was 17 years old at the time of the murder. She petitioned the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for a writ of error, requesting that she be committed to a reformatory because she was a child under the age of seventeen years when the crime was committed. The motion was denied 1912 Jun 12, and Christian was executed 1912 Aug. 16
  • The materials consist of the grand jury presentment against Christian, instructions to the jury, a list of witnesses who testified in the case, a summary of evidence, consisting mostly of testimony introduced by the Commonwealth; motions for the defense, petitions for a writ of error, telegraphs informing the Elizabeth City County clerk of the denial of the petitions for a writ of error, and a letter, 1912 Aug. 16, informing the clerk of Christian's electrocution at the Virginia Penitentiary in Richmond
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Virginia Christian was the first woman executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia after the General Assembly centralized executions at the Virginia State Penitentiary in 1908.
  • Elizabeth City County (extinct) was named for Elizabeth, daughter of James I, and was one of the eight shires established in 1634. It became extinct in 1952, when it was incorporated into the city of Hampton, which was the county seat. Isle of Wight County was most likely named for the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. It was first known as Warrosquyoake and was one of the eight shires established in 1634. The present name was given in 1637. Part of Nansemond County was added in 1769.
  • Hampton takes its name from Hampton Creek, earlier called Southampton River in honor of the earl of Southampton, an important figure in the Virginia Company of London. An Indian village stood on the site in 1607, when John Smith visited the area. The English established a village there in 1610 and a trading post in 1630. Hampton was established by an act of assembly in 1680 and was designated as a port in 1708. It was first incorporated as a town in 1849, then incorporated again in 1852, but the act of incorporation was repealed in 1860. The General Assembly again incorporated the town of Hampton in 1887, and it became a city by court order in 1908. It was greatly enlarged in 1952 by a merger with Elizabeth City County and the town of Phoebus; the county and town thereby became extinct.
  • Records were burned or destroyed during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Additional records were burned in Richmond on 3 April 1865, where they had been moved for safekeeping during the Civil War. A few pre-Civil War volumes such as deed books, will books, and order books exist
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • Additional records pertaining to the Christian case can be found at the Library of Virginia in the Virginia State Penitentiary Collection, 1796-1991 (Accession 41558). These records are currently closed for processing, but selected records from the case have been digitized and are available on the Library of Virginia weblog 2010 Sep. 14 entry, The coroner's report from the case can be found in Hampton/Elizabeth City County court records.
  • Elizabeth City County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Elizabeth City County Court Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Digital Collection.
Elizabeth City County (Va.) Commonwealth versus Virginia Christian
This item came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court records from Hampton Circuit Court
  • The Library of Virginia
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Hampton (City) Circuit Court.
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (1 folder)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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