The Resource Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book

Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book

Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book, 1753-1775
Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book
Inclusive dates
  • Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book, 1753-1775 (bulk 1753-1768) contains information on the laying of public, county and parish levies in the county during the 18th century. The bulk of the volume, leaves one through 35, concerns public and county levies. The public levy involved both the payment of claims to public officials such as the clerk of the court, the sheriff and the secretary for the commissioner of the oyer and terminer court and individuals performing public services such as clearing the county of unwanted pests as evidenced by the wolf's head bounty. A court was called "for proof of public claims and for receiving and certifying propositions and grievances." Officiating individuals were noted
  • A court was also convened for the purpose of laying the county levy. Officials reviewed claims related to county service such as maintenance of the public road, the sheriff's salary, the clerk's salary and residents of the county engaged in the pursuit of wolf's head bounties. Leaves 35 and 36 record information related to the parish levies of Elizabeth River, Saint Brides and Portsmouth. Parishes were often the original governmental entities. These accounts detail the hire of land and negroes from 1767 to 1775. There is a partial index found in the front of the volume
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Norfolk County was created in 1691 when Lower Norfolk County was divided into Norfolk County and Princess Anne County. Norfolk County became extinct on 1 January 1963, when it was consolidated with the city of South Norfolk to form the city of Chesapeake.
  • Local taxes were assessed in pounds of tobacco on the head tax basis, called tithes or tithables. The term "tithable" referred to a person who paid (or for whom someone else paid) one of the taxes imposed by the General Assembly for the support of civil government in the colony. In colonial Virginia, a poll tax or capitation tax was assessed on free white males, African American slaves, and Native American servants (both male and female), all age sixteen or older.
  • The sheriff was "the most powerful and the best paid of any official in colonial times." Among his many duties, he collected the taxes, which were paid in tobacco, took custody of it and paid the county expenses as directed by court. The public levy was assessed on the total number of tithables in the county exclusive of "constables, patrollers and ferry men." "Public claims were openly read, were proved by the respective claimants and together with the vouchers were ordered to be certified to the General Assembly by the Clerk." Once a year, the court determined the revenue needed to operate the county government and set the tax levy in pounds of tobacco per tithable. The number of tithables multiplied by the rate was the total revenue received by the county for operating its government.
  • The original tax records, from which this volume was compiled, were created by the county court.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • Additional Tax and Fiscal Records can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm" found on the Library of Virginia's web site.
  • For an excellent description of taxation in colonial times, consult "A History of Early Spotsylvania" by James Roger Mansfield, pages 116-117 found in the Library of Virginia's book collection.
Norfolk County (Va.) Levy Book
  • The original manuscript volume was brought into the Virginia State Library (now the Library of Virginia) for restoration by Mrs. William Wingo
  • A negative photostatic volume was created, under the accession number 25982, by the staff of the Virginia State Library's Archives Division
  • Microfilm Reel 133 was generated by the Virginia State Library's Microfilm Section
  • The Library of Virginia
  • 1
  • 1
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Mrs. William Wingo
  • Virginia State Library's Archives Division
  • The Virginia State Library's Microfilm Section
Reproduction note
Photostat (negative)
Terms governing use
Use microfilm copy, Norfolk County (Va.) Reel 133.
Type of unit
  • v. (37 leaves)
  • microfilm reel.

Library Locations

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