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Newberry Murder Trial, 1822 - Franklin Co. VA


Newberry Murder Trial, 1822 - Franklin Co. VA

September Court 1822

At a court held for the Franklin County at the Court House the first day of October 1822 for the examination of William Newberry charged with feloniaous homicide in the killing of James Parker in the said County on the twenty second day of September 1822.

(Present) Peter Saunders, Majia Greer Jr. Henry Carper, Edmond Tate and George Memafee--Justices

The said William Newberry was led to the bar in custody of the jailor of the County and thereupon it being demanded of him wheather he's guilty of the offence of which he stands charged or not guilty. Saith that he is in nowise guilty thereof, whereupon the Court proceeded to examine _______, as well in behalf of the Commonwealth as of the prisoner, who was heard by Council in his defence, on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court that the said William Newberry, for the Homicide aforesaid ought to be tried before the Superior Court of Law of the County at the next term thereof, where upon he is remanded to jail.

John Griffith, Hannah Heard, Ann Parker, Rebecca Parker, Angus McGhee, Abraham Jones and Jacob Sigmon, came into Court and severally acknowledged themselves to be indebted to his Excellency, Thomas M. Randolph Esquire, Governor or Chief Magestrate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the sum of one hundred dollars each of their respective lands and tenements, goods and chattels to be levied and to the said Governor and his succesors for the use of the Commonwealth reserved, yet upon this condition that if the said John Griffith, Hannah Heard, Ann Parker, Rebecca Parker, Angus McGhee, Abraham Jones and Jacob Sigmon shall make their personel apperance here before the Judge of the Superior Court of Law of this County on the first day of the next term of the said Court to give evidence in the behalf of the Commonwealth touching the felonious Homicide with which William Newberry is charged and shall not depart hence, without the leave of the said Court, then this Recogonizance to be void.

Majia Greer

Court Disolved

Franklin County, Va record book 8, page 57

Newberry Arraignment and Sentencing, Part 2, 1822 - Franklin Co. VA

Order Book 1, Page 442, (1810-1823) of the Superior Court Franklin County, Virginia

At a Superior Court of law for Franklin County continued and held at the Courthouse the 26th day of October 1822

Present (The same judge as on yesterday)

William Newberry late of the County, labourer, who stands convicted of murder in the second degree was again brought to the Bar in custody of the keeper of the Public jail of this County, and thereupon it being demanded of him if anything for himself he had or knew to say why the Court to Judgment and execution against him of and upon the premises should not proceed and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgment therefore it is considerered by the Court that the said William Newberry be imprisoned in the Publick Jail and Penitentiary house of this Commonwealth for the term of Eight years the period by the Jurors aforesaid in their verdict ascertained and that he be kept in solitary cell in the said Jail and Penitentiary house on low and coarse diet for the space of one twelfth part of the said term.

And it is ordered that the Sheriff of this County do as soon as possible remove and safely convey the said William Newberry from the jail of this County to the said Publick Jail and Penitentiary house,therein to be kept imprisoned and treated in the manner directed by the act entitled, an act to reduce unto one act the several acts and parts of Acts for establishing a Penitentiary house and for the punishment of crimes.

And in pursuance of the said Act the Court doth certify that nothing appeared to the Court either in aggravation or extenuation of the offense of the said William Newberry nor did it appear before the said commission of the said murder that he was of a bad or good character or had ever been tried.

Submitted by Suzan Parker Schieve 


William appears to have died in the penitentiary, and he seems to have recognized before his sentencing that this was likely to occur.

He was tried on 1 October 1822, and sentenced on 26 Oct 1822 to 8 years in the penitentiary, with the first 8 months of that time in solitary confinement with a bread and water diet. Recognizing his likely fate, shortly before his sentencing, William gave power of attorney to William Boyd, which was the name of both his son-in-law, and the son-in-law's father, who was a nearby neighbor of Newberry's.

William Newberry first appears on the Franklin County Personal Property Tax List in 1798 with 1 tithable and 2 horses. He appears on that list continuously through 1822. Thomas begins appearing in 1814 and continues through 1840.

Beginning with the 1820 Land Tax List for Franklin County, William Newberry was accessed for 50 acres on "waters of the Pigg River". The 1824 Land Tax List is the first to identify William Newberry as deceased, suggesting he died between late spring of 1823 and late spring of 1824, while incarcerated.

Linked toWilliam Newberry (Residence)

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