Court House and Jail

1754, May 22 – First court of Bedford County held at home of Matthew Talbot, Gent.; William Callaway offered 100 acres of his land for a new court house and prison. (Became New London Towne.) William Ingles purchased Lots 17 and 39 (Lot 17 would later be purchased by Andrew Holt in 1826.

1754, August 26 – William Callaway appeared before the court and agreed to give Bedford County 100 acres for the building of a court house and jail. He first made a deed for 50 acres in fee simple, then planned to give the next 50 after he got a patent. This did not happen for 10 years.

1756, May 24 – Trial at the Bedford Court House of Hampton and Sambo, slaves belonging to John Payne of Goochland County, Gent., for “felonious preparing and administering poisonous medicines to Ann Payne.” Hampton was found guilty and sentenced to hang by the neck until dead, then his body to be quartered and hung over the crossroads (possibly by the courthouse at New London). Sambo was found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to branding on his left hand and thirty-one lashes on his bare back at the whipping post, to be done immediately. Unknown whether these punishments were carried out. Hampton had the right of appeal to the governor and council (Thompson, p. 26).

1757 – New London was established as Bedford County Seat.

1763ish – Robert Cowen named in Chancery Court suit against William Inglis in Bedford County Court.

1767, May 27 – William Callaway deeded the second 50-acre section to Bedford County, containing the Town of New London.

1771 – William Mead purchased many things at Hook’s store, including some fine goods and large quantities of some goods, but did not pay anything on his bill that autumn. He tended to purchase when he was in town during Court session.

1774, January 24 – William Mead took oath of affidavit from Justice John Talbot (Bedford) that he had never been repaid 3 pounds 6 shillings by Captain John Winn for three cattle taken during the French and Indian War for the Amelia County Militia in 1758. (Thompson, p. 29, cited 10 Va. Magazine of History 14.) (New London Court House?)

1777, June – Hook was accused of Toryism and treason by a mob led by Col. William Mead, a wealthy, local magistrate. Most of the men in the group were Hook’s customers and owed him money. Mead wanted Hook “not to carry on any kind of Trade in this County till after Court.”

1781 – Incident triggering Hook case (1789) occurred. Mr. Venable, commissary for the American army, took two of Scottish merchant John Hook’s steers for his troops, not entirely legally.

1781/1782 – Campbell County formed from Bedford County; Bedford County seat moved to Liberty (now City of Bedford), and Campbell County seat moved to Rustburg. New London on/near county line, no longer county seat. New London Court House land reverted to the estate of William Callaway to his sons James and John Callaway.

1783 – John Hook’s case brought against John Venable, lingered on the docket until 1789. (Would he have gone to Rustburg or Richmond to lodge the complaint?)

1787 – New London Courthouse rehabilitated as District Court for several counties (Bedford, Campbell, Franklin, Pittsylvania, and Henry) for a short time. Repaired by James and John Callaway, sons of William Callaway, at their own expense, after it had been out of use for 5 years.

1788, December 22 – Act of General Assembly creating district courts in Virginia. The District Court at New London was to hold court on the 15th day of April and the 15th day of September.

1789, April – The District Court at New London heard the case of Francis Suttle, who was condemned to be hanged May 22 for horse theft. The governor granted him a pardon in light of the two petitions that were signed by many in Bedford County.

1789, September 19 – Patrick Henry defended the state/John Venable (the son of a friend, William Venable, who helped him get elected to the House of Burgesses) in the Hook v. Venable case. Henry’s famous “beef speech.” One penny of damages and one penny of costs to plaintiff were awarded to Hook. (It would seem that this was not the only case Patrick Henry argued at New London.)

1804 – Methodist evangelist Lorenzo Dow held a revival in Lynchburg and New London (in New London at old courthouse); ran into Stith Mead and the Hobsons.

1813 – Citizens of Bedford & Campbell counties petition for reunification of the counties and reestablishment of New London as county seat. Petition rejected.

1935 – Old rock chimney of New London log jail on lot No. 10 still standing.