The Case of David Nottingham Bull (Bool)

In the late spring of 1861 David Nottingham Bool became drunk at Birdsnest Tavern in Marionville and shot off his mouth against slavery.  The result, so soon after Virginia seceded from the Union, was predictable. Below is a transcription of the court proceedings that resulted from his arrest.  Bool was freed from jail by Union troops and given charge of the lighthouse on Hog Island.  He is buried at Red Bank Cemetery.

[Transcription by Gail M. Walczyk]

[page 516:]
The Grand Jury returned into court and presented, "An Indictment against David Bull for maintaining that owners have no right of property in their slaves. A true bill."

[page 517f.:]
David Bull, of the County of Northampton, who stands indicted of maintaining that owners have no right of property in their slaves, was led to the bar in custody of the jailor of this Court, and pleaded not guilty to the indictment; whereupon, came a jury towit: John C. P. Kellam, Lenard T. Wilkins, Jacob T. Nottingham, John T. W. Custis, John W. Nottingham, John W. Reid, Jesse N. Jarvis, George T. Turner, Thomas J. Powell, Charles H. Councill, John G. Scott and Edwin R. Tatem, who being elected, tried and sworn the truth of and upon the premises to speak, and having heard the evidence, upon the [-----] [-----] We the jury find the defendant guilty, and find that he shall be imprisoned in the County jail for the space of three months. Whereupon, the said David Bull moved the Court to set the said verdict aside, because the same is contrary to the law and the evidence; the further consideration of which motion the Court doth postpone until tomorrow morning ten O'Clock. And thereupon he is remanded to jail.

The Court doth appoint Kendall T. Addison surveyor of the Road in and for Precinct No 12 in place of Hnery B. Shroeder resigned.

Ordered that this Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning ten O'Clock.

John A. Simkins Cl


At a court of Quarter Session continued by adjounment and held in and for the county of Northampton at the Courthouse thereof, on Tuesday the 11th day of June, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty one,


John A. Simkins, Presiding Justice,
Dr. William G. Smith,
James A. Fisher
Dr. George W. Smith
George L. J. Thomas - Justices

David Bull, who stands convicted of a misdemeanor was again led to the bar in coustody of the jailor of this court, and the motion made on yesterday to set aside the verdicr rendered against his being full argued is overruled; wereupon the said David Bull tendered a bill of exceptions to the opinion of the court, which bill was received signed and sealed by the court, and ordered to be made a part of the record in this cause. Whereupon it being demanded of the said David Bull, if any thing further for himself he had or knew to say, why the court here should not now proceed to pronounce judgment against him according to law; and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgment; it is considered by the Court that the said David Bull be imprisoned in the jail of this county for the term of three months, and afterwards until he pay the costs of this prosecution, or be otherwise discharged by due course of law. And thereupon the said David Bull is remanded to jail.

_____.  Northampton Order Book No 44, 1857-1865: 516-518.

(Click here for images of these records.)