Hampshire County MA Inferior Court of Common Pleas Records, 1677-1837

These twenty-six folio volumes of records come from the Inferior Court of Common Pleas of Hampshire County MA which were held at Springfield and Northampton Massachusetts. These courts handled civil and minor criminal matter and the majority of volumes appear to be unindexed. Regardless, these records will prove to genealogists with ties to Hampshire County Massachusetts. The physical copies of these volumes are held at the Amherst Library at the University of Massachusetts. They have made them freely available in PDF format for download.

The Inferior Court of Common Pleas and the General Sessions of the Peace in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, from the 17th to early 19th centuries, would typically handle a variety of legal matters, including:

Civil Cases: The Inferior Court of Common Pleas primarily heard civil cases, which often involved disputes between individuals or businesses. These could include property disputes, breach of contract cases, debt disputes, and other non-criminal legal matters.

Minor Criminal Cases: The General Sessions of the Peace typically dealt with less severe criminal offenses, like misdemeanors and minor felonies. This could include crimes such as petty theft, minor assaults, public intoxication, and other violations of local ordinances or state laws.

Judicial and Administrative Duties: Both the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and the General Sessions of the Peace played a significant role in administering local government. They could adjudicate issues related to roads and bridges, licenses for businesses and trades, maintenance of the peace, oversee the operation of local jails, and handle other administrative matters.

Probate Matters: In some instances, these courts might also deal with probate matters, which involve the distribution of deceased individuals’ estates. This could include validating wills and overseeing the process of distributing property to heirs.

Equity Cases: Occasionally, these courts may have dealt with equity cases, which involve disputes over fairness, as opposed to strict legal interpretations.

Please note that the specific jurisdictions and types of cases heard by these courts could vary over time and might be influenced by changes in law and legal practice during this period.

General Sessions and Common Pleas

These volumes are between 50-100 MB and can take some time to download on a slow connection. I do not suggest using your phone for these PDFs.


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