Updated March 15, 2016
In 1782 the General Assembly of Virginia enacted a major revision of the commonwealth's tax laws. The act provided for statewide enumeration on the county level of certain personal property and land. It also created a permanent source of revenue for the operation of government in Virginia.
Copies of annual lists of personal property owners for each county and city from 1782 (or the date of formation of the county if after 1782) to 1930, and for each fifth year thereafter, are available for research at the Library of Virginia in Richmond. The General Assembly passed an act in 1808 ordering the commissioners not to compile lists of taxpayers or collect taxes. In March 1864, the General Assembly suspended the revenue act of 1864 because there already were adequate funds in the treasury. Therefore no personal property tax records exist for the years 1808 and 1864.
The personal property tax records in the Library are one of four copies required by law. Prior to 1928, one copy of each tax book was sent to the Auditor of Public Accounts. After 1928, the personal property tax book for each locality was sent to the newly created Department of Taxation. The personal property taxes now in the collection come from these two agencies. There are more than 19,000 volumes, comprising one of the largest series of archival records in the Library.
Various revenue acts passed by the General Assembly established the tax rates and procedures for the collection of personal property taxes. At first, justices of the local court were designated to collect the taxes. By 1786, the county courts were directed to divide each locality into precincts and to appoint commissioners to collect the tax. Taxes were assessed between March and April of each year and were payable by the end of December. The commissioners prepared four "fair and correct" copies of the personal property tax books. Copies were prepared for the commissioner, county clerk, sheriff, and Auditor of Public Accounts.
The City of Richmond Personal Property taxes were populated in the 1820’s and 1830’s by Richard C. Gililam, tobacconist who married Frances Patteson. Other Gilliams were free blacks Martha and Sarah B. Gilliam who may have hailed from Petersburg.
|1818||Thomas Gilliam||1||Image 10|
|1819||Richard C. Gilliam||14||Image 11|
|1824||Richard C. Gilliam||23||2||Image 10|
|1825||Richard C. Gilliam||Monroe Ward||21||2||Image 19|
|1826||Richard C. Gilliam||30||2||Image 8|
|1827||Richard C. Gilliam||41||2||Image 8|
|1828||Richard C. Gilliam||45||2||Image 9|
|1829||Richard C. Gilliam||37||5||Image 9|
|1830||Richard C. Gilliam||31||5||Image 8|
|1831||Martha & Sarah Gilliam||2||Image 9|
|1831||Richard C. Gilliam||49||4||Image 8|
|1832||Richard C. Gilliam||52||5||Image 8|
|1832||Sarah Gilliam||1||Image 8|
|1832||Martha Gilliam||1||Image 8|
|1833||Richard C. Gilliam||47||2||Image 8|
|1833||Sarah Gilliam||1||Image 8|
|1833||Martha Gilliam (free)||2||Image 8|
|1834||Richard C. Gilliam||33||3||Image 8|
|1834||Sarah B. Gilliam (free)||1||Image 9|
- Personal Property Tax Lists. Binns Genealogy, www.binnsgenealogy.com