While it has traditionally been
held that Virginia's first counties were not formed until 1634, when the "country
[was] divided into 8 shires," subsequent research has shown that progress toward
county formation had begun at least by 1622. An act passed early in that year
provided for lower courts to be held in the various settlements throughout the colony to help relieve the
governor and Council "from [their] vast
Burthen of Business, and to render Jus. . .
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