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Mayor's Court

[Record group 130]
Alternative/Former Names
City Court

Agency Function

Agency History
The City Court was established under the terms of William Penn's Charter to the City of 1701 which directed that the Mayor, Recorder, two of the City's eight aldermen, the City Sheriff, and the town clerk hold a court of record quarterly with jurisdiction over all felonies (with the exception of capital offenses, at that time reserved to courts of oyer and terminer), misdemeanors, and nuisances committed within the City. The Court soon also performed such functions as appointing the Overseers of the Poor from the City, recommending persons to the Governor for licenses to maintain public houses, hearing apprentice cases, and confirming the elections of constables by the voters of each City ward. As the legal basis of the Corporation officers fell with the Revolution the Assembly in 1777 authorized the Supreme Executive Council to appoint a panel of five judges to continue to sit as the City Court. At the reincorporation of the City in 1789 the City Court was formally abolished but there was immediately established in its place a "Mayor's Court" composed of the Mayor, Recorder, and two of the City's fifteen aldermen which sat quarterly and had jurisdiction over all offenses "which would be cognizable in any county court of general quarter sessions" much the same jurisdiction as the City Court has possessed. The court was abolished by an Act of March 19, 1838, which assigned its functions to the then-established Court of Criminal Sessions.

Archival Records
130.1 Docket (1759-1837; missing 1764-1779, 1786-1788)

130.2 Minute Books (1803-1838; missing 1808, 1810-1814, 1820-1823, 1825-1827, 1830)

130.3 Declarations of Intention Docket (1814-1838)

130.3a Petitions for Naturalization (1794-1838)

130.4 Grand and Petit Jurors' Docket (1807-1837; missing October 1826 - February 1830)

130.5 Forfeited Recognizances (1830-1836)

130.6 Judgment Docket, Forfeited Recognizances (1819-1837)

130.7 Execution Docket, Forfeited Recognizances (1819-1834)

130.8 Subpeonas & Writs (1812, 1816)

130.9 Grand Inquest Presentment (September Sessions, 1829)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000