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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Chinn, Joseph W., Jr., 1890

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

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Joseph W. Chinn, Jr.

Judge, Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

Joseph W. Chinn was born in Tappahannock, Virginia in 1866. Chinn was raised at his family home, Wilna, in Richmond County, Virginia. He attended Colonel Council’s School in King and Queen County and, after teaching for several years, decided to study law at the University of Virginia. He was admitted to the bar in 1890 and began the practice of law in Warsaw. In 1891, he was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond County, Virginia and served in that capacity for twenty-four years, resigning in 1915 to accept the position of judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. The Special Court of Appeals was formed in 1924 and, in 1925, Judge Chinn became a member of that court. He remained there until it was dissolved three years later. On December 3, 1931, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia and stayed on the bench until his death.

Chinn was the first president and a director of the Northern Neck State Bank in Warsaw, VA. He was also director of the Northern Neck Telephone and Telegraph of Warsaw and served on the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia. Judge Chinn died in 1936 in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he had gone for treatment for his emphysema. He is buried at St John’s Episcopal Church, in Warsaw, Virginia.

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