State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Forest Fire of 1910

The year of 1910 was a year of terrible forest fires across the western United States contributed to by severe drought. The West was not the only place affected. A two month drought had struck the eastern United States in the spring of 1910 only breaking in April of that year.

The heavy forest fires of late have caused the destruction of thousands of dollars worth of standing timber a this section. Many dwellings having narrowly escaped destruction. At New Kent Court House, the beautiful Baptist church, Corinth, was destroyed by the fire and the beautiful residence of Mr. T.N. Harris, our county clerk, was only saved by the heroic efforts of the ladies who formed a bucket brigade and fought the flames; one young lady, a daughter of Mrs. J.M. Harris, came near loosing her life, her clothing having been set on fire two or three times. Cord wood and ties owned by Mr. R.E. Richardson were destroyed, with not a cent of insurance on anything. The organ and a few of the pews of the church were saved.

-Virginia Gazette, 21 April 1910

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fake News of 1851

We sincerely regret to learn that Dr. R.N. Hall, the representative of Henrico in the last Legislature and the Whig candidate for the same post in the late election has committed suicide in New Kent county, by shooting himself with a pistol. He had gone out gunning, and was after a long search found dead. His friends have for some time suspected  a slight aberration of intellect.

- Richmond Enquirer, 4 November 1851

The painful news of the death of Dr. Hall, the late Delegate in the Legislature, from Henrico county, was fully confirmed yesterday by intelligence direct from the scene of the unfortunate occurrence. The melancholy event occurred on Saturday last, in New Kent county, whither the Dr. had gone a few days ago on a visit to his relatives. The fatal shot was from a six barreled revolver*, the ball entering the front and centre part of the abdomen. He was found some distance from the house of his relatives while still living, and stated that he had received his wound accidentally while practising(sic) with his pistol. Several balls were found lodged in a tree at the fatal spot, and the barrels of the revolver unscrewed and separated from the stock, or handle. Rumor, at first, stated that his death was the result of deliberate suicide.

-Richmond Enquirer,7 November 1851

To the Editors of the Enquirer. 
New Kent C. H., Nov. 6, 1851.
Gentlemen- it was with feelings of regret that read in your paper of the 4th inst such an egregious inaccuracy relative to the death of the lamented Dr. Richard N. Hall of Henrico, in your issue of that date, it was stated that he came to his death by perpetrating suicide, which was attributed to an aberration of intellect. This I beseech you to correct, as there is not a particle of truth attached to it. I do not blame you for the statement given, but I do condemn the informer, of whom you received the news. I will, in a succinct manner, state the facts: -Dr. Hall came to New Kent on the 31st ultimo, to stay a short time with Dr. Geo. W. Morris, a brother-in-law of his, and on the day preceding his death he conversed rationally, with much fluency with some members of the family, and no one suspected the least aberration of mind. On Saturday evening, as a means of recreation, he proceeded from the house of Dr. Morris with a revolver, with a design to practice shooting. After he had gone some live or six hundred yards he halted, and commenced firing, which he continued to do until the cylinder of his pistol became somewhat irregular. As soon as it was discovered, he drew a knife from his pocket to adjust the irregularity, but in endeavoring to do so the pistol was discharged, the ball entering near the centre of the lower part of the abdomen and passing into the region of the spine.He was discovered soon after the occurrence by Dr. Morris, who asked him if lie had shot himself intentionally? He exclaimed, no! no!! no!!! and was afterwards interrogated further, but his exhaustion was so great that nothing more could be learned from him. He was conveyed to the house, where, in a short time, he expired. 

-Richmond Enquirer, 11 November 1851

*six barreled revolver,"which sounds like a notoriously unreliable pepperbox.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Travel 100 Years Ago- "Leave West Point 6:15 P.M. and arrive Baltimore 7 A. M"

The mysteries of the sea were never more fully brought to mind than by this trip to Baltimore over the YORK RIVER LINE. The route is through one of the most historic, beautiful and scenic sections of the United States. Leaving Richmond 5:10 P.M.. the trip is one hour by Express Steamer Train to West Point situated at the head of York River. Fine new steamers of Chesapeake Steamship Company leave West Point 6:15 P.M. and arrive Baltimore 7 A. M. Many Colonial homes and other interesting places are located on this beautiful river. A stop is made at quaint Yorktown. and shortly after leaving this point the steamer enters Chesapeake Bay.  
Round trip fare between Richmond and Baltimore is $4.50, limited to 30 days; one way fare, $2.60. There are staterooms with berths, brass beds, private baths and showers. The cuisine is of the best, with sea food, table d'hote dinners, club breakfasts and a la carte service.  
In planning your summer trip let us tell you the interesting details of this wonderful trip. Descriptive literature on application. 
Magruder Dent, Division Passenger Agent, 
907 East Main Street. Richmond.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, 31 July 1917


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Charles City County Courthouse Named

At its December 2016 meeting the Charles City Board of Supervisors vote unanimously to name the Charles City Courthouse after Iona Whitehead Adkins. Mrs. Adkins was Charles City's first African-American Clerk of Circuit Court and the only African-American serving in that position at the time. She served from 1968 until her retirement in 1988. Iona Adkins passed away in 2004 at the age of 79. 

Iona W. Adkins defeated  the incumbent clerk, Hudson Binns, in 1967. She received 1,188 votes to Binn's 552- Charles City at that time had under 2,600 registered voters.  

Mrs. Adkins is recognized as the first African-American woman to be elected a county clerk in America since Reconstruction. I personally can find no record of any African-American holding the position of Clerk in Virginia before her, during Reconstruction or later.  Edwin P. McCabe was elected a county clerk of Graham County, Kansas in 1881. John Mercer Langston was elected clerk of the small town of Brownhelm, Ohio in 1855 becoming probably the first African-American office holder in the United States- he later returned to his native Virginia after the Civil War where he was elected to Congress.