State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

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.

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