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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Reconstruction Winter- 1870



                                                            Letter from New Kent.
                                         [Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
          New Kent C. H., Va., Dec. 5th, 1870.
A motion to set aside the election in this county will be made before Judge Benj. W. Lacy, in a few days, upon the grounds that the registration books were not opened in accordance with the election law, fifteen days anterior to the day of voting. The popular impression is that the court will grant the petition, and that the Conservatives will have another shuffle and deal. In this event they may succeed in winning, as the Radicals only triumphed by a very small majority in the late contest. The result would have been otherwise but for the almost criminal apathy on the part of the Conservatives, many of whom remained quietly at their homes while others were battle nobly for political disenthralment(sic). Much has been said about the Hon. Jos. Mayo¹ allowing himself to be run on the Radical ticket for Commonwealth's attorney. The platform upon which this gentleman stands is not erected of Radical or Conservative timber, as he defines his political position, for he declared to your correspondent immediately after the election that he was not identified with either party; that he had been solicited by both sides to become a candidate. Be this as it may, it is known that he did formally accept the nomination of the Radicals, and was elected by them.
The quarterly term of the county court has just closed, Judge Lacy presiding. A negro man was found guilty of larceny and sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail, but the negro having the election between this and the whipping-post, preferred the latter and became the recipient of fifteen stripes², properly administered by the sheriff. In this the negro evinced wisdom, for it is not half so painful as a protracted incarceration, particularly at this season of the year.
From the late census returns one would readily perceive that the population has been greatly depleted in this county within the last decade, and one see the decline of industrial resources in every neighborhood. It certainly cannot be an indication of increasing prosperity of a county or State when there is such an alarming loss in the people as there has taken place here in such a short period, numbers of young men have gone out to seek their fortunes in different portions of the Union since the war, and will likely never return. But we cannot think a country abounding with every natural resource for greatness can long remain in such a depressed state, and we believe that in the course of the next decade a new era will dawn.³ 
A party consisting of five gentlemen from your city came here a week ago with the view of hunting, and in a few days killed fifteen deer, among them some as heavily antlered as were ever seen in an American forest. 
Mr. W. A. Pollard, a most worthy and enterprising young man of Baltimore, who died at the residence of his brothers, in your city, was brought to the country for internment to-day. He was a gallant Confederate, and bore himself heroically in the war, and received a most painful wound, from which he never wholly recovered. Old Hickory


-Daily Dispatch, 9 December, 1870

Joseph Carrington Mayo, was the same Mayo who was mayor of Richmond, 1861-1865 and 1866-1868. After his second term as mayor he moved to New Kent about the same time as the death of his brother Dr. John Mayo, a county resident. Joseph served as Commonwealth's Attorney from 1868 until his death in August 1872.

 The whipping post was abolished by the "Readjuster" General Assembly of 1882.

The Census of 1870 gave New Kent a population of only 4,381. This was a decline of 25% from the 1860 figure(5,884). New Kent had the smallest population of any county east of the Blue Ridge.







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