web analytics
Sep
15

JAMES WOOD’S ONLY ELECTION

By
When:
November 20, 2015 all-day
2015-11-20T00:00:00-05:00
2015-11-21T00:00:00-05:00
Where:
Not sure if this is the courthouse site
Somerville
VA 22728
USA

JAMES WOOD’S ONLY ELECTION

researched, compiled by Jim Moyer 9/18/2015, revised 9/25/2015

.

This is not about “James Woods” the actor.   We have no picture of the man we are discussing.

.

james woods actor 1 james-woods actor 2

.

This is about the senior James Wood (born 1707- died 6 Nov 1759) and NOT his son of the same name who later became Governor of Virginia.

.

James Wood was appointed the first  Clerk of Court November 14, 1743 of Frederick County, which had been created in 1738 out of Orange County.

.

He had already been appointed as Surveyor of Orange County 1734 and is credited for designing both Richmond 1737 and Winchester Virginia 1741, chartered 1752.

.

 

.

But the story here?  An election.

james wood election 2 watermarkedThe only one he ever  ran for. Our senior James Wood, was one of 6 candidates for Burgess in Orange County, 20 November 1741.

.

Polling started at noon and a whole day of drunken chaos ensued into this November  night.

.

Want to read the details of these boisterous voters and some of the 6 candidates who were complicit in this mayhem?

.

So, back to 20 November 1741 . . .

.

PART 1 —  MAYHEM at this election.

PART 2 —  House of Burgesses expels Slaughter.

PART 3 —  House of Burgesses expels Downs.

PART 4 —  Courthouse location where riot occurred.

PART 5 —  Frederick and Augusta County’s first representatives.

.

———————————————————————————-

MAYHEM at this election

20 November 1741

.

Editorial note: It appears legal writers of old did not favor the punctuation known as a period, instead preferring a semicolon often.   For the modern eye, I have provided spacing after the few periods of course, and spacing after the semicolons for easier reading, because believe it or not this whole report is one long sentence.

.

THIS REPORT

about that 20 November 1741 election incident

was given to the Friday, June 4, 1742 session of the House of Burgesses of Virgina.

.

“Mr Conway, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, reported, That the  Committee had had under their Consideration, the Petition of Mr Thomas-Wright Belfield,  to them referred; complaining of an undue Election and Return of Mr Robert Slaughter,  a Sitting Member, and Mr Henry Downs, lately expelled this House, to serve as Burgesses, in this present General Assembly, for the County of Orange; and the Depositions of divers  Witnesses, as to the subject Matter of the Petition, taken and returned, pursuant to the Resolution of this House; and have agreed to a Report,

.

THE CANDIDATES

That it appeared to the Committee, from the said Depositions, That

Mr Robert Slaughter,

Mr Henry Downs,

Mr Thomas Wright Belfield,

Mr Thomas Chew,

Mr Zachariah Taylor,

Mr William Russell,

and Mr  James Wood,

stood Candidates for the Election;

.

and that the Poll was opened on Friday  the Twentieth Day of November last, about Twelve of the Clock.

.

THE FIRST MOBBING

That as soon as the  Poll was opened, John MacCoy, Honorius Powell, John Snow, and Timothy Terrill, and several others, throng’d into the Court-house in a riotous Manner, and made such a Disturbance, that the Sheriff and Candidates were bliged to go out of the Courthouse,  ’til the House was clear’d, and the People appeas’d:

.

MR CHEW – A DRUNK CANDIDATE

And that the said Mr Chew, whilst  he was on the Bench, called for a Bowl of Punch, and had it brought to him; upon which,  the Sheriff stay’d the Poll, and said he would not have any Punch drank on the Bench, but wou’d have a fair Election; to which Mr Chew replied, he would have Punch, and  drink it, and that the Sheriff should not hinder him.

.

SWORDS GUARD THE DOORS

That as soon as the Tumults were  appeas’d, the Candidates and Sheriff return’d into the Court-house, and proceeded in  taking the Poll; Mr Jonathan Gibson, and John Newport, the Under-Sheriff, at their  Desire and Permission, standing at each of the Court-house Doors, with drawn Swords  across the Doors, in order to let the Voters pass in and out quietly and regularly in their Polling.

.

A VOTER ATTACKS THE UNDER-SHERIFF

That after the Under-Sheriff was placed at the Door, one Mr John Rucker  came to the Door, and demanded Entrance, which he had; and then the said Rucker  threw the Under-Sheriff and another Person headlong out of the Doors;

.

and when the  Under-Sheriff recovered his Post, the said Rucker insisted to clear the Doors, so that everyone might have free Entrance, and seized the Under-Sheriff’s Sword with both his  Hands, endeavouring to break it, which the Under-Sheriff prevented, by drawing it  through his Hands.

.

That then one John Burk came to the said Rucker’s Assistance, and  laid violent Hold’on the Under-Sheriff, who was rescued by the By-standers.

.

GUARD AT DOOR LEAVES, MOB ENTERS

That  towards Night, Mr Gibson quitted his Post at the Door, and immediately the People  throng’d into the Court-house in a drunken riotous Manner, one of them jumping upon  the Clerk’s Table, and dancing among the Papers, so that the Sheriff was unable to clear  the Bar, or the Clerks to take the Poll:

.

SHERIFF WON’T SUSPEND ELECTION, UNLESS . . .

Whereupon the Candidates desired the Sheriff  to adjourn the Poll ’til Eight of the Clock the next morning;

.

which he refus’d to do,  unless the Candidates would give him Bond to indemnify him, saying, that by Law he was  oblig’d to compleat the Election on the Day appointed, or to return the two foremost  Candidates as Burgesses;

.

and several of the Candidates agreeing to give such Bond, the  Under-Sheriff, by Direction of the High-Sheriff, adjourned the Poll ’til Eight of the Clock next Morning; and thereupon a great many of the Freeholders who had not voted,  returned home; and Mr Chew and Mr Belfield went to Mr Belfield’s House, near the Courthouse, desiring Mr Russell to see Justice done them in their Absence.

.

That when the  Sheriff had prepared a Bond ready for the Candidates signing, Mr Russell carried it to  Mr Belfield’s, and offered it to Mr Chew and Mr Belfield to execute, who refused, saying  the Poll was adjourn’d, and their Friends gone home.

.

RE-OPENING THE POLLS

That when the said Russell  returned to the Court-house, and the Sheriff understood that the Candidates would not  sign the Bond, he caused Candles to be lighted about Eight of the Clock at Night, and  opened the Poll;

.

FRUSTRATED SHERIFF DECLARES 2 WINNERS

and thereupon Mr Russell, with several of the Freeholders, went into  the Court-house, desiring the Sheriff to clear the Bar, and suffer those Freeholders to  be polled; which he refused, and immediately proclaimed Mr Slaughter and Mr Downs duly elected, to serve as Burgesses for Orange County;

.

 notwithstanding Mr Russell,  in Behalf of himself and Mr Belfield, forbid him so to do. And that a great many of  the Freeholders returned the next Morning according to the Adjournment, in order to  give their Votes, and were disappointed.

.

VOTER INFLUENCING OTHERS WITH DRINK

It also appeared to the Committee, that the  said John Rucker did, before and during the Time of the Election, give several large  Bowls of Punch amongst the People, crying out for those Persons who intended to vote  for Mr Slaughter, to come and drink of his Punch;

.

VOTER PREVENTING OTHERS FROM VOTING

and that the said Rucker stood at the  Court-house, and kept out those Persons who were Mr Belfield’s Friends; and after the  Election was over, confessed he had won several Pistoles, upon Mr Slaughter’s being elected the first Burgess.

.

Ordered, That the House be adjourned ’til To-morrow Morning, Ten o’Clock.  Saturday, June 5, 1742. “

.

For above quoted text, see Source 1 below.

.

—————————————————————————————

Source:

.

1. Report of the Committee of Privileges and Elections, in H.R. McIlwaine and John P Kennedy. eds.. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 13 volumes, (Richmond 1905-1915), 1742-1747, 1748-1749 page 50

Plain Text version

Page turner version

.

2. Outline of Journals of Virginia House of Burgesses

.

.

—————————————————————————-

House of Burgesses expels Robert Slaughter

.

Those who made mayhem at the event are taken into custody.

.

Saturday June 5 1742

—– Resolved, That Mr Robert Slaughter, the Sitting Member, is not duly elected and returned a Burgess, to serve in this present General Assembly, for the County of Orange.

.

Resolved, That Mr Richard Winslow, Sheriff of the County of Orange, John Rucker, John Burk, John MacCoy, Honorius Powell, John Snow, and Timothy Terrill, are guilty  of great Misdemeanours, and Breaches of the Privileges of this House.

.

Ordered, That the said Richard Winslow, John Rucker, John Burk, John MacCoy, Honorius Powell, John Snow, and Timothy Terrill, be sent for, in Custody of the Sergeant at Arms.

.

Ordered, That an Address be made to the Governor, to order a new Writ to issue, for Electing new Burgesses, to serve in this present General Assembly, for the County of Orange, in the Room of Mr Henry Downs, expelled this House, and Mr Robert Slaughter, who is not duly elected, to serve for the said County.

.

Report of the Committee of Privileges and Elections, in H.R. McIlwaine and John P Kennedy. eds.. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 13 volumes, (Richmond 1905-1915), 1742-1747, 1748-1749 page 53

Plain Text version

Page turner version

.

Outline of Journals of Virginia House of Burgesses

.

.

—————————————————————————–

House of Burgesses expels Henry Downs

.

Henry Downs stole a sheep. Twenty One years ago. In Maryland. This report is about his confession and the punishment (which is described below and is horrific) given him 21 years ago. The House of Burgesses already having kicked him out for the irregularity of the election of 20 November 1741, used this report of Downs’ past as proof they are right to have kicked him out.

..

Tuesday May 11, 1742   

Whereupon it appeared to the Committee, from the Transcript of a Record of the Court of Prince George County, in Maryland, produced to the Committee, duly attested by the Clerk, and certified under the Public Seal of the said County, That at a County Court of the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary of that Province, held at Marlborough Town, in and for the County aforesaid, on the Twenty Seventh Day of June, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty One, Henry Downs, together with Edward Brown, and James Jones, all of the said County, were indicted of Felony, in stealing one Sheep, of a white Colour, of the Price of Ten Shillings, the property of a certain Person unknown, on the Twenty Ninth Day of August then last past, at a Place called the Chapel, in that County: And that the said Downs, upon his Arraignment, the same Twenty Seventh Day of June aforesaid, did confess himself guilty of the Felony and Theft, so as aforesaid laid to his Charge, and put himself upon the Grace and Mercy of the Court.

.

PUNISHMENT

.

..that the same Henry Downs, by the Sheriff of that County, from the Bar to the Whipping-Post, should be taken; and there being stripped naked, from the Waist upwards, receive on his bare Back Fifteen Lashes well laid on, by the Sheriff aforesaid, so that the Blood appear: And that after the Whipping aforesaid, the said Henry Downs, by the Sheriff aforesaid, be put on the Pillory, for and during the Space of Half an Hour. And afterwards, the said Henry Downs, the same Twenty Seventh Day of June aforesaid, was, with the Consent of one Jacob Henderson, Clerk, (his Master) sold by the Court aforesaid, for One Year and Nine Months, to one John Middleton, Planter, to discharge the Fees of the Conviction aforesaid…

.

Resolved, That the said Henry Downs, for the Causes aforesaid, be expelled this House. Resolved, That the said Henry Downs be disabled to Sit and Vote as a Member of this House, during this present General Assembly.

.

Source:

.

Report of the Committee of Privileges and Elections, in H.R. McIlwaine and John P Kennedy. eds.. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 13 volumes, (Richmond 1905-1915),  volume on  1742-1747, 1748-1749…. page 11  

Plain Text version  

Page turner version

.

Outline of Journals of Virginia House of Burgesses

.

.

———————————————————————————–

 Courthouse location where riot occurred

.

Near the present Somerville’s Ford, belonging to Hume family”

.

July 1738,  Ordered that next term would agree to finish building.

.

Henry Willis took out a license for an ordinary there November 1739

.

A History of Orange County, Virginia, from its formation in 1734 (o.s.) to the end of reconstruction in 1870 Page 36

.

More indications on location of this courthouse and its sources.

.

Click on map to enlarge

Orange Co VA map

.

Source:

Atlas of County Boundary Changes in Virginia 1634–1895 (1987) by Michael F. Doran.[119]

.

————————————————————————————————————-

Frederick and Augusta County’s first representatives

.

Orange County appears to have no representation until 1747 because of those expulsions.

.

Frederick County and Augusta County in 1738 were both carved out of Orange, but in 1742 Augusta shows no Burgesses, yet Frederick County does:  Samuel Earle and [Andrew?] Campbell.  for the 1742-1747 House of Burgesses.

.

For the 1748-1749 House of Burgess both Frederick and Augusta counties have full representation, meaning 2 Burgesses from each county.

.

George Fairfax and the colorful Gabriel Jones

represented Frederick County 1748-1749

.

Outline of Journals of Virginia House of Burgesses

.

.

.

——————————————————————————–

Some Links

.

We know James Wood dies 6 November 1759 because the date was inscribed on a “mourning ring,” according to
Winchester, Virginia And Its Beginnings, 1743-1814 by Katherine Glass Greene, page 111.

.

A history of Orange county, Virginia, from its formation in 1734 (o.s.) to the end of Reconstruction in 1870; compiled mainly from original records, with a brief sketch of the beginnings of Virginia, a summary of local events to 1907, and a map. By W. W. Scott.  See two links from this book:

.

1. Appendix, “Commissions” on page 258 shows many Frederick County names of its parent Orange Country

.

2. Members of House of Burgesses from Orange County VA on page 279

.

3. archives.org version of book

.

4. New River Website on Orange County history book up above, but this site has a lot in it

.

Shenandoah Valley pioneers and their descendants; a history of Frederick County, Virginia (illustrated) from its formation in 1738 to 1908. Compiled mainly from original records of old Frederick County, now Hampshire, Berkeley, Shenandoah, Jefferson, Hardy, Clarke, Warren, Morgan and Federick [by] T. K. Cartmell.  see link on James Wood, pages 126-127

.

Excellent link to find old books:

See list of books on side

.

Excellent link:

“Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619-1776”

.


 

Orange County Road Orders – VDOT pdf link.

.

From above link

25 March 1742, O.S. p. 112

Ordered that Jeremy Smith & Robert Eaton view & lay of the road petitioned for by James Wood

Gent & others from James Codiss to Isaac Perkin.s Mill & that Abraham Hollingsworth & James

Carter view & lay off ye road from the said Mill to Kerseys ferry & make report of their

proceedings to ye next Court.

.

28 May 1742, O.S. p. 157

Abraham Hollingsworth and James Carter having returnd that they had laid of & viewed the road

petitioned for James Wood Gent from James Codys to Isaac Perkins.s Mill and Jeremy Smith

and Robert Heatton that they had marked a road from the said Perkins.s Mill to Kerseys fferry Its

ordered that the said roads be cleared according as the Viewers have laid of the said roads and

that Joseph Edwards and Phillip Babb be hereby appointed Overseers from perkins.s Mill &

George Hogg & Wm Kersey be hereby appointed Overseers from Perkins.s Mill to the sd Kerseys

fferry and that all the tithables/: within four Miles:/ be equally divided between the said

Overseers according to the length of ground to work on ye Same And its further ordered that the

said Overseers with the tithables so divided cause the said roads each Overseer in his precinct to

be cleared & bridges were wanting to be made according to Law.

.

Wood, James, Gent. 67, 70

John 139

Michael 79

Richard 109

Thos., Thomas    43, 125, 139

.

.

.


 

.

Orange County Microfilm

.

Mary Rutherford and James Woodgenealogy link

.

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room,  Handley Regional Library,  Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, James Wood Collection

.

Glen Burnie pdf file

.

.

.

.

.

Categories :

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About Us History Explore & Learn Join & Support News & Events
Our Story War Timeline Visit Join Us! Calendar
Board of Directors Fort Loudoun Tour Donate Press
Contact Us Additional Forts Resources Volunteer Newsletters
  Baker-Hardy House Essay Contest Shop Archive