Chincoteague Beacon, June, 2009

 

 

Election Fraud Rocks Chincoteague, 1901

Special from Tracks in the Sand

By Rick Smith

 

   Chincoteague entered the 1900’s in the midst of political turmoil.  Its first try at incorporation was approved by the General Assembly in 1900[1], and then repealed a year later[2] with much disagreement and numerous allegations of forged petition signatures.  While the dust over that storm was still swirling, the Island became embroiled in an even more heated contest over local option, the prohibition of liquor sales.  Both of these controversies involved a complex mix of political, religious, and racial factors.

    In Virginia in the 1800’s, the sale of liquor was legal statewide[3].  But in 1886, the General Assembly passed the Local Option Act, which gave local jurisdictions the option, by an election, of prohibiting the licensing of the sale of liquor in their district.[4]  The passage of this law was the result of a strong grass roots movement with strong support from the Baptist and Methodist churches.  On Chincoteague in the mid- to late-1800’s, the movement was led by the Rev. Simeon U. Grimsley, pastor of the Union Baptist Church[5] (1883-1887, 1894-97) with strong support from the pastors of the Methodist churches, parishioners, and civic leaders.  Business leaders Joseph T. Kenney, Charles O. Disbrow and Daniel J. Whealton were active leaders in the fight.[6]  The women of the Island did not stand idly by and in 1886 formed their own temperance committee led by Mrs. Dr. Nathaniel S. Smith, president; Mrs. Daniel J. Whealton, secretary; and Mrs. Joshua W. Whealton, treasurer.5,[7]  The roots of this movement ran deep; Temperance Hall6, believed by many to be the forerunner of Red Men’s Hall on Main Street, was obviously named for the many pro-Local Option meetings held there in the1880’s.

    To clarify, the term Local Option in its broadest use refers to any local decision on a particular subject.  In the Local Option Act of 1886, however, it referred specifically to the sale of intoxicating liquors.  Thus, a local option election was a choice, and, given that the statewide status quo was “wet,” a vote in favor of Local Option was a vote against licensing the sale of liquor. A local option district then was a “dry” district in which the sale of liquor was illegal.  And, of course, this was the position supported by temperance unions and most churches.  It was not illegal to imbibe in “dry” districts, one just had to find some other place to purchase your supply legally, or support the local black market.

    Fast on the heels of passage of the Local Option Act, citizen groups sprang into action to take advantage of the newfound opportunity.  Activist meetings were held in 1886 throughout Accomac County.  Petitions to hold a “Local Option Election” were signed and submitted to Judge George T. Garrison of the County Court.[8]  The result was countywide election was held in the local districts of Accomac on May 1, 1886, with the following returns[9], [10]:

Atlantic District: 362 for license, 474 against

Metompkin District:  284 for license, 467 against

Pungoteague District: 653 for license, 511 against

Lee District: 402 for license, 698 against

Chincoteague (Island District[11]): 38 for license, 264 against

Totals: 1739 for license, 2414 against.   Majority 675

    This Local Option election was conducted at the county level, and the county as a whole voted against licensing liquor sale.  Nonetheless, the Code of Virginia stated that, if the vote in a particular district was different from that of the whole county, that district would follow the dictate of its individual vote.[12]  Thus, while the county went “dry” in 1886, the Pungeoteague district remained “wet.”  On the Island the results of the election were warmly welcomed.[13]

    Within a week of the elections, however, there were heated debates throughout the county over the results, and charges were voiced of improper coercion in the campaign through threats of boycott of businesses and the calling in of debts if parties did not vote a particular way.  Race was claimed to be the cause of pro-licensing results in the Pungoteague District and elsewhere.  Of Pungoteague it was stated that, “it is well known the white and colored vote is nearly equal and analysis of the vote show that the colored vote was almost solid for license.  It was not a vote of sentiment or even of preference, but a political following which, under influence of its party leaders and their manipulations could easily have been turned to either side of these questioning,” and “But for the vote of the negroes, upon which the saloon men relied, the leaders of whom were bought, the victory would have been as complete as the victory of Chincoteague.”9 While there was much smoke, there was no fire, and the election results in the various districts stood.

    In the ensuing years, local option was a continuing subject of debate throughout the state.  Efforts in 1887 and 1888 to have the General Assembly repeal the Local Option Law, were met by numerous opposing petitions, one from Chincoteague was spearheaded by J.T. Kenney, Rev. R. Irving Watkins, and D.J. Whealton.  Attempts to repeal the Local Option Law failed to gain approval by the Assembly.   

    In Accomac County, however, it was clear that folks were having second thoughts about banning the sale of liquor.  In order to avoid endless rounds of reconsideration elections, the Local Option law mandated a two-year waiting period[14] before another election could occur.  But as soon as that period passed, other magisterial districts in the county quickly moved to join Pungoteague, which never went dry, in legalizing the sale of liquor.  Metompkin District went “wet” in 1888[15] and Lee District followed suit in 1889[16].  As late as 1892, Atlantic District still remained “dry.”[17]

    It took longer for the Island District to take action to reconsider.  In January1896, a petition was circulated to request a new local option election.  The leader of the movement was Oswald M. Jones, a licensed druggist[18] on the Island and the first signer of the petition. [19]  All total, the petition bore the names of 127 local voters, and given that the status quo was “dry,” one can assume that most of the signers favored the licensing of liquor sales.  The petition represented close to half of the total number of votes cast in the 1886 election.  The names of a number of prominent residents appeared on the list: Ken. J. Bunting, G.E. Babbitt, Sealamore Bloxom, Arthur Brinney, E.J. Clark, Wm. N. Conant, Geo. R. Coulbourn, Kendal Jester (presumably, the notorious bibber,  “Uncle” Kendal), Dan. F. Jones, Dan. L. Jones, N.S. Smith[20], Wm. J. Matthews, and Jas. E. Matthews (owner and proprietor, respectively, of the Atlantic Hotel).19

    On November 25th, 1895, Judge John W. Gillet of the County Court ordered that an election be held Jan. 18, 1896.[21]  On January 27, 1896, four Election Commissioners[22] met to review the election returns, of which two (possibly different) sets had been presented to the court.  The finding of the commission was that they “canvassed the returns (of which there are two sets) of the special election purported to have been held on the 18th day of January 1896” and “we conclude that neither of the said returns show that an Election was held … in the manner prescribed by law.”[23]  The exact nature of the discrepancy was not stated, nor were the unofficial numbers of votes for and against.  And the local newspaper reported simply “The certificate of the commissioners of election of the recent local option election, purported [emphasis added] to have been held in the magisterial district of the Island, was handed to the court and ordered to be recorded.”

    Oswald M. Jones, nonetheless, must have believed that the returns showed the “wets” had prevailed in the election, because on February 24, 1896, he applied[24] to the County Court for a license to become a seller of liquor in the Islands District.[25]  To his dismay, his application was refused by Judge Gillet on Feb. 24, 1896 on the grounds that “Local Option does not prevail in the County of Accomack wherein said Magisterial District of the Islands lies.”[26]  By this, presumably Judge Gillett means that the county is considered “dry.”  Why else would he deny a license on this basis?  An appeal of the decision to the Circuit Court likewise resulted in a rejection of the license by Judge Benjamin T. Gunter, who affirmed both the decision and its basis. [27]  Note the grounds for denial at the County Court level were not that the Islands District itself was a local option district.   It is hard to understand how Judge Gillett arrived at his legal opinion.  Section 584 of the 1887 Code of Virginia states that local option ultimately operated at the magisterial district level.[28]  Judge Gillett also used this provision for his denial of Jones’ license, and in the opposite sense for the granting of numerous licenses in the years following 1889 in Pungoteague, Metompkin, and Lee Districts.  Thus it seems more likely that the decision actually was rendered in reaction to the recent, flawed election on Chincoteague.  That is, the Island District was still considered to be “dry.”

    To be fair to the “wets,” it should be noted that opponents of local option were not necessarily supporters of an indiscriminate supply of liquor.  In a May 1901 article appearing in the Richmond Dispatch it was stated, “Conditions on that island [Chincoteague] have been somewhat peculiar ever since the adoption of “local option” several years ago.  The temperance element at that time won a great victory after a hard-fought battle, but, strange to say, until recently appear to have been content with the victory, without its benefits, and everything seems to have been lovely; the temperance people having the law and the drinking element the whiskey.  It has been alleged that whiskey could have been bought at thirteen different places on the island, the county and State thus suffering the loss of a large revenue, without any compensatory results, in the way of the abolition of drinking and its consequent evil.”  Opponents of local option argued that the main result of its passage was simply the rise of numerous illegal “speak easies” on the island.  It is to be remembered that local option did not make liquor illegal, just its sale.

    By the turn of the century local option was again on the front burner in Chincoteague.  On July 7, 1901, in response to yet another petition[29], this time signed by 107 voters, the County Court issued a writ for an election on local option to be held July 27, 1901 on the Island.  As in 1896, Oswald M. Jones was the first person to sign the petition.29  And here the story reveals a link to another political issue on the Island, incorporation.

    Shortly before the 1901 local option election, Oswald M. Jones wrote a letter (PE 7/20/1901) to the editor of the Peninsula Enterprise defending himself against scurrilous attacks against his person.  Apparently he had been accused of supporting incorporation of the Island because he opposed local option.  While Jones denied that his positions on the two issues were related, it was clear was that in the minds of many, these two issues were inextricably linked.  And it should be noted that in April of 1900, Oswald M. Jones took the oath of office as the first mayor of the Town of Chincoteague,[30] as well as being the first signer of both local option petitions.  Independent positions?

    In its provision for local option elections, the General Assembly allowed elections to be held at the county, magisterial district, or incorporated city level.  The 1886 vote that put in place local option prohibition on the Island effectively had occurred at the district level.  If the town of Chincoteague were incorporated, it would be possible for the citizens to vote to allow the sale of liquor in the Town of Chincoteague.  But when the General Assembly acted in Feb. 1901 to repeal the 1900 town charter, the election had to be conducted at the Islands Magisterial District (Chincoteague and Assateague Islands) level.

    The local option election was held on the appointed Saturday and, after the votes were tallied, the result represented a victory for the “wets.”  Licensed sale of liquor on the Island won by an unbelievable 18-vote majority.  Not unexpectedly, the losing "dry" camp immediately responded with cries of voter fraud and election irregularities.  Local elections often resulted in such complaints, but this case quickly escalated beyond the normal level of grousing.  A committee of disgruntled “drys” informed the local authorities that there had been fraud in the election.  Apparently their charges sounded plausible, because the Attorney for the Commonwealth presented the county grand jury with an indictment for election fraud against William F. R. Cropper, Oswald M. Jones, and Joseph T. Rowley, judges of the election, and Henry White and Henry W. Conant, clerks of the election.  On August 26, the grand jury handed down a finding of “Not a True Bill,” meaning they found insufficient grounds for a trial on the charges.[31] On that same date, the results of the election on whether to license the sale of intoxicating liquors on Chincoteague were officially recorded by the court: 255 for licensing, 237 against, as certified by the Commissioners of Election[32] on Aug. 1, 1901.[33]  The sale of liquor on the Island was now legal.

    Wasting no time, on Aug. 28, George R. Coulbourn came before the County Court to apply for a license to sell liquor at his home[34] on the Island.  At a hearing on the matter, Charles O. Disbrow, David H. Lewis, Isaac Savage, George E. Taylor, Thomas Savage, and Kendall J. Jester appeared to contest the application.  Taken by surprise, Coulbourn requested and was granted a continuance of the hearing by Judge Samuel T. Ross.[35]  When the hearing was resumed on Sept. 26, 1901, Judge Ross determined that the Registration Book for the voting precinct of Chincoteague Island was material evidence in the case and ordered that William J. Matthews, who, according to James H. Fletcher, Jr. attorney for the “drys”, had possession of the book, be ordered to produce the book on the second day of the October Term of the court.[36],[37]  This is a clear indication that Judge Ross was giving serious consideration to the charges of election fraud.  At the end of October, three days were devoted to hearing all of the evidence.  On Nov.1, Judge Ross rendered his decision; while George R. Coulbourn was a fit person to obtain a license, the election was “illegally and fraudulently conducted” and thus was declared “to be null and void” and the license application was refused.[38]  Whereupon, Coulbourn stated his intention to appeal Judge Ross’ decision to the Circuit Court of Accomac County.

    With the additional evidence from the recent hearing in hand, the Attorney for the Commonwealth submitted three bills of indictment to the grand jury, and on Nov. 27, 1901 they returned a verdict of “A True Bill” in all three cases, meaning that they now found the evidence sufficient to presume that a crime may have been committed during the election.[39]  On Dec. 2, 1902 Judge Ross ordered that the indictment against Harry White for unlawfully voting be sent to Sewell B. Dennis, Justice of the Peace (J.P.), for trial; the indictment against judges of election William F.R. Cropper, Oswald M. Jones, and Joseph T. Rowley for “unlawfully neglecting and corruptly acting in the discharge of their official duties” be sent to Emery Maffitt, J.P., for trial; and the indictment against clerks of election Harry White and Henry W. Conant for similar charges be sent to Richard P. Reynolds, J.P., for trial.[40]  All three trials were held by the respective justices in early January, 1902. 

    William F.R. Cropper and Oswald M. Jones, judges of the election[41] were found guilty of the charges by Justice Emery Maffitt on January 7, 1902, and were sentenced to pay a $500 fine and serve five minutes in jail.[42]  Both appealed their cases to the County Court,[43]  and their appeals first appeared in the court records on January 27, 1902.[44]  Harry White and Henry W. Conant, clerks of the election, were found guilty of unlawfully, knowingly, willfully and corruptly acting in the exercise of their duties[45] on January 7, 1902 by Justice Reynolds and like the judges were fined $500 and sentenced to five minutes of jail time.[46]  They too appealed their verdicts to the County Court.

    Not all of the persons named in the Nov. 21, 1901 indictments were found guilty as charged, and, as a result of the Justice of the Peace trials, some new parties were charged with offenses related to the election.  Joseph T. Rowley, a steam saw mill operator originally from Maryland[47] and named in the original indictment of the election judges, was not included in the guilty verdict of Judge Maffitt.  No information is available as to whether Rowley was not a judge of the election, or, whether he was, but did not participate in the illegal actions. 

    George W. Roberts, Emory J. Elliott, and William T. Sharpley, all not named in the original indictment, each were found guilty upon the testimony of Wm. J. Matthews on January 16, 1902 by Justices Dennis[48], Maffitt[49], and Reynolds[50], of “unlawfully and knowingly voting, he not being a registered voter in the said election district.”[51]  Each was fined $50 and to be confined in the county jail for twenty-days.  All of the sentences were stayed when each defendant appealed his verdict to the County Court, the appeals first appearing in court records on January 27, 1902.[52]  Harry White, the election clerk also originally indicted for illegally voting, was apparently found innocent of the latter charge.  The names of thirteen other individuals appeared in the original indictment as having been allowed to vote illegally, but none of those were found guilty by the justices of the peace.  While no records of the Justice of the Peace trials have been found, the grand jury indictments and the findings of those courts became part of the County Court Records upon the appeal of the verdicts to that court.[53]

   The specifics of the indictment against William F.R. Cropper, Oswald M. Jones, and Joseph T. Rowley were that, as judges they placed in the ballot box the votes of  (26) persons who did not vote and the votes of (17) persons who were not registered to vote.  Similarly, Harry White and Henry W. Conant were charged with entering on the poll books the same lists of the names of persons who did not actually vote and the names of persons who voted, but were not registered to do so.

    The list of absent (or fictitious) persons for whom votes were cast illegally was:  C.J. Clark, James Webster, William J. Lorens, C.C. Laford, J.M Lynch, L. Fenwack, J.A. Brasure, C.H. Clayville, C. Dunton, H.B.R. Fromberger, J.P Lund, J.D. Lewis, John Hill, William Brinney, Arthur Brinney, Jr., John Crippen, William T. Davis, C. Davis[54], Samuel West, Isaac Selby, James A. Bishop, J. Williams, Joshua N. Williams, Joseph Downing, S. Walker, and James F. Birch.  A check of these names against the 1900 and 1910 US Census for Chincoteague reveals that several were those of dead persons (Custis M. Dunton, d. 1896; John P. Lunn, d. 1894; John Daniel Lewis, d. 1889; and John A. Hill, d. 1877) and several more appear to be fictitious (James Webster, William Lorens, C.C. Laford, and H.B.R. Fromberger).   The list of persons who were not registered, but were permitted to vote was:  Harry White, Alfred Daisey, E.J. Clark, David P. Daisey, C.P. Davis, D.L.  Jones, John D. Jones, Ambrose Crippen, George W. Roberts, William T. Sharpley, William T. Taylor, Daniel F. Jones, J.B. Jones, W.F. Jones[55], John Jester, George C. Jones, and Emery J. Elliott. Most persons in this latter list were in fact residents of the Island, but apparently were not in the Registration Book.  The following persons were listed as witnesses who testified in the cases:  Sidney R. Davis, Thomas Savage, James Aydelotte, Isaac J. Savage, C.O. Disbrow, K.J. Jester, D.H. Lewis[56], Wm. J. Birch, D.J. Whealton, and Thos. H. Pruitt. Unfortunately, the best piece of evidence, the Registration Book itself, may have gone up in flames on Sept. 5, 1920 when the Atlantic Hotel, where William J. Matthews boarded for decades, burned37,[57] in the big fire (assuming he was still the Registrar at that time).

    On January 27, 1902, with the exception of William F.R. Cropper, who was “physically unable to attend,” all of the defendants appeared in County Court.[58]  Exactly what transpired on that date is not recorded, but the cases were continued to the second day of the February term.  Interestingly, the sureties for White and Conant’s appearance were Wm. N. Conant and Wm. J. Matthews (Keeper of the Book).  Recall that it was on the latters’s testimony that the Justices of the Peace found Roberts, Elliott, and Sharpley guilty of illegally voting.  The interpersonal relationships and political stances were complexly intertwined, not unusual on the Island.

    On Feb. 25, 1902, upon motion of the Attorney for the Commonwealth, the cases were continued to the second day of the April Term of the County Court.[59]  And on April 28, 1902, upon motion of the defendants, the cases were again continued, this time to the second day of the June Term.[60]  Finally, on July 2, 1902 the appeals of the cases against the election judges and clerks were heard before Justice Ross.   The defendants all pled not guilty and upon the determination of Judge Ross a jury of twelve peers was empanelled and the presentation of evidence was begun.  The trial lasted a total of five days, including July 4th.  On Saturday, July 6th with the conclusion of the presentation of evidence, the jury retired to consider their verdict.  After some time, the jury returned and rendered a verdict of “Not Guilty”![61]  It is unclear from the records whether the trial of White and Conant was held concurrently with that of the three judges, but on that same Saturday, the same jury rendered a verdict of “Not Guilty” for the two election clerks.61 

    On July 3rd, while the trials of the election judges and clerks were in progress, the trials of the accused illegal voters, Roberts, Sharpley and Elliott, were set to take place on Friday July 5th .[62]  On July 6th, the Attorney for the Commonwealth asked that the trial be postponed until the first day of the next (August) Term.  Given the not guilty verdicts for the major defendants in the incident, the ultimate outcome was obvious, and on August 25th, the Commonwealth moved to dismiss the charges against the three defendants.[63]  Thus ended an eleven month long battle both inside and out of the courtroom over the allegations election fraud.  But why was it that jury arrived at a not guilty verdict in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence that so quickly convinced the Justices of the Peace?

    To understand, we have to backtrack to the opening salvo of the court battles. On Nov.1, Judge Ross denied George R. Coulbourn a liquor license on the grounds that the July 27, 1901 local option election was “illegally and fraudulently conducted.”38  As noted, Coulbourn appealed that decision to the Circuit Court.  It wasn’t until April 3, 1902, while the election fraud cases were still in procss, that Coulbourn’s appeal was heard by Judge John W.G. Blackstone.  Upon considering the specifics of the case, Blackstone held that the finding of the lower court was in error! and thereby granted Coulbourn his license to sell liquor at his house on Chincoteague Island.[64]  No reason for Judge Blackstone’s finding was recorded in the court documents, but a newspaper account of the trial gives the following: 

“The decision of the Magistrate’s Court condemning the election officials of the local-option election held in Chincoteague last spring, to pay a heavy fine as well as to serve a term in jail for alleged fraud in conduction the election, was virtually set aside by Judge Blackstone at this term, as licenses were granted to persons in Chincoteague to sell liquor not withstanding the lower court set the election aside upon the ground that fraud in its conduct was clearly proved.  Judge Blackstone, in his decision, says in substance that there is no law providing for contesting local-option elections, though fraud, etc. may have been discovered in their conduct.”[65]

    The Code of Virginia states: “It is made duty of the electoral board of each city and county to appoint three competent citizens as judges for all elections to be held in their respective election districts for the term of one year. Duties of the electoral board are further indicated. ‘The members of any electoral board who shall willfully fail to comply with this requirement shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. Fine, from $100 to $500.’"[66]  Clearly, in Judge Blackstone’s mind, all elections did not mean all elections, only some elections.  By his contorted logic, the will of the voters of Chincoteague was thusly circumvented, the perpetrators of a fairly obvious case of election fraud went unpunished, and the fate of all future local option elections was placed at risk.

     And while the legal battle over the alleged Chincoteague election fraud dragged on, as early as April 30, 1902, Judge Ross, who was still hearing the case, began granting licenses to individuals to sell liquor in the Island Magisterial District: George R. Coulbourn, Major Jones, John W. Elliott, and Robert H. Phillips.[67]  The handwriting was on the wall, even if the election judges and clerks were found guilty, it was clear that, upon appeal, Judge Blackstone would overturn the verdicts.  One has to wonder if the jury, who certainly had knowledge of Blackstone’s decision, did not also see clearly the futility of anything other than a not guilty finding.

    It is not too much of a stretch to say that these were not some of the better days for jurisprudence in Accomac County.  And the “drys” would stage a comeback, if only temporarily, for the Eighteenth Ammendment[68] to the US Constitution and Prohibition were only 18 years down the road.

 



[1] Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1900, Chapt. 974 in O’Bannon, J.H., Acts and Joint Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia during the Session of 1899-1900, Richmond, 1900, p. 1092 (approved March 7, 1900); Journal of the House of Delegates of the State of Virginia for the Extra Session of 1901. p. 39.

[2] Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1900, Chapt. 974 in O’Bannon, J.H., Acts and Joint Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia during the Extra Session of 1901, Richmond, 1901, p. 37 (approved Feb. 8, 1901).

[3] For example, see: Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia 1831-32, passed Feb. 27, 1832, in Supplement to the Revised Code of the Laws of Virginia being a Collection of All the Acts of the General Assembly Passed Since the Year 1819, Richmond, 1833, pp. 249-50.  See also Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1831-2, Ch. 24, p 24, passed April 13, 1831; and Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1830-1, Ch. 59, p 130.

[4] Wallerstein, Morton L. (annotated), Liquor Laws of Virginia, pp. 8-11, Office of Attorney General  of Virginia, 1915.

[5] Peninsula Enterprise (PE), Accomack Court House, Virginia.  4/17/1886.

[6] PE 3/27/1886

[7] Annie S. (Aydelotte) Whealton, Sarah C. (Caulk) Kenney, and Nancy C. (Lewis) Whealton.

[8] PE  4/10/1886.

[9] PE 5/22/1886.

[10] Loose Papers, County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, May Term, 1886.

[11] The Island District was comprised of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.

[12] 1902 Code of Virginia, Sect. 584 (enacted in 1886) as found in Wallerstein, p 11.

[13] PE 6/5/1886  Letters from the People:  MR. EDITOR. – The closing of the saloons of our Island has resulted as prophesied by the many who took a hand in bringing about the result.  Every day has the appearance of the Sabboth.  Men who loafed at our bar-rooms have disappeared from their old haunts, and their wives and children bear testimony to happier homes.  The ten thousand dollars that annually dropped in the tills of our saloons has been turned into other channels and the evidence of our merchants is “weekly cash sales have increased since the adoption of prohibition.”  The old story that “Chincoteague is dead” is true, so far as the whiskey business is concerned.

    Our people realizing their indebtedness to the Rev. S.U. Grimsley of the Baptist church, for his untiring devotion to the cause of prohibition, quietly organized a surprise for him a few nights ago.  An ox team had to be called into service to bear the immense load of contributions to his home.  Such a piling up of good things of this life on an occasion of this kind we never before witnessed.  The immense throng that gathered to do the Parson honor at this pounding, irrespective of church relationship, tell too plainly how he has won the hearts of our people by the bold stand he took in defense of the homes against the saloons.  No danger of his starving while we have enough, and to spare.        “X.”      CHINCOTEAGUE, VA., June 2, ’86.

[14] Wallerstein, p. 9.

[15] Accomac County, Virginia, Court Order Book (OB), 1886-89, 596.

[16] OB, 1886-89, 639 (Petition to hold election).  Norfolk Virginian, 1/29/1889 (election).

[17] PE, 1/9/1892.

[18] U.S. Census, 1900, Chincoteague Island, # 201.

[19] Loose Papers, County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, November Term, 1895.

[20] This must have made for interesting conversation at family gatherings.  Dr. Smith signed the petition, but his wife was a member of the women’s temperance committee, and his next door neighbor and brother-in-law, Joseph T. Kenney, was a temperance movement leader.

[21] OB, 1894-96, 401.

[22] Thomas P. Evans, George W. Kilman, William T. Wright, Nathaniel P. Kilman.  OB, 1894-96, 491.

[23] Loose Papers, County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, January Term, 1896; OB 1894-96, 401.

[24] It is interesting to note that Jones’ lawyer in the case was Nathaniel B. Wescott, the same person who, at the 1902 Virginia Constitutional Convention, related the tale of fraudulent signatures on the 1900 Chincoteague incorporation petition. 

[25] Loose Papers, County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, February Term, 1896.

[26] OB 1894-96, 514.

[27] Common Law Order Book, Circuit Court of Accomac County, 1895-1904, pp. 42, 51.

[28]  Sect. 584   p. 201  Sec. 584.  Voting by districts; license granted or refused according to vote of majority. – Notwithstanding the election is held for the whole county, the vote shall be by districts, and if it appear from the abstracts and returns that a majority of the votes cast in any magisterial district have been cast against licensing the sale of intoxicating liquors, no license shall be granted for the sale of wine, spirituous or malt liquors, or any mixture thereof, in such district.  If on the other hand, it appear from the abstracts and returns, that a majority of the votes case in any magisterial district have been case in favor of liquor license, then a license may be granted for the sale of wine, spirituous or malt liquors, or any mixture thereof, in such district.  Where the election is held in a magisterial district only, or in a city, if it appear from the abstracts and returns that a majority of the votes in such election have been cast against license, no license shall be granted for the sale of wine, spirituous or malt liquors, or any mixture thereof, in such district.

[29] Loose Papers, County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, June Term, 1901.

[30] PE 5/12/1900.   Oaths were recorded in the County Court Records for Oswald M. Jones, Mayor; James E. Tarr, town sergeant; Isaac J. Hudson, recorder and treasurer; W.J. Matthews, James B. Richardson, Robert L. Marshall, Thomas H. Pruitt, Joshua W. Williams, and Peter D. Corbin, councilmen.

[31] OB, 1900-1902, 289.

[32] George W. Kilman, John T. White, James P. Dougherty, and William T. Wright.  OB, 1900-02, 290.

[33] OB, 1900-1902, 290.

[34] George Coulbourn’s house was located at what is today 6249 Post Office St.  Kirk Mariner, personal communication.

[35] OB, 1900-1902, 295.

[36] OB, 1900-1902, 300.  There is some confusion in the records on the dates of this document.  The entry bears the date Oct. 26, orders the book to be produced on the 2nd day of the October Term, and appears in the Order Book between the entries for Sept. 26 and 28.

[37] The Times, Richmond Va, 9/28/1901.  Coincidentally, at essentially same Atlantic Hotel, where William J. Matthews boarded, was badly damaged in an isolated fire in 1901.  The kitchen and several rooms burned, but the court records seem to indicate that the Registration Book, even if Matthews had it in his personal possession, was still in existence at that time.

[38] OB, 1900-1902, 332.

[39] OB, 1900-1902, 347.

[40] OB, 1900-1902, 357.

[41] The duties of a judge of the election were, as recorded in the indictments, “upon the demand of any duly registered elector at said precinct, to furnish said elector, if, upon an inspection of the registration books of said precinct, he, the said elector so representing himself to vote, be found duly registered, with an official ballot, and when said ballot was properly marked and folded in the manner prescribed by lat, it then and there became and was the duty of the said judges of election to place the said ballot, so marked and folded as afore said, in the ballot box kept for the purpose and to check the name of the elector so voting upon the registration book of said precinct.”

[42] OB, 1900-1902, 489.

[43] OB, 1900-1902, 383.

[44] OB, 1900-02, 380 ff.

[45] The duties of a clerk of the election were, as recorded in the indictments, “to enter upon the poll books the name of every elector voting at said election and to correctly number same in accordance with the number of electors theretofore recorded.”

[46] OB, 1900-1902, 496.

[47] U.S. Census, 1900, Chincoteague Island, # 173.

[48] The case of George W. Roberts.

[49] The cases of George W. Roberts and William T. Sharpley.

[50] The case of Emory J. Elliott.

[51] Loose Papers of County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, August Term, 1902.

[52] OB, 1900-1902, 380 - 382.

[53] Loose Papers of County Court, Accomac County, Virginia, November Term, 1901.

[54] The name of C. Davis was omitted from the indictment against the election clerks.

[55] The name of W.F. Jones was omitted from the indictment against the election judges.

[56] The name of D.H. Lewis was omitted from the indictment against the election judges.

[57] Mariner, Kirk, Once Upon and Island, Miona Publications, VA, 2003.  p. 107.

[58] OB, 1900-1902, 483.

[59] OB, 1900-1902, 404.

[60] OB, 1900-1902, 449.

[61] OB, 1900-1902, 496.

[62] OB, 1900-1902, 491.

[63] OB, 1900-1902, 519.

[64] Common Law Orders Book of Circuit Court of Accomac County, Virginia, 1895-1904, 286.

[65] Richmond Dispatch, April 6, 1902.

[66] New Legislation Concerning Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Penalties, Samuel J. Barrows, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1900, p. 396; and

[67] OB, 1900-1902, 456 ff.

[68] Amendment XVIII. Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.  Certified Jan. 29, 1919.  (Ratified by the Virginia General Assembly, Jan. 11, 1818.)  Repealed by Amendment XXI, ratified Dec. 5, 1933.  (Ratified by Virginia Convention, Oct. 25, 1933.)