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Surnamed "The Old Dominion", "The Mother of States and of Statesmen", one of the thirteen original states, and the most southern of the Middle Atlantic division, lies between 36°31' and 39°27' N. lat., and 75°13' and 83°37' W. long. Its area is 42,627 sq. miles, of which 40,262 square miles represent land and 2365 square miles, water. Its greatest measurement from east to west is 476 miles, and from north to south, 192 miles. The boundaries are, north, West Virginia and Maryland ; east, Maryland and the Atlantic Ocean; south, North Carolina and Tennessee ; and west, Kentucky and West Virginia. The state contains one hundred counties.


The population of Virginia in 1910 was 2,061,612; whites, 1,389,809; negroes, 671,096; Indians, Chinese, and Japanese, 707. The general increase during the last decade was 11.2 per cent, that of the negroes only 1.6 per cent. In 1890 the negroes formed 38.4 per cent of the total population; in 1900, 35.6 per cent; in 1910, 32.6 per cent; their relative decrease being due to absence of negro immigration, neglect of hygiene, exposure, overcrowding, poverty, and, in many cases, lack of ambition and energy, or indulgence in alcoholic or other excesses. The density of population in 1910 was 51.2 persons per square mile.

The state contains 19 cities, all, except Hampton and Williamsburg, being independent of counties. They are, with their population of 1910: Richmond, (127,628), the State capital and former capital of the Confederacy, noted for historic associations and monuments; Norfolk (67,452), Virginia's great shipping port; Roanoke (34,874), called "The Magic City", because of its rapid growth; Portsmouth (33,190), a progressive city with one of the country's greatest naval yards; Lynchburg 929,494), known as "the Hill City", because of its many hills, one of the richest per capita cities in the United States ; Petersburg (24,127), of Civil War fame; Newport News (20,205), at the mouth of the James River, famed for its ship-building and immense shipments to all quarters of the glove of coal and grain; Danville (19,020), one of the greatest tobacco cities in the world; Alexandria (15,329), of historic interest and a Potomac port for Virginia's products; Staunton (10,604), with fine educational and corrective institutions; Charlottesville (6765), the seat of the University of Virginia; Bristol (64227); Fredericksburg (5874); Winchester (5864); Clifton Forge (5748); Hampton (5505); Radford (4202); Buena Vista (3245); and Williamsburg (2714).

The church membership (1906) was 793,546, of which the Baptists numbers 415,987; Methodists, 200,771; Presbyterians, 39,628; Protestant Episcopal, 28,487; Disciples, 26,248; Lutherans, 15,010; the remainder consisting of Dunkers, Christians, and other denominations. The Catholics were given as 28,700. The total value of Church property of all denominations in 1906 was $19,699,014, and the Church debt $996,367. Owing to dearth of Catholic immigration, the Church depends for accessions principally on natural increase and conversions. Seventy years ago the Catholic population was but 3000. In 1912 the faithful numbered 41,000, composed mainly of native Americans, Irish, Germans, italians, Bohemians, Poles, Slavs, and Syrians, with a few French, Belgians, and other nationalities. There is one parish each for Germany, Italians, and Bohemians.


Virginia is divided into six great natural sections: (1) Tidewater, (2) Middle, (3) Piedmont, (4) Blue Ridge, (5) The Valley, and (6) Appalachia. Some make a seventh division into Trans-Appalachia. Certain sections possess some things in common, yet all differ greatly in topography, climate, soil, and resources. The altitude varies from a few feet in Tidewater to more than 5000 feet in the mountainous regions. The highest mountains are Mount Rogers (5700 feet) and the Peaks of Otter (3993 feet). Nearly the whole of the state is drained by five large rivers, navigable to the head of Tidewater, and their tributaries; namely the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, James, and Roanoke or Staunton, all flowing in an easterly direction; while the Shenandoah, Kanawha, or New, and Holston, or Tennessee rivers, drain the valley. Because of the gradual, and sometimes abrupt, lowering of the river beds from their elevated sources to the basins into which they empty, an almost limitless supply of waterpower is found within the borders of the state. The state is famed for natural wonders, including the Natural Bridge; Luray, Weyer's, Madison, Blowing, and Saltpetre caverns; Mountain Lake, Balcony Falls, Natural Tunnel; and the great Dismal Swamp (30 by 10 miles, extending into North Carolina ), with beautiful Lake Drummond (7 by 5.5 miles), in the centre. There are 68 accredited mineral springs. The climate is mild, the temperature varying from an average mean annual of 64° in Tidewater to 48° in the mountains, the average temperature being 56°. The rainfall is plentiful, averaging from 32 to 60 inches. The border ranges of mountains protect the state from unusual storms and hurricanes. Government statistics show the piedmont region to be the most helpful belt in the United States .


In agriculture Virginia ranks as one of the foremost states of the union. Every product grown in the other states, except the tropical and semi-tropical, thrives upon her soil. The total value of farm lands with buildings, implements, machinery, and live stock, in 1910 was $625,065,000; an increase in a decade of 93.2 per cent. The farms embrace more than three-fourths of the total land area, or 19,494,636 acres; over one-half representing improved acreage. The number of farms was 184,018, of which 84 per cent was free of debt ; the average value per farm, including equipment, being $3397, and of farm land per acre, $20.24. Tidewater, the great trucking section, and the Valley of Virginia, are considered the most fertile regions. The trucking has increased 500 per cent in thirty years. In 1910 the Norfolk truckers shipped 4,555,200 packages of truck. There are many varieties of fruits, including the Albemarle pippins, recognized as the best-flavoured of all apples. The orchard are numerous, some yielding $500.00 per acre. The state ranks first in peanuts (output, 4,284,000 pounds; value, $4,240,000), second in tobacco (output, 132,979,000 pounds; value, $12,169,000), and fourth in fertilizers (output 364,63 tons; value, $6,56,000). In 1910 the yield in bushels was, corn, 38,295,000 (value, $28,886,000); wheat, 8,077,000 ($8,776,000); Irish potatoes, 8,771,000 ($5,668,000); sweet potatoes and yams, 5,270,000 ($2,681,000); oats, 2,884,000 ($1,610,000); rye, 438,000 ($344,000); buckwheat, 332,000 ($196,000); barley, 254,000 (4180,000); and in tons of hay and forage 823,000 ($10,257,000). The cultivation of alfalfa (now 3126 acres) is rapidly increasing. The total value of crops in 1910 was $236,000,000 from 3,300,000, an increase over 1900 of nearly 100 per cent. The farming interests are greatly furthered by the Commissioner of Agriculture, literature, farmers' institutes, inspectors of fertilizers, seed and lime laws a horticultural society, test farms, and a truck and an agricultural station.

The rapid development of dairying is due principally to the efforts of the dairy and pure food department. The number of dairy cows (1910) was 356,000 (value $10,285,000). Effective means towards the eradication of tuberculosis and other diseases existing amongst cattle are employed by the state. With an abundance of forage crop, a long grazing season, and mild winters, the conditions for stock raising are peculiarly favourable. Thousands of beef and other cattle are annually exported. Within 30 years the sheep industry has increased 150 per cent. The value of live stock in 1010 was $74,891,000. Virginia has (1911) taken the lead of the other states in fisheries, the annual output totalling $7,500,000, thus distributed: oysters, $3,500,000; crabs and clams, $1,000,000; menhaden fish, $1,250,000; from pound nets, $1,500,000; other fish, $250,000. The increase over four years is 300 per cent. Of the nearly 3000 square miles of salt-water bottom, 4000 acres are set aside for oyster planting and about 200,000 acres as a reserve, making the Virginia waters one of the greatest oyster sections in the world. Tidewater abounds in water-fowl such as the canvasback, black mallard, water-goose, and teal. There are various species of birds, including quails, woodcocks, and sora, with some wild deer, bears, foxes, and wild turkeys, and many rabbits, squirrels, opossums, muskrats, and lesser game.

Every wood, except the sub-tropical, including the valuable hardwoods, is grown in Virginia. The Tidewater section contains vast forests of pine and cypress and much cedar, willow, locust, juniper, and gum. In the inland region abound the oak, walnut, hickory, chestnut, beech, birch, maple, poplar, ash, cherry, elm, and sycamore; whilst the mountains are rich in white pine, spruce, and hemlock. The bark of the oak and sumac leaves are much used in tanning and dyeing. In 1909 there were 2,102,000,000 feet of cut lumber, an increase in 10 years of over 100 per cent.

Beneath the soil of Virginia are found geologic rocks of all ages, with almost every known mineral of commercial value. The estimated yearly mineral output in 1905 was $30,000,000. The minerals may be divided into (1) building and ornamental stone, including the famous Richmond and Virginia granites, sandstone, slate, and limestone; (2) cement and cement materials; (3) clays, sands, marls, and gem minerals; (4) metallic minerals, embracing iron, copper, zinc, lead, gold, silver, tin, nickel, and cobalt; in 1010 Virginia produced 800,000 tons of iron ore and 444,976 tons of pig iron; (5) non-metallic minerals, including graphite, sulphides, sulpharsenides, the halides, embracing sodium chloride, or common salt, oxides, silicates, phosphates, nitrates, sulphates, and the hydrocarbons: namely, coal, coke and their by-products, gas, tar, and ammonia. There are in the state 1900 square miles of coal fields, the production (1910) being 5,000,000 tons, and of coke, 1,435,000 tons. In 1910 the shipment of coal from Hampton Roads was greater than from any other port in the world. Newport News alone exported 786,000 tons (value, $2,083,000).


In 1909 the output in manufactures amounted to $219,794,000; capital, $216,392,000, an increase over 1900 of over 100 per cent. The output from iron and machine works alone in 1911 was $24,143,000; capital, $24, 982,000; wages, $8,206,000; and from tobacco manufactures, $21,445,000; capital, $6,321,000; wages, $2,378,000. Some of the other principal products, in order of output, are flour and grist, woodenware, leather, cotton goods, paper and pulp, and boots and shoes. The total manufacturing capital in 1912 should reach $260,000,000, with output of about $285,000,000. If to these last figures is added the value of the products of farms, fisheries, forests, and mines, the yearly production of the state (1912) should approximate $435,000,000.

Banking, Real Estate, Insurance

There were in Virginia (December, 1911) 130 national banks with total resources, $151,932,000, a marked increase since 1900. The resources of state banks (April, 1912) amounted to $73,862,000. In Richmond alone the bank clearings (1911) were $392,000,000; deposits, $45,800,000; loans and discounts, $43,000,000. The total valuation of real estate (1911), other than mineral lands and standing timber, was $486,339,000, divided as follows: counties, $267,923,000; cities, $218,416,000. Of the total, the whites owned $461,242,000; the negroes, $25,097,000. The building operations in the city of Richmond equalled $6,017,000. The gross insurance risks written in Virginia (1910) were as follows: fire insurance, $315,957,000; marine insurance, $21,697,000; life insurance, $225,717,000.


The Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and its numerous inlets, with large navigable rivers, give Virginia direct water communication with every seaport. Hampton Roads, the manoeuvring place of the United States fleet, is considered one of the world's finest bodies of water. Extensive shipping is carried on by Norfolk (1911: exports, $10,880,000; imports, $2,010,000), Newport News (exports, $5,821,000; imports, $982,000), Portsmouth, and Fort Monroe. The principal river ports are Richmond, on the James; Petersburg, on the Appomattox; West Point, on the York; Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock; and Alexandria, on the Potomac. The steam railroads in Virginia number 41; with branch lines listed separately, 50. The total mileage (1910) was 4609. The principal lines are the Atlantic Coast Line; Chesapeake and Ohio ; New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk; Norfolk and Western; Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac; Seaboard Air Line; Southern; Virginia and South-western; Virginian; and Washington Southern. There are 22 electric railroads, some of great length, extending between cities. Much is being done for public highways by the good roads movement, due in part to the increasing use of automobiles.


A. General

The Constitution requires the General Assembly to maintain an efficient system of public free education. The schools for whites and negroes are separate, for both of which annual appropriations are made. The State appropriations for 1912 were more than double those of the last six years, being as follows: elementary and high schools, $1,733,081; higher institutions, approximately $500,000; total, $2,233,081. The local funds raised from taxation and otherwise for elementary and high schools amounted to $3,434,357, giving grand total for public educational purposes of $5,667,438. State aid is refused to all denominational schools, although provision is made for their incorporation, as also for that of all religious and charitable institutions. Statistics of public schools (1911) show: school population, 616,168; total enrolment, 409,397; in high schools, 16,471; average daily attendance, 263,241; teachers, 10,676; number of school houses, 6838; school revenue, $5,073,000; salaries of teachers, $2,935,000; annual cost of buildings, $1.021,000; libraries and class apparatus, $30,000; total value school property, $8,553,000, an increase in 6 years of over 100 per cent. The University of Virginia was begun by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. There are departments of law and of medicine. It numbers amongst its graduates some of the state's most illustrious sons. In 1911 there were 96 professors, 24 officials, 784 students, and including the summer school, 2070. Other advanced state institutions are William and Mary College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Virginia Military Institute, Miller Manual Labour School, and the Female State Normal School. Among private schools, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, with law school, and the Lynchburg Women's College, like the University of Virginia, have a high rank. Other colleges, many of a denominational character, are Bridgewater, Eastern, Emory and Henry, Fredericksburg, Hampden-Sidney, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hawthorne, Hollins, Martha Washington, Mary Baldwin, Newmarket Polytechnic Institute, Randolph-Macon, Richmond, with law school, Richmond Women's, Roanoke Southern Female ; Staunton Military, Stonewall Jackson Institute, Sweetbriar, Virginia Christian, Virginia Intermont, and Virginia Union (coloured university ). There are many business colleges, various seminaries of different denominations for white and for coloured, and three highly-rated medical colleges : the Medical College of Virginia, the University College of Medicine, both of Richmond, and the Medical College attached to the University of Virginia.

B. Catholic

Each parish in the larger, as in some of the smaller, cities, has its own parochial school or schools. There are three colleges : namely, Old Point Comfort, under the Xaverian Brothers , the Richmond Benedictine Military, and Van de Vyver (coloured), Richmond. St. Emma's Industrial and Agricultural School for Coloured Boys and St. Francis' Institute for Coloured Girls, Rock Castle, were founded and are supported, the one by General and Mrs. Edward Morrell, the other by Mother Mary Katherine Drexel [Tr. note-now Blessed Mary Katherine Drexel], both of Pennsylvania. The Benedictine Fathers have charge of St. Joseph's Institute, and the Benedictine Sisters of St. Edith's Academy, Bristow. The Xaverian Brothers teach in academies at Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News, whilst the Christian Brothers labour at Rock Castle. The teaching Sisters are Sisters of Charity; of Charity of Nazareth ; Visitation; Benedictine ; of the Holy Cross; of St. Francis; of the Blessed Sacrament ; and of Perpetual Adoration.


A. General

There are city and county almshouses, private charitable organizations, many the result of denominational efforts, with various orphanages and homes for the aged. These, with the associated charities, nurses' settlements, free dispensaries, and charity hospitals, are doing a most commendable work. The white and the coloured are provided each with a school for the deaf, dub, and blind, and one each for delinquent youths. A sanatorium for tuberculosis patients is maintained by the State at Catawaba. There are four state asylums for the insane : namely, the Eastern, Williamsburg; the Western, Staunton; the South-western, Marion; and the Central (coloured), Petersburg. A late institution is the Epileptic Colony, Amherst County, near Lynchburg. The state convicts not working ont he public roads are located either in the penitentiary, Richmond, or at the James River State Farm. There were (1 jan., 1912) 2135 state convicts, of whom 84 per cent were coloured. Of the 89 women prisoners, only 3 were white, the remainder being negroes.

B. Catholic

The Catholics have 4 orphanages (inmates, 215), 1 coloured infant asylum (inmates, 65), 4 industrial schools, 2 each for boys and girls, half for coloured (pupils, 395), and 1 home for the aged, conducted by the Little Sisters of the Poor , form of religion being no bar to entrance (inmates, 200). For the relief of the poor are found in various parishes conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, and women's aid and benevolent societies.


The governor and lieutenant-governor are elected by the people for four years, and the secretary of State, treasurer, and auditor, by the General Assembly for two years. The legislature embraces 40 senators, popularly chosen for four years, and 100 representatives for two years. Biennial sessions of sixty days, unless extended by vote to ninety days, begin the second Wednesday in January. Five judges, chosen by the legislature for twelve years, form the Supreme Court of Appeals. There are also circuit and county courts, and various state departments. The right to vote is given to male citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age, who have resided in the state one year and in the city or county in which they offer to vote three months preceding an election. A capitation tax is also levied.


Fort Monroe, with its extensive fortifications and garrison, together with a National Soldiers; Home near Hampton, Fort Meyer near Washington, and the Norfolk (Portsmouth) Navy Yard, are government institutions of renown. The principal national cemeteries are at Alexandria, Arlington, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Petersburg, Seven Pines, and Richmond.


The following data concerning legislation has been carefully compiled by Attorney Maurice A. Powers, Secretary Treasurer of the Richmond Bar Association; Violation of the Sabbath by labouring at any trade or calling, except household or other work of necessity or charity, hunting on Sunday, carrying dangerous weapons on Sunday, or to a place of religious worship, and disturbance of religious worship, are misdemeanours, and punishable either by fine or imprisonment, or both. Profane cursing and swearing, publication of obscene books and pictures, and, generally, all offences against morality and decency are likewise misdemeanours. Officers of the State must take and subscribe an oath to support the State and Federal Constitutions, to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of their respective offices, and against duelling. Jurors are required to take an oath to try the case according to the law and the evidence. Witnesses in the several courts are sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Any person required to take an oath, if he has religious scruples against doing so, may make a solemn affirmation. No form is prescribed for the administration of oaths ; but they are usually administered by using the Bible to swear upon, or by uplifted hand. New Year's, Christmas, and Thanksgiving Days are legal holidays, but no holy days, as such, are recognized by law. Daily, while in session, the General Assembly is opened with prayer, but its use is not sanctioned by legislative provision.

Church Incorporations

The incorporation of a church or a religious denomination is prohibited by Section 59 of Article IV of the Constitution of Virginia, but, to a limited extent, conveyances, devises, and dedications of lands to a Church, or unincorporated religious society, as a place of public worship, or as a burial place, or a residence for a minister, are valid.

Tax, Jury, and Military Exemptions

Churches, church lots, church rectories, and public burying-grounds, not held for speculative purposes, are exempt from taxation, as is also the property of literary, educational, and charitable institutions, actually occupied and used solely for the specific purposes indicated. Legacies and devises to such institutions are not subject to the collateral inheritance tax. Ministers of the Gospel are exempted from jury duty. Exemptions from military service are the same as provided by the statutes of the United States.

Matrimony and Divorce

A minister of any religious denomination, with authority from any county or corporation court, may witness the rites of marriage, or the court may appoint one or more persons to celebrate such rites. Marriages must be under a license and solemnized as provided by the statutes of the State. Parental consent, or consent of guardian, is necessary when the contracting parties, or either of them, are under the age of twenty-one years. In addition to the direct line of consanguinity, no man may marry his step-mother, sister, aunt, son's widow, wife's daughter, or her granddaughter, or her stepdaughter, brother's daughter or sister's daughter; and no woman may marry her stepfather, uncle, daughter's husband, husband's son or his grandson or stepson, brother's son, sister's son, or husband of her brother's, or sister's, daughters. Marriages between white and coloured persons are forbidden, and marriages between such persons and between persons under the age of consent, the age of consent of the male being fourteen years and of the female twelve years, and bigamous marriages, are void without decree of court. Seven years' absence of the husband or wife without knowledge that he or she be living, will entitle the other to remarry without incurring the penalty for bigamy. The statutory grounds for divorce a vinculo are: consanguinity or affinity within the prohibited degrees; want of mental or physical capacity existing at the time of the marriage; felony; desertion for a period of three years; pregnancy of the wife at the time of marriage, by some person other than the husband; and prostitution of the wife before marriage. Divorces a mensa are granted for cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, and abandonment. One year's residence in the state of either the husband or wife is necessary to the jurisdiction of the court. From 1867 to 1886, 2635, and from 1887 to 1907, 12,129 divorces were granted.

Denominational Appropriations

Appropriations by the General Assembly of money or other property to any Church or denominational or sectarian institution, directly or indirectly controlled by any Church or denominational or sectarian society, are prohibited by the Constitution; nor has the General Assembly power to make any appropriation of money or other property to any charitable institution which is not owned or controlled by the State.

Intoxicating Liquors

The General Assembly has full power to enact local option, or dispensary laws or any other laws controlling, regulating, or prohibiting, the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors; but local option has been to the present time (1912) the policy of the legislature. On 1 January, 1912, 66 of the 100 counties, and 8 of the 19 cities of the state had no form of liquor license.

Wills and Bequests

No person of unsound mind, or under twenty-one years of age, is, by law, capable of making a will, except that minors, eighteen years of age or over, may, by will, dispose of their personal estate. A will to be valid must be signed by the testator, or by someone for him, in his presence, and by his direction, in such manner as to make it manifest that the name is intended as a signature, and, moreover, unless the will be wholly written by the testator, the signature must be made, or the will acknowledged by him, in the presence of two witnesses, present at the same time, and the witnesses must subscribe the will in the presence of the testator, but no form of attestation is necessary. Wills are revoked by the marriage of the maker. A devisee or legatee under a will is a competent witness thereto, if the will may not otherwise be proved, but the devise or legacy to him is void. The influence which will vitiate a will must amount to force and coercion, destroying free agency. Bequests to incorporated charitable institutions are valid, but those to unincorporated institutions generally fail for uncertainty as to the beneficiaries.


Spanish Settlements (1526-70)

Eighty-one years before the coming of the English to Jamestown in 1607, a settlement was made in Virginia by Spaniards from San Domingo, under the leadership of Lucas Vasquez de Ayllón , one of the judges of the island, who, 12 June, 1526, had obtained from the King of Spain a patent empowering him to explore the coast for 800 leagues, make settlements within three years and Christianize the natives. Accompanied by the Dominican Fathers Antonio de Montesinos and Antonio de Cervantes with Brother Peter de Estrada, the expedition set sail in three vessels from Puerto de la Plata, June, 1526. It was composed of no less than 600 persons of both sexes, with horses and extensive supplies. Entering the Virginia capes and ascending a wide river (the James), the Spaniards landed at Guandape, which Ayllón named St. Michael. Rude buildings were erected and the Sacrifice of the Mass offered in a log chapel. On the death by fever of Ayllón, 18 October, 1526, Francis Gomez succeeded to the command. The severity of the winter, the rebellion of the settlers, and the hostility of the Indians caused the abandonment of the settlement in the spring of 1527, the party setting sail in two of the vessels. The one containing the remains of Ayllón foundered with all on board, leaving only 150 souls to reach San Domingo.

Menendez, the Governor of Florida, sent to Virginia a second Spanish expedition, which settled on the Rappahannock River at Axacan, 10 September, 1570. It was composed of Fathers Segura, Vice-Provincial of the Jesuits, and Louis de Quiros, with six Jesuit brothers and some friendly Indians. Bent on a permanent settlement, the missionaries carried chapel furnishings, implements, and necessary winter supplies. A log house with chapel served as residence. Don Luis de Velasco, so named by the Spaniards, a treacherous Indian guide, led a party of Indians who slew Father Quiros and Brothers Solis and Mendez, 14 February, 1571. Father Segura, with the remaining brothers, Linares, Redondo, Gabriel Gomez, and Sancho Zevalles, met a similar fate four days afterwards. In the late spring a Spanish pilot was sent to Axacan to get news of the missionaries. He returned, bringing an account of their murder, whereupon Menendez again sailed to Axacan and had eight of the murderers hanged, they being converted and baptized before their execution by Father Rogel, a Jesuit missionary.

English Colonization (1607-1775)

Sebastian Cabot probably explored the Virginia shores in 1498. In 1584, 1585, and 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh sent fleets to the coast of North Carolina, but no permanent settlement was effected. The name "Virginia", in honour of Queen Elizabeth, was given to all the territory from the French colonies on the north to the Spanish settlements on the south, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. In 1606 when Virginia extended to the 34th to the 45th parallels, it was divided by James I between the London and the Plymouth companies, the former getting the land from the 34th to the 41st parallels. Colonists to the number of 143, the prime mover being Captain John Smith, set sail from England in three small ships. Passing up a large river, which they named the James, they formed on its shores the first permanent English settlement in America, 13 May, 1607, calling the place Jamestown. That the English settlement was on the exact spot (Guandape) where the Spaniards had settled the preceding century, appears from the relation of Ecija, the pilot-in-chief of Florida, who was sent to Virginia by the Spanish in 1609, to learn the movements of the English. His statement is practically conclusive, since he possessed Spanish charts and maps of the coast, which he studied accurately, and made careful measurements to establish his assertion, written only 83 years after the landing in Virginia of the Spaniards under Ayllón. It is probable that some evidences of the Spanish occupation remained to help determine the English in their choice of Guandape as a place of settlement. The colonists elected Edward Wingfield president and proceeded to construct houses and a suitable fort. Meantime, Captain Christopher Newport, who had commanded the vessels, with Captain John Smith and 23 others, explored the James River as far as the falls (now Richmond ), 10 June, 1607; this event they commemorated by setting up a cross. On the party's return to Jamestown, Smith found himself in disgrace, and the colony upset, owing to an attack by the Indians. He was arrested and tried for ambitious machinations, the charge being the result of jealousy. President Wingfield acquitted him and restored him to favour, after which Smith became the real leader, and, later, the president of the colony. As might be expected, the colonists had many ups and downs. The arrival of Lord Delaware, Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Somers prevented the abandonment of the colony. About 1611 settlements were made at Henrico (now Dutch Gap ), and where the James and Appomattox Rivers join near Bermuda Hundred. Some ten years later new settlements were made on Chesapeake Bay and the James, York, and Potomac Rivers. The marriage of John Rolfe, 1613, to Pocahontas, the daughter of the great chieftain, Powhatan, helped for a time the maintenance of peace between the English and the Indians.

In 1619 slavery was introduced. The same year a shipload of young women, to serve as wives for the colonists, came to Virginia. One hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco was the purchase price of a wife. The London Company was dissolved in 1624, Virginia becoming a colony of the Crown. During the troubles with Parliament, Virginia remained loyal to the king, Charles I. Tobacco constituted the great staple and wealth of the colonists. King Charles appointed Sir George Yeardley governor of the colonies, to succeed Samuel Argall, recalled. From time to time, Indian massacres of the whites occurred. Owing to the tyranny of Lord Berkeley, Nathaniel Bacon, with some followers, headed a rebellion against him in 1676, which did not accomplish its purpose, owing to Bacon's death. Berkeley's successors were Sir Herbert Jeffries, Sir Henry Chicheley, and Lord Culpeper. William and Mary College, the oldest college, after Harvard, in the United States was founded in 1693, and the seat of government, shortly after (1698), transferred to Williamsburg. Governor Spotswood proved a far greater governor than any of his predecessors. Under his able rule of twelve years, beginning in 1710, Virginia made marked progress. In the French and Indian War, which began in 1754, George Washington won distinction during the regime of Governor Dinwiddie. Braddock's defeat was due to his not following Washington's advice. Francis Fauquier succeeded Governor Dinwiddie.

Revolutionary Period (1775-81)

Owing principally to the wars carried on by the mother-country, the colonies were burdened with taxation, and this, too, without representation. Nor were they allowed to trade with any nation other than England. These were the primary causes of the Revolutionary War, which was fanned into flame by the passage of the Stamp Act and Patrick Henry's historic speech in St. John's Church, Richmond. Other great Virginia statesmen of the time who helped the cause of liberty were Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Peyton Randolph, Edmund Pendleton, Richard Bland, George Mason, George, Wythe, James Monroe, James Madison, and John Marshall. Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, 15 June, 1775, and the war began in earnest. George Mason wrote the Bill of State Rights, which was followed by the Declaration of Independence, composed by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the colonists, 4 July, 1776. Each colony was to have a governor, legislature, and three courts. Patrick Henry was elected as Virginia's first governor. The Seal of Virginia was adopted from the suggestion of George Wythe. This was followed by a law ensuring liberty of conscience as to religion. Henry would not stand for re-election, and Jefferson was chosen second governor. In 1779 Richmond became the state capital. The British were defeated in their shops from shore at Hampton, but (1779) burned Norfolk, and in 1781 Richmond was burned and occupied by Benedict Arnold. The war ended with the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington, assisted by Lafayette, Rochambeau, and Count De Grasse, at Yorktown, 19 Oct., 1781.

American Period (1781-1861)

A special Virginia convention, 2 to 25 June, 1788, adopted the code of laws proposed by the Philadelphia National Convention of May, 17687. In the war with the British of 1812 some little fighting occurred along the Virginian coast at and near Norfolk and Hampton. Meantime Virginia grew in wealth, power, and influence. The state constitution was revised at richmond, 5 October, 1829. A serious negro insurrection took place under Nat Turner in 1831. The slave question became now a paramount issue. Virginia, as far back as 1778, with other states, introduced in congress a bill for the abolition of slavery, which was defeated by the New England states, which made money by importing slaves to be sold to the South, and by the cotton states, desirous of negro service for the plantations. Later, after being freed from the presence of the negroes, New England became the hotbed of abolition. Because of agricultural interests, Virginia was naturally a slave state. The agitation of the slave question, together with that of state rights, grew in bitterness, culminating in John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, October, 1859, which helped materially to precipitate the Civil War.

The Confederacy (1861-65)

Virginia brought about a peace conference of the States at Washington with no result, 4 February, 1861. Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops caused Virginia to secede from the Union, 17 April, the vote of the General Assembly being ratified by the people, 23 May. Jefferson Davis had already been chosen President of the Confederacy. It was with untold reluctance and grief that the state was practically forced out of the Union, for which she had fought, and to further whose interest she had supplied seven presidents, the revolutionary commander-in-chief, the drafter of the Bill of Rights and that of the Declaration of Independence, a Patrick Henry, the mouthpiece of liberty, a chief justice, John Marshall, and many other national heroes of renown. The state could not remain neutral. The question was whether she would take up arms against the North or her sister states of the South. The Confederate capital was removed from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, 21 May, 1861, and the command of the Virginia forces tendered to Col. Robert E. Lee, who later became commander-in-chief. General Thomas (Stonewall) J. Jackson proved his mainstay, and, with Lee, won widespread fame. Virginia also gave to the Confederacy Generals Joseph E. Johnston, J.E.B. Stuart, Jubal A. Early, and other notable military leaders. The state became a veritable battlefield, the scene of many of the most sanguinary conflicts of all time. The Southern troops, at first victorious, were later overcome by superior numbers and the tremendous resources of the North; the war being virtually ended by Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox, 9 April, 1865.

The so-called "Reconstruction Days" were the darkest in the history of the state. Her former prestige gone, many of her best sons killed, or maimed, in war, families broken up and scattered, agriculture and industries paralyzed, burdened with debt, the negro problem to handle, and part of her territory formed into another state, the prospects of Virginia after the war were gloomy in the extreme. The South was put under federal military rule and became the rendezvous of unscrupulous office seekers and fraudulent persons.

Recent Progress (1870-1912)

The state was restored to her constitutional rights, 26 January, 1870. Headway gained against adverse conditions, slow at first, gradually became more rapid, until within the last twenty years the progress of Virginia has been marked, a striking indication of which was evinced in the character, quality, and quantity of the state exhibits at the Jamestown Tercentenary Exposition of 1907. The great debt of $45,718,000 in 1871 had in 1911 been reduced to $25,159,000. With the occurrence of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Virginia readily sent her sons to the front, including Major-General Fitzhugh Lee, who had also proved a valiant Southern leader during the Civil War. The Constitutional Convention of 1901-2 made radical changes concerning qualifications for the right of suffrage.


The state constitution allows full religious liberty, yet during colonial times, because of the establishment of the English Church, intense hostility was shown to adherents of other beliefs and to Catholics in particular. In vain did Lord Baltimore attempt to plant a Catholic colony in Virginia (1629-30). Soon stringent legislation was enacted against Catholics. In 1641 a decree declared that adherents of the pope were to be fined 1000 pounds of tobacco if they attempted to hold office. The following year all priests were given five days within which to leave the colony. In 1661 all persons were obliged to attend the Established services or pay a fine of £20. The governor issued orders to magistrates, sheriffs, constables, and people to be diligent in the apprehension and bringing to justice of all Catholic priests. The records of Norfolk County (1687) show Fathers Edmonds and Raymond arrested for exercising their priestly offices. In 1699 Catholics were deprived of their right of voting, and later a fine of 500 pounds of tobacco was imposed upon violators of the law. They were declared incompetent as witnesses in 1705, and in 1753 such incompetency was made to cover all cases. In 1776, however, Virginia declared for religious freedom, and ten years later, enacted a special statute further guaranteeing the same.

Seal of the Confessional-Concerning the seal of the confessional there has been no legislative enactment, nor judicial decision by Virginia's supreme court of appeals. However, a particular judge has rendered a decision in favour of the Church's position in the interesting case which follows. At Richmond in October, 1855, Very Rev. John Teeling, D.D., the vicar-general, was summoned to testify against John Cronin, who, prompted by jealousy, had fatally wounded his wife, whose confession Dr. Teeling had heard as she lay dying. The priest was ordered to reveal her confession. Dr. Teeling's reply, that any other priest would in substance have made, was as follows: "Any statement made in her sacramental confession, whether inculpatory or exculpatory of the prisoner, I am not at liberty to reveal." In various ways were questions put to the priest, who always refused to answer concerning the confession, and finally explained to the court his motives. Judge John A. Meredith, who presided, then gave the following decision, which was spoken of for years afterwards as the "Teeling Law": "I regard any infringement upon the tenets of any denomination as a violation of the fundamental law, which guarantees perfect freedom to all classes in the exercise of their religion. To encroach upon the confessional, which is well understood to be a fundamental tenet in the Catholic Church, would be to ignore the Bill of Rights, so far as it is applicable to that Church. In view of these circumstances, as well as other considerations connected with the subject, I feel no hesitation in ruling that a priest enjoys a privilege of exemption from revealing what is communicated to him in the confessional."

Catholic Missionary Period (1526-1820)

An account of the Spanish settlements and missions of 1526 and 1570 has been given elsewhere. Bishop Richard Challoner, of the London District, to whom the early English missions were intrusted, wrote, in 1756, that he had about twelve Jesuit missionaries in Maryland and four in Pennsylvania, who also attended the few Catholics in Virginia upon the borders of Maryland. Rev. John Carroll (Afterwards bishop and archbishop ), who, before his consecration as bishop, laboured much in Virginia, in a letter (1785) to Cardinal Antonelli stated that there were 200 Catholics in Virginia, attended four or five times a year by a priest. He added, however, that many more Catholics were said to be scattered throughout the state. The coming to Richmond in 1791-92 of the Rev. Jean Dubois (afterwards third Bishop of New York) marked an epoch for Catholicism in Virginia. He carried letters of introduction from Lafayette to the greatest Virginian families, the General Assembly then in session giving him the use of a hall in the State Capitol, where he offered the first Mass ever said in Richmond. During his stay he instructed Patrick Henry in French, the latter in turn teaching him English. The successors of the Abbé Dubois in the capital city were Fathers Mongrand, Michel, McElroy, Baxter, Mahoney, Walsh, Horwe, and Hoerner. In 1794 Rev. John Thayer was labouring at Alexandria where he was succeeded two years later by Rev. Francis Neale, who built there a brick church. Rev. James Bushe began a church at Norfolk in 1796. He was succeeded by Very Rev. Leonard Neale (Afterwards Archbishop of Baltimore ). Fathers Lacy, Delaney, Stokes, Cooper, Van Horsigh, Hitzelberger, O'Keefe, and Doherty were later missionaries of note. In the Valley of Virginia laboured successively Fathers Cahill, Gildea, Florid, Mahoney, Du Hamille, and McElroy.

Notable Catholics

Besides the names of the great bishops and zealous priests already mentioned, it is proper to note those of Rev. Abram J. Ryan , the "Poet Priest of the South", and Rev. John B. Tabb whose verses are read abroad. Besides the notable Catholic laymen already noted, mention should be made of the names of Rear-Admiral Boarman, U.S.N.; United States Senators John W. Johnston and John S. Barbour; Judge Anthony M. Keiley, Judge of the International Court, Egypt ; Major Peter J. Otey, congressman; Dr. George Ben Johnston, Richmond, surgeon, and Dr. Daniel J. Coleman; John J. Lynch, reformer; Mr. and Mrs. thomas F. Ryan, donors of churches, schools, convents, and charitable institutions ; Joseph Gallego; Captain John P. Matthews; William S. Caldwell; Mark Downey; John Pope ; and Michael Murphy.

The conversion to the Faith about 1832 of Mrs. Letitia Floyd Lewis, daughter of Governor John Floyd, which, owing to her prominence, caused a sensation throughout the state, was followed by that of her two sisters, Mrs. Lavalette Floyd Holmes, wife of the erudite Professor George F. Holmes f the University of Virginia; Mrs. Nicotai Floyd Johnston, wife of Senator John W

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