VIRGINIA – Week of September 10
Stories from the States

VIRGINIA – Week of September 10


Alexandria, Virginia

Week of September 10, 1873

Population 1870: 13,570
Population 2016: 139,966

September 10, 1873

The Trans-Atlantic Aeronautic Expedition

New York — The enormous balloon has been and is still being visited by thousands of people. If the weather is favorable, the balloon will be launched at six o’clock this evening. The aeronauts expect to land in Europe on the morning of the second day.
Second Dispatch: The ascension has been postponed. The inflation commenced at three o’clock this morning. When one-quarter filled it became unmanageable. Holes six feet long were cut in it by Major Donaldson. The safety valves are said to be out of fix.

September 10, 1873

Another Cave-In

Another cave-in of the crib work at the Church Hill Tunnel on Twenty-fourth Street occurred Sunday night, causing considerable alarm but doing very little real damage. Measures have been taken to prevent further caving that might endanger the houses. No damage was done to the tunnel as the arching at that point is completed and substantial.

September 10, 1873

Fined $15

James H. Clark was fined $15 by Justice White this morning for assaulting and threatening to shoot John Cooley. John Cooley was fined two dollars and a half for assaulting and threatening to strike James H. Clarke.

September 10, 1873

Mortuary Report

From returns received at the office of the board of health, the whole number of deaths in the city for the week ending September 6th was 49. In addition 4 still-born were reported — 1 white, 3 colored.
-23 males, 26 females.
-16 white males, 9 white females.
-7 colored males, 17 colored females.

September 10, 1873

13-Year-Old Commissioned

Richard Hay, a little chap about thirteen years of age, was again before the police court today charged with interfering with persons on the public streets. Justice White committed him to jail and ordered a commission de lunatic inquirendo to be held in his case.

September 11, 1873

Caterpillar Killers

Vienna, Fairfax County, has an anti-caterpillar association who report regularly the number killed.

September 12, 1873

Watermelons and Undertakers

A Western paper says that “along the sidewalk, the watermelon and the undertaker go hand in hand; typhoid fever sails in an invisible shallop [boat] on the lake of the green scum; and cholera swings upon the front gate.”

September 12, 1873

Reading in Bed

At Ford’s Hotel, last night a young man of literary inclinations bethought himself that he would read and at the same time rest his weary limbs. So he lit a candle and stuck it in a hair brush on his pillow. From reading, he went to sleep and when he awoke there was little left of the pillow and the bedding and bedstead were charred. An alarm of fire was raised and the guests were greatly excited but the fire did not spread.


September 12, 1873

Police Court

Nothing of a grave nature transpired at this court today. Two parties were up on counter charges, who, perhaps, though the other needed remodeling. One is said to have attempted to perform the operation with a shovel and the other attempted to reciprocate with a brick. This little arrangement will doubtless be harmonized satisfactorily to both parties tomorrow morning.

September 13, 1873


The Graphic balloon finally busted at Brooklyn, New York, yesterday and all idea of going to Europe by that means has been abandoned.

September 13, 1873

An Olden Time Marriage in Henrico

In looking today over the old records of Henrico County court we encountered the marriage bond of an ancient couple which, together with the endorsement of Major Adam Craig, an old Revolutionary officer who was the first clerk of the court, may throw some light on the matter-of-fact way they used to conduct business in the olden time. The following are the papers alluded to:
“I do certify that Miss Susannah Nelson is above the age of twenty-one years and is a resident of the city of Richmond. Given under my hand and seal this 29th day, August 1795.
James Moore, seal.
James Jones,
Royal Short.

“Marriage bond between Charles Johnson and Susanna Nelson dated 29th August 1795 is signed by
Charles Johnson, seal.
James Moore, seal.
Wilson Allen.
James Blagrow.

“Endorsed Charles Johnson’s bond for marriage license 29th August, 1795; no fee paid, and trusted in consequence of the man’s declaring himself obliged to marry the girl under a forfeiture of his old shirt, and rather than he should incur the penalty, as he appeared and swore he was not worth the amount of the fee, agreed to depend on his honor which he pledged, but where he is now I know not.”
Adam Craig, Clerk.

September 15, 1873

Unpleasant Reminder

The balloon advertising dodge may have done very well in advertising the Graphic newspaper into successful publicity, but the rather discreditable circumstances attending the failure will be very apt to cling about it as an unpleasant reminder as long as it lives. This is all the more to be regretted since the paper is good enough to prosper on its merits and did not need such irregular and unprofessional assistance.

September 15, 1873

Kate Stoddard, Murderess

The deputy keepers at the Raymond Street jail complain that the alleged murderess of Charles Goodrich is a very impertinent prisoner. They say that her demands for attendance are very great and much annoyance is, therefore, occasioned her jailors who are anxious to oblige her. Rev. Dr. Bass, a few days since, accompanied by some ladies, called at the jail, having some flowers and fruit for her.

Deputy Sheriff Stinson went upstairs to the debtor’s room in which she is confined and informed her that there were visitors who desired an audience with her. She replied that she did not want to see them but upon learning they had flowers and fruits for her she signified a remarkable readiness to receive them.

Later Stinson again went to the door of her room to notify her that ex-Chief of Police Campbell desired an interview with her. Finding the door tied on the inside the jailor cut the strings and entered the apartment. Looking angrily towards the intruder, Kate seized a book in a threatening manner and demanded what he wanted. On being told, she replied: “I don’t care to see him. I want you to know that I am a lady and I don’t want anyone to come into my room without first knocking and asking permission. If you try that again, I’ll complain to the sheriff.”

* * *

Population information and featured photo from Wikipedia.,_Virginia

The featured photo shows a bird’s eye view of Alexandria from the Potomac in 1863. Fort Ellsworth is visible on the hill in the center background.


  • Diane September 17, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    I LOVE stories from the past. It’s my passion! After reading this, I went and looked up Kate Stoddard. Intriguing woman!

    • KarenB October 13, 2017 at 8:31 AM

      Thank you for your comment! I have finished all the states and will start up a new series of beginning next week — all sorts of stories of strange goings on.


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