Charlottesville City Council (1889–1900)

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Main article: Charlottesville City Council (History)
Legislation passed in the 1869–1870 General Assembly session: The constitution required that each county be divided into townships, and the enabling act stipulated that the commissioners appointed to lay off the townships (later changed to magisterial districts) should not include therein any town or city with a population of 5,000 or more. The Constitution of 1902 made no specific reference to independent cities but included provisions recognizing the principle that Virginia’s cities were independent of their neighboring counties. The Constitution of 1971 codified the independent status of Virginia’s cities.

On March 2, 1888, the General Assembly passed an ACT granting the Town of Charlottesville administrative independent of a county and the right to be know as City of Charlottesville. As part of this ACT, the Legislature granted the City of Charlottesville authority to annex surrounding Albemarle County land to create a city of nearly 800 acres.[1] Previously incorporated as a town in 1801, Charlottesville incorporated as a city on September 1st 1888 following annexation of over 500 acres of Albemarle County land. Total population after 1888 annexation: 5,432. (1880 population: 2,676)

Charlottesville City Council

Charlottesville City Council (1889-1900)
Type: Unicameral (officially nonpartisan)
Electoral District Electoral district (Ward)
Term Start June 13, 1889
Term End 1900
Preceded by Charlottesville Town Council (1870–1889)
Succeeded by Charlottesville City Council (1900–1916)

First Election: 1889 election

Last Election: 1900 election

Biographical Information

Municipal headquarters (1887-1969) This building stood at the corner of 5th Street, NE and E. Market Street, where the city parking garage is now located. (c. 1905)

Following the 1888 annexation, which essentially doubling Charlottesville's population, a new charter, adopted in 1889, replaced the town council form of government which consisted of a ten-member Board of Aldermen elected annually, with a biennially elected twelve-member city council elected from four wards.

Divided into four council wards, Charlottesville's city council was led by a mayor; citizens in each of the four wards elected three council representatives to serve a one-year term. The council elected a President (essentially a vice mayor position) to preside over the council in the mayor's absence. Regular sessions were held monthly on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m. from November 1st to April 1st) in the Office of the Mayor or in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Under the first city charter, granted by the Virginia Legislature in 1889, Charlottesville was divided into four wards ("so that the wards...should be as nearly equal in population as possible"), citizens in each ward electing three member to the council who also lived in the ward. The mayor held a veto vote. The president of the council presided over the council in the mayor's absence.

On May 23, 1889, the first city election was held this Thursday. This was the first election under the city's new Charter using of the residency ward system of selecting City Council members proving representation from different areas (four wards) of the city. Starting on July 1st, Charlottesville City Council would consist of a Mayor (elected at-large), and twelve Aldermen (three councilmen each elected from their respective wards by plurality vote). See also: Charlottesville City Council (History)

Ten member of the "old" Board of Aldermen (elected at-large in 1886) held office until June 13, 1889. Twelve members of the "new" city council who had been elected by qualified voters of the four council wards [2](districts) of the City of Charlottesville on May 23, 1889, took over the legislative branch of the government on June 13, 1889. As council members, they represented the concerns, needs, and issues of their constituents (respective wards). The last election under this system was held in 1900.

City Council
Mayor Year President First Ward Second Ward Third Ward Fourth Ward
Samuel B. Woods 1889 C. D. Fishburne Alonzo Wingfield L. T. Hanckel C. D. Fishburne Thomas M. Bailey George Perkings H. T. Nelson Junus Perley C. D. Carter G. W. Spooner John W. Coflin B. F. Grove J. M. Murphy
1890 L. T. Hanckel A. D. Cox J. E. Gleason
1891 W. C. N. Randolph F. M. Wells W. J. Tyson John L. Cochran Jr. A. N. Peyton
L. T. Hanckel 1892 H. T. Nelson C. D. Fishburne J. S. McCue A. D. Payne
1893 W. J. Tyson M. Leterman J. H. Nalls John S. Patton
John S. Patton 1894 W. A. Melborn
1895 B. F. Grove
J. Samuel McCue 1896 W. J. Keller A. D. Payne F. M. Huyett F. C. Fitzhugh J. M. Murphy John S. Patton
1897 Frank Pearce Farish
1898 W. J. Keller G. W. Olivier
1899 Eldridge Turner G. D. Payne J. L. Walters W. A. Melborn John L. Cochran Jr.
1900 J. E. Gleason Henry M. Lewis


† Judge John L. Cochran Jr. (W) died on March 16, 1900; the council had previously accepted his letter of resignation, as member of the council from the Fourth Ward, on April 12, 1900.

See Also


  1. Web. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charlottesville, staff, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911, retrieved July 28, 2019.
  2. Web. [1]