Charlottesville Town Council (1870–1889)

From Cvillepedia
Revision as of 22:05, 10 January 2024 by Jmh6d (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Charlottesville City Council (History)

The Charlottesville Town Council (1870–1889), was the legislative and policy-making body of Charlottesville from July 4, 1870 to June 30, 1889.

Population: 2,838

Chapter 153 of the Acts of Assembly of 1870-1871 provided a New Charter for the Town of Charlottesville (approved March 28, 1871). The municipal authorities of the Town of Charlottesville consisted of a mayor and six alderman, who were elected annually on the fourth Saturday of June. [1] See also: CHAP. 217, An ACT to Provide a New Charter for The Town of Charlottesville, Approved March 28, 1871. [2]

Before the 1888 Annexation, Charlottesville's population in 1880 was about 2,676. According to the 1890 Census, the city's population was 5,591 – a 108.93% increase during the decade. Number of councilmen per number of constituents ranged from in 1880 to in 1889.

On Monday, July 4, 1870, the newly elected Board of Aldermen of the Corporate Court of Charlottesville, consisting of Dr. W. C. N. Randolph, Dr. Joseph Norris, R. F. Harris, B. Obendoffer, Samuel Comer, and Col. Bennet Taylor assembled in the mayor's office for the purpose of organizing the Board in conformity with the new State Constitution, Laws and Regulations. At the first meeting of the mayor and Board of Aldermen, a committee was formed to meet with former mayor, T. W. Savage, to obtain town records and property.

In 1871, under Charlottesville's new charter, approved by the General Assembly on March 28, 1871, the municipal authorities of "The Town of Charlottesville" consisted of a mayor and six alderman, who were elected annually by "qualified voters" on the fourth Saturday of June.[3] Council elections were at-large and city council candidates could live anywhere in the city or the county of Albemarle.

Under the 1871 Charter, approved by the Legislature on March 28, 1871. The municipal authorities of the town consisted of a mayor and six aldermen, who were elected annually, on the fourth Saturday in June. The mayor and aldermen constituted the council. The mayor presided over all matters of the council, and in his absence, the president of the council (who was elected by the council at its first annual meeting in July of each year) presided. The mayor had no vote in the council, except in the case of a tie, when he gave the casting vote.


Charlottesville incorporated as a city on September 1st 1888. The first city charter provided for a biennially elected mayor and twelve member board of alderman (three alderman were elected from each of the four wards); and seven other elected officers. (Charter, 1899-1900, c. 1012; repealed, 1946, c. 384.)[4]

From 1722 until 1892, towns became cities only by act of the Virginia General Assembly, which issued a city charter in the form of a statute; after 1892 a town could also incorporate as a city by petition to the circuit court.

Chapter 343, an Act to amend the charter of the town of Charlottesville, approved by the General Assembly on March 2, 1888: Before June 13, 1888, the municipal authorities of the city consisted of a mayor and ten aldermen elected at-large. After June 13, 1888, twelve aldermen were elected by four wards.

  • Primaries were held the third Thursday in May.
  • Mayor and six aldermen elected annually on the fourth Saturday in June.
  • Regular Meetings of the City Council were held the 2nd Thur. of the month.
  • Elections were held the 4th Thursday in May every second year after 1901.
  • Term Started the first day of July.
Mayor Year Board of Aldermen
President Seat A Seat B Seat C Seat D Seat E Seat F Seat G Seat H Seat I Seat J
William L. Cochran 1871 Joseph Norris W. C. N. Randolph R. F. Harris Joseph Norris B. Obendoffer Bennet Taylor Samuel Comer Office did not exist Office did not exist Office did not exist Office did not exist
1872 C. D. Fishburne S. V. Southall J. H. Bowman
1873 R. F. Harris John McKevers R. F. Harris Spottswood M. Keller J. W. Lipop C. H. Harman
1874 R. W. Nelson John Lewis
1875 R. W. Nelson Bernard Oberdorfer
R. F. Harris 1876 C. D. Fishburne
1877 D. H. Stern
B. R. Pace 1881 C. D. Fishburne M. Trieber John West
R. F. Harris 1883 M. B. Heller R. C. Vandegrift W. C. Payne C. H. Harman W. O. Fry
1886 C. H. Harman
1887 C. D. Fishburne
1888 Samuel B. Woods E. E. Dinwiddie Samuel B. Woods John L. Walters Thomas W. Bailey
Samuel B. Woods 1889 C. D. Fishburne A. Wingfield John L. Cochran

‡ On September 22, 1875, Mayor William L. Cochran died while in office at the age of 37. Council President R. F. Harris assumed the duties of mayor during a special meeting of the council held on September 28, 1875.

On September 28, 1875, the council chose Joseph Norris as President of the Council, a position previously held by R. F. Harris before he assumed the duties of mayor following the death of Mayor William L. Cochran.

On February 6, 1888, at the Council meeting held this evening, two new Aldermen, Samuel Woods and T. M. Bailey, who were appointed by the Legislature under the Amended Charter and had taken the Oath of Office prescribed by Law before the Judge of the County Court of Albemarle, took their seats as members of the Council.    

See Also