A Guide to the Executive Papers of Charles T. O'Ferrall, 1894-1897 O'Ferrall, Charles T., Executive Papers of Governor, 1894-1897 43210

A Guide to the Executive Papers of Charles T. O'Ferrall, 1894-1897

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 43210


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Library of Virginia

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© 2007 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Donald Chalfant

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Accession Number
43210
Title
Executive Papers of Governor Charles T. O'Ferrall, 1894-1897
Physical Description
2.2 cu. ft. (5 boxes)
Creator
Virginia Governor, (1894-1897 : O'Ferrall)
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Virginia. Governor (1894-1898 : O'Ferrall). Executive papers of Governor Charles T. O'Ferrall, 1894-1897. Accession 43210. State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

Acquisition Information

Aquired prior to 1905


Biographical Information

Charles Triplett O'Ferrall was born 21 October 1840 in Frederick County, Virginia. In 1855, O'Ferrall was appointed clerk pro tempore of the Morgan County (West) Virginia circuit court and served for two years before being officially elected to that position which he held until 1861. At the start of the Civil War, he joined the 12th Virginia Cavalry as a private but was rapidly promoted, achieving the rank of major by August of 1862. During his recuperation for a wound received at the Battle of Upperville in Enterprise, Mississippi, O'Ferrall met Miss Annie Hand. Following their marriage on 8 February 1865, he returned to active service as commander of all cavalry forces in the Shenandoah valley and served until the end of the war achieving the rank of colonel.

In 1868 he entered Washington College (Washington & Lee) and graduated with a law degree in 1869. After practicing law for two years in Harrisonburg, O'Ferrall ran as a Democrat for the Virginia House of Delegates and won a two year term (1871-1873). In 1874, he was appointed judge of the Rockingham Count Circuit Court, a position he held until 1880. Following the death of his first wife, O'Ferrall remarried in 1881 to Miss Jennie Knight. The couple had four children in addition to the two children from his first marriage. After failing in his first bid for U.S. Congress ten years prior, O'Ferrall won the 7th District's congressional election in 1882 and began serving the first of five consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives.

In 1893, running on the bimetallic currency ticket opposed to free silver and proposing support for agriculture, roads and schools, O'Ferrall was elected governor of Virginia. As governor, he received praise in 1894 for his response to the conflict with Maryland over commercial fishing in the Chesapeake bay as well as for his deployment of militia to Alexandria to disperse a vagrant encampment know as "Coxey's Army" or "Commonwealers." O'Ferrall also advocated the concept of the "right to work" and in May of 1895, sent troops to southwest Virginia to protect non-striking miners from violence. He also used troops on separate occasions to suppress the lynching of blacks and proposed anti-lynching statutes in 1896 and 1897, both of which lacked legislative support. In direct opposition to his own party, O'Ferrall spoke out against the "Free Silver" movement and the 1896 presidential candidacy of William Jennings Bryan therein lessoning his popularity and weakening his effectiveness as governor during his final two years of office. Upon completion of his term in 1897, O'Ferrall retired to Chesterfield County, where he operated a law practice in partnership with Samuel Regester. He died 22 September 1905 in Richmond.

Scope and Content

The collection includes records from accession 23349

The Charles Triplett O'Ferrall executive papers are arranged chronologically and primarily consist of incoming correspondence and receipts during his one term as governor from January 1894 to December 1897, with additional undated material at the end of the collection. Included are requests for appointments to a variety public offices including Notaries Public, local judgeships, educational and military command positions. The collection also contains letters regarding Virginia's delegation to the 1896 Cotton States International Exposition held in Atlanta including travel arrangements for the woman's delegation (November 1894, January/February/June 1895). Newspaper clippings of interest to the governor are found throughout the collection.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:

Series I: Chronological Files, 1894-1897

Related Material

Separated Material

Separated materials have been relocated to Box 5.


Adjunct Descriptive Data

Bibliography

Younger, Edward and James Tice Moore, ed., THE GOVERNORS OF VIRGINIA 1860-1978. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982.

Bibliography

Younger, Edward and James Tice Moore, ed., THE GOVERNORS OF VIRGINIA 1860-1978. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982.

Contents List

Series I: Chronological Files, 1894-1897.
Boxes: 4
Extent: 4 boxes.

Much of the correspondence addresses law and order topics including requests for military protection of civilian prisoners threatened by lynch mobs (5 February 1894, 29 April 1894); issuance of rewards from the civil contingent fund to encourage public assistance to find and capture criminals; letters regarding extradition proceedings of fugitives captured outside of Virginia as well as requests for monetary reimbursement from both individuals and law enforcement involved in locating, apprehending, and incarcerating criminals. Notable is correspondence and documentation related to a train robbery in Aquia Creek (Stafford County) on 12 October 1894. Included is the governor's proclamation of reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers (13 October 1894), subsequent correspondence detailing the search, arrest and extradition of the accused, reward claims from citizens (June, September 1895), and an application for pardon for one of the two men convicted of the crime (1 November 1897).

Much of the correspondence addresses law and order topics including requests for military protection of civilian prisoners threatened by lynch mobs (5 February 1894, 29 April 1894); issuance of rewards from the civil contingent fund to encourage public assistance to find and capture criminals; letters regarding extradition proceedings of fugitives captured outside of Virginia as well as requests for monetary reimbursement from both individuals and law enforcement involved in locating, apprehending, and incarcerating criminals. Notable is correspondence and documentation related to a train robbery in Aquia Creek (Stafford County) on 12 October 1894. Included is the governor's proclamation of reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers (13 October 1894), subsequent correspondence detailing the search, arrest and extradition of the accused, reward claims from citizens (June, September 1895), and an application for pardon for one of the two men convicted of the crime (1 November 1897).

There are documents highlighting O'Ferrall's use of the military to quell civil unrest including his role in the Jacob Coxey affair and the related "Commonwealer" situation in Alexandria from April through August 1894. Reports on the size and location of the vagrant Commonwealer encampment (4 August 1894) as well as the actions of the vagrants are documented from a variety of sources including military and local law enforcement. A draft of the governor's proclamation justifying the removal of the men (8 August 1894) is included. Also included is correspondence noting O'Ferrall's response to a mine strike in southwest Virginia as well as his reaction to the threat imposed by striking West Virginia mine workers (May - July 1895).

Coastal matters associated with oysters and fishing are also documented. Of note are several documents concerning an oyster pirating controversy involving the detention of a Maryland-based fishing vessel by Virginia authorities (19 February 1894) and the subsequent negotiation with the state of Maryland over fishing rights in the Chesapeake Bay. Correspondence with Governor Frank Brown about the incident (September 1894) as well as resolutions by the Maryland legislature (February 1894) and Virginia legislature (September 1894) are included. Also included is a petition for amendment of the federal Geodetic survey to include omitted oyster beds in Warrick County (April 1895) and agreement by the US Geological Survey to re-survey the area (May 1895). There is additional correspondence with Maryland governor Lloyd Lowndes addressing the hiring of an engineer to replace buoys in the Pocomoke and Tangier sounds to demarcate the boundary lines between the two states (October, November 1897).

Also of note are correspondence highlighting race, gender, and educational issues including a response to criticism resulting from a reception at the governor's mansion involving a black delegate from Massachusetts known publicly as the Teamoh affair (21 March 1895); a survey and comparison of costs associated the state's purchase of school textbooks (February 1895); a petition by a group of women appealing for higher education opportunities for women in Virginia including admittance into UVA (25 November 1895) and the governor's response declining their request (27 November 1895).

  • Box 1
    Folder 1
    1894 January - June
  • Box 1
    Folder 2
    1894 July
  • Box 1
    Folder 3
    1894 August
  • Box 1
    Folder 4
    1894 September - October
  • Box 1
    Folder 5
    1894 November - December
  • Box 2
    Folder 1
    1895 January
  • Box 2
    Folder 2
    1895 February
  • Box 2
    Folder 3
    1895 March - April
  • Box 2
    Folder 4
    1895 May - June
  • Box 2
    Folder 5
    1895 July - August
  • Box 2
    Folder 6
    1895 September - October
  • Box 2
    Folder 7
    1895 November - December
  • Box 3
    Folder 1
    1896 January-February
  • Box 3
    Folder 2
    1896 March-April
  • Box 3
    Folder 3
    1896 May-June
  • Box 3
    Folder 4
    1896 July-September
  • Box 3
    Folder 5
    1896 October-December
  • Box 3
    Folder 6
    1897 January - March
  • Box 3
    Folder 7
    1897 April
  • Box 3
    Folder 8
    1897 May - September
  • Box 3
    Folder 9
    1897 October - December
  • Box 4
    Folder 1
    Undated Correspondence
  • Box 4
    Folder 2
    Undated Newspaper Clippings
  • Box 4
    Folder 3
    1894 Official Finance
  • Box 4
    Folder 4
    1895 Official Finance
  • Box 4
    Folder 5
    1896 Official Finance
  • Box 4
    Folder 6
    1894 Personal Finance
  • Box 4
    Folder 7
    1895 Personal Finance
  • Box 4
    Folder 8
    1896 Personal Finance
Oversized (Clamshell Box),
Box: 5
Extent: 1 box.
  • Box 5
    Folder 1
    28 February 1894
  • Box 5
    Folder 2
    30 March 1895
  • Box 5
    Folder 3
    25 November 1897