A Guide to the The Papers of William Francis Rhea 1899-1902 Rhea, William Francis, Papers of 12094

A Guide to the The Papers of William Francis Rhea 1899-1902

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number 12094


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

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Processed by: Sharon Defibaugh

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
The Papers of William Francis Rhea 1899-1902
Physical Characteristics
These papers consist of ca. 316 items, (1 Hollinger box, .5 linear feet).

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

The Papers of William Francis Rhea, Accession #12094, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

These items were purchased by the University of Virginia Library from Stuart Lutz, Historical Documents, Jersey City, New Jersey, October 23, 2001.

Biographical/Historical Information

William Francis Rhea was born on a farm near Bristol, Virginia, on April 20, 1858, and attended rural and private schools. In 1878, he graduated from King College, Bristol, Tennessee, began to study law, and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1879. Rhea served as a judge in both the Washington County Court and Bristol, Virginia, city court. He was first elected as a Democrat to the Virginia State Senate, 1885-1888, and then served two terms in the United States Congress, 1899-1903. After his defeat in the 1902 election, he again practiced law in Bristol, until his appointment as a member of the State corporation commission, 1908-1925, when he lived in Richmond, Virginia, until his death in 1931.

Scope and Content Information

This collection consists of the political papers of Virginia Representative and judge of the Washington County Court (1880-1885) and the city court of Bristol, Virginia, William Francis Rhea (1858-1931), 1899- 1902, ca. 316 items (1 Hollinger box), chiefly constituent mail and papers pertaining to the election dispute between Rhea and James Alexander Walker (1832-1901) in the 1898 Congressional election for the Ninth District of Virginia.

Papers concerning the contested election are grouped together and include correspondence of the Campaign Committee with attorneys involved in the contest about their fees; other material about expenditures and fees connected to the disputed election; letters from registrars to Rhea regarding his request for lists of registered voters; miscellaneous documents and notes; lists of voting registrars in the 9th Congressional District; and Voting Rolls for Pulaski County and Russell County, Virginia, listing the registrar's name and address, and the voter's name, address, occupation and politics. According to the letters from the registrars to Rhea, most of them did not include the names of African-American voters on the voting rolls sent to Judge Rhea. Many of these African-American voters were expected to have cast Republican votes for Walker.

Constituent mail is concerned with applications for patronage positions, especially with the Census Bureau and Post Office; requests from farmers for the free blackleg vaccine, flower bulbs, seeds, literature printed by the government, and school superintendent positions. There were also letters opposing the Loud Bill concerning second-class mailing fees.

Other papers include financial documents of the Democratic Campaign Committee; an official ballot from the election held on November 6, 1900, with a letter from the Court Clerk Kilgore certifying its authenticity, January 8, 1902; Washington County receipts for [Claude] Swanson, 1901; a printed bill pertaining to copyright law and a report on "Measurements of Flow on the Holston River, Tennessee, June 10, 1902."

Contents List

Constituent Mail - Applications for Promotions and Positions 1900
Constituent Mail - Blackleg Vaccine 1900 Feb
Constituent Mail - Census Applications 1899-1900
Constituent Mail - Claims Against the Federal Government 1899-1901
Constituent Mail - Flower Bulbs Distribution 1900
Constituent Mail - Literature Distribution 1899-1901
Constituent Mail - the Loud Bill 1900
Constituent Mail - Post Office Applications, Questions, Complaints 1899-1900
Constituent Mail - School Superintendent Applications 1900-1901
Constituent Mail - Seed Distribution 1900-1901
Election Dispute of Rhea and Walker - Correspondence of Campaign Committee and Attorneys involved in the contest case concerning fees 1900 Apr
Election Dispute of Rhea and Walker - Expenditures and Fees 1899-1900
Election Dispute of Rhea and Walker - Letters from Registrars regarding the request of Judge Rhea for lists of voters 1899-1900
Election Dispute of Rhea and Walker - Miscellaneous Documents and Notes ca. 1899-1901
Financial Papers of the Democratic Campaign Committee 1900-1901
Lists of Voting Registrars in the 9th Congressional District 1899-1900
Official Ballot from an election held on November 6, 1900, with a letter from Court Clerk W.E. Kilgore certifying its authenticity 1902 Jan 8
Printed Bill relating to copyright and a Report "Measurements of Flow on the Holston River, Tennessee, made for James Gannon, Bristol, Tennessee" 1901-1902
Voting Rolls - Pulaski County [1899-1900]
Voting Rolls - Russell County [1899-1900]
Washington County Receipts for [Claude] Swanson 1901