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Clippings from Local Newspapers Published in the 19th Century

Located approximately two miles north of Charlottesville’s city limits (see maps), Proffit received varying degrees of attention from the local newspapers.  The clippings below come from three newspapers published during the 19th century—Charlottesville Chronicle, Richmond Planet, and Jeffersonian Republican—each of which served significantly different audiences, focuses, and ideologies. Charlottesville Chronicle was published intermittently from 1866 to 1904 and was (implicitly) geared mostly towards the white population in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. 

The items included here are taken from issues published during 1883-1892, when the newspaper was published weekly, and from 1894-1895, when the newspaper was published daily.  Richmond Planet was published weekly from 1883 to 1945 and catered specifically to the interests and concerns of African Americans. The Planet was published in Richmond but covered also outlying areas including Albemarle County.  Finally, Jeffersonian Republican—published weekly from 1835 to 1862, and semi-weekly from 1873 to 1894—was aimed mostly at the University of Virginia student body, although occasional entries pertained to non-student issues.  The two items included below from The Jeffersonian are land-sale advertisements and are of interest here because they correspond roughly with the time the Coles and Brown families purchased their lots in Proffit.

Undoubtedly, both blacks and whites paid attention to all three newspapers (though it is not unlikely that more African American paid attention to The Chronicle than whites paid attention to The Planet), and closer studies of the dynamics created by such ‘cross-readership’ will certainly provide useful insights on mass media and interracial relations during this period.

The news items collected below are not exhaustive.  Rather, they provide a sample of the types of items that can be of use to those conducting historical research about Proffit or similar towns.
The items are organized here into three categories: 

(1) items that provide direct reference to the people who lived in Proffit and the vicinity;
(2) items that appear to be about Proffit’s residents (or relatives), but require further research in this direction; and
(3) items that provide insight into the daily lives and experiences of Proffit’s residents in the late 19th Century, especially as it was experienced by the town’s African-American residents.

Issues from all three of these publications can be found at the University of Virginia library as well as in other libraries.  A useful resource for researching Virginia newspapers online is provided by The Library of Virginia at http://eagle.vsla.edu/newspaper/.
If you wish to browse through the newspaper collection, they are available at the Special Collections department at the University of Virginia library, where they are filed under their own name.  You can also find most issues on microfilm under the following call numbers (see bibliography for more details):

Charlottesville Chronicle: Micfilm N-US Va-5 
Richmond Planet: Micfilm N-US Va-11
Jeffersonian Republican: Micfilm N-US Va-48
The following items include news coverage that is directly related to Proffit and its vicinity (10 items):
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1892 05/21 Richmond Planet p4 c2


Sixteen candidates were baptized the 15th inst. at the First Baptist church by Doctor Hardy, also he preached a splendid sermon at 11 A. M.  The church was crowded to the utmost.  
A number of young people of this city visited Eastham, Va., 14th inst., accompanied by our correspondent, to attend the commencement exercises of Mr. R. B. Brown’s school, which was a complete success.  The school house was crowded.  After the programme of the pupils was carried out, Miss N. L. Brown sand a solo, “Flee as a Bird to your Mountain,” after which we had a few remarks from Mr. Wheeler, who teaches at Proffits, a few remarks from our correspondent, after which tables were arranged and we enjoyed a delicious supper.  
Quite many of the county school teachers have closed their schools, namely: Miss Susie Alexander, Miss Wyatt and Miss Mary Bullock.  
Drs. Hardy and Goodall returned from the convention in time to fill their pulpits last Sunday.

1892 11/19 Richmond Planet p1 c5

Mr. Ned Thomas who lives near Proffits, on the V. M. R. R., about 10 miles from this place, was killed last Tuesday evening, the 8th inst.  His throat was cut and he was covered with corn shucks.  The assassin is yet undiscovered.

1892 12/10 Richmond Planet p3 c3

Miss Rosa Walker, who was burned week before last near Fry Springs died last week from the effects of the burns.  Her home is near Proffit, Va., on the M. M. R. R.  She was engaged to be married, Xmas.  Her friends have our sympathy.

1893 02/25 Richmond Planet p1 c7

Reeves Carroll, a boy about sixteen years old, was killed by the cars on the Virginia Midland Railroad, on the 11th inst. near Profit Station.  He was the sole support of his mother who is sickly.

1894 05/16 Charlottesville Chronicle p2 c1

PROFFIT, VA., May 15, 1894. —On Sunday, the 13th inst., at 5 a. m. Mrs. M. A. Hill died at the residence of her husband, Mr. B. G. Hill.  The funeral services were conducted by the Rev., J. M. Farrar the following day at 3:30 p. m., and the deceased was laid to rest by the side of her infant buried in Laurel Hill cemetery nine weeks ago. 
She was a loving and devoted wife and mother and a faithful friend and one who wore life’s crown of roses well, fainting not ‘neath the pressure of its thorns.

1894 05/23 Charlottesville Chronicle p2 c2 (a)

PROFFIT, VA., May 22, ’94.—Bethel Sunday school will hold its annual missionary meeting next Sunday at 11 a. m.  The services will consist of appropriate exercises, and an address by Mr. Sam Woods.  The usual church services may be expected on the same day at 4 p. m.  
Mr. Via died at the home of his son, Mr. James D. Via, last Thursday at 4 p. m.  The remains were taken to Charlottesville for interment the following Saturday.  
Mrs. Madison, wife of the late Winston Madison, died at the residence of her grandson, Mr. Milstred, Monday morning, and was buried in Laurel Hill cemetery this afternoon.  The deceased was ninety-eight years old.

1894 05/23 Charlottesville Chronicle p2 c2 (b)

STONY POINT, VA., May 21. —Your correspondent, this morning, mistaking a carrier pigeon for a hawk shot and killed it.  Its body was dove colored with the wings and neck of a darker or brownish shade.  On its right leg was a small ring bearing the number 12076 and the letter N or Z, depending upon the way you held the ring to look at it.   
After a long, dry spell, in which the oats and grass crop suffered much, we have just had a fine rain.  The fruit crop in this vicinity, owing to the cold snaps in the early spring, will be a total failure, with the exception of grapes and strawberries, and the grape crop will be cut quite short.   
Dr. C. W. Kent, of the University, was on a visit yesterday to Belle View, the residence of his sister.   
Miss Ellen H. Kent, of Louisa, is also there on a visit.

1894 12/14 Charlottesville Chronicle p7 c1

PROFFIT, VA., Dec. 6.—Mr. Wesley Marshall and Miss Lula Garrison were married by the Rev. J. M. Farrar, at the residence of the bride’s father, yesterday at 4 p. m. The four year old daughter of George and Alice Brown, colored, was burned to death last night.  Both parents were away from home at the time of the accident, which was caused by the child playing too near an open fire.

1895 03/14 Charlottesville Chronicle p4 c2

Death of Mrs. Margaret Austin. Correspondence Chronicle  Proffit, VA., March 14th.—Miss Lula Marsh and Mr. King Draper were united in marriage by the Rev. J. M. Farrar, at the home of the bride’s brother, Mr. James Marsh, yesterday evening.  The community was greatly shocked this morning by the news of the death of Mrs. Margaret Austin, nee Barksdale, wife of Dr. H. O. Austin, which occurred last night at twelve o’clock.
Her death was so sudden, that her children, Mrs. James Austin and Mrs. Campbell Austin, did not reach her bedside in time to say, goodbye.  The interment will take place at Mt. Repose, Sunday at 11 a. m.  Much sympathy is expressed for the bereaved husband, who is in very feeble health.

1895 11/04 Charlottesville Chronicle p1 c3

Miss Angie Smith died yesterday at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Smith, at Proffits.  Miss Smith had been an invalid for some time with consumption, but had been a patient suffer through all.  At the time of her death she was about twenty-three years of age, and had for several years been one of the most earnest, consecrated, christian young ladies in that section.  Her sweet, gentle nature and her kind consideration of everybody about her had won the universal esteem of her friends and all who knew her. She was buried this afternoon at three o’clock, near her him.  Deceased was a niece of Mr. George D. Smith, of this city, where she also had many friends.


The following items appear to be about the residents of Proffit (or their relatives), although further research is needed to confirm this (5 items):
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1883 08/03 Charlottesville Chronicle (a)

Mrs. Mary Terrell, wife of Mr. A. F. Terrell, and mother of Mr. N. A. Terrell, died in this place on Sunday afternoon last.  The funeral services were held at the Disciples’ church, of which denomination she was a consistent and esteemed member, Monday morning at 10 o’clock.

1883 08/03 Charlottesville Chronicle (b)

HISTORY OF THE TERRELL FAMILY.—Maj. Geo. W. Terrell, of New Orleans, formerly of this county, is now here on his way to the Green brier White Sulphur Springs.  He will remain here for some days, seeking information about his relatives, connexions and genealogy.  According to the best historical and traditional accounts, the family of Terrells in this country to which he is related, is of Anglo-Norman origin, and was founded in England by Sir Walter Terrell, a Norman knight, about A. D. 1000, when William the Conqueror took possession of that country.  From this old Anglo-Norman stock descended three brothers, William, James and John of English birth.  [These] being [??] persecuted on [??] their [??] ker religion [??] into [??] land.  From [??] immigrated to America both [??] 1668 and 1700.  Another [??] is that they were sent to America by King James II about A. D. 1687 as explorers, &c., for the crown, and were Awarded by the King, for efficient Service, large royal grants of land in Hanover, Caroline and King George counties.  Branches of these families moved to Albemarle and the adjoining count[??]  intermarried with the Lynch, [Thomas?] Jefferson, Marshall, Herndon, Maury, [Levis?], Minor, Chiles, Barksdale, [Dierott?] and other Virginia families of distinction in various parts of the Union. Maj. Geo. W. Terrell went to Alabama after the war, where he was associated in business with Gen. Geo. D. Johnston, and from thence he went into business in New Orleans, La., where, we are glad to hear, he has been very successful.  He is anxious to get all the information he can of his family connexions with a view of assisting in writing a family history, and would be thankful to any one who will kindly give him reliable information.  Write to him here for circulars giving fuller particulars of the Terrell family.

1890 08/16 Richmond Planet p3 c3

CHARLOTTESVILLE  LETTER The Baptist Sunday School association met at First Baptist Church July 20.  A large number of delegates from different Sunday Schools throughout the country were present.  And noble speeches were made on subjects of vast importance, concerning Sunday Schools and Teachers.  Two elegant essays were rendered by Misses Flannagan and Alexander.

1892 10/01 Richmond Planet p1 c3

Miss Laura Terrell who has been visiting her aunt, left for Washington Saturday.  

An even [??] Mr. and Mrs. Henry Martin’s [??] guests were Miss Laura Terrill, Virginia Allen, Bettie Flanagan, and Miss Alice Lucas and Messrs. Clarence Lewis, R. F. Brown and Wm. H. Parago.

1893 04/22 Richmond Planet p4 c1-2

Mr. Dabney W. Minor, the father of Prof. River C. Minor, died at Web Glenn on the 10th last.  He was 82 years old, was buried in the Minor burying ground on 11th inst.  Rev. T. W. Woodfolk officiated.  He had been a consistent member of the Baptist Church 50 years and died trusting in Jesus.


The following items are not related directly either to Proffit or to its residents.  However, they provide insight into the daily lives and experiences of Proffit’s residents in the late 19th Century, especially as it was experienced by its African-American residents (11 items):
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1878 06/26 Jeffersonian Republican p4 c3

of fair Land, 4 ½ miles from Charlottes-
ville, On the Stony Point Road;
Mudium Buildings; Young Orchard.
For Terms apply to H. M. MAGRUDER
at Ridgeway, or through the Post Office, at
Charlottesville, Va.

1878 07/10 Jeffersonian Republican p4 c2-3

[Various advertisements for land for sale around Albemarle County]

1883 02/09 Charlottesville Chronicle (a)


1883 02/09 Charlottesville Chronicle (b)

UNCLAIMED LETTERS remaining in the Charlottesville Post-office for Month ending February 7th, 1883:
Anderson, John (2) Brown, A Bridgewater, Elvya Crutchfield, Geo. A. Jackson, Florinda Johnson, Sallie
Martin, F.
Reeves, Joshua
Dibbs, Griffin
Wright, A. H.
Warren, Angelina Persons asking for above letters please say They are advertised.
M. H. S. LONG, P. M.

1883 05/25 Charlottesville Chronicle

THE BETHEL CADETS.—This Handsome corps, spend a few hours between trains, in this place, on Saturday last.  They were welcomed at the Chesapeake and Ohio depot by a committee of the Monticello Guard and Terrell’s Quartette, and, after a parade through the streets, were entertained at dinner at the Central Hotel.  In the afternoon they visited the University, where a speech was made to them by Prof. G. F. Holms.  They were there put through company and battalion drill on the lawn, and afterwards reviewed by Col. Wertenbaker, presenting a handsome and soldierly appearance. Maj. A. G. Smith is the principal of The school.  He and Prof. E. S. Blackwell and wife accompanied the corps, the officers of which are as follows: Colonel, C. E. Lightfoot, commandant; Adjutant, P. C. Lightfoot; Sergeant-Major, R. C. Ward. Company A—Captain, Aleck Bonnot; Lieutenants, W. L. Guthrie and Field; Orderly Sergeant, Harry Cockerille.  CompanyB—Captain, P. A. L. Smith; Lieutenants, L. M. Mathews and W. L. Minter; Orderly Sergeant, Wilbur Morrison.

1883 08/24 Charlottesville Chronicle

Mahone and the Negroes.

We maintain as a truth that cannot be disputed and which high-toned, patriotic men everywhere should recognize, that the property, the intelligence, the virtue of the people of Virginia are chiefly represented by the white Democrats, undeniably also in a numerical majority.  Greediness, prejudice, and federal patronage have combined to make a black column a compact body of zealous politicians who have marched to the polls without straggling, and voted their entire strength in the past, whilst many thousands of disgusted and disheartened citizens of the white Democratic Party have sulkily refused to vote. 

The time has come for a rising en mass of good and true white Democrats of every name, Funder and Readjuster, to rescue the State from the hands of a corrupt, and selfish little clique, as contemptible in numbers as it is unscrupulous in its designs.  The time has come for all sensible and honest colored Republicans to refuse to follow any longer in a procession headed by a few white renegates whose only use for colored voters is to count them at the polls.  The time has come for all intelligent people of every party in the Northern States to open their eyes and understand the true situation in Virginia.  It is not a fight for Democratic or Republican principles, but a fight for everything that government was instituted to secure.  It is a fight to determine whether the majority of the people shall controll the commonwealth, or a small faction headed by Mahone, and wholly indifferent to the interests of the people, white or black. 

Surely the colored men who have learned to read ought to be able to see that the aims of this little faction are supremely selfish.  The difference between them and the Democrats is simply a difference in candor and honesty.  The Democratic Party means whit it says—no social equality, but a complete recognition of the legal rights of the colored man.  Mahone can profess no more, but he claims to be a particular friend of the black man nevertheless.  Let him show it.  Actions speak louder than words.  If the colored Republican has an equal right to office let him receive a fair share of the appointments which Mahone is making all over the State.  When that is done, it will be time enough for the colored people to be amused by the racket of his fife and drum.  As matters are now conducted, it looks like sheer stupidity in them to be attending his meetings to do the clapping.  They are badly fooled when they are persuaded not to listen to any but one side.  The renegade whites laugh at them enough, we doubt not, when their backs are turned. 

All their calculations are based upon the gullibility of the man and brother.  Why, in reason’s name, do they not establish social equality at once? Why do they not invite the Negro to their parties and dinner tables?  Why not introduce them to their wives and daughters?  All such questions will remain unanswered until the offices are filled and they have no more use for colored votes.  Then they will be told that the color line must continue forever.

1886 05/14 Charlottesville Chronicle

We are prepared to furnish on short notice
by the car-load or otherwise
In store and ready for delivery,
of choice quality.
Call and see us before buying,

1886 06/18 Charlottesville Chronicle

FOR SALE OR RENT My residence on Park street, just out of the Corporate limits of the town. LARGE AND COMMODIOUS
BRICK HOUSE, Gas and Water-figures; extensive grounds With large oak grove.  Orchard of choice fruit, flower garden and all conveniences for a first-class establishment.  Quantity of land (not exceeding twenty-five acres) will be arranged to suit purchaser. Terms liberal.  Apply to C. H. Harman or to undersigned.  Will rent to a good tenant, if not promptly sold. mch 26-ts    B.C. FLANNAGAN.

1887 07/29 Charlottesville Chronicle

—Miss Flannagan, of New York, formerly of Charlottesville, Va., is visiting Miss Sue Neal.—Dispatch

1888 04/06 Charlottesville Chronicle

DEATH OF A WORTHY COLORED MAN.—Randall Jackson died at “Tufton” on the 30th ult., in the 76th year of his age.  Randall was a man of excellent character.  He was raised by the late Col. Thos. Macon, and had been on the Tufton estate all his life.  No inducement could be offered him to leave it, and he, with his wife, stayed by the white people through the Sheridan raid, the surrender, and cared not for the allurements of freedom.  Randall was the ox-driver on the farm, and it is said of him that he drove more good teams and was longer on the same plantation than any other man in Virginia.  He was buried on Sunday.  His funeral being preached by Rev. Jesse Herndon.

1889 01/11 Charlottesville Chronicle

—Dr. L. E. Flannagan has returned home after an extended stay in New York city.  He is looking well, and his friends are pleased to see him.


© Created by Mieka Brand for the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia, 2000