Exhibit 2

Charles City Courthouse – a symbol of the times

The Courthouse village

Charles City County Courthouse was built in the 1750s and until recently was the third oldest courthouse in America still in use for judicial purposes. The courthouse served as the seat of county government, but it also stood as the symbol of laws that defined the status of African Americans, first by restricting freedoms and then by protecting them. During the first century of its operation the courthouse would have been a fearsome place for most African Americans. After the Civil War, however, the courthouse came to symbolize something different. Its Clerk of Court, Harris Miles, was the first person of color to hold public office in the county. With his election the courthouse became a symbol of a new America -- one in which Africans were Americans. Photo courtesy John Bragg.


Charles City County Courthouse VillageThe courthouse village included other important buildings in addition to the courthouse. The original clerk’s office, pictured to the left of the courthouse, was the county repository for records. Those records included countless wills distributing slaves as property and inventories valuing slaves in the settlement of estates. The records also included documents like the marriage bond of Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles Skelton, owner of the slave Betty Hemmings and her dozen or more children, including Sally. Photo courtesy National Archives.


Taverns were located at every Virginia courthouse and occasionally were used to accommodate jurors engaged in deliberations. In June 1855 a jury was sequestered at the Charles City tavern to deliberate the fate of Martha Dixon, a free woman of color who was charged with administering arsenic to the infant Benjamin Ladd. Public sentiment about the case must have been highly charge, as the sheriff reported to the court that about midnight four men of the county forced their way into the room where the jury was deliberating on the pretext that they wanted to offer the jurors some port wine or whiskey. The sheriff and his deputy managed to evict the men engaged in the attempted jury tampering. Martha Dixon was convicted of second-degree murder, suggesting that the jury was not entirely persuaded of her guilt. The Charles City tavern burned during the Civil War. Lossing, Benjamin. Guide Book to the American Revolution


The old county jailThe county jail also burned during the Civil War. The jail was a two-story structure fitted with stocks, a whipping post and a pole for ear docking, that is nailing a person by ear to the post. The jail housed runaway slaves and prisoners who were not sent to the state penitentiary, including debtors who were confined for failure to pay their debts, at least until the U. S. Constitution was adopted forbidding imprisonment for debt. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


Runaway slaves who were captured in the county were confined in the jail until claimed by their owners. The jailor ran ads in the Virginia Gazette, such as this one published in 1774 for the slave named Peggy Wilson who had been sold by a Roanoke owner to a York County owner and then to one in Amelia County. Sale was a common punishment for running away. Judged by the number of times Peggy Wilson had been sold previous to this advertisement, the reader might conclude that Peggy was an accomplished runaway. The advertisement also illustrates the fact that slaves were using surnames long before emancipation gave them the right to be known by them. Virginia Gazette (Rind) 12 May 1774.


Occasional slave auctions also took place at the courthouse. More commonly, Charles City slaves were auctioned on the plantation where they lived, or were carried to the auction house in Richmond pictured here. Slave Auction, Richmond, Virginia, 1861, The Illustrated London News (Feb. 16, 1861), vol. 38, p.139 in Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, www.slaveryimages.org.


Confederate MonumentThe monuments on the courthouse green also reflect changing times. The Confederate monument was erected in 1901 as a part of a larger movement that placed similar monuments at virtually every courthouse in Virginia. Such monuments sought to ensure that future generations would embrace a southern understanding of the war. Photo courtesy Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History.


President Tyler monumentThe symbolic impact of the Confederate Monument was softened in 1961 when a Charles City committee, charged with celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Civil War, sought to promote a message of reconciliation and unity by dedicating a monument to President Tyler for his role as presiding officer in the unsuccessful Peace Conference of 1861. Photo courtesy Nancy Phaup.


The third monument on the green honors the memory of men of every race from Charles City who died in service during World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts. This monument was erected after two members of the Board of Supervisors, one of them Charles Hill Carter, an eleventh-generation descendant of the Shirley Plantation families, voted to refuse a request by a private organization to place a monument on the courthouse green honoring only the white men from Charles City who had died in World War II. Thus, the monuments, like the courthouse itself, are symbols of changing times. Photo courtesy Nancy Phaup.


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