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Mayhem on Mayo’s Bridge – richmondmagazine.com



During the early weeks of 1795, Richmond suffered an outbreak of the contagious, disfiguring and infrequently deadly smallpox illness. Authorities of the unbiased metropolis of Manchester throughout the river barred entry to Richmonders.

A unit of greater than a dozen weapons-bearing males held the Manchester facet. Six others fanned out alongside the south financial institution to stop river crossings both by ferry or Mayo’s (14th Street) Bridge.

John Mayo Jr., grandson of William Mayo, a civil engineer who laid out Richmond’s unique avenue grid in 1737, accomplished development of the bridge round 1787. The tolls permitted by the state legislature made him rich. He wanted the cash for rebuilding after successive floods and ice floes smashed the ramshackle span. The bridge from the north financial institution to Mayo’s Island consisted of wooden piers supporting planks after which was constructed over pontoon boats from there to Manchester.

The smallpox lockdown stranded residents, a lot of whom expressed their displeasure by demonstrating on the bridge.

David Patteson, a Revolutionary War veteran, state legislator and commander of the Chesterfield militia, had written to Virginia Gov. Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee (revered Revolutionary commander and Robert E. Lee’s deadbeat dad), suggesting using the militia to manage the bridge. Lee agreed.

James Hayes lived in Richmond together with his spouse, Ann, their 4-year-old son and attendant slaves, although the Hayes household additionally operated the Falls Plantation, which was located alongside a bend of the James River east of Manchester. Hayes, an English immigrant and writer, served as official printer for the commonwealth and postmaster of Richmond.

On Saturday, Jan. 25, he endeavored to position his household and enslaved employees away from the an infection. But the transfer practically sparked a capturing conflict.

A number of weeks later, Hayes wrote a letter to Gov. Lee to clarify what had occurred on Mayo’s Bridge.

After Hayes made a crossing by canoe, the Manchester Guard seized the craft. Then two of Hayes’ slaves went into Richmond, “desirous of seeing their fellow-servants,” wrote Hayes. Upon their return to the Falls Plantation, guards ambushed the boys and hauled them to the Manchester finish. “They were there cruelly treated,” Hayes knowledgeable Gov. Lee, “one in particular by Thomas Goode, who after having beaten him in a most violent and inhuman manner” returned the enslaved man to Richmond.

Hayes sought justice. He gathered 5 witnesses, who armed themselves and paid a go to to the Manchester Guard.

Hayes wrote that he left his weapon with the posse and approached the Manchester toll home, calling for the captain.

Goode emerged, whereupon Hayes “complained of his treatment of the negro.” Unremorseful, Goode declared that he’d do it once more. Hayes threatened to prosecute Goode, prompting a vulgar response that Hayes deemed pointless to repeat.

The get together turned to go away when Goode, Hayes claimed, “called out vehemently for the guard to turn out and put every man to death. A scuffle then ensued.”

Hayes recounted how “after a good deal of severity, repeated insults and threats,” three of the boys had been pressured onto a seaside beneath the bridge.

They all then went earlier than Chesterfield County epidemic enforcer “magistrates.” The Manchester Guardsmen served as prosecutors and witnesses, and the Hayes gang acquired a bond of fifty kilos to seem on the subsequent courtroom session.

But Hayes finagled a return to Falls Plantation. This precipitated an altercation with Patteson on Hayes’ property. He in the end thought it “advisable to make my escape in a canoe.” The guards pursued.

Lee, in the meantime, sought to quell the consternation alongside Mayo’s Bridge by negotiating a compromise to reopen the span to North Siders. The disaster was averted.

Mayo’s Bridge, nonetheless, wasn’t so fortunate. It suffered no less than eight destructions, together with detonation by retreating Confederates on April 3, 1865. Following the 1910 union of Richmond and Manchester, the town in 1913 accomplished a concrete bridge, considerably resembling the Pont Neuf in Paris. The bridge is presently due for some type of renovation.





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