President Ulysses S. Grant, on January 26, 1870, signed the act that allowed Virginia’s representatives to return to the U.S. Senate and House, thus ending Reconstruction in the Commonwealth. It had been five long years since Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse and those in Chesterfield were not exactly happy with provisions of the forced new state constitution. In fact, the political animosities came close to being carried out in a duel in Chester between competing newspapermen Robert Hughes and Col. William Cameron. But the magistrate threatened them with arrest. They actually carried out the duel the following day near the Dismal Swamp and Cameron was shot in the chest, but didn’t die. He went on to serve as governor of Virginia in 1882.
FUN FACT: In 1816, there was a frost every month of the year except for August. Farmers are said in the years afterward to have raised enough food and forage to last for two years in anticipation of a recurrence.