The Municipal War - Writ of Mandamus.
April 2, 1870
Ellyson claims the mayoralty of Richmond and all things related, but Chahoon refuses to give them up.
During Thursday night all was quiet in and around the city, and up to 10 o'clock in the morning nothing of an exciting nature had occurred. In accordance with the determination expressed by Ellyson's counsel at the close of the trial on Thursday, that in order to make up a case, and to get it before the Supreme Court, it was announced that Ellyson would hold his court as usual at 9 o'clock. It was expected that, should he attempt to do so, the officers of Judge Underwood's court would interfere to prevent it, and quite a number of persons collected to see what would be the result. To the surprise or nearly every one no such attempt was made, and it soon after transpired that the Judge, who alone had authority to cause the arrest, had left the city. This took all by surprise; for his court was adjourned on Thursday to meet the next morning at 10 o'clock; and when that hour arrived counsel, clients, witnesses, and others who merely from habit attended the place, gathered there to transact their appropriate business, it turned out that the Judge was absent. Much conjecture as to the cause of his absence was indulged in, but no satisfactory conclusion was arrived at. DEMAND FOR SURRENDER. At 11 o'clock Colonel Egbert, in behalf of Mr. Chahoon, made a verbal demand on Ellyson for possession of the City Hall, the second police station, and all the property of the city then in his (Ellyson's) hands. Mr. Ellyson replied that he did not intend to give up anything in his possession to Mr. Chahoon or any one acting under his authority. WANTS THE CITY HALL. About an hour afterwards Chahoon and Egbert went in company to the City Hall and demanded of Captain Dabney, the officer in charge, possession of the building. Captain D. replied that his "orders from Mavor Ellyson were to hold it, and that it was his determination to obey them." No further attempt was made on that garrison, but a short while thereafter the second police station surrendered without a blow. It was rumored in the afternoon that there would be a meeting of the old Council, and our reporter was promptly on the spot, but we could see no one who knew anything of it, and after waiting for some time past the hour and no one appearing, he left. THE NEXT MOVE. was from the other side, and in the shape of a writ of MANDAMUS NISI, which was served on Mr. Chahoon last night by the Sheriff of the city. "The Commonwealth of Virginia to George Chahoon, Esq., of the city of Richmond: "Whereas complaint hath been made by Henry K. Ellyson, of the city of Richmond, as Mayor thereof, to B. R. Wellford Jr., judge of the circuit court of the said city, in vacation, that you, the said George Chahoon, lately acting as Mayor of said city, having in your possession or control certain books, papers, and property of the said city-to wit: the records of the Mayor's Court, papers relating to causes therein, and police arms, which had come to your possession or control while acting as Mayor of said city, and which by law and right should be delivered to the possession and control of your successor, H. K. Ellyson, Mayor aforesaid, did, on the 17th day of March, 1870, in said city, on the request of the said H. K. Ellyson therefor, then and there being Mayor aforesaid, refuse to deliver the same, or any part thereof, to your successor, H. K. Ellyson, Mayor aforesaid, and that you have thenceforward refused to deliver to him the same or any part thereof. "Therefore we command you, if it be so, that you forthwith deliver to the possession and control of the said H. K. Ellyson, Esq., Mayor of the city of Richmond, the aforesaid books, papers, and property, of the said cityl or, in default there of, that you make known to us, in our said circuit court of the city of Richmond, in said city, before our said judge thereof, on the first day of the next term thereof, why you have not done the same. "Witness the signature and seal of B. R. Wellford, Jr., judge of the seventh circuit, at the city of Richmond, this 1st day of April, 1870. "B. R. Wellford, Jr. [Seal.]"
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“The Municipal War - Writ of Mandamus.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1614.