Registration Commenced in Richmond and Henrico
June 18, 1867
Registration for voting began in the Third Ward of Richmond yesterday.At the building, there were two doors, one for black men and one for white men.The number of people registered is 185 white men and 144 black men.
REGISTRATION COMMENCED IN RICHMOND AND HENRICO. THE PROCESS OF MAKING VOTERS. Number Registered, &c., &c. The work of registration under the reconstruction bill was commenced yesterday in the Third Ward of this city. Our reporter was present at an early hour, and as our citizens seem to desire full particulars of the plan adopted to make voters, we devote considerable space to the details of the process. The office of registration for Monroe Ward is in the store formerly occupied by Brander & Cooke, on the corner of Second and Grace streets, which has been neatly fitted up for the purpose. The entrance is on Second street. After entering a small vestibule, two doors are before the applicant for registration. Over one is a painted sign-board with the inscription "For white persons," and the other is similarly labeled "For colored persons." ^ A crowd of men at each entrance patiently wait their turn for admission. Every four or five minutes the doors are cautiously opened by a policeman standing inside, and one man admitted as one of the same color goes out on Grace street. Thus confusion is generally avoided, although the colored men are sometimes rather noisy in urging their respeclive claims for priority of admission. HOW VOTERS ARE MADE. Entering the office, as two voters of each color are always at the desk, the applicant has time to look around while his neighbor is registering. Behind the desk are seated Captain Thomas E. Kose, President of the Board, Captain B. C. Cook, register at large for Richmond, and Mr. Alexander Duval, register for the Third Ward. Captain Cook registers the freedmen, and Captain Rose the white men, while Mr. Duval enrolls the names on four separate lists, black and white, challenged and unchallenged, each being allowed a separate list. The following questions are first propounded to the applicant: "What is your name? Where were you born? What is your occupation? What is your age?" The answers to each satisfactory, are duly recorded on the top of a sheet upon which is printed the oath prescribed by section one of the act of Congress passed March 23d, 1867. This oath is then subscribed to and the Bible kissed, and the man is enfranchised. If the applicant cannot write, as was the ease with nine-tenths of the colored men who presented themselves on yesterday, the blanks are filled by Captain Cook and the voter places the tips of his fingers on the pen while "his mark" is made. Three colored challengers were early in attendance, but some hours elapsed before any white men could be procured, although Captain Cook was dilligent in his efforts to secure persons for the duty, finally, Mr, John A. Hicks seated himself for the purpose. It would be well could competent men be posted at the office hereafter, and we trust that some may be found. Not more than six applicants were challenged, the number of whites and blacks being about equally divided. The ground of challenge was generally non-residence in the ward. The first man who registered yesterday was William Q. Mansfield, a native of England, who has resided in Virginia for about two years. For the first two or three hours, about the same number of white and colored men presented themselves before the Board, but afterwards the latter were rather more numerous, but when the books were closed for the day, at 4 o'clock P. M., the list stood thus: White.................185. Colored..............144. Majority of whites............41. Qute a number of well-known citizens registered early in the morning, while many others came foward later in the day. A large crowd was gathered around the doors ot the office and in the street when the polls closed; and, indeed, nearly all day there was a fine turnout of freedmen. No disturbance whatever occurred, and the registering officers received many enconiums for polite and gentlemanly deportment.
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“Registration Commenced in Richmond and Henrico,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed September 19, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/634.