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Culpeper Times • November 1-7, 2018
HISTORY Story of William Grayson: The final chapter? On July 17th, 1850, William Grayson having been confined in jail since April 1849 awaiting the scheduling of his third trial was taken from the Culpeper County jail and hanged. Apparently, the concern of the perpetrators was that Judge Field upon a motion for change of venue would allow the third trial to be heard in another county with the fear that this time Grayson would be acquitted. The note below was attached to the decision and record of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals shared in last week’s column. NOTE BY THE REPORTER. — After the decision of the Court granting to the prisoner another
ZANN’S PLACE Zann Nelson
trial, an armed mob in the day time, took him from the jail and hung him: And thus to punish a man whom they suspected of murder, they committed murder themselves. I thought bringing the reader to this point in the saga of William Grayson would end the story, but there is more, much more. This was not a common case of lynching. Grayson received two trial and was headed for a third; there were citizens in Culpeper and surrounding counties who attempted to abort the mob’s plan. They failed to do so, and much sentiment was expressed inside the county as well as across the Commonwealth in opposition to the act. I have included the transcripted portions below of an excerpt from a letter by an anonymous Culpeper “Law Abiding Citizen” that appeared in the Richmond Enquirer on July 26, 1850. “But enough. They broke open
BIZ BIO The People of Wellspring: Yates Sealander, MD When a thank-you card walks around on two legs, it tends to make an impression. Actually, the thank-yous weren’t technically cards. They were chickens—and they were part of the reason Yates Sealander pursued a career as a rural family physician. “My great uncle, who was a surgeon, used to tell me about getting chickens or homebaked goodies as a thank you for his work,” Sealander said. “Those sincere gestures stuck with me and made me want to help people like he did.” A familiar, trusted local family physician in Madison, Sealander joined the Wellspring team earlier this year. He’s still at the same location on Route 29 North, but now his practice is part of a system that fits well with Sealander’s longstanding commitment to community care. “Wellspring’s model provides real advantages,” Sealander said. “There’s great support here, and
specialists are readily available, and local— sometimes in the building.” Sealander earned his Bachelors degree from Davidson Yates Sealander, MD College in 1981, and in 1985, received a medical degree from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, He’s been practicing in Madison County for over two decades Given that when he’s not seeing patients, Sealander enjoys being outside fishing and hunting, Madison County is just about a perfect fit for Sealander. “I always wanted to be an old country doctor,” he said. While Sealander still has a few years to go before he can qualify for being “old,” he has the “country doctor” part of his dream nailed down, and two out of three ain’t bad.
the jail. And they hung the prisoner. Will this community uphold these misguided men in this flagrant violation of law? Never before that I know of was Virginia the scene of such a disgraceful outrage> Will the principal actors and leaders in this revengeful work be suffered to go “unwhipped of justice?” It is not a case of Grayson’s guilt…It is a case of rebellion against the decision of the highest criminal tribunal in our land. Does it not become a lawabiding, order-loving people, unitedly and firmly to assert and maintain the dignity and supremacy of the law and to inflict punishment upon every infraction of it?...” There were numerous articles pertaining to Grayson’s murder that tell a story of those who attempted to prevent the tragedy and those who concurred with the sentiments expressed by the “Law Abiding Citizen” for dignity and order. They will be shared for a full
understanding. There are a few other questions remaining: • Who was William Grayson? Does he have living descendants? • How did Grayson afford the services of a Richmond-based law firm? • What happened to the perpetrators? Until next week, be well. Zann Nelson is a researcher specializing in historical investigations, public speaker and award -winning freelance writer and columnist. She can be reached at M16439@aol.com or www.facebook.com/ZannsPlace.
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