From the Virginia Museum of Veiled History, Winchester VA
Larry Lamar Yates, Proprietor
First, Perhaps the Most Important Event in June in Virginia History That Few of Us Know About
June 8, 1680. The House of Burgesses passed this law:
“WHEREAS the frequent meeting of considerable numbers of negroe slaves under pretence of feasts and burialls is judged of dangerous consequence; for prevention whereof for the future, Bee it enacted by the kings most excellent majestie by and with the consent of the generall assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the publication of this law, it shall not be lawfull for any negroe or other slave to carry or arme himselfe with any club, staffe, gunn, sword or any other weapon of defence or offence, nor to goe or depart from of his masters ground without a certificate from his master, mistris or overseer, and such permission not to be granted but upon perticuler and necessary occasions; and every negroe or slave soe offending not haveing a certificate as aforesaid shalbe sent to the next constable, who is hereby enjoyned and required to give the said negroe twenty lashes on his bare back well layd on, and soe sent home to his said master, mistris or overseer. And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid that if any negroe or other slave shall presume to lift up his hand in opposition against any christian, shall for every such offence, upon due proofe made thereof by the oath of the party before a magistrate, have and receive thirty lashes on his bare back well laid on. And it is hereby further enacted by the authority aforesaid that if any negroe or other slave shall absent himself from his masters service and lye hid and lurking in obscure places, comitting injuries to the inhabitants, and shall resist any person or persons that shalby any lawfull authority by imployed to apprehend and take the said negroe, that then in case of such resistance, it shalbe lawfull for such person or persons to kill the said negroe or slave soe lying out and resisting, and that this law be once every six months published at the respective county courts and parish churches within this colony.”
Some other events of Virginia Veiled June History:
June 2, 1958. Mildred and Richard Loving married. (June, the Wedding Month!) On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia law invalidating their marriage was unconstitutional.
June 8, 1874. Virginia Estelle Randolph was born in Henrico County. At 16, she began teaching school. Teaching in Henrico County, she developed an approach to teaching that included academic instruction, learning practical skills, and parent and community involvement. The Jeanes Fund supported African-American teacher “supervisors” who, based on Randolph’s methods, trained and assisted rural teachers in Black school all over the rural South, and also worked with community people on improvement projects.
June 9, 1738. A man we know today only as Jemmy, born in Virginia, about 23 years old, had successfully left his position of slavery in Surry County. His “owner” advertised a twenty shillings reward for his recapture in the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg.
June 10, 1887. Harry Flood Byrd Sr. was born. He would grow up to be the unquestioned political boss of Virginia for 40 years.
June 12, 1776. The Virginia General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Rights, whose first paragraph reads: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” This General Assembly was selected by an electorate that was limited to white men owning substantial property, some of whom could vote in more than one jurisdiction if they owned property in each jurisdiction.
June 19, 1861. Meeting in Wheeling, the Reorganized Government of Virginia repealed the Ordinance of Secession of Virginia and declared the statewide offices of the Commonwealth vacant. The next day, they elected Francis Pierpont Govermor of Virginia. He served until 1868.
June 24, 1866. John Hartwell Cocke died. Cocke was one of many Virginia slave owners who recognized that the slavery business system was doomed and was contrary to morality, but could not see his way to actually supporting abolition. He believed that the enslaved people needed to be sent to Africa, but only after they met certain religious and educational standards that he believed in. Almost none of the people he “owned,” however, ever met those standards and he sent very few of them to Liberia. One that he did send wrote him several letters asking for fare to return with his family to the U.S. In 1861, when Cocke’s fellow slave owners seceded, he supported them, and in his last years came to support slavery.
June 25, 1744. Negotiations began at Lancaster, Pennsylvania between the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois Nations) and the colonies of Virginia and Maryland. The negotiator for the Haudenosaunee was Canassatego, a chief of the Onondaga Nation. His comments and advice to the British colonies got a lot of attention and are given credit for influencing the organization of the United States on the model of the Haudenosaunee.
June 28, 1613. This is believed to be the date of the first commercial shipment of tobacco by John Rolfe. According to Mattaponi sources (descendants of Pocahontas’ people) Rolfe obtained key information on tobacco-processing methods from the Mattaponi, using foul means that eventually included the murder of Pocahontas in England. (One Mattaponi source: Linwood Custalow and Angela Daniels’ The True Story of Pocahontas (2007))