1885 Election Returns for Surry County

William Faulcon (1841–by 1904)

William Faulcon represented Surry and Prince George counties for one term in the House of Delegates (1885–1887). Probably born into slavery, after the American Civil War (1861–1865) he operated a blacksmith's shop. He began purchasing land in Surry County in 1879, eventually acquiring ninety acres. Little is known about how he became involved in politics, but local Republicans nominated him for the House of Delegates in 1885. Faulcon won the seat handily, but he did not present legislation or speak on the record during the term's first session. He submitted a few bills on behalf of Surry County residents during the extra session. Faulcon was the Republican nominee for the seat in 1891, but he withdrew from the race before election day. He continued to farm in Surry County and died by 1904. MORE...

 

Faulcon was born on February 8, 1841, in Surry County, probably into slavery and almost certainly of mixed-race ancestry. He was the son of Nancy Lunsford and Jacob Faulcon. As a young man he trained as a blacksmith. Faulcon also received some education and learned to read and write. The circumstances of when and how he gained his freedom were not recorded. In 1863 Faulcon married Rebecca Jane Hargrave, though legal unions between enslaved persons were not recognized until after the Civil War. They had at least six children, of whom only one son and one daughter survived infancy.

After the Civil War, Faulcon operated a blacksmith shop near Surry Court House, and in May 1879 he purchased fifty acres of land one mile south of the town. He acquired an additional ten acres in 1881 and a neighboring thirty acres in 1884. He was among a group of African American legislators and businessmen who in January 1886 incorporated the Colored Agricultural and Industrial Association of Virginia to establish an annual fair to exhibit farm and industrial products. A successful entrepreneur, Faulcon lent money to his relatives and neighbors throughout the decade. By 1890 his household furnishings included a clock, a sewing machine, and $20 worth of musical instruments.

Becoming involved in politics after the war, in October 1871 Faulcon attended a meeting of Republicans to nominate a candidate for the Senate of Virginia from the district comprising Petersburg and the counties of Prince George and Surry. It is not known whether he had any connection with the Readjusters, a coalition of blacks and whites formed later in the decade who supported paying only a portion of the state's antebellum public debt and who in 1884 merged with the Republican Party. In September 1885 Faulcon attended a meeting of local Republicans called to select a candidate for the Senate of Virginia. At another convention on September 22, a large majority chose him as the party's nominee for a seat in the House of Delegates. Although the Democratic Party cemented its majority in the General Assembly and reclaimed the governorship from the Republicans at the election on November 3, Faulcon easily defeated his Democratic opponent by a vote of 2,079 to 1,330.

Representing the counties of Prince George and Surry, Faulcon took his seat when the assembly opened on December 2. During the session of 1885–1886 and the extra session of 1887 he served as a low-ranking member on the Committees on Executive Expenditures, on Immigration, and on Public Property. During the first session Faulcon did not make formal remarks or introduce any legislation. He joined the minority in voting for William Mahone, leader of the Republican Party in Virginia, when the assembly elected John W. Daniel to the U.S. Senate. During the extra session Faulcon presented several bills on behalf of Surry County residents, including one to incorporate a local railroad. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1887, although in 1891 he was the Republican nominee for the district's seat in the House of Delegates. He withdrew shortly before election day, however, following controversy about his nomination within the party. Faulcon continued to participate in politics, and in September 1898 was a delegate to the Republican convention that nominated the party's candidate for the House of Representatives from the Second Congressional District.

Faulcon's wife died in 1887 or 1888, and on October 3, 1888 he married Martha Jane Elliott. They did not have any children before her death on July 16, 1889. Faulcon married Ida Pretlow on December 10, 1890. They had three daughters and two sons. He continued to farm on his ninety-acre tract in the Cobham district of Surry into the twentieth century. Faulcon died on an unknown date probably not long before April 9, 1904, when the Surry County Court ordered the appraisal of his estate. His burial place is not known.

Time Line

  • February 8, 1841 - William Faulcon is born, in Surry County, probably into slavery.
  • 1863 - William Faulcon and Rebecca Jane Hargrave, both likely enslaved, marry. They will have six children.
  • October 1871 - William Faulcon attends a meeting of Republicans to nominate a candidate for the Senate of Virginia from Petersburg and surrounding counties.
  • May 1879 - William Faulcon purchases fifty acres of land one mile south of Surry Court House.
  • 1881 - William Faulcon acquires ten acres of land south of Surry Court House, where he already owns fifty acres.
  • 1884 - William Faulcon acquires thirty acres of land south of Surry Court House, where he already owns sixty acres.
  • September 1885 - William Faulcon attends a meeting of Republicans to nominate a candidate for the Senate of Virginia from Petersburg and surrounding counties.
  • September 22, 1885 - A convention of Republicans nominates William Faulcon to run for the House of Delegates.
  • November 3, 1885 - William Faulcon is elected to the House of Delegates, representing Prince George and Surry counties.
  • January 1886 - William Faulcon is among a group of African Americans who incorporate the Colored Agriculture and Industrial Association of Virginia to establish an annual fair to exhibit farm and industrial products.
  • 1887 or 1888 - Rebecca Jane Hargrave Faulcon, wife of William Faulcon, dies.
  • 1887 - William Faulcon does not run for reelection to the House of Delegates.
  • October 3, 1888 - William Faulcon and Martha Jane Elliott marry.
  • July 16, 1889 - Martha Jane Elliott Faulcon, the second wife of William Faulcon, dies.
  • 1890 - By this year, William Faulcon's household furnishings include a clock, a sewing machine, and $20 worth of musical instruments.
  • December 10, 1890 - William Faulcon and Ida Pretlow marry. They will have three daughters and two sons.
  • 1891 - William Faulcon is the Republican nominee for the House of Delegates, representing Prince George and Surry counties. He withdraws shortly before election day.
  • September 1898 - William Faulcon is a delegate to the Republican convention that nominates the party's candidate for U.S. House from the Second District.
  • April 9, 1904 - The Surry County Court orders the appraisal of the late William Faulcon's estate.

References

Further Reading
Jackson, Luther Porter. Negro Office-Holders in Virginia, 1865–1895. Norfolk, Virginia: Guide Quality Press, 1945.
Moger, Allen W. Virginia: Bourbonism to Byrd, 1870–1925. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1968.
Moore, James Tice. Two Paths to the New South: The Virginia Debt Controversy, 1870–1883. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1974.
Cite This Entry
  • APA Citation:

    Julienne, M. E., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. William Faulcon (1841–by 1904). (2015, May 21). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Faulcon_William_1841-by_1904.

  • MLA Citation:

    Julienne, Marianne E. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "William Faulcon (1841–by 1904)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 21 May. 2015. Web. READ_DATE.

First published: April 30, 2015 | Last modified: May 21, 2015