From the Richmond Dispatch, 9/30/1882, p. 1, c. 3

The New Board of Visitors of the Medical College of Virginia Organizes and Attempts to Enter Upon Their Duties at the College – Resistance at the Hands of the Dean of the Faculty – Arrest of Lieutenant-Governor John F. Lewis and His Subsequent Release – Action Taken by the New Board.

The chief topic of interest in the city yesterday was the action of the recently-appointed Board of Visitors of the Medical College of Virginia and the results growing out of the same. The members of the old Board have been published before, as has also the new one, which consists of the following gentlemen: Lieutenant-Governor John F. Lewis, Rockingham county; W. E. Craig, Augusta county; Lewis E. Harvie, Amelia county; Dr. W. J. Cheatham; Bishop F. M. Whittle, Richmond; Dr. J. B. Webb, Rockingham county; W. A. Jamison, Mecklenburg county; John J. Deyer, Southampton county; R. T. Hubard, Richmond; Carter M. Louthan, Clarke county; Dr. W. E. Harwood, Petersburg; W. S. Dashiell, Richmond; N. B. Meade, Alexandria; W. E.. Sims, Pittsylvania; Dr. Lewis Wheat, Richmond; N. W. Crisler, Madison county; H. J. Wale, Louisa county; Meade Haskins, Richmond; C. M Webber, Roanoke county; J. P. Gilliam, Chesterfield county.

Bishop Whittle has declined to serve on this new Board, and Dr. Z. B. Herndon takes his place. Of these gentlemen the following members of the Board, constituting a quorum, met at Ford’s Hotel yesterday morning about 11 o’clock: Messrs. Lewis, Haskins, Craig, Herndon, Webber, Meade, Hubard, Wales, Dyer, Dashiell, Louthan, and Wheat. Later in the day Dr. W. J. Cheatham and Dr. J. P. Gilliam made their appearance.


Before the Board met at Ford’s Hotel a conference was held with the Governor and his advice asked. He told the Board that it was necessary for them to go down to the Medical College and there effect a permanent organization and make an inspection of the books and papers of the institution. The new Board, after holding a caucus, proceeded to carry out the views expressed by the Governor, and went in a body to the buildings of the Medical College of Virginia, accompanied by a Dispatch reporter.

As soon as the Board got in sight of the college the presence of the city police was discovered, but the Board walked in at the gate and made towards the door of the college buildings.


Dr. J. B. McCaw, dean of the faculty, returned to the city Thursday night, and hearing of the contemplated inauguration of the new Board of Visitors, had come down to the college.

Himself and Dr. J. S. Wellford were standing in the yard, and as the new Board walked in, headed by Lieutenant-Governor Lewis, they met them. Mr. Lewis addressed the gentlemen, and said that he was the spokesman of the new Board of Visitors; that Governor Cameron had duly commissioned them, and that in their capacity as a Board they had come down to demand admittance to the buildings and also an inspection of the books and accounts of the institution.

Dr. McCaw replied that as dean of the faculty, and in the name of the faculty, he would be compelled to refuse the new Board admission to the buildings; and gave a complete refusal to their request.

“Are the doors of the college locked?” asked Mr. Lewis.

“They are,” replied Dr. Wellford.

“Where is the janitor?”

“He is here, but you will not be allowed to enter,” said Dr. McCaw.

“Do you mean to resist us by force?” asked Mr. Lewis.

“I do,” said Dr. McCaw, “and for this purpose the police of the city of Richmond are present.”


At this point Mr. R. T. Hubard, of Richmond, said:

“I move, gentlemen, that we proceed in accordance with law, to organize. I nominate Hon. John F. Lewis as president of the Board of Visitors of the Medical College of Virginia. All in favor of this motion will signify it by saying Aye.”

The ayes responded unanimously, whereat Dr. Wellford, who was standing near, called out, beckoning at the same time to Sergeant Matthews, of the police force, who was standing at the gate: “Policemen, come here and stop this illegal organization.” The officer approached, but before he reached the scene or interfered Mr. Hubard had nominated Dr. Lewis Wheat as Secretary, and Mr. Lewis had put the matter before the Board, and it had been accepted.

Mr. Lewis again reiterated his demand for entrance to the buildings, and was again refused. At this point several members of the Board insisted upon attempting to gain admission, but were assured that any attempt to do so would be met with arrest by the officers. Judge N. B. Meade remarked, “Let them arrest us if they want to.” Mr. Lewis, without any excitement, addressed Dr. McCaw, and asked to be arrested, stating that he had no idea of making any resistance. He also asked if the Board were regarded as trespassers.

Dr. McCaw assured Mr. Lewis that he was actuated by no personal feeling whatever, and was simply doing what he conceived to be his duty in the premises. A similar statement was made by the Lieutenant-Governor, who at the same time insisted upon entering the building. The members of the Board, with the exception of Judge Mead, seemed to look upon the matter in a ridiculous light; but the Judge, with some excitement of manner, insisted upon either being allowed to enter the building or an arrest of the whole Board. At this juncture Dr. McCaw ordered Sergeant Matthews to take Mr. Lewis in custody.


Sergeant Matthews hesitated at first, and suggested to Dr. McCaw that he had better go to the station-house and swear out a warrant. A motion was then made by a member of the Board to adjourn to Ford’s Hotel and it was formally adopted.

Mr. Lewis then insisted upon being allowed to go his way unmolested, or to be taken to the jail. He declared his willingness to accompany the officer, but was firm in refusing to be detained.

“Hold on, gentlemen,” said Dr. Wellford. “I will consult counsel.”

Mr. Lewis refused to wait, and Sergeant Matthews at once told him he must accompany him to the First police station-house. As soon as this was done a motion was made and adopted that a committee of three be appointed to wait on Governor Cameron and acquaint him with the state of affairs. The president appointed the following committee: Messrs. Hubard, Meade, and Louthan.

These gentlemen departed on their mission, and the balance of the Board accompanied Mr. Lewis to the First police station-house, under the escort of Sergeant Matthews and Officers J. A. Otey and James Kerse.


While the party were marching through the streets, a squad of police in front and one in the rear, people would ask, “What’s the matter?” and by the time the company reached the Old Market quite a crowd had collected and was following after it. “They have arrested Governor Lewis,” said some. “Who’s been fighting?” said others, and considerable excitement prevailed. After awhile the gentlemen were all seated in the station-house, awaiting the appearance of Drs. McCaw and Wellford.

Fifteen or twenty minutes elapsed, during which time the telephone was once brought into use. The members of the Board joked the Lieutenant-Governor upon his appearance as a prisoner, and chatted gaily over the merits of the case. Mr. Lewis remained in good temper all the while, and seemed to be amused at the turn affairs had taken. Major John Poe, Chief of Police, after awhile came into the station, and said: “Good morning, gentlemen; I have come in to say to you that I have nothing whatever against you all, and as no charge has been preferred, you are at liberty to go where you please. I shall be glad to see you all in my office.”

Mr. Lewis arose and said that he had been arrested by an officer wearing a policeman’s badge; that respecting such an emblem of authority, he had allowed himself to be arrested and brought through the streets to the station-house.

Major Poe said in this the policeman had made a mistake. His orders to his men had been to go to the Medical College, and if any violation of the peace occurred to arrest all parties and bring them to the station-house.

Mr. Lewis explained how the arrest occurred, after which, accompanied by his friends, he went up to the Executive Mansion to see Governor Cameron. The Governor advised that the Board proceed to return to the college-buildings and take possession of them, but pursuant to adjournment at the college, the Board reassembled at Ford’s Hotel.


A full discussion of the quest was commenced, and various resolutions offered, but dinner coming on the Board adjourned at 2 to meet again at 4 o’clock.

The Board met at this time, and when a resolution summoning the faculty to appear and show cause why they should not be removed was offered a full interchange of views was indulged in, and continued, without acting upon the Governor’s suggestion.

The tenor of the remarks of nearly all the speakers was of the conservative order. The president of the Board, Mr. Lewis, said that he was anxious to have the question at issue stripped of all party significance. He was willing, for the good of the college, to swallow the humiliation to which he had been subjected, and was anxious that no hasty or intemperate action be indulged in.

Judge Meade agreed with Mr. Lewis, and seemed to favor a postponement of action until some future time would allow the Board an opportunity of making the selection of a faculty that would meet the approbation of the entire people of Virginia. This could not be done at this juncture.

Later, after much debate and many speeches from various members of the Board, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

Whereas the Board of Visitors of the Medical College of Virginia, pursuant to their appointment by the Governor of Virginia, proceeded to enter the buildings of the said college on September 29, 1882, (this day,) for the proper transaction of business; and whereas, upon meeting Professors McCaw and Wellford at the door of the college buildings, a demand was made of them for entrance into the buildings, and for an inspection of the books and papers of the institution; and whereas such entrance into the buildings and inspection of books, &c., was denied the said Board of Visitors by the said McCaw and Wellford, claiming to act on behalf of themselves and the other members of the faculty; and whereas the said Board of Visitors proceeded on the grounds of the college to organize, and did organize, by the election of the Hon. John F. Lewis as its president and Dr. Lewis Wheat as secretary; and whereas the said McCaw, claiming to act as dean of the faculty of the said college during the organization aforesaid, called upon a police force at the city of Richmond, whose presence he had procured, to arrest the president (Hon John F. Lewis) and to expel the other members of the Board from the college grounds; and whereas the said police force being about to carry into execution the orders of the said McCaw, the said Board of Visitors, on motion, adjourned their meeting to Ford’s Hotel, in Richmond, Va.; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, 1st. That each member of the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia be notified that this Board will proceed at 4 o’clock P. M. to-morrow, September 30, 1882, at the reception-room in Ford’s Hotel, in the city of Richmond, to consider whether they and each of them shall not for their participation in the illegal proceedings aforesaid be removed from their respective positions as professors of the said college.

2d. That the secretary of this Board cause a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions to be served upon each of the professors of the said college.

The Board then adjourned to meet again to-day at the same place at 11 o’clock A. M.

The Governor during the day yesterday instructed the Second Auditor to withhold the payment of all moneys to the Medical College until a settlement of the present difficulties.


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