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← 1887 Janus.jpg This article is about the year 1888
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This article is a date listing important or significant events that happened on events for the year 1888


  • February 10 – Following the annexation of new territory from Albemarle County, 4 Aldermen were added to Charlottesville's Board of Aldermen: E. E. Dinwiddie, Samuel B. Woods, John L. Walters, Thomas W. Bailey.
  • March 2 – The General Assembly passed an ACT granting the Town of Charlottesville administrative independent of the county and the right to be know as City of Charlottesville. As part of this ACT, the Legislature granted the City of Charlottesville authority to annex surrounding Albemarle County land to create a city of nearly 800 acres.[1] (Charlottesville previously incorporated as a town in 1801.)
  • March 22 – At the regular meeting of the council, a report was made as to the subdivision of the City into Wards. The population and the location of Voting Places within the Wards was presented to the Council. 1st Ward: 1,365 (Old Fire Station); 2nd Ward: 1,428 (W. L Cox's Warehouse on Barracks Street near Main Street); 3rd Ward: 1,423 (C. L. Fowler's Office near Main Street); 4th Ward: 1,218 (N. C. Clifton's storehouse on north side of Main Street). Total population: 5,432.
  • May 24 – At the election held this Thursday in Charlottesville, the Democrats carried every ward, electing their whole ticket. This was the first election under the city Charter.[2] See also: Charlottesville City Council (History)
  • July 12 – One of the worst wrecks that have occurred on the Virginia Midland railroad for many years took place near Orange Courthouse this morning. The south-bound passenger train (52), which leaves Alexandria at 11:20 P.M., broke through what is known as Browning trestle at 2:15 A.M.[3]
  • September 1 – Charlottesville incorporated as a city. Under the first city charter, granted by the Virginia Legislature, the city was divided into four wards, with three councilmen to be elected from each one by plurality vote at the May 1889 election.
  • October 30 – Mayor R. F. Harris resigned due to ill health, the Board of Alderman elected council president Samuel B. Woods as replacement.
  • November 6 – United States presidential election held - this is the first presidential election Charlottesville voters were eligible to participate independent of Albemarle County. Nationally, incumbent Grover Cleveland (D) wins the popular vote, but loses the Electoral College vote to challenger Benjamin Harrison (R), therefore losing the election. Locally, of the 1,089 votes cast in the city of Charlottesville, 64% went to Democratic Party incumbent Grover Cleveland; as did 54% of Albemarle's 4,752 votes.
  • November 20 – The University of Virginia Cavaliers football team played its first official football game, a 20-0 victory over Pantops Academy at Madison Hall Field; this field is colloquially referred to as “Mad (Madison) Bowl".


  • December 31 – On West Main Street, City Policeman George T. Seal was shot and killed while in the act of arresting William Muscoe for a misdemeanor. Upon firing the fatal shot, Muscoe fled, and was apprehended the following day near Barboursville, in Orange county, as he was making his way northward on the Midland railway. [4] The Virginia Supreme Court overturned a later conviction. A second conviction was obtained, Muscoe was hanged in the Charlottesville jail yard on April 21, 1891. [5][6][7]


The 1888 Virginia Cavaliers football team represented the University of Virginia in the 1888 college football season.



  1. Web. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charlottesville, staff, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911, retrieved July 28, 2019.
  2. Web. ELECTION IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, Staunton spectator. (Staunton, Va.) Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress., 30 May 1888, retrieved December 19, 2022.
  3. Web. A TERRIBLE RAILROAD ACCIDENT. The Cars Falls Many Feet though a Trestle. NINE DEAD AND MANY WOUNDED., Staunton Spectator. (Staunton, Va.), Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress., 18 July 1888, retrieved December 18, 2022.
  4. Muscoe v. Commonwealth, 87 Va. 460 (1891) Feb. 12, 1891, Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia https://cite.case.law/va/87/460/
  5. https://virginiachronicle.com/?a=d&d=RD18910307.1.4&srpos=1&e=01-12-1888-22-04-1892--en-20-RD-1--txt-txIN-Charlottesville+police+officer+seal+muscoe------- Page 4
  6. https://virginiachronicle.com/?a=d&d=RD18910312.1.2&srpos=1&e=01-12-1888-22-04-1892--en-20-RD-1--txt-txIN-muscoe-------
  7. Web. HOW THE MATTER STANDS, Richmond Planet, 12 April 1890, retrieved 30 August 2023.

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