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July 4, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The 1909 Buckingham Murders: EXTRA # 2

A.E. Strode

Aubrey E. Strode, Courtesy Library of Virginia

Aubrey Ellis Strode (2 October 1873 – 17 May 1946), one of a team of attorneys that defended Dwight Wright, Edward Jones, and Richard Perkins charged with the murders of the Stewart brothers, was a Democrat who served three terms as a Virginia State Senator, representing the 19th district.

Born in Amherst County, Virginia, he studied at Clemson College, the University of Mississippi, Washington and Lee University, and the University of Virginia Law School.

Strode’s obituary published in the May 18, 1946 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch related:

Judge Aubrey Ellis Strode, former State Senator, member of General Pershing’s staff in World War I and judge of the Lynchburg Corporation Court for nine years, died tonight at 8 o’clock at “Kenmore,” the family home in Amherst County.

Known for his interest in social legislation Judge Strode drafted the Virginia sterilization act which became a model for other States, and was patron of the first Virginia prohibition enabling act and the first bills to establish student loans and a State College for Women in connection with the University of Virginia.

Today, Strode’s controversial legacy includes Virginia’s 1924 sterilization law.  He also acted as legal counsel to the Board of Directors of the Virginia State Colony, representing the Colony in the landmark case concerning the sterilization of Carrie Buck. Paul A. Lombardo, in his book Three Generations No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and “Buck v. Bell,” commented:

Aubrey Strode was a politician who understood this formula for local prosperity. He studied liberal arts and law at the University of Virginia, then opened a law practice in Amherst, Virginia. In 1905, as a new member of the Virginia Senate, he found a use for arguments that favored building a colony in his legislative district.  The son of the first president of Clemson University, Strode was a social progressive and political pragmatist. His motives for supporting a new [epileptic] colony may also have been personal. Both of his parents had died in state institutions only a few years earlier, minds enfeebled with the infirmities of the aged.

In stature and experience, Aubrey E. Strode was certainly a good match for Buckingham County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Edmund W. Hubard.

Need to catch up on The 1909 Buckingham Murders? Part I: June 1, 2015



Leave a Comment
  1. onestitchatatime / Aug 13 2015 2:35 pm

    Had to look up the sterilization act. Scary!!!

    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 13 2015 6:31 pm

      It’s a fascinating time in our nation’s history. Fear was running high.

  2. Joanne Yeck / Jul 6 2015 9:12 am

    WJD – I, too, am fascinated by the eugenics movement. It’s such a complex and emotionally charged subject. Additionally, my ancestor’s sister was sent to the colony in Lynchburg that A.E. Strode helped establish. She was “feeble minded.” Thanks for commenting, Pal.

    • wjd13 / Jul 6 2015 10:18 am

      I’ve used this short video to introduce the subject when I teach American theatre history — Students are, as you might imagine, shocked and amazed ….

      • Joanne Yeck / Jul 6 2015 11:18 am

        Thanks for posting the link. The video is a great introduction to the subject and history of eugenics. It’s a discussion that needs to be on-going!

  3. wjd13 / Jul 6 2015 8:45 am

    Really fascinated by the history of the eugenics movement – thanks for the post!

  4. bill doan / Jul 6 2015 8:45 am

    Completely fascinated by the history of the eugenics movement. thanks for this post!


  1. Buckingham County Crimes: The Murder of Meade Hanes, Part XII | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. The Buckingham Outlaws: Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .
  3. The Buckingham Whiskey Wars: Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .

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