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October 8, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The Buckingham Whiskey Wars: Part IV

Buckingham_Big Quarry_Robert Jeffery

Slate Quarry Workers in Arvonia, Buckingham County. Courtesy Robert Jeffery

A Majority of One

On April 29, 1903, The Times-Dispatch printed a rather cryptic report under the headline “License in Buckingham.”

The previous Friday, the Marshall District drys and wets had descended on Buckingham Courthouse, bringing several petitions in front of Judge Moss. Mr. A. L. Pitts, accompanied by Mr. Wiley Wooton and their counsel, Judge Alexander S. Hall, who represented the drys.


The wets were there in force, as well. Mr. Littleberry Lesueur, liquor dealer, “with nine of his patrons as witnesses, fought for the wets.” According to the 1900 census, Littleberry Lesueur, Sr. ran a general store and his son, Littleberry, Jr., was a liquor dealer. Littleberry, Sr. appeared to be a stable family man. That year he had been married to his wife, Henrietta, for thirty-two years. Five of their children, including Littleberry, Jr., still lived at home.

The article went on to state that the wets won by a majority of one vote.

It seems likely that this court appearance was at least in part a response to the “Mann Bill” which was being debated that month in the General Assembly and, once adopted, would require applicants for liquor licenses in Virginia’s rural areas to secure signatures of a majority of voters in their district. Its ultimate adoption resulted in the closing of saloons in 70 of Virginia’s 100 counties. Temperance was on the rise!

Judge Moss, who apparently anticipated considerable celebrating in Arvonia, appointed Mr. Lesueur a “special policeman” over his own barroom.

It would not be long before the saloon issue would be taken to the polls in Marshall District.

Coming Next: Marshall District Votes

Need to catch up? Click here: The Whiskey Wars, Part I


Leave a Comment
  1. Elizabeth LeSueur / Oct 9 2015 7:01 pm

    Hi Joanne,

    Littleberry LeSueur was my great and great, great grandfather. And I I know one is buried in the cemetery in New Canton, VA at the Presbyterian Church.

    Do you have any more info on them? Would really appreciate any light you can shed on them.

    And Robert Jeffrey is a cousin of mine on my mother’s side of the family!

    Many thanks, Elizabeth

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 10 2015 8:14 am

      Elizabeth, Thanks for your comment. I don’t know more about Littleberry LeSueur at present; however, you never know what I’ll bump into! I’ll keep you in mind if I find anything. Joanne

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