George Chahoon

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George Chahoon
Member of the New York Senate
from the 31st district
In office
January 1, 1896 – December 31, 1900
Preceded by Henry H. Persons
Succeeded by Spencer G. Prime
Mayor of Richmond, Virginia
In office
May 6, 1868 – June 30, 1871
Preceded by Joseph C. Mayo
Succeeded by Henry K. Ellyson (disputed)
Anthony M. Keiley
Personal details
Born George Chahoon
(1840-02-02)February 2, 1840
Sherburne, New York
Died July 29, 1934(1934-07-29) (aged 94)
Au Sable Forks, New York
Resting place Fairview Cemetery
Black Brook, New York
Political party Republican

George Chahoon (February 2, 1840 – July 29, 1934) was an American politician from Virginia and New York. He was Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, from 1868 to 1870, and a member of the New York State Senate from 1896 to 1900.

Early life and political career[edit]

Chahoon was born in Sherburne, New York, but his family moved to Virginia not long after he was born. He grew up in Botetourt County and at the time the Civil War began was working in Washington, D.C., as a clerk in the Treasury Department.

During Reconstruction, John M. Schofield, Virginia's military commander, appointed Chahoon mayor of Richmond. After he took office on 6 May 1868, Chahoon began purging city government of former Confederates. In another controversial move, he fired a number of white police officers and created a special black police force.

The Bloody Interregnum[edit]

After Reconstruction ended in Virginia, the new members of the Richmond city council chose Henry Keeling Ellyson as interim mayor on 16 March 1870. Chahoon and some of his Republican allies refused to leave office. For a short time Ellyson's supporters besieged Chahoon and his allies, who had barricaded themselves in the police station. Chahoon left it to the courts to decide which was the legitimate administration. When the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals met in the Virginia State Capitol on 27 April 1870 to render its opinion, the overcrowded gallery collapsed. Approximately sixty people died, and Chahoon was among those badly injured. The appeals court ultimately ruled against him.

New York politics[edit]

After his controversial term as mayor, Chahoon returned to New York. He was a member of the New York State Senate (31st D.) from 1896 to 1900, sitting in the 119th, 120th, 121st, 122nd and 123rd New York State Legislatures. He died in Au Sable Forks, New York, on 29 July 1934.



  • John T. Kneebone et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography (Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1998- ), 3:137-138. ISBN 0-88490-206-4.
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Henry H. Persons
New York State Senate
31st District

Succeeded by
Spencer G. Prime