October 7, 1763 King George III establishes the Proclamation Line of 1763, which prohibits colonial exploration and settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains and voids any previous claims there. Many Virginians ignore this decree and push west anyway.
October 7, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe, noted Richmond writer and poet, dies in Baltimore, Maryland.
October 8, 1869 The Virginia General Assembly meets to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, a prerequisite for readmission to the Union.
October 11, 1809 Meriwether Lewis is found dead at an inn near Nashville, Tennessee. The cause of his death still remains a controversy, although most historians believe it was suicide.
October 12, 1773 The "Public Hospital of Insane and Disordered Minds" opens in Williamsburg—the nation's first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of the mentally ill. Today this institution is known as Eastern State Hospital.
October 12, 1818 Elizabeth Van Lew, who would serve as a Union spy during the Civil War, is born in Richmond. After the war, President Grant would name her postmistress for the City of Richmond.
October 12, 1870 Civil War general Robert E. Lee dies while serving as president of Washington College in Lexington. The college is renamed Washington and Lee in his honor.
October 15, 1954 Hurricane Hazel blows into Virginia after coming ashore in North Carolina as a category 4 hurricane. This storm lays a track of destruction all the way from Virginia to Canada.
October 16, 1859 John Brown, a northern abolitionist, leads what he calls an "Army of Liberation" and raids a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, with the intention of arming slaves for rebellion. The group includes twenty-one whites and free blacks. Brown is captured and eventually hanged.
October 21, 1804 The Lewis and Clark expedition arrives at the Mandan Indian villages on the upper Missouri River. Here the explorers spend their first winter and meet Sacagawea, the woman who would prove invaluable to the rest of their journey.
October 22, 1774 Peyton Randolph, head of the Virginia delegation to the first Continental Congress, takes office as the first president of Congress in Philadelphia.
October 25, 1888 Richard Evelyn Byrd, naval aviator and explorer, is born in Winchester.
October 26, 1676 Nathaniel Bacon dies of dysentery in Gloucester, and with him dies Bacon's Rebellion. His supporters bury him in a secret location to protect his remains from the wrath of Governor William Berkeley and his followers.
October 29, 1781 Around noon, in Yorktown, Virginia, British officers deliver a surrender document signed by the General Cornwallis to American and French forces, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
October 30, 1800 Governor James Monroe orders the execution of Gabriel for his involvement in planning a slave revolt in Richmond and the surrounding area.
October 31, 1895 The Jefferson Hotel opens one week ahead of schedule. Lewis Ginter, a Richmonder who amassed a fortune by marketing rolled cigarettes, foots the $5-million-plus bill for the construction.