Bland was born on February 27, 1844, in Prince Edward County, the son of Hercules Bland and Mary Bland. Bland's father was a free man and a cooper who purchased his wife to ensure their children's freedom. Bland was taught to read and write by a slave in the household of his mother's former owner. He worked with his father as a cooper and carpenter until 1864, when he entered an American Missionary Association school in Norfolk. For two years he studied there and also taught reading, geography, and arithmetic. Although the school refused to license Bland to teach because of alleged smoking and profanity, he was permitted to continue as a substitute.
On April 27, 1870, Bland was in a large crowd attending a morning session of the Supreme Court of Appeals in the State Capitol during the appeal of a case concerning Richmond's contested mayoral election. Shortly after eleven o'clock the floor collapsed, killing Bland and about sixty other people. The Senate passed resolutions in his memory, and the General Assembly appropriated $52 for funeral expenses. Bland was buried in Farmville, where 200 mourners attended his interment.
February 27, 1844 - James William D. Bland is born in Prince Edward County to Hercules Bland and Mary Bland.
1864 - James William D. Bland enters an American Missionary Association school in Norfolk.
December 3, 1867–April 17, 1868 - James William D. Bland, representative from Appomattox and Prince Edward counties to the constitutional convention, serves on the Elective Franchise and Qualifications for Office, Revision and Adjustment, and Rules and Regulations committees.
1868 - James William D. Bland attends the state Republican convention.
October 1869 - James William D. Bland takes his seat in the Senate of Virginia, where he represents the district consisting of Charlotte and Prince Edward counties and serves on the Committee for Courts of Justice.
April 27, 1870 - James William D. Bland dies when the floor collapses at the Virginia State Capitol. He is buried in Farmville.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Jordan, E. L., Jr., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. James William D. Bland (1844–1870). (2014, August 17). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Bland_James_William_D_1844-1870.
- MLA Citation:
Jordan, Ervin L., Jr. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "James William D. Bland (1844–1870)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 17 Aug. 2014. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: December 16, 2013 | Last modified: August 17, 2014