Author: Katherine Guertin


Burwell Toler (ca. 1822–1880)

Burwell Toler represented Hanover and Henrico counties at the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868. Most likely born enslaved, Toler became an ordained minister in 1865 and founded churches in at least four counties. In 1867 he won a seat at the constitutional convention mandated by the Reconstruction Acts. Toler served on the prestigious Committee of Thirteen, which established procedures for the convention, and generally sided with the Republican Party‘s radical faction. His quest for a seat in the House of Delegates in 1868 was stopped when that year’s elections were cancelled, and he lost his bid in the next year’s contest. Toler remained a minister and ten years later served as the moderator for the newly created Mattaponi Baptist Association of Virginia. He died in 1880.