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Danville, Virginia is an independent city which was first explored by British colonist William Byrd in 1728. He and his team camped in what is now Danville, and he called the area for the phrase “from Dan to Beersheba,” which used nine times in the Bible, and which refers to the settled lands of the Tribes of Israel but has a connotation of “the land of plenty.” The Dan River, which runs through downtown, was the site of an annual meeting of Revolutionary War veterans who came to fish and talk about the War and their lives. The charter for the town was issued in 1833. In 1882, Mayor John H. Johnston shot and killed Chief of Police John Hatcher after the mayor publicly accused the chief of stealing money which was collected for fines. The chief demanded an apology, and a fight ensued, which culminated with the mayor shooting the chief. Johnston went on trial for murder but was acquitted. In 1911, Police Chief R. E. Morris, who was running for a fourth term, was arrested as an escaped murderer, having escaped from Harris County, Georgia 13 years prior.

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