From the Richmond Dispatch, 11/26/1887, p. 1, c. 2
PROPERTY IN THE RIVER.
Brown’s and Other Islands Offered for Sale.
Twelve o’clock M., yesterday was the time fixed by Mr. N. W. Bowe, real estate auctioneer, for the sale, by public auction of the irregularly shaped lot lying between Haxall’s mill-race and James river, and bounded on the west by Ninth street; Brown’s island, immediately west of Petersburg railroad bridge, now occupied by the Tredegar Company; and also those smaller island and rocks in James river commonly known as Neilson’s islands. The property is to be sold in execution of the provisions of a deed of trust from E. S. Hamlin and wife to Leigh R. Page, trustee, made October 22, 1870, being thereto required by a decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern district of Virginia entered October 7, 1887, in the suits of “Giddings’s executors vs. Giddings and als” and “Giddings’s administrator vs. Giddings and als.”
At the appointed time the auctioneer and trustee were at the north end of the Free bridge, where the red flag was floating to the breezes, the typical African was marching Ninth street sounding his tocsin and exhibiting the notice of sale, but the crowd was slow to assemble, and the sale was for obvious reasons postponed.
During the war the Confederates had a cartridge factory on Brown’s island, and an explosion occurred there in 1863 which resulted in the loss of thirty lives. Since those days the island has been considerably enlarged, and also seems to be several feet higher above the river than it was then, due to large deposits of slag and ashes from the Tredegar.