National Geographic : 1896 Mar
"FREE BURGHS" IN THE UNITED STATES of the Capitol has been that known as "outlaw racing "-that is, with horses or with jockeys not in good standing with the regu lar racing associations. Just below St. Asaph is the city of Alex andria, which is popularly regarded as a part of Alexandria county, to share whatever of good or bad repute attaches to it. At the census of 1790 all this vicinity was part of Fairfax county, except that Alexandria already had a separate court and was exempt from county taxes. For the organization of the District of Columbia, Virginia ceded to the General Government the jurisdiction * over a tract bounded by the line extending ten miles northwest from the mouth of Hunting creek, a line north east from the terminus of the first, and the river, containing an area said to be thirty-two square miles. In 1801 Congress erected the area ceded by Virginia into a county, to be called Alexandria county, but expressly retaining for Alexandria all existing char tered rights. In 1846 the United States re-ceded the tract to Virginia, which has continued to be generally known as Alex andria county, though the policy of separation of city and county, suspended for half a century, has been renewed. The combined population of city and county in 1890 was 18,597, of which 14,339 persons were in the city of Alexandria, which is not a part of Alexandria county, although its name, its vicinity, its recent affinity with the county, and the presence of the county build ings t tend with most persons to make the residents municipally responsible for the unlawful conduct near by. Many persons, while rejoicing in the measure of success attained, do not see why the energetic governor of Virginia sent officers to break up dis reputable practices in the county. They do not appreciate the weakness of the real Alexandria county when the gambling ele ments of the neighboring cities flow out upon it. It has but a little over 4,000 population (1890), of whom, after deducting 164 on the military reservation, over one-half (2,123) are of negro descent, and not yet of much proprietary responsibility. Alexandria is but an example of the cities of Virginia from the earliest days. James City, better known as Jamestown, and now extinct, was established as the chief city in 1639. Williamsburg was set apart as a city, to be used for no other purpose whatever, and defined as the capital in 1699, and again in 1705, in advance of population. There was a general plan to put in each county * The ownership remained in the existing proprietors. Certain authors erroneously state that the title or possession was transferred. t A bill is pending for erection of county buildings outside of the city.