Mayor Smoot's Impounded Cow

Is the story of the mayor's cow being impounded true? According to Mary Powell (The History of Old Alexandria, Virginia) it was Mayor William B. Smoot's cow who was impounded after the first of May. The ultimate identity of the mayor and the cow remain a mystery, but here are some thoughts for consideration.

William A. Smoot was the mayor of Alexandria from September 1922 to March 1930. At that time, automobiles were already common on the streets of Alexandria, so it seems unlikely that there were many cows pasturing "freely on the grass-grown streets" as Mary Powell describes it. Also, Powell's story says the mayor in question was William B. Smoot - the middle initial is different.

However, John B. Smoot was the mayor of Alexandria from July 1885 to July 1891. Could his cow have been the culprit? The Alexandria Gazette on May 4, 1891 did report two cows loose in the streets and mentions a fine paid by the owner, but does not name names.


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