RVA50 Object 2 “Lottery Ticket No. 5099, circa 1768”

Lottery Ticket No. 5099, circa 1768
Issued by William Byrd III
Printed possibly in Williamsburg, Virginia

William Byrd III was born September 6, 1728 and raised at “Westover” in Charles City County, Virginia.  In 1744, young Byrd went to London to study law. It is probable that his life-long addiction to gambling began at this time.

Byrd would not live within his income, and in 1768, he attempted a lottery.  An example of one of the original printed tickets can be seen here. The lottery prizes were to come from his property at the falls of the James River, the current site of the city of Richmond.

Byrd’s later life was difficult, and he was unable to retire his debt as the lottery was largely a failure.  On January 1st or 2nd, 1777, William Byrd III took his own life.

Valentine Richmond History Center Collection, 1947