Virginia History

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 9:34am

For more than two hundred years, this Spotsylvania farm has stood as a witness to Virginia history. Originally carved from land given to colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood, Ellwood willingly hosted two armies-that of the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War and General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. However, in 1864, during the Battle of the Wilderness, Ellwood became the headquarters for Generals Gouverneur K. Warren and Ambrose E. Burnside. General Grant took his position a few hundred yards away from the house, at a spot still called Grant's Knoll.

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 9:40am
Time Travel -- Patawomeck Style

Time travel to the year 1608 in a Patawomeck village set up at the Headquarters Library on Saturday, August 6, between 9:30 and 3:30.

Local Patawomeck tribe members will transform the front lawn of the library into their village as it was when when Captain John Smith sailed up the Rappahannock. Chief John Lightner says, “We take great pride in bringing history to life by creating actual experiences for people. You get a taste of the real thing.”

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 9:54am

From The Fredericksburg News, Thursday, January 10, 1878

 THE ICE HARVEST is a large one, and the business activity of the past few days to gather it in, has been a stirring scene on our wintry streets. Men and horses, waggons and carts, have improved the fleeting hours in the most rapid manner and the rumble of wheels over the icy ground has been unceasing from morning till night. Mr. A. P. Rowe's pond has furnished a large amount of excellent ice, about five inches thick, and all the Ice houses in town and country will be filled with this indispensable luxury, of home production this Season.

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 10:47am
When in Tsenacommacah, Do as the Powhatans

Did Native American barbecue contribute to the success of the English colony at Jamestown?  According to author, historical barbecue consultant, and Patawomeck Indian Tribe member Joe Haynes, the answer is yes! Joe will visit the Headquarters Library on Wednesday, August 3.

He will draw upon numerous historical and contemporary sources to explore some of the lesser-known contributions made to Virginia’s culture and cookery by the Powhatan Indians, who called their land Tsenacommacah. According to Joe, many Virginian foods known to us today, such as smoked pork, hoecakes, and barbecue, all exhibit the unmistakable influence of the Powhatans.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 12:17pm

With Google's now infamous detailed photos, it's rather easy to see how a town is laid out today. But what about 50, 100, or 150 years ago? Where are the maps that show how the towns and counties grew through the years? One excellent source of information is the Sanborn fire insurance maps.

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 12:27pm

This article was first printed in the May 1978 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission.

This American who is truly deserving of the terms "great" and "famous" was born January 14, 1806 in Spotsylvania County. He was the seventh child of Richard and Diana Minor Maury.

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 4:51pm
Fabulous Friday: Journey to Freedom

When it comes to sharing history with young people, nothing brings it alive better than a living historian leading activities and offering truly historic objects that can be explored by little hands. This February, observe Black History Month at your library with opportunities to meet living historians from the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops, visit a historic one-room school house, or learn about secret code used for the Underground Railroad. These Fabulous Friday: Journey to Freedom events are happening at five of CRRL's library branches.

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 4:46pm
An Interview with the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops

The 23rd Regiment was the first African American unit to fight against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. They met on the battlefield on May 15, 1864, during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Today’s living history organization, named for the 23rd, is headquartered in the Spotsylvania area and works in conjunction with the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum.

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 9:27am

George Mason, future patriot, spent part of his childhood in Stafford County. His father died by drowning when he was very young, so he sometimes stayed with relatives including his uncle, John Mercer who lived at Marlborough Point. His uncle was a lawyer and landowner. He had a large library for the time—more than 1,500 books—and 11-year-old George enjoyed the library, including law commentaries his uncle had written. 

After studying at a private school in Maryland and with tutors (including his uncle), George Mason took control of his family’s lands. He was the second largest land owner in Fairfax County—the largest being George Washington. When Washington went to serve as head of the Continental Army, George Mason took his place in the Virginia legislature. 

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