Virginia History

11/11/2014 - 5:47pm

There have been newspapers published in Fredericksburg since 1788. (The only gap came in 1862-65, when the city was devastated by war.)  Fredericksburg has been a one-newspaper town – the Free Lance-Star –- since the 1920s, but before that many newspapers were published locally…. 

11/11/2014 - 2:12pm

What was it like to live long ago when Virginia belonged to England? When there were no cars, no computers, few hospitals and no free public schools?

Without cars, trains or airplanes, people traveled by boat, horseback or on foot by "shank's mare". The reason so many colonial towns were located next to rivers is that often the roads were terrible seas of mud. It was so much easier to travel on the rivers!

10/28/2014 - 9:36am

Everybody knows that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, right? Well, probably not, but it was the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving that gave us our Thanksgiving holiday as we know it today.

The Pilgrims came to the New World looking for a way to worship God as they wished. They were not Puritans. Puritans wanted to change the Church of England to do away with its bishops but keep its ties to the government. The Puritans went on to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Colony were Separatists.

09/29/2014 - 3:16pm

Fredericksburg's Mary Ball Washington was an intrepid 18th-century woman who raised five children alone. The oldest became the first President of the United States.

Mary Washington's name and heritage are alive and well in the Fredericksburg area and beyond. Her home is at the corner of Lewis and Charles streets; the Mary Washington Monument is on Washington Avenue, which was originally Mary Washington Avenue.

09/09/2014 - 2:01pm

The Central Rappahannock region produced many of the men who led the fight for independence and fashioned the new American nation. Some are remembered, and afforded their due. Some, like John Francis Mercer, are not remembered -- but should be….

08/27/2014 - 2:24pm

Chances are if you are studying colonial times, your teacher will assign a hands-on project. You could make a model of the Jamestown Fort or a copy of the Declaration of Independence-but why not try a craft that the colonists themselves would have done?

Every colonial family except for the very rich had to be able to make their own soap, candles, furniture, cloth, baskets, toys, and musical instruments. Below is one practical craft to try. Scroll down and check our lists of books and Web sites for more ideas.

08/12/2014 - 7:56am

By the Spotsylvania Department of Tourism

From The Start ...

Blacks first arrived in isolated and sparsely populated Spotsylvania County along with white settlers in the early 1700's. Through the years before the Civil War, as slaves and occasionally as free men and women, they were an important force in area development. Occupations included labor as farm and plantation workers, as domestic servants, and as artisans, such as blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, and fine needleworkers. They also worked in the iron industries, mining, construction, shipping on the Rappahannock River, and in their own businesses.

By the first half of the 19th century, Spotsylvania County's population reached about 11,000, over half of whom were black.
Alex Haley's award winning novel, Roots, cast his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, as a slave of a Spotsylvania family.

07/09/2014 - 10:38am

One of Fredericksburg's leading citizens was either a patriot or a traitor, depending on whether you favored coats of Tory red or Revolutionary blue.

05/16/2014 - 7:53am

By Thomas Mathew

When Nathaniel Bacon rose against the colonial government in 1676, the royal governor and his burgesses realized they needed the Queen of Pamunkey's help to staunch the insurrection amongst their own people. A remarkable first-hand account survives from all those years ago. It details the Queen's emotional reaction to their demands.

02/25/2014 - 11:55am

He was a great leader, an inspiring general, and a reluctant president who was fully aware that his public identity would become the country's solace during the difficult times of crafting a new nation. His careful silences may have contributed to his social and political success, but they did not entirely satisfy a populace who desired an icon of such moral superiority that Parson Weems' largely fabricated Life of Washington was a bestseller for years.