History Blog

Tue, 08/30/2011 - 10:57
The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks

On Wednesday, September 7, 2011, at 7 p.m., Robert Hicks -- noted Civil War author and preservation activist who wrote the best-selling novel, The Widow of the South -- will tell the story of Franklin, Tenn., and how a community came together to preserve a battlefield and transform the heritage tourism industry in Middle Tennessee.

Hosted by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, this talk will be held at the Fredericksburg Country Club, 11031 Tidewater Trail. It is open to all ages, and there is no cost to attend. Call (540) 374-0900 for more information on this event.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 07:00
Tories

Multiple-choice standards of learning tests are not concerned with the details that fill out American history. Who wants to know that those who disagreed with the Revolutionary patriots risked their lives and fortunes in a time of mob rule? What state examiner wants to hear tales of men of honor who refused to break their oaths of loyalty to the king and were whipped, tarred and feathered, or "smoked out" of their homes, as happened to 65-year-old Israel Williams, a respected Loyalist legislator, whose signature in support of the rebel cause was only gained after a night of gasping for air inside his smoky home? In Thomas B. Allen's Tories, many of these stories from across the colonies are well-preserved and well-told so that they might be well-remembered.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 15:03
Cover to We Were Always Free

Fiction authors sometimes begin historical narratives by announcing the discovery of a long-forgotten strong box in a dusty attic containing purportedly true accounts of times passed handily preserved for the modern reader’s enjoyment.  T.O. Madden, Jr.'s  We Were Always Free starts with just such a scenario, but unlike historical fiction, this is no ploy.  The history unearthed is real and traces back to colonial Virginia when Mary Madden, an Irish woman, gave birth to a child of mixed race on August 4, 1758 in Spotsylvania County.

Because of the laws of the time, just as the mother was free so would Mary’s child, Sarah, be considered free, as would all of Sarah’s descendents.  Mary and her newborn were first tended at the Collins farm in Spotsylvania, and the church vestry paid the Collins for their year of upkeep with 600 pounds of tobacco taken in tithes from the parishioners.  In 1759, still being paupers, Mary was sent along with her baby, to the local workhouse where the poor labored to support themselves. 

Tue, 06/07/2011 - 10:20
D. P. Newton, Founder of the White Oak Civil War Museum

This interview airs beginning June 8.
D. P. Newton has preserved and arranged a most remarkable record of life during an era of turmoil in our nation. The White Oak Civil War Museum reflects his passion and dedication to accuracy in compiling this unique and extensive collection. Debby Klein meets Mr. Newton at the museum on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.

Wed, 05/18/2011 - 16:55
Twin Towers, American flag in background

The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center is preparing for a new exhibition, "Fredericksburg Remembers 9/11," to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The museum wants to partner with our community and is asking you to share your memories.

The exhibit will focus on these themes:
 

  • first responders at the Pentagon or World Trade Center
  • anyone who was an eyewitness to the attacks
  • airline pilots who were on duty/flying that day
  • local citizens and their experiences at school, work, or home as the events of the day unfolded
  • aftermath stories
  • the Muslim members of our community and what their experiences have been as they relate to the day of the attacks and the months and years following
  • how far we have come in the ten years since the attacks and how our every day lives have changed - for example stricter airport security and our involvement in wars overseas

Do you have stories, original objects, and images you might consider sharing?

Tue, 05/03/2011 - 08:39
Civil War Legacy Project

Fredericksburg-area residents are encouraged to help save a part of their state's heritage by sharing original Civil War letters, diaries and photos with archivists from the Library of Virginia. Of special interest are "materials created during the period 1859-1867 that reflect social, political, military, business and religious life in Virginia during the period of the Civil War and the early period of Reconstruction." The original documents will be scanned and returned.

The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, partnering with the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, will host this one-day event at the museum's Catherine W. Jones McKann Center on May 7 from 9 am - 5 pm. The scanned materials will be part of a statewide, online collection of original Civil War manuscripts that still remain in private hands. For more information, click here.

Appointments are now being made, and are strongly encouraged. A limited number of walk-ins will be accommodated as scheduling allows. To make an appointment to have your documents digitized, contact Heidi Krofft, special events coordinator, at hkrofft@famcc.org or 540/371-3037, ext. 141.

Tue, 04/26/2011 - 14:50
CRRL Presents: Al Conner, Stafford County Historian and Author

This interview airs beginning April 26.
Many years of work with the Stafford County Historical Society, an extensive collection of historic artifacts, and authoring a definitive history of the county have made Al Conner an authority and the person to talk to about Stafford County history. Debby Klein does just that when she visits Al Conner on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.

Fri, 04/22/2011 - 10:02
CRRL Presents: Dr. Rachel Louise Clay, Author - Remembering Rhythm and Blues

This interview airs beginning April 13.
Dr. Rachel Clay’s biography, The Orioles; Second String Albert “Diz” Russell, documents the history of the legendary vocal group, the Orioles, and reflects on the great influence of its members and rhythm and blues in the history of American music. Debby Klein joins Dr. Clay in her home on CRRL Presents, a Central Rappahannock Regional Library production.

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 14:21

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. 
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 13:10
Library of Congress Picture of Fugitive Slaves Crossing the Rappahannock

Civil War Sesquicentennial programs at the library kick off with a lecture series, "The Civil War Comes to Stafford," to be presented at the England Run branch. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Historians will bring the Civil War to our backyard.

Join us for the first lecture in this series:

The Crossing: Slaves, Stafford, and the Great 1862 Exodus to Freedom, lecture by John Hennessy

England Run, Thursday, February 10, 7-8pm

In the spring and summer of 1862, Fredericksburg and Stafford witnessed one of the greatest flights to freedom in American history. As many as 10,000 slaves fled homes, farms, and plantations in nearby counties, bound for the Union army along the Rappahannock River. For individual slaves, the exodus represented an immense risk and an uncertain journey into freedom. For white residents, the exodus meant rapid and profound social change--the end of a labor system more than 200 years old. And for the army and federal government, the flood of freedom seekers--months before the  Emancipation Proclamation--raised a profound and simple question for: what now? This program will look at the great 1862 exodus across the Rappahannock from the human level, men and women forcing change on a community, state, and nation unprepared.

Find out more about Civil War Sesquicentennial events and resources.

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