Virginia Johnson

Penguin Power

They're very cute, very sturdy, and are excellent parents. Colored in black and white with sometimes a splash of orange, penguins make their homes in lots of different places, from South America to Antarctica.

Minfong Ho: Living in Three Languages

When Minfong Ho was a small girl, she listened. She listened to her parents who taught her all those necessary things that parents do. Their words were Chinese, and their words went straight into her heart, giving her wisdom and strength.

When Minfong became a little older, she played in the streets, marketplaces, and temple fairs of Bangkok. All around her, she heard life being experienced: the shouting, the playing, the prayer, the love, and the daily work. It was time to grow, a time to learn how to do the practical things. Minfong came to think of Bangkok’s Thai language as the language of doing; the language of her hands.

Historic Government Island to Become a Park

The new 17-acre park, located in northern Stafford County near Aquia Harbor, will become part of the county's own park system when it opens next year. Government Island is historically significant as the source of Aquia sandstone, used in such structures as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, Aquia Church, Gunston Hall, Kenmore, and Christ Church in Alexandria. In 2002, the House passed a resolution recognizing the historical significance of Aquia sandstone quarries on Government Island.

Civil War Weather in Virginia

Serious Civil War historians should find Robert Krick's book to be a very useful reference as weather is always a factor in battle. The former park service historian has compiled official information along with anecdotal references taken from soldiers' books, diaries, and letters as well as newspapers. Includes sunrise and sunset data from a period almanac.

Marlborough Point: In the Stream of History

Follow Marlborough Point Road down to the eastern tip of Stafford County, and you will pass by lots of new housing mushrooming into the forests and fields that were once favored by both the Native Americans and colonial settlers.  This section of the county is home to not just centuries of local history but millennia.

War So Terrible: Remembering the Battle of Fredericksburg

One hundred and forty-seven years ago, lines of blue advanced on a hillside near the outskirts of Fredericksburg. Those heights were manned by gray-uniformed soldiers, powerfully well-armed and rather surprised that the Union commander should send wave after wave of troops into their maelstrom of cannon and rifle fire. What followed was a slaughter about which Confederate General Robert E. Lee said, "It is well that war is so terrible...we should grow too fond of it."

Making Holiday Gifts

Now's the  time to begin making special gifts for families and teachers. Get started by taking a day or two to skim through craft books at the library, or go online and find some ideas. In this article, we've gathered a few neat projects for beginners as well as book and Web site recommendations to help create a crafty Christmas.

Ornaments

Sinners, Saints, and Soldiers in Civil War Stafford

Stafford County was the southernmost part of the Union occupation of Virginia for much of the Civil War and as such it drew all sorts of characters to its farmlands and creeksides. General Daniel Sickles--described by his contemporaries and historians as a scoundrel, murderer, rapscallion, rogue, and adulterer--took charge of the 2nd Brigade of Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac. He enjoyed scouting the enemy by hot air balloon and held extravagant parties for his officers while in Stafford.

First New World English Thanksgiving Was Celebrated in Virginia

The Pilgrims get the fame for their feast in New England, but two years prior on December 4, 1619, thirty-eight Virginians at Berkeley Hundred celebrated “a day of thanksgiving’ to God as required by their charter: