History Feature Articles

Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas

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.

A Female Soldier in the Civil War: Emma E. Edmonds

Historians believe at least 400 women served in the Civil War as soldiers, but documented cases are very few.

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day has a long history, reaching back to the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, and soldiers of the North and South went home to their families, their ranks thinned by the war's bloodshed. Thousands upon thousands of the men who went to battle never returned. At home, their families grieved for the fathers and brothers lost to them and looked for a way to memorialize their sacrifices.

Toll Bridge Across the Rappahannock

 Fredericksburg bridge toll token with cost given of eight centsSince the body of water known as the Rappahannock River separated two important areas of commerce and trade, it had, of course, to be crossed constantly. The Indians had their canoes and the early settlers had their boats and ferries. The first bridge was built about 1800 and was referred to as Scott's Bridge.

City's 2006 Wall of Honor Recipients Served Their Community

Every year, the Memorials Advisory Commission recommends to the City Council the names of up to five citizens deceased for at least five years who have made outstanding contributions to the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Commission relies upon public nominations to determine which individuals to place on the Wall of Honor. Files of information on the honorees are available in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library's Virginiana Room.

Alum Spring Park: A Walk Through History

Alum Spring Park is a 34-acre woodland retreat off Greenbriar Drive with a playground and hiking trails. Its sandstone cliff, also known as the Alum Spring Rock, is 400 feet long and 40 feet high.

Esprit de Corps

"That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors and officers as usual in other regiments, that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no person be appointed to office or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea."
(Resolution of the Continental Congress, 10 November 1775.)

Helping with History

Area museums and research centers are feeling the crunch of tight economic times, too. Volunteers are needed to share our area's history with visitors so that the past may be remembered by new generations.

Would you like to volunteer at an historic property or research facility? Read on for descriptions of places that need you to help them bring the past alive. The APVA Properties

Local Haunts

At times, a sense of things past seems to envelop tourists and residents who stroll quietly along Fredericksburg streets at twilight or drive through a countryside still scarred by the battles of the Civil War. Some swear that more than a general sense of the history of the place overwhelms them. At twilight, at midnight, or even at high noon, specters and shades of those whose place this was may return to their homes and habits to pray, to flirt, to dine, and to stroll, to fire their rifles and march in formation, or lie wounded in hospital beds, wearing uniforms of gray or blue.

J.S. Potter's Hazel Hill (1890-1899)

This article was first printed in the January, 1979 issue of the Fredericksburg Times magazine and appears here with the author's permission. Hazel Hill no longer stands.

The old Fredericksburg home, Hazel Hill, was built about 1793 by John Minor (1761-1816) at the time of his marriage (his second) to Lucy Landon Carter. It remained the Minor home until about 1855 after which its ownership passed through several hands including Montgomery Slaughter (Fredericksburg Mayor, 1860-1868) and Judge Henry Souther. It was the latter who, in the spring of 1890, sold Hazel Hill to the Honorable Joseph S. Potter.
Mr. Potter was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1866 to 1871 and the Senate from 1871 to 1874. He was appointed to a high government office in Germany where he served until April, 1890 at which time he moved to Fredericksburg. He was described as a man who could spread sunshine among people; who could make two blades of grass grow whe= re none had grown before!