Each summer, the National Park Service offers free History at Sunset tours which give insights into our area’s Civil War past. Hosted by Park Service historians, they are a tremendous treat for history lovers. Unless otherwise noted, tours begin at 7pm and last about 90 minutes. Here is their schedule and our suggested titles to go with each topic:
The CRRL is proud to partner with area historians, museums, tourism agencies, organizations, churches, and scholars to provide programs and information that can promote understanding of the events that exploded here in the 1860s and their far-reaching impact.
Over the last four years the community has been invited to commemorate—through lectures, re-enactments, exhibits, film screenings, and musical performances—the extraordinary fact that we were a war zone from 1861-1865.
This June, Fredericksburg has two wonderful events that will bring to light lesser-known aspects of African-American history. On Saturday, June 20, the library will join the Race Coalition’s celebration of “Juneteenth," the date in 1865 when news of the 13th Amendment finally reached the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, 2½ years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite the long delay, there was much cause for celebration, and many Juneteenth traditions have ensued. This year marks the 150th anniversary, and you are invited to celebrate! Enjoy inspirational and educational performances and activities to promote cross-cultural understanding, unity, and peace. Stop by the library’s table at the Juneteenth Celebration, Saturday, June 20, at noon at New City Fellowship, 200 Prince Edward Street, Fredericksburg, Va. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia’s Civil War history sometimes overshadows her Revolutionary past. In For Virginia and Independence, Dr. Ward shares fascinating, adventurous stories of soldiers, some local, whose deeds should be remembered. There’s Peter Francisco, the strongman immigrant soldier; Jack Jouett, Virginia’s Paul Revere; Anna Maria Lane, who dressed as a man and followed her husband into battle; and 25 more.
The year 2002 celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of "George Washington's Mother Lodge." According to the authors of The History of Freemasonry in Virginia, "Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 stands out as one of the brightest Lodges in the early history of Freemasonry in Virginia." Since 1752 it has maintained a continuous Masonic presence in Fredericksburg. Many of the town's prominent citizens have been members, and many of its prominent buildings have Masonic cornerstones.
Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.
Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.
In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.
Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
"Fredericksburg; may it increase and its commerce flourish." --Toast by George Washington, 1784
Fredericksburg-area residents and visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Washington and Lincoln. Both presidents were entertained lavishly across the river at Chatham estate, but under very different circumstances.
To Washington, this small town of Fredericksburg was his childhood home, populated by many friends and relatives. His sojourns here are noted in his diary with a pleasant familiarity. Lincoln's view of Fredericksburg could hardly be of greater contrast, for Fredericksburg was a Union-occupied town, and although the president was certainly welcomed by his own men, he was not welcomed by Confederate townspeople. In the chill of that December, Fredericksburg would become the site of one of the Union's worst defeats.
Searching for your roots is about to get easier. On July 1, 2014, the library launches World Vital Records—an online service that will help you tell your family story. World Vital Records replaces Heritage Quest as the genealogy resource CRRL library card holders can access online remotely.
Unlike Heritage Quest, the new service provides complete U.S. Census data—from 1790 to 1940. You can also search birth, marriage, death, and other vital records from many countries; family trees worldwide; newspapers; and historic U.S. maps.
The simple house of worship on White Oak Road, across from the White Oak Civil War Museum, has its historic roots in the separation of church and state and was a hub of Union Army activity in the winter of 1862-63.