20th century

Gold in Stafford County

Gold in Stafford County

Gold was discovered in Stafford during the eighteenth century. In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes on Virginia, “I know a single instance of gold found in this state. It was interspersed in small specks through a lump of ore, of about four pounds in weight, which yielded seventeen pennyweight [1/20 ounce] of gold, of extraordinary ductility.” This gold was found in Stafford about four miles below Fredericksburg on the north side of the Rappahannock.

Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg

Lost Communities of Virginia by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg

You can find them on a map. Barely.  Little towns that used to be rather important hubs dot the Virginia countryside, dating from the days when agriculture ruled along with the horse and buggy or mule and wagon. These central spots, often near rail stations, rivers, or better roads, were communities in their own right and many have faded away as the interstate system grew. The Lost Communities of Virginia, by Terri Fisher and Kirsten Sparenborg, takes a look at these fading places, several of them near our area, including Mineral, Woodford, and Milford.

Fans of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café can relate to little Milford, situated in Caroline County and still located on a railroad line.  Originally the popular area here was Doguetown, named for the Dogue Indians who used the Mattaponi River for transportation. Milford, named for a nearby plantation in 1792, also used the river as a point for shipping—and inspecting—tobacco. The Mattaponi River was connected to both the York River and the Chesapeake Bay. By the early 1840s, the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad ran from Richmond to Aquia Creek with a stop in Milford. Milford’s North-South railroad connections made it a target in the Civil War. 

Different Like Coco

By Elizabeth Matthews

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"Coco couldn't afford to dress like the corseted ladies of high society and she was never going to be shapely. There was no point in trying to be like them. Instead, she tried to be different."

The rags-to-riches story of Coco Chanel plays out in a wonderful picture-book biography that is as full of style and spirit as its heroine is.

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Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief

By Joseph Pearce

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The twentieth century has been marked by both belief and unbelief. While church attendance has declined, the lives of many of the more salient figures of our times have been influenced and inspired by Christianity.

Wilde through the looking-glass -- Belloc, Baring and Chesterton -- The archbishop's son -- The bishop's son -- Dawson and Watkin -- Benson's Cambridge apostolate -- The attraction of orthodoxy -- Religion and politics -- Knox and Benson -- Knox and Chesterton -- War and Waste Land -- Poetry in commotion -- Graham Greene, Catholic sceptic -- Waugh and Waste Land -- Controverting converts -- Chesterton and Baring -- War and rumour of war -- War of words -- Nuclear reactions -- Cultivating culture -- A network of minds -- Militants in pursuit of the truth -- Spark and Sitwell -- Alec Guinness -- Sassoon and Knox -- Contra mundum -- Ringing out the old -- Small is beautiful -- Muggeridge, pilgrimage and passion -- Ends and loose ends -- Painting God Greene -- Celtic twilight.

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life

By D.M. Thomas

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"...Thomas tells not only the harrowing and sorrowful tale of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's life but also the painful story of Russia itself, a country perpetually at war with itself and its own diverse people. Beginning with the years of Revolution and Civil War, Solzhenitsyn's dramatic life embodies the cruelty, passion, and chaos that have characterized Russian history over the last century. Thomas's account covers extensively all the major periods of the Russian author's remarkable life, from childhood to his years in the Stalinist labor camps, his battle against censorship and his expulsion from the U.S.S.R. in 1974, and his Vermont period and return to a Russia that has shed its Communist cloak but not its dark interior."

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We Were Always Free: The Maddens of Culpeper County, Virginia: A Two-Hundred-Year Family History

By T.O. Madden, Jr., with Ann L. Miller

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Ever since 1758, when Sarah Madden was born to an unmarried Irish woman and an unknown black father, the Maddens have been free, escaping--and sometimes defying--the laws and customs that condemned other African Americans to slavery in their native state of Virginia.

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A Field Guide to American Houses

By Virginia and Lee McAlester

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The guide that enables you to identify, and place in their historic and architectural contexts, the houses you see in your neighborhood or in your travels across America. 17th century to the present.

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The Corpse Had a Familiar Face

“The crime that inevitably intrigues me most is murder. It’s so final.  At a fresh murder scene you can smell the blood and hear the screams; years later, they still echo in my mind. Unsolved murders are unfinished stories. The scenes of the crimes may change over the years; highways are built over them, buildings are torn down, houses are sold. I drive by and wonder if the new occupants, as they go about their daily lives, ever sense what happened there. Do they know, or am I the only one who still remembers?” – The Corpse Had a Familiar Face

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edna Buchanan spent years covering Miami, “America’s Hottest Beat,” for the Miami Herald.  Edna went from factory worker to crime reporter in a matter of just a few years with nary a college degree. Though at first appearances she was simply another beautiful blond in high heels and a mini-skirt, beneath her glamour lay the steel-trap mind of a reporter who always wants to know who, what, when, where, and why.

Mac

Long before Lassie became a famous film star there was another collie who was courted by movie directors. This remarkable "dog with a human brain" had his day in a Fredericksburg court room and escaped the death penalty.

African American Entrepreneurs

By Jim Haskins

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Profiles a variety of African American entrepreneurs, from the early years, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, to modern times.
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