The Narrow Gauge Railroad

By Robert Hodge In 1852, Fredericksburg businessmen were concerned with the failure of the Rappahannock Canal (see Fredericksburg Times, Jan. 1978), the impassability of the turnpike, the incomplete state of the plank road and the loss of county trade to the Alexandria markets via the railroad. A meeting was held and it was decided to revive…
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Westmoreland County’s African American History

Westmoreland County’s African American history dates back to the 17th century. During the earliest years, both slaves from Africa and white indentured servants were imported to the Northern Neck (the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers) to work on farms and plantations, with African slaves becoming more prevalent over time.  17th Century – The…
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Hartwood History

Beyond the I-95 Corridor Drive out Route 17 north from Falmouth, past the strip malls, the shopping centers, and the subdivisions, and you’ll find that as the roadside gets less crowded, the scenery becomes more historic. In the 18th century, this corridor was more a place for pioneers than for fancy plantation owners, though there…
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Walk Through History . . . Caroline Street

By the Fredericksburg Area Tourism Department 130 Caroline Built c. 1855. The style and design of this Greek Revival townhouse are identical to its neighboring duplexes, although this is a single family dwelling. Extensive changes have altered the architectural similarities shared with 132-138. Note bay window and wing additions. 132,134,136,138 Caroline Built 1855. These Greek Revival townhouses are mirror images…
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African-American History of Stafford, Virginia

Colonial Times Africans first arrived in the Virginia colony in 1619 as indentured servants. In the late 1600s, slaves were brought into the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley, primarily to serve as agricultural laborers. As the colony grew, Falmouth and Fredericksburg, situated on the Rappahannock River at the limits of inland navigation, became important seaports. Seagoing…
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The Aquia Train Robbery

This account has been compiled from the Free Lance newspaper of Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 16, 1894, through September 27, 1895, by Robert A. Hodge. Charles Jasper Searcey was born in Palopinto County, Texas, December 12, 1858. He grew into a tall, slender, wiry man with well-developed shoulders, deep-set dark eyes, a low but pleasant voice, and…
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Ellwood: A Crossroads in History

For more than two hundred years, this Spotsylvania farm has stood as a witness to Virginia history. Originally carved from land given to colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood, Ellwood willingly hosted two armies-that of the Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War and General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. However, in 1864…
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John Adams Elder: Fredericksburg’s Artist of the Civil War

By Barbara Crookshanks On October 6, 2007, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, 907 Princess Anne Street, opened a retrospective exhibit of the paintings of Fredericksburg artist John Adams Elder, "Fredericksburg's Artist of the Civil War." The retrospective exhibit, the first of Elder's work since 1947, included portraits, landscapes, and paintings of the Civil…
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Early Ice Houses

By Roy Butler The inhabitants of early Fredericksburg enjoyed a cool drink during the hot summer months, just as we do today - hence the massive excavations referred to as ice houses. These brick-lined, wood-floored structures were generally 15 to 20 feet in depth and 12 to 15 feet in diameter. Dairy products, meats, and…
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