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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Sounds of New Kent

(Originally posted Christmas 2013)

That Christmas shooting? It's older than you think.

We have quite a merry Christmas in the family; and a compact that no unpleasant word shall be uttered and no scramble for anything. The family were baking cakes and pies until late last night, and to day we shall have full rations. I have found enough celery in the little garden for dinner.
 Last night and this morning the boys have been firing Christmas guns incessantly- no doubt pilfering from their fathers cartridge boxes. There is much jollity and some drunkenness in the streets, notwithstanding the enemy's pickets are within an hour's march of the city

From A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States CapitalJohn Beauchamp Jones, 1866

 Robert Mitchell, Mayor, to the Governor
 Dec. 25, Richmond

Having a moment of time to spare, I take that opportunity of acknowleging the receipt of your letter enclosing the advice of our Council of State, bearing date the 3rd of last November, and yours of the 19th of same month. It did not come to hand at that date or for many days after. I have done all in my power to prevent that evil of unlawful Gaming within this city pointed out by you; besides it encourages the unguarded youth in Idleness vice and Immorality. You may depend on my doing all in my power to prevent such violation of our laws, and punish them when detected.
 Your favor of the 24th Inst. came very late to hand on the evening of that day. Had I rece'd it early in the day I might have had it more in my power to have its contents put in execution more compleat in order to comply with your wish and my own desire. On the 23rd Inst. I wrote Maj'r Wolfe to furnish a Serg't Guard out of the militia, in order to aid our city Patrol to patrol the city and its Jurisdiction during the Christmas Holydays, which has been complyed with, but it does appear to me to be impossible to prevent firing what is called Christmas Guns, being an old established custom, although there is an ordinance of the city police fixing a fine of 5s. for every offence of firing Guns within this city. The addition of the militia to the city patrol may prevent in part the evil pointed out to me in your letter.
 I am &c                    

- From Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts: ... Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Virginia- Volume 9, Henry W. Flournoy, 1890

March 1655-6    6th of Commonwealth  
                                                           ACT XII 
WHEREAS it is much to be doubted, That the comon enemie the Indians, if opportunity serve, would suddenly invade this collony to a totall subversion of the same and whereas the only means for the discovery of their plotts is by allarms, of which no certainty can be had in respect of the frequent shooting of gunns in drinking, whereby they proclaim, and as it were, justifie that beastly vice spending much powder in vaine, that might be reserved against the comon enemie, Be it therefore enacted that what person or persons soever shall, after publication hereof, shoot any gunns at drinkeing (marriages and ffuneralls onely excepted) that such person or persons so offending shall forfeit 100 lb. of tobacco to be levied by distresse in case of refusall and to be disposed of by the militia in amunition towards a magazine for the county where the offence shall be comitted.

From The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619William Waller Hening,ed. 1823

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reconnaissance of the Chickahominy, June 1862- Part Two

Report of Capt. Wilhelm Heine, Volunteer Topographical Engineer.
  FORT MONROE, VA., August 21, 1862.
GENERAL: Respectfully I submit the following report:
According to instructions received on Saturday, June 28, at 5.20 I embarked on board the steam-tug C. P. Smith. with the usual escort of 40 men, commanded by Captain Lee, Ninety-ninth New York Volunteers, and proceeded up James River. At 11:10 o'clock I reached the gunboat flotilla, and at 11:25 o'clock I handed the dispatch addressed to the senior naval officer to Commander McKinstry, U. S. Navy, on board the United States sloop of war Dacotah. He could not supply me with a pilot; therefore I had to anchor for the night at the mouth of the Chickahominy.
On Sunday, the 29th, at daylight, Captain Lee went ashore in the cutter and brought on board a negro well acquainted with the locality, who piloted us in and up the Chickahominy River. At 11 o'clock we got aground, but got off again after a short delay, and reached the place called the Windsor Shades, where, as directed, I anchored at 12 p.m. A short distance below this the United States gunboat Delaware was aground, and after having communicated to the commanding officer the object of my mission, and requested him to render to Captain Lee such assistance as the emergency of the case might require, I went, as directed, ashore with the prescribed escort of 6 men and a non-commissioned officer. The Windsor Shades are situated on the north-east shore of the Chickahominy, at the end of a narrow neck of land flanked on both sides by an impenetrable swamp. The southwest shore for miles above and below is also a dense swamp, rendering the position favorable for defense. Two roads lead at about right angles from it one toward New Kent Court-House, the other toward Long Bridge; at that time, as I had reason to believe, in possession of our troops. I took the latter. The bridge marked on the map Forge Bridge was burned; the ford near an old mill impassable on account of the high water. Some negroes on a plantation warned me that the enemy's cavalry was on the other side of the Chickahominy in the lower White Oak Swamp and on the road toward Charles City Court-House. Anxious to reach General McClellan's headquarters, I pushed on without delay and near sunset got up to Long Bridge. This was also burned; the river unfordable, and so I pushed on toward Bottoms Bridge. About this time firing of cannon and musketry could be heard in that direction, receding toward Richmond. With my nearly exhausted men I hastened on, and reached Bottoms Bridge at about 11 p. m. Here all was darkness and silence. The firing had ceased; a drizzling rain made the night still darker. No trace of living beings could be discovered, and exhausted we laid down in the road close to the destroyed bridge to wait until daylight.
Daylight of Monday, the 30th, came, but no traces of either friend or foe could be discovered. Finding the river unfordable, we went as far as the railroad bridge. This, as well as an ammunition train on it, was on fire. We crossed the swamp on fragments of railroad cars,. boxes, & c., and marched up the railroad, where firing of skirmishers was heard. One sick soldier of the Sixty-third New York was lying on the track. His mind was wandering and he gave a confused account of the fight of the previous day. A short distance farther a rebel sentinel stood on the edge of the wood. Corporal Young, of the Ninety-ninth New York Volunteers, and two privates went and captured him. He belonged to the Fourth Georgia Regiment. From him I learned that Toomb's brigade and some cavalry had moved down Charles City road through the lower White Oak Swamp and joined Jackson in his attack on Sumner's Corps. The sick and wounded, of whom many hundred filled the station house and the adjoining farms, confirmed the report, and I stated that the last of our troops had left about sundown, pursued by the enemy.
The firing in front had ceased and a large body of the enemy's infantry was now seen approaching on the railroad. Accordingly I assembled 8 or 10 stragglers and convalescents, formed them, and retreated across the Chickahominy, covering front and rear with skirmishers. I hoped to reach the boat and Charles City by way of James River. Striking the same road by which I had come the previous evening, and which was then free from the enemy, I marched about 5 miles until at a cross-road I met a squad of the enemy's cavalry. With Privates Joseph Cathcart and Owen Dougherty, Ninety-ninth New York Volunteers, and one of the convalescents, whose name I am sorry not to know, I went forward to attack them and drove them back, while Corporal Young and the other 4 men of my escort prevented the stragglers and convalescents, who declined to fight, from running away. We succeeded in gaining the woods and marched 2 miles farther, when, just as we were emerging in an open space, two companies of cavalry fell upon us from all sides, riding us down. I had previously directed the men of the Ninety-ninth, in case of an attack by overwhelming numbers, to disperse and to make each separately his way to Captain Lee, to advise him of what had happened. Five men succeeded. Corporal Young and Private Casey were taken with me prisoners. In the flutter that succeeded the attack, I managed, as directed, to destroy the papers by eating them up unobserved.
I was sorry to learn afterward that of the 5 who succeeded in escaping 4 were taken the next day. The fifth, Joseph Cathcart, refused to surrender, killed the captain of the enemy's cavalry, and was shot dead. I recommend respectfully that this mans family, which is poor, may have the benefit of such a pension as the law allows.
I was taken to Richmond and confined, with about 130 of our officers, in the Tobacco Warehouse until August 15, when we were all sent to Aiken's Landing, and returned to this place in a flag of truce.
With great regret I learn that Corporal Young and Private J. Casey, Ninety-ninth New York Volunteers, are still prisoners of war in Richmond. Their fate concerns me greatly, and I feel sure that you will effect their release if it is in your power to do so.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
                WM. HEINE,
    Captain, Volunteer Topographical Engineer.
Major-General DIX, Commanding Corps d'Armée.

-The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 -Volume 11 (Part II) 

*USS Dacotah had had a busy life so far. Built in Norfolk, only commissioned on May 1, 1860 she sailed in June to join the East India Squadron, arriving at Hong Kong  January 1861. Notified of the outbreak of hostilities she was ordered to return in August 1861 and returned via the Cape of Good Hope. She arrived in the Virgin Islands in November where she started blockade operations. She started operations in the Hampton Roads area after a winter refit.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reconnaissance of the Chickahominy, June 1862- Part One

 Expedition from Fort Monroe to open communication with the Army of the Potomac, June 1862

Report of Capt. John C. Lee, Ninety-ninth New York Infantry.

        FORT MONROE, VA., July 5, 1862.
 SIR: In obedience to your orders of June 28, I started at 7 p. m. for Windsor Shades, on the Chickahominy River, on board the steamer C. P. Smith, at which place we arrived at 11 a. m. June 29, where we found the United States gunboat Delaware aground on the bar.
At 11.30 a. m. Captain Heine, volunteer topographical engineer, and a guard of 6 privates and 1 corporal, started with dispatches for Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's headquarters. About half an hour later I heard the discharge of musketry in the direction that Captain Heine had taken, and thinking that he was attacked I landed 20 men and searched the country for about 2 miles around, but could find no trace of either friend or foe. As six days has now elapsed since Captain Heine left the steamer and nothing has been heard from him, I am led to the painful conclusion that he and his men have been captured by the enemy.
At 2 p.m. June 29 I took 12 men in the cutter and sounded the river for 6 miles above Windsor Shades. I found an average of 14 fathoms* of water in the channel for about 24 miles up. Above that I found many places where the channel was not more than 4 feet deep. The river is so crooked above Windsor Shades and the channel in many places so narrow that navigation with a steamer is impossible.
At 3 p.m. the same day the United States gunboat Satellite arrived at Windsor Shades and got aground on the bar.
At sunset of June 29 several negroes came down to the boats and stated that 5,000 rebels were coming down to attack us. This was rather bad news, as all our boats lay on the north side of the river fast aground and could not be got off until high water, which would be at daylight next morning. While aground we were in a dangerous position, for we could only bring a few of our guns to bear on the point of attack, and the enemy's riflemen could have picked off the guns crews at their leisure. Finding that I could do but little in this position I immediately mounted a 12-pounder mountain howitzer on the bank, having a clear sweep of half a mile in all directions. I also took all the men I could spare from the boat and posted a picket guard, forming a half circle, for 14 miles, for the purpose of giving us timely warning of the approach of the enemy, as well as to prevent spies from coming down and ascertaining our helpless condition.
During the night the guard was attacked several times and twice after daylight next morning by small parties, but my men held their ground and let no one pass their lines.
About 5 a.m. June 30 we got our boats off the bar and placed them in position for anything that might offer. I remained in this position until the morning of July 3, when, learning that the rebels were making a forced march to the bluffs, about 6 miles below, with a large quantity of artillery, to command the river and also to obstruct the channel by felling trees across narrow places, I deemed it imprudent to remain any longer at Windsor Shades. I then, in company with the gunboats Satellite and Port Royal, which latter arrived on July 1, dropped down the river about 10 miles, where I had to stop, as the engine broke down; but in about two hours we had it in working order again, and immediately started for the James River to report for orders to Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. I arrived at Harrison's Bar at 3.30 p.m. and reported at headquarters at 4 p.m. Was ordered to wait for dispatches.
At 3 p. m. on July 4 dispatches were given me for the President of the United States and for Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, which I delivered to the proper authorities at Fort Monroe at 11.30 p.m. of July 4.
I have the honor, sir, to be, your obedient servant,
                    JOHN C. LEE,
Capt., 99th Regt. N. Y. Vols., Comdg. Steamer C.P. Smith.
Maj. Gen. JOHN A. DIX,
    Commanding Division, Fort Monroe, Va.

-The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 - Volume 11 (Part II)

* a fathom is six feet of depth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Presybeterian History of St. Peters Church

The Historical Committee would report as follows:
1. There has come into our hands a manuscript history of St. Peter's Church in New Kent County, written by Dr. S. P. Christian, and one of Olivet Church. Olivet Church for years shared with Episcopalians the use of St. Peter's Church. We recommend that these documents be printed as a supplement to the next issue of the minutes of this Presbytery. The manuscripts have been deposited in the Union Seminary Library.

By the Late Dr. S. P. Christian, Ruling Elder in Olivet Church, Who 'Died in 1909.

This is one of the oldest colonial church buildings in the State of Virginia. As the old records have been destroyed the exact date of its erection cannot be ascertained, but from inscriptions on tombstones in its cemetery it dates back to some time in the seventeenth century, and not very long after the first settlement of the colony at old Jamestown. It is believed by a good many that the bricks of which it was built were brought from England, but I have always regarded this as a myth, as there is all around the church an abundance of good clay soil suitable for the manufacture of bricks, and the erection of the old brick church at Jamestown and others in different parts of the State soon afterwards proves that there must have been among the immigrants some who brought over with them the knowledge of brickmaking.
Of the old Episcopal rectors who preached there preceding and for a considerable time subsequent to the Revolution, there seems to be no knowledge left, except of the Rev. David Mossom, who officiated at the marriage of Genera] Washington, and whose memorial tablet is now on the walls of the church. It is said that during the war and for some time afterwards it had fallen so completely into decay that sometimes cattle took refuge in it as a shelter in stormy weather.
In the early part of the last century Christian people in the vicinity, mostly of the Presbyterian faith, repaired it, and the first worship conducted in it was by Presbyterian ministers. The Rev. Jesse Turner, whose wife taught a large female school in Richmond, and who was the son of the Rev. James Turner, a noted preacher in his day and the grandfather of the late distinguished divine, James Turner Leftwich, of Baltimore, preached occasionally at St. Peter's about this time, but there was no stated supply until the Rev. Jonathan Silliman was called from New England to take charge of the field.
In addition to his ministerial duties, he conducted a large classical school for boys. For the accommodation of the school, a portion of the church, which was originally built in the form of the letter T, was separated from the main auditorium by a brick wall and used as a schoolroom. I remember in my early manhood having seen this apartment in the rear of the church in a good state of preservation, but there is now not a vestige of it left.
The pastor took his meals at a neighboring farm house and slept in the old vestry room, which was in the tower of the church. He was a man of singular simplicity and purity of character, but had the peculiarity of not liking to answer a question directly, if he could do it indirectly. A friend once, knowing that he had performed a marriage ceremony, asked him what fee he received on that occasion. His reply was, "I lost a pair of gloves there and came off about even".
When someone, knowing that he slept with graves all around him, asked him if he did not sometimes dream about ghosts, he replied, "I was very much startled one night by hearing a loud noise on the long flight of steps leading to my chamber. On opening my door to find out the cause of it, I was met by an old negro man, who had hobbled up on a cane to talk to me about religion". His chamber in the tower, having to be reached by a long flight of steps extending from the archway below on the outside of the church solved the mystery.
My own acquaintance with him commenced in a very peculiar manner. When I was about five years old and just beginning to learn to read, my good old grandmother, proud of my accomplishments, as all old people are apt to be of the progress made by the youngest scions of their houses, persuaded me to go into my father's medical office at Cool Well, where Mr. Silliman was convalescing from an attack of fever, and read a verse in the Bible to him. I went in with a brave heart, but as I reached his side I was taken with a stage fright or something of that sort. My cowardly tongue refused to utter a word, and I broke down in a flood of tears. To console me in my distress he drew from his vest pocket and presented to me a small silver coin, the like of which I had never handled or ever seen before, but which I soon learned to know was a "fopensapenny", which translated into intelligible language meant four pence one-half penny in old English currency and six and a half cents in American coin.
I, do not remember whether I reported to my grandmother the utter failure of the main object of my mission, but as far as I was personally concerned I had abundant reason to be well satisfied with its result. Soon after this (at least to the writer) interesting event Mr. Silliman married Mrs. Meacher, a sister of Rev. Wm. J. and George D. Armstrong, and moved to the North.
He was succeeded by the Rev. John Watt, who was a brother-in-law of the Rev. Dr. Wm. S. White, General Jackson's pastor in Lexington, and an uncle of Mr. W. W. Jones, who now lives at my old birthplace, Cool Well, and is a ruling elder in Olivet Church. Mr. Watt remained but a short time, when the Rev. Henry Smith, who had been pastor of the Pole Green Church in Hanover, took charge of the work at St. Peter's. During the most of this period, extending back for several years, the church was in a very languishing condition, and on the occasion of the meetings of the Presbytery at Pole Green, which occurred quite frequently, the pastor, who was a tall, spare man, with a very solemn countenance, arose to make his report from the New Kent Church, which was invariably a discouraging one. A lady member said that every-body in the congregation seemed to have a long face.
After Mr. Smith left the Rev. John Howard occupied the pulpit. He remained but a short time, but while there, by his ardent piety and consecrated life, made a deep impression upon the community. At the close of his ministry, the Rev. Alexander Martin, who had a regular pastorate in Hanover, preached statedly once a month, and it was during his term of service that the Presbyterians ceased to worship in this old building and erected a church of their own.
During the latter part of these several Presbyterian pastorates, extending from about 1820 to 1856 (?), the pulpit was occupied by Episcopal ministers on alternate Sundays in the following order, Rev. Messrs. Dalrymple, Caldwell, Poyntz. The two congregations worshipped together in perfect harmony, and from the regularity of their attendance on each other's services, it would have been supposed that they all belonged to the same denomination. I believe that the Episcopalians were very sorry when we left, and one of the ladies remarked that it was like taking two bites at a cherry.
There seems to be a general belief that General Washington was married in this church, but owing to undoubted evidence to the contrary, the writer is not prepared to accept it as a fact. Mrs. Macon, who was a member of the church and the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman of the Establishment before the Revolution, said that she knew it was not so because she had been told by an aunt of hers that she was at the wedding and the marriage took place at the White House, Mrs. Custis's home, about three miles from the church, and that it occurred in the morning, as it was an invariable custom among the clergymen of that day, if not according to a canon of the church, to perform all marriage ceremonies before twelve o'clock in the day. In addition to this, it was not then a custom to perform them in churches, but in private homes.
As a matter of sentiment, I would have been glad to believe that so interesting an event occurred in the building, where I first registered my covenant vows to the church, as no doubt would the venerable lady, to whom I am indebted for the above facts, and who was deeply attached to the church of which she was a member, but no one has a right to substitute sentiment for facts. There is an old saying that if you give error a good start it is bard for truth to overtake it. As this one has had so good a start, as to become hoary with age, it goes without saying that it is high time that truth was sent out in pursuit of it, even if it should be so unfortunate as never to overtake it.

- Minutes of East Hanover Presbytery
Presbyterian Church in the U.S. Presbytery of East Hanover
Volume 1931:Jan./June

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rev. Isaac Oliver Sloan

 More particulars from the varied life of the Rev. Isaac Oliver Sloan.

Isaac Oliver Sloan (XIX 69) was graduated at Washington and Jefferson college, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania; studied theology at Union Theological seminary, New York; received license to preach from the Fourth Presbytery of Philadelphia, and was ordained in 1856 by the Presbytery of Hanover, Virginia. He was a missionary in Kent county, Virginia, for four years. His first pastoral charge was at Talleysville, Accomac(!!!) county, Virginia, where he remained till the outbreak of the Civil war. He was twice commissioned by President Lincoln as chaplain of the field hospitals within the lines of the army of the Potomac, and afterward by President Johnson chaplain of the officers' hospital in the Naval Buildings, Annapolis, Maryland. After the close of the war he went west, and spent the rest of his active life in Minnesota, where he reared two churches, and in North Dakota, where he founded three churches.

-Record of the Harris family descended from John Harris, born in 1680 in Wiltshire, England
by Harris, Joseph Smith

Besides the prominent chaplaincies the Rev. Sloan did yeoman service as a member of the United States Christian Commission during the the Civil War. Here is a mention of his work after the Battle of Gettysburg from a contemporary report . . .

After a pretty thorough examination of the work of the Commission at the General Hospital, the members of the Committee proceeded to the hospital, located at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. Here the work was found to be in excellent progress, under the charge of the Rev. I.O. Sloan, one of the most faithful and efficient of our delegates. Mr. Sloan was with Mr. Cross and others, among the first on the ground. They were sent with a full supply of stores to Westminster, before anything could be done at Gettysburg. Immediately after the battle, they were on the ground and at work. He has continued in the faithful performance of duty ever since and it was with great pleasure that the order with which he was pursuing his way, at the Seminary Hospital, was witnessed. The surgeons spoke of him in the kindest and most affectionate manner, and wrought with him very pleasantly in the performance of their mutual labors.
 -United States Christian Commission. Committee of Maryland. Report, Volume 2
J. Young, 1864

His work on the Great Plains after the war . .

Bismarck.-On Sunday November 5, memorial services were held in the Presbyterian church for the Rev. Isaac Oliver Sloan the organizer of the church. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 20, 1820, and died at his residence, 3118 North Sixteenth street, Philadelphia, October 27, 1899. He was honorably retired by the Presbytery of Bismarck, October 27, 1895, and spent the last four years of his life with his relatives. "Father" Sloan as he was familiarly called was emphatically a pioneer. He was the first Presbyterian minister in the state of North Dakota, and the church at Bismarck which he organized was the second in the territory of Dakota- afterwards formed into the states of North and South Dakota. He was stated supply at Bismarck from August 28, 1873, until September 21, 1878. But he was at work on the Missouri slope and further until his honorable retirement. He went as far west as Glendive, Montana; far north as Washburn, North Dakota, and beyond; as far south as Glencoe and Emmons county; as far east as the dividing line the James river and the Missouri river. He was a gentleman in every sense; neat, refined, loving, peaceful, never very strong. He was the Apostle of Love in the territory of Dakota. The value of such a man in the pioneer days can never be estimated. At the memorial the church was filled, and many who not entered a church door for years, heard from the Rev. Durrie the familiar and simple story of the good old man; and memory as well as heart was stirred. As a little token of appreciation to the Board of Ministerial Relief, which has deservedly helped him, $11 was raised.

-The Interior
Western Presbyterian Publishing Company, Chicago
November 30, 1899

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Who Was Chaplain Sloan?

From my article of the 9th of November . . .

 "After he had satisfied himself, he asked me if I was not a chaplain. I replied that I was. 
"I thought so," said he. "Do you know Chaplain Sloan?"
I told him I did not. (I subsequently saw Mr. Sloan at Harrison's Landing.)
"Mr. Sloan," said he,"once preached for us at New Kent; we thought a great deal of him. My mother and myself and wife were members of his church. These young men said he were all students in the classical school he superintended at New Kent. He was a very valuable and useful man amongst us. At the commencement of the war he left us and went, as we understood, to Philadelphia. But we afterwards heard that he had become a chaplain in your army, and we all took a solemn vow that wherever we should meet him we would shoot him; and when we first saw you we supposed that you were Mr Sloan, and you may have observed the young men cocking their guns; this was when we took you for him. And now," said he, "I am very glad that you are not Mr. Sloan, for it would have troubled me all my life to have shot him." I told him my pleasure at not being Mr. Sloan was fully equal to his in not finding him."
So who was the mysterious chaplain named Sloan who elicited such emotions? A little digging has revealed some interesting details about the man who I discovered to be the first pastor of Olivet Presbyterian Church. The below account is that of Dr. S. P. Christian an Elder of the church.

"Rev. Isaac Oliver Sloan was called as the first pastor. He was a native of Philadelphia, but had preached at several points in Virginia before this time. Though his father and his family belonged to old Dr. Barnes' church, who was a radical anti-slavery man, they never sympathized with him on that subject. They took the Christian Observer, and were warm supporters of Dr. Converse, the editor of that paper. It was through his recommendation that he became the pastor of Olivet.
During the four years of his ministry the church, though it did not experience any marked seasons of revival, was in a healthy, couraging(??). The membership had increased from eight to thirty-five.
In addition to the regular Sunday school, there was a very interesting Bible class for adults, which met every Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoons there were services for colored people, and these meetings were also well attended. It might have been supposed that a race of the emotional nature they possessed, and accustomed as they often were in their worship to violent bodily-exercises, jumping and shouting, would not be satisfied with our quiet Presbyterian forms, but I remember that only on one occasion about the close of the service a blind boy came up to me and said, "Doctor, may we sing shouts?"
Mr. Sloan was a member of my family the whole of the four years that he was pastor at Olivet, and I never remember that there ever was a ripple of disagreement between us about the operations of the church, but when he saw that the Civil War was coming on he said that his father and mother were very old, and not liking to be separated from them for an indefinite time, he thought it best to return home. Just after the John Brown raid, which occurred just about a year before the war, one of his brothers wrote to him to know if he, like the rest of the Virginians, was scared to death. I told him to let his brother know that the Virginian he lived with slept with his outer door unlocked every night, and would like to know whether he did the same in Philadelphia."

-Minutes of East Hanover Presbytery
Presbyterian Church in the U.S. Presbytery of East Hanover
Volume 1931:Jan./June

Next- Rev. Isaac Oliver Sloan in War and Peace

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Chaplain and the Captain

The Rev. James Junius Marks, D.D.(1809-1899) was a chaplain in the Union Army from August 1861 until resigning because of ill health just before Christmas 1862.* He served first with the 12th Pennsylvania, and then in the field with the 63rd Pennsylvania during the Peninsula Campaign. The below is from his 1864 account of his Peninsula experiences.
During the afternoon we were at work removing the stores of provisions from the railroad track to the hospital. I had all the nurses engaged in bearing these across the fields on their backs and on stretchers, and in various ways we were securing what had been spared for us.
During one of these trips we observed a company of horsemen riding swiftly towards us. When they approached within fifty yards of us, I saw the young men around the captain throw the strap of their carbines over their shoulders placing their guns over the pommel of their saddles cock them and moving slowly they drew near. I thought the action was strange and threatening and commanded the men to drop their loads and sit down on the grass. I advanced in front. When the captain came within ten paces of us, I saw him turn and wave his hand to his followers. They uncocked their pieces, threw the strap over the neck, and came up to us.
The leader bowed and introduced himself as Captain Taylor, of New Kent, and the commander of a company in the celebrated Stuart cavalry. He was much of a gentleman, asked me when we were taken prisoners? how we were treated? how many sick we had? After he had satisfied himself, he asked me if I was not a chaplain. I replied that I was. 
"I thought so," said he. "Do you know Chaplain Sloan?"
I told him I did not. (I subsequently saw Mr. Sloan at Harrison's Landing.)
"Mr. Sloan," said he,"once preached for us at New Kent; we thought a great deal of him. My mother and myself and wife were members of his church. These young men said he were all students in the classical school he superintended at New Kent. He was a very valuable and useful man amongst us. At the commencement of the war he left us and went, as we understood, to Philadelphia. But we afterwards heard that he had become a chaplain in your army, and we all took a solemn vow that wherever we should meet him we would shoot him; and when we first saw you we supposed that you were Mr Sloan, and you may have observed the young men cocking their guns; this was when we took you for him. And now," said he, "I am very glad that you are not Mr. Sloan, for it would have troubled me all my life to have shot him." I told him my pleasure at not being Mr. Sloan was fully equal to his in not finding him.
He then went on conversing, with the manner of one who had thrown a mighty load off his soul. He evidently did not relish the thought of being the murderer of Mr. Sloan, and sincerely hoped that he might never come in their way. He then told me that he had left his family, mother, wife, and children, at New Kent; and the families of most of the men about him were in that same neighborhood, and that their anxiety had been intense when our army advanced to New Kent. "But," said he, we have been fifteen times in your rear and know all that was done by your troops; and to your credit I must say that your men behaved well. They did not rob the families nor molest them, and I have not heard of a single case of violence. We have heard, indeed, of your taking pigs, turkeys, and chickens; this is what is to be looked for in an army; but we have not heard of a single case of violence or insult to families; that speaks loudly for the discipline of your army."
I told him "I thanked him for that drop of comfort. I knew that the officers aimed to restrain the troops, but sometimes men broke over all discipline."
"Your men," said he, behave well, but don't fight like our men."
"Pray, captain," said I, "where did your men show any superiority to ours?"
"Why, I think in battle fought and nowhere more than at Williamsburg. We fought you with our rear guard we had no expectation of being able to do more than hold you in check until the main body of our forces were out of harm's way. But when your generals were so easily checked this emboldened us to hurry back reinforcements and attempt greater things and I do believe that if we had resolved to make a final stand at Williamsburg we could have bound you there another month and then the heat and fever would have finished the work we began."
"Captain," I replied, "you know that the battle of Williamsburg was mainly fought by one division, General Hooker's. Generals Kearney and Hancock rendered very essential aid, but it was almost night when they reached the field. We had not so many men in that battle as you had, and yours were all the advantages of position, intrenchments, and strong earthworks and we had to debouch into the fields in your front, over a narrow neck of land. You had every advantage that men should ask; the storm was drenching and disheartening; our artillery was engulfed in the mud; yet, notwithstanding all these things, General Hooker, with the aid of three or four regiments of General Kearney's, held his position for five hours, until, by a flank movement of General Hancock, you were driven from the field. In the strength of your intrenchments you ought to have held out against fifty thousand men."
"Well," said he, "we have thought that one of our men was equal to four of yours: that may have been slightly too large; do you not think, in all honesty, doctor, that our men are greatly superior to yours in military qualities?"
"No," said I, "our men are fully equal to yours, and in many respects superior. We are cooler, will endure more, suffer greater hardships, and fight more unflinchingly than yours."  
"Well," said he, smiling, "you have never shown those qualities yet; but I hope, for the honor of the American name, you may in the future. We have had several battles on the Peninsula: in which of these do you think you were victorious?"
"Were you at Savage Station last night, captain, in the battle.?"
"No, we were on the left. But what of it?"
"Why, simply this: that you were most thoroughly whipped, and if you had been there at the conclusion of the firing you would have seen our columns standing where they did at the commencement of the fight; and of your men, there was not one in the open fields, and all your artillery was removed or silenced.'
"And how many men do you suppose General Jackson brought into action?"
"I do not know, certainly, but suppose from forty to fifty thousand.- Well, sir, we had but twenty thousand, all told; and men who have been under arms for twenty-five days, who, during all this time, were enduring the severest toil and exhausting duties, and yet they repulsed twice their number of fresh troops; and in the engagement of last night your men pursued their usual tactics: they crept into ravines, hid behind fences, and skulked like Indians into forests. No captain you have asked my opinion and I have given it to you. Your men, as a general thing are not equal to ours."
He laughed, and said: "Doctor, I have provoked this; we will not be likely to agree, but I don't think less of you for answering and defending your soldiers with spirit. But do you not think that your cause is fatally defeated and the independence of the South certain? We have just come up from the left of your army; we consider the escape of General McClellan hopeless. We have seventy thousand in your rear, and fully as many in front; and entangled in the forest and swamp, how can you escape? It was understood when we left that General McClellan had sent an aid to General Lee, to arrange the surrender of his entire army."
"you may believe it, but I will not; if twenty thousand men could beat back your army last night, I feel sure that seventy thousand will do more than that to-day."
"Well," said he, "there are some things which even brave men cannot do; you cannot drag your cannon through swamps; you cannot move your trains through forests so deep and dark that the light of the sun never reaches the earth; you cannot bridge rivers in the face of a powerful and victorious enemy; we know all this country well, and I assure you the escape of your army is impossible."
"Well, captain, you will find that when you press such men as ours to the wall, they will defend themselves with a desperation which will end in your defeat. Even now, the roar of the battle is the proof that we still have an army."
In the meantime the men on both sides had become quite familiar, and were fully exchanging views. The captain bade me good-bye, and hoped we might meet in better times.

-The Peninsular Campaign in Virginia, or, Incidents and scenes on the battle-fields and in Richmond James Junius Marks
J. B. Lippincott & co., 1864

*Biographical information in Under the Red Patch: Story of the Sixty Third Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864 by Gilbert Adams Hays.

Next- Who Was Sloan?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Historic Vista

While exploring the grounds of historic Cumberland Plantation in preparation for the Cumberland Festival 2015. I found myself standing on the grounds in front of the main building. Admiring the beautiful view of the Pamunkey River, a chord was struck in my memory. I snapped a pic with my prehistoric phone and on arriving home compared it to images on my hard drive.
This was the result.
Excuse my cropping ability.

153 years apart

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Unfounded, Meritless, and Unsupported by Evidence."

A California "watch dog group"(that apparently consists of one person) has put on hold the Pamunkey Indians' quest for recognition by the United States Government. Stand Up for California, is an organization concerned with the growth of Indian reservation gambling. It made a last minute appeal to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals the "appellate review body that exercises the delegated authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue final decisions . . .involving Indian matters."

Apparently the Federal recognition of the Pamunkey has become caught in the crossfire over the little known issues(at least for people on the East Coast) of “off-reservation casinos" and gambling on "tribal trust lands."

"Stand Up for California's request to the IBIA for reconsideration is unfounded, meritless, and unsupported by evidence, . . .The Tribe's sovereign strength, which traces back well before the arrival of the earliest colonists to Virginia, will see it through this frivolous attack as it has seen it through so many other thoughtless, mean-spirited attacks in the past," said Mark C. Tilden, attorney for the tribe and longtime legal advocate for tribes across the United States.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Come to the Event . . .

Come to the Cumberland Festival at historic Cumberland Plantation in New Kent, Virginia, October 17 and 18, 2015. See and learn about Life During the Civil War in New Kent as presented by members of the New Kent Historical Society.  Enjoy the grounds and beautiful autumn vistas of the Pamunkey River.

Yours truly will be one of the featured speakers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Commerce on the Pamunkey- 1913

Much Building In Prospect -Steamer for the Pamunkey.
 West Point. Va., October 4.-
The Chamber of Commerce met Tuesday night and a stock company was organised(sic) for the purpose of building houses to accommodate the new people coming into the town. The directors of the company have boon appointed, but the  officers of same have not been fully decided upon. The organisation(sic) is to be known an the West Point Building Corporation, and twenty or more houses are to go up at once. There will be building done by others.
With the deepening of the water around the docks at West Point, the completion of the bridge across the Mattaponi River, and the prospect of a bridge across the Pamunkey River, and the building of houses for many people and the many other signs of progress around West Point there comes a cry for a small steamboat up the Pamunkey. W. J. Taylor, of Eltham Farm, New Kent County, calls attention to the fact that although the Southern Railroad skirts the Pamunkey River on the north side, up to the White Mouse, yet a vast territory on the south side of the river has no transportation facilities whatever. That there are many farmers who would grow much produce to ship could they have the chance to do so, and that above White House, where lie some of the largest and finest farms in Virginia, the farmers have no way of shipping their produce, except by the slow process of sail vessel, after a very long haul across the country.
A steamboat on the Pamunkey would awaken the farmers to grow larger crops, when, as the case now stands, they grow only enough for home consumption. The boat would not only handle freight, but many passengers would find it convenient to do their trading in West Point, which is the natural trading place for a large section of this country. The steamboat would be a paying investment, and would greatly increase and bring a large body of people in closer touch commercially with West Point.
In 1867 this present line of steamers was established from Baltimore. The boats, the Kenebeck and the Admiral, used to run up the Pamunkey river to White House until the railroad was completed to West point. In 1867 there was an established line from Norfolk. The Mystic, a moderate sized steamer, was used to accommodate the shippers and the traveling public. This boat ran to White House also until the  railroad was completed, but as a favor stopped at West Point in passing.
The stock books of the new bank have been opened for subscription, and from indications stock subscriptions will be received from every county In Tidewater Virginia, and there is a likelihood that its maximum capital of $50,000 will be oversubscribed. The bank will open its doors about November 1 in its temporary quarters in the Masonic Hall Building, but will move to D and Eighth Streets when the new building is completed. It is said that work on the new building will begin immediately.

-The Times Dispatch(Richmond, Va.) October 05, 1913

Monday, August 31, 2015

"A Most Notorious Actor"

Thomas Hall, Clerk of New Kent County, was hanged by the victorious Governor Berkeley after the suppression of Bacon's Rebellion. Said to be "a person of Neat Ingenious parts, but addicted to a more than ordinary prying into the Secrets of State affairs, which some years last past wrought him into the Governors displeasure." He was executed in 1677 for the crime that he "by divers writings under his own hand … a most notorious actor, aided and assisted in the rebellion."*

New Kent County was much larger at this time, covering most of the headwaters of the York River. It had been one of the flash points of the rebellion owing to its then frontier location, and the belief of the residents that the Governor had not been defending the area adequately against Indian depredations.

*Vestry book of Blisland (Blissland) Parish, New Kent and James City Counties, Virginia, 1721-1786
by Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hailstorms and Courts-Martial and Wine.

On the 9th(of May 1862) we were still on board the schooner at West Point. Everybody was anxious to get ashore, but we waited to be taken in nearer shore so that the horses could be unloaded. We found it tiresome enough lying there all day.
The next day we were taken ashore much to our relief, the horses lowered overboard as at Shipping Point. We went to the guns, hitched on and marched about two miles, and camped at a place called Elkhorn, on the Pamunky River. Captain Arnold of the regulars had charge of the unloading.
Sunday the 11th, was quite warm. General McClellan arrived during the day, bringing news of destruction of the Merrimac. Magnolias were in full bloom.
Another warm day on the 12th. We had a division inspection that day. At this time no one could tell what our next move was to be or in what direction. All was uncertainty.
The same condition of affairs prevailed on the 13th. The daily drill was our only occupation. The warm weather continued and so did the rumors as to our destination.
We were at last called out, early on the morning of the 15th marched about fifteen miles and went into camp at New Kent Court House. It was quite warm and the infantry straggled badly, especially one regiment called the Baxter's Zouaves.
We remained in camp through the 16th. It was called Camp Stumps by some of the boys.
It was at this camp that a difficulty arose between Sergeant Budlong and Patrick Donnegan. It commenced over a claim of a bridle. The sergeant had possession of the bridle and stated that it was his and that Donnegan had taken it claiming that it was a bridle which he had used on the horse of Lieut. John G. Hazard. Donnegan had been detailed to take care of Lieutenant Hazard's horses. The lieutenant commanded the sergeant to give up the bridle. The latter refused to do so and some sharp words passed between them. Lieutenant Hazard ordered the guard to buck and gag Budlong and reduce him to the ranks. To degrade a sergeant in such a manner was something unknown and contrary to Army Regulations and was so stated by the president of the court-martial, Colonel Surrey, who was a graduate of West Point. He never received any redress for this punishment.
We got under way on the 18th, and marched two miles and went into camp with every kind of a rumor that was ever heard of about what was to be done next, and when we were going to move It grew monotonous.
On the 19th there was some little excitement, as firing was heard a number of times, though sounding a long way off, and in advance of us. Our corps, the Second, under "Daddy Sumner," as the boys dubbed him was in reserve.
On the 20th we exchanged visits with Battery B, the Fifteenth Massachusetts and First Minnesota. All were tired of creeping along as we had been doing, and they were grumbling about it as well as the men of our battery. The horses appeared to stand it very well.
We marched again on the 21st about six a.m. and passed by McClellan's headquarters at the Savage house at Baltimore Cross Roads. St Peter's Church stands there where Washington was married to Mrs Custis. We halted and entered the church. One of the boys came near getting into trouble. He was cutting a piece off the pulpit fringe for a souvenir, when a guard spied him and went for him with a bayonet. Marching on again we went into camp in the afternoon near Bottom's Bridge.
The 22d was a dull day. In the middle of the afternoon a strange coincidence took place. Lieut. Charles F. Mason's father, Mr Earl P. Mason and Mr. Slater of Providence, R.I., and Colonel Dudley, of New York, were visiting us and had brought with them some wine; and, as the case was about to be opened, the remark was made that it would be very desirable if they could have some ice to cool a bottle; but before the case was opened a shower broke upon them with great severity, and all hands turned their attention to the tent, which was in danger of blowing down. While holding up the tent some of the party had their knuckles injured badly by the hail which descended in torrents. In twenty minutes the shower was over, and all around the tents large hailstones were to be seen completely covering the ground. They were from one to three indies in size. As the weather was very warm the men were very grateful for the supply of ice so providentially furnished. It is needless to say that our officers and their guests had a cool bottle of wine. 

-The History of Battery A: First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery in the War to Preserve the Union, 1861-1865-Thomas M. Aldrich
Snow & Farnham, printers, 1904

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"The following officers have been appointed . . ."

Fort Monroe, Sept. 13.
The following officers have been appointed from the 3d Pennsylvania Artillery as Assistant Superintendents of the Freedmeu's Bureau: 
Captain J. B. Bisphane for Elizabeth City county, 
Lieut. James Darling. New Kent county; 
Lieut. Frank Martin, Charles City county;
Lieut Marshall, James City county; 
Lieut. J, W Kaye for York county.
-The New York Times, September 15, 1865

 James A.H. Darling was born in Maine, in 1840; removed to Reading with his parents, and thence to Philadelphia about 1848. He is an accountant. He was first lieutenant of an artillery company* for three years during the Rebellion

-History of Schuylkill County, Pa: With Illustrations . . .

Joel Munsell's Sons - 1881

An officer in Battery K, he was also the brother of one of the regiment's Majors, John Darling. His photograph is here, upper left corner.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Railroad Comes to West Point- 1854


King & Queen Ct Ho, VA
    Sept 20th, 1853.
Editor Dispatch: The adjourned meeting of the stockholders met to-day at 12 o'clock—Dr. Fauntleroy in the chair. The roll being called, a quorum was found to be present.
The Chairman then appointed the usual committees on proxies, &c, after which a resolution was offered by Dr. Richardson¹ of New Kent, declaring it to be to the interest of the Company to select as the Eastern terminus of the Richmond &. York River Railroad, the highest point on the river which would afford an adequate depth of water for the accommodation of shipping of a large size.
Mr. Douglass, of King William, offered as a substitute, a resolution which designated West Point, in the county of King William, as possessing, in an eminent degree, all the advantages necessary for the Eastern terminus of the road.
W.R.C. Douglass, of New Kent, In a speech of some length and of great earnestness, opposed this resolution.
 Mr. Douglass, of King William, sustained his motion In a long and ingenious argument, which consumed the whole of the day.

    September 21st— 10 o'clock.
When I arrived at the Court House, Mr. Pierce², of New Kent, was advocating the claims of the "south side" of the Pamunkey. He was aided by Messrs. Saunders of Williamsburg and Garrett of York county, all of whose speeches showed how deep an interest they felt in the matter which they advocated. Though each one seemed to prefer a different point as the terminus, yet there seemed to prevail with them all the kindest feeling and a willingness to yield to claims of that point which should be shown to be the most eligible.
Mr. Bowden, of Williamsburg, one of the Proxies for the State, then addressed the meeting. I should do him I fear injustice were I to attempt to give you even the points of his speech. I will say that it was one worthy of the man and of an officer of the State. He showed how high were the motives which would influence the vote which he was about to give. His feelings seemed confined to no pride of place— to no local interests or prejudices; but that his whole aim was to promote the interest of the State. He preferred a very low point on the river, but did not confine himself to any particular spot.
After Mr. Bowden concluded his speech, sundry motions and short addresses were made.
I was delighted to see such kindness of feeling exist between the friends of the different routes— for amid the most violent excitement incident to a debate on such a subject, there were many personal explanations and assurances of the most lasting friendship for their opponents by the speakers.
After some confusion at the end of the addresses, the roll was called with the following result:
Whole number of votes given 2026
    For West Point 1061
    Against " "         665

So West Point was determined upon as the most eligible point for the terminus of the York River Railroad.
The Convention soon after adjourned.         U.

-The Daily Dispatch., September 23, 1854

¹- I assume that to be Dr. James Richardson.
²- Again assumed to be John P Pierce sometime Delegate to the General Assembly.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Weather Facts

Some interesting tidbits . . . form the early Twentieth Century . . .

June 1912
U.S.Department of Agriculture
Office of Experiment Stations

wettest year     1889 . . . .72.02 inches
Dryest    "     1876 . . . .27.65 "
Wettest month, July 1889  . .14.01 "
Dryest  "    , October 1874 . 0.11 "
"         , November 1890

Heaviest rainfall in 24 hours, Apr. 17-18, 1910 . . 5.33 "
Heaviest rainfall in short period(46 minutes)
August 19, 1908 . . . .2.88 ins.

Average annual snowfall . . . . 16.80 '
Highest temperature, August 11, 1900 . . .  102 degrees
Lowest temperature, February 10, 1899 . .   -3 "
Latest date of killing frost in spring . .  April 20
Average date of killing frost in spring . . April 2
Earliest date of first killing frost in autumn . .October 12
Average date of first killing frost in autumn . . November 3
Maximum wind velocity, 61 miles per hour . . . February 10/09


 by George M. Warren, Drainage Engineer,
Assisted by John R. Haswell, Assistant Drainage Engineer,
and Newton B. Wade, Assistant Drainage Engineer

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Big Thank You . . .

. . . . to the New Kent Historical Society for the warm reception I received at my talk of July 19th. It was an honor to address the Society.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Simcoe on the Peninsula 1781

John Graves Simcoe
"The Queen's Rangers returned to Petersburg that evening; and his Lordship's whole army arrived there the next day, the 20th of May[1781]: they marched opposite to Westover, and passed the James river on the 24th. Lt Col. Simcoe, while at Westover, received a letter from Gen. Lee, with whom he had been acquainted whilst that gentleman was prisoner in the Jersies, pointing out the enormities committed by the privateers: the proper representation was made to Earl Cornwallis, who took measures to prevent the future misconduct of these licensed miscreants, by representing them to Sir Henry Clinton.
 The army marched towards the Chickahominy, and arrived at Bottom bridge on the 28th. Lt Col. Simcoe, with his cavalry, by a circuit, passed the Chickahominy, and patrolled to New-Castle, where he seized some rebel officers; and on his return, imposed upon and took several Virginia gentlemen, who were watching the motions of Earl Cornwallis. In the evening his Lordship marched; and Lt Col Simcoe halted during the night, and then followed the army; perhaps not without utility, as the rear was uncommonly long, and the road running, in many places, through thickets, patroles(sic) of the enemy might easily have taken a great many stragglers. He divided his cavalry into small parties, left them at different distances, and collected the tired men as well as possible, which was not in the power of the infantry, that formed the rear guard, to effect. Capt Cooke's troop joined the Queen's Rangers, from New-York, but army halted near New-Castle on the 29th, and marched to Hanover Court-house the next day, where some large brass cannon, without carriages, were found, and attempted to be destroyed."

-from Simcoe's military journal : a history of the operations of a partisan corps, called the Queen's Rangers, commanded by Lieut. Col. J.G. Simcoe, during the war of the American Revolution

More on Simcoe and the Queens's Rangers

Monday, July 20, 2015

Burning Boats 1864

Meeting of the Council.
A communication received by the Mayor from certain citizens of the county of New Kent, as also resolutions adopted by the County Court of Charles City, asking that some steps be forth with taken to induce the Confederate Government to desist from the contemplated plan of destroying all the bridges and boats on the Pamunkey and other rivers running through those counties, and also for the protection of their fisheries, was read and referred to a committee of three, consisting of Messrs. Walker, Haskins, and Glazebrook. [As the city of Richmond is largely interested in the successful operation of these fisheries, the object in bringing the matter before the consideration of the Council was that body might take some notice of it previous to its reference to the President of the Confederacy.] It being a subject of some urgency, the committee waited upon His Excellency President Davis soon after the adjournment of the Council.

-The Daily Dispatch: March 24, 1864.

These gentlemen would be, 1) Richard O. Haskins, a director of the Farmers Bank, from Jefferson Ward, 2) Richard F. Walker, printer at the Examiner, from Madison Ward, 3) Larkin W. Glazebrook, a lumber dealer, from Monroe Ward.

Monday, July 13, 2015


From the New Kent County Calendar . . .

July 19 New Kent Historical Society Meeting 2:30 pm at the Historic Courthouse at New Kent. Speaker: Scott McPhail, author of numerous articles on New Kent History.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

At a meeting of the committee for New Kent County . . .

The Laird' himself

At a meeting of the committee for New Kent county, at the courthouse, the 3d of May, 1775. 

Resolved unanimously, that Lord Dunmore's conduct, in removing the powder from the magazine of this colony, on board an armed vessel, at the time and in the manner it appears to have been done, was an ill advised and arbitrary step, tending to disquiet the minds and endanger the safety of his Majesty's loyal subjects of this colony in general, and of the inhabitants of the city of Williamsburg in particular.
Resolved, that his Lordship's verbal answer to the address of the Mayor, Alderman, and Common Council of the city of Williamsburg, was unsatisfactory and evasive*; and that his Lordship's not returning the powder, agreable(sic) to their request, and the known desire of the people of this colony, is a sufficient proof that he was influenced by the worst motives.
Resolved, that this, and other parts of his Lordship's conduct, which have lately transpired, evince him to be an enemy to liberty and the true interests of this colony, and a zealous supporter of tyranny and despotism over the people who have the unhappiness to live under his government; and that he has, thereby, forefeited all title to their confidence.
Resolved, that the city of Williamsburg are entitled to the ready and cheerful assistance of this county, in case they should be in danger from an invasion or insurrection.
Resolved, that the thanks of this committee are due to the committee of Hanover, for communicating their order of the 2d instant; that this committee are sensible of the dangers that threaten us from the Governour's conduct, as well as from other quarters, and will co-operate with a majority of the counties of this colony in such measures as shall be adopted for their defence and preservation.
 It appearing to this committee, that a body of armed men, from the county of Hanover, have marched through this county, in order to make reprisals upon the King's property, to replace the gunpowder taken from the magazine,
Resolved, that such proceedings make it particularly necessary for the inhabitants of this county to prepare for their defence, against any dangers that may ensue in consequence of it, by keeping their arms in the best order, and the greatest readiness, to act on any occasion.
Resolved, that it be recommended to the inhabitants of this county immediately to form a company of volunteers, to be assembled at the lower part of this county, ready to act on any emergency, as may be found necessary.
        By order of the committee.
                          (A copy) WILLIAM SMITH, clerk.

- from the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette

 *"That hearing of an insurrection in a neighboring county, he had removed the powder from the magazine, where he did not think it secure, to a place of perfect security; and that upon his word and honour, whenever it was wanted in any insurrection, it should be delivered in half an hour; that he had removed it in the night time to prevent an alarm, and that Captain Collins had his express commands for the part he had acted; he was surprised to hear the people were under arms on this occasion, and that he should not think it prudent to put powder into their hands in such a situation."

Monday, June 29, 2015

"A Steel and Concrete Bridge"

A called meeting of the Board of was held to appoint commissioners to look into the building of a new bridge over the Chickahominy where the old Bottom's bridge was washed away during the recent flood. This bridge, used by automoblist over the Richmond to Newport News highway, will be built by New Kent and Henrico counties. A steel and concrete bridge will take the place of the old wooden structure.
- Virginia Gazette(Williamsburg)., March 28, 1912

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spontaneous Combustion

A Fire at Talleysville
Mr.R. Richardson, of Talleysville about five miles from Tunstall's, in New Kent county, was in the city yesterday. His premises were visited by fire about 5 o'clock on Friday evening and two barns, the stables attached thereto, and a corn house were entirely destroyed. The barns contained 700 bushels of oats and a lot of hay, fodder, & c. Mr. Richardson places the loss at $1,800. The insurance amounted to $1,600, and was placed $1,000 through Gordon & Co. and $600 through Montague & Co. The cause of the fire is not known, but it is thought to have originated from either the oats or fodder becoming heated.

-Richmond Dispatch., October 09, 1892

Friday, June 19, 2015

Slovaks in New Kent

"New Kent County:  A 1905 advertisement in Jednota* promoted a 'Slovak Colony in Virginia,, a farming community where many Slovak families were reported to have come.'  The colony was located 'only two miles from the town of West Point and 15 from the city of Richmond,' an awkward description, since West Point and Richmond were approximately 35 miles apart.  The advertisement stated 'Last month over twenty families bought farms here.'  No clearly Slovak place names are evident on the area USGS quadrangles.  The 1930 census listed King William County, 76 Czechoslovaks, and in New Kent County, 56.
John and Mary Janosov, who purchased a New Kent County farmstead called Aspen Grove in 1908, were likely among the Slovak families. [1] They came to New Kent from Braddock, Pennsylvania.  John Kaliniak, from Rices Landing, Pennsylvania, bought 100 acres near Quinton in 1907.[2]  The 1917 State Gazetteer listed J. Janosov, Quinton district, among the county’s farmers.  Other likely Slavic names listed in the 1917 gazetteer were Paul Kramus and Paul Kregnas, also in the Quinton district.  Likely Slavic names listed in the county deed records include Knakel (1916), Kalinchak (1917), Kozelnisky (1919), Kotcko (1923, 1942), and Kolousek (1933)."

- The Czech and Slovak Communities in Virginia by John E. Wells,

* "Unity," a Slovak language magazine.