State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the Pines

From the account of the 95th Pennsylvania Volunteers as they marched through New Kent during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 . . .

The Pines of Virginia often played an important part in the history of our army life, and were many times the theme of some poetic effusion. The erection of bowers to ward off the sunbeams; construction of picket-huts and corduroying the roads. The use of pine wood for fuel which when green would emit a nasty disordering smoke damaging to the sight. We used to cut pine branches with which to decorate our camp on festive occasions and many times whilst on the march through some dense thicket have had the springy limbs of some stubborn bush fly back and switch our faces. The charcoal burner, also had his abode in the pines before Richmond. 

-The Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers (Gosline's Pennsylvania Zouaves") in the Sixth Corps
George Norton Galloway, 1884

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Road Building in 1911

                                 NEW KENT PROMISES AID. 
         Nearly $2,000 Will He Given for Richmond-Newport News Highway.
                                 [Special to The Times-Dispatch.]  
Roxbury, Va.. February 10.-There was a full attendance of the members at a meeting of the New Kent Board of Supervisors held at the courthouse on Tuesday. After several matters of routine interest were disposed of the subject of the proposed highway from Richmond to Newport News was discussed. Each of the four districts in the county promised to give $200; by private subscriptions the amount of $1,000 was raised, and the board agreed to allow four months' work of the county teams and employees. It was also decided that the county shall ask appropriation from the State to equal that made by the county. The subscriptions and time allowed means more than $2,000 for this county. The route of the proposed highway could not better please the residents of New Kent, as it will traverse the entire, length of the county, a distance of thirty-two miles.

 -Times Dispatch, 11 February 1911

Office of State Highway Commission. 
Richmond. Va., April 6. 1911. 

Bid will be received at this of office 12 o'clock noon, Saturday, for the construction of about ten miles of sand-clay road in New Kent county from New Kent Courthouse to the James City county and about six in James City county from the New Kent count line to Toano.  
Specification on file at this office.  
Certified check for $250.00 to accompany each bid.  
Further information furnished on application to the undersigned. 
The right is reserved to reject any and all bids. 

P. St. J. Wilson.
State Highway Commissioner

-Virginia Gazette(Williamsburg), 20 April 1911

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Road Trip from Richmond to Williamsburg- 1911

A 1911 account of a road trip down the trip Peninsula by a reporter from the Times-Dispatch. I have included, in red, my own comments about the itinerary.

Correct and Accurate Reading of Road Made for Benefit of Those Desiring to Make Trip-Road in Splendid Condition and People Anxious to Welcome Visitors.

0.0 - Foster Motor Car Company. Down Broad to Jefferson; turn right to
0.4 - Jefferson Hotel. Down Franklin to . . .
1.1 - Capitol Square. Turn right down Ninth; then left down Bank; then right down Tenth; then right up Main to . . .
1.2 - Times-Dispatch. Up Main to Ninth to Capitol then right to . . .
1.6 - Memorial Hospital. Turn to left into Marshall Street; then turn to right one block to Broad Street to . . .
3.0 - Chimborazo Park.
3.3 - Keep straight ahead, skirting Chimborazo Park to right, to
3.5 - Left down steep hill to railroad crossing.
3.6 - Railroad crossing.
4.4 - To Government Road (good condition).
8.4 - Church on right; turn to left. (I believe this is the original Corinth United Methodist Church which is now less than a  half mile to the east.)
9.6 - Pass store and road on left pass by National Cemetery. (Seven Pines National Cemetery.)
10.7 - Good road to
12.6 - Ford; to (Ford over Boar Swamp)
13.2 - Sharp turn to left (about nine degrees)
15.3 - Long Chickahominy Bridge, sandy road. (Bridge at Bottom's Bridge; NOT in its current location.)
15.6 - Short Chickahominy Bridge.(Bridge over Higgins Swamp.)
15.7 - Corduroy road.
15.8 - More corduroy.
15.9 - New road (good).(This would be Clint Lane, then  on what is now Quaker which at that time continued straight through to Rose Cottage Rd and at that road . . .)
18.7 - Take fork to right. Follow, telegraph wires.( . . . going down Quinton Road and then bearing left onto New Kent Highway.)
21.1 - Pass store on left. (Patterson's Store at Crump's Crossroads.)
23.8 - Turn to left and keep straight ahead.(Going north on Emmaus Church Road.)
21.2 - Richardson's store. Turn right, down slight hill. (The Baltimore Store at Talleysville.)
25.4 - Church on left, down hill. (Rising Mt. Zion.)
25.5 - Ford foot of hill- hard bottom. (Pelham Creek.)
26.3 - Store on right.
29.5 - Church on right. (Corinth Baptist; road until 1930's passed north of church.)
29.9 - New Kent Courthouse.
30.7 - Take right fork.
32.4 - Slatersville cross roods. (It gets tricky here. Instead of proceeding down what is now New Kent Highway they seem to go straight through on Stage Road.)
35.1 - Spring at bottom of hill. ( Upper reach of Beaverdam Creek?)
38.6 - Ford; hard bottom. (Warreneye Creek?)
40.0 - Barhamsville.
40.1 - Store on left; turn to right. (Pott's store?)
45.1 - Brick school house on left. (Hickory Neck Academy, the school, was closed in 1908. The year after this trip it would be deeded to the trustees of Hickory Neck Protestant Episcopal Church thus returning it to it's original use.)
45.7 - Cross bridge over railroad.
45.9 - Toano; well of good water at entrance to town turn left through town.
47.1 - Pass brick school house on left. (Toano High School opened 1908.)
50.5 - Pass store on right; well on left.
50.6 - cross railroad tracks; turn sharp left and then right.(Lightfoot.)
52.1 - Pass store on right.
52.1 - Pass fork on right.
52.3 - Pass fork on right.
52.4 - Pass fork on left.
53.6 - Cross railroad.(Across from Yankee Candle.)
54.4 - Pass road on right.
56.0 - William and Mary College on right approaching Williamsburg.
56.1 - Pass fork on right.(Jamestown Road.)
56.4 - Bruton Church on left.
56.5 -Ruins of Williamburg Courthouse on left.(the Old Courthouse of Williamsburg/James City, the one across from the powder magazine, had been destroyed by fire just 3 months before in April 1911. The building was restored to original appearance, except for some new columns, work finishing up January 1912.)

-Times Dispatch, 13 July 1911

The Foster Motor Car Company went into bankruptcy in 1913.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Good Work If You Can Get It

By John B. Alsop, of Alsop Motor Company.

On account of the interest shown by the business men of Richmond in the Tidewater Counties of Virginia, I thought it would probably be Interesting to give you an idea of a recent trip which I have just taken through the counties of the Eastern Shore. E.R. Bittner and myself left Richmond on Friday about 12:30 o'clock in a five passenger K-R-I-T car for Mathews County. After leaving Seven Pines we found the trip uneventful, and very hot, until we reached Barhamsville, in New Kent County, forty miles below Richmond. We stopped at this place for a few minutes, called on Mr. Potts*, who runs a very nice store, and who is an automobile owner. 
We inquired of Mr. Potts regarding the roads between Barhamsville and Williamsburg, and to our surprise he stated that we would have to take a by-road between Barhamsville and Toano on account of the very bad condition of the road between these two points. He stated that there were several places that were extremely bad on account of the shade surrounding these spots, which kept them from drying up rapidly. Mr. Potts stated to I me that he and some of the neighbors around the store had tried to fill up these bad places by cutting down some of the trees, and throwing brush into some of the small holes, but as fast as this was done some of the people living in the immediate vicinity of these bad spots would take out the brush and trees which they had put In. Their reasons for doing this, he stated, was that one man had been able to make $15 or $20 a week by pulling automobiles out of these holes, and naturally they did not want to see them fixed up. The people reaping the benefit of the bad roads would let an automobile owner go into this road without any warning, and consequently, they could not pull through. We were very thankful to Mr.Potts for his advice, and had no trouble in passing this spot on the road through the woods.

-Times Dispatch, 13 July 1913

*probably either James Anderson Potts or George Kidder Potts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Confederate Stone Fleet

This a cleaned up re-posting of a post from April, 2013 . . .

An Annex from
Navy Department,
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division,
Washington, D.C.

The Confederate Army and Navy found it expedient at times to construct barricade at strategic points in inland waterways to permit the escape During the first half of 1862, two areas of Virginia, Croatan Sound and of their forces, prevent captures, and impede the Federal advance. the Pamunkey River, were obstructed with numerous ships which were served briefly as transport. Varied sizes and types of ships, having seized from private owners specifically for this purpose, or which had little if any previous service were loaded with stone and sand, or CSA, and employed to carry provisions and supplies while the army was filled with dirt, then towed to a designated spot and sunk as a hazard to all craft that passed. 
The following ships were seized by forces under Gen. J. E. Johnston, on the Pamunkey River. Most of the ships were then sunk in that vicinity at Yorktown. When the army withdrew toward Richmond, the transports were loaded with Government stores that were discharged at White House, Va., during May 1862 to delay Union gunboats.

Ships sunk at White House, Va., between 5 & 10 May 1862

CLAUDIA, owned by M. Williams
LITTLE ADDIE, sloop owned by J. Montgomery

Ships destroyed at Cooke's Island 5 & 10 May 1862

AMERICAN COASTER, schooner owned by M. Crockett, was loaded with dirt and prepared for sinking but was captured by USS CURRITUCK. She was later used as a Union transport.
DAVID VANAME, schooner owned by C. Johnson
DIANA HOPKINS, schooner owned by E. Phillips
HANNAH ANN, schooner
EXPERIMENT, schooner owned by W. Messick
FRIENDSHIP, schooner owned by Allman and Watts
KING WILLIAM, schooner owned by Sayre & Fleming
J.& G. FAIR, schooner owned by W. Lee
J.T. CONNOR, owned by J. Bagby
JOSEPHINE, schooner owned by W. Dansey
PRINCESS, schooner owned by W. Lee
MARY LUYSTER, owned by J. T. Bland
ORNAMENT, sloop owned by Crittenden and Post
PALESTINE, schooner owned by Thomas
WILLIAM SHANBERG, schooner owned by W. Messick and E. Phillips
R. P. WALLER, schooner owned by T. Gilliam
SARAH ANN, schooner owned by W. Ward
WILLIAM EDWARD, schooner owned by J. and W. Thomas

Ships destroyed at Garlick's landing Between 5 & 10 May 1862

JENNY LIND, schooner owned by J. F. New & Co.
STAR, owned by S. Moon

Ships Burned Near Indian Town Between 5 & 10 May 1862

WAY, schooner owned by Gresham and Bagby

Ships burned at Newcastle on 17 May 1862

MARGARET SCHULTZ, owned by Harrenn and Ballown
O. WHITMOND, owned by J. Wright
WATCHMAN, owned by J. Brown
WALTON, owned by J. Warring
WAVE, owned by R. Howard
WILLIAM S. RYLAND, owned by W. Berkley

Ships burned at Cumberland between 5 & 10 May 1862

CALIFORNIA, schooner owned by Blassingham
CAROLINE BAKER, schooner owned by F. and C. Post

Ships sunk near Bassett's Landing on 17 May 1862

ALERT, owned by A. West
BETTY RICHARD, owned by W. Smith
ANN BELL, owned by W. Thomas
FRANCIS AND THEODORE, owned by J. Arrington
JEFFERSON, schooner owned by Garefoster & Braumly
JAMES BRADEN, owned by S. Kimble
JOHN ALLEN, schooner owned by S. Guy
MARY BAXTER, owned by C. Parks
LITTLE WAVE, owned by T. Hibble
MARY ALICE, owned by Captail Gage
OXFORD, schooner of 85 tons and 7' draft built in 1855 at Dorchester, Md., and owned by Claybrook and Dobyns.
PARAGON, sloop
SARA WASHINGTON, schooner owned by Moore and Elliston
WILLIAM AND WESLEY, schooner owned by J. Cronmonger
SEA WITCH, owned by J. Robins
UNION, owned by B. F. Gresham
VIRGINIA, owned by E. Lawson
WILD PIGEON, schooner owned by W. Messick
WILLIAM FRANCIS, schooner owned by C. Coleman

-Principally from the site Haze Gray

* PLANTER, a schooner, was prepared for sinking but was captured by USS CURRITUCK on 7 May 1862. She was turned over by the Union to her former owner in recognition of assistance rendered in the York and Pamunkey Rivers.

** STARLIGHT, also scheduled for destruction, was approached while underway for White House, Va., by USS CORWIN. STARLIGHT escaped up the Potopotank River where she was abandoned. She was seized by CORWIN on 16 June and sent into Norfolk at a prize.

†--Named I assume for, " . . .  Capt. David Van Name who entered the oyster business as a dealer in 1817 and was said to be one of the first two men in America to plant oysters, according to Dr. A.L. Van Name Jr., his great-grandson." -The Daily Press, Nov.2, 1995


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Reconstruction Winter- 1870

                                                            Letter from New Kent.
                                         [Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
          New Kent C. H., Va., Dec. 5th, 1870.
A motion to set aside the election in this county will be made before Judge Benj. W. Lacy, in a few days, upon the grounds that the registration books were not opened in accordance with the election law, fifteen days anterior to the day of voting. The popular impression is that the court will grant the petition, and that the Conservatives will have another shuffle and deal. In this event they may succeed in winning, as the Radicals only triumphed by a very small majority in the late contest. The result would have been otherwise but for the almost criminal apathy on the part of the Conservatives, many of whom remained quietly at their homes while others were battle nobly for political disenthralment(sic). Much has been said about the Hon. Jos. Mayo¹ allowing himself to be run on the Radical ticket for Commonwealth's attorney. The platform upon which this gentleman stands is not erected of Radical or Conservative timber, as he defines his political position, for he declared to your correspondent immediately after the election that he was not identified with either party; that he had been solicited by both sides to become a candidate. Be this as it may, it is known that he did formally accept the nomination of the Radicals, and was elected by them.
The quarterly term of the county court has just closed, Judge Lacy presiding. A negro man was found guilty of larceny and sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail, but the negro having the election between this and the whipping-post, preferred the latter and became the recipient of fifteen stripes², properly administered by the sheriff. In this the negro evinced wisdom, for it is not half so painful as a protracted incarceration, particularly at this season of the year.
From the late census returns one would readily perceive that the population has been greatly depleted in this county within the last decade, and one see the decline of industrial resources in every neighborhood. It certainly cannot be an indication of increasing prosperity of a county or State when there is such an alarming loss in the people as there has taken place here in such a short period, numbers of young men have gone out to seek their fortunes in different portions of the Union since the war, and will likely never return. But we cannot think a country abounding with every natural resource for greatness can long remain in such a depressed state, and we believe that in the course of the next decade a new era will dawn.³ 
A party consisting of five gentlemen from your city came here a week ago with the view of hunting, and in a few days killed fifteen deer, among them some as heavily antlered as were ever seen in an American forest. 
Mr. W. A. Pollard, a most worthy and enterprising young man of Baltimore, who died at the residence of his brothers, in your city, was brought to the country for internment to-day. He was a gallant Confederate, and bore himself heroically in the war, and received a most painful wound, from which he never wholly recovered. Old Hickory

-Daily Dispatch, 9 December, 1870

Joseph Carrington Mayo, was the same Mayo who was mayor of Richmond, 1861-1865 and 1866-1868. After his second term as mayor he moved to New Kent about the same time as the death of his brother Dr. John Mayo, a county resident. Joseph served as Commonwealth's Attorney from 1868 until his death in August 1872.

 The whipping post was abolished by the "Readjuster" General Assembly of 1882.

The Census of 1870 gave New Kent a population of only 4,381. This was a decline of 25% from the 1860 figure(5,884). New Kent had the smallest population of any county east of the Blue Ridge.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"Enumerable Bugs and Specimens of Insect Life Hitherto Unknown to Them"

A few nature scenes from the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 . . .

The whole Peninsula, that portion of Virginia between the York and the James River, was low and swampy and it was common talk at the time that one could not pat the earth three times with his foot anywhere without bringing water. Great mortality occurred among the troops, chiefly from malarial fever, and often, when a poor fellow was about to be laid away in the earth, his grave would be full of water before it had been dug two feet deep. Quinine and whiskey were issued daily, companies being formed in line for the purpose, and the ration was drunk under the supervision of the surgeon.  
- - - 
It was hot and muggy most of the time. It rained frequently and the men made the acquaintance of the "wood-tick, and enumerable bugs and specimens of insect life hitherto unknown to them. The very earth moved with "new life." Sticks and twigs were endowed with motion. The men would watch a black twig two or three inches long, apparently dead wood among the leaves, when it would scamper off and the acquaintance of a new insect called the "walking stick" was made, although it was a very old inhabitant of this section. They had the "Gold Bug" not the political specimen of later days but a handsome round yellow "feller." Lieut. James G. C. Dodge, of Company F, made quite a collection of these bugs.  
It was a common thing to see two or three men, huddled together, poking at something on the ground. Others would join them on the run. Soon a crowd would collect, running and yelling "What's Up?" Some one of the crouchers would answer, "Oh, got a new bug," and the crowd would laugh and disperse. Like everything else, this was soon an old story and "buggy" was immediately dispatched, given to the lieutenant for his collection, or allowed to fly or run. away. One specimen, however, stuck and abided long. It was the common louse. 

-History of the Nineteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865
Ernest Linden Waitt, 1906

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Title Says it All

Big  Melon- We saw yesterday at the Old Market a mammoth cantaloupe, raised by Mr. George Fisher, of New Kent. It weighed 23 pounds, and was sold for $1.

-The Daily Dispatch(Richmond), August 16, 1871

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Barren Deserts"

Camp near Harrison’s Landing, Va., July 7, 1862.

Maj. Gen. JOHN A. DIX, Commanding Fort Monroe.
GENERAL: The general commanding refers to your discretion the inclosed(sic) letter from Charles M. Hubbard and others, prisoners confined at Fort Wool, and directs that you cause all of those referred to in the letter who can be discharged with safety to the public service to be conveyed to some suitable point whence they may return to their homes. You will cause them to be provided with necessary subsistence during their return. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

FORT WOOL, July 4, 1862.
We propose to present to your consideration the following facts: There are now about 100 citizens of Virginia who have in no way been connected with the present war confined at this place. They were taken from their homes or arrested by bands of armed men, separated from their families, and are here imprisoned and not even informed of the charges if any there be on which they were arrested. They know not on what evidence they were arrested nor have they been confronted with their accusers. They are denied all intercourse with the world and are here confined with the same hard fare alike for the sick and well, good and bad huddled together without respect for their rights or person. When taken from their homes they were assured by the officers who arrested them that they would be detained but a few hours and then would be restored to their homes and families. They were then induced to leave home without a change of clothes and are now [covered with] vermin of this prison house, without a change of clothing. They are without funds with which they can procure the necessaries or comforts with which to promote cleanliness or preserve health. Their families are without any protection, surrounded by slaves and camp followers, from the unprincipled and violent hands of whom every species of wrong may be anticipated. From the rumors that reach us through the citizens who have been most recently sent here many of us believe that our slaves have left us; that our household furniture has been wantonly destroyed; that the provision designed for the use of our families during the present year has been forcibly taken from them, and that our growing crops have been wasted and destroyed, and that our homes except for the presence of loved wives and children are barren deserts.
Much more might with truth and propriety be said, but surely this is enough of the sad picture which has resulted from our effort to remain at our homes and protect those who are dependent on us, when we believed that our property and persons would not be violated by those who were seeking to restore a humane and liberal Government. Our friends advised us that it was best that we should remain at home. Our reason and judgment approved the advice and your proclamation inviting the citizens to remain at home and assuring them protection confirmed us in the propriety of that course. Alas! alas! How vain were our expectations! How we have been disappointed! Why are we here? We know that we are here and can well imagine the sufferings of all who are dear to us. How long shall this continue? We cannot believe that you have caused us to be imprisoned in violation of the assurances of your proclamation. We cannot realize that the Government of the United States thus refuses us our liberty, wastes our property and places our persons on this island of rock that we may by cruelty and oppression be taught to hate the Government under which we were born.
As citizens of Virginia we ask that we may be at once released from this prison.
CHARLES M. HUBBARD, of James City,1  
       JOHN P. PIERCE, of New Kent County,2   
       A. B. TIMBERLAKE, of Hanover,3   
       SAMUEL EDWARDS, of King William,
Committee in behalf of the whole.

Prisoners of State, Fort Wool. 
GENTLEMEN: I am directed by Major-General Dix to say in reply to your letter of this date that he will forward any proper communication from you to Richmond by the first flag of truce; that he holds you under orders from General McClellan and does not know for whom you are held as hostages. If you are in want of any articles needful for your personal comfort he will be glad to supply them. A personal interview he cannot at present conveniently grant. 
By command of Major-General Dix:
Yours, respectfully,
   Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

-The War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.-series ii.-volume iv.
Correspondence, Orders, etc., Relating to Prisoners of War and State from June 13, 1862, to November 30, 1862.-Union Correspondence, etc

1. Charles M. Hubbard was the State Senator representing the district that comprised the entire Peninsula.

2.The John P. Pierce was New Kent's Commonwealth's Attorney at the time.

3.Archibald Burnett Timberlake, owner of Rutland near Atlee Station. He had two sons in J.E.B.Stuarts cavalry and the house was sometimes used as a base for the cavalry. Timberlake's health declined after his release and he died in 1863, being buried, rather notoriously, in a cast iron coffin with a viewing plate.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


In 2016 New Kent County was one of top 10 fastest growing counties in Virginia. That fact has been reported on by the County and in the local press.

What is less well know is, that based on growth from 2015 to 2016, New Kent for that time was the 29th fastest growing county IN THE UNITED STATES.¹

There are currently 3,142 counties(or equivalents e.g. parishes, districts, independent cities) in the United States. That would place New Kent within the top 1%.

¹ "Resident Population Estimates for the 100 Fastest Growing U.S. Counties with 10,000 or More Population in 2015: July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016"
-U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division- March 2017

Saturday, August 5, 2017

"She Has Her Finger On The Pulse Of School Affairs At All Times."

                                                       NEW KENT COUNTY
The honor of being the first woman elected to trusteeship on a county school board in Virginia is claimed by Mrs. Belle B. Turner of Lanexa, New Kent county. The name of Mrs. Turner was placed in nomination at a meeting of the Trustee Electoral Board on October 4, 1920, and favorably voted on. She qualified as trustee of Cumberland district on November 23, 1920, her term of office to expire September 1, 1923. 
Mrs Turner is the proud mother of a bright-eyed little daughter and a partner with her husband in the successful operation of the Bellecourt Dairy Farm at Lanexa. Aside from possessing unusual business qualifications Mrs. Turner is familiar with the problems of the rural school, teacher having at one time been a teacher herself in the public schools of the State. 
Interrogated as to her opinion of the importance of the recent recognition of the active citizenship of women Mrs Turner had the following to say. The amendment to the Federal Constitution which gave women of this and other States the right to vote empowered them with a great privilege and a greater responsibility One of the most needed services women can render is that of helping to improve the public school system. In no other branch of public Service can women exercise to more advantage their new citizenship. 
"Women and especially mothers, many of whom have been teachers, are really the best judges of results in child training. Excepting the hearthstone, there is no place more propitious to the teaching of fine citizenship than in the schoolroom and on the school grounds. It is incumbent on every voter in the State to do his utmost to place on school boards men and women who are capable of passing on the merits of good and bad instruction." 
"The rural supervisor is a great asset to the rural school system. She has her finger on the pulse of school affairs at all times. She is the mutual helper of School board and school teacher. She is the friend to those who need her most- the children."  
"Our schools of today harbor our citizens of tomorrow Citizenship is the supreme aim of education. Teamwork and the recognition of the square deal must be taught our children. This is the surest way in the tangled skein of human existence to bridge the gulf of malice and distrust which separates in modern civilization for instance Capital and Labor. The day is coming thanks to an efficient school system when these two forces must pull together like two old tired farm horses." 
Furthermore good teachers are essential to good schools. Good teachers demand good salaries We cannot pay good salaries unless funds are available and the Surest way to have money available is to spend our money in Virginia. There is no reason why under the sun of new opportunities in Virginia the school system of this State should not stand second to none in the United States of America 

HERMAN L. HARRIS, Superintendent 

-Virginia Journal of Education,  February 1924- (Vol. XIV No.6)
Virginia State Teachers' Association, Virginia Education Association

The school trustees of that time corresponded to the school board members of our present day. If you are interested in their role . . .

23. The duties of boards of school trustees shall be in general as follows subject to be defined more particularly by the Board of Education and in other parts of this law to wit-  
First, To explain and enforce the school laws and regulations and observe the same.  
Second, To employ teachers, and to dismiss them when delinquent, inefficient, or in anywise unworthy of the position.  
Third, To suspend or dismiss pupils when the prosperity and efficiency of the schools make it necessary.  
Fourth, To decide what children, wishing to enter the schools of the district, are entitled, by reason of the poverty of their parents or guardians, to receive textbooks free of charge, and to provide for supplying them accordingly.  
Fifth, To see that the census of children, required by section twenty five, is taken in the proper time and in proper manner.  
Sixth, To hold regular meetings at fixed periods to be prescribed by the Board of Education and special meetings when called by the chairman or by any two members.  
Seventh, To call meetings of the people of the district for consultation in regard to the school interests thereof at which meetings the chairman or some other member of the board shall preside, if present.  
Eighth, On or before the fifteenth day of July in each year to prepare and return to the president of the county school board to be by him laid before the board at its earliest meeting, an estimate of the amount of money which will be needed in the district during the next scholastic year for providing school houses, school books for indigent children, and other school appliance and necessary, proper and lawful expenses.  
Ninth, To take care of, manage and control the school property of the district. And where in any school district a school house belonging to the public free schools of said district is unoccupied and unused for public free school purposes, because of want of school funds to employ a teacher therefor the school trustees for the district in which said school house is situated may permit the same, under such regulations and rules as to them may seem proper to be occupied and used for school purposes by any teacher though not employed by said school board: provided that such arrangement shall not in any wise interfere with or prevent said school house being occupied and used at any time by said trustees for public free school purposes.  
Tenth, To report on any special matter when required by the county superintendent of schools, and to report to him, annually, by the fifteenth day of August, down to the first day of that month, on all subjects indicated in the blank forms supplied for the purpose.  
Eleventh, To visit the public free schools within the district, from time to time, and to take care that they are conducted according to law, and within the utmost efficiency. 

--Virginia Journal of Education, February 1893- Vol. II No.2
Virginia State Teachers' Association, Virginia Education Association

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Love in War-1779

LEONIDAS, a beautiful blood bay, full 15 hands and a half high, with a remarkable stout and elegant form, will stand the ensuing season at my estate in New Kent, and cover mares at 18£ 6s the season, and 6£ the single leap; the money to be paid when the mares is first covered. Pasturage will be furnished gratis, but I will not be answerable for escapes. Leonidas is in very perfect order for covering, 5 years old next grass, and has never received the smallest injury; it is therefore probable he will be very successful in his endeavours to propagate his species. He was got by Col. Loyd's Traveller(of Maryland) who was got by Morton's Traveller, his dam Col. Tayloe's mare Jenny Cameron, Leonidas's dam was got by Morton's Traveller, his grandam Col. Tasker's Selima, by the Godolphin Arabian.

                                                                                 JOHN P. CUSTIS

-Virginia Gazette,  March 5, 1779

John P. Custis(1754-1781) was the stepson of George Washington, Martha Washington's son by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis(1711– 1757). He was the owner of White House in New Kent, the largest plantation in the county at the time.

An interesting sidebar is the date. While John Parke Custis was negotiating stud fees, George Washington and the Continental Army were struggling by in winter quarters in Middlebrook, New Jersey.

As to the prices being demanded, the advertisement list a charge of "18£. 6s the season, and 6£ the single leap," or 18 pounds, 6 shillings or 366 shillings. Now what does that mean? The salary of a British soldier of the time(Continental Army salary being a difficult comparison due to an uncertain exchange rate and rampant inflation) was 8 pence a day. At 240 pence a pound that comes to roughly a pound a month. 
So, 6 months salary or a "single leap."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"We hear from Providence in New Kent . . ."

We hear from Providence in New Kent county that on the 8th instant the Rev. Charles Jeffrey Smith, who proposes to settle and reside on his estate opened a subscription for erecting a Presbyterian church 70 feet in length and forty in breadth with galleries and a steeple which was generously encouraged. The building of which will be let to the lowest undertaker on Wednesday, the 22d instant, at said place, by the managers, who will attend there on that day. 

-Virginia Gazette, Feb 16 1769

Smith, Rev, Charles Jeffrey, A.M., was a Presbyterian minister of Long Island, New York. He formed a partnership with another Presbyterian, William Holt, of Virginia, and in 1765 held 500 acres in James City county, and a mill called "Kennon's Mill". He founded a settlement in New Kent county which he called "Providence" now Providence Forge), and built thereon iron, grist and saw mills. He died in 1771. After his death the forge at New Kent was conducted by Francis Jerdone and William Holt. 

Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Under the Editorial Supervision of Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Volume 1-1915

Much more on the Reverend Charles Jeffrey Smith to follow . . .

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3 1863- Grand Carnival of Mars

New Kent County's two infantry companies in the Confederate Army, the Pamunkey Rifles and the Barhamsville Greys, were elements of the 53rd Virginia Infantry Regiment. The 53rd Virginia was part of Armistead's brigade of Pickett's division and as such was one of the lead elements in Pickett's Charge on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Below, part of a much longer piece about his experiences during the war, are the recollections of Benjamin Lyons Farinholt (Pamunkey Rifles) about the battle.

Finally the supreme trial came, when, after having lost thousands at Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, and, as Gen. Lee aptly said, "lost our right arm" in the death of that great and inimitable Christian soldier, Stonewall Jackson, and after many other small battles — small only in comparison with larger engagements — we crossed once more the Potomac and took up our line of march for the fat pastures of Pennsylvania.

Our especial command, Pickett's Division, was engaged in the destruction of a railroad near Chambersburg by piling up the wooden ties and kindling them into huge fires, on which the iron rails were heated and bent, when, on the 2d of July, we received orders to prepare three days' rations, and in a few hours thereafter were on the road for Gettysburg, where we arrived about daybreak, after a hard march of twenty- eight miles, and took our place in line on the verge of the battle-field on the morning of that memorable 3d of July, 1863.

These two mighty armies, after rapidly concentrating their forces during the heavy fighting which had lasted for two days with thundering cannon, charge of infantry, and onset of cavalry, with varying fortune for advantage and position, and so far without any decisive result, now plumed their banners, reformed their lines, and confronted each other on this arena for the greatest battle of modern times — Lee with sixty-five thousand, Meade with one hundred and seventeen thousand, trained and tried veterans of two years' hard service. Thus, on this lovely midsummer day, when all nature in her luxuriant garb seemed wooing peace, was fought the battle which made the whole world stand aghast. Absolute chaos seemed to reign — the resounding boom of three hundred pieces of cannon, the incessant whir of bombs, the deafening explosion of whole caissons of ammunition, the whiz of canister and shrapnel, followed by the at first sharp crack and then steady roar of musketry, as regiments, brigades, and divisions would come to close quarters, forgetful of everything but this grand carnival of Mars.

Some idea may be gained of the concentration and intensity of the artillery fire when, within thirty minutes after the opening guns announced the battle commenced, the stretcher and ambulance corps had to be doubled to take off the wounded and dying. As the heavy artillery fire, kept up for hours, gradually ceased, it proved only a prelude to the general advance of our infantry all along the line. When, after advancing about a thousand yards under a withering fire from both infantry and artillery in front and a galling fire from several batteries stationed on Little Round Top Mountain, on our right flank, with unbroken ranks, save to close the gaps as men fell to the right and left, our decimated ranks pressed forward, delivering their fire in the very faces of the brave Federals, who defended their guns with great coolness and sheer desperation, but could not withstand our impetuous charge with the bayonet. Over we went into the Federal rifle-pits and over the re-enforced stone fence (called now the Bloody Angle), behind which the foe was entrenched. There, in a hand-to-hand engagement, where bayonet and pistol and butt of musket were liberally used, we captured all who wen killed or had not tied, virtually conquering and holding for a time the strongest position of the Federal line of battle on Cemetery Ridge, the very center and key of the Federal defense. Gen. Armistead claimed the day as ours, and, standing by one of the captured pieces of artillery, where the brave Federal Capt. Gushing had fallen, with his dead men and horses almost covering the ground, called on us to load and use the captured cannon on the fleeing foe.

Just then Hancock's command came forward with full ranks and fresh for the struggle, attacking us with great impetuosity and delivering against our much decimated ranks at close range at least fifty bullets to our five. Gen. Armistead was laid low by three wounds at their first fire: Gen. Kemper had also fallen in the charge, desperately wounded: Garnett had been killed, and three-fourths of our field and company officers were either killed or wounded. The writer was shot through the thigh, and Col. Martin, our gallant regimental leader, received a shot through the hip which almost proved fatal. Pandemonium complete, and for a time no quarter was asked nor given, and many on each side lost their lives. Many shots were fired at such close rang afterward to burn the clothes or flesh of the victims with powder. From sheer exhaustion and overpowering numbers, the remnant of Pickett's Division, the flower of Virginia's contribution to the Confederacy, yielded themselves captives, being literally surrounded and beaten into submission. Heth's Division, on our left, having given away, the enemy had advanced their columns so as to overwhelm us.

While we were receiving and returning as best we could the fire of Hancock's fresh regiments, at the extreme climax of this fight the writer saw a grandson of President Tyler, Robert Tyler Jones, himself already bleeding profusely from a serious wound, wave his pistol and threaten to shoot the first man who offered to surrender.

What must have been the feelings of the handsome and brave Picket as he saw the greater portion of his division, of which he was justly so proud, killed, wounded, or captured, and only about six hundred return from the bloody charge

The writer was taken from the field with other wounded who were captured, and we were guarded for the night with a cordon of infantry and cavalry. In being taken to the rear we could see the terrible loss we had inflicted upon the Federal army, for every nook in the fence, every little stream of water to which they could crawl, every barn and shed, every yard and shade-tree were literally burdened with their dead, wounded, and dying. The writer remarked to a fellow officer, who was terribly disconsolate over our loss, that, while our division was nearly annihilated, it must have been the dearest victory ever purchased by any commander, and a few such, while crippling the Confederacy, would almost destroy the enemy.

The next day we were taken to Westminster, Md., under a heavy guard, but not before Gen. Meade had ascertained that Gen. Lee would not again give battle, for really Meade was in no hurry to keep up the fight after so heavy a loss as his army sustained. Lee presented with his depleted ranks, after three days of this conflict, such a front as kept the Federal commander in doubt as to what he would do.

-Confederate Veteran Magazine, September 1897

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ordinary for Sale- 1835

FOR RENT OR SALE, the old and valuable Tavern stand, at New Kent Court-house. The advantages of this stand are, that it is the site of the Court and Superior Court- is just half way between Williamsburg and Richmond. There is Land sufficient attached to it to work six hands. The crop is about four barrels of corn to the acre. There is a sufficiency of land of fine quality in wood, to make a good Farm, independent of the Tavern part- on this, a sufficiency of tobacco or cotton might be made to pay for the land in a few years. There is on this land fine shell marl, which could be used to great advantage. Any person wishing to rent or purchase, will be pleased to apply to the subscriber in Williamsburg, or to Mr. G.P. Crump of Richmond, who is authorised to sell or rent.                                  BURWELL BASSETT. 
Oct. 9. 

- Richmond Enquirer, 9 October 1835

The Burwell Bassett advertising the tavern(ordinary) at New Kent Courthouse is Burwell Bassett II, nephew of George and Martha Washington(his mother was Martha's sister). Bassett owned Bassett Hall in Williamsburg and Eltham plantation in New Kent. The Bassetts were the second largest landowners in the county after the Custises. Burwell Bassett II was a long time congressman, serving some  terms between 1805 and 1829. He never represented New Kent however representing Tidewater Virginia and the Eastern Shore from his Williamsburg residence. He died some five years after this advertisement in February 1841. After his death his nephew George Washington Bassett, of Clover Lea in Hanover, inherited his estates including the tavern.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"The Fullness of Midsummer with the Vivid and Tender Green of Southern Spring- 1862"

We are lying in the Spaulding (medical transport, S. R. Spaulding) just below a burnt railroad-bridge, on the Pamunkey River, and, as usual, in the middle of the fleet of forage boats. The shores are at once wooded and wonderful to the water's edge, the fullness of midsummer with the vivid and tender green of Southern spring. Up the banks, where the trees will let us look between them, lie great fields of wheat, tall and fresh, and taking the sunshine for miles. The river winds constantly,—returning upon itself every half-mile or so, and we seem sometimes lying in a little wooded lake without inlet or outlet. It is startling to find, so far from the sea, a river whose name we hardly knew two weeks ago, where our anchor drops in three fathoms of water and our great ship turns freely either way with the tide. Our smoke-stacks are almost swept by the hanging branches as we move, and great schooners are drawn up under the banks, tied to the trees; the Spaulding herself lies in the shade of an elm-tree which is a landmark for miles up and down. 
The army is in camp close at hand, resting, this Sunday, and eating its six pies to a man, and so getting ready for a move, which is planning in ——'s tent. Half a mile above us is the White House, naming the place,—a modern cottage, if ever white, now drabbed over, standing where the early home of Mrs. Washington stood. We went ashore this morning with General ——, and strolled about the grounds, —an unpretending, sweet little place, with old trees shading the cottage, a green lawn sloping to the river, and an old-time garden full of roses. The house has been emptied, but there are some pieces of quaint furniture, brass fire-dogs, &c., and just inside the door this notice is posted: "Northern soldiers who profess to reverence the name of Washington, forbear to desecrate the home of his early married life, the property of his wife, and now the home of his descendants"; signed, "A Granddaughter of Mrs. Washington"; confronted by Gen. McClellan's order of protection.

-Hospital Transports: A Memoir of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862- Frederick Law Olmsted
Publisher Ticknor and Fields, 1863

National Archive photo of unidentified ship- possibly the S.R. Spaulding

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hospitals on the Pamunkey

Interior of a Union hospital ship

An interesting Wikipedia article on a little known aspect of the Civil War- the hospital ships of the United States Sanitary Commission. The Commission was a privately funded and led relief organization run out Washington during the war. Some notable members of the organization include Frederick Law Olmsted and George Templeton Strong.

The Commission created and ran the Hospital Transport Service, a network of dozens of converted steamers that transported ten of thousands of Union wounded to hospitals out of the war zone.

Some of the vessels that operated specifically on the Pamunkey River were, the Elm City, Commodore, Louisiana, State of Maine, Kennebeck, Daniel Webster No. 2, John Brooks, Whilldin, Knickerbocker, St. Mark, and the Euterpe.*

Some other sites of interest on this topic:

*Note from A MEMOIR of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862.-Compiled and Published at the request of the Sanitary Commission. 

"The St. Mark arrived about this time, a splendid clipper East-Indiaman, and, after her, the Euterpe, both first-class new sailing vessels, entirely reconstructed interiorly by the Commission, as model hospital-ships, and having their own corps of surgeons, dressers, &c. Drawing too much water to come up the Pamunkey, they anchored at Yorktown, and the sick were taken down on steamboats to them, and they made the voyage round to New York in tow of steamers."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1863: Sunken Mules and Quick-Pig

An excerpt from Thirteenth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865: A Diary Covering Three Years and a Day by S. Millett Thompson (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1888)

July 8(1863). Wed. Hot; heavy showers. Reg. marches at 6 a.m. to New Kent Court House and about six miles beyond. Distance twelve miles. Roads one mass of mud. Two wagons are mired in one place, cannot be extricated and are burned. The worst roads and worst mud we ever saw. As we march to-day over a bad corduroy road, old, rotten and strewn with army waste, a big darkey, leading a mule, gets off the road with his charge and into a deep slough. The darkey is rescued with a pole, but the mule goes down down, until his ears and sorry countenance are alone visible- a sudden struggle, a gulp or two, and a few bubbles are the last signs of the mule. The darkey's sole comment, given with a scared grin, was: "I, golly! Done gone forebber!" as he plainly saw how he himself might also have gone under, but for that pole and a few strong men. The Thirteenth are all placed on picket, tonight as rear-guard, and forage far and wide for something good to eat. 
During the first halt, near New Kent Court House, of scarcely half an hour and in a pouring rain, some of the men have a lunch of 'quick-pig.' They had caught him a mile or two back, had knocked him on the head and partly dressed him while they marched. Instantly upon halting the pig is cut into very thin slices and distributed, a fire is built- of dry wood found in some wood-shed by the way, rolled in a rubber blanket and lugged may be for a mile or more- the thin slices of meat are rolled in salt, put on a green stick, and broiled in the fire. When a dozen veteran soldiers start upon an affair of this kind, a halt of ten or fifteen minutes suffices to furnish them with a hearty meal.
After this first halt, the 13th moves a little way to drier land near some buildings, and remains there for nearly two hours. Then marches about four hours to make six miles; the teams in the train, we are guarding, sticking fast in the mud at every few rods. We are marching to Hampton as a convoy to the wagon train. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Regarded As One of the Most Interesting Seventeenth Century Structures . . ."


                                         Historical Markers Placed in New Kent

Historical markers are now being placed in New Kent County, particularly along Highway No. 451, which follows the old county road, according to Dr. H.J. Eckenrode, head of the history division of the State Conservation and Development Commission.
Among the places being marked are the "White House," once the home of Mrs. Martha Custis, who became the wife of George Washington, and later the property of General W.H.F. Lee, son of General Robert E. Lee; old St. Peter's Church, regarded as one of the most interesting seventeenth century structures in the state; "Eltham," once a famous estate; and Eltham's Landing, the scene of a skirmish in the War Between the States. A new marker is to be placed at New Kent Courthouse.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 27, 1931

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Four Inch Stream Forced, Out of Limb of a Tree. 
(Special to The Times-Dispatch) 
ROXBURY, VA., April 4.— Near the famous Long Bridge that spans the historic Chickahominy Swamp, a quarter of a mile from Roxbury, is a huge cypress tree which leans over the swamp. About thirty feet from the ground is a large limb, which extends over the main stream, and forced through this limb by some hidden power is a four-inch stream of pure oil. The surface of the water is covered with oil, and fears for the fish are apprehended, as the oil floats down the stream for many miles. 
Mr. M.C. Talley*, who discovered it, says he attempted to get to the limb from which it spouted to catch some of the fluid to have it tested, but the water was so high that the attempt was futile. Were the oil comes from or what it will prove to be is a mystery. The tree stands over the land of Mr. Robert Taylor, who a few years bought it from the heirs of the late John T. Harris†. Mr. Taylor, who is an expert in coal mining, which business he followed in the far West before casting his fortunes in the Sunny South, believes there is coal oil on his farm. If such proves a fact, the farm that cost $3,000 a few years ago will go up into millions. The place where the tree stands is famous place for crowds of fisherman from Richmond, and it will be learned with interest by the anglers who frequent this place all summer and fall that the sport they love so well at this hallowed spot is a thing of the past.
The pressure that forces that oil up the tree through a hollow for thirty feet and out through the limb is necessarily enormous.

- Times Dispatch, April 5, 1904

* I believe this is actually Nathaniel C. Talley.

† In 1890 Robert Taylor bought the farm, "Soldier's Rest," from the heirs of John T. Harris.

A look at the time of year when this was published might shed light on this strange story. 😃

Friday, April 21, 2017

100 Years Ago- From School to War,1917-

Fired by accounts of German atrocities and disappointed in missing a train. John Stone, principal of the high school at Quintin(sic). New Kent County, walked twenty miles Saturday night and presented himself at the recruiting station in Richmond yesterday morning as a candidate for any fighting the government might, have for him. He was not eligible for enlistment in the active service on account of being  more than thirty years old, but he was enrolled in the coast-defense reserve. He left Richmond by train yesterday afternoon to finish his term of teaching at Quinton before putting on the uniform.

-Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 9 1917

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

School Report of 1839- Part II

Some more information pertinent to the early "public" schools of New Kent post of April 2.

A)The post mentioned the "200 poor children in county." The 1840 Census luckily breaks down by race, sex and age. To give you and idea of what percentage of the county's children were considered poor. Looking at school age children, for New Kent it gives a total of 359 white males aged 5 through 14, and 307 females the same age.(The school system of course was only available to whites.)

B)Some background on the public school system, such as it was, of the time.
Charity or Public Schools-  . . . The lack of funds, as we have seen, was the cause of the failure of Jefferson's [education] plan of 1796, and this law[school law of 1810] said that all money coming into the state treasury from fines, forfeitures and certain other sources should be set aside to provide schools for the poor children in every county. The money thus set aside was called the "Literary Fund." In 1816 the money loaned by Virginia to the United States government in 1812 to help carry on the war with Great Britain was repaid to Virginia, and the General Assembly added this money, amounting to over $1,200,000, to the Literary Fund. Beginning in 1818 $45,000 each year was paid out of the interest on this fund for schools. Later on the amount increased as more fines came in. 
Only the children of poor white people could get the benefit of this money. In 1825 for instance, 10,226 children went to these schools; in 1851 31,486 were sent, and in 1859 54,232 were sent, the money coming annually from the fund for the schools being about $160,000. The schools were charity schools and wrongly called public schools. They were open only about three months in the year and nothing but reading writing and arithmetic were taught. Especially in the eastern section of Virginia it was considered a disgrace to be so poor as to have to go to the "public schools" and long after they had ceased to be charity schools and had become schools for all classes, rich and poor alike, and good enough for the richest as well as the poorest boy and girl, the "public school" was looked down upon in some parts of Virginia because the old idea of charity school still stuck.   

-School History of Virginia- Edgar Sydenstricker, Ammen Lewis Burger-1914

Sunday, April 2, 2017

School Report of 1839

NEW KENT- The teachers patronized by the school commissioners are of good moral character and qualifications. The children progress as well as children generally do and some beyond mediocrity The school commissioners take the liberty of suggesting an opinion, that if the price of tuition were raised to six cents per day, more good might be done. Most of the common school teachers would not take them in their schools, but for philanthropic feelings, and the more efficient teachers, who reject them now, might be induced to take them in their schools.

-9 common schools
-200 poor children in county
-56 attending per diem
-5384 days attended
-rate of tuition 4 cents a day
-$250.88 annual expenditure 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Play Ball

     Base-ball and Commencement Exercises
           [For the Dispatch.
The people of New Kent and James City counties had the pleasure of witnessing at Barhamsville on Tuesday the 13th one of the finest games of ball ever played in this section, it was between the West Point and Lofty Academy clubs. The academy boys won by a score of 6 to 5, Mr. Diggs, of the Point, being umpire. 
The night following (14th) about six hundred persons assembled at Liberty church to witness the closing exercises of the academy. It was a most enjoyable occasion, such as Major Vaiden always gives, and the immense crowd present attest their popularity, Fauquier county carried off most of the prizes, Master E.L. Childs getting an elegant cup, while Messrs. Shumate, Holtzclaw, and Coates won beautiful premiums.       A PATRON

-  Richmond Dispatch- June 17, 1888

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Not Very Holy Meeting

A correspondent of the Richmond Dispatch, writing from Oak*, New Kent county, Wednesday, says: 
"At Roper's Tabernacle Monday night a few cool-headed persons succeeded in averting what promised to be a serious affair. 
"As was seen in the Dispatch about ten days ago a Mr. Boroughs, a new comer to this county, invited the Rev. R.W. Webb, of Norfolk, to hold a Holiness camp meeting near his place. Mr. Webb carries his own tent with him, but the Methodists of this vicinity, who own the above-named tabernacle, granted him leave to hold the meeting in that building. The meeting commenced Sunday with Mr. Webb on hand. He began his discourse by abusing the members of the Methodist Church who did not believe in holiness, Christian perfection, or sanctification. He finally became so violent and personal that he was called down by Rev. Eugene Potts, pastor of the Methodist Church here. The two had quite a hot discussion for a few minutes, when several members of the Tabernacle congregation Jumped from their seats and Joined in what was then getting to be a very high-pitched row. One man was shaking his fist in the Rev. Webb's face. While this was going on the ladies took to their heels and ran out of doors. Some never stopped until they reached their homes. The Rev. Webb and his few followers were ordered to leave the tabernacle, but he has sent on for his tent (which he left behind after securing the building), and will continue the meeting on the land of Mr. Boroughs."

-Virginian-Pilot, 20 October 1899

*approximately where the Saude Creek Winery is now.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

President's Day/ Washington's Birthday Conclusion

 . . . . from the post of February 20. . .

 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?
Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?
In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the  favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they  actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a  portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no  greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
[43-50 omitted from some newspaper printings.]
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.
After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.
The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his  progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796