Browsing All Posts filed under »Antebellum culture of the Shenandoah Valley«

A different contribution to the “Sesqui landscape”, on the last days of the war

March 26, 2015 by

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It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine… I subscribe to a number of different Civil War-related blogs, sites, Facebook pages, etc., and over the last week or so, I’ve watched as many have focused on the closing fights… at places like Bentonville and Fort Stedman. While even I noted the anniversary of the attack on Stedman (not in […]

“Be Kind”

February 11, 2015 by

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I really need to get back to J.K. Paulding, and hope to do so soon, but in the meantime… Lacking in my knowledge of the Crusades (apart from the romantic efforts of antebellum Virginians to recapture a little of that), I spent some time recently (thanks to a recent event that made news), looking at a […]

James Kirke Paulding provides a window to the early nineteenth century Shenandoah

January 26, 2015 by

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In digging backwards from the Civil War, through the literature that mentions the Shenandoah Valley, I came upon a great work written by James Kirke Paulding. In 1816, Paulding ventured into the Valley and apparently stuck around a bit, providing some details as to what he encountered. So, what is the value of reading experiences […]

An Antebellum snapshot of “The Tuleyries”

January 3, 2015 by

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Note to the reader: Please, if visiting the Virginia Arboretum, remember… “The Tuleyries” is private property and the grounds are not open for visits. All of the photos you see in this post were taken from a distance. Thanks. Following up from my walk this past Sunday… For starters… let’s get the name issue cleared […]

A walk at “Tuleyries”

December 28, 2014 by

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Earlier today, circumstances were such that I had an opportunity to catch a glimpse at a sunrise. Granted, it was overcast, but watching the dawning of a new day can still be pleasant enough. My destination… the Virginia Arboretum (aka, Blandy Experimental Farm). Why? For one, it’s free… and open, literally, from dawn to dusk. […]

“Papers and books were scattered everywhere…”: A Day at The Briars

December 26, 2014 by

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In speaking with someone just the other day, I mentioned how I’ve had an incredibly enjoyable time working through the nineteenth century literature of the Shenandoah Valley… meaning, the literature generated by those who lived here, and by those from without who wrote about the Valley and its people. In fact, I’m still working through […]

One account of Christmas, as described in a piece from 1857

December 15, 2014 by

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One of the things that I find fascinating is “reading between the lines” of novels and poetry of the 19th century, and finding tidbits regarding life (whether real or exaggerated) at that time. For example, consider this extract from John Esten Cooke’s “Our Christmas at The Pines”, which appeared in the December, 1857 issue of […]

Literary musings on the Valley… November

November 7, 2014 by

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When the chill winds of November admonished me to depart, I prepared to travel alone on horseback. My simple preparations being soon completed, I bade a sorrowful adieu to my friends and to the homestead of my youth, where every object was pleasant and dear to my soul. Never had I felt so melancholy. My previous […]

When Dr. Henry Ruffner gave his “bah, humbug” to German superstitions

October 30, 2014 by

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Since it’s Halloween Eve, I figured I would fall back on an article that I read in the past year, which was written by a Shenandoah Valley author. I’ve mentioned Henry Ruffner in this blog before, mostly because of the famous “Ruffner Pamphlet” and how it pertained to slavery in antebellum Virginia. Yet, as with all […]

Things old that are new again…

October 14, 2014 by

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I’ve come into some unusually good deals lately and have added significantly to the “old wing” of my library… hence old things are indeed new again. The majority of these (in fact, all but the two on the top) date prior to the Civil War. Essentially, all that you see here have connections to the […]

Thoughts on the opening days of “the Burning”

September 27, 2014 by

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In a rare opportunity (at least it’s been rather rare, for me, in these past two months) this morning, I had the chance to sit in my study… a window open… and enjoy a cup of coffee while I took in all that I could on this early Autumn day. The cool air (a brisk […]

One narrow vision… followed by a more remarkable set of 19th century observations by Brantz Mayer

July 11, 2014 by

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I read, somewhere recently, about how someone holds such low regard for Harper’s Ferry… because… as this person sees things… the site interprets John Brown as a hero. It’s actually odd, but John Brown only crosses my mind a couple of times when I visit (which, as regular readers know, is often) Harper’s Ferry, and when he […]

A follow-up on Faulkner and his thoughts on slavery

June 22, 2014 by

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I happened to be passing through Hagerstown yesterday, and had the chance to slip in to the public library for about 2 hours, to browse through older editions of the newspapers. One of my objectives… to look-up articles about Faulkner. What I found didn’t disappoint, including one particular piece that gave a hint as to […]

What might we learn from C.J. Faulkner’s speech of Jan. 1832?

June 19, 2014 by

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For years, I’ve thought an argument was extremely weak. Descendants defending Confederate ancestors…. that they did not fight for slavery. A lot of folks base it simply on the fact that an ancestor did not own slaves. It’s a poor foundation for an argument, and I don’t recommend it. On the other hand, we have […]

Strother and the 1st New York Cavalry on African-American Conscripts in Winchester

June 14, 2014 by

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I’ve been enjoying myself much this morning by reading through David Hunter Strother’s coverage of events from March to June 1864. Whenever I read Strother, I’m never disappointed at his observations and what he is thinking. That said, I’m pretty sure if I actually had the opportunity, this guy would be at the top of […]

“Porte Crayon” in Harrisonburg, June 2, 1864

June 2, 2014 by

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It’s been an extraordinarily busy past few months, and postings here have suffered mightily for it. That said, last night I happened to “catch-up” with David Hunter Strother, as the Federal army advanced up the Shenandoah Valley toward Staunton. As of June 2, Strother awoke (near New Market) to find his “fine bay horse” gone… […]

Confederate History Month – a disservice to Antebellum Southern history?

April 2, 2014 by

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I know… I’ve been incredibly quiet for well over a month, but I’ve been considering various things regarding directions in which to go with writing history. Another topic for another day, perhaps. For now, however, since “Confederate History Month” (as I was reminded by a post I saw on Facebook this morning) is now underway, it […]

A day after [the official] Lee-Jackson Day… reflections on Jackson

January 18, 2014 by

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There are, obviously, varying opinions of Lee-Jackson Day. It’s not my intent to field all of those opinions, here, in this post. Rather, for me, I found yesterday’s awareness of the observation, a chance to reflect. It wasn’t Lee, however, who held my attention, but Jackson. For that matter, it wasn’t the time in Jackson’s […]

When do we fail our history? – a perspective on an event, from Long Branch

December 31, 2013 by

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This isn’t the way I planned on introducing my thoughts on Long Branch. I think the place is amazing, and under the new director, Nicholas Redding, has shown growth and incredible potential as a historic site… perhaps even reaching the status as the premier historic site of Clarke County, Virginia. As I’m only about fifteen […]

The Civil War, “Puritan influence” and Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”

December 30, 2013 by

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First, I sincerely hope everyone had a pleasant Christmas and holiday season. I meant to post prior to Christmas, but time got away from me. So, back at it, then… This is a different sort of post, but… I’m in a discussion elsewhere, and this is the result. I’ve heard, on more than one occasion, where […]

“the most damnable, vraisemblable, horrible, hair-lifting, shocking…”

October 31, 2013 by

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… ingenious chapter of fiction that any brain ever conceived, or hands traced. So wrote Philip Pendleton Cooke (you remember… John Esten Cooke’s older brother), in August 1846, when sharing his thoughts with Edgar Allan Poe regarding Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar The quote seems amazing to me… to think, not just that […]

To be buried alive…

October 30, 2013 by

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… was, of course, a very real fear in the 19th century. In fact, in “The Premature Burial” (published first in the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, in 1844), Edgar Allan Poe tapped into those very real fears. You can read it here… or, if you prefer… listen to it, here… I highly recommend the audio. I […]

Mark the day… June 4, 1812… as the end of the world.

October 29, 2013 by

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I restrained myself from titling this “Party like it’s 1812″, so, for that you can be thankful… but since it’s Halloween week… It should come as no surprise that I came upon this little piece of history about Nimrod Hughes… the man who offered a prediction of the end of the world… well, sorta… he […]

What does this have to do with the Civil War?

October 19, 2013 by

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For one… I offer a friendly reminder to consider, again, the title of the blog. It’s not just about the Civil War… it’s more about the area, and, because who I am and because of my interests… yes, it usually comes back to the Civil War, in some way or the other. Nonetheless, I’ve actually […]

Immersing oneself in the early 19th century… Middleway, Jefferson Co., WV

September 29, 2013 by

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There’s this little village, off the beaten path, back in Jefferson County. To reach this place, I prefer taking Rt. 51 from Inwood, toward Charles Town… the old Middleway Pike. Now, there are a lot of places in the Shenandoah Valley where one can see buildings that predate the Civil War… lots. Yet, I don’t […]

More on literacy in antebellum Shenandoah – libraries, taxes and public schools

September 26, 2013 by

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Having spent more time tallying stats, it’s time to share a bit more regarding my thoughts on the antebellum literacy levels in the Shenandoah Valley… According to the 1850 census, at that time, the Shenandoah Valley had a total of four public libraries, with a total of 5,510 volumes. Those libraries could be found in only four out […]

On Shaking Hands (1820)

September 20, 2013 by

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In my research, I encounter various pieces that, though they might fall outside the scope of my work, merit attention. One of those items which I found worthy appeared (as an early 19th century re-post, if you will, from the Boston Daily Advertiser) in the September 27, 1820 issue of the Farmer’s Repository. In part, […]

The reach of religion in the Shenandoah Valley in 1860

September 15, 2013 by

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In part, my interest in looking into churches in the Shenandoah Valley is to see if there is any connection to the literacy rate. I’m also curious how the denominations reflect anything that may help me further in my understanding of Southern Unionism in the Valley. Though I don’t think I have anything that gives […]