Browsing All Posts filed under »Antebellum Period«

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 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 […]

The Dixon-Maddux shooting(s), and ties (maybe not so much) to Southern Unionism

October 12, 2013 by

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Not Shenandoah Valley-related (but with ties to the valley), but something I happened upon a while back… On p. 202 of Lincoln’s Loyalists, there is mention of a man by the name of Henry T. Dixon. Loyalists author, Richard Nelson Current, uses Ulysses S. Grant’s words in referring to Dixon, as “a loyal Virginian who was driven […]

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 […]

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 […]

A manifestation of Scott’s reflections, in the Valley

September 4, 2013 by

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I need to jump off this line of discussion about Sir Walter Scott in order to get to other topics pertaining to life in the early to mid 19th century Shenandoah Valley, but, I need to offer this post, and perhaps one other piece first. There’s a good deal about Scott’s influence on the 19th […]

The socially elite, Southern writers of the 19th century, and their legacy

September 3, 2013 by

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I just responded to a comment on my post from yesterday, and thought that I should raise my thoughts to the level of a post. Who can we point to (among Southern writers/authors of the 19th century), for having had the most influence on defining the ideology of the 19th century South as it existed […]

Mark Twain challenges the South’s love of Romantacism

September 2, 2013 by

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In reading early 19th century works which Southerners read… and wrote, I’m also fascinated by the influence that some say Sir Walter Scott had on the South. As we see in Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain abhorred the Romantic movement, and put the blame square on Scott… Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his […]

The Shenandoah’s navigation and commerce… and forward thinking

August 30, 2013 by

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While the literary world (readers and authors) of the Shenandoah Valley dominates my thinking recently, it’s necessary not to lose touch with the agriculture of the area. So, as part of my readings, I came across a really interesting (and lengthy) article that appears in the August 26, 1847 edition of the Virginia Free Press, titled “RIVER IMPROVEMENT”. […]

A reading and authoring (early 19th century) Shenandoah

August 28, 2013 by

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Back around the beginning of spring, I finally purchased a copy of Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860, by Michael O’Brien. The University of North Carolina Press makes the following pitch for the book: Looking over the period, O’Brien identifies a movement from Enlightenment ideas of order to a Romanticism concerned with the ambivalences […]

What’s the objective?

August 27, 2013 by

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For the (over) five years in which I’ve been blogging, I’ve focused mostly on the American Civil War. As the title of the blog suggests, however, I have room to roam whenever I get the whim. I don’t like to keep myself too “hemmed-in”. The title has given me enough flexibility that I feel comfortable moving in just […]

The battle for and against Southern Heritage

August 21, 2013 by

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There is a struggle that exists (and thrives) that continues to feed misconceptions, and I can’t help but cringe when I hear either argument. There are those who say that they defend Southern Heritage… but that is usually limited to a fraction of the heritage that did, in fact, make up the South. Usually, it’s […]

Who was free black Isaac Dunn?

May 8, 2013 by

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There are certain things that sit there… in my mind… unanswered in my quest to understand better my ancestors and the people around them… and this is one of them. He appears but once, as far as I can tell, in the census records. Isaac Dunn was listed, on September 6, 1860, as residing with […]

What’s in the bag?

September 28, 2012 by

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Things… … inanimate things. But, it’s not things in general that I’m considering here. No. Rather, it’s things having been bought, that we walk away with when leaving historical places… and… it’s historical things that we can buy. What is the purpose of these things? As I grow older, I see them differently than I once […]

Prewar Harpers Ferry in art… and some thoughts

August 7, 2012 by

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A little something different this evening… While I have my fair share of Troiani battle scenes on my walls, I’m finding myself more drawn to pre-Civil War art these days. It might be that the bigger draw is the humanity… that calm in years before the storm. Sure, they had their own problems, even in […]

A virtual stroll through some newspapers from well before the “storm”

July 14, 2012 by

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I was gearing-up for writing another post about another Southern Unionist… ummm, or so he said he was… this morning, but became distracted by something about which I became aware, a few days ago. Thanks to a grant from The Harpers Ferry Historical Association, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has digitized several early 19th century […]

Death poetry from the mid-19th century

October 30, 2011 by

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Since we’re on the eve of Halloween… While I’ve mentioned her more than once, she is, by far, my favorite source for death poetry this time of year. Not only that, but Cornelia Jane Matthews Jordan was well connected to the Shenandoah Valley’s society circle. The following poem was written by Jordan ca. 1848, focused […]

What historical period dominates the (interpretive) landscape, and which are sorely absent?

October 15, 2011 by

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As I drive nearly the entire stretch of the Shenandoah Valley (excepting the West Virginia counties of Berkeley and Jefferson), at least four days a week, I pass various sites of interests. Few, actually, are marked with any indication of their stories… though I’m aware of the stories for most of them. I suspect many […]

Letcher, the politician in search of votes, distances himself from the Ruffner Pamphlet

May 14, 2011 by

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I figured that I would follow-up on my post from this morning, and briefly tackle the continued role that the Ruffner Pamphlet played, up through the governor’s race in Virginia, in 1859. During the Democratic nomination run-off for the governorship of Virginia, in 1859, John Letcher may have regretted his stand on the Ruffner Pamphlet […]

Another Southerner who wanted to free slaves… but…

May 14, 2011 by

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… his motivations weren’t centered on freeing slaves as an issue of morality. Dr. Henry Ruffner was well-educated (Washington College, and Princeton, where he received his D.D.), and headed several Presbyterian pastorates in Rockbridge County, Virginia (not to mention one near his family’s salt works in the Kanawha Valley). He was also a fairly active […]

It was All About Taxes…

March 21, 2011 by

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There is a TV spot discussing the causes of the Civil War recently introduced in some localities.   The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans created the ad and it is one of twelve running.  Thus far the only place I’ve seen a web copy of the ad is on Facebook (here).  While those […]

Southern by the grace of cornbread!

February 23, 2011 by

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Thinking about Craig’s post from the other day, I remembered something I’ve been meaning to post about cornbread… yes, cornbread. Now cornbread has become known as something distinctly “Southron”, but appears to  have origins with the Native People of what is now the southeastern U.S. (references vary, but among those suggested as originators are the […]

Were some Union soldiers fighting to preserve slavery?(!)

February 19, 2011 by

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Yes, you read that correctly. Give me a little time, and I’ll set the stage… As many who follow this blog know, one of my favorite areas of study is western Maryland… most especially, the Clear Spring and Conococheague Districts in Washington County. Likewise, I spend a good deal of time researching the men from […]

Yes, Page County, you once had slaves…

January 16, 2011 by

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While the audience of this blog is typically from well beyond the boundaries of my home county (and, I’m happy to say, even beyond the confines of this continent), I frequently look back to that place, as I have spent a considerable number of years writing about its history. No doubt, it’s fascinating to me […]