Browsing All Posts filed under »Shenandoah Valley history«

Shenandoah Valley men on the Mexican border

October 25, 2016 by

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This is outside my normal “field of operations”, but… putting my stories of the antebellum Shenandoah, and news reports of those buried alive in the same period, on the side for today… I want to share a reminder that we’re just about to enter the WWI Centennial (the US version… Europe has been at it a while, already). Of […]

A new “area” Civil War blog

October 20, 2016 by

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It’s been a long time since I’ve acknowledged a new Civil War blog on the scene, but, in that this new one also focuses on a portion of the area which holds my interest… it merits a shout-out. So, for those who are interested in western Maryland… and that general area, thereabouts, in the Civil […]

The Richmond Dispatch’s first mention of John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry

October 16, 2016 by

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… didn’t appear until October 18, 1859… two days after the raid was initiated. For those who know the story, it’s also interesting to read the exaggerated numbers involved in the raid, and the reference to a “Captain Anderson” instead of John Brown.

“a runaway… a negro man who calls himself PHIL”, OTD, 1814

September 28, 2016 by

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From the front page of the Sept. 28, 1814 edition of the Maryland Herald and Hagers-town Weekly Advertiser, we have a listing announcing the runaway of a slave (out of the lower Shenandoah Valley) owned by Ferdinand (aka Ferdinando) Fairfax: While this may just appear to be yet another listing for another runaway slave, give it […]

Discussing secession, OTD, 1851

September 23, 2016 by

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The following clip comes from the Spirit of Jefferson (Charles Town, VA), from 165 years ago, today. Of course, reading through this, there are some lines that seem to see a decade ahead. I was particularly interested in the remarks near the end… Our blood ran cold as he described an army devastating this Valley… […]

A decade of Southern Unionist studies

September 19, 2016 by

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After receiving a comment last night on a recent post, and while driving into work this morning, I realized that, for over a decade, I’ve been involved in the study of Southern Unionists in the Shenandoah Valley. It was ten years ago this fall when I started writing my thesis on Southern Unionism and disaffected […]

“I’ve got through crying long ago” – a refugee from the Shenandoah

September 13, 2016 by

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A few months ago, I came across an old sketch on Ebay showing a woman and her children above the title “Flight from the Shenandoah Valley”. Wanting to know the source, I found it in the Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion, by Richard Miller Devens (1824-1900). While there […]

“Perfidious Wretch!” – The developing story of Mr. Dorsey horsewhipping Dr. Gordon, OTD, 1840

September 10, 2016 by

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I came across a number of articles in the Virginia Free Press pertaining to an altercation between one A.G. Gordon and Dr. H. Dorsey, both… I think… were from Charles Town, (West) Va. There’s a lot going on in the exchanges I’ve found in the various clippings (spanning about four issues, so far), so, I’ll […]

Statue of Washington returns to VMI (150 years ago, today)

September 10, 2016 by

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Dedicated on the grounds of the Virginia Military Institute, on July 3, 1856, William James Hubbard’s copy of Jean Antoine Houdon’s Washington had, for eight years, been a point of inspiration to cadets of the Institute, and, to the residents of Lexington, a proud reminder of the “Father of the Country”. Therefore, when returned to the grounds […]

A Shippensburg, Pa. newspaper on emigration of liberated slaves to Liberia (1856)

September 9, 2016 by

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As some may recall, last summer, I started transcribing a pamphlet from the American Colonization Society (ACS). It wasn’t because I just then discovered the story of the ACS, but rather, I became intrigued with the activity of the ACS in the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, my decision to transcribe the pamphlet was based on 1) the fact […]

Following the drinkin’ gourd? OTD, 1831

September 8, 2016 by

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The clip below is taken from the Torch Light and Advertiser (Hagerstown, Maryland), from September 8, 1831, but the subject of the clipping is a slave named Paul Taylor, who escaped from Frederick County, in the Shenandoah Valley. As he made his escape on August 13, by the time this appeared in the newspaper, he […]

Poke Root poultice for snake bite, OTD, 1826

September 7, 2016 by

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News had an interesting way in making it up and down the Valley… and even into the next Valley over. Take, for example this clipping which notes how an article about a Poke Root poultice, originally published in the Staunton Spectator and later republished in the Torch Light and Public Advertiser (Hagerstown, Md.), saved a […]

All was not innocence and harmony (OTD, Augusta County, 1852)

September 7, 2016 by

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I’m thinking that… in between blog posts which take time to construct, I’m going to start posting brief “On This Day” (OTD) material, shedding some light on news within the Shenandoah Valley (and, perhaps, the Cumberland Valley, to offer a chance for comparative analysis), during the antebellum. The hope is to provide a look at what life was really like […]

If you like an interpretation of history, why not also find the flaws in it?

September 6, 2016 by

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Lately, in the midst of the arguments being made about standing for the National Anthem, I’ve seen a fair number of folks attach themselves to an interpretation of some aspect of history and then attempt to defend that position (actually, it’s more a matter of them going on the offensive, using that interpretation as if […]

An enduring and iconic feature in the Shenandoah

August 16, 2016 by

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For almost 177 years, the Virginia Military Institute has been an iconic part of the history of the Shenandoah Valley. Today, I happened upon the following clip from the August 13, 1859 edition of the Richmond Dispatch: Having set the context with this clip… the more things change, the more… well, you know.  While the number of new “Rats” […]

Huckleberries, mountain fires, and meaning

May 14, 2016 by

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Perhaps it’s the mountain fires we’ve had in the Shenandoah Valley recently, but I’ve found myself thinking about something more commonly associated with summer… that incredible wild fruit known as the humble huckleberry. What do mountain fires have to do with huckleberries? Well, ultimately fires help huckleberry crops, of course. Yet, these raging mountain fires […]

Special “representation” at the Carlisle Blue-Gray Reunion of 1881

May 10, 2016 by

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Yesterday, an article (“South Dakota tribe seeks children’s century-old remains from War College site“)* popped up in my news feed which, ironically, followed some information I came across just last week regarding “Indian School” attendees at the Blue-Gray reunion at Carlisle, in September 1881. That reunion was actually the second in two months, the first […]

Bartlett’s Harper’s Ferry art… in the style of the Hudson River School?

May 9, 2016 by

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Among the earliest (and perhaps my favorite) pieces portraying Harper’s Ferry is by William Henry Bartlett, looking toward the Shenandoah River from Jefferson’s Rock. I’ve mentioned the piece once before in a post from 2012, and having used the image several times in my personal Facebook background, commenters twice remarked on how the print is remarkably reminiscent of the “Hudson River School“. But… was Bartlett […]

Faulkner explains his Confederate service

April 30, 2016 by

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150 years ago this past week, a letter (though dated April 13) from Charles J. Faulkner (he appears in a few of my blog posts from the past) appeared in the Charles Town, West Virginia newspaper, detailing his “connexion” with the Confederate army. At first I thought, perhaps, he was replying to those who doubted any […]

Selling Col. R.K. Meade’s livestock (1833)

April 26, 2016 by

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The title of this post might lack the hook that would draw in a crowd, but that shouldn’t detract. For those who are truly curious about what antebellum life was like in the Valley (and might be well-acquainted with the area of the Valley in which this piece discusses), this piece offers an opportunity to […]

The SPLC’s report… more “purposed” opinion than history?

April 22, 2016 by

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I saw, today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center issued their “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” report, yesterday. Anyone who has watched the SPLC over the years knows how they are inspired and, to be clear, they simply don’t recognize complexities in the story of anyone associated with the Southern Confederacy. Of course, it’s […]

150 years ago this week – properties listed for sale in the Rockingham Register

March 5, 2016 by

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Does a listing of properties for sale, as of March 1866, tell us something about the Shenandoah Valley and the inability of some to recover from war? From the March 2, 1866 issue of the Rockingham Register (Harrisonburg):      

Northern aid to the Shenandoah Valley (1865)

March 2, 2016 by

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  Scanning through some (relatively) local postwar newspapers, I ran across the mention of a relief society for the Shenandoah Valley… that’s right, Northern aid for civilians of the Shenandoah Valley in the wake of “The Burning”. The only article (in Hagerstown’s Herald and Torch) available to me via newspaper.com, about this society, dated to […]

The “battle” for the eastern panhandle of West Virginia

February 29, 2016 by

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I posed a question yesterday, via Facebook, asking if it was only historians who wondered what Berkeley and Jefferson counties would be like if they were returned to Virginia in the years immediately after the Civil War. Of course, I have my doubts that it is only historians that wonder about such things, but I suspect, […]

Looking forward in the Shenandoah (Jan. 1866)

February 19, 2016 by

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Perusing some Valley newspapers recently, I ran across an interesting article in the Spirit of Jefferson (Charles Town) which did not reflect on the devastation left by war, but on the future of the Valley and its residents. There is no portion of the whole agricultural district of the Union richer than the Valley of […]

Which has greater value – Literary Product or Revealed Intellectual Process?

October 26, 2015 by

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Not long ago, I ran across an article (2011) from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in which the author (Kirk Richardson) seems to have minimized the significance of an early Virginia author. Alone [the first published book (1854) by Marion Harland, aka Mary Virginia Terhune] is a lot like other sentimental novels of the mid nineteenth-century; it’s […]

Just having missed a “Nathaniel Parker Willis, of the Shenandoah”

October 4, 2015 by

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In my pursuit of the “Shenandoah Literari” of the nineteenth century, I encounter some unusual twists and turns in the history of the Valley. One family’s “brush” with the area’s history, for example, presents an interesting “what if”. Now, I’m not really a fan of “what ifs” in regard to history, but I do find […]

A placemarker in my considerations of the American Colonization Society

August 12, 2015 by

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For those who have continued to follow my ramblings through old annual reports of the American Colonization Society, I’ve got a little more to follow. I’ve skipped around a bit between the 1820s and the 1850s, and looking at a few other resources at my disposal, I found something worthwhile from the 1850s regarding the […]

American Colonization Society: Growth of Auxiliaries, 1823-1828

August 7, 2015 by

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Though I’m still gathering data, I figured I would go ahead and give something to consider, at least up to a point. As readers may recall, I presented some raw numbers on life members (as of 1847), and the places that these people represented doesn’t even begin to show how many places had active auxiliaries. […]

John Pendleton Kennedy and Washington Irving on slavery encountered in the Shenandoah

August 3, 2015 by

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While I continue to work on that list of auxiliaries within the American Colonization Society… some observations from another item of interest. It might come as a surprise to some that the author of some of America’s original classics journeyed to the Shenandoah Valley (on more than one occasion, in fact) in the 1850s. While […]