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

March 5, 2016
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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
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AlexandriaGazetteShenandoahRelief

  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
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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
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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 […]

The future of historical content delivery?

January 25, 2016
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Since I’ve officially (as of Thursday night) launched on my next great adventure in academia, as a PhD student in Writing and Rhetoric, I’ve decided it might be a good idea to begin a spin-off blog. Even if you don’t necessarily “geek out” over “writing as process”, rhetoric, Augmented Reality, or all that stuff… you […]

Would you have gone to war?

January 13, 2016
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This week on Facebook, Manassas National Battlefield Park posed a really good question… While I know a lot of folks would disagree with me, I don’t think we should look to give an answer to the question so quickly. One might feel confident in answering, based on ancestry, “heritage”, “patriotism”, etc., but keep in mind… […]

Back to college… at 50?

December 5, 2015
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Mason2

As I mentioned earlier this fall, back in September I enrolled in a college course to test the waters to see if the time (mostly, if I had the time) was right to take the plunge back into academia. Though I only made my way through one course (finishing up this week), I did find […]

A Richmond editorial (1864) targets Lincoln’s Thanksgiving

November 25, 2015
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As my previous Thanksgiving posts show, I’m always fascinated over how there is this back and forth between Virginia and Massachusetts when it comes to Thanksgiving. I’m sure this year will see the same old posts on Facebook, arguing that Berkeley Hundred was the actual “first” Thanksgiving. Of course, as I’ve pointed out before (2010), it’s […]

A recent acquisition with ties to a Virginia Unionist

November 1, 2015
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Hudibras3

Though I usually limit myself to collecting titles written by residents of the Shenandoah Valley during the antebellum period, or those focused on the antebellum Shenandoah written after the fact by those who lived it, I do stray from that path from time to time. In one such instance, not too terribly long ago, I […]

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

October 26, 2015
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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 […]

Writing history for the Web… back to some theory

October 22, 2015
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So, this college course I decided to take… I’m mid-way through the semester now, still trying to adjust to the addition of another element to my real life “portfolio” (husband, father/soccer dad, dad to several furry family members, full time worker, and part-time student). Somewhere in that mix, a bathroom renovation (the shower tiling is all that remains) […]

Marion Harland reflects on “fear” of slave insurrection

October 17, 2015
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Portion of the wood engraving (1831) showing imagery of Nat Turner's Rebellion. Imagery that added to Hewes' fear, perhaps... and despite the trust she placed in the family slaves.

On this night 156 years ago, John Brown and several of his men held the small engine house in Harper’s Ferry. The contingent of Marines that successfully put an end to the “raid” would not arrive until the next day. Between this story and that of Gabriel’s Rebellion, and then later, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, I […]

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

October 4, 2015
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WillisNP2

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 […]

Where ya been, and where ya goin’?

September 26, 2015
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As the last two years have shown, it isn’t unusual for this blog to go silent for a while, but the most recent round of silence came rather unexpectedly in mid-August. For the past month and a half I’ve dealt with a serious health issue in the family, a major veterinary issue (ongoing), returned to […]

A placemarker in my considerations of the American Colonization Society

August 12, 2015
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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 […]

Opposing another form of ignorance? Finding value in the antebellum South

August 8, 2015
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My well-worn copies of Conjectures. Fortunately, I've maintained the dust jackets by removing them every time I have a return visit to the volumes.

When glancing over my bookshelves last night, I pulled a book which I ordered about a year ago, yet had not yet taken time to read. The reason I purchased it was because the author spent time in the book, providing an argument about Southern antebellum authors who went against the grain of many other […]

American Colonization Society: Growth of Auxiliaries, 1823-1828

August 7, 2015
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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. […]

History in context(?): the ACS, “National racism” in the early 19th century, and our path forward

August 4, 2015
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While I continue to hash out details about the ACS, I’m certainly not blind to what we consider (under our modern lenses) “racist” views held in the actions of people in the past. The difference is, however, that I think I’m able to realize the difference in views between today and yesterday, as more properly evaluated within […]

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

August 3, 2015
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Washington Irving

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 […]

More than just an ad: Mary Pegram’s School, Richmond

August 2, 2015
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PegramMary

Two blog posts in one day? Sure, why not… Spending some leisure time looking over my copies of Southern Literary Messenger this afternoon, I ran across a couple advertisements; and noting the names of people associated with the ads, I looked those names up on the Web. Some of the stuff I found was rather […]

Posted in: Antebellum Virginia

Sunday morning in the Shenandoah: The “Natty B”

August 2, 2015
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H.J. Meyer's

There are pieces of art from the antebellum era that capture a romance that is impossible to find today. While Hermann Meyer’s work was just one from that time period, it offers a portrayal of the Natural Bridge that I appreciate most. Of course, what it portrays is a time before European arrival in the […]

In the wake of Nat Turner – further encouragement to the American Colonization Society?

August 1, 2015
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I find what follows to be worthy of introduction into the discussion about the American Colonization Society. How did the Nat Turner Rebellion impact the efforts of the ACS? Perhaps more importantly, what did the discussions of 1831/32 mean to Virginians by 1861? You’ll note that I link freely to Encyclopedia Virginia… a rich resource […]

Marion Harland recalls some election tunes from 1844

July 31, 2015
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While I spend considerable time sifting through early literature produced about the antebellum Shenandoah Valley (produced both from within and without the Valley) I’ve also found a favorite author outside the Valley who doesn’t provide perspective on Valley life… but on antebellum life in Virginia. Marion Harland (Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune), in fact, tells more […]

Numbers of American Colonization Society Life Members, as of 1849

July 29, 2015
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While I’ve got a good deal of work ahead of me in creating meaningful lists and tables, the list below provides the numbers of life members of the American Colonization Society as of 1849. Regretfully, I think, as it stands alone, this list is of limited value… though I think it gives us a little […]

“…time would terminate the domestic contact of the races in the United States.”

July 27, 2015
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As I mentioned yesterday, in the course of looking through my notes to compile a couple of lists for a blog post or two, I ran across something that I had forgotten. When rereading it, I thought it might be of value to go ahead and post it. It might come as a surprise to […]

Recap: What I’m looking for with my examination of The American Colonization Society

July 25, 2015
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Since my last blog post, I’ve been looking through my notes, starting to compile a couple lists… but, along the way, I’ve been distracted by a few findings that might be of interest to readers. Of course, my thinking, in going through records of the American Colonization Society (ACS), is that I might find something that […]

Projecting the financial costs and gains of colonizing emancipated slaves

July 21, 2015
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This is the one instance in this series, where I’ll allow the pamphlet’s authors to speak for themselves. What did they see as both the financial costs and gains in colonizing emancipated slaves? Captain Paul Cuffee, from actual experiment, estimated the expense of transporting free person of colour to Africa, at 60 dollars each. The […]

Encouraged discussion about Confederate monument removal… expedites monument removal?

July 20, 2015
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AlexandriaConfed3

One of the arguments I’ve read over the last week or two, is about the fight over monuments. Wait, now… let me be clear. It’s this part of that discussion… Does encouraging discussion of monument removal open a forum that encourages monument removal. Does it, perhaps, even increase the probability that monuments WILL BE removed? […]

“…our obligation to repair the injuries inflicted on Africa”

July 18, 2015
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Picking-up from the post of July 15… today’s transcription covers 1) the willingness of colonists to be removed to the proposed colony, 2) the argument against the mindset of those who considered Africans as a lower race, and 3) various features of the new colony, demonstrating its suitability in climate and resources. But it is […]

Confederate-inspired U.S. Military Service?

July 17, 2015
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My friend, Richard Williams, posted something of interest this morning, and it’s got me wondering. I know how people like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson touched something within me, and inspired a sense of duty… honor… and, frankly, I knew from an early age that I was going to serve my country. It wasn’t […]