Browsing All posts tagged under »Shenandoah Valley«

Taking Southern Unionism on the road

April 11, 2012 by


While I’ve been writing a good deal about it over the past 5 1/2 years, I’ve only made one presentation about Southern Unionism… that being a response to a call for papers. The presentation, made at Frederick Community College, in Frederick Maryland (Fall, 2006), was largely focused on my masters thesis… which was actually still […]

Wading through life to get to the Civil War…

April 10, 2012 by


So… the balance of time between getting the new house prepared for moving in, and the old house for going on the market continues. Please pardon the absence of posts. In the interim (also known as… in the midst of everything I’m doing to accomplish the above), there’s still much time for thinking… and I still think […]

Why would a Washington-Lincoln Day be significant to Virginia?

January 22, 2012 by


Of course, my interests are a bit narrow in scope… being a native (and resident) of the Shenandoah Valley, I’m incredibly happy to see Virginia’s state legislature taking initiative in recognizing yet another Valley-connected Civil War personality in the proposed Washington-Lincoln Day. Think of it… first we have Jackson who lived here and made a […]

Men of the Shenandoah Valley… at the Crater and Ft. Fisher!?

November 30, 2011 by


Men of the Shenandoah Valley earned a number of battle honors over the course of the Civil War… from Manassas to the Mule Shoe… Falling Waters to Appomattox… but… sadly, the list is much shorter than it should be… and for what purpose? Yes… men of the Valley were present in the ranks of the […]

The legend of “Wizard Clip” (Smithfield/Middleway), Jefferson County, West Virginia

October 31, 2011 by


Laid out ca. 1794, and better known as Smithfield or Middleway, Wizard Clip has a peculiar story, related by Confederate veteran, clerk, and author Thomas Kemp Cartmell (1838-1930), in his book, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and their Descendants (1909)… One of the newcomers was Adam Livingston, who purchased desirable property in the vicinity of this village, […]

Death poetry from the mid-19th century

October 30, 2011 by


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 […]

Confederates, Southern Unionists, and… The Waltons?!

October 23, 2011 by


To be clear… I’ve always been a fan of the Waltons… though I prefer the first three seasons over the rest. Not only was it based largely on the writings of a Virginian, but also focused on a fictional Virginia family under the shadow of the Blue Ridge (albeit, on the eastern side). I still […]

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

October 15, 2011 by


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 […]

How a Shenandoah Valley “apple-butter boil” beat “a South Georgia shinding all to pieces”

October 9, 2011 by


It is, after all, October, here in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley… and with that comes not only reflections on the past (“heritage” festivals abound!), but also a good deal of apple-butter making. Regretfully, much of the ceremony surrounding the traditional apple-butter boils have long been forgotten, or have simply been cast aside as an unnecessary […]

In three minutes, sum up the history of your county in the Civil War

September 14, 2011 by


If you know most of the nuts and bolts that make up that history, and are tasked with accomplishing that request… it can be a tall order, and rather painful. You’re forced to bypass key elements, including certain names and events, that you know are critical in the overall story, but… this is all the […]

Tangents… and looking for “intersections”, part 1

June 12, 2011 by


This past week, I’ve found myself distracted from the standard Sesqui followings. Maybe it’s because I just haven’t felt like there’s much to say, regarding what happened at this time (almost mid-June), 150 years ago. Not to say that there wasn’t a lot going on at that time… Anyway, as I am one to go […]

Upcoming works, now on the “front burners”…

June 8, 2011 by


While I’ve got a number of projects that are ongoing, ranging from my work on the history of Cole’s Cavalry to history publications about my home county, I’m pleased to say that I’m also going to be busying myself with another project this summer. About a month ago, I signed-on to write five entries for […]

Brethren Elder John Kline and the referendum on secession

May 23, 2011 by


I’ve focused on Page and Loudoun counties, while Ron Baumgarten, over at “All Not So Quiet on the Potomac” focused on Fairfax, and Encyclopedia Virginia gave some attention to Augusta and Berkeley counties. The Library of Virginia, in its blog, Union or Secession, also covered the referendum, but on a broader scale. All-in-all, it’s been […]

The mustering of troops in Virginia… revisiting enlistments in the militia

May 18, 2011 by


It’s the middle of May 1861… and Virginians are flocking to units across the state… In some areas of Virginia, the mustering of troops for Virginia units (ultimately assigned to the cause of the Confederacy) began as early as the day the news of secession hit the streets. No doubt, some were quite eager to […]

Another Southerner who wanted to free slaves… but…

May 14, 2011 by


… 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 […]

Shenandoah Valley Delegates Vote on Secession

April 17, 2011 by


This is a record of the votes made by the Shenandoah Valley’s delegates to the Virginia Secession Convention. Keep in mind that these votes were made on April 4 and April 17 respectively. The referendum was not to take place until the latter part of May. An asterisk (*) indicates that the vote of that […]

A Confederate heritage that I built…

April 16, 2011 by


As shocking as it might seem to some who peruse this blog, and especially my Southern Unionist Chronicles blog (which desperately needs some new posts…), I grew up on Confederate heritage. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I was raised on that heritage, by my family. Sure, in passing conversation, I learned I had ancestors […]

Protect slavery or face “degredation and ruin.”

March 29, 2011 by


Looking back 150 years ago, from the Shenandoah Valley… this comes from the Staunton Vindicator, March 29, 1861… The question is not “Union”. That is irretrievably, hopelessly broken up. No compromise of right–no palliation of wrong, or denunciation of its resistance, can restore its fallen columns. Nor can past glory reconcile to a future of degradation. The only […]

WYSIWYG Confederates?

March 20, 2011 by


Pardon the silence for the last week. A few unavoidable matters over the past week set posting back a bit, but let me see if I can get things moving once again… What are WYSIWYG Confederates? Well, in Web development, WYSIWYG is an acronym for “What you see is what you get”, and, in some […]

Remember the Alamo! 175 years ago today.

March 6, 2011 by


There was, indeed, a Robert Moore in the Alamo when it fell, 175 years ago today. I remember reading his name on the list of those lost there, when I visited that sacred ground in Texas, a few years ago. I doubt that the Alamo’s Robert B. Moore is any relation(*), but he was born […]

One site, multiple angles for interpretation

December 19, 2010 by


One of my favorite historic sites in Page County, Virginia is Catherine’s Furnace. Because of efforts made in the early 2000s, the site has one Virginia Civil War Trails marker. I was fortunate to be involved in deciding that the site merited a marker, and I also wrote the text and provided images for the […]

Willa Cather’s Civil War Heritage

December 8, 2010 by


I’m a huge fan of Writer’s Almanac, partly because it’s a great audio morsel that brings back hints of a time long gone, and partly because I’ve enjoyed listening to Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion for years.  Additionally, I enjoy the closing remark, and find it encouraging at the beginning of the work day… […]

The Albemarle Barracks burial site

November 6, 2010 by


For a number of months, I’ve been wanting to track down the site of Albemarle Barracks, but my travels across the Blue Ridge to Charlottesville haven’t offered an opportunity to take the time… until yesterday. There are lots of places in one particular area of “the ‘ville” that indicate the former presence of Hessians, but […]

Regarding Mrs. Fannie S. Gibbons

October 24, 2010 by


Having promised to tell more about the subject of the poem that I posted the other day… I really don’t know a great deal about Fannie Gibbons, but know much more about her husband. Nonetheless… Fannie Shacklett, daughter of Samuel (1804-1886) and Maria Graham Henry Shacklett (1811-1870) was born April 27, 1834; Samuel Shacklett being […]

“water of many turns”

October 9, 2010 by


Just the other day, I made reference to the Lenape/Delaware word “Conococheague“, which means “water of many turns.” Funny, but that pretty much summarizes the way I write this blog… not to mention the fluid nature of many blogs. The content can turn, twist, and completely shift, without warning. It’s more a reflection of what […]

How did the doctor “take care” of the witch?

October 8, 2010 by


Just thinking back to how the doctor “saw to it” that the witch that “cursed” my great-great grandmother would be “in hell by morning.” Frankly, we will probably never know his method, and will wonder about the wide range of possibilities. Still, Samuel Kercheval did mention a couple of methods by which one could “cure… […]

Why “Cenantua”?

October 6, 2010 by


I love this time of year. It’s a chilly day, the sky is overcast… … I have a fire in the wood stove… … and a relaxing cup of cappuccino in my manly-man Mickey Mouse coffee mug (what else??!!) is close at-hand. Feels like a good time to sit down and write… just wish I […]

So, finally… this Confederate vet and the witch…

October 2, 2010 by


    One of my great-great grandfathers, Charles Robert “Tanner” Hillard, was born on October 3, 1844 (in fact, that will be 166 years ago… tomorrow), a son of Jacob (1784-1864) and Phoebe Elliott Hilliard (ca. 1822-???). As for the Civil War part goes… Charles’ younger brother, Jacob, hired himself out as a substitute (for […]

What do a Confederate veteran and a witch have in common?

October 1, 2010 by


Hey! It IS October, and seriously… what I said above is a sincere question. I’ll give details later this weekend… and no sarcastic answers to my question in the interim. In the meantime, like I said, it’s October! I love this time of year, and it brings to mind two things in particular… scary stuff […]

A Virginia slave in pursuit of freedom

June 3, 2010 by


I just finished reading something about John M. Washington, a slave who spent some time in Staunton, Virginia in the mid-1850s. To me, finding any account of a slave, for any amount of time in the Valley, is refreshing as it adds new dimensions to an understanding of what life was like here. Regretfully, I […]


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