Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com
Open by appointment only

Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.

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News 2006 - Second Quarter

HCHS President's Message - June, 2006

We have a very special Annual meeting planned on June 4th. The members of The Varina Womanís Club will be invited guests to commemorate the founding of the Henrico County Historical Society. The Womanís Club donated $50.00 for an initial mailing to citizens interested in forming an historical society. In January of 1975 a meeting was arranged and many hours of service were provided by the Varina Womanís Club throughout the organizational period. With their help, in June of 1975 The Henrico County Historical Society was founded. Join us, if you please, in appreciation of this our 31st year.

June is also the month for membership renewals. Every single member is important to our Society. It is through the strength of membership that great things are accomplished. Many exciting events are planned. This year marks the 225 year anniversary of the Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown. The replica of the Godspeed has already begun its voyage to begin the 400 year celebration of the settlement of Jamestown, and plans are already underway for the 400 year celebration of the settlement of Henricus in 2011. Your membership helps to make events like this possible.

We also need your help in building membership. Invite your friends, neighbors and relatives to join us in preserving history today as a legacy for the generations of the future.

Sarah Pace

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Update on White House of the Conferacy - June, 2006

Reprinted in part from February/March 2006 issue of the Civil War News.

Vintage photo of White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

The February/March 2006 issue of the Civil War News, reports that S. Waite Rawls III, Executive Director of the Museum of the Confederacy, continues to maintain that the Museum must be moved but he has withdrawn from his call to move the White House. Overwhelming opposition means that the subject is "off the table" for months or possibly years, he acknowledged. "We're still working on it, Rawls said, but the White House will not move "unless and until we achieve a public consensus. Moving the museum alone, however is "very seriously on the table, he said. The article also included the report that former treasurer of the museum David Rankin, Jr. wrote a letter to the state General Assembly subcommittee accusing Rawls of misrepresentation and mismanagement.

Mr. Rawls has held the position of Executive Director since January of 2004, having served formerly as vice chairman of Continental Bank in Chicago.

Mr. Rawls, in another article of the same issue, responded to criticism expressed by a letter writer in the January issue of The Civil War News, by outlining the financial difficulties of the Museum. He states, "In deference to the appeals of our members, preservationists, and Public officials, we are now pursuing options that do not involve moving the house."

(Many thanks to Diane Brownie for bringing this to our attention.)

11/17/2007 Update: for further information, see White House of the Confederacy in Past Preservation.

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Conference of Historical Societies of the Virginia Piedmont - June, 2006

Participants of Conference of Historical Societies of the Virginia Piedmont at Henricus Historical Park, Henrico County, Virginia.

Fifty delegates attended the Conference of Historical Societies of the Virginia Piedmont sponsored by HCHS at Henricus Historical Park on April 1, 2006. Speakers were Kerry Shackelford, President of Museum Resources, James Wootton, Executive Director Capitol Square Preservation Council, and Patricia O'Bannon, Supervisor of the Tuckahoe District of Henrico County.

Pictured are Vice President Linda Dickerson on the right and Patricia O'Bannon in the background talking with Norwood Nuckols. Mrs.O'Bannon is also on the Board of the Henricus Foundation. Dennis Farmer, Director of Henricus, gave a guided tour of the Citie of Henricus after the program.

Photo courtesy of Trevor Dickerson.

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Craighton Farm House Damaged by Fire - June, 2006

Front of Craighton Farm House, a Henrico County, Virginia structure damaged by fire.

Craighton Farm House is listed in the Inventory of Early Architecture of Henrico County as mid 19th century however it is stated that it has the unique feature of a stair-wing most often found in 17th century dwellings. The owners plan to salvage what they can from the building and sell the property. The fire started in an outbuilding and spread to the roof of the house.

Front view of Craighton Farm House that was recently destroyed by fire, damage apparent in the upper left of the photo.

Back of Craighton Farm House, a Henrico County, Virginia structure damaged by fire.

Pictured is the rear view with the damage even more apparent. The property was originally owned by Adam Craig. The present owners have said the house was originally built in 1760.

A local story told about the house is that during the Civil War the house was spared because upon hearing that the Widow by the name of Christian with five children lived there, Union cannons were pointed in another direction. One of the Christian sons, sixteen years old and a Confederate soldier, was captured by the Union army trying to make his way home after being wounded and was sent to prison. Upon his release from prison he found that his family had lost everything, including the property. He later somehow regained ownership of the property for his family.

Located on the property today is the Christian family cemetery with the earliest date of about 1805.

(Photos courtesy of Diane Brownie)

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Wilton on the James - June, 2006

William Randolph, III.

Wilton, an authentic lower James River plantation house, is an impressive example of 18th century architecture. This five bay, double pile brick mansion adapts the English Georgian style into a gracious architectural statement that is distinctly American and Virginian. Completed in 1753 by William Randolph III, Wilton was the centerpiece of a 2,000-acre tobacco plantation and home to the Randolph family for more than a century. It was here that they entertained George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

After a succession of later owners, the house became timeworn and the surrounding area industrialized. Rather than see Wilton torn down, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America Wilton House Museum.in the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased the house in 1933 and had it carefully reconstructed on the banks of the James River, 15 miles west of its original location. This timely intervention saved the structure, including its original floor-to-ceiling paneling. Wilton stands as one of the few completely restored paneled houses of mid-18th century America. (reprinted from Wilton House Museum website, www.wiltonhousemuseum.org)

In February of 2005 zoning was approved by the County of Henrico for developer HH Hunt to build a housing project on the property where Wilton House originally stood. It will be known as Wilton On The James.

HH Hunt representatives met with a delegation of people from the County of Henrico, Wilton House Museum, and the Henrico County Historical Society to give an update on the development plans of this historic site.

HH Hunt engaged the firm of Cultural Resources to conduct a very extensive archaeological study of the property. Robert Kiser, the project archaeologist, gave a report on his initial findings, which include evidence of brick works and a mill. No Civil War evidence was found on the property. The ditches that had been reported in earlier surveys were identified as probable Colonial property marking ditches.

This house was built in the 1900ís stands on or near the original foundation of Wilton.

A house built in the 1900ís stands on or near the original foundation of Wilton. This house, along with the area surrounding the house, will be donated by HH Hunt to the County of Henrico and will be preserved as a park.

House that was donated to the County of Henrico located on or near the original foundation of Wilton House.

Most of the historic artifacts have been found in this area and the development plans seem to have been designed around the historic significance of this property.

We are pleased to report on this example of development and preservation working together.

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The Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities - June, 2006

President Henry Nelson reports that the underbrush is being treated on the Randolph Cemetery so that further work may begin on restoration.

He also reports that the Leake House on Pouncey Tract Road will be dismantled and moved to New Kent County to be reconstructed by Kerry Shackelford. 11/17/2007 Update: for further information, see Leake House in Past Preservation.

APHA also generously matched the amount of $2562.00 donated by the Henrico County Historical Society for the restoration of Nuckols Farm. 11/17/2007 Update: for further information, see Nuckols House in Three Chopt.

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News 2006: Second Quarter
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