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 2008, Third Quarter

HCHS President's Message

Congratulations to Henrico County of Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks for winning 18 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties for 2008! The "Cemetery Identification Project" for which one award was received was assisted by the HCHS cemetery committee. Sue Krimm, now deceased, and Margaret Childress initiated the research. Their efforts in compiling the list of names of those interested in private and church cemeteries resulted in the book Cemeteries of Henrico County. These two ladies, aided by a Global Positioning System (GPS) to identify and record the locations, traipsed through wooded areas and climbed fences to search for cemeteries long forgotten. With a never failing sense of humor, they called themselves "The One Foot in the Grave Committee". Their dedication to the work was also never failing and we continue their legacy.

Recently, while exploring a lead on a cemetery with Vickie and John Stephens near Fordson Road off Parham Road, I saw a gentleman in his yard and stopped to ask if he knew of a cemetery nearby. We then made the acquaintance of a Mr. C.C Nuckols. He said he did not know of any cemetery but would ask "his historian" and we had the pleasure of meeting his wife who came out on the porch.

In the course of conversation, I learned Mr. Nuckols remembered my father's aunt, Josephine Bottoms, who once lived just up the road, and also my grandfather, A.L. (Dealy) Harris, who lived nearby.

My grandfather lived on Fordson Road when Parham, with which it connects, was a dirt road. He planted quite a large garden on the acre and a half of land that he owned and at times had livestock. Mr. Nuckols said he sure did miss his strawberries.

My grandfather was quite the story teller, and Mr. Nuckols recalled a story he often told.

As children and even into adulthood, we never tired of hearing his stories of growing up on a farm. Born in 1901 and living to the age of 92, our grandather gave us an insight into history through his experiences. The importance of oral history is reinforced because it forms a connection to the heritage of our past.

It was very delightful meeting Mr. Nuckols and his wife - taking us back to a time when there was not so much traffic on Parham Road and everyone knew their neighbors.

The HCHS calendar committee has been busy rsearching information for the HCHS 2009 calendar featuring historic churches of Henrico COunty, soon to be in print. It will include amazing facts about the churches that have been central to their communities. Be sure to reserve your copy.

There are lots of events coming up this fall in which HCHS has been invited to participate.

  • "St. John's Barbeque Blast" to be held at 813 Nine Mile Road West on September 13th;
  • "Glen Allen Day" at Meadow Farm on Saturday, September 20th;
  • The reunion of the USS Henrico on October 22-25th in Norfolk;
  • The opening of Dabbs House in October;
  • The "28th Annual Capital of the Confederacy War Show" to be held at the Richmond Raceway Comlex Exhibition Hall on Saturday, November 22nd and Sunday, the 23rd. History is so much fun! Come out and join us.

Also mark your calendar for:

  • APVA Preservation Virginia 23rd Annual Virginia Preservation Conference, Preserving the Future. A Capital Idea! October 5-7 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center;
  • Virginia Genealogical Society Annual Fall Conference on October 31-November 1 at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. Check HCHS website for further details.

In the August issue of Richmond Magazine, which includes their annual Best and Worst awards, there is a two-page ad with beautiful photos of Henrico's historic sites headlined "Keeping it Local, Henrico Recreation and Parks...Explore the Possibilities in Your Own Backyard!"

Sarah Pace

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To HCHS member Catherine Walker on the occasion of her 90th birthday on July 9th.

To the Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks for an award received from the National Association of County Park and Recreation OFficials for the Glen Allen Stadium at RF&P Park.

To the Hrnrico County Public Relations and Media Services for Emmy Awards received from nominations presented by the National Capital Chesapeake Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the categories of News Specials and Public/Current/Community Affairs.

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Conserve Historic Henrico
Workshops for Documenting and Preserving Your Historic Home

Sponsored by Virginia Department of Historic Resources, County of Henrico Historic Preservation and Museum Services, and Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities.

Join us for free presentations and discussions lead by special guest speakers, staff members from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) and County of Henrico Historic Preservation and Museums Services (HPMS), and volunteers from the Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities (APHA). These free workshops are sponsored by the three organizations listed.

Documenting Your Historic Home
Henrico Theatre, Saturday, September 13, 2008, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

National Register-Benefits to You, Tax Credits, Fact vs Fiction
How to document your home-Overview of the National Register Process
What can be done locally?-Henrico County's Plaque Program

National Register
How to Prepare Your Nomination
Henrico Theatre, Saturday, September 27, 2008 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Take this opportunity to begin your nomination process. Staff from all three organizations will be on hand with preliminary information forms and nominations forms for you to review and begin filling out. Learn about research sources for preparing your application.

Establishing a Cyclical Maintenance Plan for Historic Homes and Collections
Dorey Park, Saturday, October 11, 2008 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join staff from the Virgina Department of Historic Resources, Henrico Historic Preservation and Museum Services, as well as other guest speakers, for a discussion on prioritizing and implementing preservation maintenance on historic homes and collections. Learn to recognize what can wait and what can't, as well as what materials and methods are best.

Sustainable Historic Conservation/Restoration
Being a Good Steward of Historic Resources and the Environment
Ecologic, Saturday, October 25, 2008, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In this final session of Conserve Historic Henrico, please join us for this very timely discussion of how to be a responsible steward of historic reseources and the environment. Learn all about the "green" practices and materials that can be used in the preventive maintenance, conservation and restoration of your historic home and collection.

Thanks to the support of our sponsors, these workshops and lunch are being offered at no charge.

Due to limited space, we ask that you call in advance for reservations.

To reserve your space in the workshops or for more information on this series, please contact Kim Sicola at 501-5125.

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In the Works

There is a proposal for HCHS to partner with "Friends of Meadow Farm" and possibly the "Glen Allen Ruritan" to raise funds for a separate kitchen building at Meadow Farm. Previously there were 17th-18th century cooking demonstrations in the basement of Meadow Farm, but since the renovations after Hurricane Isabel, regulations prohibit such use. This project would entail a series of fund-raising events and grant proposals. There is a meeting of "Friends of Meadow Farm" scheduled for Saturday, September 13th at 11:00 a.m. at the Meadow Farm Orientation Building to launch this project. Anyone interested is invited.

Dr. Louis Manarin will be leading a series of battlefield motor coach tours on behalf of HCHS in the spring of 2009 - dates to be announced, Registration will begin in fall/winter 2008.

We are in the process of establishing a State Federation of Historical Societies, and we have a planning meeting proposed to coordinate with APVA Preservation Virginia Conference scheduled for October 6 & 7 to be held at the Greater Richmond Conference Center and also with the fall conference of the Virginia Genealogical Society scheduled for October 31 and November 1 at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Anyone interested is invited to attend. Registration forms can be found on HCHS website.

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Be Sure to Order Your 2009 HCHS Calendar!

Some of the churches to be featured in the HCHS 2009 calender.

We're putting together the HCHS Calendar for 2009, and it will be featuring historic churches in Henrico County - some of which are seen here. Proceeds from the calendar sales will go toward an annual scholarship for a Henrico County high school senior with an interest in history. We're sure you'll want to reserve a copy or two, and we'd love for you to do it now.

Send $12.60 plus $5.00 for shipping & handling to Sarah Pace of 2305 Leah Road in Richmond, VA 23230, or call Sarah at 804-839-2407 to reserve yours. Please make checks payable to Henrico County Historical Society.

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June Quarterly Meeting Features Picnic, Armour House Tour And Talk

If you missed the June meeting at the Armour House, you missed a lovely day, an informative presentation, and a delightful tour.

The Armour House in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia. HCHS members enjoying a picnic lunch in the Armour House's Gardens.

Built between 1915 and 1918, the Armour House and Gardens at Meadowview Park is the site of a Victorian style home rich in Henrico family history. It contains a scenic walking trail, tennis courts, gardens, a flowing fountain surrounded by arbors with blooming vines, and children's gardens and play areas.

Pat Archer, docent at John Marshall House, speaking to HCHS members about the history of the area.

After a picnic lunch under the facility's pavilion, the membership heard from Pat Archer, docent at the John Marshall House, on the history of the area, including its connection to Chief Justice John Marshall.

Mrs. Mary Stuart Cruickshank lived in Armour House as a child, and provided a tour of the grounds to the HCHS members.

Then, Mrs. Mary Stuart Cruickshank, who lived in the house with her family until about the age of 6, delighted us with reminiscences of growing up in the house and conducted us on a tour of the grounds, pointing out changes in the landscape and even a tree she climbed as a young girl.

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Celebrating a Century of Education

When the bell rings to start school for the 2008-9 academic school year at Varina Elementary School on Route 5 in the East End, it will be for the 100th time in that building.

It all started before 1909. Under the direction of S.C. Freeman (chairman of the School Board in the Varina District, Dr. J.C. Blanton (clerk) and Charles Miller, the School Board saved $3,000.00. With the cooperation of Superintendent Jackson Davis, they set out to improve the district's public schools through consolidating schools and providing for a high school.

The Varina School was the second consolidated school to be opened in the state of Virginia; the first was in Lunenburg County. It was formed by consolidating four one-room schools: Osborne, Fort Harrison, Laurel Hill, and Town Hall.

The Program for the dedication of the Varina High School building, Thursday, February 11, 1909, and the brass bell used as the first school bell at Varina High School.

The building was designed by architect Charles Robinson and dedicated as Varina High School on Thursday, February 11, 1909, with an address by Governor William H. Mann. Pictured at right are the program for the dedication of the Varina High School building, Thursday, February 11, 1909, and the brass bell used as the first school bell at Varina High School.

Varina HS Class of 1917:  Front: Evelyn Rennie, unidentified, Elizabeth Miller, Selena K. Beasley, Ethel Beavers.  Back: Unidentified, Elsie Feese, Principal George Baker, Marion Garnett, Virginia Nelson.

Rena K. Armstrong served as the school's first principal, and the 45 pupils enrolled were taught by Sarah Woodson and Page Pierce. It offered only one year of high school Increased enrollment the following year led to the hiring of two additional teachers. And by 1916, largely due to the efforts of principal George Baker, it attained accreditation as a four-year high school. Pictured at left is Varina HS Class of 1917: Front: Evelyn Rennie, unidentified, Elizabeth Miller, Selena K. Beasley, Ethel Beavers. Back: Unidentified, Elsie Feese, Principal George Baker, Marion Garnett, Virginia Nelson.

Varina High School shortly after its opening in 1962.

The building served as both an elementary and high school for 11 years when a stucco structure was erected on the building's west side to serve as the Varina Agricultural High School. In 1962, the present Varina High School, pictured on the left shortly after its opening, was completed and the structure became Varina Elementary School.

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Riding the Rails: The Seven Pines Railway Company

Information for this article came from Rails in Richmond by Carlton Norris McKenney, 1986.

Following the Civil War in 1866, Seven Pines was selected as the site for a national cemetery that we in Henrico County are familiar with. And as Carlton Norris MCKenny writes in Rails in Richmond, "When the war was over, everyone wanted to forget it and get on with the rebuilding. But 20 years later, historians needed to fill gaps in the history books, and fathers wanted to show their children the battlefields and tell how an observation balloon was used by the Federals to report on the Battle of Fair Oaks. One could ride the train to Fair Oaks, but it was a long walk to Seven Pines. A new railroad was needed.

This need gave rise to the Seven Pines Railway Company, which was chartered as the Richmond City and Seven Pines Railway Company, in 1888.

The single track started at 26th and Q Streets in the city and ran about three blocks then turned and followed Nine Mile Road.

A high wooden trestle spanned Stony Creek just beyond Stop 7. Other points along the way included the Masonic Home (Stop 11), Cedar Lane (Stop 20), Peaco's (Stop 23) and Fair Oaks (Stop 37). A siding at Stop 25 gave the train a chance to stop so that riders couls visit New Bridge Baptist Church.

The waiting station at the end of the Seven Pines line about 1890.  The engine can be seen beside the shed.

The train consisted of a steam locomotive and two open 15-bench cars that had been bought secondhand. Trains left 26th and Q at 6:15 a.m, 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m. and returned from Seven Pines at 7:45 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. There were also excursion trips several evenings a week. Pictured at left is the waiting station at the end of the Seven Pines line about 1890. The engine can be seen beside the shed; photograph from the Archives of the Virginia State Library.

A few years later, in 1892, plans were made to electrify the railway for streetcars, and in March of 1893, the first streetcar made its run.

Pictured is a token from Sandston Railway, the final successor to the Seven Pines Railway Company.

The company ran into some financial trouble and reorganized as the Seven Pines Railway Company in 1894. It went through several more changes, being purchased by the Virginia Passenger & Power Company in 1900. Passing through several more hands, it was finally purchased in 1920 by a syndicate headed by Oliver J. Sands and became the Richmond-Fairfield Railway Company in 1926, but it was replaced by a bus line in 1933. Pictured is a token from Sandston Railway, the final successor to the Seven Pines Railway Company.

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What Do You Know?

Picture of handmade farm tool for newsletters reader to guess its usage. Picture of manufactured farm tool for newsletters reader to guess its usage.

Pictured here are two implements used on farms. Each is about 3 feet tall, and both were used for the same purpose. The one at the top is handmade (it's also lying down), and the one at the bottom was manufactured.

Check the fourth quarterly postings to find out the purpose of these tools.

Congratulations to Mrs. John Osborne who correctly identified the items in the second quarter's "What do you know?" section. These were corn huskers, and are pictured in the next section below. Mrs. Osborne is a new HCHS member and the daughter of the late Mrs. Annabelle Osborne, an HCHS life member.

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Tools Used for the Cultivation of Corn

Hand planter. Mule planter.

Planting: Small-scale planting was done by hand, often with a hand planter like the one pictured here where the planter's end went into the ground, and foot pedal opened the planter to insert a single kernel. Otherwise, the farmer would hitch his horse or mule to a planter like this one, which would dig the furrow, deposit the kernel, and close the furrow back over it.

Corn knife. Shucking tools.

Harvesting: Mature corn was cut off at the ground with a corn knife, pictured left.

Shucking: Shucking the corn could be hard on the hands. So to shuck the corn more easily, one of these implements, pictured right, were slipped over a couple of fingers or the palm, and the sharp point or blade would be dragged down over the ear of corn to remove the husk.

Corn sheller used by farmers with small-sized farms. Corn sheller used by farmers with larger-sized farms.

Shelling: Removing the kernels from the dried ear required a sheller. In the sheller, an ear was dropped into the opening at the top. When the crank was turned, a toothed wheel rubbed against the ear to remove the kernels, which fell into the box on which the sheller was mounted. When the ear was clean, the wheel moved it around and expelled it through the opening at the front. (See picture on left) Larger operations required larger machinery, and the upright sheller served well. (See picture on right) It worked on the same principle as the smaller sheller, but it obviously could handle more corn. Some farmers attached a large wheel to the flywheel opposite the crank and ran a pulley to a hit-and-niss engine or tractor.

Corn grinder machine.

Grinding: Now, the farmer had the kernels, but if he wanted cornbread, he needed cornmeal. That meant grinding the corn. To do this, kernels were placed in the hopper at the top of the grinder and the crank was turned. Finished meal emerged from the bottom of the grinder. An adjustment on the body of the grinder allowed for finer or coarser meal.

Corn fodder machine.

Cutting Fodder: Nothing was wasted. AFter harvesting, shucking, shelling, and grinding, a farmer was left with a pile of corn stalks. These were put in the trough of the corn cutter, were slid forward, and the handled attached to the blade was pulled down to cut the shucks into usable sized pieces for cattle fodder.

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September Quarterly Meeting
Sunday, September 7th, 2008
2:30* – 4:00

Our next quarterly meeting will be held at the Confederate Hills Recreation Center.

Confederate Hills Recreation Center
302 Lee Ave. Highland Springs, VA

Have you ever wondered about the history of the Sandston area? Have you ever said to yourself, “Someone should write a book about the history of Sandston”? Well they have - Sandston – The First Twenty-Five Years.

At our September meeting, we will have the pleasure of hearing from Alice Taylor Baldwin who wrote much of this book. As most of you know, Alice is one of the founding members of the Henrico County Historical Society. She was born in Sandston and is the founder and President of the Founders Club of Sandston which published the book in 2007. The book was compiled by June Banks Evans and focuses on the 1921-1946 time period.

Our meeting will begin for the general membership at 2:30 with our regular business meeting. Following that, we will hear from Alice and conclude with light refreshments. We look forward to seeing you then!

In order to arrange for sufficient seating and refreshments, please RSVP to Linda Dickerson no later than September 4th. You may call 364-3492 or e-mail ldickerson@oag.state.va.us (preferable).

*Board members only: Please arrive promptly at 1:30 for board meeting.


From Points North (Ashland/Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia): Interstate 95 South to Interstate 295 East to Highland Springs/Airport Drive Exit (Rt. 156) South towards Highland Springs (1 mile). Turn right (west) on East Washington Street and travel for approximately eight blocks to Lee Avenue. Turn right (north) and enter Confederate Hills Estates. Recreation Center will appear on your left.

From Points South (Richmond/Petersburg): Interstate 95 North to Interstate 64 East. Take the 2nd Nine Mile Road (Rt 33) East exit towards Highland Springs (3.7 miles). Turn left on Lee Avenue and travel approximately four blocks to Confederate Hills Estates. Recreation center will appear on your left.

From Points East (Williamsburg/Virginia Beach/Norfolk): Interstate 94 West to Highland Springs/Airport Drive Exit (Rt 156) North towards highland Springs. Cross intersection at Nine Mill Road. Turn left (west) at next traffic signal onto East Washington Street and travel approximately eight blocks to Lee Avenue. Turn right (north) and enter Confederate Hills Estates. Recreation Center will appear on your left.

From Points West (Charlottesville): Interstate 64 East to Interstate 95 South to Interstate 64 East to the 2nd Nine Mile Road (Rt 33) East Exit towards Highland Springs (3.7 miles). Turn left on Lee Avenue and travel approximately four blocks to Confederate Hills Estates. Recreation Center will appear on your left.

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News 2008: Third Quarter
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