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 2010, Third Quarter

President's Message

The welcome mats are out and Henrico is planning a great big birthday party!

400th anniversary Henrico County welcome road sign.

If you haven't seen them already, look for the 400th Anniversary "Welcome to Henrico" street signs located at boundary lines. The three I've seen, so far, are at Azalea Avenue, Meadowbridge Road, and Monument Avenue.

The official logo for Henrico's 1611-2011 commemoration is presented on the sign. Lines in the image represent the Enon Bridge, symbolizing a connection from the past 400 years to the present. You will be seeing a lot of the official 2011 logo in the coming months.

Interestingly, the sign on Monument Avenue is not far from the intersection at Libbie Avenue, where, in 1955, the first traffic light in Henrico was installed. What a different there is today! I'm not sure I could count them all, but I am certain the statistic is available.

And speaking of data, everything you ever wanted to know about Henrico can now be found on the County website at http://henrico.us/about-henrico/history/government/historical-databook/.

The Henrico County, Virginial Historical Data Book is a cumulative collection of historical data representing statistics as far back as 1790 through most recent, 2010, and will continue to grow annually. Each section provides a brief description and a list of tables; footnotes and source detail are listed at the bottom of the page for each table.

Lots of interesting information is available.

There is no place like home.

Congratulations are in order. In the August issue of Richmond Magazines Best & Worst for 2010, HCHS 1st Vice President Trevor Dickerson was chosen as "Best Local Up-and-Comer." Way to go Trevor!

We are sorry to announce 2nd Vice President Gayle Davis has resigned that position for health reasons. We would like to express to Gayle our appreciation for her many years of service and our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Sarah Pace

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News from the Cemetery Committee

This quarter, the weather has made it virtually impossible to make much prgress in the search for new sites. We are certainly looking forward to cooler days.

Work at Evergreen has also slowed, although some progress has been made. This time of year it is quite a job just to maintain what has already been cleared.

John Shuck has found more lists of interments and is trying to match the information in the lists with the headstones that have been uncovered and then to the plot maps. It is very slow going, especially given that the lists only cover the years after 1950. As far as is known, the lists of interments earlier than that were burned.

In September, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Curator of Archaeology, The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville and the Department of Historic Resources will be hosting a Cemetery Workshop at the museum.

I attended the workshop in Richmond; John and Debbie Shuck will be going to Martinsville. Types of damage to gravestones, materials used in making gravestones, burial law, preservation, and funery styles were some of the topics covered. It is well worth the time to hear the experts, curators, archaeologists, historians, talk about their work.

As always, if you have any information about sites you might know or family home places that have not been researched, please let us know.

Vicki Stephens

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Congratulations to HCPS TV, Hermitage High School Marching Band, and Henrico High School Cheerleading Squad!

Congratulations to the Henrico County school system's television channel HCPS TV for having received two Awards of Distinction in the 2010 Communicator Awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts.

Also a belated congratulations to Hermitage High School marching band and the Henrico High School cheerleading squad for participating in the Gator Bowl earlier this year.

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Dabbs House to Serve as Tourist Information Center

by Sheryl Kingery Mays, Curator of Education for Historic Preservation and Museum Services of Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks

Dabbs House, photo courtesy of Henrico County government.

Henrico County is proud to announce the opening of its first Tourist Information Center on Friday, September 17. With so much to see and do in Henrico, it's a welcome addition. The center will help increase awareness of the county as a visitor destination, especially with the 400th anniversary around the corner in 2011. The center will be housed in the Dabbs House Museum in the county's East End and will provide information on local attractions and displays about Henrico's present and past.

Built in the 1820s and originally known as High Meadow,the Dabbs House has enjoyed an interesting history. General Robert E. Lee established headquarters in June 1862 and used it off and on throughout that summer. In 1883, Henrico County purchased the property to use as an almshouse. Before opening as a musuem in 2008, it served as Henrico's police headquarters from 1941-2005.

The lobby of Dabbs House will serve as the reception area for both the existing museum and the new information center. The county is adding display racks and other components to turn this historic house into a full-fledged information center, offering brochures from 60 other local and regional certified visitor centers aross the state. The center will also provide maps and other publications from the travel industry as well as information about the county's history, attractions, and upcoming events. Henrico souvenirs will be for sale, including specialty items to commemorate Henrico's 400th anniversary.

The Henrico County Tourist Info Center at 3812 East Nine Mile Road will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; tours of the Dabbs House will be offered on the same days from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Project Expands Landmark School: Rotary Club of Innsbrook Serves Community

Coal Pit School sign.

The Coal Pit School, a one-room school for African-American students, was established about 1905, the same year in which the first Rotary Club was established. So it is fitting that the Rotary Club of Innsbrook has underaken a $250,000 expansion of the facility as its twentieth anniversary project.

Located on Francistown Road in Glen Allen and now known as the Coal Pit Learning Center, it provides a pre-school for approximately 30 underprivileged children. Currently, it provides services for three-year-olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and four-year-olds on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. According to Steve Bacon, President of the Board of Directors of the Coal Pit Learning Center and board member of the Rotary of Innsbrook, the expansion will double the center's space. In so doing, it will allow the center to expand enrollment to 50 and allow both groups of children to come daily, thereby enabling their parents to seek full-time employment.

Front of Coal Pit Learning Center. Renovation of Coal Pit Learning Center.

"We're very impressed with what they've done with preschool children. They've made a measureable difference as seen in testing by the Scottish Rite Language Center," Bacon said.

The Rotary Club of Innsbrook raised funds for the proejt through a combination of community donations by individuals, churches, and businesses. In-kind donations from contractors raised $140,000 for materials and labor. Architectural work was provided by another Rotarian, Fred Thompson, whose contacts proved instrumental in securing contractors. The general contractor for the project was KBS, who also donated their services.,/p>

The Grand Opening for the Coal Pit Learning Center's new facility is scheduled for Friday, September 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is open to the public.

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Springdale Farm: APHA Update

Thanks to Larry Cluff, for supplying the pictures connected with this article.

Dismantled and stored by The Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities since 2005, Springdale Farm, a historic Henrico County farmhouse built between 1750 and 1780, is getting a new start in Deltaville.

Larry Cluff, owner of Quality Home Construction and Investments, LLC and an experienced restorer of historic buildings, has moved this "rebuild kit" to his land in Deltaville and is in the process of reconstructing it.

The sill beams were arranged to show the layout of the structure,

Springdale Farm.

and some rotted sill beams had to be replaced.

Springdale Farm.

A new brick foundation was constructed,

Springdale Farm.

the walls were framed (picture 4),

Springdale Farm.

and the roof was framed.

Springdale Farm. Springdale Farm.

The mortise-and-tenon structure is now "dried in", which means it is watertight and protected from the elements.

Springdale Farm.

Currently, dormers (four in the front and two in the back) are being designed and constructed to replace the originals which were completely unusable.

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Henricoans At War: Meadow Farm Exhibit to Chronicle WWI Experience

By Jimmy Price, Assistant Curator of Education for Historic Preservation and Museum Services of Henrio County Division of Recreation and Parks

The exhibit Ready To Do My Part: Henrico County & World War I explores the events and historical legacies of how American participation in the First World War directly affected the citizens of Henrico County.

When an assassins' bullet claimed the life of Austrian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, no one could have foreseen that in three short years 2 million American soldiers would be shipped overseas - or that 116,000 American soldiers would die in the conflict.

That 675,000 Americans of all walks of life would be killed by the influenza pandemic that broke out as a result of the war was unfathomable. As we approach the 94th anniversay of American involvement in World War I, it is only fitting to look back and reflect upon the trying times of 1917-1918.

Sheppard  Crump's unit - the 29th Division parading down Broad Street after the war in 1919.

The idea for the exhibit came from the immense collection of letters, photographs, and artifacts that were left to the County from Sheppard Crump. Many in Henrico today know Crump as the man who donated Meadow Farm to the county. Fewer citizens know that Crump served in the military for over fifty years and that he was sent over to France as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I. Crump served as an officer with the 29th Division and was instrumental in the formation of the American Legion in 1919. The items that he left behind to the County and the story of his service in France served as the springboard for the exhibit.

However, Sheppard Crump represented only a small portion of the larger story of a county - and a nation - at war. research in the files of the Virginia War History Commission at the Library of Virginia soon revealed other soldiers and citizens of Henrico whose stories had lingered in obscurity for nearly 100 years. Henricoans living in Sandston may be surpised to know that they are living on ground that was once a thriving munitions plant during World War I. Graduates of the Medical College of Virginia will be interested to know the story of Base Hospital 45 - a group of nurses and doctors from MCV who went overseas and treated wounded soldiers close to the front lines.

In additon to the stories that are told in the exhibit, visitors will also get a chance to see dozens of artifacts from the conflict. Many of the items that Crump had with him in 1918-1919 will be on display in addition to rare artifacts on loan from the Virginia Historical Society, The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, and private collectors.

The exhibit will open at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16th with a special reception at the Meadow Farm Orientation Center. It will remain on display through the end of the year.

For those who want to dig deeper into the story of Henrico and World War I, HCTV Channel 17 will be airing a 31-minute special documentary entitled "The Great War Remembered: Henrico's Story of Service and Support" starting on August 23rd.

Finally, a symposium will take place on Saturday, October 23rd at Henrico Theater featuring some of the leading scholars in the field of World War I studies. Dr. Eward G. Lengel of the University of Virginia, Dr. Mitchell A. Yockelson of the National Archives, and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) John W. Mountcastle will discuss different aspects of American involvement in World War I and participate in a question and answer segment open to all attendees. This event will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will cost only $20 per person. Registration is required.

For any questions regarding the upcoming symposium and exhibit, please contact the exhibit curator, Jimmy Price, at 652-3411 or pri64@co.henrico.va.us.

It is hoped that Ready To Do My Part will serve as a fitting reminder of the high price that was paid by those who lived through the tumultuous events of 93 years ago.

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Gunner Lost In WWII Honored

Sheppard family members gather at the marker of William B. Sheppard, Jr. after the Military Honor Ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery on March 3, 2010.

Sixty-six years after his final mission as a gunner on a B-24 Liberator, Staff Sergeant William Bryant Sheppard, Jr. of Glen Allen was recognized in a Military Honor ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

The son of William B. Sheppard and Emma T. Sheppard and husband of Virginia Crumpton Sheppard, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the age of 19. He was assigned to the 578th Squadron of the 392nd Bombard Group and flew 23 missions.

Sheppard (kneeling, third from the left) poses with his regular flight crew.

That twenty-third and final flight on March 3, 1944, was not taken with his regular crew. He had been called upon to replace a gunner on the crew of "Pregnant Peg" for a bombing mission targeting the Heinkel aircraft fractory and airdrome in Onanienburg on the outskirts of Berlin.

Extreme cold froze turrets, rendered some guns inoperable, and made maintaining flight formation difficult, so the operation was abandoned, and bombs were jettisoned over the North Sea. One crew of the 28 participants, the crew of "Pregnant Peg," was lost.

William B. Sheppard, Jr.'s portrait in dress uniform.

For his service in World War II, William B. Sheppard, Jr. was awarded a number of medals. His Air Medal indicated meritorious service in the completion of five missions, and his Oak Leaf clusters each represented the completion of five additional missions. He earned the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation when the 392nd wss recognized for exceptional work on the bombing mission to Gotha, Germany, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. His name is inscribed on the Table of the Missing at Cambridge Amerian Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridge, England.

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A Gentleman's Agreement

Billings, Warren M ed. The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1975.
Bruce, Philip Alexander. Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond: Whitter & Shepperson, 1907.
Stanard, Mary Newton. Colonial Virginia, Its People and Customs. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1917.
Upton, Dell. Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.

Betting on cards and skittles didn't always seem to be a gentleman's agreement.

Dancing and hunting,
horse racing and cock
fighting, card playing and
gambling were universally
described as the favorite
pastimes of the Virginia
- Dell Upton,
Holy Things and Profane

If Dell Upton's assessment of the Virginia Gentleman is correct, the men of colonial Henrico County certainly qualified. In the March 2009 edition of the newsletter, we saw how horse racing captured the fancy of the well-heeled. Apparently, early Henricoans also had a taste for gambling at cards and ninepins.

Playing cards.

The pastime was not without its risks. The most obvious risk would of course be the loss of money, and the loss could be big. In 1686 Captain William Soane and Richard Dearlove of Henrico engaged in a card game called put, or putt, for a stake of fifteen hundred pounds of tobacco. The simple three-card game involved the playing of three tricks with the high card winning each trick. The winner of two tricks (or one trick where two tricks were tied) won the hand. Soane and Dearlove played ten puts, and Soane won but had to bring suit in court when Dearlove refused to pay. (It is interesting that Soane was also mentioned in the March 2009 article for a suit he brought over a bet in a disputed horse race.)

In 1690, Allanson Clerk's suit against Peter Rowlett over a wager of four pounds sterling in a game of put was thrown out of court because no sum was placed with a stakeholder nor was a regular contract to pay the sum drawn up.

Loss of money aside, gamblers who chose the wrong day to play also faced risks. For example, in 1678 Joseph Royall was presented before the grand jury in the county because, by his own admission, he had played cards on the Sabbath.

Nine pins.

When they weren't wagering on cards, the bettors often turned to ninepins, or skittles. The nine pins were arranged in a diamond shape, about two feet on each side. One popular venue for this was an alley at the ordinary owned by Richard Cocke of Bremo in Varina. There, in 1681, Robert Sharpe and Richard Ronbine (sources also identify him as Rathbone and Rabone) bet four hundred pounds of tobacco on thirty-one up. Apparently, the first to win four games would claim victory. Sharpe won three, Ronbine two, and play stopped for a while, most likely to provide a break for more drinking. Then Ronbine won two straight games. A dispute arose over payment (this seems to be an ongoing theme in colonial gambling), leading Ronbine to file suit against Sharpe. Whether or not he collected is unclear, but he apparently was not dissuaded from such competition because the following year we find him vying with Sharpe at ninepins, this time for a hundred pounds of tobacco.

Gentlemen of colonial Henrico clearly enjoyed their games of chance and skill, but their willingness to pay their "gentlemanly" debts appears questionable.

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Now You Know: Chatelains Held Accessories a Victorian Lady Might Need

Thanks to Antique Boutique of 1310 East Cary Street for allowing pictures of their chatelaines.

Silver chatelaine. Enameled brass chatelaine.

The item pictured in the last "What Do You Know?" installment is a silver chatelaine, an item quite popular for victorian ladies, who wore them hung from their wrists. At the end of each chain was a small household ite. Our very ornate silver chatelain has a small notepad on the left with its celluloid pages fanned out; a small buttonhook; a scissors case (the scissors, unfortunately, are missing); a knife; and a pin cushion sandwiched between silver discs (pins were inserted around the edge).

The other chatelain is made of enameled brass and features cosmetic accessories like the small scent bottle hanging from the center chain.

Other examples can be found made from gold, gold fill, pinchbeck (a gold-like material) and ormolu, to name a few of the materials. The term chatelain derives from its use in the Middle Ages, when the mistress of the house (chateau in French) kept her important house keys attached to her belt.

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What Do You Know?

Black plastic-like object, the topic of this edition's What Do You Know?

Pictured is a black plastic-like object. It is 4 inches tall and 2 1/4 inches in diameter with a grooved surface. Its cotton-lined cardboard storage carton and lid are included in the picture.

Do you know what it is? Email your answers to jboehling@verizon.net.

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News 2010: Third Quarter
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