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

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 2011, Third Quarter

President's Message

Peter and Sharon Francisco at the Lakeside Farmers Market. HCHS volunteer Debbie Shuck and Henrietta Citizen at the Cultsha Xpo.

On May 21, Lakeside Farmer's Market had a birthday party for Henrico County. Owners Peter and Sharon Francisco (who are HCHS members) provided the birthday cake, and HCHS was invited to set up an exhibit table. We met a lot of interesting people that day including "Henrietta Citizen" dressed in colonial attire representing the Henrico Citizen. Lakeside Farmers Market and the Henrico Citizen have Facebook pages, and you can get updates on local produce available and local news by becoming a fan.

On June 28, the organization Culture Works sponsored the first annual Culsha Xpo event at the Science Museum of Viriginia. HCHS participated along with 53 other art and cultural organizations in the area. Culture Works serves the Richmond region by promoting arts and culture.

I have never seen so much culture under one roof! There was art work; there were performances by One Voice Chorus and the Richmond Jazz Society. Local museums were represented including the Poe Museum, Museum of the Confederacy and the Valentine Richmond History Center. We also saw our friends from Chesterfield Historical Society.

The event was open to the public, and anyone attending received a random amount of Culsha Bucks that could be spent making purchases of items for sale by the local culture organization or to purchase memberships. The events was a huge success with over 5,000 attendees.

Funding for Culture Works is provided by philanthropy, gifts, and grants from companies, foundations, municipalities, organizations, and individuals.

Debbie Shuck, Diane Brownie and I represented HCHS. Plans for next year are already underway. Additional information on Culture Works can be found at www.richmondcultureworks.org.

Other volunteers at work included Dudley and Sandy Lanthrip representing HCHS at Varina Day held on June 4th. Many thanks to all who represent the society in many capacities.

I have previously reported on events sponsored by the historical societies of the counties that were once part of the original Henrico Shire held throughout 2011. On May 14, a historic highway marker was dedicated in Nelson County in recognition of the boyhood home of Rev. Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, known as the "Father of Colonial Williamsburg." Following the dedication, the Nelson County Historical Society sponsored a historic house tour that included five sites along a beautiful countryside. On May 15, the Goochland Historical Society hosted author Edward Lengel, who gave a presentation on his book Inventing George Washington: America's Founder in Myth and Memory. It was followed by a tour of historic Byrd Presbyterian Church and delicious refreshments. On May 28, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society sponsored a tour of Maplewood Cemetery. Distinguished anthropologist and historian Dr. Lynn Rainville provided information on gravestone symbols, mortuary initials and funerals from bygone eras.

The Chesterfield Historical Society will host Colonial Market and Court Day on Saturday, October 29, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the historic 1917 Courthouse Green, 10011 Ironbridge Rd., Chesterfield, VA 23832. For information call (804) 796-7121.

And last, please join us for the next 400th century event, "Henrico County: Gateway to Richmond, 1861-1865," commemorating the American Civil War. A symposium featuring renowned authors will be held on September 23 at the Henrico Theatre. A signature event on September 24 to honor those who fought with valor in Henrico will be held at Tree Hill, site of the surrender tree where Mayor Mayo rode out to meet the Union troops to surrender the city of Richmond. There will be living history demonstrations, exhibitors from major Civil War organizations and family entertainment. On September 25, demonstrations will be held at Fort Harrison. All events are free.

Additional information on Henrico 400th events can be found at (website no longer exists) or call (804) 501-1611.

Sarah Pace,
President


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June Meeting Features Graduates' Reminiscences of Early School Days

Mr. Elvin Cosby tells of his experiences at the Coal Pit School, includng a story of his being reprimanded for climbing out of a school window.

Mr. Elvin Cosby tells of his experiences at the Coal Pit School, includng a story of his being reprimanded for climbing out of a school window.

Mr. Melvin Anderson recalls his days at Springfield School.

Mr. Melvin Anderson recalls his days at Springfield School.

Edward Hayes' Student Fire Safety Patrol certificate. Kenneth Hayes' Perfect Attendance certificate. Daisy Mae Hython's Perfect Attendance certificate.

Artifacts: Graduates also shared documents from their days at the Coal Pit School, including Ms. Daisy Mae Hython's Perfect Attendance Certificate, Edward Hayes' Student Fire Safety Patrol certificate, and Kenneth Hayes' Perfect Attendance Certificate.

HCHS member Laura Hill Bowles Cook had a surprise, when she reconnected with speaker Daisy Mae Hython, with whom she played as a young girl growing up at historic Walkerton.

Reunion: HCHS member Laura Hill Bowles Cook had a surprise, when she reconnected with speaker Daisy Mae Hython, with whom she played as a young girl growing up at historic Walkerton.


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Gateway to Richmond
Civil War Commemoration
September 23-24

Gateway to Richmond
Civil War Commemoration
September 23-25

Gateway to Richmond, 1861-1865
Friday, September 23
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Henrico Theatre
305 E. Nine Mile Road

Registration is required. Please call 804-328-4491.

Held in honor of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, this will be the kickoff for the Sesquicentennial Committee’s commemoration, bringing together nationally-renowned authors and experts for a discussion of the crucial role played by Henrico County in the American Civil War.

Moderator - Andrew Talkov, Virginia Historical Society. Creator of the VHS Civil War Sesquicentennial exhibit, “An American Turning Point”
John Coski - Historian of the Museum of the Confederacy and author of “Capital Navy: The Men, Ships, and Operations of the James River Squadron”
Robert E.L. Krick - National Park Service Historian and author of “Stuart’s Last Ride: A Confederate View of Sheridan’s Raid”
Frank O’Reilly - National Park Historian and author of “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock”
Jimmy Prices - Historian and author of the forthcoming “The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs By The Sword”

Encampment and Exhibits
Saturday, September 24
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Tree Hill farm
6404 Osborne Turnpike

The event will include a ceremony to honor those who were Medal of Honor recipients for valor on Henrico soil and feature living history demonstrations and exhibits from leading Civil War organizations. Tree Hill was the site of early muster of troop recruitment and the location of Mayor Mayo’s surrender of the City of Richmond. Overlooking the city, the site represents the strategic location of Henrico in the American Civil War. The site is one of the premier historic properties in the country dating to the colonial period and was the site of an American Indian village.

Tours and Demonstrations in Partnership with the National Park Service
Sunday, September 25
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Fort Harrison
8621 Battlefield Park Road

Richmond National Battlefield Park will present special living history and ranger-led programs at Fort Harrison in Henrico County to commemorate the 147th anniversary of the battle. Volunteers portraying Union and Confederate infantry and artillery units will provide cannon and rifle firing demonstrations. Historians from the National Park Service and Henrico County will offer tours of battlefields involved in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm on September 29-30, 1864.


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Henrico's Recreation & Parks Opens Updated Facility
Museum in Memory of Virginia Randolph

Portrait of Virginia Estelle Randolph.

The brick structure built in 1937 that served as the home economics cottage for the Virginia Randolph Education Center was originally dedicated as a museum in honor of Virginia E. Randolph in 1974. A ceremony held on the site on Tuesday, August 15, 2011, marked the Grand Re-opening and Dedication of the facility.

The museum had been operated under the supervision of Henrico County Public Schools. Its holdings were recently transferred to Henrico County's Recreation & Parks, who spent months organizing, cataloging, digitizing, and choosing documents and artifacts for preservation and display.

Vivian Graves portrays Virginia Randolph. The ribbon is cut to reopen the Museum in Memory of Virginia Randolph.

Unusually balmy August weather provided ideal conditions for the outdoor dedication. Acting Director of Recreation and Parks Neil Luther welcomed the audience at 5:30 p.m. followed by remarks from County Manager Virgil Hazelet and Board of Supervisors Chairman Frank Thornton. Vivian Graves took the stage in a portrayal that provided an insight into Miss Randolph's character. She then invited the gathered audience to move to the front of the building where dignitaries cut the ribbon to open the facilty.

Former graduates of the Virginia Randolph Education Center stand to be recognized. Hilda Cosby, curator of the museum since the passing of her husband and former curator William D. Cosby, converses with HCHS member Mary Boehling, who had worked with Recreation & Parks to prepare items for the museum.

The Museum in the Memory of Virginia Randolph documents and celebrates the 50-year career of a pioneer educator, humanitarian, and creative leader in the field of education. The structure was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The museum at 2200 Mountain Road is open Thursday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. You may contact the museum for more information at 261-5029.


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Springdale Farm Hosts APHA

In 2005, the Association for the Preservation of Henrico Antiquities dismantled and stored Springdale Farm, an historic Henrico County farmhouse built between 1750 and 1780.

The house had been reconstructed by Larry Cluff, owner of Quality Home Construction and Investments, LLC, on his land in Deltaville, and the APHA traveled there for its July meeting.

APHA members pose on the steps of the restored Springdale farmhouse. A view from the top of the stairs in the entry hall of Springdale farmhouse.

In the left picture, we see APHA members posing on the steps to the restored structure. In the right picture, we see a view from the top of the stairs in the entry hall of Springdale farmhouse.

One of the mortised joints with the tag attached during disassembly and left exposed by Mr. Cluff to illustrate details of Springfield farmhouse construction.

One of the mortised joints with the tag attached during disassembly and left exposed by Mr. Cluff to illustrate details of Springfield farmhouse construction.


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Nelson County Honors "Father of Colonial Williamsburg"

Part of our sister county's May 14th celebration included a ceremony held in Christ Episcopal Church and the unveiling of a roadside marker honoring Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, whose boyhood home was in Nelson County. Part of our sister county's May 14th celebration included a ceremony held in Christ Episcopal Church and the unveiling of a roadside marker honoring Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, whose boyhood home was in Nelson County. Part of our sister county's May 14th celebration included a ceremony held in Christ Episcopal Church and the unveiling of a roadside marker honoring Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, whose boyhood home was in Nelson County.

Part of our sister county's May 14th celebration included a ceremony held in Christ Episcopal Church and the unveiling of a roadside marker honoring Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, whose boyhood home was in Nelson County.

Attendees were also treated to a tour of Bon Aire and its outbuildings. Attendees were also treated to a tour of Bon Aire and its outbuildings.

Attendees were also treated to a tour of Bon Aire and its outbuildings.

Attendees also visited Montezuma and saw its restored summer kitchen on the grounds. Attendees also visited Montezuma and saw its restored summer kitchen on the grounds.

They also visited Montezuma and saw its restored summer kitchen on the grounds.

Attendees visited St. John Baptist Church. Attendees visited downtown Wingina.

Additionally, the day included stops at St. John Baptist Church and downtown Wingina in Nelson County.


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HCHS' Search for the Oldest Trees in Henrico County

We continue to look for the oldest tree in Henrico County and for other trees with historical significance, innate beauty or magnificent size. Here are several trees whose significance, size, and beauty qualify them for our attention.

Seven pines at the Seven Pines National Cemetery. Oak tree at the Seven Pines National Cemetery.

Seven Pines

The seven pines at the Seven Pines National Cemetery are a local landmark. Cemetery records state the name is derived from a group of trees planted within the cemetery in 1869, near the intersection of the old Williamsburg-Richmond Stage Road; however, the name "Seven Pines" pre-dates the establishment of the cemetery. Earlier maps and records, especially those from the American Civil War, commonly refer to the location as "Seven Pines." In addition to the seven pines, the cemetery also contains a number of large oaks like that pictured at the right.

Grand old willow oak at the board and batten house on Old Washington Highway.

Willow Oak

Off the Mountain Road corridor sits a grand old willow oak at the board and batten house on Old Washington Highway. The 1911 house is owned by the grandson of Mr. E.Q. Hunter, station master for the Glen Allen RR Station from 1900-1957. This tree is at least 300 years old, with one expert citing its age closer to 400. The tree sits in the back of the property near the RF&P tracks.

Email your answer to jboehling@verizon.net.


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Sailing the Atlantic, 'going for the gold' Aboard the 19th Century Brig Henrico

An illustration of a brig, a two-masted, square-rigged ship.  The triangular sails are gaff sails.

The USS Henrico, an attack class transport ship, distinguished herself during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War; however, she was not the first ship to ply the seas under the name Henrico. A century and more earlier, the brig Henrico worked the Atlantic between Europe and the United States and during the gold rush days of the mid-nineteenth century made it possible for many men to pursue their dreams of wealth. The illustration is of a brig, a two-masted, square-rigged ship. The triangular sails are gaff sails.

Brigs were two-masted square-rigged ships with an additional gaff sail off the mainmast. They were fast and maneuverable and served as both warships and merchant ships. The 224-ton brig Henrico was apparently a merchant ship, the earliest reference to which appears to be a note that she experienced a "gale most violently" when a hurricane swept over New England on September 23, 1815.

She survived the storm, and mention of the ship in the New York Post in 1817 gives us an indication of how news traveled at that time and the importance the maritime industry played in its delivery. In our time of instant information via the Internet and information overload from the same source, the article seems rather interesting. According to the brief item, the Henrico, under Captain Lace, arrived in Boston after a 27-day voyage from Dublin. It was noted that "by the politeness of Mr. George Jack...we are favored with the Dublin Evening Post of the 27th Sept." Sadly, the only news item from the month-old journal that the Post deemed important was the annoucement that the Bank of England "will resume special payments after the 1st inst."

Six years later with Joshua Orne as captain, we find that she had made a 42-day voyage from Amsterdam to Boston, arriving on March 29, 1821, with a cargo of "Seltzer water, steel, cheese, merchandise, etc." The brief account of shipping news in the New York American for the Country notes that "Capt. Orne passed a ship steering E. with a black ball in her foretopsail. 7th inst. lat. 44 1/2, long 35." The black ball indicated that the ship she passed was the Black Ball Line, whose ships were marked by a large black ball in the center of her foretopsail.

The ship continued to carry goods across the Atlantic and, it seems, sometimes had room for passengers. Seven years later, the New York Morning Courier carried a small advertisement for the Henrico. She sailed under a new captain, and under the heading: "FOR TRIESTE-Passage only," the ad announced; "The fast sailing brig HENRICO, Gray, master, will sail Thursday. Can accommodate 2 or 3 passengers. Apply on board east side Old-slip or to W.H. Fowle, 98, C.H. Slip."

Charles Christian Nutt's Derrishmous von Panama auf der Hos de Chagres River, an 1850 oil painting showing small vessels transporting passengers up the Chagres River; one route that passengers on the Henrico would have taken in Panama's west coast on their way to San Francisco.

By the time gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill and the California gold rush had begun, the Henrico had begun to carry many more passengers, and cargo that she carried also appeared to be gold-rush-related. And 1849 was apparently a busy year for the brig as it travelled regularly from ports on the East Coast to Chagres, a port on the east of Panama. From here, passengers seem to have traveled upriver and across the isthmus where they took another boat to California. The image is Charles Christian Nutt's Derrishmous von Panama auf der Hos de Chagres River, an 1850 oil painting showing small vessels transporting passengers up the Chagres River; one route that passengers on the Henrico would have taken in Panama's west coast on their way to San Francisco.

A passenger kept a journal that document his journey on the brig Henrico.

One such trip was mentioned in the 13 March 1849 New York Herald. The article recounted that "The brig Henrico, Captain Paine, cleared on Saturday the 3rd instant, at Charleston, and will leave, as soon as wind permits for Chagres." It provided a passenger list, most of whom were associated with the Palmetto Mining Company. One of those men kept a journal, which is now owned by the California State Library. The volume begins on the Henrico before it departed Charleston and continued to chronicle the activities as they went on to search for gold near Coloma in California. The opening entry dated March 3 confirms the Herald's report. It states: "Went on Board of the Brig Henrico - the wind being a head. We lay in the harbor until the Evening of Wed the 7th Inst. at or about 3 o'clock we Sailed for Chagress [sic] - which port we made on the Evening of the 21 Inst. We had an excellant [sic] passage all the way the wind Blowing Steady after us with the Exception of the 14 of March, which day happened to be a dead calm almost for the 24 hours."

The story of the voyage picks up again in the Herald of Tuesday, April 10, 1849, under the heading "Our Chagres Correspondent." The frequency of the Henrico's trips to Chagres is indicated by the statement, 'The brig Henrico is here again." It goes on to relate that all the passengers had "proceeded up the river." It also suggests how the Panamanian port had adapted to appeal to what seems to have been a great influx of American adventurers. There was "a large marque" identifying the St. charles Hotel, which was "kept upon the same plan as that of the celebrated establishment of the name in New Orleans...amid a host of smaller ones...where may be had all the latest Yankee notions and inventions of the day." It wouls indeed be interesting to know what these "notions and inventions" might have included.

The entire journey was rather lengthy as shows by an account in History of Mendocino County (1880). We find that on December 28, 1848, I.E. White went to New York City, and with thirty-four others chartered the birg Henrico. They sailed to Chagres, where they boarded the John Ritson and "after a voyage of nine-five days arrived at San Francisco, May 18, 1849."

Besides passengers, the vessel carried equipment to aid in the search for gold, as can be seen in the an 1849 New York Tribune article under the heading "CALIFORNIA GOLD." It announced that "A VERY VALUABLE MACHINE has been contracted and shipped for San Francisco, per brig Henrico, for a party of gentlemen who visit California in view of gold mining and washing." Whether the machine was carried all the way to San Francisco by the Henrico or offloaded at Chagres and delivered by some other means is unclear. However, the machine sounds most imipressive. It is claimed that it would wash a tone of sandy earth and rock every hour and save every particle of gold from it. It required a lot of manpower in that "It requires five hands to work the machine, or it can be done by mule power."

The Henrico's final fate remaines unknown, but the New York Daily Tribune of 7 January 1854 advises us that in a heavy gale it was in contact with a schooner and had "plankshear split, main rail broken &cc." while it was 23 days north of Bermuda. The Henrico's story, spare as it is, gives fleeting glimpses into a number of aspects of early to mid-nineteenth century shipping, news, travel, and more. It is obviously unfinished, and we invite you to help us flesh it out. Where was it built? Why the name? What became of it after its 1854 accident? See what you can find, and advise us at the Henrico County Historical Society of your results - use the phone numbers on the back page, the email address in "What do you know?" or good old snail mail to the society. We look foward to hearing from you.

Far Left: Above: The first page of the journal kept by one of the men who booked passage on tth Henrico bound for Chagres on tth way to San Francisco with the Palmetto Mining Company.


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Now You Know

Grain flail used for threshing grain.

No one identified the item pictured in the last issue's 'What Do You Know?" section, so we'll have to tell you. It's a grain flail used for threshing grain. To use it, one held the bottom of the long end like a baseball bat and swung it to beat the grain with the short end. The short end is attached by a piece of rope, chain, or leather (rope in this case) to the wooden loop at the end of the handle. The rope, chain, or leather allowed the head to singe freely and accelerate as it was swung; it also prevented the user from absorbing the shock of the impact when the head hit the grain.

Threshed grain would be placed inside a winnowing basket such as this one.

The threshed grain was then scooped up and put into a winnowing basket (seen below), in which it was toseed up repeatedly to allow the wind to blow away the lighter chaff. In many cases, barns were oriented along the line of the prevailing winds to allow the wind to blow through the barn to facilitate the separating.


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What Do You Know?

Mystery object for What Do You Know?

This is a wooden spool on a metal axle. It measures 10" from axle tip to axle tip. A long roll of perforated paper is wrapped around it. The paper is 8" wide. Although it can't be seen, the end of the paper roll has a small brass ring attached to it.

Do you know what it is?

Email your answer to jboehling@verizon.net.


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News 2011: Third Quarter
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