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 2012, Fourth Quarter

President's Message

At we approach the end of another year, it is a time to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year and perhaps consider goals for the upcoming new year. It is a time to enjoy holiday traditions with family and friends.

Please consider giving a gift that continues to give with a membership to the Henrico County Historical Society. You may also find it convenient to choose from items among the following on our shopping page that can be delivered to your door or to a recipient's address:

The HCHS 2013 Calendar: It will feature Henrico County Schools.

Three different specialty blends of HCHS' own tea: These are something new and delicious.

Brookland's Summer Passion Decaf Tea features flavors of passion fruit, pineapple, and candied papaya.

Tuckahoe's Walnut Green Tea is a surpising blend of crunchy walnut and mouth-watering pineapple-coconut almond.

Henrico's Coconut Almond Tea is a combination of sweet coconut and almond flakes.

Etched glass HCHS teapot and warmer: These are perfect for brewing and serving our specialty tea and can be ordered separately.

400th anniversary edition of "The History of Henrico County" by Louis Manarin and Charles Peple: This is Dr. Manarin's updated definitive history of Henrico County, and it features on its cover an artist's rendition in color of the first courthouse of Henrico County.

And since we are a historical society, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about the history of Christmas cards.

A form of Christmas card began in England first when young boys practiced their writing skills by creating Christmas greetings for their parents, but it is Sir Henry Cole who is credited with creating the first real Christmas card. The first director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry found himself too busy in the Christmas season of 1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for his friends. He commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley for the illustration. The card fatured three panels, with the center panel depicting a family enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was inscribed with the message: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." These are our holiday wishes to you!

(Reported from www.allthingschristmas.com/traditions.html)

Best wishes,
Sarah Pace,

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Henrico County Historical Society Membership: Time to Renew or Buy New

It's always time to join, and now it's time to renew.

The Henrico County Historical Society is an all volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Henrico County's history, historical structures, and artifacts. The Henrico County Historial Society has committees to match your interests and welcomes your membership.

Meeting topic and location for each quarterly HCHS meeting are announced on our website and in the quarterly newsletter, which all members receive.

HCHS membership levels include:

  • Individual
  • Family (Husband, wife, children under age 18)
  • Student or child from age 18-21
  • Supporting
  • Sustaining
  • Corporate
  • Benefactor
  • Lifetime - One payment for individual or for husband & wife (exempt from further dues)
  • $ 15.00
  • $ 20.00
  • $ 5.00
  • $ 25.00
  • $ 50.00
  • $100.00
  • $300.00
  • $500.00

Payment may be made at the December meeting or sent to:

The Henrico County Historical Society
P.O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0075

or via Paypal at http://henricohistoricalsociety.org/membership.payment.html

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Shop HCHS Online and Let Us Satisfy Your Thirst...

For tasty treats

Like our signature teas, which include:

Brookland's Summer Passion Decaf Tea.

Brookland's Summer Passion Decaf Tea, a fruity, fresh herbal blend of the flavors of passion fruit, pineapple, and candied papaya.

Tuckahoe's Walnut Green Tea.

Tuckahoe's Walnut Green Tea, a surprising blend of crunchy walnut and mouth-watering pineapple-coconut almond.

Henrico's Coconut Almond Tea.

Henrico's Coconut Almond Tea, an exotic blend of sweet coconut and almond flakes that can be enjoyed hot or as a delicious iced tea.

$6.00 for 15 gourmet teabags

And to brew, serve, and keep the tea warm:

Henrico County Historical Society Teapot.

Our clear glass teapot with infuser etched with "Henrico County Historical Society", perfect for making and serving 3.2 cups of delicious HCHS tea!


Tea Warmer with Grid.

Sold separately, our teapot warmer is a perfect complement to our teapot - You don't have to worry about cold tea again! (Tea light included, 5" diameter)


For knowledge

The History of Henrico County

The History of Henrico County.

Discover the original story of Henrico through the detailed text, iamges, and photographs in Dr. Louis H. Manarin and Charles H. Peple's 2011 editions revised and reprinted as part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the County of Henrico.


Henrico County Field of Honor

Henrico County Field of Honor two volume book set.

Dr. Louis H. Manarain chronicles every significant battle within the county's borders in this 976-page, two-volume book set with 747 illustrations, maps, paintings, and other images, including 295 battlefield and troop-movement maps, most of which are published for the first time, and 17 original paintings, including 15 commissioned specifically for this volume set.


Other titles available include:

Inventory of Early Architecture - County of Henrico, Virginia ($10.00 each) Back issues of Henrico County Historical Society Magazines ($10.00 each) High Meadow: Where Robert E Lee Drew His Sword ($10.00)

For art

Walkerton Tavern-Limited Edition Print

Part of a series of Historic Henrico Landmark Prints offered by HCHS, it was created by nationally known historical artist, Henry Kidd. Walkerton Tavern is located in Henrico County's Brookland District.

The Dabbs House - Limited Edition Print

Also by Henry Kidd, this depicts Dabbs House, which served as General Robert E. Lee's Headquarters in June 1862. Dabbs House is located in Henrico County's Varina District.

8.5x11" 20.00 each
17"x13" 50.00 each

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Let Us Help You Keep Track of All Your Important Dates

The 2013 HCHS Calendar

HCHS Calendar 2013.

Follow the evolution of Henrico County schools in this richly illustrated calendar. Proceeds from its sale go toward a scholarship for a Henrico County student with a demonstrated interest in history.


Your order will help support the Henrico County Historical Society in its mission to preserve and promote Henrico history for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Order Online

Go to www.henricohistoricalsociety.org and click on Shopping in the menu bar, and you can order any of the items and pay through Paypal.

By Mail

Make checks payable to Henrico County Historical Society and send your order to

Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0075

All orders subject to 5% sales tax.

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Of Note 50+ Club

Our calendar features education in Henrico County, so it seems appropriate to make note of those schools that in 2011 were recognized for their longetivty. The following schools received plaques marking their existence at their current sites for at least 50 years:

SchoolConstruction Year
Montrose Elementary1925
Short Pump Elementary1925
Varina Elementary1928
Virginia Randolph1929
Ridge Elementary1930
Longdale Elementary1933
Sandston Elementary1939
Tuckahoe Elementary1947
Lakeside Elementary1948
Glen Lea Elementary1949
Mount Vernon Middle1950
Fair Oaks Elementary1951
Moody Middle1951
Highland Springs HS1952
Douglas Freeman HS1954
Crestview Elementary1955
Laburnum Elementary1955
Pemberton Elementary1955
Ratcliffe Elementary1955
Baker Elementary1957
Skipwith Elementary1957
Trevett Elementary1957
Johnson Elementary1958
Maybeury Elementary1958
Fairfield Elementary1958
Tuckahoe Middle1958
Seven Pines Elementary1959
Brookland Middle1959
Chamberlayne Elementary1961
Pinchbeck Elementary1961

And joining the 50+ club will be:

Henrico HS1962
J.R. Tucker HS1962
Varina HS1963

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HCHS Magazine Update

We still need additional funds to publish the second half of the HCHS Magazine containing Dr. Louis Manarin's scholarly work. Let's get it to the printer. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the HCHS to get this important publication out.

It costs $1,900 to print, and we've raised $1,216.33.

Mail checks to:

Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775
Henrico VA 23273-0075

Make notation that it is for the magazine

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September Quarterly Meeting Featured Flight History

Lonnie Brandon presenting history of Virginia Air National Guard.

At the September meeting of the HCHS, Lonnie Brandon, a Virginia Air National Guard retiree, presented a history of the Virginia Air National Guard and displayed the quilt his wife Arie made. The quilt depicts the various planes that flew out of what was Byrd Airfield over the course of 60 years.

Sandra Fischer who attended Antioch School in mid-1940s.

The meeting was held at the Antioch School Community Center, and among those attending was Sandra Fischer, who attended Antioch School during her first grade year in the mid 1940s.

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A Sad Sequel to the York Story

Our lst issue chronicled the plight of John York, his wife Mary Vest and her two sons, Edward and Joseph, all of whom were residents of the Henrico County Almshouse, the site of John and Mary's wedding in 1908.

We lost track of Mary and her sons after the 1920 census, which found the three back in the almshouse, and curiously listed Mary as widowed. We can only guess why she would respond to the census in such a manner since we know John had been committed to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and the Feeble Minded in Lynchburg. He died there in 1931, at the approximate age of 70. Further research has shown us no more about Mary or Edward, but has shed light on John and Joseph.

We now know that John's death date was May 28, 1931 and that he is buried in grave number 307 at that facility, which has been known as the Central Virginia Training Center since 1983.

It is a sad illustration of self-perpetuating poverty and want to find that Mary's son Joseph followed his stepfather in to the same instituaton. The 1930 census shows not only John York at the Virginia State Epileptic Colony but also lists Joseph York as a patient. As it turned out, Joseph, like his stepfather John, would die in that institution on June 29, 1972. He is buried in grave number 878 in the same cemetery.

Established at the Virginia State Epileptic Colony in 1910, the institution is located on land overlooking the James River in Amherst County. It was originally designed to serve 100 persons with epilepsy, and it drew patients from the 3 state mental hospitals (Western, Eastern, Southwestern) existing at the time. The first patients were admitted on May 16, 1911.

You may recall from our September article that in its 1911 report that State Board of Charities and Corrections used the story of the Yorks to argue for the banning of marriage between those with mental conditions and forced sterilization of the feeble-minded. In October of 1927, the Virginia State Epileptic Colony became formally involved in the now discredited "Eugenics" movement established by Virginia law (Chapter 394, Acts of the General Assembly, 1924). The facility performed involuntary sterilization, combined with routine appendectomies, of so-called "mental defectives with cacogenic potentialities." Whether or not this had an impact on John or Joseph York, we do not know.

Thanks to Pam Green at the Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks for her research on John and Joseph York that made this article possible.

The Institution

Drewry-Gilliam building.

The Drewry-Gilliam building of the Virginia Colony for Epileptics shown here in 1911, contained a dining room, laundry room, serving room, pantries, kitchen, cold storage room, toilet room, and a coal storage room in the basement. The two upper stories contained two 40 bed wards, dormitories, living rooms, attendant's rooms, linen rooms, and lavatories.

The final resting place

Cemetery gates.

John and Joseph York are buried in the cemetery on the grounds of the Virginia Colony for Epileptics, the facility in which they died.

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The Original Christmas Card and the Originator

Sir Henry Cole.

As you have read in the President's Message, Sir Henry Cole (pictured left) commissioned what was apparently the first Christmas Card in 1843 and had 1,0000 of them printed. Below is a copy of that card. Please think of it as the HCHS holiday card to you.

The first Christmas card.

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Now You Know: Eating High on the Hog

Congratulations to Margaret Thomas, a member of Historic Buckingham, who correctly identified the "What do you know?" object seen on the left as a hog scraper.

Hog scraper. Diagram of meat sections of a hog.

It was used at hog-killing time to remove the bristles from the pig. After the pig was slaughtered, it was scalded in hot water. It would take about 50 gallons of boiling water to properly scald the carcass. After the scalding, the farmer went to work with the scraper to remove the bristles.

Then the animal could be butchered. Those cuts that were high on the hog were the best cuts of meat from the back and upper legs. The more affluent ate cuts from high on the hog, while the paupers ate belly pork and trotters, or pig's feet.

Cover of Travels to the Middle Settlements in North American in the Years 1759 and 1760. Page from Travels to the Middle Settlements in North American in the Years 1759 and 1760.

Of course, one cut from high off the hog was the ham, and Virginia has long been known for the quality of its hams.

Virginia ham was one of the first agricultural products exported from North America. The Reverand Mr. Andrew Burnaby enthusiastically reported in his Travels to the Middle Settlements in North American in the Years 1759 and 1760 that "Virginia pork is said to be superior in flavour to any in the world."

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What Do You Know?

What Do You Know Object. What Do You Know Object.

The objects above are all used for the same purpose. The top two photos show two different views of the same object. It is 5 1/2" long. It is silver with a wooden handle. The object at the bottom is pewter and is approximately 4" long.

What Do You Know Object.

Email your answers to jboehling@verizon.net.

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News 2012: Fourth Quarter
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