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 2017, First Quarter

President's Message

David A. Kaechele

David A. Kaechele, 1931-2017.

A "Celebration of Life" was held for David A. Kaechele, who passed away on January 20, 2017.

Mr. Kaechele served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and after retiring from one of the leading businesses in Henrico, served his community on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, representing the Three Chopt District for 36 years. He retired in 2015, having served longer than any other Henrico Supervisor on record. Even after retirement from the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Kaechele served as Henrico County representative on the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Board of Directors. Described as a gentle man, he was well known for a quiet but strong leadership that accomplished much. His legacy lives on. During Mr. Kaechele's tenure, the County of Henrico experienced continuing growth from a rural community to suburban neighborhoods. It was on Mr. Kaechele's first year on the Board that the Henrico County Park system began with the opening of Cheswick Park. Previously Henrico County citizens had only the use of Richmond City parks. The Henrico County Division of Recreation and Parks now covers 3,600 acres that include 140 recreational buildings. The majority of the recreation centers are historic sites that have been adapted for reuse.

Mr. Kaechele also saw the development of Innsbrook Corporate Center and Short Pump Town Center in addition to the residential development of Wellesley, Wyndham, and Twin Hickory.

The Henrico County Historical Society experienced an almost parallel progression. The Society was established in 1975, just four years before Mr. Kaechele was elected to serve. My first association with Mr. Kaechele was with the effort to save Nuckols Farm House (which was thought to be one of the oldest structures still standing in that area of Henrico) from being demolished as the result of proposed development in 2005. With support from the residents of the surrounding neighborhood who wanted to preserve Henrico history, our efforts were successful and sthe structure still stands.

Richard W. Glover

Richard W. Glover, 1933-2017.

Before this newsletter could go to print, Henrico County lost another leader. Richard (Dick) Glover passed away on February 2, 2017. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Glover worked in sales and sales management as well as later, owning a printing/direct mailing service company. In 1987, Mr. Glover was elected to the Henrico County Board of supervisors and served representing the Brookland District for more than 33 years. He held appointed positions on many other boards, commissions and committees at the local, regional, state and national levels. While serving as Supervisor, he was instrumental in preserving Glen Allen's historic Mountain Road corridor, which included expansion at Meadow Farm / Crump Park, the Courtney Road Service Station and Walkerton. Later, the Virginia Randolph Museum was added to the list. Some of the more significant projects he supported were The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, the Glen Allen Stadium at RF&P Park, Greenwood Park, the redevelopment of Willow Lawn Shopping Center and the Glen Allen and Libbie Mill Libraries. His legacy also lives on.

Mr. Kaechele and Mr. Glover worked together for many years. Both of these gentlemen accomplished much on behalf of Henrico County citizens.

As we begin 2017, may we follow Mr Kaechele's and Mr. Glover's examples, and consider what legacy we will leave behind for the benefit of future generations.

Sarah Pace,

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March Quarterly Meeting

Dr. Bruce M. Venter, author.

Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. will take place at the Henrico Theatre, which is located at 305 E. Nine Mile Road in Henrico, VA. Dr. Bruce M. Venter will discuss his new book, Kill Jeff Davis: The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864.

Jacket cover of Kill Jeff Davis - The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864.

Bruce Venter's major interest is Civil War cavalry with an emphasis on the career of Union general Judson Kilpatrick. Venter frequently lectures on the cavalry and has led bus tours on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid, the focus of his book, Kill Jeff Davis - The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864. The book chronicles the most famous cavalry raid of the Civil War, the Kilpatrick-Dalgren Raid on Richmond (February 28 - March 3, 1864).

Join us for an exciting and informative presentation.

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Corporate Support

Bo Williams of Total Printing accepts award of contribution to HCHS from joey Boehling.

At the December HCHS meeting at the Virginia War Memorial, Total Printing's Bo Williams accepts awards presented by Joey Boehling recognizing his, Dale Williams', and Gary Williams' contributions to the society.

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It's Time To Renew Your HCHS Memberships

Dues are as follows:

  • Individuals               $15.00
  • Family                       $20.00
  • Student or Child   $5.00
  • Supporting               $25.00
  • Sustaining                $50.00
  • Corporate;               $100.00
  • Benefactor              $300.00
  • Lifetime                $500.00

Make checks payable to:

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


pay online at

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Reclamation Efforts Gain National Attention

The National Trust for Historic Preservation annually presents its National Preservaton Awards. According to the Trust, the awards "are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage." At its Past Forward Conference in November, the Trust presented its 2016 National Preservation Awards in Houston, Texas, and recognized Henrico Cuonty Historical Society member John Shuck with the Peter H. Brick Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation. The Brink Award honors an individual who is not a career preservationist but who has made extraordinary contributions toward saving a historic place. John's extraordinary contribution has been his spearheading the volunteer effort to reclaim East End Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery from neglect and overgrowth. We at the Henrico County Historical Society are proud of John, applaud his work and are happy to see it recognized at the national level.

John Shuck displays his Brink Award.  With him is Kate Scott, who started the nomination process.

Brink Award recipient.
John Shuck displays the Brink Award presented at the 2016 Past Forward Conference in Houston, Texas. With him is Kate Scott, a volunteer with John who started the nomination process for the award.

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Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton Put Henrico on the Wine Map with ... Norton's Virginia Seedling

John Smith noted in his Travels that the colonists involved in the first Virginia Voyage made "near 20 gallons of wine" from "hedge grapes," so marking the birth of the Virginia wine industry. Those 20 gallons of wine are a far cry to the 1.7 million gallons (approximately 705,000 cases) of wine that the Virginia Wine Board notes were produced in the state in 2015, ranking Virginia twelfth in the country in wine production.

And as might be expected, early colonial wine-making was a rather crude affair by almost any standards, as illustrated in A History of Wine in America by Thomas Pinney. He identifies Dr. Laurence Bohune as the first known American wine maker and cites William Strachey's views on that product and its production. Stracey, who spent 1610-11 at Jamestown, said that he had "drunk often of the rath [young] wine, which Doctor Bohune and other of our people have made full as good sa your French-British wine, 20 gallons at a time have been sometimes made without any other help than by crushing the grape with the hand, which letting to settle 5 or 6 days hath in the drawing forth proved strong and heady."

Perhaps, the strength and headiness of the "rath wine" might account for Strachey's dubious claims as the quality of the vintage; nevertheless, Virginia winemaking had its start, and it was a practice that was deemed important. The Virginia code of 1611 threatened death to any settler who would "rob any vineyards or gather up the grapes." And in 1619, the Viginia Company caused a law to be enacted that required every household "to yearly plant and maintain ten vines until they have attained to the art and experience of dressing a vineyard either by their own industry or by the instruction of some vigneron."

Pinney brings to the American wine industry's genesis even closer to home when he mentions Ralph Hamor, who lived in the colony from 1610 to 1614. Hamor recorded that colonists had planted three or four acres of wild grapes in "a vineyard near Henrico."

Rendering of Norton Grape.

Despite those early hopes for the cultivation of the grape in Virginia, what was probably the biggest advance in the state's viticulture was over 200 years away. That advance occurred here in Henrico County in the mid-1820s when Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton introduced the Norton Grape, or Norton's Virginia Seedling - a grape still important in America's wine industry.

Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton.

Daniel Norbone Norton was born in Williamsburg in 1794, to shipping merchnat John Hatley Norton, who died when Daniel was three. His mother, Catherine bush Norton, married John Ambler of Jamestown, and the couple later moved to Richmond. Daniel lived wiht them and the eight children they produced until his marriage in 1818 to Elizaeth Jacquelin Call. By that time, he had completed medical school at the Unviersity of Pensylvania and begun his medical practice in Richmond.

Norton portrait. This painting shows Dr. Norton in 1815 (image from Ambers) Virginia's Forgotten Indigenous Wine Grapes").

Magnolia site today.

The wedding settlement would prove to be a boon to horticulture in general and vinticulture in particular, but that was still a ways off. Daniel Call gave his son-in-law and daughter, among other things, 26.9 acreas of land. According to Henrico County Deed Book 17, it lay on the "north side of Richmond Turnpike Road," today known as Broad Street. The land would be called Magnolia, and it stood at the site of what is today VCU's Siegel Center. The boundaries of the land would today conform to an area enclosed by Bowe Street, Broad Street, Clay Street, and a line east of North Harrison Street. In the picture on the right, the corner seen is what stands today at the corner of Bowe Street and Broad Street.

Here Dr. Norton conducted his extensive horticultural pursuits. But those efforts were apparently entered into in sadness, for Norton lost his wife and their baby in 1821, when Elizabeth died in childbirth. In "Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton and the Origin of the Norton Grape (American Wine Society Journal, Fall 2004), Rebecca K. R. and Clifford P. Ambers cite a letter written 8-9 January 1824 to his half-brother John Jacob Ambler, in which he expresses his continuing depression and grief. Norton goes on to say, "My little farm will amuse me this winter. I shall employ myself much in attempting to improve it, and when you return you shall have grapes that will compare with those of France or Italy."

Ad in Richmond Enquirer, 6 November 1838, showing Norton raised other plants and trees.

Those grapes may well have been Norton grapes, and that "little farm" was certainly not quite that little; the Amberses state that notes and sketches by Norton indicate that by 1828, he grew 27 different varieties of grapes and much more. This ad from 6 November 1838 Richmond Enquirer illustrates the growing of other plants and trees. Norton refers to his extensive grape cultivation when he writes to the Farmer's Register (Vol. II, 1835). His letter headed "Magnolia, near Richmond, Dec. 11, 1834" says, "the house (in which I now live) stands upon the site, once occupied by the Pied Rouge, Malvoisie, Muscat de Frontignan, Mammolo, Cainiola, Nigrilla, Verdillo, &c. &c." However, earlier in that same letter, he touted his own grape and implies that he had developed it in 1834. He claims, "Norton's Virginia Seedling, has never been known to rot or mildew; neither is the wood at all injured by the most severe winter, in any exposure. The bloom for the last ten years, that ever since its first bearing, (emphasis added) has resisted the ravages of spring frosts." He added, "I have a small cask of wine made from the Seedling last year. It is luscious beyond any thing you can conceive."

Earlier, William R.Prince had discussed the grape, which he called Vitis Nortoni, and its origins in his A Treatise on the Vine (1830). He wrote, "this very distinct variety owes its origin to Dr. D. N. Norton, of Virginia. It was raised from the seed of the Bland [a now extinct variety], which frutified in the vicinity of the Meunier or Miller's Burgundy...The shoots are strong and vigorous, and of a red color....The fruit is of the darkest purple or black color...the juice...is of the richest quality...For the purpose of making wine, this is hardly to be excelled by any foreign variety."

The Richmond Whig from around the same time was equally effusive in its praise and hopeful for the future of Virginia viticulture. The paper was cited in the Farmer's Register of 1834, claiming, "This is unquestionably the most delicious grape we have ever eaten...The enterprising discoverer, Dr. Norton, whose vineyard is a short distance from this city, has sunk money by his attempts to introduce the culture of the grape into this state...Virginia is naturally a grape growing country, and to that she must arrive at last."

Norton's success in horticulture, it seems, was not the sole salve to the emotional wouns inflicted by his wife and child's deaths. In 1831, he married Lucy Marshall Fisher, a cousin of his first wife; and the couple had five children. To aid in the care of the family, he advertised in the 9 October 1838 Richmond Enquirer for "A woman accustomed to the care of young children, and particularly to nursing infants, by bringing in satisfactory recommendations, will find immediate employment, kind treatment and liberal wages at DR. D. N. NORTON'S residence, one mile from Richmond, on the railroad leading to Fredericksburg."

The happiness brought by his family was no doublt enhanced by the happiness derived from the reception of his grape. So it seems fitting to cite one more item in praise of the fruit. By 1843, Bostonians had sampled it, thankes to a supplier from Virginia named Mr. Longsworth, and he was quite impressed by the grape. But according to The Southern Planter of that year said, "He was unaware of its origin, but has offered a premium of five hundred dollars to any one who could excel it. Th connoisseurs of Boston have determined it to be the Norton's seedling, a slip of which it is supposed accidentally found its way among some other vines obtained by Mr. Longworth from Virginia. This grape, which derives its name and celebrity from our late townsman, Dr. Norton, is not only valued for its wine making properties, but it is esteemed by many finest table grape we have."

The Obituary of Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton.

Unfortunately, Dr. Norton was unable to appreciate this last plaudit; he had passed away on 25 January 1842. His obituary appearing in the 25 January 1842 Richmond Enguirer pays tribute to the developer of the Norton Grape.

The Grave of Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton.

Dr. Norton is buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond. The image is that of Dr. Daniel N. Norton's grave. The badly worn ledger in the north corner of the Shockoe Hill Cemetery marks the final resting place of the developer of the Norton Virginia Seedling. The faint inscription reads as follows: "SACRED to the memory of Daniel Norbone Norton M.D. Son of John Hatley Norton of England and his wife Catherine Bush of Winchester, Virginia norn in 1794. Intermarried with Elizabeh Jacquelin Call and afterwards with Lucy Marshall Fisher. Departed this life the 22nd day of January 1842".

Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton's efforts gave impetus to the growing of grapes for wine making in Virginia, and a local resident is carrying on that practice. Rhea Hale has recently harvested her first crop of grapes at historic Farmer's Rest in Varina. She planted one acre of Mourvdre grapes in the spring of 2014 and realized her first harvest in September 2016 - just over 4 tons. She sold it to a Charlottesville winery, and those grapes should produce 240 cases or 2880 bottles of wine.

So let us all raise a glass and drink it the accomplishment of Dr. Daniel Norbone Norton and to the future of Henrico grapes and wine.

Joey Boehling

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Now You Know: Victorian Silver Sugar Caster Allowed for Some...For Fancy Shakin' after Bakin'

Sugar shaker.

The Victorians seemed to have an implement for every possible serving need, and we're really happy that Sylvia DeShazo, Dana Hanson and Haywood and Mary Jo Wigglesworth (our regular and reliable responders to "What Do You Know?") recognized the item pictured at the right as a sugar shaker - more formally known as a muffineer or sugar caster.

As the name suggests, it held sugar to be sprinkled on food, most commonly dessert muffins. The muffineer apparently gave rise to today's salt shakers, accessories not used in Victorian times. Instead, they kept salt in individual cellars refilled from a larger master cellar.

Antique sugar shakers are quite collectible, and among the notable collectors of muffineers is Madeline Albright, America's first female Secretary of State. She was previously U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and according to a Washington Post story, her frequent entertaining led her to exhaust her official flower budget. Faced with the prospect of a bare dining table, she pressed her sugar shaker collection into centerpiece service.

Queen Victoria.

Decorative and collectible value aside, these shakers and other tableware from days past carry us from our casual "laid back" lifestyles to a time of elegance. Sugar did not come in small paper packets, salt did not appear in a cardboard shaker with a plastic rotating top, and silver graced our place settings. Certainly, today's advancements" are immensely more convenient, far less expensive and even more egalitarian; but a certain refinement and gentility has been lost. It would be nice to experience in every once in a while, and perhaps the following recipe might tempt you to recreate that refinement for short time. It is a variation on what was apparently one of Queen Victoria's favorite desserts, and it would benefit from a literal dusting of sugar from a silver caster.

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Victorian Sponge Cupcakes

Sponge cupcakes.

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) softened butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raspberry jam
Confectioner's sugar for dusting


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Starting and ending with an egg, alternate adding eggs and flour, beating until each is thoroughly incorporated. Beat in water and vanilla until just incorporated.
  3. Spoon two heaping tablespooons of batter into each cup followed by 1 teaspoon of jam (do not stir jam to loosen). Top with 1 heaping tablespoon of batter, spreading to ensure jam is fully covered.
  4. Bake until golden brown about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cupcakes stand a couple of minutes, turn onto a wire rack to cool. When ready to serve, dust with powered sugar.


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What Do You Know?

Iron item that is 21 inches long.

Smaller 4-inch wide section of iron item.

This iron item at the top right is 21 inches long. The larger photo shows the smaller 4-inch wide section.

Do you know what it is?

Email your answers to

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News 2017: First Quarter
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