Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com
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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 2018, Second Quarter

President's Message

Congratulations are in order! The Henrico County Historical Society was honored with a Historic Preseration Advisory Committee 2018 Award of Merit for hosting the "Homefront Tribute" event in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of US entry into WWII held at Sandston Memorial Recreation Center on September 2, 2017. Sandston Memorial Recreation Center was a former USO site during WWII. The event was truly a community effort, just as the community supported the war effort during WWII.

On a sad note, we are sorry to announce the passing of two of the Henrico County Historical Society charter members, Alberta Kohl Stoneman and Gatewood Holland Stoneman.

As part of the 100th anniversary of US entry into WWI and the 75th commemoration of WWII, the Henrico County Historical Society and other organizations are collecting information on those who served in the armed forces and recollections of the "homefront" efforts to support the troups.

Other connections to our past that are beyond our recollections relate to the next HCHS project.

Did you ever wonder about how to rsearch your ancestry but just didn't know how to begin? Even with internet availability, it can still be a bit confusing. Do you understand DNA testing?

Please join us Saturday, August 18, at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Rd., Henrico, VA 23075 (upstairs meeting room) for the answer to your questions.

Ancestry Workshop
9:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Cost $10

(includes materials, a copy of Henrico County Cemeteries and refreshments).

Check out the Society's website for an application at http://www.henricohistoricalsociety.org/shopping.html.

We are honored to have as our speaker on June 3rd, Kareene Wood, a member of the Monocan Indian Nation who directs Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She has worked at the National Museum of the American Indian as a researcher and at the Assocation on American Indian Affairs. It was my pleasure to serve on the American Indian Committee for the Henrico 400th Anniversary 2011 Commemoration Advisory Commission with Kareene. This is an exciting time for the Indian tribes of Virginia to finally receive recognition. Kareene will share with us the history of her people.

We hope you can join us.

Sarah Pace

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June Quarterly Meeting

Karenne Wood.

The next meeting is scheduled Sunday, June 3rd, starting at 2:30 p.m. It will take place at the Walkerton Tavern, located at 2892 Mountain Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060.

Karenne Wood will share with us the history of the Monacan tribe.

See you there!

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Ancestry Research Workshop

Ancestry Workshop.

Register now for our workshop on August 18th at www.henricohistoricalsociety.org

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2018 Historic Preservation Advisory Committee Awards of Merit

Recipients of HPAC 2018 Awards of Merit.

Pictured left to right:

Yolanda "Y.B." Taylor: Dedication to providing education and insight into her African American experiences through her writing and public outreach.

Dawn Murray Burnett: Generous donation to the Friends of Meadow Farm and her six years of volunteer service to the Division of Recreation and Parks.

The Henrico County Historical Society (Sarah Pace): Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United States entry into World War II by sponsoring the "Homefront Tribute".

The Founders Club of Sandston (Alice Baldwin): Recognizing Sandston's historic structures by issuing commemorative plaques, sponsorship of a state roadside historical marker and the publication of Sandston, Virginia: The First Twenty-Five Years.

Ken and Terry Murphy (not pictured): Thirty years of volunteerism at Meadow Farm Museum.

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In Memorium

Alberta Kohl Stoneman.

Alberta Kohl Stoneman, passed away on May 2, 2018. She was a charter member of the Henrico County Historical Society and very active in the Varina community.

Gatewood Holland Stoneman.

Gatewood Holland Stoneman,
passed away on May 5, 2018. She was a charter member of the Henrico County Historical Society and very active in the Varina community and beyond.

Dale Williams.

Dale Williams, passed away on March 17, 2018. Dale and her entire family at Total Printing have been of immeasurable help to the Henrico County Historical Society.

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HCHS Membership Renewal

Is there an asterisk on your mailing label? If so it's time to renew your HCHS membership.

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

Or go to www.henricohistoricalsociety.org and use Paypal.

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Norton Grape

Norton grapes at Horton Vineyards.

At Horton Vineyards in Orange, the buds broke in late April on the ten acres of Norton grapes, named after Dr. Daniel Norton of Henrico, who developed the grape in the 1820s. Dennis Horton, owner of the vineyard, reintroduced the Henrico grape to Virginia after a century and a half long absence. We will be back to see the green grape clusters and later the purple. Look for more pictures.

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Inventive Henricoans

Some of our early Henrico County inventors might have had too much time on their hands - or like C.E.M. Pohl, had time on their mind too much. Pohl was granted patent no. 21,020 in 1858 for an improved portable sundial utilizing a compass. It's a delighfully quirky device, and we wonder if it was manufactured and, if so, if it would cost only half as much as a pocket watch since it was only useful half of the time at most.

Sundial Patent.

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Goddin's Tavern: A Center for Events Political, Social and Agricultural in Henrico County

It is human nature to seek connections, contact, a sense of community. At different times, different places and institutions have served to help satisfy those needs; and taverns were among the most effective.

Henrico County certainly had its share of taverns; and while some of those structures remain, many have long since disappeared.

Goddins Tavern.

Readers heard mention of one of those lost taverns in the last issue of this newsletter - Goddin's Tavern on Brook Road. It was one of he longest active taverns in Henrico County, and was demolished in 1912.

This tavern is where Captain Lucius Davis reorganized the Henrico Light Dragoons in 1850. That tavern served as far more than a regular gathering place for the Light Dragoons; and a look at its history, its owner and the events that took place there give us an interesting picture of Henrico County in the early to mid-nineteenth century.

Captain John Otey Goddin was the tavern owner, and he apparently was a prominent figure in local politics and agriculture at the time. Born 19 February 1779 in James City County to John and Priscilla Goddin, he married Roxana Ford on 5 February 1805. Goddin served, however briefly, in the War of 1812. When the British apeared to threaten the capital in March of 1813, the Richmond militia was turned out, and Goddin served as a sergeant in Captain George Booker's Company of the Nineteenth Regiment for a ten-day stint. Pay rolls also show that he served for a month and six days between 26 August and 30 September 1814. He remained a militia member after the war and was made captain on 1 July 1819 as seen in the promotion letter below, and he was often referred to as Captain Goddin thereafter as can be seen on the identification of his land on the 1853 Smith map of Henrico County below. The top shows his property and the bottom marks the public livestock scales (more later).

The  Smith 1853 Map of Henrico marks Captain John Goddin's property at top and public livestock scales at bottom. 1819 letter announces the promotion of Lieutenant John Goddin to captin in the Nineteenth Regiment of the militia.

Below is plat drawn by Thomas M. Ladd, which shows some of the lots of the Westwood Tract along brook Turnpike, divided in 1850 by the commissioners of the Henrico County Court. Goddin's tavern was apparently on the small lot at the bottom right, just above the branch. According to the Agricultural Census of 1850, that land comprised 100 acres, 70 of which were improved, had a cash value of $5,000 and produced 1,150 bushels of Indian corn, 275 bushels of oats, 50 bushels of Irish potatoes, 150 pounds of butter and 5 tons of hay. Inflation seems to have struck over the next decade because the 1860 census lists the value of the farm at $12,000. Curiously, the farm now contained only 66 improved acres and 28 unimproved acres.

Goddins land drawn on plat by Thomas M. Ladd, 1850.

Goddin also seems to have been involved in cattle breeding, as ads he placed in the Richmond Enquirer shows. In the 1 March 1844 issue, he wrote, "I beg leave to inform those, who are desirous of improving their stock of Cattle, that I have succeeded in obtaining the Hon. Andrew Stevenson's fine Ayshire Bull, with the view of studding him at Bacon Quarter Branch...the price will be $5-and the number of cows to be served limited." It seems to have been successful for in the 15 February 1845 issue, he offered service for 30 cows at $10 each, claiming that owners of the 25 cows sent to him the previous year had refused the price of $30 for six-week old calves.

Goddin also had other interests in a related agricultural endeavor - he operated the scales used by farmers bringing their cattle into Richmond and the pens the cattle were kept in. By 1852, the location of the scales had become untenable, and the state of Virginia bought another parcel nearby with Goddin offering to purchase the half-acre location of the scales that would be abandoned. (The location of the scales can be seen at the bottom of the detail from the Smith map.) It appears that Godding would continue to operate the scales, but the "Report for weighing Livestock in the City of Richmond" indicated that "the present schedule for weighing live stock too high." The report recommended a "reduction to two cents, instead of three per hundred upon cattle; and two cents per head for hogs instead of three." Half of the money collected would go to the superintendent of the scales and the other half to the state.

Daily Dispatch 1860 showing goddins candidacy for Commissioner of Revenue, and ad by John Eacho refuting charges Goddin made against him.

Goddin also served the community in several roles. According to the 24 October 1848 Richmond Enquirer, he was one of the men appointed to superintend the Short Pump precinct in the Presidential election of that year. Through the 1850s, he ran for and was elected to the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue for the lower district of Henrico County. In so doing, he did not always avoid controversy. In the 1860 election he took out an ad in the 24 May Daily Dispatch to refute a published claim by his opponent, John A. Eacho, that Goddin had accused him of being "incompentent to make out his books as commissioner of the Revenue." He said he had made no such claim, but added, slyly it seems, that he had often spoken of Eacho's "not having made out the Land book at all for the year of 1859."

John Goddin, however, was not best known as a farmer, animal breeder or political figure; his notoriety came about because of his proprietorship of Goddin's Tavern. The tavern was widely known, a local landmark in the area used in many advertisements as an aid in locating nearby businesses. And its location seems special, as Norvell Watkins wrote, "There is scarcely a more beautiful and interesting drive than that to be had over the Brook Turnpike, the oldest road out of Richmond...Just before ([Bacon's Quarter Branch] is crossed, may be seen a quaint, old-fashioned building known as Goddin Tavern, a relic of the old time days of entertainment." In Virginia, Especially Richmond, In Bygone Days, Samula Mordecai extolled the area and tavern: "Goddin's Spring, at Bacon Quarter Branch, was, in old times, a place of resort for amusement, as was the tavern for 'Entertainment of Main and Horse.' Shovel-board and other innocent games were played at the cool and shaded spring. The tavern was preferred by some of the western members of the Legislature, on the score of economy, to those nearer the Capitol."

George Wyatt sketch in his patent grant.

The tavern was also known as Bacon's Quarter Branch Tavern because of its location near the stream of that name, but it was not always John Goddin's tavern. Prior to Goddin's ownerhship, it had been known as Baker's Tavern, and Mary Wingfield Scott claims that it had been built by Martin Baker in the late eighteenth century and that after Baker died in 1821, his sons sold the tavern to Goddin in 1835. More recent research by Anne Rachel Hedges for her University of Richmon master's thesis (Richmond's Taverns in the Years 1775-1810) suggests something a bit different. She says that the Bacon's Quarter Branch Tavern first appeared in records as early as 1767 and had been operated by Thomas Younghusband. A 12 November 1767 Virginia Gazette offers what is apparently the property as "a large dwleling house, with all other convenient outbuildings and a garden." Neverthless, Goddin certainly was running the tavern at the time Scott says, and it was an interesting building. The original structure was a two-story 64 feet wide and 18 feet deep brick building. A large archway originally ran through the middle of the building so that carriages and wagons could ride through to the courtyard behind, but at some time it was bricked up to create a smaller entry. At some point, additions were added to each end of the inn. In the sketch below, an 1851 declaration from the Mutual Assurance Society shows the layout of the complex and assesses the tavern house at $2,750 and the back building at $2,500. The wooden shed in the sketch was not listed in the policy so it was apparently not insured. By 1858, the value had risen to $7,100.

Goddins Tavern Complex in sketch from Mutual Assurance Society, 1851.

It was this building and the Goddin land that provided a venue for political and community meetings, celebrations, agricultural expositions and more. One such meeting involved community improvement. The 13 December 1853 Richmond Dispatch ran an announcement under the heading "PLANKING THE BROOKE TURNPIKE" for a meeting the following day at Goddin's Tavern. Traveling the road must have been somewhat of a slog. The plea for support from the "Many Subscribers To the New Plank Road" who sponsored the announcement claimed that planking would have its heavy sands, its jolting stones, and wrenching holes, substituted by a smooth plank surface." The effect of the meeting is not known, but the road was planked, evidenced by an ad in the 16 September 1854 for sale of a farm on "the Brooke Turnpike (New Plank Road)."

The tavern was also the site for political gatherings, particularly Democratic meetings. For example, a meeting was held there for the Democrats of Monroe Ward on 21 October 1852, and the conclusion of the account in the 5 October issue of the Richmond Enquirer said, "Much credit is due to our old and honored friend, Capt. Jno. Goddin, for the satisfactory and handsome manner in which he had all things arranged for the meeting. The Democratic party owe him a debt of gratitude."

But not all such meetings had gone so smoothly. Such was the case with a 17 April 1850 meeting featuring the candidates for the House of Delegates which the 2 April Richmond Enquirer covered under the heading "RICH SCENE-COMPLETE WATER-"HALL!"-DISCUSSION AT GODDIN'S TAVERN." An exchange between Richard N. Hall and Isaac A. Goddin went as followes: "Hall to Goddin - "Do you expect seriously and honestly to be elected?"

Goddin.-'That is an impertinent question, sir.'

Hall.-'You said you woudld answer some questions.

Goddin.-'Such, sir, as a gentleman has a right to ask-None other.'

Hall.-'I would answer that, or a similar question, sir.'

Goddin.-'Then you are a bigger fo-goose than I took you for!'

Whatever "fo-goose" meant, it was obviously an insult and resulted in the "rich scene" or "water-hall," whose meaning is also unclear. At any rate, the account of the exchange as followed by "Commotion. Order called by the chair, and Dr. H. Said as Mr. Goddin would not answer his questions, he would not notice his remarks."

Even though Hall won the eletion, the conflict wasn't over, as Isaac Goddin brought a petition to the House of Delegates to protest the electio on the grounds that Hall was ineligible because he was not a freeholder.

Most functions were much more convivial, and Goddin's Tavern was host to many celebrations. At one dinner, about 250 Democrats gathered in honor of John W. Jones, their Representative in Congress and Speaker of the House. The Richmond Enquirer of 23 July 1844 praised the "sumptuous dinner, for which, in their name, we return our warm thanks to Captain John Goddin that "brave old" Democratic "Mine Host" of Bacon Quarter Branch, with its noble Spring, and its every convenience for such a festival." Attendees must have enjoyed themselves because the paper said that the affair lasted nearly five hours.

And when one considers the number of toasts drunk at these celebrations, it becomes a bit clearer why they were so onvivial and why they lasted so long. For a Fourth of July dinner held at the tavern, the 11 July 1845 Richmond Enquirer, as was the journalistic custom, recounted the toasts - a grand total of 31 in this case. Near the end of the toasting, the imbibing had apparently inspired some good-natured banter. Joseph Mayo's toast went to "Lawyers: A ncessary evil," and P.V. Daniel offered a rejoinder: "Lawyers: The peacemakers of society." The thirtieth toast was made by John S. Caskie, who made his to "Our worthy Host: A real Virginian himself, he has given us a real Virginia dinner." Goddin, the host, offered the last toast: "May the next mail bring the news of the Annexation of Texas." The article goes on to label Goddin a prophet because news of that very event arrived in two hours.

And the Fourth of July celebrations at Goddin's Tavern also brought in the celebrities, like Zachary Taylor. On 3 July 1846, The Richond Enquirer announced that "Old 'Rough and Ready,' who comes from a distance, will again be one of the number."

And celebration became spectacle when the Henrico Agricultural Society regularly held the Henrico Agricultural and Horticultural Fair at what The Southern Planter of 1843 called "the old stand 'Goddin's spring'." Acording to Mary Wingfield Scott, in the courtyard behind the tavern was "a spring of delicious water, shaded by large sycamores." thus giving the site another name to add to the list. And at this site during the fair, the biggest spectacle was the ploughing match, a competition treated by journalists like a major league sporting event and drawing a crowd of 500./p>

The 6 June 1843 Richmond Enquirer proided a "play-by-play" commentary on the match. It described eight farmers with "their trained horses moving onward with willing and steady step-the ploughs turning off the glebe in regular and graceful folds-the crowds at each end of the furrows admitting [sic] the skill of the ploughmen, and moving from one to another point, observing and comparing the manner and mode of doing the work by the different competitors." It also noted that afterwards the organizing committees "assembled under the pleasant shade in Capt. Goddin's yard."

The Southern Planter seemed impressed by the attire of the ploughmen. It noted that they "were neatly and leanly dressed, in the best possible taste, with every thing appropriate to the business in which they were engaged, their loose shirt sleeves and the long black boots coming half way up the leg and protecting the white pantaloon, added much to the picturesqueness as well as fitness of their appearance." Likewise, the Planter was impressed by the work of the winner, W.I. Grieve, who took the fifty-dollar prize. It praised "the eveness and regularity with which his furrow slices had been cut, the comb or ridge left for the last turning, clearly defined by the green sod in the mist of the ploughed land, was as even and as straight as if it had been lade off with an garden line."

It must have been quite the affair; for fifteen days after the contest, the 16 June Richmond Enquirer recalled that 'the single ploughing match at the late fair has been the universal talk of the county," and refered to an apparent challenge to the Henrico Agricultural Society by its Pamunky counterpart to a competition. Using a sports metaphor, the journal elevates the proposed competition to epic proportions. It compares the match to "the Olympic games, where the Greeks contended for manly prizes, that kept alive their great fame and transmitted it to posterity. Let our lands, as beautiful as those of Greece, be the arena for glorious rivalry. There, under the bright skies, let our farmers, with their own hands, practise their healthful employments."

George Wyatt sketch in his patent grant.

In addition to the skill, the attire and the grandeur of the "combatants," the equipment was also of interest, as the 9 November 1847 Richmond Enquirer shows. In a match sponsored by the society, the winner ploughed his prize furrows with a plough of his own manufacture: George Watt took home the twenty-dollar prize using a Watt's Cuff and Brace Plough, made by Watt's company in Richmond; see the sketch of his plow in his patent grant. There was a tie for second place, and both men used the Watt plow, as well. Of course, after the event, the Society convened at Goddin's Tavern for its meeting.

John Otey Goddin, his tavern and his land were at the center of many varied activities in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Goddin passed away on 22 February 1865 at the age of 85. His tavern by then had become St. Francis de Sales hospital. Thomas Hannigan bought the bulding in 1883 and ran it as a saloon for ten years. Finally the building was demolished in 1912.With its passing, an important cog in the workings of Henrico county was lost. That tavern, and others like it, provided an important cultural center where citizens met to share common interests, concerns and diversions. Such meeting places in the present time seem to occur more and more in the virtual world, and face-to-face contact increasingly gives way to short bursts of electronic communication. We do communicate more quickly, but that is often at the expense of depth and warmth. We have lost more than just buildings.

Joey Boehling

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Now You Know...Sort Of: Cannons & Corners

Cannon repurposed as bollard at northwest corner of East Cary Street and Virginia Street. Cannon repurposed as bollard at northwest corner of East Cary Street and Thirteenth.

Both items at the left are cannons repurposed as bollards, impediments intended to divert carts from damaging structures or entering an area. The one on the left is at the northwest corner of East Cary Street and Virginia Street. Just one block west of this one is the cannon bollard in the second picture. It is at the northwest corner of East Cary Street and Thirteenth Street. More common stone bollards can be seen just up Thirteenth Street protecting the Shockoe Slip fountain.

This "What Do You Know?" grew out of a visit to the St. John's Church, where guide Ray Beard asked us about cannons partially buried in the sidwalk in Shockoe Slip. He had heard the legend that they had been cast at Henrico's Westham Foundry, thrown in the river to avoid their capture by Benedict Arnold and retrieved to use as bollards. It was a possible connection to the county, so we decided to investigate. So far, we only know that they are cannons, but their source and even type are still a mystery. The Department of Historic Resources, in naming the Shockoe Slip as a historic district, made note of two Civil War cannons used as bollards, and a Times-Dispatch article from the 1930s identified the first one as a War of 1812 cannon.

While some evidence suggests the first cannon is a six-pounder and the other is possibly a Howitzer, we are unsure and will continue our quest to identify the type and source. We thank Quatro Hubbard at the Department of Historic Resources and Haywood Wigglesworth for their help in our search, and we would greatly appreciate any help our readers could offer.

We congratulate Dana Hanson for identifying them as cannons as well as naming their location, Anne Jackson for recognizing the object and its purpose, Marie Jennings for identifying its location, and Nancy Grubbs for sending us a photograph of one she came across in Charleston, South Carolina.

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What Do You Know?

What Do You Know object.

This wooden-handled metal item is 10 inches long and 3 inches wide. The "basket" is hinged, and the inset shows it opened.

Do you know what it is?

Email your answers to jboehling@verizon.net.

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News 2018: Second Quarter
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