CVHR Meeting (Sep. 1): What’s Going On Out There?

August 28th, 2016

Local projects involving local history are popping up all over the place.  So it seems time to learn about a few of them and learn about ways we might contribute our ideas and research.
We’ll hear from:
Paul Cantrell on the Albemarle Blue Ridge Heritage Project to honor families displaced for the creation of Shenandoah National Park.  The project is keen to learn the names of the non-landowners, black and white, who lived on the land that became the SNP.
Edwina St. Rose on the work of the Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery.  They are bringing people to light by assembling new biographical information and sharing it on Facebook.
Piedmont Environmental Council’s Jeff Werner on Albemarle County’s Small Area Plan for the intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road and its surroundings.  Historical information about the area can be shared with the community and can inform the naming of new streets, places &c.

Do come and bring us word of other projects that we can feature at later meetings.  In the meantime, stay up to date with the work of the Charlottesville Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Places:

CVHR Meeting (August): No August meeting

August 28th, 2016

CVHR Meeting (July 7): Summer Insights

August 28th, 2016

This meeting was lightly attended, but we had a good discussion, mostly about the CVHR web presence and how to improve it.  We need a “vision” for the website (and thus an estimate of cost) before we can seek funding sources.  In the meantime, some of us are working on ways to bring the website up to date in the short term.  All ideas are welcome. 

CVHR Meeting (June 2): Discoveries in the Chancery Cases Preservation Project

May 23rd, 2016

Sam Towler will reveal what he is finding in his volunteer project at the Albemarle County clerk’s office.  Chancery cases since 1900 are still there (the oldest chancery cases were transferred to the Library of Virginia in the 1970s).  While Sam has been unfolding the case files and putting them in acid-free folders, he has been taking notes and photographs.  With these and additional research, Sam has been able to bring to light some fascinating material illuminating the lives of African Americans in the county.

Time and Location: Thursday, June 2, 4-6 PM, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC), 233 Fourth St. NW, Charlottesville, VA.  There is plenty of parking.  The JSAAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

CVHR Meeting (May 5): Looking at the Trees, to Understand the Forest

April 28th, 2016

Robin Patton and Elaine Taylor of the Louisa County Historical Society demonstrated an exciting new project for putting historical information into a spatial context.  With a focus on the Green Springs area of Louisa County, they are using ArcGIS as a container for both individual and scholarly research about slavery to better understand antebellum communities. This project has great potential to be of benefit to other historical societies and non-profit organizations.  See what they are doing and explore the results at



CVHR Meeting (April 7): Updates

March 19th, 2016

This was a quadruple header.  Alice Cannon reported on new discoveries about the Terrell connections of the Woodfolk family that reached as far as the mining communities of Iowa.  Gayle Jessup White told us of making new family connections in the Robinson family through DNA testing, which shed light on her ancestor Eva Robinson Taylor.  Anne Chesnut displayed her design for the web version of the Starr Hill-Union Ridge brochure-map; the completion of the website is now in the hands of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH).  And Andi Cumbo-Floyd showed her brand-new website Our Folks’ Tales, dedicated to telling the stories of enslaved people, free people of color, and their descendants:



CVHR Meeting (March 3): The Rushes of Chestnut Grove: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom

March 19th, 2016

Starting with fragments of information she heard from family members, Regina Rush set off on a quest to trace her ancestors and found a rich source of information at the Small Special Collections Library at UVA, where she is Reference Specialist. She told us about what she has learned about Nicey and Isham Rush, enslaved at the Rives plantation Oak Ridge in Nelson County (including Nicey’s runaway attempt), and the path of their descendants to landownership in southern Albemarle County. Since some mysteries remain, CVHR members were eager to suggest further avenues to follow. For more information, see Regina’s blog post from 2014 ( Also, her story was featured in last month’s UVA Today (

CVHR Meeting (Feb. 4): More Rivers and River Men

February 4th, 2016

Philip Cobbs drew us into the world of watermen, with a presentation that looked at different perspectives on the men—mostly African American—who “ran” the rivers in batteaux in the 19th century.  These views ranged from the romantic (accounts by writers like George Bagby and David Hunter Strother) to the choleric (Thomas Jefferson enraged when his trunk of Indian vocabularies was stolen by a waterman) to the realistic (evidence about actual conditions of upstream and downstream travel).  Philip ended his talk with an evocative photographic journey on the Rivanna River.

CVHR Meeting (Jan. 7): Rivers, Rivercraft, and River Men

January 7th, 2016

Brian Coffield of the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society gave a presentation on the history of river and canal navigation—from dug-out canoes to batteaux to river boats to railroads.  His presentation covered the flexibility of these various modes of transport and also touched on the way that enslaved people were employed both on the boats and in the construction of these means of transport.

CVHR Meeting (Dec. 4): CVHR Celebrates 2014!

December 7th, 2014

Conversation and refreshments instead of speakers and agenda.  We’ll get together and  review the year and look ahead to 2015.

** The African American Heritage Center is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  It is on the second floor at the south end of the building. We meet at 4pm.