CVHR Meeting (Jan. 5, 2017): Two presentations on 18th century freedom suits and 20th century photography

December 14th, 2016

The Fragility of Freedom: Kinney Family Freedom Suits in Virginia and Missouri

Bob Vernon’s presentation is a postscript to his 2013 presentation on the Kinney family and 18th century freedom suits.  He will review Kinney family history, with a focus on Thornton Kinney (born about 1811), a son of Amy Kinney, who received her liberty through a 1798 freedom suit in Louisa County.  It is a fascinating story that will cover Thornton’s life, emigration to Liberia, return to America, enslavement in Missouri, and more.

Hopes and Dreams in the Albert Durant Photography Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

A briefer presentation by Amy Speckart.  In 1991, a vice president of Colonial Williamsburg came across a collection of photographs taken by Williamsburg resident, Albert Durant, at a garage sale. Though outside the normal parameters of acquisition, Colonial Williamsburg acquired thousands of photographs by the part-time photographer, most of them from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Durant’s photographs are a record of a segregated Williamsburg, but beyond this, what meaning is there in the photographs of everyday events, such as church meetings and high school proms? Durant’s legal studies later in life give us an opening to explore the complexities of citizenship and community in a place that, like Monticello, claimed importance in America’s heritage.

Time and Location: 4 PM at the 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.

CHVR Meeting (Dec. 1): Murder, Moonshine, and Misconceptions: The People of the Ragged Mountains

November 19th, 2016

Cinder Stanton shared some preliminary findings about the lives of the poor residents of the Ragged Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular the eastern section along Route 29 South and the Charlottesville to Lynchburg railroad.  What were the people described by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to a UVA committee a century later as “savage,” “primitive,” “degraded,” and “degenerate” really like?  Topics covered included historical (and stereotypical) descriptions of the population, the legend of their possible Hessian origin, the importance of the railroad, the missionary role of UVA and the Episcopal church, the eugenics movement, the scarcity of educational opportunites, sassafras mills, and stories of some individual residents.

 

 

CVHR Meeting (Nov. 3): Using GIS and Mapping to Explore Albemarle County History

October 27th, 2016

Erik Irtenkauf, professional GIS analyst and history enthusiast, showed us the exciting results of using a Geographical Data System (GIS) and web mapping to enhance our understanding of local history.  He displayed his interactive maps of historic sites in Albemarle County and of migration routes taken by families leaving the county (using, for starters, the lists of emigrants in Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901).  Erik’s “story map” of the history of Hollymead and Forest Lakes combines a trove of documentary information with a rich assortment of maps and images.

If you missed the program, you can go to: http://www.albemarlehistorymapping.com

 

CVHR Meeting (Oct. 6): Charlottesville’s Rose Hill: A Discussion of Recent Research

September 30th, 2016

With maps and historic photographs, Steve Thompson helped us to understand the transformation of Rose Hill from an antebellum plantation to one of Charlottesville’s first subdivisions in 1890.  Rose Hill’s story includes the rise and fall of schools and industrial enterprises, Charlottesville’s changing racial demographics, and a number of interesting personalities. private

See Steve’s essay on Rose Hill, as well as colorful paintings of buildings of Rose Hill and other parts of town, in the new publication of Chroma Projects, Repository of Missing Places: Richard Crozier’s Paintings of Lost and Found Charlottesville.

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

August 28th, 2016

A lively and well-attended meeting at which we heard about three local projects involving local history.

Paul Cantrell told us about the Blue Ridge Heritage Project, a grassroots effort to honor the families displaced for the creation of Shenandoah National Park (SNP); Paul chairs the Albemarle chapter.  On November 5, a chimney rebuilt with stones from Blackwell’s Hollow and bearing a plaque with names of the displaced families will be dedicated at Byrom Park, which is adjacent to the SNP.  Phil James, author of Secrets of the Blue Ridge, is leading the search to identify the family names.  If you know of any families, particularly non-landowners, who were relocated during the creation of the SNP, do let Paul know (albemarleblueridgeheritage@gmail.com).  See also www.blueridgeheritageproject.com/albemarle/ and search “Blue Ridge Heritage Project” on Facebook.

Edwina St. Rose and Bernadette Whitsett-Hammond spoke about the work of the Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery and showed us some of the biographical information they have been posting on their Facebook page (in the Facebook.com search box just start writing “preservers” and it will come right up).  Established in 1873, the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and lately received funding from the city of Charlottesville for repairs and improvements.  You can help to identify some of the approximately 300 people buried there.  For a list of known names write cstanton1811@gmail.com.

Jeff Werner from the Piedmont Environmental Council told us of his hope that some forgotten history will be included in the county’s plans for the area around the new grade-separated intersection at Rio Road and Route 29.  We can help by providing information to stimulate recognition and interpretation of local history and preservation of significant sites.  Jeff mentioned the late 19th and early 20th century Woodburn Road/Cartersburg community as of particular interest.  Jeff’s email is jwerner@pecva.org.

 

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 revealed just a portion of what he is finding in his volunteer Chancery Cases Preservation Project at the Albemarle County clerk’s office.   He has been putting unfolded case papers into acid-free folders, photographing some of the contents, and doing further research on some of the African American families involved.  Even though the cases date after 1900 (the older chancery cases were transferred to the Library of Virginia in the 1970s), many contain documents relating to earlier times: slave lists, personal letters, land sale broadsides and so forth.  You can see some of the fascinating material Sam has assembled on his Facebook page for the project (search “Albemarle County Chancery”).

 

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 http://lch.maps.arcgis.com/home/.

 

 

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: www.ourfolkstales.com.