CVHR Meeting (Sep. 7, 2017): Topic TBA

June 15th, 2017

CVHR Meeting (June 1, 2017): Round Table

June 15th, 2017

Garland and Mary Beth Dalton spoke about their search for Garland’s ancestors in the mixed-race Gibson’s Mill community of Louisa County.   Bob Vernon showed us the scope of his project to scan or photograph public records (including deeds, wills, tax lists, marriage records, order books, overseers of the poor records), mostly from Albemarle County from the 18th to the 20th century.   Jane Smith told of her research on Rebecca Farrar Cogbill, which placed her in a community of free blacks (including Kitty Foster and the extended Battles family) in the heart of the Ragged Mountains in 1850.

CVHR Meeting (May 4, 2017): Researching Montpelier’s Enslaved Community

June 15th, 2017

Elizabeth Ladner, Director of Research at Montpelier, reviewed the evolution of research relating to the large enslaved population that supported the Madison family, including the stories of a number of enslaved individuals.  She also provided a sneak peek at Montpelier’s upcoming exhibit, “The Mere Distinction of Colour.”

CVHR Meeting (April 6, 2017): Waterworks: A History of the Local Water Supply, 1819–2017

March 17th, 2017

Steve Thompson, Cinder Stanton, and Dede Smith told the story of Charlottesville’s public water supply, 1819-2017, from three different perspectives.  Steve focused on the various schemes for bringing water to the University of Virginia, from its founding to its collaborative venture with Charlottesville in the 1880s.  Cinder provided some background on owners of the land that is now the Ragged Mountain Natural Area—particularly the Mayo and Houchens families, whose land was taken by eminent domain from 1885 to 1910 by the town (later city) of Charlottesville.  Dede chronicled the problematic evolution of the municipal water system since the first Ragged Mountain Reservoir in 1885 to the present, illuminating issues of water quality, watershed protection, and local government authority that have affected decisions about reservoir locations and management for over a century.

 

 

CVHR Meeting (March 2, 2017): Discovering the Albemarle County Origins of the U.S.C.T.

February 18th, 2017

William Kurtz, digital historian at the Nau Center for Civil War History at UVA, brought us up-to-date on projects at the Center, with a special focus on its Black Virginians in Blue project.  He explained how—building on the work of Ervin Jordan—the project has found more than two hundred Union soldiers born in Albemarle County who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the war.

For Will’s account of research methods used in the search and for Elizabeth Varon’s posts about the men, formerly enslaved in Albemarle County, who served in Missouri regiments, see http://naucenter.as.virginia.edu/blog-articles.

If you know of a USCT soldier who lived in Albemarle before the war, let Will know (wbk2e@virginia.edu).  For a description of the Nau Center’s digital projects, see http://naucenter.as.virginia.edu/digital-projects.

CVHR Meeting (Feb. 2, 2017): From Mary Booth to Virginia Christian: Child Incarceration and the Making of the New South 

February 18th, 2017

Catherine Jones, professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a 2016-2017 fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is exploring the development of Virginia’s juvenile justice system in the four decades after the Civil War, when two thousand children under 18 were incarcerated in the Penitentiary.  While focusing on the 1882 case of Mary Booth, a fourteen-year-old African American sentenced to death for poisoning her employer, she illuminated conditions in the Penitentiary, the perils of convict leasing, attitudes to childhood and race, the fitful rise of penal reform, and the shifting relationship between punishment and protection.

Catherine is the author of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (2015).

 

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 told the story of the Kinney family and their struggles for freedom over two centuries and two continents.  In an experiment on behalf of finding the best methods to put CVHR-type talks online, he devised a way to let us listen to rather than read relevant legal documents (the voice was a Siri female).  One especially colorful example of the persistent re-enslavement of free people of color was Thornton Kinney, whose travels took him to Missouri, Liberia, and a rowdy San Francisco.

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

Amy Speckart previewed a presentation she will give at the Virginia Forum in March on a collection of thousands of images by an African American photographer, acquired by Colonial Williamsburg in the 1990s.  Albert Durant (1920-1991) photographed everyday events in a segregated Williamsburg from the 1930s to the 1950s.  Amy explored his life, his photographs, and the implications of their acquisition by an institution with a history of exclusion.

 

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.