CVHR monthly meeting (April 3rd)

March 31st, 2014

Hidden in Plain Site

Antoinette W. Roades will present research that revealed a forgotten plantation established in the mid-18th century on more than a thousand acres lying on both sides of what is now Route 29′s busiest stretch. She will focus on the area that was between the Union Ridge and Free State communities, just inside the horseshoe formed by Rio and Hydraulic roads  – aka the upper arc of the county courthouse-anchored Nine Mile Circle — and will offer sketches of owners including Carrs, Raileys, and Nuttycombes.

Location: The African American Heritage Center (AAHC) is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  The AAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

CVHR monthly meeting (Nov 7): Blue Ridge Tunnel

October 16th, 2013

Mary Lyons and Paul Collinge will tell us how Irish miners, African Americans, and a French engineer built the longest mountain railroad tunnel in the world.  The Blue Ridge Railroad-Virginia Central Railroad project was built by Irish famine immigrants and enslaved men between 1850 and 1860.  They will show portions of Mary’s digital book Dark Passage: The Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel and Mary will explain her recent discoveries about slave labor on the Albemarle County section of this massive public works enterprise.

This meeting will be held back at the Jefferson School!

CVHR Meeting (Oct. 3): Gleanings from the Union Ridge Research (at KENWOOD)

September 30th, 2013

After all the attention focused on the Sammons cemetery and homestead, we thought it would be a good idea to feature some of Jesse Sammons’s neighbors in the Hydraulic-Union Ridge-Cartersburg area.  Cinder Stanton and Alice Cannon will report on preliminary findings about some of the people of the community—their locations in slavery, their post-Civil War land acquisition, their brushes with the law, and their experiences trying to stem the tide of Jim Crow.  Gayle Schulman will introduce a new project related to the Civil War.  And we hope to have some discussion of ways to make CVHR research accessible.


4pm – Thursday, October 3 at Kenwood / The Jefferson Library

**The Jefferson Library is located on Route 53, almost half a mile past the Monticello entrance, if you’re coming from Charlottesville. Turn right at the white gateposts (an oval sign mentions Kenwood and the Jefferson Library). Park in the first lots you come to and walk uphill to the Library, the large building at the top of the circle.

CVHR Mtg (Sept 5th): “Thrown in the Background”: The Legacy of Builder Allen Hawkins (ca. 1800-1855)

August 21st, 2013

Antoinette Roades will share her research on Allen Woodson Hawkins, who came to Albemarle County as a teenaged bricklayer to help build Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village and stayed on to build houses for clients both white and black.  He also trained white and black builders (both slave and free). Several surviving examples of his work have been made local landmarks.  But his role has been consistently under recognized, and the site of his family graveyard on the Charlottesville block where he lived, built, and died is consistently threatened by city-promoted development.

CVHR Meeting (June 6th): Exploring the Plantation at James Madison’s Montpelier

May 14th, 2013

The Montpelier Archaeology Department is in the middle of a multi-year study of the homes for the enslaved community on the estate. Matt Reeves will talk about their four-year NEH study of four house sites within the historic visitor core as well as the larger property surveys for outlying quarters. With both projects, they are involving the public though one-week excavation programs—which have resulted in some great partnerships for promoting archaeology and Montpelier. Stefan Woehlke (University of Maryland grad student) will also discuss his GIS mapping project for placing this information into a larger geographic context.

NOTE: the CVHR meetings are being held in a NEW location: The African American Heritage Center (AAHC) is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW.  There is plenty of parking.  The AAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

CVHR Meeting (May 2): Interpreting Slave Dwellings (Two Cases)

April 15th, 2013

Sara Bon-Harper, now Executive Director at Ash Lawn-Highland, will talk about a quarter that was reconstructed in the 1980s based on an early 20th century photograph and the issues it raises.  She invites discussion on how to balance the need for accuracy in reconstruction, the importance of physical structures for public visitation, and the presence of strong narratives about slave life.

Lynn Rainville will talk about the surviving slave cabin at Sweet Briar College, the last of over two dozen antebellum structures that were built on the Sweet Briar Plantation.  During its 170-year history the cabin has been used as a domestic residence, classroom, farm tool museum, teahouse, a chapel, and the office of the Sweet Briar Alumnae Association.  Issues Lynn will raise include how to date the structure, what evidence exists about the residents, and how the cabin has been variously interpreted in the present.  Her research is supported by a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant.

CVHR Meeting (April 4): Bleak House Biographies

March 20th, 2013

Alice Cannon will talk about what she learned as she followed the paths after Emancipation of all the people who were enslaved at Bleak House, the James B. Rogers plantation near Earlysville: where they went, how they supported each other, what they and their children went on to do. She will particularly focus on the story of the Woodfolk and Whipps families and the Evans family: who stayed, who left, and how did they remained connected?

Kenwood Library, Monticello

4pm, the first Thursday of most months.

CVHR meeting (Mar 7): Sammons Cemetery Research

March 3rd, 2013

In the past several months, CVHR has learned of an African-American cemetery in the path of the proposed Route 29/Western Bypass.  Buried there are Jesse Scott Sammons, his wife and son, and Dr. George R. Ferguson, the first black physician in Charlottesville/Albemarle County.  Sammons was the son of Rollins and Sarah Scott Sammons of Hydraulic Mills and, for many years, teacher and principal at the Union Ridge school. This meeting will be dedicated to discussing our research into this once vibrant community. We will be joined by descendants of these families at our meeting.

Several CVHR members have been working closely with some of the descendants to prepare a response to the cemetery report submitted by VDOT; these members sent a packet of comments and historical information to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) a week ago. We can discuss the response to this packet and additional steps forward at the meeting.

CVHR Meeting (Jan 4): Researching Monticello During the Civil War

December 20th, 2012
Sam Towler has been following the wartime fate of Monticello and its black and white residents for a number of years and published an article on the topic in the 2011 issue of the Magazine of Albemarle County History. He will speak to us about the research journey that resulted in this article: how he started, what sources he found, and how he identified the African-American families who lived on the mountaintop.
Location: Kenwood Library at Monticello; 4pm

CVHR meeting (Dec 6): End-of-Year Free-for-All and Festive Food

November 18th, 2012

A good time to air our thoughts about CVHR in general and remind ourselves of what members are working on. I hope that all those who wish to will give us a short (5 to 10 minutes) update of their current and future research projects. And we’ll ratchet up the food and drink side of things.