31 July 2007

10th Anniversary of Little Sorrel's Funeral

The 20th of July marked the 10th anniversary of the funeral of Stonewall Jackson's favorite faithful steed, Little Sorrel. On that hot, humid Sunday, July 20, 1997, I drove a van full of my twelve-to-nineteen-year-old Sunday-school students to Lexington, about thirty miles from my home in the Shenandoah Valley. Men and women in period dress, a bagpiper, reenactors, and a cavalry unit added to the historic atmosphere. James I. Robertson was the keynote speaker. The forty-five-minute ceremony consisted of remarks by Colonel Keith Gibson and Professor Robertson. Then, four reenactors lowered the casket into the grave. Attendees were invited to take a handful of dirt that had been gathered from the various Virginia battlefields where Jackson and Little Sorrel had fought and toss it in on the casket while the band played “Dixie.” The crowd was dismissed after a closing prayer, and a lone bagpiper played a haunting rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

After the ceremony, I noticed one of the reenactors with the rope that had been used to lower the casket into the grave. He was cutting it into six-inch pieces. My son asked the man for one of the lengths. At first the reenactor said that the pieces were keepsakes for the other reenactors, but later he gave my son one of the small lengths. I then cut it in half so I too would have a keepsake from this event. On July 18, 2000, a fire caused extensive damage to the Lexington Presbyterian Church, where Jackson worshiped and served. The roof and steeple were consumed, causing an 850-pound bell to drop through the floor of the second-story gallery. Water severely damaged the church’s nineteenth-century pews. Most of the structure was saved, and the steeple clock was painstakingly restored—down to the intricate hand carvings on the clock’s four faces. The steeple itself was reconstructed from timbers salvaged from the interior of the church. The members also secured replicas of the damaged pews.

When I heard of the fire, I took my family to Lexington to view the damage. When I saw much of the rubble—pieces of brick and stone and charred timbers—in front of a large green trash dumpster, I collected some of the pieces. Later, I made a shadow box with the church rubble, my souvenirs from Little Sorrel’s interment ceremony, and a photograph of James I. Robertson during the ceremony. This shadow box today occupies a place of honor in my home and serves as a constant reminder of Jackson’s legacy.

Today in Christian History

July 31, 1966: After John Lennon proclaimed the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," residents of Alabama burned the band's records and other products. Gotta love them Alabamians.

30 July 2007

"In this yard and in that garden I could walk from fence to fence on dead bodies, mostly those of Confederates. In trying to clear up, I scraped together a half bushel of brains right around the house and the whole place was dyed with blood." ~ Moscow Carter, son of Fountain Branch Carter, owner of the Carter House and Garden, on the battlefield at Franklin, Tennessee. (From the Civil War Preservation Trust's latest correspondence.)

Today in Christian History

July 30, 1775: The U.S. Army founds its chaplaincy, making it the Army's oldest division after the infantry.

July 30, 1956: In God We Trust becomes the official motto of the United States by an act of Congress signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower

29 July 2007

Today in Christian History

July 29, 1794: In a converted blacksmith's shop in Philadelphia, former slave Richard Allen assembles a group of black Christians who had faced discrimination in the local Methodist Episcopal Church. They formed the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the mother church of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, now known throughout the world.

27 July 2007

More On the Lack of Civility & Manners

"Cellphones are wonderful, but they empower the obnoxious and amplify the ignorant. Once they kept their thoughts to themselves. They had no choice. Now they have cellphones, into which they bark, 'I'm on line at Duane Reade. Yeah. Ex-Lax.' Oh, thank you for sharing. How much less my life would be if I didn't know." ~ Peggy Noonan (See full article here.)

Oh how true, how true.

The other day, I was getting out of my vehicle to walk into the post office. I immediately noticed this fellow who was walking toward me at a very fast pace while looking me square in the face and talking loudly. Naturally, my defenses went up and just as I was about to take some drastic measures, I realized he was "bluetoothing." How utterly obnoxious and manner-less (and in his case, a health risk). I assume this man either lacked proper child training in his youth and/or was trying to impress me with how important he was.

Can anyone imagine Robert E. Lee or Joshua Chamberlain wearing a blue tooth and yapping on in public? We have become the slob society.

26 July 2007

Today in Christian History

July 26, 1603: James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England. Among his many acts affecting English religious life--besides having the King James Version of the Bible named after him--was the issuing of the Book of Sports, approving sports on Sunday. We may therefore conclude that this was the genesis of the NFL.

July 26, 1833: After abolishing the slave trade in 1807, Britain's House of Commons bans slavery itself. Upon hearing the news, William Wilberforce, who had spent most of his life crusading against slavery, said, "Thank God I have lived to witness this day." He died three days later. Perhaps he should have phrased his thanksgiving differently. The Commonwealth of Virginia had abolished the slave trade in 1778, making it the first government in the modern world to criminalize slave trading.

Stating the Obvious

Some readers will find the following comments interesting. If only everyone was as honest as this!

"Nine or ten years ago, when I was a pup, one of my older female colleagues asked me why I wanted to teach women's history. Given that she was on my tenure review committee, I made some weak and diplomatic answer, stressing the goal of "teaching students about important women from the past whose stories have been neglected within the dominant narrative." My reviewer shook her head, and asked me 'Do you want to know why I teach women's history? I teach it to raise up young feminists!' I've never forgotten that, and I have come to adopt her position wholeheartedly (though she and I disagree mightily about some of the finer points of what constitutes feminism!)

Now that I am a 'born-again evangelical' (albeit one whose politics do not match the stereotype conjured up by that image), what does that mean for my teaching of Western Civilization? I would never say that I want to 'raise up young Christians!' But I can say that I do intend to do the following in my courses: structure an overall narrative -- and ask certain questions -- with the intent of leading students to what McKenzie calls the 'good news of a consistent alternative' to our culture's thin diet of relativism."

See complete post here.

Chaplain's Museum

Yesterday, I had my first official meeting as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum located in Lynchburg, Virginia (See previous post here). The purpose of the meeting was to review progress to date, discuss the fund raising plan, and brainstorm about promotion.

Work will begin soon on the website design, a promotional DVD, and a major fund raising push. More on that in the coming weeks and months. The museum is currently located in the DeMoss Center on the campus of Liberty University (Pictured here). This is a beautiful $25 million, 500,000 sq. foot academic center and is home to state-of-the-art classrooms, the Campus Library and Computer Labs, Liberty's main bookstore, and cafe and lounge areas. Located in the center of campus, it is the largest academic facility in Central Virginia.

The museum currently occupies a small room in the center but plans are in the works to move to larger accommodations at DeMoss in the near future. We have already received a large number of books, artifacts, and documents related to the work of Chaplains during the War Between the States. We would welcome donations or loans of relevant items. A gift shop is also planned in the near future. The Museum is open now for the public but visitors should call first as it is currently staffed by volunteers on an availability basis.

A modern, interactive, state of the art facility is our goal and we have made tremendous progress thus far with just volunteer help. Inquiries may be directed to me or Mr. Kenny Rowlette:

The National Civil War Chaplains Research
Center and Museum Foundation
PO Box 11182
Lynchburg, VA 24506

"The mission of the National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum is to educate the public about the role of chaplains and religious organizations in the Civil War; to promote the continuing study of the many methods of dissemination of religious doctrine and moral teachings during the War; to preserve religious artifacts; and to present interpretive programs that show the influence of religion on the lives of political and military personnel."

25 July 2007


After reading Michael Hardy's recent post about my recent post, I thought I should clarify something. Regarding my comments about the juvenile delinquents in the CW blogosphere, I want to make it clear (assuming anyone cares) that just because you are not linked from my blog, does not necessarily mean I consider your blog manners non-existent or that your Mama needs to take a bar of soap to your mouth. There are quite a few of you out there who I do plan to link to at some point. (Back to more serious WBTS topics tomorrow.)

23 July 2007

Where's the Civility "Dude"?

I continue to shake my head at some of the comments and crude, juvenile language I find on some CW blogger sites. Many of these bloggers are considered professional historians yet use language, phrases, and innuendo one would associate with Beavis & Butthead or some airhead on MTV. Due to this fact, I have refused to link to these sites because I want my site and links (as much as possible) to be "family friendly."

Some of the comments and language I've seen lately are so offensive that I was even considering "unlinking" from anyone who links to those sites. I realize, however, the futility of attempting to disassociate one's self with everything offensive on the web. I'm just fed up with the immature level of gutter language I see. I can only assume that these bloggers:

  1. Lack a vocabulary.
  2. Lack intelligence.
  3. Consider The Simpsons and Rosy O'Donnell educational television.
  4. Never had their Mama wash their filthy little mouths out with soap. (Mine did)
  5. Believe being crude gets them noticed; similar to the 14 year-old who passes gas in a junior high school class.

Call me a prude. If that is what it takes to get noticed, I'll be satisfied with obscurity.

20 July 2007

Lexington Carriage Company Continued

I received this very nice comment as a result of my recent post, Maggie and the Major. -

Mr. Williams,

Thank you so much for your very kind words. It was certainly a pleasure meeting Zach, today, although we joked with Wes that we would never have met if we depended on his good manners, as he left us to introduce ourselves. :) I was very impressed with how gentle he was with the horses--I appreciate that trait above most all others--he is most certainly welcome back here anytime. Although all of the horses are very important to me, and most dearly loved, Maggie and Major were the first ones that I fell in love with, and the first ones that I ever owned, so your article means all that much more to me. I always enjoy telling people about how they came by their names, and Maggie has always lived up to fiery tempered ways that Ms. Margaret herself seemed to have.

I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I just wanted to thank you so much for your support and I hope that you will ride with us again, soon. If you are planning to, please let me know, and I will get you some passes. Again, my best to both Zach and to you.

Shana Layman
Lexington Carriage Co.

19 July 2007

VA Senator Jim Webb & The Stonewall Brigade

During debate on Sen. Jim Webb's proposal to give a longer home stay to troops back from combat, the freshman Virginia Democrat digressed for a moment to tell about an ancestor who fought for the South in the Civil War.

It's not unusual for freshmen lawmakers to take such digressions as they make themselves better known to colleagues and constituents. The lawmaker was making a point about certain National Guard troops deploying to Iraq in September after returning only two years ago from a deployment in Afghanistan. Those troops are deploying with roughly 1,400 Virginia Army National Guard members of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, "the famous Stonewall Brigade," he said.

"I would point out as an aside," Webb said, "that this is a brigade with a long history that dates back to the Civil War, and, in fact, one of my ancestors fought in that brigade during the Civil War, was wounded at Antietam, and lost his life at Chancellorsville."

The original "Stonewall Brigade" was led by Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. (From Media General News Service)

18 July 2007

Maggie & The Major

My son Zachary is gaining quite a reputation up and down the Shenandoah Valley for his professional skill as a farrier (horseshoer.) After completing training at what many consider to be the best farrier school in the nation in December of 2005, Zach started his farrier services business in January of 2006. The profession involves much more than what most people think. The equine industry is big business here in the Valley and most owners want the best care for their horses. Many veterinarians often refer special hoof problems to qualified farriers, so specialized has their profession become.

I spoke with Zach early this morning and he told me he would be helping another farrier today shoeing some very special horses in Lexington. Two of them are shown here. Their names are “Major” & “Maggie”, named after Major Thomas J. Jackson and his sister-in-law by his first marriage, Margaret “Maggie” (Junkin) Preston. These fine animals are the property of the Lexington Carriage Company.

“Established in 1985, the carriage company's initial purpose was to support the Historic Downtown District of the city by giving narrated tours through the business district, the adjacent college campuses, and a portion of the historic residential area. Over the years, LLC has evolved and expanded its operation to include areas of the Shenandoah Valley and beyond by participating in local parades and providing carriage rides for festivals and special seasonal events.”

I’ve had the privilege of taking this historic carriage tour of Lexington on two separate occasions; once with my dear wife and once with a good friend of mine. If you are ever in Lexington, I highly recommend the tour as their guides are very knowledgeable about Lexington history. A friend of mine and fellow SCV member, Pete Furmick, is one of the guides and carriage drivers.

Another interesting note, the Lexington Carriage Company is housed in an old blacksmith shop known as Brown’s Forge. Blacksmiths in the Brown family shod General Lee’s horse, Traveller, as well as horses ridden by “Stonewall” Jackson. The Brown family still owns the building. The last Brown to work in the shop was in his 90’s and still working until the mid 1990’s.

Back to my son the farrier. If you happen to be in the Shenandoah Valley, central Virginia, or eastern West Virginia and find yourself in the market for a good farrier, please let me know and I'll put you in touch with one of Virginia's finest! Most of you will like the slogan he has on his business card which is a quote of Robert E. Lee's: “Always take care of the poor horses.”

16 July 2007

Kappa Alpha

This past Friday evening, I had the distinct honor of speaking to some of the finest young men in America. Eighty-one young gentlemen came from all over the United States to participate in Kappa Alpha’s Emerging Leadership Conference at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. This was a private event and we gathered in historic Lee Chapel for my lecture which was titled: The Key to Leadership—Triumph Over Self. I based my talk on Robert E. Lee’s decisions to follow duty and cast his lot with two “lost causes”: The Confederacy in 1861 and Washington College in 1865. The two decisions—though yielding vastly different results—were the result of the same motivating factors: Lee’s sense of duty and triumph over self. Earlier this year I was invited, along with several other authors including Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., to submit articles for KA’s journal with the subject matter focusing on leadership. My lecture Friday evening was based upon the piece I wrote for the journal. For those of you who are interested, you can read the article in the pdf download of the Spring 2007 issue here (journal pages 24-25) or in simple text here.

“KA traces its beginning to 1865, when four men at Washington College, in Lexington, Virginia, decided to bind their friendship by a ‘mutual pledge of faith and loyalty.’ Our founders sought to create an organization rooted in the highest ideals of the time. Those same traits of honor, chivalry, and gentility have remained timeless throughout the ages and are the core of Kappa Alpha.”

Kappa Alpha has a fascinating history, especially for CW buffs and admirers of Lee. Two of the founding fathers, James Wood & William Scott, fought for the Confederacy. Robert E. Lee, whose ideals of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct inspired the founders, was designated the "Spiritual Founder" of the Order by John Temple Graves at the 1923 Convention. The mission of KA is a simple one:

“Kappa Alpha Order seeks to create a lifetime experience which centers on reverence to God, duty, honor, character and gentlemanly conduct as inspired by Robert E. Lee, our spiritual founder.”

Their Order is based on the ancient tradition of chivalry and KA continually emphasizes the importance of this concept; so wanting in American society today. A number of distinguished Americans have been members including:

General George C. Marshall

J. Edgar Hoover

Admiral Richard E. Byrd

General George S. Patton

Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr.

Ben Crenshaw

Sonny Jergensen

Pat Boone

Randolph Scott . . . just to name a few.

The Kappa Alpha Order Administrative Office is located at Mulberry Hill, in Lexington, Virginia. Mulberry Hill is located on the western edge of Lexington, Virginia, is one of the town’s chief historic houses and forms a scenic backdrop for the Lexington Historic District and Washington and Lee University. Mulberry Hill is where Robert E. Lee spent his first night in Lexington, after arriving to assume the presidency of Washington College. Mulberry Hill is a Virginia Historic Landmark, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

These young men came to this event for a reason—to sharpen their leadership skills and I was impressed with their demeanor and attentiveness during the lecture. I had the privilege of chatting with several of them after my talk. What a delight to meet young men of this caliber. This was not your typical Fraternity event. The Academy’s alcohol policy is as follows:

“The Academy will provide an alcohol and drug free educational program and environment. All participants, regardless of age, are not to bring or purchase alcohol during the program. If this rule is broken, the participant will be sent home and charged a registration fee.”

After the event, we all gathered in front of Lee Chapel for the “Convivium Toast to Robert E. Lee.” I was invited to participate and offered a glass with some clear liquid in it. Not knowing about the alcohol policy, and assuming the liquid was vodka, gin, or some other adult beverage I, being a teetotaler, declined. One of my hosts chuckled and said, “It’s just water.” (Of course! How else would you toast Robert E. Lee?!) Somewhat embarrassed, I accepted the invitation and the toast was given:

“Knights, Gentlemen, Brethren:

Lift high your glasses here tonight, and, in the liquid spotless as his fame, let us pledge for all time the spiritual founder of Kappa Alpha Order—Robert Edward Lee of old Virginia! (Everyone): Robert E. Lee!”

An experience and privilege I will not soon forget! The Year of Lee continues.

12 July 2007

New Assignment

I am quite honored to have recently been asked to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum Foundation at Liberty University. Though I've been familiar with this new effort since it was announced in October of 2005, and though I've twice spoken at Liberty's annual spring Civil War seminar, I never thought I'd be asked to be involved at this level. The subject matter and focus of the museum is one that has fascinated me since I started studying the war seriously in the early 1980's; shortly after I became a Christian. The museum's focus is also a vitally important one in understanding our Nation's bloodiest conflict and one that needs broader awareness. It is my humble opinion that one cannot truly understand what motivated soldiers North and South unless this aspect of the war is considered. I am truly excited about this opportunity and looking forward to doing all I can to advance the museum's Mission:

"The mission of the National Civil War Chaplains Research Center and Museum is to educate the public about the role of chaplains and religious organizations in the Civil War; to promote the continuing study of the many methods of dissemination of religious doctrine and moral teachings during the War; to preserve religious artifacts; and to present interpretive programs that show the influence of religion on the lives of political and military personnel."

A number of distinguished historians, public servants, and businessmen are currently serving on the separate Board of Advisors including:

  • The Honorable Virgil Goode, Representative of the 5th District of VA to the US House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Kathy Byron, Delegate from the 22nd VA House District
  • Rod Gragg, Nationally Renowned Civil War Author
  • Terry Jamerson, Publisher, The Lynchburg News and Advance
  • Dr. Ervin, Jordan, UVA Records Manager & Research Archivist, The University of Virginia
  • Dr. D. James Kennedy, Pastor, Coral Ridge Ministries, Florida
  • Dr. James I. Robertson, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History, Virginia Tech
  • Marc Schewel, CEO Schewel’s Furniture
  • Dr. David Valuska, Professor of History Emeritus, Kutztown State University.
  • Dr. Steven E. Woodworth, Professor of History, Texas Christian UniversityAl Stone,
  • Al Stone, Nationally Noted Robert E. Lee Re-enactor
  • Rev. Lloyd Sprinkle, Sprinkle Publications, Inc.
  • Don Troiani, Nationally Renowned Civil War Artist

The foundation will soon begin a major fundraising effort and I am sure many of my future posts will involve the important work of the Museum. Those who would be interested in donating relevant items or contributing financially may contact:

The National Civil War Chaplains Research
Center and Museum Foundation
PO Box 11182
Lynchburg, VA 24506

(The image is by artist Dale Gallon and depicts Chaplain Beverly Tucker Lacy praying with Stonewall Jackson after discussing the role of the Chaplaincy in Jackson's 2nd Corps. I have a signed & numbered framed edition which hangs over the mantle in my parlor. It is one of my favorite paintings.)

More Hero Bashing by the Moderns

More hero bashing here, which is a review of *Elizabeth Brown Pryor's "Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters" (Viking, 2007, 658 pp.). The last sentence of the last paragraph in the "review" says it all:

"We need to see Lee and other heroes as they really were or are, because we need to see human beings as they really are, not as we fantasize them to be. And yet, something inside of us aches with a sense of loss when heroic Great Ones are dissected like T.S. Eliot's etherized patient on a table, and we find them, opened up, just as diseased from being human as we ourselves are."

Yes, that's all you need to read about this review, which is really nothing more than a back door hit piece on Robert E. Lee. So transparent, so predictable, so clichéd, so pathetic. In my opinion, the only ones fantasizing here are those who think Americans have always been the hedonistic self-absorbed pleasure seekers that they are today. The truth?

"Robert E. Lee never existed [in the minds of some] because we don't have a Robert E. Lee today." ~ James I. Robertson, Jr.

“Social historians are often driven by activist goals. Historical research becomes not an attempt to understand the past but a propaganda tool for use in modern political and social power struggles.” (Tom Dixon, The Death of Truth, Bethany House, 1996, p. 133.)

The year of Lee continues, despite the anti-hero lobby's best shots.

*(Note: I have not yet read Ms. Pryor's book, so these comments are only my response to the reviewer's take, not an opinion about the book itself. I was sent a copy by the publisher to review and I hope to get to that very soon.)

11 July 2007

Book Endorsement

This is one of those books that, with every turn of the page, you’re saying to yourself, 'Wow, I didn’t know that!' Richard Williams does a superb job of showing how Stonewall Jackson’s faithfulness to Christ continues to have an impact today. Richard’s love for Christ, too, is evident in the humble, skillful way he presents this amazing story. It’s a terrific read!

Lee Webb, News Anchor
CBN News

09 July 2007

Blog Upgrade

I am finally getting around to upgrading my blog to Blogger's "blogspot." And I'm lovin' the new features! Note the new URL:

http://www.oldvirginiablog.blogspot.com/ (Although, I guess if you're reading this, you've already found it . . . duh! Sorry, its been a long day.)

The upgrade gives me much more flexibility and some great interactive options for the blog, i.e. search capability, polls, video, audio, etc. I'm still exploring and experimenting with everything I'll be able to do. Although the old URL address still works . . . though I'm not quite sure why, or how long it will be around. Oh, the mystery of cyberspace! Anyway, The Old Virginia Blog is now searchable and I plan to add lots of links and interactive "stuff" soon.

I would appreciate all who visit here informing others about the new address. Thanks & stay tuned!

06 July 2007

Update on the Stonewall Documentary

Click Here. The film is being produced by Ken Carpenter of Franklin Springs Family Media:

"Carpenter’s previous production work has served clients such as Michael W. Smith, Max Lucado, Steven Curtis Chapman, PaxTV, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, The Gideons, Compassion International, and many other leading names in Christian media."

I will be traveling to the great state of Tennessee some time later this summer to consult on the final edit. A release date in early October is planned.

Independence Day at VMI

Once again, my family and I headed south to historic Lexington, Virginia on July 4th for the community holiday celebration on the Virginia Military Institute parade grounds. This is always a great family event complete with vendors selling everything from herbal tea to hot dogs, bluegrass music, carousel rides, hot-air balloons and, of course, fireworks. The firework show behind the VMI barracks with the United States and Virginia flag waving in the foreground is always an inspiring sight. It was here that the immortal Stonewall Jackson, at first a staunch Unionist, decided to cast his lot with his native Commonwealth of Virginia and fight for the Confederacy. It is here that he continues to be honored.

Our SCV Camp also had a recruiting booth set up at the event and I signed a few books for folks. There is no fee to get in and if you are ever in the area on the 4th, I highly recommend this great patriotic event for the whole family.

05 July 2007

Summer in the Shenandoah

Looking southeast near Middlebrook, Virginia.

04 July 2007

Patriotic Movie Recommendations for July 4th

Click Here.

Richard Henry Lee - Father of Our Independence

"In three months as delegate, Richard Henry served on 18 different committees - none as important as his appointment to frame the Declaration of Rights of the Colonies, which led directly to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry was accorded the well-deserved honor of introducing the bill before Congress:

...That these united Colonies are, and ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance from the British crown, and than all political connection between America and State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved...
The bill was adopted on July 2 - the formal act that dissolved the ties with England. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified - the American Revolution became a reality."

From: B. J. Lossing, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, George F. Cooledge & Brother: New York (1848) [reprinted in Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, WallBuilder Press: Aledo, Texas (1995)], page 173:

"Mr. Lee was a sincere practical Christian, a kind and affectionate husband and parent, a generous neighbor, a constant friend, and in all the relations of life, he maintained a character above reproach. "His hospitable door," says Sanderson, "was open to all; the poor and the destitute frequented it for relief, and consolation; the young for instruction; the old for happiness; while a numerous family of children, the offspring of two marriages, clustered around and clung to each other in fond affection, imbibing and delighted by the amiable serenity and captivating graces of his conversation. He necessities of his country occasioned frequent absence; but every return to his home was celebrated by the people as a festival; for he was their physician, their counsellor, and the arbiter of their differences. The medicines which he impoprted wwere carefully and judiciously dispensed; and the equity of his decision was never controverted by a court of law."

From: Robert G. Ferris (editor), Signers of the Declaration: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service: Washington, D.C. (revised edition 1975), page 92-94:

"Richard Henry Lee, brilliant orator and fiery Revolutionary leader, introduced the independence resolution in the Continental Congress, served for awhile as its President, and later became a U.S. Senator. Fearing undue centralization of power, he fought against the Constitution and led the campaign that brought inclusion of the Bill of Rights. Throughout his life, he strenuously opposed the institution of slavery. He and Francis Lightfoot Lee were the only brothers among the signers..."

In 1789 Lee entered the U.S. Senate, but because of failing health resigned in 1792, the year after the Bill of Rights was incorporated into the Constitution. He died in 1794, aged 62, at Chantilly. His grave is in the Lee family cemetery near Hague, Virginia."

"Robert [Lee] was born at the Lee ancestral mansion, Stratford Hall, and drew his first breath in the same room in which were born two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee." (The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen, page 61.)


02 July 2007

The Wharf - Staunton, Virginia

It appears that I’ll be moving my professional office to the historic Wharf District of Staunton, Virginia. I’ve long had my eye on relocating there and finally found a space that will work well. Staunton, in my opinion, ranks second only to Lexington in cities in the Shenandoah Valley that have been extremely successful in preserving their 19th century architecture and flavor. The Wharf area got its name due to the warehouse style buildings that occupy several blocks of old Staunton. Though no navigable water is nearby, the railroad is and these old structures once served for offloading and storage during the 19th and early 20th century. Today, most of the buildings have been renovated and are now being used for office space, retail, and restaurants. It is a beautiful and charming area and well worth visiting. I will be very close to some great restaurants as well: The Pullman and the Depot Grille. Also, in the Wharf district is the historic American Hotel which has just been renovated and is currently occupied by various businesses. I'll also be just around the corner from the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center.

“The present railroa
d station is the third one on this site. The first station was destroyed by General Hunter's troops in June of 1864. A runaway train at the turn-of-the-century destroyed the second station. Most of the warehouses and factories that were burned by Hunter's troops were in this neighborhood. One of the surviving pre-Civil War era buildings in this area is the former American Hotel , built by the Virginia Central Railroad shortly after the railroad came to Staunton in 1854. Once one of the finest hotels in Staunton, notable guests included the reconstruction-era Governor of Virginia, Francis Pierpont, in July of 1866, and the former Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard in 1874. In June of 1874, U.S. President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant were serenaded by The Stonewall Brigade Band from the now-missing front portico of this hotel when their train passed through Staunton.” (The front portico was restored during the recent renovation.)