IWCHS NewsNotes Volume 2

As of May 1, 2005, Albert has amended his NewsNotes numbering ... NewsNotes issues through NewsNotes 70 are now labeled as Volume 1 NewsNotes. Starting May 1, 2005, subsequent NewsNotes will be numbered sequentially starting at 1 and will be labeled as Volume 2. To view NewsNotes prior to May 1, 2005, click here.

NewsNotes 0634 [Oct 4, 2006] NewsNotes 0633 [Sep 14, 2006]
NewsNotes 0632 [Aug 25, 2006] NewsNotes 0631 [Aug 19, 2006] NewsNotes 0630 [Aug 12, 2006]
NewsNotes 0629 [Aug 5, 2006] NewsNotes 0628 [Aug 1, 2006] NewsNotes 0627 [Jul 18, 2006]
NewsNotes 0626 [Jul 5, 2006] NewsNotes 0625 (Jul 1, 2006) NewsNotes 0624 [May 19, 2006]
NewsNotes 0623 [Apr 18, 2006] NewsNotes 0622 [Apr 18, 2006] NewsNotes 0621 [Apr 1, 2006]
NewsNotes 0620 [Mar 25, 2006] NewsNotes 0619 [Mar 15, 2006] NewsNotes 0618 [Mar 11, 2006]
NewsNotes 0617 [Mar 5, 2006] NewsNotes 0616 [Feb 18, 2006] NewsNotes 0615 [Feb 17, 2006]
NewsNotes 0614 [Feb 14, 2006] NewsNotes 0613 [Feb 11, 2006] NewsNotes 0612 [Feb ?, 2006]
NewsNotes 0611 [Feb 4, 2006] NewsNotes 0610 [Feb 1, 2006] NewsNotes 0609 [Jan 29, 2006]
NewsNotes 0608 [Jan 21, 2006] NewsNotes 0607 [Jan 20, 2006] NewsNotes 0606 [Jan 17, 2006]
NewsNotes 0605 [Jan 14, 2006] NewsNotes 0604 [Jan 14, 2006] NewsNotes 0603 [Jan 10, 2006]
NewsNotes 0602 [Jan 7, 2005] NewsNotes 2-31 [Dec 11, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-30 [Dec 7, 2005] NewsNotes 2-29 [Nov 25, 2005] NewsNotes 2-28 [Nov 20, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-27 [Nov 13, 2005] NewsNotes 2-26 [Nov 6, 2005] NewsNotes 2-25 [Oct 28, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-24 [Oct 22, 2005] NewsNotes 2-23 [Oct 16, 2005] NewsNotes 2-22 [Oct 4, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-21 [Sep 23, 2005] NewsNotes 2-20 [Sep 20, 2005] NewsNotes 2-17 [Aug 28, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-16 [Aug 24, 2005] NewsNotes 2-15 [Aug 14, 2005] NewsNotes 2-14 [Aug 7, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-13 [Jul 31, 2005] NewsNotes 2-12 [Jul 27, 2005] NewsNotes 2-11 [Jul 23, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-10 [Jul 16, 2005] NewsNotes 2-9 [Jul 9, 2005] NewsNotes 2-8 [Jul 3, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-7B Correction [Jun 27, 2005] NewsNotes 2-7B [Jun 26, 2005] NewsNotes 2-7A [Jun 15, 2005]
NewsNotes 2-6B [Jun 12, 2005] NewsNotes 2-5 [May 18, 2005] NewsNotes 2-4 [May 11, 2005]
NewsNotes 2 - Vol 2 [May 3, 2005] NewsNotes 1 - Vol 2 [May 1, 2005] -

NewsNotes 0634 [Oct 4, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Annual Court Days (actually just one day), presented by your local APVA "Preservation Virginia" chapter, is the big history event in the county this coming weekend. Saturday, October 7, 10AM-4PM at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield, you may take a journey in time back to colonial days. See dramatic presentations of actual court proceedings, reenactors in period dress, demonstrations by colonial craftspersons and authentically-clad militia preparing to defend against the predacious red-coated forces of King George III. It's all free of charge and no reservations are needed. A small poster, suitable for posting, will be posted to you shortly. For more info contact local APVA programs person Rob Friar at 357-9250.

We will be helping "Miss Emma" again this Sunday, October 8, after church ("attendance not mandatory since 1790") at 2PM. Please bring brush clearing tools and various hedgescaping implements. First person on scene please knock on the door and let Mrs. Mary Delk Crocker know that her property is once again being invaded by benign, bushaxe wielding IWCHS do-gooders. Please also try to do more damage to the overgrowth than to her wonderful 1730 Dutch Colonial dwelling! Address is 502 Grace Street in Smithfield. Hasn't moved since our last foray.

Several history related things are on Isle of Wight County's "Town & Country Day" schedule for next Saturday, October 14th. See numerous local media publications for details of antique cars, 1750 Courthouse tours, Schoolhouse Museum "hardhat" viewing, Boykin's Tavern and St. Luke's Historic Shrine tours. Trolley service to events starts at our Visitor Center, 335 Main Street, Smithfield. For more info contact the CVB at 357-5182 or 800-365-9339 or got to

Tree dedication for Helen Haverty King will take place 2PM Sunday, October 22, at Isle of Wight County Memorial Park in Smithfield. Your Society will meet there to remember the life and accomplishments of one of our county's most beloved and prolific historians.

Apologies to many of you who have contacted NewsNotes recently with inquiries and suggestions. I have not been able to respond yet but hope to be able to shortly. Thanks for your patience and stay in touch.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0633 [Sep 14, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Society Meeting this Sunday, 17 September, 2PM at Benn's UMC, intersection of Routes 10 (aka Benn's Church Blvd.) and 32 (aka Brewer's Neck Blvd.) We will have a presentation of the first draft of the re-printing and updating of Helen Haverty King's Historic Isle of Wight partly sponsored by your society.

Archeological Society of Virginia, Nansemond Chapter meets 7:30PM tomorrow, Friday, 15 September, at Dennis' Restaurant on Route 17 in the Churchland (aka Western Branch) area of Chesapeake. Guest speaker will be Michael F. Johnson, a professional archeologist, who has done extensive investigations at the Paleo-Indian site at Cactus Hill. Please arrive at 6:30 if you wish to dine before the presentation.

Your Society will have an exhibit table at the Isle of Wight County Fair which begins today at 4PM on the new county fairgrounds at "Heritage Park" on Route 258 halfway between Isle of Wight Courthouse and Windsor. The fairground itself is named for Joel C. Bradshaw, father of Supervisor Phillip Bradshaw a member if the IWCHS. Fair hours are 5-10P today, 4-11P Friday, 10A-11P Saturday and noon-6P Sunday.

Welcome Isle of Wight Public Schools social studies (and other) teachers to NewsNotes. I was humbled, no, wait that's not possible, but I was privileged and honored to present a crash course in Isle of Wight County history to our local government school teachers as part of their pre school-year "in-service" activities. Thanks to Tiffany Blatt for setting this up and to Melissa Wirtz of the Isle of Wight Museum and Dot Somerset of Bacon's Castle for assistance. Your Society also supplied gratis copies of Helen King's Historical Notes to the teachers.

Thanks also to Supervisor Stan Clark, Delegate Bill Barlow and County Parks & Recreation Director Alan Nogiec for supporting the dedication of the four new history markers for the former Nike-Ajax Missile Base "N-75" ,at "Nike Park" in Carrollton on Saturday, 2 September. Aka "Cold War Veterans Day," we hope to do this again, not the dedication but the veterans day part, on Saturday 1 Sep. 2007, so mark your calendars! We're also looking for a Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft missile with launcher. Let me know if you know where one is. The GSSTF "Stalwarts" with a few pick-em-up trucks could bring it home.

Next Wednesday, 20 September at 10AM, please rally again for work at Mrs. Crocker's house, 502 Grace Street in Smithfield to continue the vine clearing project. We hope to restore the property to at least its' 1974 appearance if not its' 1731 look. We'll need all the help we can get for this so come on out to assist with one of your Society's "hands-on" projects. We're taking a temporary summer break from our gravesite surveys because of poison ivy and heavy undergrowth.

Kudos to Society member Bryan Canter for all his efforts on behalf of the Town of Smithfield to help them overcome threats to their National Historic District status. Current development proposals in the Jericho Planning Area, which includes the "Windsor Castle" homestead of the founding family of Smithfield, are even more serious then the recent projects threatening the waterfront area. The town is at a watershed moment in its' history. Will it adhere to its accepted and agreed upon Comprehensive Plan and preserve priceless, irreplaceable historic and environmental treasures or destroy itself by auctioning off its' nationally renowned small town charm to "developers?"

We lost the 1834 Rowland Edwards House to fire last Tuesday. Sad. Turn to page 32 in your copy of Helen Haverty King's Historic Isle of Wight and draw some proper Victorian mourning crepe over the photo with the inscription "lost to history September 5th 2006.. I will forward to you Carolyn Keen's "before and after" photos just after I finish getting out this NewsNotes edition.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0632 [Aug 25, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Help save the 1730(?) "Crocker" House! - All dedicated Society members eager for a different type of adventure meet 2PM Sunday, 27 August, at 502 Grace Street in Smithfield. Bring brush clearing tools and wear gloves. This mission will be similar to what we did at the Shoal Bay Church Cemetery last year except we will be removing overgrowth from a home instead of grave markers. Mrs. Crocker may be in danger of losing her historic home if extraordinary measures are not undertaken. We will need lots of help so this is an excellent opportunity for you "arm chair" history buffs out there in IWCHS-land to turn out in force. I will send to you separately what the property looked like three decades ago. Also, if anyone can provide references which confirm that this house is indeed the oldest within the current limits of the Town of Smithfield, I would appreciate the info.

Tomorrow, Saturday, 26 August, Doris Gwaltney will be signing copies of her latest historical novel Homefront 1-3PM at the Barnes & Noble store in Coliseum Mall. This is a chance for all history minded folks to show your support for a renowned local author. See last NewsNotes (0631) for more details. A reminder to new subscribers that all past editions of NewsNotes are available on our website.

The new Captain John Smith historic trail includes four sites in Isle of Wight County. This trail follows the water and land travels of Smith 1607 through 1609. The water route includes Mother Tynes Bluff (Fort Huger) and Days Point and the land route has stops on Burwell's Bay (Fort Boykin) and, curiously, our very own Isle of Wight County Museum. Maybe our museum staff should check the guest book to see if he actually signed in. The sale on eBay of an authentic 1608 autograph by the great explorer might pay for a nice museum expansion program! Please go to for lots of details.

Society volunteers are needed to staff the IWCHS table for the Isle of Wight County Fair at Heritage Park. We need presentable and personable folks 4-11PM Friday, 15 Sep. and 10AM-11PM Saturday, 16 Sep. Please call president Jerianne Gardner at 238-2366 if you are able to commit to this.

Next Society meeting will be 2PM, Sunday, 17 September, at Benn's UMC, Benn's Church, VA. Special program will include a presentation by Bill Somerset and Carolyn Keen on the reissue of Helen King's Historic Isle of Wight.

Don't forget the 2 Sep dedication of the new history markers at Nike Park. See NewsNotes 0630 for details.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0631 [Aug 19, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Historical document search 2pm tomorrow, Sunday, 20 August, will be at the 1865 "Joshua Jordan" House across from 21358 Reynolds Drive in Carrollton. This address is actually for Joann & Peyton Nottingham who own this notable historic landmark and have graciously given us permission to search the premises for documents and photographs pertaining to local history. You may park in the Nottingham's driveway and walk over to the house. Despite it's outward appearance, the house, which is actually an addition to an older 1810(?) home behind it, is in surprisingly good condition for having been unoccupied for 40 years. The Nottinghams are torn between restoring and demolishing it. One would hope for the former.

Today 1-3pm Doris Gwaltney will be at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Patrick Henry Mall signing copies of her latest historical novel Homefront. This is the story of a local girl growing up in the Hampton Roads area during WWII and is just the latest in a series of well-received and positively-reviewed books by our very own famous local authoress. Doris is also the writer behind the soon-to-be-published update of COL E. M. Morrison's Isle of Wight County 1608-1907 "A Brief History of Isle of Wight County, Virginia" published for the 1907 Jamestown Tercentenary Exposition. This will be one of your local APVA Chapter's 2007 projects with Brenda Joyner as project manager.

Also today and tomorrow 10a-6p, our local Nansemond Indian Tribal Association will be having a "Powwow" at LoneStar Lakes in Suffolk. This is near Chuckatuck just a few miles south of Wills Corner on Route 10. Admission and parking are free for the family to enjoy local American Indian dancing and crafts along with good food. For further info contact Earl Bass at 252-771-2476. Thanks to Felice Hancock for the heads-up on this event. Felice is also the organizer of the upcoming 4 November history-based "Publique Ffaire" (yes, two Fs) on the campus of Isle of Wight Academy across Highway 258 from our Courthouse Complex in Isle of Wight, Va. More info on this later.

Your Patriots Day Committee is now planning for the next annual Patriots Day gala on April 14, 2007. They want to hear from businesses, organizations and clubs that want to participate. The committee needs locations for reenactments and also groups who want to sponsor an event or sell food and drink as fundraising activities. Volunteer helpers are also needed. Contact Nancy Guill at 356-1043 or Beverly Melton at our Tourism Bureau at 357-5182.

We lost our county's world-famous ship last Tuesday when the beautifully sleek N.S.Savannah was towed from our Ghost Fleet to Norfolk for maintenance and refurbishment.The newspapers reported that our erstwhile "Atoms For Peace" merchantman may remain in Norfolk and be developed as a museum. Well, it was nice to have had this National Historic Landmark in the County for a while anyway. Farewell Savannah!

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0630 [Aug 12, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Gravesite survey tomorrow, 2PM Sunday, 13 August, will start in Smithfield at 2171 James Street. Park across the street from this address please. There is one marker in the back of the house to record and we will proceed from there to other sites TBD. Thanks to Gigi Smith for permission to trespass on someone else's property! (It's hers, actually. She just doesn't live there.)

Also in Smithfield tomorrow from 3pm to 5ish (pm) the Virginia Military Preservation Association will have a "cruise in" of historic military vehicles behind Farmers Bank at the corner of Battery Park Rd. and South Church St. These are all authentically restored machines from WWII through the Cold War period. Members of the VMPA will be there to talk about their "babies."

And speaking of the Cold War, Francis Gary Power's latest edition of The Cold War Times arrived via email. I will forward this along to all of you shortly. It's a tad long but it only appears quarterly. I have forwarded this to you before and received positive feedback. Please recall that FGP,Jr. is the force behind the National Cold War Museum in Lorton, VA. and supports our efforts here to get our own Nike-Ajax Site N-75 recognized.

And speaking of Site N-75, a reminder that 10am Saturday, 2 September, is now set for the formal dedication of the four new historical markers at the former 1954 Nike-Ajax Missile base in Carrollton. We are extending a public invitation Hampton Roads-wide in hopes of making the event a gathering for veterans of the Cold War from all services. More details to follow in next NewsNotes.

And speaking of details, I hope everyone noted the extensive coverage and photos of our county's most famous historic ship in both the Daily Press and the Virginian Pilot last week. The beautiful yacht-like lines of the world's first and only nuclear powered merchant ship, the 1962 N.S. Savannah, may be clearly seen from Lawne's Neck. This National Historic Landmark (yes, it also applies to ships!), completely within the municipal borders of our county, will be moved to Norfolk soon for maintenance and may eventually be made into a museum. It was built to showcase President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program. If you do not feel like driving up to the Northern tip of Isle of Wight to see it, and shame on you if you don't, go to

And speaking of historic things, thanks very much to Angus "Buz" Hines for allowing us to search through the "Martin's Grocery" buildings last Sunday for local history related items and also for providing the Society with some wonderful 1950s era photos of the various Texaco stations which were really our county's first "convenience" stores. Look for these photos to be posted on our website. Also, look for an upcoming piece in The Smithfield Times about the store that "served four generations of local customers."

And speaking of "thank yous," local history-buff and author (No Borrowed Glory) Judy Bander has been working to revive memories of short-lived Frederick College in Portsmouth. Philanthropist Frederick W. Beazley founded the college in 1961 on what is now the site of TCC, Portsmouth Campus. Beazley had also founded Frederick Military Academy in Portsmouth in 1958. Any FC alums out there in IWCHS-land who want to help Judy or just want more info may go to

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0629 [Aug 5, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Historical document search tomorrow: I apologize for this short notice but I asked the property owners for permission to do our usual search ASAP and they really cooperated! Assemble 2PM Sunday, 6 August, at the former "Sentry Mart" (or "Martin's Grocery" for you long-term residents) at the intersection of Routes 17 and 32 (aka Carrollton Blvd. and Brewers Neck Blvd., respectively) in "downtown" Bartlett - do not confuse this with "downtown" Carrollton which is a half mile South at the Mega d'ors Shopping Mall. Thanks to Angus II and III ("Buz) Hines to search the three buildings on this site slated for demolition. The buildings are not old (1948?) but could possibly contain historically valuable memorabilia. "Martin's" has been a local landmark over a half-century. Thanks in advance to the Hines Family and to Bobby Martin for relating some local history.

And speaking of "thank yous," we want to express our appreciation to John Napolitano for a very successful search of the 1821 "Ned Bunkley" House last Wednesday. We found no significant documents but recovered three period (1821) mantles which we may be able to use in the restoration of the Charles Driver Jordan House. There was also a very interesting outbuilding on the property having an eight foot brick (English bond?) foundation and a wood "second storey." Maybe we could get Roger Healy to check this out for us and maybe "deep pockets" Jeff Stark to restore it!

Colonial dancing lessons in Smithfield: Join our local APVA next Saturday, 12 August, for colonial dancing at a very appropriate venue, the historic 1750 Courthouse in "downtown" Smithfield. A dance caller and costumed reenactors will lead willing (or even not-so-willing) participants in five eighteenth century period dances. Reservations are NOT required for the sessions at 10 & 11AM and 1, 2 & 3PM. This event is free and open to the public so come out to have some dancing fun or maybe just even to see and experience the event in our beautifully restored (thank you Mrs. F. B. Simpson!) Colonial Courthouse which was also the first building completed in 1751 in the new town of Smithfield, Virginia (thank you Arthur Smith IV!) For more info contact Rob Friar at 757-619-3374. (PS: Rob also protects the town from British, Hessian and loyalist incursions as the commander of your local Isle of Wight County Militia, when he is not organizing dances.)

GSSTF report for Historic St. Luke's "Graveyard" is now published and available to all on the Society website. This significant effort by your Society's Gravesite Survey Task Force is the first time in the 370 year history of the church that a systematic and complete recording of all markers has been done. Thanks to all who helped and especially to the St. Luke's staff who field checked our work to make an even better product. The staff at the Shrine will use the data in our report to produce their own "2007" commemoration publication.

Other cemetery sites recently published and also on our website are the Jordan, Davis and Thomas cemeteries on Field of Dreams Lane and the Butler Cemetery on Boyette Lane. Special thanks, as always, to "webwiz" Ernie Powell, our datameister, GSSTF photographer, GPS recorder and publisher of all of our cemetery surveys. PS to Ernie: I apologize for the "shear laziness" comment in a recent email.

And speaking of St. Luke's, I hope you noticed the press reports of the CBN film crew which recently used the Historic Shrine as a movie set. As the oldest existing church of English foundation in America and our nation's only surviving actual Gothic structure, St. Luke's made the perfect setting for a Regent University docudrama about Anglican minister Robert Hunt who accompanied the first Jamestown settlers. St. Luke's was used to represent Hunt's church in England before he left for the New World. RU is producing the film as one of their own "2007" commemoration" projects.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0628 [Aug 1, 2006]

To Isle of Wight County Historical Society

Historic document/photo search of the 1821 "Ned Bunkley House" (see HHK, HIOW page 11) has just been allowed for the IWCHS by the property owner. This historic structure is, sadly, in non-restorable condition and slated for demolition. Also, according to the 1937 "Florence Jordan" WPA survey, there may be an unmarked cemetery on the property. You must be a member of IWCHS to participate in this event and all will be required to sign a liability waiver. Meet 10AM Wednesday, 2 August, across from 19501 Battery Park Road and enter the lane between the two brick pillars. The house is about 300 yards down the lane hidden by overgrowth.

A history camp for youth will be offered 7-11 August by the Isle of Wight Museum in cooperation with St. Luke's Historic Shrine. This program titled "Who, When, Where and Why? It's Revolutionary!" will teach Colonial and Revolutionary War history to 8-12 year olds. For registration information contact the Museum at 757-357-7459.

Archeological sites on Lawne's Neck appear to be protected, or at least openly identified, to prospective buyers. I availed myself of Timberline LLC's invitation last Saturday to explore their development "Lawne's Point on the James" which includes most of historic Lawne's Neck. I talked to an agent who was showing a lot to a potential buyer and the agent had the archeological sites on that lot clearly identified and assured me that they were being openly revealed to clients. Additionally, for you naval history buffs, a road, perhaps temporary, has been constructed along part of the high bluff above the James River and offers a spectacular view of our county's historic "ghost fleet" which includes the N.S. Savannah, the world's first and only nuclear powered merchant ship.

Fort Huger interpretation committee (see NewsNotes 0627 on our website) made a very informative reconnaissance of two similar but well developed Civil War sites in the Richmond area: Parker's Battery and Drewery's Bluff. The group talked with NPS guides and got some excellent ideas and advice on what should be done to properly interpret Fort Huger, tell it's dramatic story, preserve the earthworks and make it accessible to the public by next year. We envision, among other things, historical markers similar to those now in place at "Nike Park."

Dedication ceremony for the four new historical markers at the former Nike-Ajax Missile Site N-75 ("Nike Park") in Carrollton is scheduled for 10AM Saturday, 2 September. Plans at the moment include an American Legion color guard and a display of Cold War military vehicles by the Virginia Military Preservation Association. The date selected was the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the beginning of the Cold War when the USSR exploded it's first A-bomb on 29 August 1949. This event, coupled with the Soviet's construction of their knock-off B-29, the TU-1, launched four decades of global nuclear "cold" confrontation interspersed with the "hot" actions in Korea and Vietnam.

Colonial dance event in Smithfield on Saturday, August 12. Details in next NewsNotes.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0627 [Jul 18, 2006]

Special "GSSTF" event tomorrow, Wednesday, 19 July: Meet 0830 (yes, 8:30AM!) in the parking lot of the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield to join a reconnaissance of Civil War (that would be "American" Civil War for our NewsNotes readers in Isle of Wight, UK) sites that could be models of how we may want to interpret Fort Huger (see below). We'll visit several historic sites including Drewry's Bluff which, if you recall, was more successful than our own Forts Boykin and Huger in defeating the USS Monitor and her sister ships of the James River Blockading Squadron in 1862. Provide your own transportation and bring $ (that's Pounds for the UK folks) for lunch. We can double, triple or fourple-up in vehicles to reduce energy costs if you wish.

The historical interpretation of Fort Huger has been selected by the county for an official "2007" project. The plan is to have it open to the public for next year's expected Yankee tourist invasion for the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown. Recall that the fort is on Lawne's Neck where, according to his notes, Captain John Smith himself snooped around in 1608 looking for additional settlement sites near Jamestown. The concept is to restore part of the original 1862 road into the fort, build pedestrian walkways into and throughout the fort and put up historical signs, similar to those at Nike Park, to allow visitors to learn and appreciate the fort's role in denying the James River to the Yankee invaders as a water route to our beloved capital in Richmond. A committee of local history buffs and government bureaucrats, I mean public servants, is enthusiastically working together to make all this happen.

Lost and Found: The 1821 Ned Bunkley House. Some society members, who wish to remain anonymous, found this structure tucked in woods off the present Battery Park Road. Following Mrs. King's directions, Tom Finderson and I had looked for it last year in preparation for your Society's driving tour map but we could not find it and presumed it demolished. But it's there, completely hidden and overgrown with vegetation and is in very sad, probably unrestorable, condition. It appears to retain all of it's original structure however. For some details of this little homestead please see HHK, Historic Isle of Wight, page 11.

Thanks very much to Elise and Bill Kennett for the wonderful tour Sunday-before-last of the historic 1809 Davis Day or "Day-Casey" house on Mokete Trail. The restoration by previous owners and the obvious present loving care and presentation by the Kennetts was a real treat for all. They were especially gracious in opening up the house to the general public on that day and not just the Historical Society. My favorite part, I mean besides, of course, all the incredible period antiques and the marvelous preservation of the building itself, was the single brick way up on the south chimney inscribed "DD 1809." Thanks again Kennetts for contributing to the conservation and dissemination of Isle of Wight County history!

Your 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia was featured in last Sunday's Daily Press (Local News) coverage of the reenactment of the Battle of Green Spring on the 225th anniversary of this little known engagement which preceded the epic victory at Yorktown three months later. The two full color photos depict, accidentally I assume, members of your militia. There were many more important units participating, but I guess your authentically-clad militia was the most photogenic! Our readers in England will appreciate knowing that we even have fun reenacting less-than-epic British victories like Green Spring. Even though the Marquis de Lafayette tried to outsmart Lord Cornwallis, the wily Brit was able to turn the tables. To learn more go to

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0626 (Jul 5, 2006)

We lost a dear friend, Marjorie Keeling, on Monday. Her funeral service is tomorrow, Thursday, 6 July, 3PM at the Windsor Christian Church. Visitation will also be at the church beginning 1:30PM. Marjorie will be sorely missed by all of us in the Historical Society of which she was a charter member. She was also a long time member and staunch supporter of, as well as an enthusiastic contributor to, the Boykin's Tavern Museum Advisory Committee. For details of her many other local and regional accomplishments please see her obituary in yesterday's (4 July) editions of both The Daily Press and Virginian Pilot. Our county's history-minded community will sorely miss her.

The historic Day-Casey House will be the site of our Society's next historic home tour at 2PM this coming Sunday, 9 July. Built 1809 in Flemish bond from bricks fired in a kiln in nearby Pagan Creek, it is also known as the Davis Day Home from it's builder who married the granddaughter of Robert Tynes, builder of the 1750 Dutch Colonial "Tynes Plantation House" near Tynes Corner. Please read HHK, Historic Isle of Wight, page 31 for more details of the Day-Casey House. Off Wrenns Mill Road (aka Route 677) turn southeast onto Kings Landing Lane. About a mile down turn right (north) onto Mokete Trail and look for the 15400 mailbox. If you drive a big gas-guzzling environmentally-hazardous SUV please use the farther entrance and park near the barn. Sincere thanks to the Kennetts for hosting us.

Our historic document search last Sunday (see NewsNotes 0625) turned up a circa 1930 "family tree" scroll tracing the 250 year history of the Robert Lilly and Mary Fanny Moody Family. We searched two structures doomed to demolition but this document was actually found in the attic of a third structure nearby by Carl and Patricia Pollard who donated it to the Isle of Wight County Museum. It is in the temporary care of the Historical Society.

At Historic St. Luke's next Saturday, 15 July, 11AM-2PM, local authoress Judy Bander will premiere and sign copies of her latest historical novel No Borrowed Glory, A Revolutionary Experience. The story takes place during the Revolutionary War, partly in Isle of Wight County and features The Old Brick Church (St. Luke's) as one of the venues. Although I usually do not recommend historical fiction, I'll make an exception for award-winning Judy Bander because of her focus on local events and issues and because she has also published a supplement to this novel titled Facts Within the Fiction, a Companion Study that differentiates historical truth from the made up stuff. Go Judy! For more details go to

Also next weekend, your very own 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia will assist General "Mad Anthony" Wayne and the Marquis de Lafayette on Saturday and Sunday, 15-16 July, in reenacting the 6 July 1781 Battle of Green Spring. This was an assault by units of the Continental Army on British forces near Jamestown under the locally infamous British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and his even more notorious subordinate Banastre Tarleton. This battle was a precursor to the glorious victory at Yorktown three months later. Come out and cheer for your side! For directions and details go to

We are taking up a private collection to assist our treasurer in the purchase of several gallons of "silver colored aluminum paint" for a special project. I'm told your Society's Executive Committee refused his request for Society funds. See today's Smithfield Times for details.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0625 (Jul 1, 2006)

Apologies to all for the hiatus in NewsNotes communiqués. I was involved in another project that consumed considerable time.

Normal GSSTF field survey for tomorrow will not be normal. We have permission to do an historical document check of an old (1860ish) house slated for demolition. Meet 2PM Sunday, 2 July, at 14564 Benns Church Boulevard. Its a small two-storey white painted home with a tin roof directly in front of Benn's UMC across Route 10. Please bring the usual collection of tools to do some poking, prying and prodding into enclosed spaces that may hide neat stuff.

And speaking of the GSSTF, last week your IWCHS team conducted its' final survey of the "graveyard" at St Luke's Historic Shrine. We checked and reconciled some discrepancies which the St. Luke's staff had discovered in their own field check of our work. Of the hundreds of markers recorded, we were happy to note very few errors in transcription. St. Luke's is the only church cemetery in the county, of the many we recorded, to actually participate in the survey by volunteering to proof our work. Thank you St. Luke's staff! This event also proved the efficacy of the map we drew of the lay-out of the cemetery. Your Society will now publish its' own usual report and St. Luke's will use the data to publish its' report as one of their "2007" projects.

And don't forget to celebrate our nation's 230th anniversary this weekend by attending one (or all) of the several traditional fireworks displays in the county or in surrounding communities. Happy Birthday USA!

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0624 [May 19, 2006]

This is a reminder of some events this weekend sent out in previous NewsNotes.

Your Society will meet 2PM this Sunday, 21 May, at the fabulous 1889 Mansion on Main in Smithfield for a business meeting only. Bring your issues and topics for updates and discussion. 2007 is just around the corner! The public is invited as usual but we won't have our usual blockbuster entertainment program. Project managers please come prepared to account for your projects and update the group on ongoing actions. Dawn Riddle, our hostess, has a great website at The mansion is located at 36 Main Street in the heart of historic metropolitan Smithfield right at the only stoplight in town.

Archeological Society of Virginia, Nansemond Chapter, meets 7:30PM today, Friday, at Dennis' Restaurant, 3356 Western Branch Boulevard in the Churchland area of Chesapeake. Arrive at 6:30PM if you want to enjoy a meal from Dennis' great menu. Speaker will be archeologist Mary Clemons pf Archeological and Cultural Solutions, Inc. of Williamsburg. Mary is also a member of this local ASV chapter. Her topic is "Excavations of a Multicomponent Site on the Casey Tract in James City County." This meeting is, as usual, also open to the public.

St. Luke's Annual Pilgrimage is Sunday, 21 May, at the Historic Shrine. This 49th annual pilgrimage service starts 2PM followed by the guest speaker, William P. Carrell, II of Kentucky. He is the tenth great-grandson of Colonel Joseph Bridger, Isle of Wight's most distinguished citizen during his lifetime. He was a Burgess 1658-1663 and his house "Whitemarsh" on Brewer's Creek was most likely the largest home in Tidewater Virginia at the time and was the focus of his landholdings which were also probably the largest in the county. He is buried in the Chancel of St. Luke's. For details see HSL website at

Glebe Rogation Day will be celebrated Saturday, 20 May, 9AM-3:30PM with a fair at the 1738 Glebe Church nearby in Driver at 4400 Nansemond Parkway. Originally Bennett's Creek Church, it is one of the few in Virginia to retain its complete 300 acre colonial glebe lands which was the property owned by the parish and used to produce income. Rogation Days are the three days preceding Ascension Sunday. Your very own Isle of Wight County Militia may be present at this fair.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0623 [Apr 18, 2006]


Drop in between 11:30 and 3:30 on Patriot's Day, April 22, for tea and treats at the Mansion on Main Bed & Breakfast (1889 Painted Lady on corner of Main & Church St. in Smithfield's Historic District) and to visit with History Chicks and United Daughters of the Confederacy. An entertaining, eccentric Victorian lady will share local history stories and gossip as well as her best medicinal advice and beauty tips (from before the turn of the 20th Century). For more details, visit the Patriot's Day Web site at or call Mansion on Main at 757-357-0006.

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NewsNotes 0622 [Apr 18, 2006]

 NewsNotes has been alerting you to Patriot’s Day in Smithfield for months now.

 The day is upon us!  Here is the official CVB press release:

 For Immediate Release                      CONTACT:            Beverly Melton

                                                                                                (757) 357-5182

Smithfield & Isle of Wight, VA, March 2006

The Town of Smithfield and Isle of Wight County proudly present the 2nd Annual Patriot’s Day on April 22, 2006 in historic downtown Smithfield. A day of family-oriented living history from the Revolutionary period through the Civil War era will be celebrated throughout Smithfield. Headlining the Patriot’s Day events will be Clay Jenkinson of “The Jefferson Hour” in two shows. Jenkinson portrays Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis in a 10:00 a.m. show, and then returns for a 1:00 p.m. show to portray Meriwether Lewis in a family friendly performance. The Yorktown Fife and Drum Corps. is scheduled to perform along Main Street and Isle of Wight County’s own 16th VA Regiment will encamp from Friday evening until Sunday. Re-enactors throughout historic Smithfield district include Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Paul Jones, General Robert E. Lee, a Revolutionary Soldier, female Civil War Spy, indentured servant and a local spinster. Heritage Crafters will share their talent with visitors and colonial sheriff plans on arresting local colonial law-breakers and locking them in the stocks and pillories. Tours will be available at the Visitor Center and St. Luke’s Church during the day.

Tickets for Clay Jenkinson performances can be purchased at The Christmas Store on Main Street in Smithfield or by calling (757) 357-7891.

Patriot’s Day schedule of events can be found at or you can call the Smithfield and Isle of Wight CVB at (757)257-5182 or 800-365-9339.

 Event Highlights:

 Headline Performances - Admission

Clay Jenkinson of “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” Portrays Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis at the Smithfield Center for two shows. First show $21 per person. Second show $16 adults/$5 children under 18. 

 Isle of Wight welcomes its 16th VA Regiment – Free of charge

Civil War re-enactors set up camp on Friday night, welcome their cavalry on Saturday morning, march to The Smithfield Center for maneuvers Saturday afternoon and break camp on Sunday.

 Re-Enactors throughout Main Street District - All Free of Charge


Patriot’s Day is sponsored by the Isle of Wight County Historical Society and APVA.

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NewsNotes 0621 [Apr 1, 2006]

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Sunday, 2 April, will start 2PM - don't forget to switch from EST to DST tonight! - from the parking area at the Joyners Bridge recreation site on Route 611 (aka Joyners Bridge Road) where it crosses the Blackwater River. This is about 2 1/2 miles west of Maynards Crossing where Walters Highway (aka Route 258) crosses Route 611. If you cross the bridge, immediately turn around and re-enter Isle of Wight County. The Southampton County Historical Society may consider any crossing of the "Blackwater Line" an invasion of their sovereign territory. Burton Bradshaw will lead us to a family cemetery on Hunt Club Road.

The "clerestory" architecture of some homes in Isle of Wight County was highlighted Tuesday in an excellent historical article in the Virginian Pilot by Veronica Gorley. This architectural feature, unique to our area of Virginia and parts of Northern North Carolina, was applied to some homes between about 1820 and 1850. Bob and Shirley Lewis' home "Elmwood" on Route 258 was featured in the article but several of these wonderful structures still exist in the county. Two that immediately come to mind are "Carroll's Shop" at the corner of Norsworthy and Reynolds in Carrollton and the "Hearn" place across from Westside School in Smithfield. It is generally theorized that this architectural feature may have been modeled locally after Scotts Factory Mill on the road of the same name.

Suffolk Civil War Weekend continues tomorrow with narrated bus tours of Hill Point Battery, Fort Crans and Riddick's Folly House Museum 1-4PM. Horse and carriage rides through Cedar Hill Cemetery, a Virginia Civil War Trails site. Oakland Cemetery tours at 2PM will focus on the five members of the United States Colored Troops buried there. For costs and details of all these events call 923-3880 or go to the event website:

A reminder: Isle of Wight Branch of the APVA - repeat after me: "Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities" - or "Preservation Virginia" for those of you less historically inclined, will have it's annual meeting 4PM Sunday, 9 April, at its' headquarters, the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. The public is invited to hear our preeminent reenactor and Commander of the Isle of Wight County Militia Rob Friar present "The Virginia State Navy in the American Revolution." We will have a truncated GSSTF field event that day to promote maximum attendance.

And...Patriots Day is looming large on the horizon. Go to for details of this 22 April major local historical extravaganza! More details to follow in next NewsNotes.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0620 [Mar 25, 2006]

Gravesite survey Sunday, 26 March, will start 2PM at the "Bridger" Cemetery near 23050 Antioch Road, directly across from Antioch Church. The site is considerably overgrown so please bring some brush-clearing implements. Permission to record is thanks to Jane Tomes of Roanoke Rapids, NC, a direct descendent of Joseph Bridger (1628-1686) who was Isle of Wight's most distinguished late 17th Century citizen. He was a Virginia Colony Burgess in 1658 and 1663, member of the King's Council of State in 1673, the county's largest landowner in his time and is buried in the chancel of St. Luke's. We also have permission to record four other sites including one at the historic 1798 "Abraham Jones" House (HHK, HIOW p.48). This will be a good day for us local history buffs!

Congratulations to Debbie Sivertson upon her selection to be the county's first Historic Resources Manager. On April 16, Debbie will transfer from being the "Assistant to the County Administrator" to the Parks and Recreation Dept. as the new overseer of our county's historic properties. In addition to managing the Museum, Boykin's Tavern and Forts Huger and Boykin, Debbie envisions a broad ranging proactive program that also includes history signage, education, preservation, historic interpretation and obtaining Certified Local Government Status for the county. She looks forward to working closely with the IWCHS.

Cheroenhaka Chief Walt "Red Hawk" Brown was an exceptional hit at the Society's meeting last Sunday. His lively presentation of the tribal history and struggles of his people from the early 1600s to the present was well documented and richly entertaining. This was the best program of local history we have had at a society meeting in quite a while. The Cheroenhakas were native to the area around the Blackwater, Notttoway and Chowan Rivers which includes present day Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties. Contact info for this very local history-minded tribe is or phone 757-516-8125

Concerning the 1857 Charles Driver Jordan House, your Society is considering the possibility of having Isle of Wight County instead of the IWCHS take ownership of this historic property on Route 10. It may be in the best interest of the long term preservation and use of this historic home that it be leased from the county by the society rather than be under our direct ownership. Negotiations among the IWCHS, the County, the developers and the property owners are pending on all issues impacting this structure and its' location. IWCHS Executive Committee has authorized the President and Vice-President of the Society to negotiate on the Society's behalf.

Thanks to Jane March (aka "The Historian of Zuni") for volunteering to be our new Secretary. Our grateful thanks to Sarah Wright who performed this task magnificently for the past four years. This is a burdensome and often thankless job that is absolutely essential to the success of the Society. Much appreciation to Jane and a very heartfelt thanks to Sarah for all the detailed minutes of past meetings and other voluminous correspondence.

The circa 1815 County Jail building at the courthouse complex in Isle of Wight, VA, was approved for restoration by the County Board of Supervisors. This will add even more historic tourist attractions to the "new" (1800) courthouse area and will fit in well with 18th century Boykin's "Tavern" and the 1822 Clerk's Office.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0619 [Mar 15, 2006]

GSSTF field trip today will start 10AM from Stotts Crossroads. Curiously, this is where Foursquare Road changes to Broadwater Road and Racetrack Road changes to Central Hill Road (If anybody knows why, I'd like to know) and is also the intersection at which Route 637 crosses Route 620 about 5 miles southwest from the historic Foursquare Plantation House. This famous landmark, which we hope will not be moved anytime soon, is mentioned for the benefit of Paul Harvey, and maybe others, who seem to need a little more help than the rest of us. Jeff Stark is doing such a great job with the GSSTF entertainment and refreshments that we hope he can have Ernie bring these items today on his bike.

Archeological Society of Virginia, Nansemond Chapter, meets 7:30PM this Friday, 17 March, at Dennis' Restaurant, 3356 Western Branch Boulevard in the Churchland section of Chesapeake. Guest speaker is archeologist David Brown of the Werocomoco Group who will present "Archeology at the Fairfield Plantation: Home of the Burwells." Research there includes recent interpretations of this 1694 manor house, an eighteenth century slave quarter near the house and evolution of the plantation landscape from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Guests are welcome at these presentations and you may take the opportunity to join the ASV.

Don't forget: 1) Last chance on Saturday, 18 March, to see the 32nd VA Rgt. in action at Endview Plantation before they reflag as the Isle of Wight Rifle Grays and ) Your Society's meeting 2PM Sunday, 19 March at Benn's UMC featuring Chief "Red Hawk" Brown of the Nottoways. Details of both events may be found in previous NewsNotes on our website above.

Clay Jenkinson, our Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis persona for Patriots Day 22 April in Smithfield will be Tony Macrini's guest this morning on WNIS radio AM790. Hope I can get this out in time to give you a few minutes notice. I realize that the highlight of your morning is probably not sitting at your PC waiting for the Wednesday AM edition of NewsNotes to direct you to the day's GSSTF event.

That's all for now,


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NewsNotes 0618 [Mar 11, 2006]

Gravesite Survey for 2PM Sunday, 12 March, will start at 13320 Courthouse Highway. Here we will meet Burdette Edwards who will lead us to the probable burial site of "Long Nancy" Tynes, one of Isle of Wight County's most notable citizens. In 1836, as a freed slave, she built the house on Foursquare Road described by Helen King in Historic Isle of Wight p.83. From there we will proceed to at least two other sites, one to the north at Gatling Pointe South and the other away down South on Route 620 near the Blackwater River so be prepared for some driving. Paul Harvey will probably, as usual, try to get us all into one vehicle. Also, as usual, Jeff Stark is in charge of refreshments and entertainment.

The 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield is looking for more docent tour guides to expand its' summer hours of operation to show Yankee tourists from Williamsburg a real colonial structure and to encourage them to spend the cash, saved from their free Courthouse tour, in the shops along Main Street. Recruiting, training and scheduling are done by Brenda Joyner. This job does not pay much - about the same as a volunteer firefighter - but it is a marvelous opportunity for you to learn and teach local history while helping boost your local economy. Contact Brenda at 357-9794 or

Last chance to input the county's Architectural Survey. Historian Kimble David presented her final draft to us last Wednesday and has allowed 30 days for any last minute suggestions for inclusion of any more above-ground, man-(or woman!)-made historic structures. Copies of the draft report were given to the committee members who assisted in the initial effort so if you know of a structure that may not be on the survey, contact me, Jerianne Gardner, Tom Finderson, Jane March, Marjorie Keeling, Dot Somerset or Debbie Sivertson. This is the final call for input before the report is published.

Next Saturday, March 18, at Endview Plantation in Newport News will be your last chance to see the 32nd Virginia Regiment (CSA) in action before they "reflag" as our very own Company D, 16th Virginia Regiment "Isle of Wight Rifle Grays" and relocate over here to the Southside. Look for a capsule history of this unit in next month's The Observer magazine published for distribution in Isle of Wight County by The Virginian Pilot.

Boykin's Tavern Museum Advisory Committee is looking for a member from the southern part of the county. The pay is the same as for the Courthouse docents mentioned above. The work involves advising on the future development of Boykin's "Tavern," your county's only historic home open to the public and does require some time commitment once per month during the day. If you are interested, reply to this NewsNotes and we will check you out. We need a truly dedicated history minded person for this august group to help oversee the preservation and development one of our county's premier historic resources.

Annual Meeting of the Isle of Wight APVA Branch is announced for 4-6PM Sunday, 9 April, at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Free and open to the public, this meeting of our local Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (Preservation Virginia) Branch will feature Robert Friar and Howard Helmer presenting "The Virginia State Navy in the American Revolution." This is an excellent opportunity to learn history, support the APVA and even join your local branch. For more APVA info visit

Don't forget your Society meeting 2PM Sunday, March 19th at Benn's UMC and also get your tickets for Clay Jenkinson's Patriots Day performance of Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis on April 22nd. Tickets may be purchased through Jim Abicht at The Christmas Store on Main Street.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0617 [Mar 5, 2006]

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Sunday, March fifth (were the survey today, we could march forth!) will start 2PM at 1400 Kingsale Road (aka Route 612) which is actually in Suffolk. Kingsale Road is Outland Drive in Isle of Wight and is a bit over two miles north of Carrsville along Old Myrtle Road (aka Route 632.) We will link up with Pat Holland and Stephen Butler who will lead us to the first cemetery site - reportedly a Civil War vet - on Farmland Road (aka Route 694) and then on to at least one other site.

County Architectural Survey results will be presented 7PM Wednesday, March 8, in the Board of Supervisors Room at Isle of Wight County government complex off Monument Circle on Courthouse Highway. This community forum is open to the public. Several members of your Society were instrumental in assisting Kimble David, the contract architectural historian, in completing the survey. Please recall this survey of above-ground structures is the counterpart survey to the below-ground archeological survey of which our Gravesite Survey Task Force is an important part.

Our very own CSA reenactment unit, Company D (the "Isle of Wight Rifle Grays"),16th Virginia Infantry Regiment was featured on the cover of this month's "The Observer" magazine which highlighted the upcoming events of Smithfield Patriots Day, April 22nd. Attached is a short history of this local unit which may appear in the next issue of the magazine. "Co. D" was formed shortly after Virginia declared her secession from the USA and the unit was initially comprised mostly of Smithfielders.

Don't forget your Society's upcoming meeting 2PM Sunday March 19th at Benn's United Methodist Church. No gravesite survey that afternoon so all may attend. Our informative program for the day will feature Walt "Chief Red Hawk" Brown of the Nottoway Indians. Guests are cordially invited and a business meeting will follow the program. Our meetings are always open to the public and advertised as such so feel free to spread the word around. Also be prepared to fork over your annual dues to our esteemed treasurer and gravesite surveyor Jeff Stark.

GSSTF report for Emmanuel Church Cemetery is now published. This 25 page report compiled by our webmeister Ernie Powell is available upon request. Most large cemetery reports are now published except for historic St. Luke's graveyard. We have asked the St. Luke's staff to field check our work before we finalize our own report. As you know, the Historic Shrine will also use our work as one of their 2007 projects.

National Geographic Magazine for March this year features the "Battle of Hampton Roads" between the CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor. Not only were there several "sailors" from Isle of Wight on the "Virginia" but shells from Monitor's 11 inch Dahlgren guns (see page 145 in the article) landed in our county when this vile Yankee warship attacked our heroic Confederate defenders at Fort Huger on 12 May 1862. We hope eventually to recover forensic evidence of this treacherous act of aggression when we are able to conduct a proper archeological survey of the fort.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0616 [Feb 18, 2006]

Next Society meeting is now scheduled for 2PM Sunday 19 March in the Family Life Center of Benn's United Methodist Church, Benns Church, Virginia. Benn's UMC is at the intersection of Routes 10 (aka Benns Church Blvd) and 32 (aka Brewers Neck Blvd) barely a brisk walk from Historic St. Luke's Shrine. Guest speaker will be Walt "Chief Red Hawk" Brown who will talk to us about the Nottoway Indians. We will have a short, hopefully, business meeting after the presentation. A reminder to all that IWCHS meetings are always open to the public and guests are very much welcome. Thanks to President Jerianne "Chief Yellow Hair" Gardner for setting up the program. Actually, it's her job anyway, I just wanted an excuse to use her other little-known title.

NewsNotes introduces a new feature with this issue. We'll call it "History Movie Reviews" or maybe "Pretend History Movie Reviews." In any case, please recall I requested a critique of "The New World" from any of you who may have ignored the opinions of respected historians and bravely decided to spend your very own Yankee dollars on this film. Attached are two reviews by faithful NewsNotes subscribers. I offer these because they exactly correspond with my own judgment formed by never actually having seen the movie at all. I will be glad to print any other reviews of history-type media productions any one sends as long as they agree with my own sentiments. Thanks to critics Jim Blesse and Loyd Rawls. And speaking of Loyd...

Colonial style dance instruction, in preparation for 22 April Patriots Day, is still ongoing at the new Smithfield Middle School on Turner Drive by dancemeister Rawls. This is a great way to meet like-minded history buffs and/or just other dance aficionados. Criminal and financial background checks are done on all participants so it's also a great way to meet eligible bachelors and bachelorettes if you are in the market for such. Classes are 4-5:15 alternate Mondays and 5-6:30 alternate Saturdays. Ask Loyd for details at We hope to have lots of eighteenth century "dancing in the street" on North Main April 22nd.

Gravesite survey for 2PM tomorrow, Sunday, 19 Feb will start at the Ragged Island access area directly across from the Raceway (nee Racetrack) Gas Station on Carrollton Blvd between the JRB and Dashiell's "South of the James" establishment. We will search for a few small sites in this area and then finish up with two others at the end of Yellow Rock lane. Thanks in advance to Richard Cassell for agreeing to lead the search and to animalpersons Ed and Sunny Snow for further access to the Norsworthy site.

Gravesite survey for 10am Wednesday, 22 Feb, will start at 8271 Wrenns Mill Road to record a single marker and then on to Purvis Lane for two more sites. One of the sites is the cemetery behind historic Poplar Hill, aka The Stott House. We must look for the brick with the "1793" date. Amazingly, the house is still owned by descendents of the Stotts! Please read ahead on page 81 in Helen King's Historic Isle of Wight for the story behind this wonderful late-eighteenth century home. Thanks to aspiring painter Martha Ward McCabe Bartlett Walker for access and permission to record.

"The Real America" is the title of the audience-interactive performance of Alexander Hamilton by Hal Bidlack at 8PM next Saturday, 25 Feb. at the TCC Roper Theater, 340 Granby Street in downtown Norfolk. You may have heard him on the Jefferson Hour with our Patriots Day star Clay Jenkinson. Hamilton not only rose from poverty to founding father but achieved fame hereabouts in 1781 when he lead the successful night bayonet attack against the Hessians defending Redoubt 10 at Yorktown. Unfortunately, he was famously shot to death in 1804 in a duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr who apparently had better aim than his current successor in that office. Call 671-8100 for tickets and ask for the Historical Society discount

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0615 [Feb 17, 2006]

 Following is a slightly modified draft text for our Fort Huger historical
 marker, as sent to Jerianne Gardner by Scott Arnold, and based on the
 input, also following, by John V. Quarstein, Director of Historic
 Resources, City of Newport News.

 Scott Arnold's comments and the revised text:

 In the course of the research the department conducted we did not find
 specific reference in the Official Civil War Records which states who the
 fort was named for.   As you recall, the site was referred to by a number
 of different names in the Official records, which of course we do not have
 enough space to discuss on a sign, nor its naming.  The foundry has become
 very strict on the number of words we can now place on a sign.

 The historical society and county might wish to pursue a Virginia Civil
 War Trails sign for the site. If you want some information on the program,
 please let me know. There you can go into more details of the event and
 the naming of the site.

 FORT HUGER (2/16/06)

 One mile northeast, at Hardy's Bluff on Lawne's Neck, existed Fort Huger,
 a Civil War earthen fortification. Virginia State Engineer Col. Andrew
 Talcott authorized this and other forts to block any Union naval advance
 up the James River to Richmond. Beginning in July 1861, enslaved and freed
 blacks assisted in the construction of Fort Huger. It formed the right
 riverine flank of Confederate Gen. John B. Magruder's Peninsula defenses
 in 1862. Union gunboats engaged Fort Huger on 8 May 1862 and USS Monitor
 shelled it on the 12th. After several bombardments, Confederate forces
 abandoned it by 19 May.

 Scott Arnold
 Manager of the Historical Highway Marker Program
 Department of Historic Resources
 2801 Kensington Avenue
 Richmond, VA  23221
 804-367-2323, ext. 122
 Fax 804-367-2391

 DHR Marker Web Page:

 Agency Website for more information:

 And here is JVQ's input:

    Thanks for your message containing the proposed historical marker for
 Fort Huger.  Over the past several years I have conducted significant
 research about this fort.  Accordingly, I have the following comments:
        1) It is very good that Colonel Andrew Talcott is mentioned.  He
 was a very good friend of R.E. Lee (Lee was his best man at Talcott's second
 marriage) and helped to build Fort Monroe as well as various railroads
 including the Richmond-Danville R.R.
        2) Somewhere you need to mention for whom the fort was named -
 Major General Benjamin Huger, commander of the Confederate Department of
 Norfolk. Huger graduated from West Point in 1825 and was a noted ordnance officer
 in the US Army, however, his Confederate career was checkered.
        3) You should reference the right 'James River' flank of Magruder's
 2nd Peninsula Defensive Line.  Fort Huger was created to provide crossfire
 to the Mulberry Island Point Water Battery (Ft. Crawford was its covering
 work) and therefore block Union access up the river to Richmond.
        4) The fort was actually under command of the Dept. of Norfolk, not
 the Army of the Peninsula.  Nevertheless, Magruder recognized the fort on
 Hardy's Bluff as critical to his defenses.
        5) Fort Huger mounted 13 heavy guns - one 10-inch rifled Columbiad
 (Fairfax band), four 9-inch Dahlgrens, two 8-inch Columbiads and six
 32-pounders (prepared to fire hotshot).  I think that the hotshot furnace
 is of particular interest.
        6) My research indicates that Fort Huger was abandoned following
 the May 17th bombardment by US Navy forces.
 I trust these thoughts will be helpful.  While I have noted more
 information then there is probably room for on the sign, I do think that the name Fort
 Huger should be placed in perspective.  Perhaps you could make these

 Line 1-2    ...existed Fort Huger, a Civil War earthen fortication named
 in honor of Confederate General Benjamin Huger.
 Line 4-5    ...It formed the right riverine flank of Confederate Gen. J.B.
 Magruder's Peninsula defenses.

 If you have any questions or comments concerning these suggested changes,
 please do contact me.  Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,
        Your obedient servant,
        John V. Quarstein

 Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0614 [Feb 14, 2006]

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Wednesday, 15 February, will start 10AM from the Main Security Gate at International Paper, 34040 Union Camp Drive. Off Routes 58/258, about 1/3 mile east of the Blackwater River, turn south onto Jamestown Lane (aka Route 691) and then right onto Union Camp Drive. Although "IP" has a "Franklin" mailing address, this major tax-revenue producer remains steadfastly within the borders of our county because we Isle of Wighters pay close to $1 mil. per year to the City of Franklin to keep them from annexing it! In any case, Sheryl Raulston, IP's Environmental Manager, will meet us at the gate to take us to the cemetery on Wash Hole Road. Sheryl says she might also be able to locate some other cemeteries for us to record. Much thanks to International Paper for permission to access their property.

Historic Resources Manager position for Isle of Wight County is now open. There should be many of you out there in IWCHS land who would be interested in this new job! The work involves managing the Museum, Forts Boykin and Huger, and Boykin's Tavern. Eventually we may even get the county to include the Nike Missile Site in Carrollton as an historic site! This manager will be responsible for increasing public education and community outreach as it pertains to historic resources and overseeing staff and volunteers. Submit your application and resume by February 20 to: Human Resources, P.O. Box 80, Isle of Wight, VA 23397. Go to the county website at for complete info or call 365-6304.

"The New World" movie is now showing. If anyone out there in IWCHS land would like to view it and submit a review to NewsNotes, I would be happy to publish it. Because this "chick flick" has received such horrible reviews for its' cartoonish mockery of Virginia and national history, I personally do not intend to waste my own money on it. If anyone really wants to see it for the purpose of submitting a review to NewsNotes maybe I could ask the Society to reimburse you the cost of one adult ticket. Please do not take any children or students to see this movie because they will become irrevocably tainted by fake "history."

Don't forget upcoming events: Archeological Society of Virginia, Nansemond Chapter, meeting 6:30PM Friday 17 Feb. at Dennis' Restaurant in Churchland; Next IWCHS meeting 2PM Sunday 19 March, place TBA, and, of course, historic Patriots Day in Smithfield, 22 April, 10A-4P.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0613 [Feb 11, 2006]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, Sunday, 12 February, will record several sites under the guidance of Patricia Holland along Wash Hole Road. All interested in helping record meet 2PM at the defunct shopping mall (Airway Shopping Center?) parking lot on Carrsville Highway (aka Route 58) between Airport Drive (aka Route 616) and the Springdale Apartments. Closest point is about where Lees Mill Road (aka also Route 616) intersects 58. Look for the derelict building which was a fast-food place at 1333 Carrsville Highway. If it snows tomorrow, we will postpone this survey to Sunday Feb. 19th. Thanks again to Pat Holland for her diligence and patience.

Josiah Parker Site Update: Contrary to what you may have heard or read, there is absolutely no legal contention between your Society and the Weinstein Family who owns the property where our county's most notable patriot rests. The Weinsteins have always been extremely cooperative and accommodating with all interested parties and remain good stewards of our county's history. The only unresolved issue is the size of the protective area around the gravesite. DHR favors the standard 100 x 100 foot enclosure but a smaller area might be more appropriate. This project is being handled at the county administrative level with the full participation of the Weinsteins and the IWCHS.

The history themed "Blue Way" for portions of the Pagan River and Cypress Creek needs volunteer committee members to help plan the markers and route for this 2007 Legacy Project for the county. If you are interested in assisting with this effort to place historical signage for boaters on our waterways please contact Jerriane Gardner at 238-2366 or reply to this NewsNotes and I will pass on your name to Jerianne.

The proposal in the Virginia General Assembly to facilitate access by recognized non-profit historical associations to property containing important archeological and/or historical sites got a little off track recently in the current legislative process. Your Society and others are working together to help draft an acceptable bill which respects the rights of property owners but also provides for the care and preservation of historical sites which abound here. The history of our country is decidedly not the property of any individual to destroy at will but belongs to all Americans and our future generations.

Our highway historical marker for Fort Huger may be approved by the Department of Historic Resources in mid-March. The proposed wording is attached. Thanks to all who helped with this effort and especially to Scott Arnold the program manager at Commonwealth level for his research and patience during the development process.

Archeological Society of Virginia, Nansemond Chapter, will meet 7:30PM, 17 February at Dennis' Restaurant 3356 Western Branch Boulevard in Churchland. Program features Archeologist Dan Sayers presenting evidence of runaway slaves in the Dismal Swamp and discussions with Professor Wanda McLean concerning the history of the area. Dinner begins at 6:30PM so arrive early if you want a delicious meal from Dennis' menu.

Mark your calendars for the next Society meeting Sunday, 19 March, at 2PM. Place is TBA and no GSSTF survey that day.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0612 [Feb 8, 2006]

Cemetery survey team will meet 10am this morning at Dewitts Automotive Center 25780 Walters Highway (aka Route 258) about 2 1/2 miles southwest of Windsor. No cemetery here folks, but this is the closest known rendezvous point I could think of before we head to the "Johnson" site on Parsons Drive (aka Route 687.) This will be a search effort in the woods so bring some brush clearing tools as well as rakes and pokers. Actually I have all this stuff but if someone can bring a bush axe please do.

A reminder to all that GSSTF surveys are always 10AM Wednesday and 2PM Sunday. All are welcome to come out and help record. I guess I wanted to explain to some of you new NewsNotes listers why the directions above are short notice. Sometimes I'm not able to complete the site preparations until shortly before the event.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0611 [Feb 4, 2006]

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Sunday, 5 February, will start 2PM at the Carrsville Community Center building on Community House Drive in Carrsville. No cemetery here, at least that we know of, but Pat Holland will meet us here to lead us to several small gravesites close by. These sites are listed as IW-1,IW-3, and IW-5 on the Elsie Cox paper provided by The Southampton County Historical Society. The Community Center is on Route 58 across from Carrsville Elementary School at where Colosse Road (aka route 641) intersects Route 58 (aka Carrsville Highway.) Thanks to Mike Andrews for doing the research and to Pat Holland for agreeing to lead the team to the cemetery sites.

Patriots Day Committee announces the start of ticket sales for Clay Jenkinson's 22 April performance of Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis at 10AM in the Smithfield Center. This event is the anchor for all Patriots Day activities. Cost is $21 but there is also a shorter, more "family friendly," performance at 1PM for $16 adults and $5 children. There is limited seating for both performances so see Jim Abicht soon at the Christmas Store on Main Street in Smithfield for tickets or call him at 357-7891. More detailed info on Patriots Day is available at or call Nancy Guill at 356-1043.

Schoolhouse Museum Oral History Committee still needs volunteers to help transcribe interviews taken from county residents who attended the one, two and three room schools that dotted our county landscape prior to 1960. Many of these austere but historically important buildings still survive but most are deteriorating rapidly. Many are still salvageable and could be used for a variety of purposes. If you would like to help record the stories of the many local citizens who attended these schools, contact Sandra Lowe at 766-8427.

County Historic Resources Office, according to The Smithfield Times, was approved by the Board of Supervisors last Thursday. I don't know any details yet and the position vacancy announcement is not posted on the county website, but should be soon. It is very encouraging that our County leadership realizes what a truly historic-gem-in-the-rough our county is and only needs to be polished and presented to the public. Putting this office under the Parks and Recreation Department is probably a mistake because the requirements for recreation often conflict with the needs for preservation and historical development. We would be better served if "history" were under Tourism, a more symbiotic relationship, or funded as an independent office directly under the county administrator. We'll see how the office evolves.

February is national Black History month. Visit or call the Smithfield Library to inquire about their various programs that celebrate the history of Africans in the new world. The Daily Press today had excellent coverage of Civil War reenactor Gregory Cherry who portrays a black Confederate musician at the James A. Fields House in Newport News. I have worked with Greg on several history events and know he is a serious and enthusiastic student and proponent of local history. I have also asked him if he might be able to help us add an African-American component to our newly formed Company D, 16th Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA, the "Isle of Wight Grays."

A hearty welcome to the numerous new "listers" who now receive IWCHS NewsNotes. We are now over 300 subscribers! Please visit our website above and feel free to review previous issues of NewsNotes on this site made available by our webmeister Ernest Powell. If you ever need to communicate with the Historical Society, just reply to this or any NewsNotes. Remember that our activities are open to all. You are encouraged to join our Society but NewsNotes are still free. Please find the application form for IWCHS membership on our website.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0610 [Feb 1, 2006]

Final GSSTF visit to Perry Farm site 10AM today to photograph and measure the slate slab we found. This vault cover is particularly interesting because of its' proximity to the site of the now-removed 1736 William Eley House (HHK, HIOW, p. 35). Society members will recall that the only other similar find was at the Windsor Castle cemetery in Smithfield. Please see NewsNotes 0606 for directions and a reminder to all new listers that previous editions are on our website above. From the Perry site we will head north and east to complete two small sites on Five Forks Road and then to Longview to record the single grave "Lowe" cemetery the Oliver Farm. Thanks to Raymond Oliver for permission to access this site.

Patriots Day Committee announces dancing classes in preparation for the big day in Smithfield on April 22nd! Join Loyd Rawls and his merry band of citizens learning Colonial dance at Smithfield Middle School. Lessons are free, fun and for all ages. In the 18th. century, even ladies with babes in arms danced so you can't use lack of a sitter as an excuse not to come! Goal is to have a Colonial dance demonstration ready for Patriot's Day. Classes will be on alternate Mondays 4-5:30PM beginning 6 February and alternate Saturdays 5-6:30 starting 11 February. For more information contact Loyd at You staid history-minded gentlemen may recall that George Washington himself was an avid dancer!

That's all for now folks,


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NewsNotes 0609 [Jan 29, 2006]

Representatives of the "Isle of Wight Grays" (Company D of the 16th Virginia Infantry Regiment), the Civil War reenactment unit which is relocating from Newport News to Isle of Wight County, met this week with both county officials and the Patriots Day Committee to work out details for future activities. All involved are very enthusiastic about this significant development in the public portrayal of our county's history. A small infantry and cavalry contingent will make its debut in Smithfield for Patriots Day, 22 April, following their last appearance at Endview Plantation on 18 March. I am at a loss for words (for once!) to convey to you the positive effect this large military reenactment unit will have in putting our county "on the map" for history tourism and especially the inflow of those lovely Yankee tourist dollars! In future years we may see 1500 soldiers with horses and cannons reenacting battles at Heritage Park near Windsor! The implication for future similar dramatic events at our own Civil War Forts Huger and Boykin are breathtaking!

GSSTF will return (again) today to Perry's Minnow Farm. See NewsNotes 0606 for directions. Please bring shovels, loppers and tree saws. We attempted last Wednesday to uncover the slab we found on 21 Jan. but were deterred by the root system just below the surface. If we get rained-out today we will postpone this effort to next Sunday, 5 Feb., to make sure we have enough help. Thanks to the Perry Family for their continued patience in our recurring visits to this cemetery site. Thanks also to all who came out last Sunday, especially the Cook family, to help with the "poking" which resulted in this discovery.

Central Hill Baptist Church Cemetery report is now published and available. This report is a major effort of 29 pages including color photographs. Much thanks to AnnMarie Piland for her work in getting this out. Thanks also to Jeff Stark, aka "old eagle-eye," for his conscientious proof-reading of our reports. If you are not on the regular list to receive these reports and want to be, please let Ernie Powell know. See our IWCHS website for his contact data. Thanks also to Mike Hammack for the computer program which has now made it possible for Ernie to easily print the USGS topo map page that is required by Virginia Department of Historic Resources for the official report for the Commonwealth archives. Our first fifty reports will be submitted soon.

Appomattox battlefield staff ride will be 28-29 March. Entitled "Retreat and Pursuit to Appomattox, 2-9 April 1865," this is the final battlefield tour in the Overland Campaign series conducted since October 2003 by Gus Person, historian at Fort Belvoir. This will be a great two-day adventure with an overnight stay at Fort Pickett just outside Blackstone. If you are interested in participating, reply to me or contact Jim Blesse at Seats are very limited so let us know soon if you really want to go. The tour itself is free but there is a cost for the overnight stay.

A highway history marker for Zuni has been proposed by Jane March. She is asking for our input on her proposed text. Please contact Jane at janemarch@zero-net if you want to help us get this worthy project moving.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0608 [Jan 21, 2006]

There are two bills going to the current 2006 General Assembly session that need support from us. You might call, write or email the two sponsoring delegates to let them know you care and to reinforce public support for the two measures.

The second bill, below, is particularly important to your Society's GSSTF and resulted from some of the difficulty we have had in accessing sites for recording purposes. This legislation is sponsored by our very own 64th District Delegate Bill Barlow and was requested by your Society. The Smithfield Times gave this effort front page coverage in last Wednesday's (18 Jan.) issue. IWCHS thanks editor John Edwards for highlighting this story.

Delegate Barlow is also a subscriber to our IWCHS email list and would probably enjoy hearing from some of his history-minded constituents in any case.

Following info is from Jerianne Gardner, president, IWCHS. The two bills are:
HJ 106- Sponsor Harvey B Morgan
General Assembly Building
Room 523
Capital Square
Richmond, Virginia 23217
This legislation encourages the return of four American Revolutionary War flags captured by British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton in 1779 and 1780 to their rightful homes in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Connecticut.
HB 1223- Sponsor William K Barlow
General Assembly Building
Room 421
Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia 23217
This law would add any organization exempt from taxation pursuant to 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which has given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the occupant of a property, or both, to the list of those who must be given access to a cemetery site for the purposes of repairing, restoring or improving the gravesite or cemetery in addition to maintenance.

The website to keep informed of the progress of these and other bills is:
From: Jerianne Gardner, 14446 Bayview Drive, Carrollton, Va. 23314. Ph#

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0607 [Jan 20, 2006]

Gravesite survey will continue 2PM, Sunday, 22 January, at 13510 Windsor Blvd. (aka Route 460) Please see NewsNotes 0606 for precise directions. All previous NewsNotes are found on our website above. Sunday's cemetery site is on the "Perry Minnow Farm" which we did not do last Wednesday because of rain. After we record this site we will continue on to several others in the area. These surveys are open to anyone who wants to come out to help. We provide the materials, you provide the enthusiasm!

Black History Month events are ongoing at the Smithfield Public Library at 255 James Street. Test your research skills using library resources. Contact the librarian at 357-2264 or 357-4856. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration will take place at the library after school at 3:30 on Thursday, 26 Jan. This program is appropriate for grades K thru 5. Home schoolers are particularly encouraged to participate. Further info at the same contact numbers.

Wonderful article by Veronica Gorley in Thursday's (19 January) Daily Press about the 1857 Charles Driver Jordan House (HHK HIOW p. 49) on Route 10 and your Society's prospects of obtaining this beautiful structure for our history endeavors. Hope abides that this historic home may remain in situ as a county landmark and not be moved just to make more parking space as the article states. An intensive archeological survey of the three acre parcel could determine if pre-civil war human burial sites from the slavery era exist.

House Delegates Bill Barlow and Harvey Morgan have introduced bills into the 2006 General Assembly that are of great interest to us history-minded folks. Bill Barlow's submission is of particular interest to our Society's Gravesite Survey Task Force. I will send you the details separate from this issue of NewsNotes since these important legal measures require expanded explanation. Stay tuned.

Auction of local history related items next Saturday, 28 January, will be at the old peanut warehouse in Zuni. This collection of "junque" includes fireplace mantels, iron door latches and other items of interest to anyone restoring an older house. Preview of these items is tomorrow, Saturday, 21 January. Thanks to Society stalwart and Zuni historian Jane March for this info.

Apologies to all for not being able to come up with any witty anti-Yankee comments in this issue of NewsNotes.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0606 [Jan 17, 2006]

GSSTF field trip starts 10AM tomorrow, 18 January, at 13510 Windsor Blvd.(aka Route 460) about 2 miles east of Windsor where Old Suffolk Road (aka Rte. 636) crosses Rte. 460. Look for the "Perry Minnow Farm" sign. Thanks to Pete Perry for permission to record the small cemetery on the property. From there we will proceed southwest, west, northwest and then north on the trail of 3 more cemetery sites in the Carrsville - Windsor areas. Thanks to Mike Andrews for doing the research in Elsie Cox's work on the Southampton County Historical Society list.

Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV), Nansemond Chapter, meets 6:30PM this Friday, 20 January, at Dennis Restaurant, 3356 Western Branch Blvd in Churchland. Field Archeologist Donnie Sadler will present the details of recent excavations near Fort Norfolk prior to new construction. Recall that several IWCHS members were active in getting this effort underway because of the strong War of 1812 connections with Robert Barraud Taylor of Smithfield, commander of the Virginia troops during the Battle of Craney Island, and also participation by the Isle of Wight County Militia in this 1813 American victory over the British. Thanks to Jennifer Ward for alerting us to this event - the ASV meeting, not the battle.

Tidewater Genealogical Society is sponsoring a one-day field trip, Wednesday, 1 Feb, to Washington D.C. to visit the National Archives, the DAR Library and the Library of Congress. Cost is $35. Call Alvin Reynolds at 357-2013 or email A better website than the one I gave you in NewsNotes 0605 for TGS is Thanks to IWCHS email lister Don King for this info.

Our GSSTF "stalwarts": Mike Andrews, Ernie Powell, Bill Cook, Paul Harvey, Bryan and Mischelle Canter and Jeff Stark got a nice thank you in last week's Smithfield Times for helping the Christian Outreach Program's Christmas food delivery program. Thanks to Jo Ann Finderson, COP Angel Tree Chairperson, for recognizing our "teams" diversion from their usual activities.

A history "blueway" for boating tourists is being developed for 2007 by Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation Department along the Pagan River and Cypress Creek. Canoers and kayakers will be able to view signs from the water explaining noteworthy events and places of historical interest like the Civil War "Battle of Smithfield." Kudos to Alan Nogiec, County Parks and Recreation Director for this local history initiative and for asking for input from the IWCHS.

That's all for now folks,


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NewsNotes 0605 [Jan 14, 2006]

Future GSSTF operations are as follows: Tomorrow, Sunday, 15 January, meet 2PM at Benn's United Methodist Church for another DHR form filling-out session. We are making progress with this effort but it requires us to take a break from challenging field duty to do some boring staff work. Wednesday, 18 January, meet 10AM at the Perry Minnow Farm on Route 460. I forgot to get the address when I got permission from them today to record the cemetery on their property so you'll have to wait until next Tuesday's NewsNotes for specific directions.

Your 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia, under the command of Lieutenant Robert Friar, won the first place trophy for "best marching unit" in the 10 December, 2005, Smithfield Christmas parade. Maybe their 18th century muskets with 16 inch bayonets intimidated the judges. Way to go guys! This illustrious military unit can always use recruits if you've an interest in authentic reenacting. Call Rob at 357-9250.

Confederate Heroes Day (aka "Lee-Jackson Day"), this peculiar holiday here in the Old Dominion, passed yesterday with nary a mention. Commonwealth employees got Friday off because it was recently separated from the national Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration day which is Monday. It was kind of odd for a few years when we Virginians observed "Lee-Jackson-King Day" as one holiday. But now many of us have a four day weekend so I guess nobody is complaining.

Boykin's Tavern Museum received some good news recently when the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR), the premier national revolutionary war reenactor's organization, selected this county's only historic home open to the public to conduct their annual "School of the Soldier" for their Southern Department. This event will be 3-4 June and you may be able to see 40-50 18th century military reenactors being trained by their officers on the actual traditional muster ground in front of the "tavern." Your own 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia participates in several BAR events.

Patriots Day Steering Committee is still seeking individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring an event for the 22 April, 2006, commemoration of 18th and 19th century patriots in Isle of Wight County. Go to their website at to fill out a registration form or you may reply to this NewsNotes to contact Nancy Guill, Bryan Canter, Dawn Riddle or me.

Thanks to Roger and Donna Healy, current stewards of the historic 1807 Foursquare Plantation House, for donating many back issues of Old Home Journal and This Old House magazine for use by IWCHS members. These two publications contain a wealth of information on proper restoration and maintenance techniques for older structures. We will temporarily keep these publications in the Helen Haverty King Room at Boykin's Tavern until we get more accessible storage and research space in the future, perhaps at the 1857 Jordan House!

Tidewater Genealogical Society meets 10:30AM Saturday 21 January at the Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg. Program features an introduction on using their online catalog and other resources. The public is welcome. For more info go to or call 988-1055.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0604 [Jan 14, 2006]

Following is an announcement about a special daytime Thomas Jefferson performance by Clay Jenkinson. He (Clay, not Tom, or maybe both!) is, of course, our "anchor" for our whole Patriots Day event schedule. His scheduled appearance at Trinity UMC in Smithfield last year was the catalyst that inspired the invitations to other professional reenactors who made Patriots Day the success that it was. Jenkinson's performance scheduled for 22 April this year at the Smithfield Center will again be the keynote event for Patriots Day!

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Clay Jenkinson, renowned Jeffersonian scholar and the voice of Thomas Jefferson on the weekly NPR radio broadcast, The Jefferson Hour, will be holding a special daytime Jefferson performance at the TCC Roper Theater on Friday, January 27 at 10:30 am.

Thomas Jefferson will appear in a reduced price performance geared to benefit middle and upper school students, including home schooled adolescents. Student pricing is $8.00 per ticket.

An adult chaperoning a student is invited to the performance at the reduced rate of $4.00. Any parent/chaperone/guardian accompanying five (5) or more students will be given a free entry to the performance.

All adults, age 19 and above, must be accompanied by at least one student with the notable exception of senior citizens. Seniors, age 65 or more, are invited and are exempt from the requirement of having a student in tow. Senior tickets are $8.00 each.

To obtain your tickets, please call the TCC Roper Theater. 757-822-1450.

The TCC Roper Theater is located at 340 Granby St., in downtown Norfolk.

Regards to all,

Albert Burckard for Nancy Guill

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NewsNotes 0603 [Jan 10, 2005]

GSSTF survey tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 January, will start 10AM at the intersection where Stallings Creek Drive (aka 680) intersects Mill Swamp Road (aka 621). If you are showing up for the first time, look for 3-5 disheveled-looking disreputable characters in the freshly timbered field east of the intersection. If one of the group is not wearing a pith helmet, quickly avoid the scene because the site has obviously been infiltrated by nefarious elements hostile to the recording of history. However, If at least one khaki jungle-helmeted miscreant is visible, please come on over and join the group. Two cemetery sites have been identified here and then we will proceed south towards Zuni ("zoon-eye" for you Yankees) to record two additional cemetery sites.

"Randy's Yacht," the historic log-hewn work boat "Marie," discovered by the Pack Family near Smithfield Station and researched by assistant county historian John Edwards (see The Smithfield Times, December 7, 2005), has been relocated for temporary display in the parking area across from the Station and next to the 1864 "Battle of Smithfield" history marker. Thanks to all the Packs for recognizing and rescuing this small piece of Smithfield's working waterfront history.

Thanks to Joe Gidjunis, Smithfield Times staff writer, for taking an interest in and publicizing the Society's search for a replacement Model 1906 4.7 inch gun for display at the courthouse complex in Isle of Wight. Our Society's effort to find an appropriate replacement artillery piece is at a temporary standstill but we will continue the search. The mystery remains as to what happened to the original cannon. Anybody out there in IWCHS-land have a clue?

Reconsideration of the proposed Pagan River Condominium project continues. The Smithfield Board of Historic and Architectural Review (BHAR) will conduct a work session 5:30PM tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 January, at the Smithfield Center to discuss the project. This meeting is open to the public and you are encouraged to attend to follow developments. BHAR will meet again 7:30PM, 18 January, to vote on the report. Their recommendation goes to the Town Council Committee on 24 January at 5PM. Probable final vote may be at the full Town Council meeting 7:30PM , 7 February. Maximum citizen attendance and participation at all meetings will demonstrate our concern that completion of this project may risk the town's designation as a national and state historic district.

Governor Kaine's inauguration in Williamsburg this Saturday will prominently feature Virginia's magnificently reconstructed colonial capitol building. The accurate restoration of this historic structure would not have been possible without the existence of Smithfield's unique and original 1750 courthouse building. The combination of Flemish, English and American bond brickwork on the rounded apse of our town's centerpiece provided the architectural model for the 1930s reconstruction of the colonial capitol. As you watch the inaugural events, keep in mind that the authentic restoration of Williamsburg's most notable "historic" building was made possible only by the heroic preservation efforts of Smithfield's Emily Delk Simpson and others in 1936.

Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 40 years of service to the Newport Magisterial District community. This fire company was established in 1966 with the acquisition of a 1942 International model pumper from surplus Civil Defense equipment at the Norfolk Naval Base. The department's first engine was housed in the building at 15322 Carrollton Blvd. on Route 17 built in 1949 by William Reid and currently owned by Dashiell Landscaping. The department built its first new structure in 1968 which still exists as part of the recently expanded engine bay at 15020 Carrollton Blvd.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 0602 [Jan 7, 2005]

GSSTF meets 2PM tomorrow, Sunday, 8 January, at Benn's United Methodist Church, Benn's Church, VA, (Wal-Mart coming soon to a location near here!) to help us put together the archeological site forms required by the Commonwealth Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Please recall that the original impetus for the GSSTF was to supplement the Archeological Survey paid for by the county as part of its' effort to achieve Certified Local Government (CLG) designation. That survey was completed in 2005 with mention of our volunteer supplemental effort by the IWCHS to conduct a survey of all known human burial sites in the county. We could use as much help as possible to fill out the required DHR forms. GSSTF archeological opportunities are open to all. If you have not yet helped with this effort and would like to participate, please come out to Benn's UMC this Sunday. All forms and materials will be provided. Thanks to Jane Jones and Mike Andrews for helping us get this meeting place.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-31 [Dec 11, 2005]

No GSSTF survey today due to lack of time by your site coordinator to investigate a target site. If you all would just come out to Carrollton Vol. Fire Dept. and buy a Christmas tree today I will have more time for IWCHS things. Only 75 beautiful "recently deceased" Fraser Fir trees left!

Instead of our usual GSSTF deployment, try to visit historic Boykin's Tavern Museum between 1-6PM today, Sunday, 11 Dec. This is our last day of the special guided tours for the "Christmas at Boykin's Tavern" program. The "tavern" is our county's only historic home open to the public at no charge with plenty of parking. Edwin Little of Little's Flower Shop, and also the newest member of the Boykin's Tavern Museum Advisory Committee, has done a magnificent job of decorating the home for Christmas.

The mystery of "Randy's yacht," the recently excavated remains of a century-old log-hewn work boat, has been solved. See last Wednesday's Smithfield Times for John Edwards story on the history of the boat. The 34ft single-log "canoe" is still on "display" near the Smithfield Station where it was recovered from the Pagan River. Much thanks to all the Packs; Ron, Randy and Bryan, for making us aware of their discovery.

Southern Living Magazine's latest edition has a good article on Smithfield which emphasizes the town's rich history. You might also go the town and county's Convention and Visitor's Bureau website at if you have not already done so. Thanks to the CVB for playing up the history angle and not emphasizing the hog thing too much!

Pagan River Condominiums project proposed for Smithfield's historic waterfront is still very much alive. Mark on your calendars Tuesday, 20 Dec., 7:30PM for the next meeting of the town's Board of Historic and Architectural Review at the Smithfield Center. If enough concerned citizens attend this and following meetings of the Town Council Committee on 27 & 28 Dec., we stand a chance of stopping or changing this destructive "development" project. I can only quote The Virginia Landmarks Register's entry on the unique Smithfield Historic District (page 237) "...this compact community survives as perhaps the most intact of Virginia's colonial seaports." and "...the quiet little town has escaped significant modernization." New large construction in the historic district will risk Smithfield's registry as both a state and federal historic landmark district.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-30 [Dec 7, 2005]

Truly exciting news concerning the architecturally unique c. 1825 double-level dormer window house on historic Wolf Trap Farm. The Fall 2005 issue of Preservation Virginia Journal, quarterly publication of the APVA (Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities - say that real fast, Yankee style, and you can see why "Preservation Virginia" was selected as a rubric. We Southerners actually had no difficulty, but we love them Yankee dollars!) announced the possiblity that this historic structure may not be moved! The land owner might be willing to sell a small amount of property to keep the house on it's original site. This option to relocation of a Virginia Historic Landmark is preferred by the APVA and many of us in your Society. Kudos to Gordon Lohr, APVA Revolving Fund Director, for pushing this effort.

Good turnout yesterday evening of history-minded folks at the Smithfield Town Council meeting. The room was pretty much packed with citizens who opposed the large waterfront Pagan River Condominiums project proposed for the town's last remaining large open space in the historic port area. Best comment was made by Lanny Hinson, Director of local APVA Chapter, who raised the issue that too much modern intrusion in the historic area may risk the town's status as a National Historic District. Landmarks affected would be the 1753 Mallory Todd House, 1752 Wentworth-Barrett House and the 1830 Christ Episcopal Church. The Council tabled the request because it had not been acted upon by the town's Board of Historic and Architectural Review. Kudos to IWCHS member Bryan Canter for leading this historic preservation effort. Stayed tuned for future opportunities to influence the decision.

Gravesite survey 10PM Pearl Harbor Day (today) will start at Rhodes Garage 27119 Spivey Town Road. Thanks to Marvin Rhodes for permission to record and for volunteering to lead us to the sites which we were unable to find last Sunday. Thanks also to Mike Andrews for printing out the Southampton County Historical Society list which contains many cemetery sites in Isle of Wight County which we did not know about. If you can come help with this survey, Rhodes' Garage is on Route 612 just South of Windsor. Take 258 from Windsor, 2 miles down turn left onto Sunset Drive (aka Rte. 609) and then a quick right onto Spivey Town Road. The garage is about one mile down on your left.

GSSTF cemetery survey for 2PM Sunday, December 11, will be at a site TBA. This depends on what we get done today in the Walters area today. Keep your personal calendar open and stay tuned for details.

Lots of local history adventure opportunities this weekend!:

Christmas at Boykin's Tavern will start Friday, Dec. 9, with the lighting of the Yule Log at 4:30PM on the Green in front of c. 1762(?) Boykin's Tavern. Our county's only historic home open to the public will be decorated Victorian Style for Christmas. Tour guides will be available Friday 4:30-7:30PM; Saturday, 10 Dec. 11AM-4PM and Sunday 11 Dec. 1-6PM to show you the house.

Your 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia will be marching as a unit in the Smithfield Christmas parade on West Main Street beginning at 10AM, Saturday, December 10. Come out and cheer your local Revolutionary War reenactors!

The local APVA Chapter will host the public for free at it's annual "Open House" Saturday, December 10, noon to 3PM in the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Colonial Christmas decorations, refreshments and music are intended to highlight the town's first building and to inspire you to join the APVA. For more info go to

Isle of Wight County Museum has Victorian Christmas decorations 10AM-4PM Saturday and 1-5PM Sunday as well as all the usual impressive and educational county history displays.

The 1889 Mansion on Main will conduct tours on Saturday 1-3PM following the parade in Smithfield. Costumed hostesses will escort tours starting on the half-hour with light refreshments provided. A $1 donation per guest is requested.

I apologize for not being able to keep this edition of NewsNotes to one page. Lots of history stuff going on around here before Christmas.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-29 [Nov 25, 2005]

A Happy (late) Virginia Thanksgiving wish to all! Please forget all that silly Massachusetts "Pilgrim" funny-hat stuff and focus on the true first American thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation just a little bit NW of here. On December 4, 1619, Captain John Woodlief led 38 men to the James River shore and instructed them: "Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God." (yes, that's his own spelling). This was more than one year before the pilgrims even arrived in their Plymouth, or whatever they rode in. A governor of Texas once called this 1621 so-called "first" thanksgiving, "a damned Yankee institution." We should do the same!

Four more cemetery surveys are now published for: "Mt. Tabor Church" on Waterworks Road, "Turner" on Turner Drive, "Nelms" on Trumptown Road and "Turner #2" on Trump Town Road. If you want to be on the list for regular receipt of these reports, or if you just want one of these reports, email Ernie at and tell him what you want. The complete list of GSSTF reports published so far is on our website.

No GSSTF survey for Sunday, 27 November. Several team members are away and besides you should drive up to Berkeley Plantation to visit the site of America's real first thanksgiving anyway. Next survey will be 10AM Wednesday, 30 November. We will start on Hatcher's Lane off Route 258 (aka Courthouse Highway) about 1.5 miles South of Tynes Corner where Route 620 (aka Scotts Factory Road and Foursquare Road) intersects 258. We'll record two sites here and then move on to others. Thanks to Thad Williams for the lead on these.

Isle of Wight History 4H Clubs information sheet is attached. This is just FYI for all. These independent local school-based student groups may prove to be the future of our Society as well as help to propagate the history of Isle of Wight. Your Society is a primary history resource for these students as well as are other history-focused organizations in the county like the APVA, Boykin's Tavern, St. Luke's and the Museum.

Patriots' Day help is needed. Your Patriots' Day Committee (aka "The Gang of Four") is seeking sponsors and volunteers for the April 22, 2006 Smithfield event as well as for April 14, 2007. We plan an event similar to our highly acclaimed presentation in April of this year. If you want to participate contact Nancy Guill at 356-1043 or or visit the committee's website at

Historic St Luke's Shrine open house is this Saturday, 26 November, 9:30A-5:30P. This annual Christmas event features free special tours of the 1632 church (the oldest of English foundation in North America and the only actual Gothic church in the Western Hemisphere!), Christmas music, refreshments, and a chance to buy some early (late?) Xmas presents in the gift shop. For more info call 757-357-3367 or go to By the way, your GSSTF team finished the transcribing of the church graveyard last Sunday, 20 November. Our report will be used by St. Luke's as one of their 2007 "America's 400th Anniversary" projects. Also don't forget St. Luke's will be featured Wednesday, 30 November, at 8PM in the PBS documentary "America's Houses of Worship."

More docents are still needed to conduct history tours of the APVA 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Three-hour week-day slots - mornings or afternoons - twice a month are available. This will help your local Isle of Wight Branch of "Preservation Virginia" to extend the open hours. Training is provided. Contact Brenda Joyner at 365-9794 or

Regards to all.



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NewsNotes 2-28 [Nov 20, 2005]

Nick Lucketti of the James River Institute for Archeology presented a wonderful slide show at our Society dinner meeting on Friday, 18 November at Angelo's. His presentation of the ongoing (since 2001) project at Mount Pleasant at Swann's Point in Surry County was a dramatic illustration of the wealth of archeological information which lies beneath us here on the "Southside." It also graphically demonstrated what can be done when cost is no object. The study of the 17th, 18th, 19th and even 20th century layers at Mount Pleasant may be a project which continues far into the future. For more information go to Thanks again Nick!

Robert Archer of "Robert Archer Designs" gave a great presentation on "Nineteenth Century Fashions," Saturday, 19 November, at the APVA 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. This was a free event sponsored by your local "Preservation Virginia" Chapter. Thanks to Robert Friar, illustrious commander of our 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia, for organizing the event. If you want to put together a mid-nineteenth century outfit for Patriots' Day 2006 (22 April), contact Robert Archer at 757-539-2924, 420 North Broad Street, Suffolk, VA 23434 or Remember that Patriots' Day includes Civil War as well as Revolutionary era patriots!

Ernest Powell, our redoubtable IWCHS Webmeister, is featured today, Sunday, 20 November, in "The Sun" insert in your Virginian Pilot. Read about Ernie's other exploits and contributions to the community besides being the one key player in our GSSTF effort which holds the whole thing together. Ernie not only produces all of our GSSTF cemetery reports but is also the Czar of our IWCHS website. I hereby designate Sir Ernest Powell as the official "glue" currently holding together our Society. Apologies to our glorious President Jerianne Gardner, but without Ernie we would still be foundering in the dark ages of pre-computer technology!

St. Luke's Historic Shrine will be featured on WHRO Channel 15, 8PM Wednesday, 30 November, in a PBS special: "America's Houses of Worship." St. Luke's is also the site of our GSSTF event today, Sunday, 20 November. Please assemble 2PM in the Board Room of the Visitors' Center Building to help record our cemetery information on the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources (DHR) required forms. We have only done 20 of the 135 cemeteries recorded so far and we need to catch up!

Nike Park is the location of the drafts of the historical marker signs that we have developed with Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Department to mark the historic 1954-1961 Cold War era Nike-Ajax Missile launch and radar control sites (and the future location of the Virginia Cold War Museum!) in Carrollton. We will display them for a week: Monday 21 Nov. - Friday 25 Nov., to give as many as possible the opportunity to view the drafts and give us input. Please stop by Alan Nogeic's office at Nike Park and ask Karen Casey to show you the drafts or "draughts" as you Anglophiles may prefer!

Also on WHRO, TV15, November 27th, will be the premier of "The Civil War in Hampton Roads." This is the first of four parts of the WHRO series "Celebration of American Culture and Community." The host of the Civil War portion of the production is the famous John Quarstein, Director of Historic Resources for the City of Newport News and a previous guest speaker at IWCHS meetings. Please recall we are trying to lure John to Isle of Wight County to apply for the position of Director of Historic Resources here when our Board of Supervisors finally gets around to funding the job!

Regards to all!


Note: This is a collectible "apostrophe" edition of IWCHS NewsNotes!

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NewsNotes 2-27 [Nov 13, 2005]

One old note: Reminder, no GSSTF survey today, Sunday, 13 November, to allow you to attend the 2PM Isle of Wight County Museum dedication and reception (see NewsNotes 2-26 for details) and any Veterans Day ceremonies, especially our local one at 3PM in front of the Smithfield Center (see Wednesday's The Smithfield Times for details.)

And one new note: 5:30PM today at the NARO theater in Norfolk, local historian extraordinaire John Quarstein will lead a discussion following an advanced screening of the film "Civil War in Hampton Roads" produced by WHRO. Cost is $15. Call 889-9440 for more info. If you can't go, the film will premiere on local TV Sunday, 27 November on Channel 15 at a time still TBA. I will find out the time and let you know.

Next big IWCHS event is our annual dinner and presentation by premier archeologist Nick Lucketti at Angelo's, 6PM, this Friday, 18 November. Details in last NewsNotes.

Next little IWCHS event is GSSTF survey 10AM Wednesday, 16 November. Details TBP in NewsNotes 2-28.

And one other note: Note: All previously published NewsNotes are on our website, see above.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-26 [Nov 5, 2005]

GSSTF event for 2PM today, 6 Nov., will be an exciting DHR form filling in/out session in the Board Room at Historic St. Luke's Shrine Visitor's Center. Of +/- 130 cemeteries recorded so far, we are behind 110 Commonwealth Department of Historic Resources - Archeological Site forms. These forms must be completed and submitted to get our GSSTF data recorded for the state archives. The only individual requirement for this work is rudimentary reading and writing skills in the English Language, or perhaps Latin, from which you may extrapolate using our Roman Alphabet). I will bring all supplies, we just need sufficient amanuenses (form filler outers) to help. (Are you impressed with my ability to use the thesaurus?)

Next event on your Isle of Wight history calendar (besides a possible GSSTF field survey Wednesday, 9 Nov.) will be 2PM Sunday, November 13th at the Isle of Wight County Museum, SW corner of Main and Church Streets in historic Smithfield . Please come out to help launch the museum's new Banking Exhibit made possible by the Isle of Wight County Museum Foundation through the generosity of The Howard W. and Katherine L. Gwaltney Foundation, Farmer's Bank and BB&T. Light food treats are an additional incentive to attract all those not so interested in the banking history of our county - just do not admit it or I will drop you from the IWCHS email list.

Also, Veterans Day events will be held locally and regionally Sunday, November 13th. Please check local print media editions for details. No GSSTF survey this day to allow everyone to attend as many ceremonies and other things as possible. Have you noticed that veterans comprise the vast majority of stalwart attendees of GSSTF surveys?

Probable GSSTF field survey 10AM Wednesday November 16. Stalwarts stay tuned for event details.

Annual IWCHS dinner will be Friday, 18 November, 6PM at Angelo's Seafood & Steak House restaurant, 1804 South Church Street in the not-so-historic part of Smithfield. Guest speaker for the event will be the locally renowned archeologist Nick Luccketti, head of the James River Institute for Archeology in Williamsburg. Cost is 15.95 Yankee Dollars per person. Look for invitations in the mail from HQ, IWCHS. No GSSTF that day because we never have surveys on Friday.

Your local APVA Branch will present a 19th Century Victorian Fashion Seminar 4PM Saturday, 19 November, at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Event is free and open to the public. This one-hour seminar will be conducted by Robert Archer and will focus on 19th Century fashion - the age of Queen Victoria and the American Civil War. By 1850 we had pretty much gotten over the 1775-1783 and 1808-1815 dastardly predations by the Brits and had begun wearing their clothes again, so this shoud be a very historically interesting presentation. Contact Rob Friar 357-9250 or Bryan Canter at 357-7387. GSSTF field survey will follow the next day, Sunday, November 20th.

Regards to all,


PS: Did you even notice that "event(s)" and "GSSTF" appear in every paragraph? This makes it another "collectible" edition of NewsNotes.

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NewsNotes 2-25 [Oct 28, 2005]

Society business meeting and program reminder to all to assemble 2PM Sunday, 30 October, in the Board Room at the Visitor's Center of St. Luke's Historic Shrine near Benn's United Methodist Church on Route 10 (aka Benn's Church Blvd) at the intersection with Route 258/32 (aka Brewer's Neck Blvd). We will have an interesting presentation on historic funerals by a noted expert, Mr. George Baker.

Francis Gary Powers, Jr., son of the famous U-2 pilot and founder of the National Cold War Museum at the former Nike-Ajax/Hercules Missile Site in Lorton, VA, requested an update on our efforts to establish a similar museum here in Isle of Wight County. Following is what I sent him for inclusion in his next Cold War Times Newsletter:

"Nike-Ajax Missile Sites N-75L and C, Carrollton, VA. - Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Director Mr. Alan Nogiec recently approved $3800 for historic signage marking the remaining buildings and grounds of this 1954-1961 Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft missile base near Smithfield, VA. Four ground mounted markers will have the following themes: (1) "1954 Nike-Ajax Missile Base N-75" at the Site N-75L entrance will portray a general overview of the base and a short history of the Cold War, (2) "People and Places" in the barracks/PX area will portray the soldiers, their families and the various functions of the extant buildings including the still complete family housing area, (3) "Missile Magazines and Launch Operations" overlooking the three underground magazines near the still standing missile assembly building and (4) "Nike-Ajax Missile Radar Control Site" at the former Site N-75C which is now a county recycling center. Since this base appears to be one of the best preserved Nike-Ajax missile bases on the US east coast (the only missing structure at N-75L is the "guard post" building which was at the entrance), it is hoped that the remaining structures may be rededicated in the future as The Virginia Cold War Museum. Further information contact Albert Burckard at"

Free Historic Preservation Workshop on "The Care and Feeding of Your Photograph Collection" will be presented 1-4PM, Saturday, 5 November, by the Peninsula Museums Forum at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, 101 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA. Thomas Moore (no relation, as far as I know, to the famous 16th century cleric of the same name, and Chancellor of England, who was beheaded by Henry VIII), Curator of Photography at the Mariner's Museum, will discuss the care, preservation and display of historic photographs. For further information contact Bonnie Karwac at 898-3727. Much thanks to our IOWC Museum Curator Dinah Everett for this note.

Next GSSTF deployment is Wednesday, 3 November at 10AM. Location TBA.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-24 [Oct 22, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, Sunday, 23 October, 2PM, will be a final effort at St. Luke's Historic Shrine to finish up. We only have one small section to go and then maybe we will take the time to recheck some of our previous work. I don't have a particular site picked out yet for next Wednesday's 10AM foray so bring some suggestions. We were all prepared for "The Battle of the Bees" last Wednesday but they did not show so we won by default. We recorded two late-nineteenth century markers in the middle of a briar patch located in the cornfield behind Westside School.

Next Sunday, October 30 at 2PM is our Historical Society meeting in the Board Room at Historic St. Luke's. Thanks to the staff of the Historic Shrine for letting us meet there. Our program will be a guest speaker, Mr. George Baker of Suffolk, who is a noted local expert on funerals past and present. This should be an interesting presentation for us considering the GSSTF work we have been doing for the past two years. A Society business meeting will follow his presentation.

I don't usually recommend movies, but... tomorrow (Sunday, 23 Oct) at 7:30PM at the NARO on Colley Ave. in Norfolk's Ghent section will be a showing of "No Retreat from Destiny" which is a fairly factual portrayal of the 9 July, 1864, Battle on the Monocacy River southeast of Frederick, Maryland. The fight is interesting from the Southern standpoint in that it basically opened up Washington, D.C. to Confederate occupation but the CSA troops delayed and did not take advantage of their victory. This is one of those famous "what if..." historical scenarios that history buffs like to speculate about. See or for more info. The showing at the NARO will be preceded by an introduction by the director of the film and followed by a discussion.

By the way, NARO is pronounced nay-roh and not na-row. Nathan Levine named many of his Norfolk moving picture (as we used to say) theaters for his wife Rose: Roslyn, Rose, Rosalee, etc., but the one he built on Colley Avenue he named after himself and his wife. Hence NA (as in Nathan) and RO (as in Rose). I was born and raised in "Nawfek" and lived on the same street in Riverview as Mr. & Mrs. Levine. Just thought you'd appreciate knowing my historical data source.

Regards to all, especially the new people on the IWCHS NewsNotes list. We have 250+ subscribers as of this emailing. New "listers" will be pleased to know that, thanks to Ernest Powell our webmeister, all previous NewsNotes, as well as a wealth of other Isle of Wight County history is available on our website, see above. IWCHS NewsNotes are always, except on the rare occasions when I mess up, sent out "Bcc" so as not divulge email addresses.


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NewsNotes 2-23 [Oct 16, 2005]

GSSTF returns to The Historic Shrine today, Sunday, 16 October, at 2PM. With a good turn-out of recorders, we should be able to finish St. Luke's today. The staff of Historic St. Luke's will follow up with digital photographs of each marker for their own archives. Next GSSTF deployment will be Wednesday, 19 October, 10AM: Assemble behind Westside School in Smithfield to try again to record the two markers guarded by ground bees. I will bring wasp spray so we should be able to quickly knock down the swarm and finish the recording. We will continue with some smaller sites if we survive the assault on the bees.

And speaking of Oct 19, it's Victory Day in Yorktown. National Park Service is holding commemorative events for the 224th anniversary of Cornwallis' surrender. For details just google Yorktown Battlefield for the website or call the NPS info center at 898-2410.

Civil War Staff Ride to the Petersburg Battlefield is a go for this Thursday, 20 October. We need another driver because of the number of us local military history buffs who have signed up. It's probably too late to add your name to the list, BUT, if you want to go and will drive, please call our local POC Bill Cook at 357-9179. These are professionally done battlefield tours that the official military organizers have graciously opened up to us if we provide our own transport.

Lots of good local press coverage on the potential move of a Confederate reenactment unit, the 16th Virginia Infantry, from the Peninsula to Isle of Wight County. Please read the details in this week's Smithfield Times which is still available everywhere (locally) where good newspapers are sold or always at the Times Building on Main Street. In my ever so humble opinion, our local press does a good job of covering local history events for us.

Upcoming history events (details to follow in future editions of NewsNotes) to mark on your calendar are:

- Oct. 30: IWCHS business meeting and program 2PM at St. Luke's.

- Nov. 19: APVA historic Victorian clothing workshop 4PM at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Presented by your local APVA "Preservation Virginia" branch.

- Nov. 26: Annual holiday "open house" at Historic St. Luke's Shrine.

- Dec. 3: 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia reenactors as 1812 Virginia Sate Navy at the Battle of Great Bridge (1775) in Virginia Beach.

- Dec. 9: Xmas at historic Boykin's Tavern, Isle of Wight, VA., begins 4:30PM with the lighting of the Yule Log.

- Dec 10: Xmas at Boykin's Tavern continues and 4PM APVA annual open house at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield.

- Dec 11: Final "Xmas at Boykin's Tavern" events.

That's all the local history for now, history buffs,


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NewsNotes 2-22 [Oct 4, 2005]

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Wednesday, 5 October, will start 10AM at 24358 Lovers Lane (yes, that's a real street just east of Windsor!) aka Route 600. "Lovers Lane" connects Windsor Blvd., aka Route 460, with Shiloh Drive, aka Route 603, about 2 miles east of the 258/460 intersection in Windsor. We will meet Lisa Trager who will take us to the site on "Lovers Lane." How did it get that name anyway? Maybe Lisa knows. In any case, I may have another site in the area but, following that, we have a break until 4PM when we meet Rodney Cooper at Little's Supermarket in Smithfield who will take us to a site behind Westside School.

We return to St. Luke's on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2PM to continue our recording there. Very good turnout last Sunday and we not only got a lot done but made front page news in the Daily Press the following day. Many thanks to reporter extraordinaire Veronica Gorley for the superb coverage. I have had six phone calls with directions to new (old, actually) sites since yesterday morning. (Remind me to give out Ernie's phone number for the next article.) Congratulations to "stalwart" Paul Harvey for finally getting his photo in the paper. His wife was beginning to doubt his spurious alibis of vague rendezvous with strange persons twice a week, but now she knows its all true! We also noticed that the mysterious and enigmatic "AnneMarie," if that's her real name, finally showed up in a photograph.

This coming Saturday, 8 October, is the big APVA "Court Days" event in town. Robert Friar and Bryan Canter have put much time and effort into this. Let's have a good turnout. Following are the details:

Court Days: 18 Century Courtroom Reenactments - Step back into Colonial times on Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in historic Smithfield at the Old Courthouse of 1750 on Main Street. A real court case from Isle of Wight's history will be reenacted inside the courthouse by the "Virginia Patriots, " a professional theater troupe. Learn about the county's most notorious citizens and find out whether or not the accused will be found guilty or innocent. The Isle of Wight militia will set up camp on the courthouse green and demonstrate military drills.Visit with the blacksmith as he demonstrates his craft, and see how yarn is made the old-fashioned way, on a spinner's wheel. Enjoy Colonial refreshments from the Smithfield Inn. The event is sponsored by the Isle of Wight Chapter of the APVA. Admission is free and open to the public.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-21 [Sep 23, 2005]

Correction to our IWCHS meeting notice in last NewsNotes: meet 3PM not 2PM at Mansion on Main. Business meeting only, but the public is invited. So if you want to get more involved in IWCHS activities please come out and meet us. Besides, it's a good opportunity to see the magnificent interior of "the mansion" if you have not already done so.

Following is a note from Bryan Canter which is a good summary of all the activities in town occurring concurrent with the APVA "Court Days" on 8 October.

Greetings Everyone,

There are a number of events that are all happening on 8 October in Smithfield. It would be a great day for people to come spend a day in Smithfield.

Here are some of the activities happening on that day:

1) Court Days - Professional Historic Courtroom Reenactments in the 1750 Courthouse:

    a. Courtroom reenactments (with punishments making use of the new stocks & pillory)
    b. Colonial Militia Display
    c. Blacksmith
    d. Yarn Spinning

2) Hog Jog - 5K Run / Walk to benefit IoW Christian Outreach Program and Children's Center of Smithfield (POC: 757-357-2419)

3) Souper Saturday - All you can eat soup and ham sandwich lunch to benefit IoW Christian Outreach Program

4) Special October Old Town Curb Market - Fall & Pumpkin Market 9:00AM to 12:00PM (POC: Barbara Olin 757-357-3502)

Additional information:

Smithfield 5K Hog Jog and Walk - Saturday, October 8th, Smithfield Foods Corporate Headquarters on the Waterfront of Historic Downtown Smithfield. For race application or more information call 757-357-2419. Proceeds to benefit the Christian Outreach Program (COP) and The Children's Center of Smithfield, Suffolk and Franklin.

Court Days: 18 Century Courtroom Reenactments - Step back into Colonial times on Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in historic Smithfield at the Old Courthouse of 1750 on Main Street. A real court case from Isle of Wight's history will be reenacted inside the courthouse by the "Virginia Patriots, " a professional theater troupe. Learn about the county's most notorious citizens and find out whether or not the accused will be found guilty or innocent. The Isle of Wight militia will set up camp on the courthouse green and demonstrate military drills. Visit with the blacksmith as he demonstrates his craft, and see how yarn is made the old-fashioned way, on a spinner's wheel. Enjoy Colonial refreshments from the Smithfield Inn. The event is sponsored by the Isle of Wight Chapter of the APVA. Admission is free and open to the public.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-20 [Sep 20, 2005]

Gravesite survey tomorrow will start 10AM at the historic 1851 "William M. Crocker Home" (HHK HIOW p. 23). The house is at the intersection of Waterworks Road (aka Route 709) and Magnet Drive (aka Route 680) about 2 1/2 miles West of Smithfield. The house is about 300 yards in from both Magnet and Waterworks and accessible from both. There is no numerical address because the building has been unoccupied for about 20 years. Retired Smithfield Fire Chief I. N. "Buddy" Jones will meet us at the house to lead us to the " burial ground in the backyard." From there we will go to Windsor to meet Burrell Roberts who will guide us to a cemetery site on Knoxville road.

Don't forget our Historical Society business meeting this coming Sunday, 25 September, 2PM at the "Mansion on Main" in Smithfield. Thanks again to Dawn Riddle for hosting (hostessing?) us. I will get out a proposed agenda to you if I can.

There is very interesting news about the Confederate reenactment unit which wants to leave Endview in Newport News and relocate here in Isle of Wight. They are considering changing their current portrayal to our own Isle of Wight County Civil War unit, the Isle of Wight Rifle Grays, Company D, 16th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Folks, it hardly gets any better than this! We may eventually have not only our own home-based 1781 Isle of Wight County Revolutionary War militia but our own local Civil War reenactment unit! Next up will be to get re-enactors to portray our 1954-61 US Army Nike-Ajax Missile battery at "Nike Park" artillery base N-75.

On the downside, we may not be getting the Model 1906 4.7 inch gun from the Army depot in Anniston, Alabama, as a replacement for our "courthouse cannon." Problems are developing at the Federal level which we do not fully comprehend. Our President Jerianne Gardner is working the issue at the Congressional level so just stay tuned for developments.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-17 [Aug 28, 2005]

GSSTF meets today 2PM at the Pulaski Baptist Church Cemetery near Carrsville. The cemetery is 1/2 mile East of Fire Station 20 in Carrsville and just West of Pulaski Church on Route 58, aka Carrsville Highway just short of the Suffolk City line. Church address is 6431 Carrsville Highway. This cemetery is actually privately owned by Mrs. Jean Darden of Fredericksburg.

Just to reiterate GSSTF guidelines for recording markers: 1) Please transcribe exactly what you read on the marker, including obvious errors. We want to record history, not change it. 2) Copy the inscription line for line. This is the way we want it to appear in the final report. 3) If two (or more) markers are on the same grave, copy both (or all) inscriptions unless they are exactly the same, and 4) If the marker inscription is difficult to decipher, ask for help. Four or six eyeballs are always better than two, or even just one as is the case, apparently, with some of us .

Isle of Wight Cold War history got a little boost recently from the Associated Press articles in both regional daily newspapers. Hope everyone noted the reports of the dedication of the "Francis Gary Powers - U2 Pilot" historical marker in Pound, VA. "Gary" Powers, Jr., son of the famous Cold War pilot, is a staunch supporter of our efforts to get recognition for our own Cold War Nike Missile base in Carrollton. Am still trying to convince our Board of Supervisors that we have a potential major tourist attraction for veterans right here in Isle of Wight. The county recently demolished the last remaining above-ground 1954 structure at the radar site at Jones Creek. We permanently lose our very own local historic landmarks by thoughtlessly destroying them.

Isle of Wight County Militia re-enactors will participate in the September 10-11 annual War of 1812 activities at Baltimore's historic Fort McHenry. Little changed from their Revolutionary War appearance, our own local militia unit participated as part of the 2nd VA Regiment in the 1813 Battle of Craney Island under the command of Smithfield's own General Robert Barraud Taylor. Please recall that the 1814 "rockets red glare" over Fort McHenry, immortalized by Francis Scott Key, was first seen by Isle of Wighters over Craney Island.

"America's 400th Anniversary" is now the new name for the Jamestown 2007 celebration events. Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Director Alan Nogiec is the coordinator of events here in the county. Your Society has several things planned. The August 26 Daily Press covered the participation of the Fulgham Family in 400th Anniversary planning. Captain Anthony Fulgham came to Isle of Wight in 1640 and established the family here. Although no Fulghams remain here now, this famous local family is remembered in names like the Fulgham's Ferry site at the current Smithfield Station and the Fulgham Bridge over Jones Creek.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-16 [Aug 24, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, 10AM Wednesday, 24 August, will start with a return to the cemetery on Holly Run Drive that we failed to complete last Sunday. It was just too hot and humid so we retreated to some shade and swapped lusty lies of bygone adventures. Team members who missed this event will long regret not being present because we discussed in detail the private lives of all who were not there. In any case, we will attempt to finish recording this site today. It's about 1/2 mile south of the Joyners Bridge Road/Holly Run Drive intersection. We could sure use some extra help and by showing up you can guarantee we will not talk about you. From there we will proceed to the 1773 Jacob Duck House at 30335 Holly Run Drive to record the "...graves of the builders..." We will meet the Camp Family caretaker who will guide us to the "barn lot," as HHK describes it. Following this, we will return to the "cotton field" site on Fire Tower Road. Please bring shovels to help clear this site for recording

Come on out if you can.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-15 [Aug 14, 2005]

GSSTF field trip for today, Sunday, August 14, 2PM will be a return to Zuni for the possibility of recording 2-3 cemetery sites. Meet again at the Mini-Mart in Zuni at the intersection of Fire Tower Road, aka Route 644, and Windsor Blvd., aka Route 460. Thanks once more to Jane March for obtaining the permission to record these sites.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-14 [Aug 7, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for today, Sunday, August 7, is a reprise of last Sunday (please see NewsNotes 2-13 for specifics) but, hopefully, without the downpour. We will meet 2PM at the Mini-Mart in Zuni to link up with Jane March, our very own Zuni history buff, who will lead us from there.

Last Wednesday, August 3, we recorded two separate sites near the abandoned Bethany Church building on Muddy Cross Road and another site at the Quaker Meeting House in Rescue. Paul Harvey did the recording but we need to return to both sites for GPS readings and photos. A discovery was a decaying school building hidden in the woods next to Bethany Church. Might be another Rosenwald School. We're looking for contacts who might know more about the school building and also other burial sites in the vicinty of Bethany Church.

Boykin's Tavern Advisory Committee has added "Museum" to their title. This newly re-energized Boykin's Tavern Museum Advisory Committee (BTMAC) is actively planning future events. Next event is the annual Christmas program at the Tavern now planned for 9-11 December. If you have any suggestions for other appropriate programs and events to bring the Tavern Museum alive for the public, let me, Dot Somerset, Marjorie Keeling or Edwin Little know. Tom Finderson is also doing some interesting original research on the construction history of the building itself.

St. Luke's Historic Shrine has accepted our proposal to start our survey of the church graveyard there on October 2nd. This will be an intensive effort for us and may last several weeks due to the size of the site. St. Luke's has listed this first comprehensive cemetery recording as one of their "America's 400th Anniversary" events and your Society is proud to participate. St. Luke's is also leading the county with their detailed preparation for this once-in-a-century event. You may have already seen the media announcement of the 2007 visit by the Godspeed to Isle of Wight County arranged by St. Luke's.

We are making some progress on the effort to restore a cannon to the Courthouse Green in Isle of Wight. Debbie Sivertson has located one available from the Army but it will cost some bucks to get it here. Jerianne Gardner is working this project. Please contact her directly if you think you can help.

APVA reissue and update of COL Morrison's famous (at least locally!) "Isle of Wight County 1608-1907" is progressing nicely. Aka "A Brief History of Isle of Wight County, Virginia," this booklet was reprinted for the 1957 350th celebration by your local APVA chapter and will now be updated as well for 2007. This is one of the 400th Anniversary events planned by the APVA which has also updated its own moniker to "Preservation Virginia." Thanks to Brenda Joyner for leading this project and to local author Doris Rea Gwaltney for agreeing to write it.

Mark your calendar for Thursday, 20 October, for the next Civil War Battlefield tour. Focus will be the siege operations at Petersburg with stops at the battle sites of Deep Bottom and New Market Heights followed by a visit to Drewry's Bluff to study Ben Butler's Bermuda Hundred campaign. Seats will be limited for this event so stay tuned for details.

Also for your calendar is the next Society meeting, Sunday, 25 September, 2PM at the Mansion on Main in Smithfield. Much thanks to our gracious host Dawn Riddle.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-13 [Jul 31, 2005]

This is a quick note just to let you know where to meet today for our gravesite survey. I have lots more history stuff to get out to you and will try to do this later today or tomorrow. 2PM today, Sunday, July 31, meet at the Mini-Mart in Zuni where Fire Tower Road crosses Route 460 (aka Windsor Blvd) and becomes Zuni Circle. From Isle of Wight Courthouse (aka ZIP Code 23397) two miles south to Fire Tower Road (aka Route 644) and then about 4 1/2 miles West on Fire Tower to the intersection with Route 460. Mini-Mart will be on your right. Jane March will meet us there, perhaps a bit after 2 o'clock (she has to make a quick recon first), and then we will convoy to the initial site. Weather permitting, we may go to as many as three cemetery sites today. Thanks much to Jane for the coordination and permission

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-12 [Jul 27, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for Today, Wednesday, 27 July, is hereby postponed until this coming Sunday. This has absolutely nothing to do with the 115 degree temperature predicted for today. I know that all of you stalwarts would prefer to be outside recording markers rather than sipping beer in your air-conditioned homes while sitting in front of your mind-numbing TV. No, I'm giving you the day off as a reward for your truly remarkable achievement last Sunday in accomplishing all three GSSTF missions in spite of my not having been there providing brilliant leadership, direction and inspiration.

More good news is the "Historic Clothing Workshop" scheduled for August 13 at the 1750 Courthouse in town. Following info is from Bryan Canter.

SMITHFIELD, Va. -- An Historic Clothing Workshop will be held on Saturday, August 13, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Old Courthouse on Main Street in historic Smithfield. The Workshop is open to those interested in developing an 18th century costume for docent work, tour guides, and re-enactors. The first half of the workshop will focus on clothing of the late 18th century, including construction techniques, styles, fabrics, and class distinction.

The second half of the workshop will focus on information helpful to those interested in constructing or purchasing late 18th century clothing. This information will include proper fabrics, sources of fabrics, construction techniques, sources for patterns and sources of pre-made clothing. Seating is limited. To reserve your space, contact Rob Friar at 357-9250 or email The workshop is free.

So stay home and have a nice cool day today all of you "summer soldiers and sunshine patriots" who whine every time the weather turns a bit unpleasant. What would the Afrika Korps have done with soldiers like you! Wait, maybe that collection of Central European soldiery was a bunch of shade-loving wimps and that's why the Brits were able to kick their butts! Does this mean the Redcoats were better suited, so to speak, for the fighting at Yorktown then us? I think NOT! So I guess it's OK to take a break from GSSTF activities for one day.


PS: Apologies in advance to all IWCHS members who may be offended by the above references to alcoholic beverages and hind quarters.

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NewsNotes 2-11 [Jul 23, 2005]

Note: This is the corrected version as resubmitted by Albert ... discrepancies have been corrected . . .

Gravesite survey tomorrow, Sunday, 24 July, is three phased:

Phase I: 2PM arrive at John "Jack" & Mildred Ramsey's farm house at 9172 Green Level Road. From Smithfield South on 258 turn right (West) onto Waterworks Road (aka Route 709) 3 1/2 miles to Magnet, right on Magnet Drive (aka Route 680) for 2.3 miles to Stallings Creek Drive (aka Route 681, left turn and 2 miles to Green Level Road (aka Route 623) left turn again and the Ramsey's beeyootiful 19th century "I" house is in front of you about 3/4 mile down (south). Bring pokers and brushes. Only 3 of 6 markers are visible. You will have to probe for the others. Please remove only enough overgrowth sufficient to read the inscriptions. First GSSTF member on scene please knock on the Ramsey's door to let them know you are there.

Phase II: Return via Stallings Creek and Magnet to Emmanuel Church Road. About 3/4 mile up (North) on Emmanuel Church Road, turn right (East) onto dirt lane toward Wolftrap. Look for the small "Virginia Landmark" sign for Historic Wolftrap. Take the first right turn on the dirt lane before you get to Wolftrap. Cemetery is off to your left along the tree line. Please do not visit Wolftrap. I have promised Quincy Gilliam we will go there only by permission. Thanks to retired Smithfield Fire Chief I. N. "Buddy" Jones and wife Joan for permission to record this cemetery on their property near Wolftrap.

Phase III: Return to Courthouse Highway (aka Route 258) via Waterworks or Foursquare and get onto Scotts Factory Road (aka Route 620) heading Southeast. Drive 1.2 miles to Carroll Bridge Road (aka Route 654) and turn right (South.) 3.2 miles on Carroll Bridge to Bowling Green Road (aka Route 644) and turn left. Drive 1.2 miles to 11342 "S. Bailey" mail box and turn right. Park in the driveway. Cemetery is out behind the barn to the left in the soybean field. Please do not trample any soybean plants because this will cause reduced crop yield and hence price increases for us all at Farm Fresh/Food Lion next year.
Please also note that, after repeated attempts, I could not identify a property owner here. So if an irate farmer or homeowner brandishes a shotgun, just have one our female team members distract him and explain that you are rich Yankee tourists on a scavenger hunt and are lost. Then leave quickly.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-10 [Jul 16, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, Sunday 17 July, 2PM will start at 10202 Emmanuel Church Road. We will link up with Ronny Jenkins who will lead us to a site (or sites) on his mother's property across the road. For the navigationally impaired who must have directions from Smithfield, at the southern town limits turn right (aka West) onto Waterworks Road (aka Route 709) and then 3.2 miles to Magnet, turn right (aka North) onto Magnet Drive (aka Route 680), 0.5 miles to Emmanuel Church Road (aka Route 708) to find 10202 about one mile down (aka up and North) on your left (aka West). Thanks to Mrs. John ("Fanny") Jenkins for permission to record. From there we will proceed to 9172 Green Level Road to meet John and Mildred Ramsey to record a site on their property.

"Jamestown 2007 seeks performers for America's 400th Anniversary events" is the announcement by the "Jamestown 2007" effort by the J-YF/APVA/NPS lash-up. They are building a data base of volunteers who are interested in being a part of this national milestone. Contact or General info is at America's 400th Anniversary is an 18 month series of events and programs beginning in May 2006 commemorating the founding of the first permanent English settlement in 1607.

Don't forget the Indian event next weekend, 23-24 July at the Southampton County Fairgrounds. Known details in IWCHS NewsNotes 2-9 which I'm sure you printed on acid free paper and stored in your own personal temperature and humidity controlled, fire and theft proof archival storage safe. If you didn't, back issues are available on our website.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-9 [Jul 9, 2005]

Today's important event is, of course, the dedication of the new (old?) stocks & pillory at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. 64th District Delegate Barlow will be the speaker at 1PM and your local 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia will be there 10A to 4P. Please come on out and show your support for this project paid for by your local chapter of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities - mercifully shortened to "Preservation Virginia" for PR purposes. Highly motivated local history buffs may use this occasion to join the APVA.

Tomorrow's GSSTF field trip will be to the historic 1826 Colonel Benjamin Chapman house at 9577 Foursquare Road, aka Route 620. From Smithfield south on 258, right onto Foursquare and about 6 miles down on your right (choose your own verbs for this non-sentence.) The famous Colonel directed his burial " the west corner of my garden..." GSSTF will confirm that his wishes were carried out. From there we will proceed to another site identified for us by the property owner Judge Robert Edwards. Thanks to Judge Edwards and also to Mike Andrews for making the coordination. Rendezvous time is 2PM as usual.

Wednesday's GSSTF deployment will be to Mount Tabor Church at 13468 Waterworks Road, aka Route 709. Show time is 10AM as usual. From Smithfield south on 258, right onto Waterworks and about 2 miles down on your left (again, "motion" verbs are personal selection.) Thanks again to Mike Andrews for the lead on this one.

And speaking of your GSSTF, The Smithfield Times article in Wednesday's (6 July) edition covered our discovery and recording of the first slave burial site that we can confirm. Rev (retired) James Johnson's grandfather, born into slavery 184?, is there and he clearly remembers watching his father inscribe the marker when he, Rev. Johnson, was a child. Next week's Times should have the story of Rev. Johnson's visit to the site and some insights into the history of this long-time Isle of Wight County family.

And speaking of newspaper coverage, the Daily Press did a short notice yesterday on your Society's Jamestown 2007 Historical Highway Marker project which you read about in NewsNotes 2-8. Still looking for more input from Society members on ideas for funding and assistance in developing the text for each marker.

Details on the local Indian gathering promised in last NewsNotes are as follows. On Saturday and Sunday, 23 & 24 July, 2005, follow the signs on Route 688, aka New Market Road, between Franklin and Courtland, to the Southampton County Fairgrounds for the 4th Annual Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Pow Wow, 10A to 6P both days. Lots of Indian ("Native American" for you non-Virginians) events and activities. Admission is $5 adults and $3 children. For more info you may call Chief Walt "Red Hawk" Brown at 757-562-7760 or wait for announcements in local media. Thanks to Nansemond Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia for the notification.

Your Society President updated the County Board of Supervisors last Thursday on several ongoing Society projects. The Board may consider funding transportation costs for a Model 1906 4.7 Inch Gun to replace our original "Courthouse Cannon" if we can find one. They are also considering the IWCHS proposal for signs to direct Yankee Dollar bearing tourists to Boykin's Tavern and also funding the IWCHS proposed highway historical marker for Fort Huger. The Board also asked the Society to recommend names for the county's newly constructed park just south of Isle of Wight on Highway 258. Front runner so far, and also my personal favorite, is "Heritage Park" to focus attention on our county's rich history.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-8 [Jul 3, 2005]

GSSTF Independence Day Break today (and tomorrow too!) in honor of our Isle of Wight County forebears who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to free us from the clutches of the vile and rapacious empire of George III. Even though Tony Blair seems to be a really nice chap and the current Queen Mum Lizzy II has not done much to us lately, I think we should still all go out today and tomorrow and participate in one of the several local patriotic events listed in Wednesday's Smithfield Times. The parades in Crittenden and Chuckatuck will feature your very own tax-dollar-financed newest fire engine "Rescue 10" from Carrollton Volunteer Fire Dept. Yes, I know Crittenden and Chuckatuck are not in Isle of Wight, but if there are any parades in Isle of Wight tomorrow they were not listed in The Smithfield Times - not to be confused with The London Times which does not cover our local events anyway.

Next big local history event (except for Wednesday's 10AM GSSTF foray, of course) is next Saturday, 9 July, beginning 10AM at our 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Our very own 64th District House Delegate "Billy K." Barlow will be the featured speaker at 1PM for the formal dedication of the new "Stocks & Pillory" (stocks [think stockings] for your feet and pillory [think pillow] for your head and hands.) Your own 1781 Isle of Wight County Militia under the command of Rob Friar will be there until 4PM providing an authentic and dramatic backdrop for the proceedings. So come on out and bring the kids to show them what can really happen to them if they don't behave. Any children remaining in either the stocks or pillory after 4PM will be turned over to Child Protective Services for safe keeping. Go to for more information.

IWCHS Historical Highway Marker Project for Jamestown 2007 was presented at the last business meeting, see attached. We will need lots of help and input (and money) to pull this off. Markers cost $1500 each so we will need suggestions for creative financing. Please reply to this email with any ideas you may have.

Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, 23 & 24 July for the 4th annual Nottoway Indian gathering at the Southampton County Fairgrounds in Courtland. Details will be provided in next NewsNotes. Note to reenactors of US Army Cavalry units: You are not welcome in uniform no matter how authentic.

Correction to NewsNotes 2-6B: I misspelled the name of our famous local commander of the 2nd Virginia Regiment during the Battle of Craney Island. Correct spelling of his middle name is Robert Barraud Taylor. Thanks to all of you who responded to correct the historical record.

Location of Wednesday, 6 July, GSSTF field event still TBA.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-7B Correction [Jun 27, 2005]

Correction to item in NewsNotes 2-7B regarding event at Historic St. Luke's.

Mina Wood's slide show on "Restored Historic Gardens" is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28 at 2PM and not yesterday as stated in my NewsNotes.

This is very good news because it means you can all still attend!

Please call St. Luke's at 757-357-3367 to let them know you are coming.



PS to Dana Adams at St. Luke's: Sign me up.

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NewsNotes 2-7B [Jun 26, 2005]

This is a reminder of our business meeting today (Sunday, 26 June) 2PM at Boykin's Tavern. We will not meet again until September so this will be your only opportunity to bring up new business that we may need to address and work on this summer. We thank the newly reenergized Boykin's Tavern Advisory Committee for permission to convene in our county's only historic home open to the public. BTAC is also looking for ideas for developing programs and events for our historic "tavern" so be alert to things that might inspire you as you tour the building and grounds today.

Gravesite Survey for Wednesday 29 June will start at the marker we recorded last Wednesday behind the Cook's house at 21336 Titus Creek Drive. Harrell Cook has asked us to conduct a special reconnaissance of this site to determine its' extent and history. I have asked Brenda Lee to work with us on this project. She believes her grandparents are interred there although unmarked. From here we will proceed to another site TBD.

Conflicting with our business meeting at 2PM today is a slide show on "Restored Historic Gardens" at Historic St. Luke's Shrine presented by Mina Wood, chair of the Restoration Committee of the Garden Club of Virginia. Although I'm not recommending you avoid our business meeting to attend this event, it might just be more entertaining. Maybe we can get Ms. Wood to present this at our meeting in September.

Next important history event in the county will be the formal dedication of the new stocks & pillory at the APVA 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. Saturday, July 9, beginning 10AM with our very own 64th Virginia House District Delegate "Billy K" Barlow as guest speaker. The pillory has been in place for a few weeks and last week's The Smithfield Times managed to catch the very first tourists to "use" it. The color photo front page coverage of this event helps to promote our image as a truly historic colonial tourist destination and is a step in the direction of liberating Smithfield from the "pig thing." Much thanks to "TST" for covering important local events which their arch-rival The London Times does not bother to do.

Welcome to the new members on the email list of the Historical Society's "NewsNotes." We have over 250 IWCHS listers now. Please go to the Society website at for more complete information and the opportunity to join and support the preeminent local organization dedicated to the history of Isle of Wight County.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-7A [Jun 15, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow 10AM, Wednesday 15 June, will start at 15035 Bowling Green Road (aka Route 644). This will be a one marker event with permission of the property owner Chip Fontaine. Thanks also to Bill Laine for pointing this one out. From here we will proceed to "Founders' Pointe" and check in with the development management office to be escorted to another single marker on East-West property. We have Branch Lawson's personal permission for this. Next, we'll record the small cemetery behind Sweet Haven Church on Brewer's Neck Blvd with permission of Pastor Nathaniel Johnson. Finally, we will do the "two sisters" markers at the end of Yellow Rock Road with permission from Ed and Sunny Snow.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-6B [Jun 12, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for 2PM today, Sunday, 12 June, will start at the 1830 Holleman House at 5499 Mill Swamp Road. Please read ahead on the history of this home on page 45 of HHK Historic Isle of Wight. From Smithfield historic district follow Cary Street north (sorry, Mischelle) which becomes Mill Swamp Road as it overpasses Route 10. Be sure to admire the 1908(?) C. K. Harvey house at 221 Cary as you drive by. The Holleman House is about at the 12 mile mark on Mill Swamp. After this we will proceed to 1857 "Locust Grove" on Routes 10/32 (aka Benns Church Boulevard) about 2 miles south of Benn's UMC. Many thanks to Mike Andrews for coordinating these two visits.

Battle of Craney Island commemoration is Tuesday, Flag Day 14 June, in Portsmouth beginning 10AM at Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of High and Court Streets. Strong Isle of Wight County connections are that our own militia participated in the battle and the overall commander was Colonel Robert Barraud Taylor of Smithfield. This battle saved the ports of Norfolk and Portsmouth from British capture and forced this assailing empire to turn its rapacious gaze toward Hampton and Washington where they burned our very own president's house. "...the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air..." were seen here at Craney Island on July 22, 1813, months before they got media attention at Fort McHenry. And speaking of Craney Island:

Your own Isle of Wight County Militia will be at Fort Norfolk next weekend, 18 & 19 June for tactical weapons demonstrations and to conduct tours of this famous War of 1812 fort. Please come on out to observe your local authentic militia in action and support their dedication to preserving the history of Isle of Wight County. Details on exact times to follow in next NewsNotes.

"...Windsor Castle...endangered?" was the headline in last Sunday's Virginian Pilot "The Sun." Smithfield's most visible and dramatic historic landmark made the statewide APVA list of our Commonwealth's most threatened historic sites. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities considers Arthur Smith's 1750 plantation house and adjoining acreage threatened by encroaching development. Arthur Smith IV was, of course, the founder of Smithfield in 1750. In your humble correspondent's opinion, there are many historic structures in the county much more immediately threatened than our famous Windsor Castle but that's just my opinion (sorry, Bryan.) And speaking of the APVA:

Your local "Preservation Virginia" chapter still needs a few additional researchers for the "Schools" and "Churches" portion to update our 1907 COL Morrison booklet "Isle of Wight County...A Brief History." Anyone interested in helping with this "Jamestown 2007" project please contact me. Many of you out there in IWCHS land are now working diligently on this project but we need a few additional researchers for the sections indicated. Reply to me via this NewsNotes if you are interested.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-5 [May 18, 2005]

GSSTF activity for today at 10AM will be a return to First Gravel Hill Baptist Church on Old Stage Highway. Your faithful GSSTF completed the active part of this cemetery last Wednesday and discovered an older overgrown section behind the parsonage. Today we may at least do a ground reconnaissance and decide what tools we may need to clear enough of the old cemetery to record. Apologies to you newer IWCHS email listers who may not understand this short notice but stalwarts are notified earlier and, in any case, these deployments are fixed for every Wednesday at 10AM and every Sunday at 2PM unless otherwise postponed by more important events such as:

Civil War Surgeon Dr. Galt ceremony at Historic St. Luke's Shrine this Sunday, 22 May, at 2PM. This important event, sponsored by St. Luke's Foundation, will honor a local hero and will be a learning experience for those of you dedicated to local history. Please come out if you can. No GSSTF survey on Sunday to allow attendance by all of us.

Archeological Society of Virgina, Nansemond Chapter, will have its regular monthly meeting 6:30PM this Friday, 20 May, at Dennis' Restaurant 3356 Western Branch Blvd in Churchland (Cheasapeake.) Guest speaker is the locally renowned Nick Lucketti, president of the James River Institute for Archeology. Nick will give us an update on recent projects in our area which should include the survey at Boykin's Tavern for which JRIA had the contract. If you are interested in local archeology come on out to the meeting and you can also join the ASV at the same time.

County Archeological Assessment presentation will be Thursday, 26 May, 6PM in the Board Room at the Isle of Wight Courthouse Complex. This event is open to the public and especially to you GSSTF folks. Please be aware that this contract effort was the genesis for the Historical Society's entire Gravesite Survey effort. We (GSSTF) may or may not get some recognition at this event but please attend to find out how your $25K tax dollars were spent.

Smithfield Courthouse Green Restoration project is still alive but just barely. I am trying to get a personal encounter with the property owner (and you know who he is!) to convince him of the nobility of restoring the historic town's historic park instead of opting for the acquisition of more personal profit, which he obviously does not need!. Our local history must trump personal avariciousness or our heritage will disappear.

Don't forget Civil War Monument Re-dedication event in the center of Monument Circle in Isle of Wight, Sunday, 29 May at 2PM. No GSSTF foray that day.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2-4 [May 11, 2005]

GSSTF site for today at 10AM is the cemetery at First Gravel Hill Baptist Church at 5230 Old Stage Highway aka Route 10. Site contains less than 100 markers so we should be able to finish before noon. If you are coming from the south (and we all should be...I mean philosophically and culturally of course), the church is just past the Rushmere Fire Station on your left aka west.

And speaking of the GSSTF, no survey for Sunday, May 15, because of the 48th Annual Pilgrimage at St. Luke's Historic Shrine. 2PM event features our own IWCHS member Harry Dashiell talking about the Jordan's of Isle of Wight County. Let's all go out to our beautiful National Landmark even if its raining because it is an indoor (actually inchurch, inchurchdoor, inside, ...whatever) event.

And speaking of St. Luke's, in last Sunday's Virginian Pilot, star reporter Linda McNatt gave good coverage to your Society's effort to dissuade the developer from abusing the name "St. Luke's" for the proposed experimental "new urbanism" housing project adjacent to the property. Attached is the text of the letter published by the Smithfield Times on this subject. If you want to weigh in on the issue go to their website at for contact data.

And speaking of impossible dreams, I presented to the Smithfield Planning Commission last night the concept of removing the 1964 concrete block building on lot 33 to restore to the town its' original and historic muster "green" (no, Mischelle and Jeff, not mustard greens) across from the 1750 Courthouse. See Attachment to NewsNotes # 68 for details. I presented this as a possible "Jamestown 2007" project. The town's planner expressed some interest so this may not be an impossible dream after all.

And speaking of future events, do not ignore the following:

- APVA Historic Home Workshop Saturday, May 14, 10AM at 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. See NewsNotes 2-2 for details.

- St. Luke's Annual Pilgrimage Sunday, May 15, 2PM at the Historic Shrine. See above for details.

- Gravesite Survey Wednesday, May 18, 10AM at a cemetery near you. See NewsNotes 2-5 for details.

- Civil War Surgeon Dr. Galt ceremony Sunday, May 22, 2PM at St. Luke's. See NewsNotes 2-3 for details.

- Rededication of 1906 Civil War Monument Sunday, May 29, 2PM at Isle of Wight. See NewsNotes 2-6 for details.

And speaking of NewsNotes, if you have been so disrespectful of your Historical Society's efforts to keep you informed that you have not printed all previous issues for your own personal research archive than you are saved by your datameister Ernie Powell who puts these historic publications on your Society's website at Plase note that issues beyond 2-4 are TBP.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 2 - Vol 2 [May 3, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4, 10AM will be at New Jones Grove Baptist Church on route 600 aka Woodland Drive. This is basically at the south end of Route 652 aka Bob White Road. Thanks to Trustee Robert Uzzle and the pastor for permission to record.

Historic Home Maintenance Workshop. The Isle of Wight Branch of the APVA (Preservation Virginia) is sponsoring an historic home maintenance workshop on Saturday, 14 May 2005 at the 1750 Courthouse in downtown Smithfield. This is a unique opportunity for owners of historic homes and buildings to learn maintenance techniques from a professional preservation maintenance team. The APVA's maintenance team from Richmond will be conducting a short presentation and discussion followed by a hands-on demonstration of actual repairs on the Courthouse building. The session will focus on water damage, plaster and stucco repair. It will be held from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Admission is $20 for non-APVA members and $10 for members. The Courthouse is located at 130 Main Street in Smithfield. For more information contact Bryan Canter at 757-371-1068, Lanny Hinson at 757-357-3091, or the Courthouse docent at 757-356-9016.

Thanks to Tommy and Dee Dee Darden for taking us to five "lost" gravesites last Sunday in the vicinity of Darden's Country Store. Ernie the Quick has already published the report. It is available from him directly or through me. We do not send these reports automatically to all because the length, detail and color tend to constipate some of your home PCs. We will gladly forward the report upon request.

"Munford" cemetery report is also now available. This is the one on Central Hill Road which sits about 100 yards off in the middle of a farm field. No standing marker was left but we found some pieces. Again, contact me or Ernie if you want the report.

Regards to all,


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NewsNotes 1 Vol 2 [May 1, 2005]

Gravesite Survey for tomorrow, Sunday, May 1, will start 2PM at Darden's Country Store at the crossroads of Routes 654 aka Carroll Bridge Road and 644 aka Bowling Green Road. Numerical address is 16249 Bowling Green Road. Mrs. "Dee Dee" Darden has agreed to meet us there and take us to several "hidden" small cemeteries that she knows about. This expedition should be different and fun.

"St. Luke's Village": One of our regional daily newspapers may want to do an article on the "inappropriateness" of misusing the historic and religious name of Saint Luke for the commercial sale of property in the new housing development adjacent to the 1636 Historic Shrine. If you would like to weigh in on this issue, in print, please reply to this NewsNotes and I will pass on your contact info to the newspaper.

The County Historical Architectural Survey is now in its final phase. Those of us on the committee are impressed with the diligence, knowledge and professionalism of the contract architectural historian hired by the county to do the survey. I think it will be an excellent product and the basis for future preservation efforts and nominations for more historic districts in the county. I carry a copy of what's done so far around with me so if you are interested please ask.

Virginia History "Time Periods" as developed by the Commonwealth's Department of Historic Resources (and slightly improved by me) are attached. These are useful for all of us when putting Virginia history events into some chronological context. There won't be a quiz on these anytime soon but you should at least be aware that our benevolent state government has organized our history for us into easily comprehendible eras.

Some Important Dates to write on your calendar now are:

May 14. APVA workshop on historic preservation at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield. $10 members and twice that for you non-APVA types. So join your local APVA branch now and save some money.

May 22. Dedication of the "Dr. Galt" Civil War memorial in Historic St. Luke's graveyard.

May 29. Rededication of our Confederate Monument in "Monument Circle" at Isle of Wight.

June 11. Isle of Wight County Militia does the "fighting at Mackie's Mill" on the green at Boykin's Tavern and perhaps a Museum Board fund raiser in the Tavern itself.

July 9. Revolutionary War Virginia State Navy and Marines at the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield.

Oct 8. Colonial "court day" in the 1750 Courthouse in Smithfield sponsored by your local APVA Branch.

Dec TBA. Christmas at Boykin's Tavern.

Apr 22, 2006: Isle of Wight Patriot Day.

Regards to all,


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