Archive for December 2015

The Newington Daylily

The “Newington” Daylily cultivar pictured below is offered by Dalton A. Parker, a Lumpkin descendant, born in Essex County, who now lives in Columbia, SC. Mr. Parker is a researcher genealogist and daylily hybridizer. With this lily he is promoting local King and Queen County history and contributing the proceeds to the King and Queen County Historical Society. He hopes that by introducing the cultivar that there will be more awareness of the families that have lived at "Newington", a historical site on the Mattaponi River near King and Queen Courthouse, and have contributed to the local, state and national history. Specimens have been planted on the grounds at "Newington".

the "Newington" families that Mr. Parker honors are:

The Lumpkin family: Captain Jacob Lumpkin (d. 1708) was the first immigrant at "Newington". Others whose roots stemmed from King and Queen are Captain Henry Lumpkin who served at Hillsborough and Guilford Court House, NC (1781) during the American Revolution; Wilson Lumpkin, a Virginian by birth, who became governor of the state of Georgia and who also served in the U.S. Congress, both as a representative and senator from that state; Jospeh Henry Lumpkin, who was born in Georgia (1799) and died there, was the first Chief Justice of that state; Samuel Lumpkin and Benjamin Lumpkin II also served as justices on that court; John Lumpkin was a presiding justice for King and Queen County during 1830-1860; Samuel Edgerton Lumpkin (1908-1964) became Lt. Governor of the state of Mississippi; and Alva M. Lumpkin, Sr. served as U.S. Senator from the state of South Carolina during the F.D.R. administration.

The Braxton family: Carter Braxton (1736-1797), born at "Newington", was one of several early Virginia patriots of the American Revolution and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The Roane family: Well know for its judicial connections, especially Spencer Roane, who served as Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. He married Ann Henry, the daughter of the patriot Patrick Henry. His son William H. Roane was a Senator of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Ruffin family: Thomas Ruffin was born at "Newington" in 1787. After attending Princeton, he relocated to Rockingham, NC in 1807 and later became Speaker of the North Carolina House, a Superior Court judge in 1825, and ultimately Chief Justice.

The Harwood family: Captain Archibald Roane Harwood was born at "Newington" in 1786 and served in the militia during the War of 1812. He also served in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.

Single-fan divisions of the "Newington" Daylily are offered for sale at $25.00 per plant plus $6 postage. Send a $31 check to Dalton A. Parker, 222 Willow Winds Drive, Columbia, SC 29210. The unusual features of this daylily are its rare lavender-orchid color with a yellow highlighted throat and ruffled petals, its ability to bloom twice each season, and produce approximately 25% polytepal blooms (four sepals and four petals).

Tavern Museum Closes For The 2015 Season

The Courthouse Tavern Museum is closed for the season and will reopen in March, 2016. The date will be posted by February. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays 10 am–4 pm. Sundays 1–5 pm. Closed on Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. The season closes mid-December. Be sure to visit us, a “gem in a rural setting.” See our “Plan A Visit” page.

Courthouse Tavern Museum Holds Annual Open House

On Sunday, December 6th, the King and Queen Historical Society Courthouse Tavern Museum held its annual open house on a glorious sunny, crisp day. In cooperation with the King and Queen School System a music program conducted by Mr. Fielding, music director, was the highlight of the event with approximately 24 seventh grade students from both Marriott-Lawson and King & Queen Elementary Schools participating. Visitors were treated to delicious refreshments by the King and Queen Ruritan Club and the Tavern Museum Council. Visitors toured the Museum and were treated to additional exhibits created especially for the event: on display a train and Christmas village, toys from long ago, and quilts handmade by local residents. Brownie Bevan’s miniature horse JJ, pulled cart rides for the children. Vendors provided a variety of selections for Christmas shopping. Santa was also available to hear Christmas wishes. Holiday music played by Mr. Fielding echoed throughout the venue. The well-attended event was a wonderful prelude for the holiday season with the cheerful voices of the young and old heard throughout the afternoon.

Historical Society President Dr. A. W. Lewis presented the King and Queen schools music director, Mr. Fielding, a $150 check for the school system’s music program.

Who Speaks For The River

On October 25th the King and Queen County Historical Society meeting was held on the banks of the Mattaponi River at historic Whitehall, a handsome brick mansion built before 1780. The group was welcomed by current owner Mrs. Margaret (Peg) Babyak. Ms. Dori Babyak Chappell and Mr. and Mrs. Randy Shank spoke about the importance of the Mattaponi River, noting ways to protect it. The presentation was in three parts. Randy Shank, retired from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with experience in water quality projects for the Chesapeake Bay, talked about the uniqueness of the Mattaponi River and its contribution to the ecology. He conveyed that it is a 100 mile long treasure with some wild life and vegetation that are not seen anywhere else in the state. Because of the rural nature of the surrounding counties, its banks are relatively undeveloped. It is one of the cleanest rivers on the east coast and deserves “watchmen” to protect against unfettered development and pollution.

Dori Chappell told the “David and Goliath” story of the City of Newport News’ proposal to siphon water from the Mattaponi to a reservoir it would create in King William County. The battle to prevent this lasted 20 years, but through ingenuity, unity, determination, and persistence the “local residents” finally won. She summarized how the river has been used in the past and how it is used today. Through pictures and anecdotes she related how three generations of the Babyak family have used the river as an attraction for their boys camp and recreational venue, and for personal enjoyment.

Dawn Shank, retired from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Public Communications Office, discussed how citizen involvement in resource management efforts, education, and conservation issues helps to protect the river. She covered the mission and activities of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Association (MPRA), an organization dedicated to the protection of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers region’s natural resources. More detail can be found on their website

Students Experience History

On Friday October 23rd., a beautiful fall day, approximately 25 Central High School juniors participated in a history tour arranged by Ms. Alice Sheley and Mr. Frank Hurst of the Tavern Museum Council in cooperation with Dr. Carol Carter, Superintendent of King & Queen County Schools, and Mr. Chuck Hudson, head of the history department. The tour began at historic Newington, located on the Mattaponi River, and the birthplace of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. There they viewed many artifacts found at the site and a restored storage house constructed of "balast stones" brought over from England during the colonial era. Ms. Beverly (Bly) Straube, an archaeologist in the Virginia tidewater region, provided insights into the importance of the site and the discoveries made there. The group then traveled to the Tavern Museum for a tour and scavenger hunt constructed by Mr. Hudson to emphasize the County history exhibited. Mr. Frank Hurst informed the group of upcoming scholarship and archaeology opportunities.

Historical Society and Tavern Museum Council Participate in Community Pride Day

Community Pride Day, an annual event sponsored by the King & Queen County School System, is a “fun-for-the family” day at Central High School to encourage a sense of community in a county 65 miles long and 10 miles wide with two elementary schools and one high school. Saturday October 17th, the day of the event, was crisp and sunny. The many parade and vendor participants set a festive tone for the flood of visitors and those attending the homecoming football game. The Grand Marshalls of the parade, William B. Gwathmey and Jacob H. Dabney, both retired King and Queen County school teachers, rode at the head of the parade in a horse and carriage promoting the Historical Society and provided by member Brownie Bevan. Mr. Gwathmey is a member of the Historical Society and a docent at the Tavern Museum. The Museum (gift shop) vendor table was very successful.