Archive for July 2016

Antique Adventurers Visit

On May 17, a very cool, bleak and rainy day, approximately 50 ladies from the Antique Adventurers group in Williamsburg spent the morning visiting the Museum, Courthouse Green, and Immanuel Church. The King and Queen County Women’s Club served them a delicious homemade “country” mid-day dinner. They then visited Mattaponi Church where the tour bus got stuck. Their visit ended at the Newington archeological site and Mr. Frank Hurst’s home in conversation with archeologist Ms. Bly Straub about the artifacts and with Mattaponi Chief Custalow about the Mattaponi River. One of the visitors characterized it this way: "The Trip, as I will call it from here to eternity, was the most informative ... the beauty of the land, the graciousness of the volunteers and the history they shared was more than anyone could have wished.  The added attraction of the super gale, delicious lunch to warm us up, the churches, the log cabin (schoolhouse), the Tavern, every place we visited was adding to the excitement of knowing we were somewhere really special that we really hadn't known existed within easy reach of Williamsburg.”

Virginia Hunting and Fishing Traditions

Mr. Lee Walker, Agency Outreach Division Director for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), gave an overview of the history of wildlife and hunting/fishing traditions in Virginia. The DGIF was formed 100 years ago to address the need for conservation of wildlife and fisheries, and preservation of their habitat. The abundance that was present in the 17th Century when the Europeans first came to this area was all but depleted by the start of the 20th Century. Mr. Walker reviewed lessons learned over the years and practices that have increased the availability of wildlife and fisheries for sportsmen, emphasizing the positive conservation influence over the years of many hunt clubs, and rod and gun clubs. He noted the economic benefit to Virginia and King and Queen County and emphasized areas for improvement.

Mr. Brownie Bevan reviewed the almost 60 years of the Bent Arrow Hunt Club located in the central part of the county and shared some demographic statistics about the members. Many of the current members are descendants of the charter members. He emphasized that they respect the landowners; contribute part of their harvest to the food bank at Bruington Church; and keep the roads clean in their area.

Virginia Women’s Monument Nomination

In March the King and Queen County Historical Society and Courthouse Tavern Museum in partnership with the J. C. Graves Museum were pleased to nominate Miss India Hamilton for the Virginia Women’s Monument commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia. The monument will be located in Capital Square. For inclusion on the Wall of Honor the nominee must have been a native Virginian or have lived a great portion of her life in Virginia, and be known and recognized as a Virginian, or have achieved or contributed in a significant manner while living in Virginia. She must no longer be living and have died at least ten years prior to consideration.

Miss India Hamilton was born to former slaves in 1879 in rural King and Queen County. She rose from what would be called abject poverty today to become an educator and pioneer in creating literate, healthy, and prosperous rural communities at a time when many doors were closed to her gender and race. She obtained an excellent education and promoted education as a life-long process. As a Jeanes supervisor for most of her long teaching career in King William County and a leader in the Negro Organization Society, she was well known on a local, state and national level. Although she never married, she was known as “the Children’s Friend”, ensuring that Negro children had educational opportunities. A summer camp that offered organized recreational and educational enrichment experiences for Negro boys and girls throughout Virginia was named for her. In 1946 she achieved her goal of a Negro high school in King William County and in 1952 it was named Hamilton-Holmes High School. Today the middle school in King William County carries her name.

School Activities - First Grade Visit

On Friday, April 22 Mrs. Randall’s first grade Lawson-Marriott Elementary School students toured the Museum and participated in hands-on activities that demonstrated the differences between current activities and those of long ago. They giggled as they hand-washed clothes, put them through a hand-cranked wringer, and hung them up. In the 1880’s Eastern View Schoolhouse they wrote with quill pens and homemade ink. They carded wool and watched as it was spun into thread to make clothes. In the Carriage House they saw a buggy that traveled the county roads for over 100 years and the horse’s harness equipment. In addition, at the old Stevensville post office façade they experienced how letters were mailed in a country store. They ended their visit by ringing the old Marriott School bell.

Archives Building Renovated

The Historical Society is pleased to announce that the old Clerks office, now referred to as the Archives Building, has been completely renovated. The last major repairs were done in 1962. As with any 150 year old building the original project to repair damage caused by drainage problems and to remove asbestos in the flooring grew bigger because more problems were found and opportunities for improvements were recognized. The partnership and cooperation with the County has resulted in a building that provides a comfortable and pleasing environment for research and exhibits, and a well sealed climate controlled vault for storage of archives.

School Activities - Civil War Presentations

Ms. Carol Lowry, a King and Queen Elementary School (KQES) teacher and King and Queen County Historical Society member, in cooperation with the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum, made the Civil War era in King and Queen County come alive for the 4th and 5th grades at KQES on March 25 and for the 4th grade at Lawson-Marriott Elementary School on April 26. To spark student interest she combined personal family history, artifacts, and anecdotes with highlights and pictures from local, state and national history covered in the Standards of Learning.  Flags, uniforms, insignias, weapons, spies, military leaders, local units, and music of both sides were covered. Ms. Lowry displayed reproduction Confederate and Federal uniform coats and hats, and two children wore them for display.  They viewed a segment of The History Channel documentary "Civil War Terror" that happened in King and Queen County. Local civilian life was included with women’s dresses, shoes, and accessories displayed. The interactive experience held the students’ attention throughout the presentation. They left with smiles and a better understanding of the Civil War.

King Queen County School Board Thank You

On December 16, 2015 the King and Queen County School Board put forth a resolution thanking the King and Queen County Historical Society and the Courthouse Tavern Museum for their support of the school system.