Recent News

King and Queen Historical Society Presents Speakers on African American History (July 2012)

The King and Queen Historical Society met at the newly renovated Marriott School on Sunday, July 22. The guest speakers were Dr. Lauranette Lee, curator, and Paige Newman, archivist, from the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia. They explained the new database about African American history at the Virginia Historical Society, “Unknown No Longer – A Glimpse of 19th Century History.”

The database has on file census records, wills and inventories of estates and plantation records showing the life of slaves starting in 1850. Slavery was legalized in Virginia in the 1660s. A census done in King and Queen in 1790 showed 9,377 citizens with a slave population of 5,743. Most white people did not own slaves. Most slaves were located on plantations and large farms. In some legal papers as wills and deed slaves were listed after livestock and furniture.

Tales from the Tavern - Spring 2013

12th Annual Report for Year 2012

This newsletter is dedicated to the 12th Annual Report. It highlights two new exhibits that opened, eight special events held at the Museum, and five projects that enhanced communications and research. In addition, it provides an overview of the support for the museum through accessions, volunteering, and sales of items by the Museum Store, online and at the Museum. Highlights of the status of the physical facility and finances is also included.

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King and Queen Museum Opens Exhibit on May 12 featuring Colonial King and Queen Sundial. (May 2012)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum opens its exhibit on the colonial "Uper Church of St. Stephens Parish" featuring the sundial given to the upper church of St. Stephens Parish, King and Queen County in 1715 by Col. James Taylor of King and Queen. Col Taylor was the son of James Taylor 1 who came to King and Queen from England by 1675 and is the great-grandfather of two Presidents, Zachary Taylor and James Madison.

The sundial is on loan to the King and Queen Historical Society for a ten-year period by Immanuel Church located at King and Queen Court House. In exchange, the Museum raised funds for the restoration of the sundial and the development of the exhibit. The exhibit has been designed by Terry Ammons of Studio Ammons of Petersburg and built by GROPEN, museum fabricators of Charlottesville. There will be a dedication ceremony of the Exhibit at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 12th. The Rev. Richard Scott Krejci of Immanuel Church will participate.

The St. Stephens Parish, in the middle part of King and Queen County, was formed before 1674 as part of the Church of England or Anglican Church. The upper church, also known as Apple Tree Church, was located on Rosemont Road and burned in the early 1800s.

The exhibit also includes the base of the baptismal font required to be in every Anglican Church. The baptismal font base was given the to the Museum some years ago by St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Essex County.

Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Legacy Project to Visit King and Queen County: Goal to digitize Civil War era documents for research purposes. (April 2012)

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission and the Library of Virginia have partnered to create a state-wide online collection of original Civil War manuscripts that still remain in private hands. The Civil War 150 Legacy Project Document Digitization and Access focuses on manuscript materials created during the period 1859-1867 that reflect social, political, military, business and religious life in Virginia during the period of the Civil War and the early period of Reconstruction. Citizens are encouraged to bring original family materials to be scanned and included in the Project. Scanned materials will be made available on the web via the Library of Virginia web site and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission web site. The originals will be returned to the owner after scanning.

CW 150 Legacy Project staff will be visiting King and Queen County on Saturday, April 28th. The event to scan documents will take place from 10 am to 5 pm at the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum, King and Queen C.H., Va. Although a limited number of walk-ins will be accommodated, as scheduling allows, appointments are encouraged and will be accommodated first. Appointments may be made by contacting Beth Hayes by telephone at 769-4044 or email at

The CW 150 Legacy Project is a multi-year initiative to locate, digitize and provide world wide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located throughout Virginia. Through a partnership with the Library of Virginia and a network of statewide connections, the CW 150 Legacy Project will provide individuals an opportunity to have their historic letters, diaries and other collections scanned to preserve their valuable intellectual content.

The Library of Virginia holds the worlds most extensive collection of material about the Old Dominion and has been a steward of its documentary and printed heritage since 1823. The Library of Virginia currently holds nearly 113 million manuscripts and more than 1.9 million books, serials, bound periodicals, microfilm reels, newspapers and state and federal documents, each an individual tile in the vast and colorful mosaic of Virginia’s experience.

King and Queen Museum Opens Exhibit on March 25th of Renowned Ivor Noël Hume Personal Bottle Collection dating from 1650 to 1976. (March 2012)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum opens its exhibit of the Renowned Ivor Noël Hume Bottle Collection on March 25th. Respected archeologist and writer Ivor Noël Hume, retired "antiquarian" from Colonial Williamsburg, assembled a personal collection of some sixty bottles. He started collecting when examining archaeological digs in London that showed remains from the time of the Romans through the time of the great London Fire of 1666 at different levels of an archaeological dig. Bottles, even broken bottle pieces, could help him to date the layers of materials found in his digs. He says the bottles also tell stories of the people during each time period. For example, he explains, a bottle with the seal of the Sun Tavern in London when Samuel Pepys visited the tavern opens up a whole period of history.

Frank and Barbara Hurst, owners of Newington Plantation in King and Queen County, the birthplace of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, became interested in some of the same issues when he undertook an archaeological dig in connection with the remains of an old stone building located at Newington which has been dated to 1724. Because of his interest Hurst ended up meeting Noël Hume. When Hurst learned that Noël Hume was in the process of selling his collection, Hurst purchased it and has brought it intact to the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum for this exhibition. The exhibit also includes (1) Noël Hume's own written comments on the significance of each bottle, (2) a video presentation Noël Hume specially filmed at the King and Queen Museum for this exhibit, and (3) items found at Newington, including a bowl dating to 1720-1740 made by early Virginia potter, William Rogers, and a stone from the stone building dated 1724/3- with the initials GBI (for George Braxton 1, Carter Braxton's grandfather).

One expert, recently commenting on Noël Hume's collection, stated: "This is assuredly an assemble of objects demonstrating that enthusiasm for collecting can extend far beyond the Magpie instinct for mere acquisition. It is not simply a pile of random historic bones. It is the work of an expert anatomist who has constructed from it a cohesive skeleton and then provided the DNA that fleshed it out in ways that both inform and animate our history. To have dispersed it would have destroyed an important historical integrity. Ivor Noël Hume reports that the entire collection, along with its detailed history, is now in safe hands."

Jack Spain, Chairman of the King and Queen Museum Council, said the Museum was especially honored to be chosen for the first pubic exhibition of this collection.

Frank Hurst will speak at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25th, at the grand opening of the exhibit. He will recount how he became interested, how he met Noël Hume, and generally introduce the new exhibit. The public is invited.

King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum Hosts Holiday Open House Sunday, December 4th. (December 2011)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum will hold its fifth annual old-fashioned Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 4th, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Museum at King and Queen Court House. The Children's Choir from Aylett Country Day school will be on hand to bring the spirit of the holidays to the neighborhood. Outside the Museum there will be demonstrations of donut and popcorn ball making over an open fire. There will be pony-cart rides for the children. Santa Claus will be present. Inside the Museum there will be singing and delicious Yuletide refreshments available for everyone to enjoy. The current exhibit of vintage King and Queen lady's clothes will be on display in the Museum. The Museum will be festively decorated both inside and out for the holiday season. Everyone is invited, so bring the whole family for a great community event!

Thomas Cluverius of King and Queen comes home to King and Queen Tavern Museum on Sunday, October 9. (October 2011)

Thomas Cluverius of King and Queen County will come home to the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum on October 9 at 2 pm. Who is Thomas Cluverius? Born in King and Queen in 1861 of a prominent family, he was well educated and eventually went to law school. However, in 1885 he allegedly murdered his cousin and lover Lillian Madison, whose pregnant body was found near the reservoir in Richmond. His trial lasted for weeks and was the subject of daily front-page headlines. The New York Times printed 37 stories on the case. It has been said, "This sensational murder case is one of the most prominent in the history of the Commonwealth."

John Milliken Thompson has written a new novel, The Reservoir, based on Cluverius, the murder, and the trial. Thompson will talk about Cluverius, how Thompson developed the book and read passages from it. Thompson is also the author of America's Historic Trails and Wildlands of the Upper South and coauthor of The National Geographic Almanac of American History. He will be introduced by Belle Boggs, prize-winning author of her book of short stories based on members of the community, Mattaponi Queen. Belle's family lives in Walkerton, King and Queen County.

The Reservoir has been described as an exciting "did he do it story." While in prison awaiting trial Cluverius even wrote his own book saying he was innocent. However, he was found guilty by the jury and hanged for the crime.

Both Milliken and Boggs will be available to autograph their books following the presentation. A reception will also follow the presentation.

King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum is given Historic 1857–9 King and Queen Quilt Face. (January 2011)

At the meeting of its Museum Council on January 26th the King and Queen Historical Society was presented an historic 1857–9 King and Queen quilt face by Mrs. Helen Marion McNeely Brown of Hanover County, Virginia.

What is a quilt face? What is its connection to King and Queen County? Why is it historic? A quilt face is a fabric top for a quilt that consists of 36 handmade squares and is eighty inches by eighty inches. The fabric cover would have later been sewn onto quilting material to create a quilt. In this case it was never made into a quilt, but carefully kept enclosed in a box maintaining the original vibrant colors. Each of the 36 squares has been individually made, most have been dated by hand, and then sewn together.

The quilt face is connected to King and Queen county through ownership and the names signed on the quilt. Mrs. Brown is the widow of Randolph Pendleton Brown of Hanover County who was the grandson of Mary Pendleton Taylor who was born at Green Mount in King and Queen County in 1845. It appears that most of the squares were signed. Although some of the signatures have now faded, they include many King and Queen names: Martha Fleet, 1857; Sallie B. Ryland, 1858; Sarah Haynes; Mattie Fleet; M. E. Haynes; L. M. Bartlett, Ala. Oct. 1859; Susan F. Ryland, 1858; Sarah R. Clark; and Dorothea F. Walker, 1859, Society Hill. The family connection to King and Queen County, as well as the names and dates, make it a special King and Queen item.

Mrs. Brown was interested in having the quilt face return to King and Queen County and believed that the Historical Society’s Museum would be the appropriate place for the preservation, display and research of the quilt face. The Museum last year had an exhibit displaying quilts made and owned in King and Queen County. Hand-made quilts were especially popular before the Civil War. It provided a good opportunity for get-togethers in quilting bees. They were often made and given on special occasions, such as weddings. After the Civil War, with the increased use of machinery for production, hand-made quilts were not made as often. It is unusual to find quilt top of such age in such good condition. Page McLemore, President of the Historical Society, and Jack Spain, Chairman of the Museum Council, accepted the quilt face from Mrs. Brown at the meeting and gave her a tour of the Museum, including its two bedrooms where the quilt face will most likely be displayed. They noted that this will significantly add to the collection of the Museum and be a treasure for King and Queen County.

Belle Boggs to discuss her new book, Mattaponi Queen, at King and Queen Tavern Museum on Sunday, November 7. (November 2010)

Belle Boggs, winner of the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize for her new book, Mattaponi Queen, will talk about her book of short stories at the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum on Sunday, November 7th, at 3 pm. Belle was born in King William County, grew up in Walkerton in King and Queen County and went to high school in West Point, Virginia. For her book she drew on stories of people in King and Queen and King William Counties. The stories are fictional, but take place in the areas of West Point, the Mattaponi Indian Reservation, Central Garage and Tappahannock, to name a few. Her characters in the stories are often based on actual people in the two counties and she will discuss how she crafted some of the characters in her stories. The famous or infamous boat, the Mattaponi Queen, which many remember as gliding along the Mattaponi River on many an evening, is featured in several of the short stories, and gives its name to the book.

In addition to winning the Bakeless Prize for this book, Southern Living Magazine has just selected Belle as the best new Southern writer and she will be featured in its upcoming January issue. Belle now lives near Chapel Hill, N.C., and is the daughter of Terry and Buttons Boggs of Walkerton. She will be coming home to King and Queen especially for this presentation. Belle will also read a selection from one of her stories and be available to autograph her book following her presentation. A reception will also follow the presentation.

King and Queen Museum to feature Speaker on Caring and Preserving Family Textile Treasures on September 19th. (September 2010)

Colleen Callahan, a noted costume and textile historian and curator with experience in conservation will deliver an enlightening program on the care and preservation of family treasures such as grandmother's wedding dress, a family christening dress, or a beloved quilt at the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum on Sunday, September 19th at 3 pm. Ms. Callahan will cover topics regarding the storage, packing, cleaning, repair and display of heirloom textiles, and do a demonstration of packing a wedding dress and quilt for storage. The lecture is being presented in conjunction with the Museum’s current exhibit on ladies’ vintage clothes from King and Queen County which will also be open for viewing.

The lecture will be open to the public at no charge. Ms. Callahan will be available after the lecture for brief consultations with participants on identifying, dating, and preserving their own family textiles. The cost for the consultation (no appraisals) is $5 per item as a donation to the Museum and is limited to two items per person. Ms. Callahan served as curator of costumes and textiles at the Valentine Richmond History Center for 18 years and holds degrees from Smith College, New York University and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was formerly president of the Costume Society of America.