Recent News

Book Signing for Dr. Malcolm Harris’s History of Homes to be Held at K&Q Courthouse Tavern Museum. (March 2006)

Many knew Dr. Malcolm Harris as the beloved physician in West Point. What many people don’t realize is that he was also an accomplished author.

The King and Queen County Historical Society has obtained a limited number of copies of Dr. Harris’s long out-of-print Old New Kent County: Some Account of the Planters, Plantations and Places. The book was, and still is, considered to be the definitive account on the history of King and Queen and King William County homes, farms and families. Dr. Harris did extensive research on Old New Kent County, which once included both the counties of King and Queen and King William. County records prior to 1865 were lost due to fires at each Clerk’s office so the book is one of the best sources for genealogical research and county history.

Both of Dr. Harris’s children, James Harris and Mary Hart Satterwhite, will be signing the two-volume hardback books. The books are being sold at a special event price of $92 plus tax.

James and Mary commented, “We are thrilled and honored to do this. Our father would have wanted this book to be made available to anyone who had an interest in this area’s rich history.”

King and Queen Group Retraces Route of Knights of Golden Horseshoe (October 2005)

On Saturday, October 15, donors to the King and Queen County Historical Society's Endowment Fund ventured to retrace the 1716 trip of Gov. Alexander Spotswood and his Knights of the Golden Horseshoes to find a passage across the Blue Ridge Mountains. The "knights" acquired their name from the small golden horseshoe the Governor gave each of the travelers upon their return to Williamsburg for their help in opening the "west." Not many have realized that one-third, or four, of the twelve gentlemen travelers resided in King and Queen County, Virginia, and the group stayed in King and Queen County homes as they made their way to the mountains.

The modern group left from Mattaponi Baptist Church, near King and Queen Court House, and headed toward the northern end of the County by bus. They paused at the community of Salvia, near Beverley Park, where Robert Beverley, clerk of the King and Queen Court, lived and where he joined the 1716 expedition. At Beverley Park Spotswood left his carriage and proceeded on horseback. The modern group proceeded to the Germanna Museum in Orange County, where Tom Faircloth, Director of the Museum lectured on the Germanna Colony, the iron mines, and Spotswood's stop there in his procession to the mountains. It was at Germanna the Spotswood group's horses were shod to handle the expected rocky soil of the mountains. This was the origin of their now famous name. The modern group next visited nearby Salubria, the home of Mrs. Spotswood when she remarried after Spotswood's death, and enjoyed box lunches on the Salubria grounds. From Salubria, the King and Queen group followed Spotswood's route along the Rapidan River, through the present towns of Rapidan and Orange to Swift Run Gap in the Blue Ridge, where they stopped to see the monuments that commemorate Spotswood's passage and looked for Mounts George and Spotswood named by Spotswood, now called Hightop and Saddleback. From Swift Run Gap, they proceeded down into the Shenandoah Valley a short distance to the Shenandoah River (Spotswood called it the Euphrates) to Elkton. In Elkton they were hosted by the Elkton Historical Society for a tour of the Miller-Kite House, Stonewall Jackson's headquarters for planning his Shenandoah Valley campaign during the Civil War. Like Spotswood, the group celebrated their achievement in passing through the mountains by toasting King George, Queen Anne, King William and Queen Mary and others. From Elkton, they returned to King and Queen where they stopped, as Spotswood did in 1715, at Locust Grove where their host was Jerry Walker, a descendent of Spotswood's host, Thomas Walker, before ending the day back at the Mattaponi Baptist Church.

The King and Queen County Historical Society's Endowment Fund has been established to benefit the operations of the Historical Society's Courthouse Tavern Museum located at King and Queen County Court House. The group plans additional trips in the future for donors to the Endowment Fund.

Log Schoolhouse III: King and Queen Opens Log Schoolhouse (October 2004)

On Sunday, October 25th, the King and Queen County opened its Eastern View Log Schoolhouse in a Grand Opening Ceremony at the King and Queen Courthouse. The Eastern View Schoolhouse was originally constructed and located at Eastern View Farm, near Owenton, King and Queen County, Virginia. It was constructed about 1870, used first as a private and then a public school until about 1903, and was the last remaining log schoolhouse in King and Queen County. Donated by Marian Minor, owner of Eastern View Farm, it was moved to the present site behind the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum and rehabilitated by community volunteers in 2004.

Dr. Richard W. Layman was the keynote speaker. He compared education in Virginia in the late 1800s and today and gave specific examples of what the county supplied at the time of the early log schoolhouse, including a bucket, a dipper and a broom. He noted the many changes and the many services now provided in schools, not only expanded education, but also meals and transportation. He explained the progress that had been made over the last two years and offered everyone the opportunity to visit the schools at any time.

Jack Spain, Museum Council Chairman, recognized and presented certificates to the Supporting Sponsors who had provided substantial financial and services to the project: Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation, West Point, Va.; Marian Minor, Richmond, Va.; Wood Preservers, Inc., Warsaw, Va.; Perma-Chink Systems, Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.; Anne and Scott Nickerson Family Foundation, Big Horn, Wyoming; Norman Company, Mechanicsville, Va.; Valley Crane and Rigging, Mechanicsville, Va.; and Essex Concrete Corp., Tappahannock, Va. Recognition was also made to the Principal Volunteers: Bobby Barlow, Brent Bosher, Carl Bosher, James Croxton, Jacob Dabney, Roy Downs, Larry Grahl, William Gwathmey, John Jones, Marian Minor, Roger Poteat, Samuel Prince, John Rich, Jack Spain, John Spain, Howard Walker, Sheriff Bobby Walton, and members of the Bent-Barrel Hunt Club. Special commendation was awarded to Mrs. Betty Gwathmey for organizing the ladies of the King and Queen Historical Society to provide lunches each work day and to E.B. (Brownie) Bevan for his careful supervision of the entire project. Spain noted it was truly a community endeavor to make this project happen.

Log Schoolhouse I: King and Queen Moves Log Schoolhouse (November 2003)

Deputies and Troopers escorted the move of the top of the Eastern View Schoolhouse on Monday, November 24, from Eastern View Farm near Newtown to King and Queen Court House. The King and Queen County Historical Society is moving the 1870–1880s era log schoolhouse to be used in connection with the Courthouse Tavern Museum. The log schoolhouse, probably one of the first public schools in King and Queen County, has been donated by Ms. Marion Minor, owner of Eastern View Farm in King and Queen County to the Historical Society on condition that it be moved to be used as part of the Courthouse Tavern Museum. The schoolhouse has been dismantled, the logs moved, and rebuilding the 16-by-14-foot structure has already started on the site behind the Museum. It will be used principally as a demonstration building in connection with programs at the Museum.

It has been a real community effort. Brownie Bevan of St. Stephen's Church developed the plan for moving and is supervising the demolition and rebuilding, all by volunteers. Wood Preservers, Inc. has donated the replacement poles being used to replace rotten logs that could not be reused. DJG, Engineers, Architects and Surveyors of Williamsburg have donated the surveys and plans necessary for the county approvals for locating the building behind the Museum. A grant from the Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation of West Point is supporting necessary purchases. Betty Gwathmey and Allison Stoneham have supervised food preparation and serving at the work sessions "to keep everyone motivated." Sheriff Bobby Walton organized the Department of Transportation required three-vehicle escort. Norman Company, Contractors, has arranged for the donation of a crane to place the top back on the schoolhouse once it is complete.

Mary Macon Pendleton Gatewood Boulware Returns to King and Queen County (November 2003)

Mary Macon Pendleton Gatewood Boulware, who lived in King and Queen County from 1788 to 1852, has returned, in portrait form at least, to King and Queen County after a long absence. Her portrait, painted before 1829, has been donated to the King and Queen County Historical Society and has been hung in the parlor of its Courthouse Tavern Museum at King and Queen Courthouse. The donor is Arnold Ricks of Bennington, Vermont. The gift is "On behalf of the Ricks family in memory of their Mother and Grandmother, Anne Elizabeth Ryland (Mrs. James Hoge) Ricks (1887–1953), daughter of Alice Marion Garnett and Charles Hill Ryland."

Mary Macon Pendleton Gatewood Boulware (pronounced "Bowler") was born October 13, 1788, at Spring Farm near Newtown in upper King and Queen County. In 1804, when she was 16, she married Philip Gatewood, who at thirty was almost twice her age. He was "a member of a prominent family, a gentleman justice of the county, and the first postmaster of Newtown." The year they were married they bought Traveller's Rest, an historic farm of 710 acres, located near Newtown. Philip Gatewood died in 1829; they had no children. It is believed that the portrait was painted before Mr. Gatewood's death in 1829.

In 1832 Mrs. Gatewood, then 44, married William Boulware, when he was only 22. He was the son of Lee Boulware of Newtown and a professor at Columbian College in Washington, D.C.. Later he was member of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary and a Minister of the United States to King Ferdinand II at Naples before the formation of the Republic of Italy. It is believed he built the present house at Traveller's Rest.

The painter of the portrait, Andrew Broaddus I, described as a "scholar, writer, poet, painter, preacher" is principally known as a minister who was prominent in Virginia Baptist activities. In Broaddus' time ministers were not paid to preach; therefore, he earned extra money teaching, publishing and painting. He designed the seal of the Virginia Baptist Seminary, which later became the University of Richmond and still retains the same seal. He published Virginia Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs from the Most Approved Authors, and his sermons were published in The Sermons and Writings of Rev. Andrew Broaddus (1852). Andrew Broaddus I, his son, and his grandson successively served as pastors of Salem Baptist Church in Caroline County for more than a century (1820–1926).

The portrait is oil on board and, minus the frame, measures 20 inches wide by 26 inches high.

The public is invited to visit Mrs. Boulware in her new home in the parlor at the Courthouse Tavern Museum at King and Queen Courthouse.

King and Queen Museum Reprints Louise Gray's A Patchwork Quilt (October 2002)

Louise Eubank Gray's collection of vignettes, titled A Patchwork Quilt, Lifestyle in King and Queen County, Virginia, 1910-1920, has been reprinted by the King and Queen County Courthouse Tavern Museum. There will be a reception and book signing to honor Mrs. Gray at the Museum on Sunday, October 27, at 4 pm, immediately following the 3 pm meeting of the King and Queen County Historical Society at the Courts and Administration Building, King and Queen Court House, VA.

In A Patchwork Quilt, first published in 1989 and out-of-print for a number of years, Mrs. Gray tells the stories of her growing up in rural King and Queen County in the 1910–1920s: the man who came to clean the well when a mouse spoiled the water; going to church on Sunday by buggy to a church heated by wood stove; fetching on horseback the doctor for a broken arm; putting tar on seed corn so the crows would not eat it when planted, and many more vivid tales of life in the King and Queen "not so long ago!" Mrs. Gray's book provided a guide for the portion of the Tavern Museum's video tour on early rural customs in King and Queen County.

The reprinting of the book was funded in part by a grant from the Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation of West Point. Mrs. Gray donated the right to reprint the book to the Museum.

King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Talks and Demonstrations are highlights of Beautiful Sunday Afternoon, November 3rd (November 2002)

Caroline Jones of Canterbury asked what could be better on a bright, fall Sunday afternoon in King and Queen County: the leaves in full color, homemade doughnuts cooking over an open kettle, Sally Walker's hot spiced cider and Latane Trice making a speech! She was referring to the activities last Sunday afternoon, November 3rd, where Latane Trice described how to use some of the tools from his uncle Tom Trice's collection now on display at the Courthouse Tavern Museum. Carl Stafford explained tools from the collection of his grandfather, Carroll Minor of Newtown, while Jack Hutchinson of King and Queen Court House demonstrated with an entertaining talk how a forked shoving pole was used in hunting sora on the Mattaponi River.

Mr. Trice focused on several carpentry tools in Tom Trice's collection: a framing square, a slide measure, and two different wood planes. He described how a broad axe would be used to remove bark from trees and square them up for railroad ties or other larger timbers. He demonstrated how an adz would be used to cut the center from logs for bowls and other wooden utensils and showed how a farrier would use smaller tools for nailing shoes on a horse's hoof. Trice completed his talk with an entertaining story of the need to use a drawing compass to make proper circles for the seats of a "necessary house."

Carl Stafford, of Culpepper, and the grandson of the late Carroll Minor of Newtown, spoke enthusiastically of how the skill and care required in the use of hand tools helped built good character. He described how a person would progressively smooth his wood surfaces, starting with the broad axe, then using a two-handed saw, then an adz, followed by a drawing knife, and then, in the days before sandpaper, using a piece of glass to smooth the surface. He demonstrated how a blacksmith would use a long gripper to hold hot metal. His final piece was a beautiful wooden hayfork which his grandmother, Elizabeth Minor, who was in attendance, had found for Mr. Minor.

Jack Hutchinson, of King and Queen Court House, demonstrated how his shoving pole was used to push small boats through the Mattaponi marsh at high tide looking for sora, a small marsh bird a little smaller than a quail and a member of the rail family of birds. The pole is equipped with a dogwood fork bolted to the end, so the pole would not sink into the bottom mud when pushed. Mr. Hutchinson asserted that the sora was practically extinct in this area, but Mr. Trice assured him and the audience that he knew where to find them.

Bill Ruppert of Cedar Row at Cologne demonstrated his skills making leather utensils on the Museum porch both before and after the talks. He worked on leather pouches and a leather bucket.

After the talks the audience, which filled the dining room of the Museum, was treated to homemade doughnuts and apple fritters, prepared by Nancy Herman-Thompson of Shacklefords and her cooking crew. The cooking crew consisted of Sarah Henley, Katie and Paul Maloney, Ragan Hart, Michele and Samantha Creasy and Ellen White. The "all hands crew" worked diligently on a table outside the Museum to prepare the yeast bread which became the doughnuts and fritters. The yeast bread was prepared from an authentic rural recipe using mashed potatoes.. Sorghum molasses was added to the apple fritters. They were cooked in boiling lard in a large open kettle over an open fire. Sally Walker satisfied everyone's thirst with a special hot spiced cider which she prepared using fresh apple cider and her secret mix of spices.

As the crowd left the Museum area in the late afternoon, no one could deny that Caroline Jones was right, as usual.

King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Goes High-Tech. (February 2002)

The Courthouse Tavern Museum at King and Queen Courthouse in King and Queen County is home to a variety of old treasures, but recently a very modern, high-tech item was acquired. It is a new touch-screen technology, which enables visitors to take a video tour of the Museum. A viewer may preview the parts of the tour by touching the TV screen that connects to a DVD disc. One third of the tour is located in machines on each floor. The machines are equipped with closed-caption option for the hearing impaired, and the machine on the first floor is equipped to give the complete tour to the disabled.

This new touch-screen technology was developed by Neurologic of California. With the exception of Stratford Hall, the Tavern Museum is the only facility in the eastern part of Virginia that has this equipment. The video tour was filmed in October and November 2001 by Cinebar Productions, Inc. of Newport News. About fifty residents participated in the production. The filming extends from Tucker’s Beach on the York River, up the County, to the Tavern Museum at King and Queen Court House, to New Mt. Zion Church, Robin Taylor’s home, then on to the Bevans and Sutton-Minor farms near at St. Stephens Church in the upper part of the County. Scenes in the film depict various cultural customs of rural King and Queen County at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Other parts introduce the Exhibits in the Museum, as well as the Building as a late 1800s-early 1900s courthouse tavern.

Alan Sader of Bruington was the narrator; Nancy Herman-Thompson of Shacklefords organized the filming. The script was written by a committee from the Museum Council composed of the following: Nancy Herman-Thompson, Linda Barnes, Jack Spain, Abigail Collins, Ellen White, and Anne Ryland.

The video tour is being paid for as part of a budget for interim improvements being raised by contributions from local residents and from members of the King and Queen Historical Society.

King and Queen Opens Courthouse Tavern Museum May 13. (May 2001)

The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum, located at King and Queen Courthouse, VA, will open to the general public for the first time on Sunday, May 13, from 1 to 5 pm. The Museum, a joint enterprise of King and Queen County and the King and Queen County Historical Society, features an acclaimed exhibit on the History of King and Queen County, developed under the guidance of Dr. James Kelly of the Virginia Historical Society and design of Terry Ammons of StudioAmmons. It tells the story of King and Queen County, using artifacts donated or loaned by citizens of the County, including early fossils and sharks teeth found in the County, a piece of a cannon used in the 1600s at Fort Mattaponi, a wooden voting box used for “colored voters,” a spyglass used in the Revolution and the Civil War by a King and Queen family, an 18th century ladies cloth cap, pictures of early schools and churches, among other things.

The Exhibit traces King and Queen history with three themes: Life – making a living in the county, emphasizes farming, forestry and watermen; Liberty – emphasizes the participation of the county in wars from the Revolution to World War II, as well as the various rights movements; and Pursuit of Happiness – building community groups in the county: government, schools, churches and other organizations, but also focuses on the history of home life in rural King and Queen.

The Museum, housed in the restored Courthouse Tavern, also presents the Tavern as a 1880–1930 building serving persons coming to stay overnight to attend to Court business. It features a restored and furnished dining room, parlor and two bedrooms during a time of transition from kerosene lamps to electric lights and appliances – the Museum has several 1910–1925 electric heaters, fans and even an early vacuum cleaner; from tin wash tubs and potty chairs to indoor plumbing; from handmade furniture to early Sears, Roebuck catalog products; from open fireplaces to coal heating stoves; and early inexpensive picture printing. All of these are displayed and explained in the museum.

Tales from the Tavern - Winter 2012-2013

Leftwich Family Group Visits

In October, over 70 members of Ralph Leftwich's descendants came to King and Queen County to remember their forebears. The Museum provided a tour and copies of a map developed by researchers at the Museum showing the likely location of the original Leftwich patent. One of the Tavern docents coordinated a visit and lunch at nearby historic Mattaponi Baptist Church

Ivor Noel Hume Bottle Exhibit

The Ivor Noel Hume Bottle Collection is owned by Frank Hurst of Newington Plantation in King and Queen County and is on loan to the Museum for two years. A short video of Mr. Hume discussing his collection is available. In addition, artifacts from the Newington Plantation archaeological dig are on display.

Historical Society Meeting Features Taylor & Caldwell Cannery

At the 4th Qtr 2012 meeting of the King and Queen Historical Society, Page Owen McLemore and Ben Owen, IV, descendants of Mr. Taylor, shared the history of the Taylor & Caldwell Cannery, and related family stories and photos. Also, members of the community recounted their remembrances of working there.

Museum Sponsors Trip for Endowment Donors

On October 25th 29 donors to the King and Queen County Historical Society Endowment Fund and their guests ventured to historic Mount Airy and Menokin Plantations near Warsaw, Virginia. The trip was arranged by the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum. At Mt. Airy they toured the house, the gardens and the family cemetery. At Menokin the director of the Menokin Exhibit gave a presentation on the history and preservation of the property and conducted a tour.

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