Tag Archives: Rebecca Tayloe Lee

July 4th Commemoration in Northern Neck Corn Field

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Burnt House Field

Even in Virginia’s Northern Neck, Burnt House Field Cemetery is an out-of-the-way place to honor a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The cemetery at Hague in Westmoreland County is surrounded by a brick wall and 100 acres of corn. Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) is buried here with his parents and grandparents.

Lee was more than just a signer. In the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Lee introduced the resolution calling for independence from Great Britain that led to the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

His brother Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797) also signed it. Ten years earlier, they had burned an effigy of the Tax Man at the Westmoreland courthouse and helped organize other opposition to the hated Stamp Act.

Sponsored by the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society and Cople Parish, the commemoration at the Lee cemetery will begin at 8:30 a.m. It will feature a living-history interpretation of Francis Lightfoot Lee and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee, visiting Richard Henry Lee’s grave. (Francis Lightfoot Lee is buried in the Tayloe Cemetery at Mt. Airy near Warsaw.)

The grave of Francis Lee at Mount Airy.
The grave of Francis Lee at Mount Airy.

The observance will then move 5 miles to Yeocomico Episcopal Church. Built in 1706, it was the home church of the Lee family. Richard Henry Lee and his father Thomas Lee both served on the vestry. The service at the church will include prayers and the singing of patriotic hymns and the national anthem.

For additional information, contact Steve Walker, 804-472-3291, yeocomshan@yahoo.com

DIRECTIONS

The wicket door at Cople Parish.
The wicket door at Yeocomico Episcopal Church

CEMETERY: From State Rt. 202 (Cople Highway) at Hague, take Rt. 612 (Coles Point Road) about one-half mile to Rt. 675 (Mt. Pleasant Road). The cemetery is about a mile at the end of the gravel road.

CHURCH: From cemetery, turn left on Rt. 612 (Coles Point Road). Go one mile and turn right on Rt. 606 (Tucker Hill Road). Go three miles and turn right on Rt. 606 (Old Yeocomico Road). The church will be on the right.

Menokin’s Mysterious Jar

The Menokin Foundation is very fortunate to have a large collection of masonry, stone, construction timbers and interior paneling. But because the house passed hands many times after the deaths of Frank and Becky Lee, and eventually out of the Lee and Tayloe families all together, there are no interior furnishings or decorative items left from the time of their ownership.

Indeed, the only furnishings from Menokin that we have were donated in 2009 by Mrs. Douglas Forrest Barnes. These gifts included a 19th-century walnut table and chairs, and a stoneware jar, which belonged to the Belfield family who owned and occupied Menokin from 1879 to 1935. (Read more about the history of this gift below.)

collection-layers

Our current student intern, Allie Lyth, was tasked with researching the stoneware jar, about which little has ever been known. Her efforts uncovered a genre of primitive ceramics called “American Salt Glazed Ovoid Stoneware,” where our jar seems to fit nicely.

Salt Glazed blue decorated 19th-century Ovoid Jars have some defining characteristics. Samples found online explain the similarities and difference between jars from different states, which often varied in style, design, color and handles.

Samples of Ovoid Stoneware jars from Z&K Antiques.
Samples of Ovoid Stoneware jars from Z&K Antiques.

The design on the image of the jar below, from the Cowan’s Auction website, is very similar to the design on Menokin’s jar. Note the difference between the two in the shape of the lip and the overall shape of the jar.

Second quarter 19th century, semi-ovoid jar having applied lunate handles and brushed tulip and leaf designs surrounding the exterior; attributed to Virginia. Image courtesy of Cowan's Antiques.
Second quarter 19th century, semi-ovoid jar having applied lunate handles and brushed tulip and leaf designs surrounding the exterior; attributed to Virginia. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Antiques.

Menokin’s unsigned Ovoid jar has a “catty-wampus” shape with its lopsided opening and irregular body. Does this hurt or increase the value? Perhaps a trip to Antiques Roadshow is in order?

The Menokin Foundation Takes to the Road

The popular Banner Lecture Series offered at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, VA will host two guest speakers in October, both co-sponsored by The Menokin Foundation.

These programs will be held at the VHS, which is located at 428 North Boulevard in Richmond, VA.

The first takes place on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at noon, and features Dr. John C. Coombs, a professor at Hampden-Sydney College, discussing Planter Oligarchy on Virginia’s Northern Neck.

Unlocking Menokin’s Secrets: Archaeological and Landscape Research at a Northern Neck Plantation takes place on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at noon, and will be presented by David Brown and Thane Harpole of DATA Investigations.

One of the great houses to survive from colonial Virginia, Menokin was the result of a unique collaboration between John Tayloe II of Mount Airy and Francis Lightfoot Lee, the husband of his daughter Rebecca. Tayloe gave Lee a life interest in 1,000 acres of his vast Richmond County estate and, as a wedding present, built the plantation house and surrounding structures.

David Brown at work at Menokin.

Though scant written records remain, other clues offer insight into this adaptation of European design to the environment of eastern Virginia. David Brown with DATA Investigations will discuss recent archaeological and landscape research conducted at the site.

Reservations are not required for either lecture. Admission is $6/adults, $5/seniors, $4/children and students, free/members (please present card) and to Richmond Times-Dispatch readers with a Press Pass coupon. Parking is free. For more information visit: www.vahistorical.org/news/lectures_banner.htm.

Meet The Family

The current issue of Virginia Living has an article about the magnificent colonial plantation home, Mount Airy. This 18th-century architectural masterpiece was the girlhood home of Rebecca Tayloe Lee, wife of Francis Lightfoot Lee of Menokin.

In fact, the Menokin property was once part of the estate of John Tayloe II, who carved out 1,000 acres and financed the building of Menokin as a wedding gift for Frank and Becky.

These exquisite photographs by Roger Foley give you a peak into the genteel lifestyle of the Mount Airy residents. The article offers poignant insight into the nature of living in – and caring for – an iconic family home.

Here is a link to the article in Virginia Living.

These 10th generation great nephews of Rebecca Tayloe Lee are playing, living and growing in the same house where she grew up.
You can almost feel the breeze wafting through the great hall of Mount Airy.
Moose has gone to heaven, but lived a heavenly life at Mount Airy alongside his statuary brethren.

“A Place Like No Other.”

Commentator Thea Marshall recently learned about a famous architect who’ll be putting back together again a famous pile of rubble.

Of course, the famous architect is Jorge Silvetti – of Machado and Silvetti Associates – and the famous pile of rubble is Menokin, a National Historic Landmark and the Commonwealth’s largest and most historic jigsaw puzzle.

This essay, as comfortable to listen to as a favorite tune, is chock full of information about Menokin – the place, the people who lived here, and what the future holds for this historic treasure.

http://ideastations.org/radio/archive/2012-07-25-menokin-redux

Thea Marshall is the author of “Neck Tales: Stories from Virginia’s Northern Neck,” published in June, 2009. Along with her professional writing assignments, she is a broadcaster, actor, and producer, with life long experience in all forms of communication – from print to theater to radio and television. She writes and broadcasts original commentaries on and about the people, places, history, culture and current issues relating to the Northern Neck for WCVE Public Radio (heard on both WCVE in Richmond and WCNV for the Northern Neck).

The Locket

In 2009, archaeologists found a beautiful locket in the Menokin house ruin.  This cameo locket portrays the image of a woman.  Who did this locket belong to? Who is this woman?  A 1794 letter from Frank’s brother, William, may just be the key to unlocking this mystery!

In 1785, two years after the death of his wife, Hannah, William Lee sent his two daughters, Portia and Cornelia, to live at Menokin with Uncle Frank and Aunt Becky.  Hannah Lee thought it important that her daughters grow up in Virginia. William wrote to family friends in London, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Thorp, to further explain the desire for his daughters to grow up in Virginia. He writes, “[H]owever superior English education may be to what can be obtained here[,] yet the manners & customs of the ladies in England are so extremely different from the ladies here [in Virginia] that I never knew an instance of a young lady educated in England who could live happily here.”

He also wrote to the Thorpes requesting a momento by which Portia and Cornelia could remember them.  He writes, “Our dear girls at Menokin are so importunate to have a miniature picture for each of them of your self & good Mrs. Thorp…have them set in gold to wear as bracelets…or a locket…the form should be rather a long than a round oval not too sharp at the ends…”

Could this be Mrs. Thorp on the locket?  Did it once adorn the neck or wrist of young Portia or Cornelia Lee?

We hope to answer these questions with further research. In the meantime, tell us what you think and check back at Menokin Monitor for updates on this locket and other objects at Menokin.

We’d like to thank the Virginia Chapter of the Colonial Dames whose generous grant helped stabilize the locket.  The locket is on display in Menokin’s Visitor’s Center.