Tag Archives: Stratford Hall

February 27, 2016 Marked 250th Anniversary of the Leedstown Resolves


Saturday February 27, 2016 was the 250th anniversary of the Leedstown Resolves. Our own, Francis Lightfoot Lee, signed this historic document along with his brothers: Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Ludwell Lee, and William Lee.

 What were these Resolves? They were one of the first public acts against the crown, paving the road to revolution. These Resolves, penned by Frank’s brother, Richard, were in response to the Stamp Act of 1765 and taxation without representation by Parliament.

“As we know it to be the Birthright privilege of every British subject (and of the people of Virginia as being such)… that he cannot be taxed, but by consent of Parliament, in which he is represented by persons chosen by the people, and who themselves pay a part of the tax they impose on others. If, therefore, any person or persons shall attempt, by any action, or proceeding, to deprive this Colony of these fundamental rights, we will immediately regard him or them, as the most dangerous enemy of the community…”

To commemorate the anniversary of these Resolves, the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society co-sponsored an event with Stratford Hall (Frank’s boyhood home) at their Council House. Former Board of Trustee and current chair of the President’s Council for the Menokin Foundation, Steve Walker, spoke eloquently on the history of the Leedstown Resolves and the people who signed this historic document. Frank, who was living in Loudon at the time, was the only representative of his county to sign the Resolves.

 The event also featured guest speakers, descendants of the original Signers, living history interpreters, and more. Friends from around the community came together to commemorate the anniversary of this monumental event that took place in Virginia’s Northern Neck and sparked a revolution.

“Intern”pretations – Episode 3: Allie



Allie“I began my journey with Menokin in October 2012, when I took a class at Menokin through the Rappahannock Institute of Lifelong Learning at the Community College and then I became an intern in January 2013. When I took that class I had some idea of what I wanted to earn my degree in, but I wasn’t sure. Taking the class here at Menokin helped me realize that without a doubt, I wanted to get into preservation in some way. I have always had a love for historic houses, although growing up in Virginia Beach they are few and far between. Since a young age I would point at every historic house I drove by with my family and say “I want that one” or “I love that one”. When the ladies at Menokin offered me an internship this summer I was beyond excited, and the fact that I would have two other girls here with me, one of which is my sister, made me even more excited to be here again!

I have lived in the Northern Neck for 4 years and I am familiar with it, but Bri has never been to Menokin or the Northern Neck. I think Menokin is a great place in the Northern Neck for her to have her first experience here. Menokin is an excellent representation of the finest things in the Northern Neck; the river (we are located on Cat Point Creek, one of the prettiest tributaries off of the Rappahannock), history (we all know the Northern Neck is rich in history ranging from Stratford Hall to George Washington’s Birthplace), and Wildlife!

Bri’s time at Menokin is quickly coming to a close with only a week and a half left. During her time here we have gotten a lot

Menokin interns going off the deep end.
Menokin interns going off the deep end.

accomplished, and a lot of it was fun activities! We’ve walked the trails at Menokin, and gave Bri a little bit of history of the property and she got to see firsthand how many ticks there are here compared to Pennsylvania! Over Memorial Day Weekend, Alice was kind enough to invite us to her annual campout/cookout on the Rappahannock River, which we spent most of Sunday at! Bri also go to go on a kayaking trip down Cat Point Creek with a few people from the National Park Service, which she had a lot of fun doing. A few weekends ago, I took her to Short Pump and went shopping, which was successful! I also took her to a necessary place while visiting the Northern Neck, Los Portales in Tappahannock! A couple of weeks ago, Sarah sent us on an “educational fieldtrip” to Stratford Hall, which we thought was a lot of fun!

Not all of our time here at Menokin has been field trips and beach days though. We have been working on several projects in our time here including developing internships with graduate programs at preservation schools, organizing the remaining woodwork from the house, and helping to develop programs with the local schools in Richmond County that will allow classes to come to Menokin for a field trip and learn important aspects of the history of Menokin as well as programs involving science, math and art.

Stratford Selfie with Bri Basile and Allie Lyth
Stratford Selfie with Bri Basile and Allie Lyth

During our time here at Menokin we’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Come the beginning of July when Bri has left and it is just Emily and me here, it will be pretty quiet, but I look forward to the rest of my summer here at Menokin and having these wonderful ladies here give me projects to reassure my love for history and preservation!”


Three Northern Neck Organizations Receive $10,000 Environmental Grants From The Dominion Foundation

The Menokin Foundation, the Northern Neck Land Conservancy and Stratford Hall, all located in Northern Neck, have each received a $10,000 grant from The Dominion Foundation to support their environmental projects. The Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Resources and the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.

The Menokin Foundation and the Northern Neck Land Conservancy’s programs focus primarily on the Cat Point Creek watershed—one of the most pristine examples of tidal freshwater systems remaining in the Chesapeake Bay region and the entire East Coast, according to the Nature Conservancy—while Stratford Hall’s project enhances the nature trail experience on its 1,900 acre property in Westmoreland County.

“Providing grants for environmental projects is one of the mainstays of our corporate giving program,” said Paul D. Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion Virginia Power. “We know supplying electric power affects our world, so we focus on obeying environmental laws and regulations, operating our units efficiently, and giving back to our communities.” Grants are funded from corporate profits, not customer bills.

The Menokin Foundation will apply the Dominion grant funding to develop and implement its Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences Program.  The program is centered at Menokin’s 500-acre site in Richmond County along Cat Point Creek.  Targeted to students in grades 6-8 in the region, the program meets the need for off-campus trips and field investigation offered at no charge to the schools.

“The Menokin Foundation is so pleased to receive this generous grant,” explained Executive Director, Sarah D. Pope. “The objective of our program is to connect students to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through their shared sense of responsibility and action.”

The Northern Neck Land Conservancy’s grant goes towards their outreach efforts to the community about land conservation needs, particularly in the Cat Point Creek watershed.

Jamie Tucker, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Land Conservancy (NNLC) stated, “Funds from the Dominion Foundation allows the NNLC to provide educational activities and public presentations to our local community such as a guided canoe trip on Cat Point Creek by a local botanist, planned for June 29.  The upcoming Boots & BBQ public event at Naylor’s Beach on September 15 will feature information about protecting the land and wildlife around Cat Point Creek.”

Stratford Hall plans to use this funding towards providing a new nature trail experience for its visitors.

“We are pleased that The Dominion Foundation has recognized the importance of Stratford’s nature trails through awarding of this grant,” said Paul Reber, Executive Director. “As we seek to upgrade our nature trails, provide our visitors with new maps and signage, this grant is a significant step toward accomplishing our goal.”

Stratford’s six nature trails on the 1,900-acre property span from the historic area around the Great House down to the beach on the Potomac River. They include the Spring House, Vault, Little Meadow, Silver Beech, Mill Overlook and Mill Pond Trails. The trails serve as a natural resource for leisure and education and are used by a growing number of visitors.

Dozens of environmental groups in Virginia will share $500,000 in grants this year from the Foundation to preserve wetlands, plant trees, monitor water quality and more. The first wave of grants – $275,000 –was awarded in April 2013 to 17 organizations.

A complete listing of recipients is available at https://www/dom.com/about/community/pdf/spring-2013-env-grants-awarded.pdf.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,000 megawatts of generation 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines.  Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at http://www.dom.com.

For more information about each of the three grant recipient organizations, visit:


Concept and Planning Phase Continues at Menokin

Last week was a busy one for many of the consultants for The Menokin Project as well as the Menokin staff.


Cultural Consultants Darren Barker and Liza Rogers from Barker Langham arrived from London late Sunday and we all headed off bright and early Monday morning on a field trip of regional museums. Our goal was to observe the interpretation methods being practiced by other institutions as a way of helping Barker Langham hone plan’s for Menokin’s vision, programmes (Oops, I mean “programs.” Too much time with the Brits!) and business plan.

First stop was Kenmore in Historic Fredericksburg, VA. Built by George 165Washington’s sister Betty Washington Lewis and her husband, Fielding Lewis, this beautiful, Georgian-style, brick mansion reflects the pre-Revolutionary-War wealth and status of the Fredericksburg merchant.

Owned and operated by The George Washington Foundation, Kenmore has, over the years, transformed itself from a decorative arts museum to one that represents a more historically accurate, 2061775-1800 appearance. Most notable are the ornate plaster ceilings in the downstairs rooms.

Team member Ward Bucher of Bucher/Borges Group was also in attendance. Their firm is preparing a Historic Structures Report for Menokin that is not only identifying which elements in our collection of stone and structural timbers are available for inclusion in the restored Menokin structure, but also organizing and cataloging the massive amount of research and conservation information that has been performed and collected at Menokin over the years.

We were lucky enough to get access to Kenmore’s attic, where Ward gave a brief 218lesson on 18th-century roof framing, comparing Menokin’s system with Kenmore’s, the differences between which, as it turns out, maybe have accelerated the eventual collapse of Menokin’s roof.

The massive size of these timbers gives renewed respect for the craftsmen who hewed, lifted and joined them together. No small job. And no degrees in engineering!



Next stop was nearby Ferry Farm, also owned and operated by the George248 Washington Foundation. All that remains of Washington’s boyhood home is the footprint of the house. The foundation is in the process of re-establishing the the landscape around Ferry Farm, including building an interpretive reconstruction of Ferry Farm on top of the footprint.

The afternoon was spent at Stratford Hall, boyhood home of Frank Lee. Probably the most famous site in the Northern Neck, Stratford’s interpretation program is constantly changing to keep up with ongoing research and information about the 254Lees and the house as these are revealed. Part of the future vision for Stratford includes a new visitor center that will triple in size on the same site, to combine teaching and collection interpretation. Abby Newkirk, director of interpretation, led us on a detailed tour of the visitor’s center and the house, pointing out those parts of their exhibits that will change and why.

The day concluded with a trip to the grocery store for food and other sustenance to refresh for Tuesday’s activities.