Tag Archives: Westmoreland County

2017 Menokin Speaker Series – The Official Schedule

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March 16

An American Silence: Walker Evans and Edwards Hopper
Speaker: Jeffrey Allison, VMFA
4:00 – 6:00 | $10

Jeffrey Allison
Jeffrey Allison

The photographer Walker Evans and painter Edward Hopper were part of the generation of American artists who tore themselves away from European ideals at the start of the 20th century. Join Jeffrey Allison as he explores these artists who celebrated America without filter focusing on common people in common lives and places.

Reserve your space now.

 

 


APRIL 13

Geology of Menokin and the Formation of the Chesapeake Bay
Speaker: Christopher “Chuck” Bailey, College of William & Mary
4:00 – 6:00 | $10

Chuck Bailey
Chuck Bailey

Curiosity about the origins of the iron-infused sandstone of which Menokin is built has led Dr. Bailey on a deeper exploration of the geologic history of the Northern Neck and how it relates to the formation of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

 

 

 


MAY 18
Mapping the Indigenous Cultural Landscape
Speaker: Scott Strickland, St. Mary’s College, MD
4:00 – 6:00 | $10

Scott Strickland
Scott Strickland

The project was undertaken as an initiative of the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay office to identify and represent the Rappahannock Indigenous Cultural Landscape between Port Royal/Port Conway and Urbanna. It was administered by the Chesapeake Conservancy and the fieldwork undertaken and report prepared by St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

 


JUNE 8
The Archaeology of Menokin
Speaker: David Brown, Fairfield Foundation
4:00 – 6:00 | $10

David Brown
David Brown

Dr. David Brown and his colleague, Thane Harpole, have been the archaeologists of record at Menokin for over a decade. This session will incorporate an outdoor “Adventures in Preservation” program as well as an indepth look into the past, present and future archaeology at Menokin.

 

 

 


JULY 18

The American Revolution
Speaker: Julie Richter, College of William & Mary
4:00 – 6:00 | $25*

Julie Richter
Julie Richter

Julie Richter received her Ph.D. in American History from the College of William & Mary in 1992. She teaches courses on colonial and Revolutionary Williamsburg as well as the way in which gender, race, and power shaped life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Virginia as part of the National Institute of American History and Democracy.

*This lecture will take place at Ingleside Winery in Westmoreland County. Lunch is available by reservation and is inlcuded in the cost of the ticket.


AUGUST 17

Trees Up Close: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets
of Everyday Trees*
Speaker: Nancy Ross Hugo
4:00 – 6:00 | $15

Nancy Ross Hugo
Nancy Ross Hugo

Nancy Ross Hugo describes the joy of discovering unfamiliar features of familiar trees and how carefully observing seeds, catkins, flowers, resting buds, emerging leaves, and other small phenomena of ordinary backyard and roadside trees can provide insight into tree biology and reveal a whole new universe of tree beauty. She also shares what decades planting and observing trees has taught her about which trees make the best landscape investments and the importance of planting long-lived, legacy trees.

*This lecture will take place off-site due to the Smithsonian WaterWays Exhibit in the Menokin Visitor’s Center. Location TBD. A tree walk at Menokin will take place at the conclusion of the lecture.


SEPTEMBER 23-24

Menokin Sleepover Conference
Speakers: Frank Vagnone (One Night Stand) and Joseph McGill (The Slave Dwelling Project)

These two innovative and well-known historians and speakers will converge at Menokin for an extraordinary weekend of historical reflection, discourse and lessons on new ways to explore and experience historic places and the people who inhabited them.

More details about related programming will be shared as plans are solidified.

Francis Lightfoot Lee – Forgotten Founding Father?

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This man’s life-work was so inconspicuous, that his name would now be wholly forgotten, but for one thing- he signed the Declaration of Independence. Yet his life was a most useful and worthy one. It was a good and profitable voyage, though it left no phosphorescent splendors in its wake.– Mark Twain on Francis Lightfoot Lee, 1877

Excerpted from introduction to Francis Lightfoot Lee: Forgotten Revolutionary by Sarah L. Jones, Yale University (Class of 2006), 2004.

Francis Lightfoot Lee is what one might call a “forgotten revolutionary.” Described by his niece as the “sweetest of all the Lee race” and as possessing a temper
“as soft as the dove’s,” Lee was far from being the inconspicuous man that Twain claimed he was. Lee, his memory now nearly hidden beneath the rubble of his Virginia mansion, had a life that was “most useful and worthy,” the life of a patriot of the American Revolution.

Mark Twain on Francis Lightfoot Lee
Mark Twain on Francis Lightfoot Lee

Over one hundred years after Twain wrote his sketch of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Lee has nearly become “wholly forgotten,” and, as Twain was correct to note, Lee is solely remembered for his signature on the Declaration of Independence. Yet Lee has not been granted his proper place in history, for his involvement with the founding of the country lays not only in his signature on a document, but with thirty years of an active political life, a life in which he opposed British measures, sought independence, and served the nation through a number of committees as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Second Continental Congress, and the Virginia State Senate.

Lee was certainly not an “inconspicuous” man, nor was he merely “soft as a dove.” Rather, Lee was a true patriot, not only according to standards held by his contemporaries, but also to his own.

Francis Lightfoot Lee was born in 1734 to Thomas and Hannah Ludwell Lee in Westmoreland County on the Northern Neck of Virginia. Lee was reared at Stratford Hall Plantation, and like most male children of the Virginia planter class, he was educated by a private tutor at Stratford Hall and was well read in Classical literature, history and law.

In 1758, he took his seat as representative of Loudoun County to the Virginia House of Burgesses, having moved there to maintain his lands inherited from his father. During his time as a Burgess, Lee remained attentive to the political scene of not only Virginia, but also of the colonies. He became an opponent to taxation without representation and other British offenses, which he protested not only through personal letters, but also in signing his support to important documents, including the Westmoreland Resolves of 1766.

As a member of a committee appointed to protest British policies toward the colonies in 1768, Lee maintained an active role in opposition to the British. In 1769, Lee was married to Rebecca Tayloe, daughter of planter John Tayloe II, and moved to Richmond County to the Menokin Plantation. Having settled at Menokin, Lee was elected representative of Richmond County to the House of Burgesses. Lee continued to serve as a Burgess from Richmond County until elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in August 1775.

 

continental-congress-hero-HLee fully supported American Independence throughout most of his political career, signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Lee remained a member of Congress until 1779, serving on a variety of committees including the Board of War, Committee of Secret Correspondence, and other ad-hoc committees.

In 1779, Francis Lightfoot Lee retired from the Second Continental Congress due to the three-year limit that had since been imposed by the Revolutionary Government. In 1780, Lee again entered Virginia politics, having been elected to serve as a member of the Virginia Senate, until 1782 when he retired from politics. He did, however, remain interested in the political scene, and is purported to have supported the ratification of the Constitution.

In a letter to James Madison, George Washington wrote:

Francis L. Lee on whose judgement the family place much reliance, is decidely[sic] in favor of the new form [the Constitution] under a conviction that it is the best that can be obtained, and because it promises energy, stability, and tht [sic] security which is, or ought to be, the wish of every good citizen of the Union.

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, the Color Guard and the Founders of the American Revolution

Yesterday was the 248th anniversary of the signing of the Leedstown Resolves. This courageous protestation of the Stamp Act eventually led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution.

leedstown mapSometime before 1678, Edward Bray had built a brick church, an ordinary, ferry, and wharf at the present Leedstown. Up to this date the site was known as Rappahannock. After 1678, it was known as Bray’s Wharf or Bray’s Church. By 1742, it was known as Leeds. Later it was known as Leedstown. Leedstown was created a town by an act of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1742.[1]

In colonial days, Leedstown was not only a place for commerce. General George Washington often visited Leedstown. There was a ferry across the river Laytons, on the south side of the river in Essex County (it operated until about 1927 when the Downings Bridge to Tappahannock opened). Following the Revolutionary War shipping at Leedstown began to decline as many planters moved west into the Kentucky and Ohio territories.

Late in the 19th century, Leedstown had a slight revival steaming from visits of the Rappahannock River Steamboat Line.

Both Francis Lightfoot Lee (of Menokin) and Richard Henry Lee signed the Leedstown Resolves. The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society hosts an annual event commemorating this important day in American History. For the second year in a row, this event was held at the visitor’s center of The Menokin Foundation. A standing-room-only crowd of over 60 people gathered to listen to the history of the event. They were also treated to a Color Guard presentation by local Colonial reenactors.

We thank the NNVHS for including Menokin in this celebration.

Commemoration of The Leedstown Resolves – February 27, 2014

The Leedstown Resolves, or Westmoreland Resolves, a courageous protest against the Stamp Act, was executed on 27 February 1766 and signed over the next several weeks by 115 citizens of the Virginia colony from twelve counties whose names are listed at the end of the document.

On Thursday February 27, 2014, The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society and The Menokin Foundation will commemorate the signing of the Leedstown Resolves at the Martin Kirwan King Visitors Center at Menokin.

Speaker Bill Horn, will lecture on the significance of the character of the Lee brothers in forming our nation. Among other related points, Mr. Horn will discuss Thomas Lee and the traits he passed on to his sons, Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee, who were the only two signers of both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence.

Bill Horn’s long and colorful life features a 4-year military service in the Korean War. This experience inspired him to study American history and pursue the field of education. His 28-year career teaching high school American and World History in New York culminated in a post-retirement job as a coach for handicapped adults.

Since moving to the Northern Neck in 1997, he has spoken about Living Museums at an American Legion Hall and again about the Lees. He has lectured at various sites in the Tidewater region about the American Revolution and our founding fathers. He was also a regular substitute teacher at Woodland Academy until it closed.

This annual commemoration starts at 10:00 am and will conclude no later than 11:00 am. No reservation is needed. Menokin is located at 4037 Menokin Road in Warsaw, VA. Call 804-333-1776 with questions.

This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.
This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.

“…bind ourselves to each other…with our lives and fortunes.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 marks the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Leedstown Resolves in Westmoreland County, VA in 1766. The document was the first organized protest of “taxation without representation” and was in opposition to the British imposition of the Stamp Act which required colonists to pay a duty on exports. Signers pledged “to bind ourselves to each other….with our lives and fortunes.”

Stamp actThe Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society (NNVHS) will present its annual program commemorating this historic event at Menokin, the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, who, along with his brother Richard Henry Lee, signed both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence.

Signers highlighted in past years have been resolution author Richard Henry Lee and brother Francis Lightfoot Lee, as well as  Alvin Moxley, Meriwether Lee, William Sydnor, Moore Fauntleroy, Francis Waring, and William Roane.

The 2013 commemoration will feature the lives of signers Richard “Squire” Lee of Lee Hall, Robert Wormeley Carter of Sabine Hall, John Belfield of Belle Mount, and Joseph Peirce of Templesman.

The Leedstown ResolvesThe program is being prepared by the NNVHS and hosted by the Menokin Foundation at the Martin Kirwan King Visitor’s Center at Menokin, located at 4037 Menokin Road in Warsaw, VA. Driving directions are available on the Menokin website at or by calling 804-333-1776. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and all are invited to attend.

Talk About Revolutionary Thinking

Robert “Councillor” Carter III – The Great Emancipator

 

Often referred to as “the first emancipator,” Robert Carter III of Nomini Hall in Virginia’s Northern Neck was an American plantation owner, founding father and onetime British government official. He also owned a large number of slaves as part of his vast estate.  

ImageCarter’s personal convictions and relationship with these enslaved families led to their manumission in a 1791 deed of gift.  Nearly 500 slaves were freed, making Carter’s act of liberation the largest in the history of American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation.

After the death of his wife, Frances Ann Tasker Carter, in 1787, Carter embraced the Swedenborgian faith. He instituted a program of gradual manumission of all slaves attached to his estate by filing a “Deed of Gift” filed with the county of Westmoreland in 1791. He designed the program to be gradual to reduce the resistance of white neighbors.

Frequently, Carter rented land to recently freed slaves, sometimes evicting previous white tenants in the process.  In all, about 452 slaves from his Nomini Hall plantation and large home in Westmoreland County, Virginia were granted their freedom.