Meeting Archive – 2018 and Earlier

CVHR Meeting (December 13, 2018): Seeing Virginia History through Digital Lenses
Ed Ayers, professor and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond, spoke to us about how digital projects can reveal history in new ways. Starting at UVA twenty-five years ago with the Valley of the Shadow project and continuing to the present with his work with the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) at the University of Richmond, Ed illustrated the ways in which digital projects can not only generate books (in his case, prize-winning ones), but can contribute to “history on a human scale”; everyone can be included in the story. By getting a grip on the particular, we can learn about larger patterns.

He showed us several projects of the DSL, such as those on Congressional elections and the forced migration of enslaved people, within American Panorama, a digital atlas of US history that embeds local history into national and international patterns. Ed finished by describing his work in progress, Southern Journey, The Migrations of the American South, 1790-1920, in which digital maps conjure up a region that has been far from static, its people in constant motion.

Here are links to the Valley of the Shadow, American Panorama, and a new connection engine, Bunk: Rewiring American History.

CVHR Meeting (November 1, 2018): From Albemarle County to Arkansas: USCT Pensions as a Window into the Domestic Slave Trade
UVA history professor Liz Varon demonstrated how the story of one black Union Army veteran, Mathew Gardner, can shed light on multiple themes and subjects. On the eve of the Civil War, Gardner was taken by slave traders from Mechum’s River Depot in Albemarle County to Jefferson County, Arkansas. He and at least 245 other Albemarle-born men served in USCT regiments during the war. As veterans of an “army of diaspora,” their service and pension records provide striking illustrations of struggles for freedom, the importance of family and community ties, and the consequences of the domestic slave trade.

See blog posts by Liz and others as part of the Black Virginians in Blue project of UVA’s Nau Center for Civil War History at

CVHR Meeting (October 4, 2018): Recent Archaeological Research at Monticello
Bea Arendt, Curator of Archaeological Collections, and Crystal Ptacek, Archaeological Field Research Manager, from the Monticello Archaeology Department, brought us up to date on recent archaeological research on the mountaintop. They highlighted the excavation of Sites 6 and 8, domestic sites occupied by enslaved field laborers in the early 19th century and late 18th century. They also told us about recent discoveries in the first Monticello kitchen in the lower level of the South Pavilion, where enslaved cooks Ursula Granger, James Hemings, and Peter Hemings prepared meals between 1770 and 1809.

CVHR Meeting (Sep. 6, 2018): The People Who Stayed: The Enslaved Community of Oakwood Plantation and Their Descendants
Andi Cumbo-Floyd spoke about her project to research the enslaved community that had historically lived and worked at Oakwood Plantation in southern Albemarle County. While the Harrises, the family that originally acquired the land via land grant and bought up surrounding parcels, had no papers, Andi was able to locate – with the help of several people in CVHR – the names of several families who worked and lived on this and surrounding plantations. She also found, as is often the case, that many of those families had stayed in the immediate vicinity of the plantation and continued to work on the place where their ancestors were enslaved well into the 20th century. She told of the research waymarkers shared by CVHR members, the trail she then followed, and the findings she made when she met with some of the descendants of the enslaved community at Oakwood Plantation.

CVHR Meeting (July 5, 2018): Hidden in Plain Sight: The Holsinger Photo Archive and New Visions of Charlottesville’s African American History)
John Mason, UVA professor of history, spoke to us about a project to create a multi-media exhibition of Rufus Holsinger’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century portraits of African Americans, which are a striking refutation of the racial stereotypes of that time. About 500 of Holsinger’s 5,000 portraits are of African Americans, and many of those are currently unidentified. The project team, representing UVA and the Charlottesville community, is developing a process for identifying the sitters and is particularly interested in stories that can be told about individuals and families. They will begin seeking public input in early 2019, including hosting a Family Photo Day. But if you have information to share now, you can contact John at
For the Holsinger Photo Collection, see and search “African American.”

CVHR Meeting (June 7, 2018): The Lynching of John Henry James at Wood’s Crossing on July 12, 1898 and the Charlottesville Community Remembrance Project)
Jalane Schmidt, Jane Smith, and Andrea Douglas brought us up to date on the Community Civil Rights Pilgrimage, July 8 to 13. Its main goal is to take soil collected from the site of the 1898 lynching of John Henry James to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. There will be stops along the way at important civil rights sites.
Jane told the story of the events of 11 July 1898 and explained the complicated process of discovering the location of the lynching at what was known as Wood’s Crossing, near Farmington. Here is a link to the PowerPoint presentations, including newspaper accounts of the lynching and useful web links:

CVHR Meeting (May 3, 2018): A New Chapter for the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (ACHS)
Coy Barefoot, the new Executive Director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (ACHS), shared with us a host of plans for the future, from basic issues like bylaws, budget and funding sources, and membership structure, to ideas for expanded programming (a new website, a speaker series, regular exhibitions) and his dream of a regional museum of history and culture here in Charlottesville. He expressed his eagerness to collaborate with CVHR and other local organizations. We were excited by the prospects for an educational institution central to our community and chipped in with our ideas. If you too have suggestions or comments, Coy would like to hear your views (

CVHR Meeting (April 5, 2018): What’s Happening on Monticello Mountain?
Interpreter Aurelia Crawford, Community Engagement Officer Gayle Jessup White, and Niya Bates, Public Historian of Slavery and African American Life, joined us to report on current initiatives at Monticello. We heard about the ongoing work of the Getting Word oral history project, which preserves the oral traditions of the descendants of Monticello’s enslaved families. Getting Word’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated in June. We learned about Black History Month events and the ways Monticello is collaborating with local organizations, such as in sponsoring events like the community history fair, Memories Matter, in February.
Niya Bates described the major restoration project in the South Dependencies, scheduled to open in June. There will be spaces dedicated to Sally Hemings and the Getting Word project, and the two levels of the South Pavilion will tell the stories of Martha Jefferson and cooks Ursula Granger and James Hemings. The exhibition, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty, which first opened in 2012 at the Smithsonian, is being updated and readied for travel to a number of museums around the country.

CVHR Meeting (March 1, 2018): The Art and Mysterie of Colonial Apprenticeships
Bob Vernon unraveled the “art and mysterie” of colonial legal processes with a Power Point presentation revealing how the courts of Albemarle and adjacent counties managed juvenile apprenticeships. Children of color were bound to white masters and lived in their families, a contractual relationship overseen by the white Overseers of the Poor. Apprenticeship records are thus a key source for understanding the lives of free blacks and the changing relations between black and white Virginians in the eighteenth century.

You can see Bob’s PPT program for yourself at

CVHR Meeting (February 1, 2018): Beating the Odds: Janie Porter Barrett Day Nursery to Barrett Early Learning Center: 1935-2018
Dede Smith told us about the founding, in 1935, and early years of the Janie Porter Barrett Day Nursery, an important resource for working African American women in Charlottesville. She showed how it prevailed through funding and location challenges and drew the support of a cross-section of the black and white community, highlighting the roles of founder Daisy Green as well as local leaders like Otelia Jackson and Virginia Edwards.

You can watch a 15-minute video produced in 2016 to celebrate Barrett’s 80th anniversary:

CVHR Meeting (January 4, 2018): Creating a Historical Map of Albemarle County
Erik Irtenkauf has offered to generate an interactive historical web map of Albemarle County to include sites reflecting the research of CVHR members. He anchored a lively discussion that ranged far beyond merely adding locations, events, and people to the map. We explored what the scope and methodology of such a project might be and acknowledged the need to be compatible with similar projects in the state (Preservation Virginia is developing a Historic African American Schools Survey in ArcGIS and the Louisa County Historical Society has a mapping project to locate slaves in 1860, among other things ).

Further discussion will be ongoing. Comments and/or questions are welcome.

CVHR Meeting (December 7, 2017): Telling the Ivy Creek Story with Story Maps
Story maps are web pages that blend interactive maps with photos and text. Erik Irtenkauf demonstrated his story map of the history of the Ivy Creek Natural Area. Digital maps and aerial photographs, supplemented by explanatory text and historical documents, show how freed slave Hugh Carr gradually acquired the acreage that became River View Farm and passed it on to his children. Erik is expanding the story to include the post-Civil War African American community of Hydraulic Mills-Union Ridge. And a time slider will soon make the depiction of change over time even easier to access. You can see the Ivy Creek story map at Erik will present “Albemarle’s History Story Mapping” at the Ivy Creek Natural Area on Sunday, April 8th at 2 PM.

CVHR Meeting (November 2, 2017): Things Unseen: A Project to Link African American History to Public Spaces
Seven UVA students from Maggie Guggenheimer’s arts marketing class presented the sites they’ve chosen for a public art project, Things Unseen. These sites, which include the downtown library, the Paramount, and Pavilion 7 and other sites at UVA, will feature power-washed quotes from The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, ed. Jesmyn Ward (2016) and access to relevant research. The Things Unseen project is a collaboration between the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the UVA McIntire Department of Art.

CVHR Meeting (October 5, 2017): The 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic in Charlottesville and Albemarle County
Addeane Caelleigh evoked the terrifying months of late 1918 and early 1919, when the “Spanish influenza” came to central Virginia. After providing a global and national context for the worst epidemic in history (700,000 deaths in the US), she told us what death certificates and other records reveal about the situation in Charlottesville and Albemarle County: 227 documented deaths (probably only half the actual figure), the role of local doctors and nurses, the actions of volunteers in making soup and stitching flu masks, and more. See Addeane’s article on this topic, complete with lists of physicians, nurses, and flu victims, in the Magazine of Albemarle County History, volume 75 (2017), pp. 31-87.

CVHR Meeting (Sep. 7, 2017): Afro-Virginia Digital Landscapes
We heard about new General Assembly- and NEH-supported projects at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and how the latest technology is being used. Director of African American programs, Justin Reid, told us about ELA (Explored Landscapes of Afro-Virginia), an ambitious project to expand and enhance content in the present African American Historic Sites Database ( Director of Encyclopedia Virginia (EV), Peter Hedlund, focused on ways EV is augmenting textual entries with primary documents, audio, 3D objects, and Virtual Reality (VR) tours. He brought a number of VR headsets for us to sample tours. It was heartening to see so many hands go up when Peter asked who in the audience has used EV (

CVHR Meeting (June 1, 2017): Round Table
Garland and Mary Beth Dalton spoke about their search for Garland’s ancestors in the mixed-race Gibson’s Mill community of Louisa County. Bob Vernon showed us the scope of his project to scan or photograph public records (including deeds, wills, tax lists, marriage records, order books, overseers of the poor records), mostly from Albemarle County from the 18th to the 20th century. Jane Smith told of her research on Rebecca Farrar Cogbill, which placed her in a community of free blacks (including Kitty Foster and the extended Battles family) in the heart of the Ragged Mountains in 1850.

CVHR Meeting (May 4, 2017): Researching Montpelier’s Enslaved Community
Elizabeth Ladner, Director of Research at Montpelier, reviewed the evolution of research relating to the large enslaved population that supported the Madison family, including the stories of a number of enslaved individuals. She also provided a sneak peek at Montpelier’s upcoming exhibit, “The Mere Distinction of Colour.”

CVHR Meeting (April 6, 2017): Waterworks: A History of the Local Water Supply, 1819–2017
Steve Thompson, Cinder Stanton, and Dede Smith told the story of Charlottesville’s public water supply, 1819-2017, from three different perspectives. Steve focused on the various schemes for bringing water to the University of Virginia, from its founding to its collaborative venture with Charlottesville in the 1880s. Cinder provided some background on owners of the land that is now the Ragged Mountain Natural Area—particularly the Mayo and Houchens families, whose land was taken by eminent domain from 1885 to 1910 by the town (later city) of Charlottesville. Dede chronicled the problematic evolution of the municipal water system since the first Ragged Mountain Reservoir in 1885 to the present, illuminating issues of water quality, watershed protection, and local government authority that have affected decisions about reservoir locations and management for over a century.

CVHR Meeting (March 2, 2017): Discovering the Albemarle County Origins of the U.S.C.T.
William Kurtz, digital historian at the Nau Center for Civil War History at UVA, brought us up-to-date on projects at the Center, with a special focus on its Black Virginians in Blue project. He explained how—building on the work of Ervin Jordan—the project has found more than two hundred Union soldiers born in Albemarle County who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the war.

For Will’s account of research methods used in the search and for Elizabeth Varon’s posts about the men, formerly enslaved in Albemarle County, who served in Missouri regiments, see

If you know of a USCT soldier who lived in Albemarle before the war, let Will know ( For a description of the Nau Center’s digital projects, see

CVHR Meeting (Feb. 2, 2017): From Mary Booth to Virginia Christian: Child Incarceration and the Making of the New South
Catherine Jones, professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a 2016-2017 fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is exploring the development of Virginia’s juvenile justice system in the four decades after the Civil War, when two thousand children under 18 were incarcerated in the Penitentiary. While focusing on the 1882 case of Mary Booth, a fourteen-year-old African American sentenced to death for poisoning her employer, she illuminated conditions in the Penitentiary, the perils of convict leasing, attitudes to childhood and race, the fitful rise of penal reform, and the shifting relationship between punishment and protection.

Catherine is the author of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (2015).

CVHR Meeting (Jan. 5, 2017): Two presentations on 18th century freedom suits and 20th century photography
The Fragility of Freedom: Kinney Family Freedom Suits in Virginia and Missouri

Bob Vernon told the story of the Kinney family and their struggles for freedom over two centuries and two continents. In an experiment on behalf of finding the best methods to put CVHR-type talks online, he devised a way to let us listen to rather than read relevant legal documents (the voice was a Siri female). One especially colorful example of the persistent re-enslavement of free people of color was Thornton Kinney, whose travels took him to Missouri, Liberia, and a rowdy San Francisco.

Hopes and Dreams in the Albert Durant Photography Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Amy Speckart previewed a presentation she will give at the Virginia Forum in March on a collection of thousands of images by an African American photographer, acquired by Colonial Williamsburg in the 1990s. Albert Durant (1920-1991) photographed everyday events in a segregated Williamsburg from the 1930s to the 1950s. Amy explored his life, his photographs, and the implications of their acquisition by an institution with a history of exclusion.

CHVR Meeting (Dec. 1): Murder, Moonshine, and Misconceptions: The People of the Ragged Mountains
Cinder Stanton shared some preliminary findings about the lives of the poor residents of the Ragged Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular the eastern section along Route 29 South and the Charlottesville to Lynchburg railroad. What were the people described by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to a UVA committee a century later as “savage,” “primitive,” “degraded,” and “degenerate” really like? Topics covered included historical (and stereotypical) descriptions of the population, the legend of their possible Hessian origin, the importance of the railroad, the missionary role of UVA and the Episcopal church, the eugenics movement, the scarcity of educational opportunites, sassafras mills, and stories of some individual residents.

CVHR Meeting (Nov. 3): Using GIS and Mapping to Explore Albemarle County History
Erik Irtenkauf, professional GIS analyst and history enthusiast, showed us the exciting results of using a Geographical Data System (GIS) and web mapping to enhance our understanding of local history. He displayed his interactive maps of historic sites in Albemarle County and of migration routes taken by families leaving the county (using, for starters, the lists of emigrants in Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901). Erik’s “story map” of the history of Hollymead and Forest Lakes combines a trove of documentary information with a rich assortment of maps and images.

If you missed the program, you can go to:

CVHR Meeting (Oct. 6): Charlottesville’s Rose Hill: A Discussion of Recent Research
With maps and historic photographs, Steve Thompson helped us to understand the transformation of Rose Hill from an antebellum plantation to one of Charlottesville’s first subdivisions in 1890. Rose Hill’s story includes the rise and fall of schools and industrial enterprises, Charlottesville’s changing racial demographics, and a number of interesting personalities. private

See Steve’s essay on Rose Hill, as well as colorful paintings of buildings of Rose Hill and other parts of town, in the new publication of Chroma Projects, Repository of Missing Places: Richard Crozier’s Paintings of Lost and Found Charlottesville.

CVHR Meeting (Sep. 1): What’s Going On Out There?
A lively and well-attended meeting at which we heard about three local projects involving local history.

Paul Cantrell told us about the Blue Ridge Heritage Project, a grassroots effort to honor the families displaced for the creation of Shenandoah National Park (SNP); Paul chairs the Albemarle chapter. On November 5, a chimney rebuilt with stones from Blackwell’s Hollow and bearing a plaque with names of the displaced families will be dedicated at Byrom Park, which is adjacent to the SNP. Phil James, author of Secrets of the Blue Ridge, is leading the search to identify the family names. If you know of any families, particularly non-landowners, who were relocated during the creation of the SNP, do let Paul know ( See also and search “Blue Ridge Heritage Project” on Facebook.

Edwina St. Rose and Bernadette Whitsett-Hammond spoke about the work of the Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery and showed us some of the biographical information they have been posting on their Facebook page (in the search box just start writing “preservers” and it will come right up). Established in 1873, the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and lately received funding from the city of Charlottesville for repairs and improvements. You can help to identify some of the approximately 300 people buried there. For a list of known names write

Jeff Werner from the Piedmont Environmental Council told us of his hope that some forgotten history will be included in the county’s plans for the area around the new grade-separated intersection at Rio Road and Route 29. We can help by providing information to stimulate recognition and interpretation of local history and preservation of significant sites. Jeff mentioned the late 19th and early 20th century Woodburn Road/Cartersburg community as of particular interest. Jeff’s email is

CVHR Meeting (August): No August meeting

CVHR Meeting (July 7): Summer Insights
This meeting was lightly attended, but we had a good discussion, mostly about the CVHR web presence and how to improve it. We need a “vision” for the website (and thus an estimate of cost) before we can seek funding sources. In the meantime, some of us are working on ways to bring the website up to date in the short term. All ideas are welcome.

CVHR Meeting (June 2): Discoveries in the Chancery Cases Preservation Project
Sam Towler revealed just a portion of what he is finding in his volunteer Chancery Cases Preservation Project at the Albemarle County clerk’s office. He has been putting unfolded case papers into acid-free folders, photographing some of the contents, and doing further research on some of the African American families involved. Even though the cases date after 1900 (the older chancery cases were transferred to the Library of Virginia in the 1970s), many contain documents relating to earlier times: slave lists, personal letters, land sale broadsides and so forth. You can see some of the fascinating material Sam has assembled on his Facebook page for the project (search “Albemarle County Chancery”).

CVHR Meeting (May 5): Looking at the Trees, to Understand the Forest
April 28th, 2016

Robin Patton and Elaine Taylor of the Louisa County Historical Society demonstrated an exciting new project for putting historical information into a spatial context. With a focus on the Green Springs area of Louisa County, they are using ArcGIS as a container for both individual and scholarly research about slavery to better understand antebellum communities. This project has great potential to be of benefit to other historical societies and non-profit organizations. See what they are doing and explore the results at

CVHR Meeting (April 7): Updates
March 19th, 2016

This was a quadruple header. Alice Cannon reported on new discoveries about the Terrell connections of the Woodfolk family that reached as far as the mining communities of Iowa. Gayle Jessup White told us of making new family connections in the Robinson family through DNA testing, which shed light on her ancestor Eva Robinson Taylor. Anne Chesnut displayed her design for the web version of the Starr Hill-Union Ridge brochure-map; the completion of the website is now in the hands of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH). And Andi Cumbo-Floyd showed her brand-new website Our Folks’ Tales, dedicated to telling the stories of enslaved people, free people of color, and their descendants:

CVHR Meeting (March 3): The Rushes of Chestnut Grove: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom
March 19th, 2016

Starting with fragments of information she heard from family members, Regina Rush set off on a quest to trace her ancestors and found a rich source of information at the Small Special Collections Library at UVA, where she is Reference Specialist. She told us about what she has learned about Nicey and Isham Rush, enslaved at the Rives plantation Oak Ridge in Nelson County (including Nicey’s runaway attempt), and the path of their descendants to landownership in southern Albemarle County. Since some mysteries remain, CVHR members were eager to suggest further avenues to follow. For more information, see Regina’s blog post from 2014 ( Also, her story was featured in last month’s UVA Today (

CVHR Meeting (Feb. 4): More Rivers and River Men
February 4th, 2016

Philip Cobbs drew us into the world of watermen, with a presentation that looked at different perspectives on the men—mostly African American—who “ran” the rivers in batteaux in the 19th century. These views ranged from the romantic (accounts by writers like George Bagby and David Hunter Strother) to the choleric (Thomas Jefferson enraged when his trunk of Indian vocabularies was stolen by a waterman) to the realistic (evidence about actual conditions of upstream and downstream travel). Philip ended his talk with an evocative photographic journey on the Rivanna River.

CVHR Meeting (Jan. 7): Rivers, Rivercraft, and River Men
January 7th, 2016

Brian Coffield of the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society gave a presentation on the history of river and canal navigation—from dug-out canoes to batteaux to river boats to railroads. His presentation covered the flexibility of these various modes of transport and also touched on the way that enslaved people were employed both on the boats and in the construction of these means of transport.

CVHR Meeting (Dec. 4): CVHR Celebrates 2014!
December 7th, 2014

Conversation and refreshments instead of speakers and agenda. We’ll get together and review the year and look ahead to 2015.

CVHR Meeting (Nov 6): An Enslaved Woman and her Dressmaker Daughter
December 7th, 2014

Noted author and textile scholar Kathleen Curtis Wilson* will share with us new and important information about cloth and clothing production by an African American woman. Nineteenth-century textiles with an African American provenance are rare nationwide and unheard of in Appalachia.

Thus the discovery of two quilts and other items made in Bath County, Virginia, by the daughter of an enslaved woman was “extraordinary,” Wilson says. She will tell the story of Elizabeth Morris Bolden (1872-1948), a highly-skilled seamstress who lived in Warm Springs all her life and was married to Charles Bolden (1856-1919) of Charlottesville.

Lizzie Bolden’s great-granddaughter, Perlista Henry, who preserved the textiles and family stories and photographs, will join us for this exciting presentation.

*Wilson’s books include Irish People, Irish Linen and Uplifting the South, the biography of Mary Mildred Sullivan, who among other things was active in the Southern Industrial Education Association.

CVHR Meeting (Oct 2): Share your Research
December 7th, 2014

Come tell us what you did on your summer vacation, i.e. your latest research discoveries and questions. Help decide what’s most important to say in the African American Heritage Trail brochure—draft texts are nearly complete and we’ll share some of them with you.

CVHR Meeting (Sept 11): Looking Fowards and Backwards
December 7th, 2014

Philip Cobbs and Sam Towler will take us northeast to Barboursville and west to Afton Mountain. Philip will give us a look at the Cobbs family of Barboursville, which he calls a journey from Echo Valley to entitlement. Sam will present his research on the now-vanished community called New York at the foot of Afton Mountain in Albemarle County. Founded by Sam’s ancestor, James Hays, in 1799, it existed as a town until about 1856. He will also cover neighboring farms around New York and provide information on the African Americans at the Brooksville, Crobarger, and the Cedars farms in Greenwood.

CVHR Monthly Meeting (July): Share Your Thoughts and Discoveries: a Roundtable Discussion
December 7th, 2014
This is an open meeting (July 10, 2014), with no speaker. If you have a topic you want to put on the agenda for discussion, let me know before the meeting. Also, this is an opportunity for short reports (5 minutes or so) on discoveries you have made, research avenues you’re pursuing, things you want to share. This also provides a chance for you to ask questions that regular meetings didn’t allow for.

I’d like us to discuss how CVHR can best participate in the several Albemarle County projects that intersect with our activities, like the African American Heritage Trail, the post-Bypass interpretive plan for Hydraulic-Union Ridge, and current initiatives of the Parks department. Other topics include: ideas for future speakers; strategies forCVHR’s future, including website and database; and new ways to share what we have learned.

CVHR Monthly Meeting (June 5th)
June 2nd, 2014
Topic: “From These Beginnings”: A Tribute to My Grandmother Sallie Elizabeth Johnson

Gloria Gilmore will show us a rich collection of family photographs as she speaks of her quest to understand her grandmother’s life and family. Here she sets the stage for us:

A mother’s death just after emancipation separates her children to different regions—Sallie to Virginia and her two siblings to New Jersey. What happened to Sallie? What do we know about her education and marriage, and the family’s effort to raise and educate their family, establish a homestead, maintain the oral history, and instill faith and love for family and future generations?

CVHR monthly meeting (May 1): Oral History & Jefferson Descendant
April 28th, 2014
Topic: Finding Eva Robinson Taylor: How African-American Oral Tradition Plus Documents and Modern Science Revealed a Formerly Unknown Kinship to Thomas Jefferson and His Extended Family

For more than 40 years, Gayle Jessup White pursued an oral history, a mere thread of a story claiming that her family is directly descended from Thomas Jefferson. With little evidence supporting the lineage, Gayle assumed she was related to Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings. Now, she’s discovered a surprising truth: she is indeed a Jefferson descendant, but not a Hemings. What she has uncovered may change the way historians and history lovers view Jefferson and his extended clan.

CVHR monthly meeting (April 3rd)
March 31st, 2014
Hidden in Plain Site

Antoinette W. Roades will present research that revealed a forgotten plantation established in the mid-18th century on more than a thousand acres lying on both sides of what is now Route 29’s busiest stretch. She will focus on the area that was between the Union Ridge and Free State communities, just inside the horseshoe formed by Rio and Hydraulic roads — aka the upper arc of the county courthouse-anchored Nine Mile Circle — and will offer sketches of owners including Carrs, Raileys, and Nuttycombes.

CVHR monthly meeting (Nov 7): Blue Ridge Tunnel
October 16th, 2013

Mary Lyons and Paul Collinge will tell us how Irish miners, African Americans, and a French engineer built the longest mountain railroad tunnel in the world. The Blue Ridge Railroad-Virginia Central Railroad project was built by Irish famine immigrants and enslaved men between 1850 and 1860. They will show portions of Mary’s digital book Dark Passage: The Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel and Mary will explain her recent discoveries about slave labor on the Albemarle County section of this massive public works enterprise.

CVHR Meeting (Oct. 3): Gleanings from the Union Ridge Research (at KENWOOD)
September 30th, 2013

After all the attention focused on the Sammons cemetery and homestead, we thought it would be a good idea to feature some of Jesse Sammons’s neighbors in the Hydraulic-Union Ridge-Cartersburg area. Cinder Stanton and Alice Cannon will report on preliminary findings about some of the people of the community—their locations in slavery, their post-Civil War land acquisition, their brushes with the law, and their experiences trying to stem the tide of Jim Crow. Gayle Schulman will introduce a new project related to the Civil War. And we hope to have some discussion of ways to make CVHR research accessible.

CVHR Mtg (Sept 5th): “Thrown in the Background”: The Legacy of Builder Allen Hawkins (ca. 1800-1855)
August 21st, 2013
Antoinette Roades will share her research on Allen Woodson Hawkins, who came to Albemarle County as a teenaged bricklayer to help build Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village and stayed on to build houses for clients both white and black. He also trained white and black builders (both slave and free). Several surviving examples of his work have been made local landmarks. But his role has been consistently under recognized, and the site of his family graveyard on the Charlottesville block where he lived, built, and died is consistently threatened by city-promoted development.

CVHR Meeting (June 6th): Exploring the Plantation at James Madison’s Montpelier
May 14th, 2013

The Montpelier Archaeology Department is in the middle of a multi-year study of the homes for the enslaved community on the estate. Matt Reeves will talk about their four-year NEH study of four house sites within the historic visitor core as well as the larger property surveys for outlying quarters. With both projects, they are involving the public though one-week excavation programs—which have resulted in some great partnerships for promoting archaeology and Montpelier. Stefan Woehlke (University of Maryland grad student) will also discuss his GIS mapping project for placing this information into a larger geographic context.

NOTE: the CVHR meetings are being held in a NEW location: The African American Heritage Center (AAHC) is located in the Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, 233 Fourth St. NW. There is plenty of parking. The AAHC is on the second floor at the south end of the building.

CVHR Meeting (May 2): Interpreting Slave Dwellings (Two Cases)
April 15th, 2013

Sara Bon-Harper, now Executive Director at Ash Lawn-Highland, will talk about a quarter that was reconstructed in the 1980s based on an early 20th century photograph and the issues it raises. She invites discussion on how to balance the need for accuracy in reconstruction, the importance of physical structures for public visitation, and the presence of strong narratives about slave life.

Lynn Rainville will talk about the surviving slave cabin at Sweet Briar College, the last of over two dozen antebellum structures that were built on the Sweet Briar Plantation. During its 170-year history the cabin has been used as a domestic residence, classroom, farm tool museum, teahouse, a chapel, and the office of the Sweet Briar Alumnae Association. Issues Lynn will raise include how to date the structure, what evidence exists about the residents, and how the cabin has been variously interpreted in the present. Her research is supported by a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant.

CVHR Meeting (April 4): Bleak House Biographies
March 20th, 2013

Alice Cannon will talk about what she learned as she followed the paths after Emancipation of all the people who were enslaved at Bleak House, the James B. Rogers plantation near Earlysville: where they went, how they supported each other, what they and their children went on to do. She will particularly focus on the story of the Woodfolk and Whipps families and the Evans family: who stayed, who left, and how did they remained connected?

CVHR meeting (Mar 7): Sammons Cemetery Research
March 3rd, 2013

In the past several months, CVHR has learned of an African-American cemetery in the path of the proposed Route 29/Western Bypass. Buried there are Jesse Scott Sammons, his wife and son, and Dr. George R. Ferguson, the first black physician in Charlottesville/Albemarle County. Sammons was the son of Rollins and Sarah Scott Sammons of Hydraulic Mills and, for many years, teacher and principal at the Union Ridge school. This meeting will be dedicated to discussing our research into this once vibrant community. We will be joined by descendants of these families at our meeting.

Several CVHR members have been working closely with some of the descendants to prepare a response to the cemetery report submitted by VDOT; these members sent a packet of comments and historical information to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) a week ago. We can discuss the response to this packet and additional steps forward at the meeting.

CVHR Meeting (Jan 4): Researching Monticello During the Civil War
December 20th, 2012

Sam Towler has been following the wartime fate of Monticello and its black and white residents for a number of years and published an article on the topic in the 2011 issue of the Magazine of Albemarle County History. He will speak to us about the research journey that resulted in this article: how he started, what sources he found, and how he identified the African-American families who lived on the mountaintop.

CVHR meeting (Dec 6): End-of-Year Free-for-All and Festive Food
November 18th, 2012

A good time to air our thoughts about CVHR in general and remind ourselves of what members are working on. I hope that all those who wish to will give us a short (5 to 10 minutes) update of their current and future research projects. And we’ll ratchet up the food and drink side of things.

CVHR meeting (Nov 7): The Scott-Cox-Jackson Family of Charlottesville
October 17th, 2012

Brenda Desobry will tell us what she has heard about her great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Scott and her great-grandmother Nannie Cox Jackson, a noted educator in Charlottesville. The stories passed down through this family are remarkably detailed and consistent. They are also, as research discoveries of Gayle Schulman, Sam Towler and others have shown, remarkably accurate. Cinder Stanton will summarize some of these connections between oral history and the documentary record.

Mysteries still remain, however, so come help solve them. What is the nature of the Monticello connection? Why did Robert Scott (who married Elizabeth Scott’s mother, Nancy) apparently free only one of his children? And Brenda is particularly eager to know more about the Indian connection and her ancestor Nancy Redcross.

CVHR Meeting (June 7 ): Prof. Patrice Grimes, African-American Education
May 9th, 2012
Title: African-American Schooling in Virginia and the South, 1865-1920

From the end of the Civil War to the start of the Roaring Twenties, African- Americans in Virginia faced triumphs and setbacks with an unyielding will to live and learn as free men and women. Join a discussion with Patrice P. Grimes, Ph.D., Curry School of Education and Office of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Patrice will also share some of her own family research on the Preston-Carr family.

CVHR Meeting May (3): Family History (Edwina St. Rose) and Morven Archaeology (Steve Thompson)
April 19th, 2012

Edwina will tell “Emma’s Story,” about discovering her mother’s Charlottesville roots (aka “How W L met Harriet”). She says she has become hopelessly addicted to researching her mother’s paternal and maternal ancestry, adding to the family tree, and learning about the social interactions of Charlottesville’s African-American families in the late 19th Century.

Steve will give an overview of archaeological research at Morven since 2009: its goals, results, and potential next steps. This will include reference to salient aspects of the history of this estate near Ash Lawn-Highland that once belonged to Jefferson’s friend William Short, local merchant David Higginbotham, and others.

CVHR April Meeting (5th): Gayle Schulman and Bob Vernon (and Tinsley family members)
March 20th, 2012

Gayle will tell us about seven persons of color born in Charlottesville/Albemarle between 1862 and 1882 who went on to become physicians. She is exploring their local roots as well as their professional careers. One of the doctors married a woman from Newaygo, Michigan (she says, Check it out on a map!). Gayle is also interested in knowing if and how their stories should be made available to others.

Bob will talk about his work on the Tinsley family of Louisa County. He will use Wilson and Marcia Tinsley, owned by two different Green Springs residents, as an example of an ‘abroad’ marriage and a springboard to using historical sources to understand the nature and extent of such marriages in central Virginia. He has asked members of the Tinsley family to come to the meeting to share their photographs and stories.

CVHR February Meeting (2nd): Visualizing Emancipation (Dr. Scott Nesbit, University of Richmond)
January 9th, 2012

Scott Nesbit will talk about two attempts to use online visualization to gain a better understanding of the history of emancipation. “Marriage & Migration,” is a map of the cohabitation records in Virginia and was published to accompany an essay in the journal Southern Spaces. Visualizing Emancipation, to be released in February 2012, is an attempt to harvest and organize a large amount of information from the Official Records and other sources on where and when black southerners became free during the U.S. Civil War. He especially looks forward to thinking about the ways in which such projects could foster conversation and collaboration with local historians.

CVHR January Meeting (5th): 2012 Goals for our website/database
January 5th, 2012

A get-to-grips with 2012 meeting. Updates on the NEH database project, fixing on ways to populate our website with non-database-related information we’ve gathered, and anything else you want to bring up. Come help chart a course for the year ahead.

CVHR December Meeting (1st): Commonwealth vs. Judy (slave), 1859, and Beyond
November 21st, 2011

Alice Cannon will return to the story of Judy Woodfolk, convicted at the age of eight of attempted murder of her mistress, Margaret Rogers Terrell of Glen Echo. In Part One, Judy’s story ended with her delivery to the State Penitentiary in Richmond. In the midst of a microburst last June, Alice gave us Part Two, in which she discovered a Juda/Judy Holmes, presumably Judy Woodfolk, who survived prison and returned to Albemarle County by the end of the century.

In Part Three Alice will tell us how the revival of the once-rejected plan to build a Route 29 Bypass led to confirmation of the story she had pieced together but, as she says, “never imagined might one day be verified.” A proposed route for the Bypass would have gone through the Woodfolk cemetery behind Rio Hills shopping center, thus generating an archaeological impact study that provided the clinching testimony.

Members of the Woodfolk family will be with us at this meeting, which I hope will range in its discussion over the whole area including Hydraulic, Union Ridge, and Woodburn that was settled largely by African Americans after the Civil War. Much of the land they lived on is in the current path of the proposed Bypass.

CVHR November Meeting (3rd): Carter G. Woodson and the Woodsons of Buckingham County
October 18th, 2011

Joanne Yeck, our Ohio member, will be in town this week, so we can get her to tell us about how her research on white Buckingham County residents led to discoveries about Carter G. Woodson’s enslaved ancestors. Her resources include our beloved post-Civil War personal property tax records, white church records, and birth records.

CVHR October Meeting (6th)
October 1st, 2011
Topic: Enslaved Community at Bremo

We’ll have updates and announcements until 4:30. Then Andi Cumbo will tell us about her work on the people who were enslaved on the Bremo Plantations, established in the early nineteenth century by Gen. John Hartwell Cocke. She is writing a book that blends formal historical essays and creative personal essays in an attempt to tell the stories of these families. As part of this project, Andi has been seeking out descendants of the Bremo slaves.

And we’ll also discuss a good time to take up Andi’s generous invitation to us: an opportunity to visit the grounds of Bremo.

CVHR September Meeting (8th)
August 25th, 2011
Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, Sep. 8, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library*

NOTE this is second Thursday, not first Thursday

Topic: Summer re-cap with focus on Hydraulic-Earlysville community

A lot has been happening since the spring, particularly in connection with families connected to Hydraulic Mills, Bleak House, and Earlysville. Alice Cannon will tell us about the Evans reunion in late May. We hope that a newly-found Evans descendant will be able to attend (he has photographs of Nathaniel “Link” Evans we’ve not seen before). I’ll report on some other new connections. And I hope some of you will want to bring us up to date on what’s been going on as well.

May 5th, Encyclopedia Virginia, Thursday 4pm
May 2nd, 2011

Matthew Gibson, Managing Editor of Encyclopedia Virginia, an online publication of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, will join us. He’ll describe the current and future content of the Encyclopedia, which is bringing to a single site a vast amount of information about Virginia history, politics, and culture. He’ll show us some of the latest methods of delivering that content to a number of different audiences and we can explore with him how our own research might reach a wider public through association with this project.

April 7th: Field Trip, Ivy Creek Natural Area, Thursday, 4 PM
March 22nd, 2011
Topic: Hydraulic Mills Then and Now

Meet near the parking lot at the Ivy Creek Natural Area* at 4 PM for a guided walk to evoke the heyday of the Hydraulic Mills. Our main leaders will be Dede Smith, former Ivy Creek coordinator, and Tex Weaver, Manager of Geographic Data Services for Albemarle County. And some of the rest of us will chip in about what we’ve learned in the course of the CVHR project.

Sturdy footgear is recommended, since we’ll be walking the Ivy Creek trails through woods and fields, to include an overlook above the site of the mills, drowned by the Rivanna Reservoir in 1966.

March 3rd Meeting: Trouble the Water: Antislavery Activism in the Middle Potomac Region
March 17th, 2011

Deborah A. Lee, independent scholar and co-creator of the Virginia Emigrants to Liberia website, was a resident fellow last semester at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She will share with us what she is learning from her current project.

Between 1810 and 1865, on the eastern borderland of slavery and freedom, including parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, diverse activists worked together and separately to resist and gradually end slavery. These white and black men and women used sophisticated peaceful means—persuasion, law, philanthropy, colonization, and the underground railroad—to help thousands of individual bondspeople obtain freedom, fray the institution of slavery locally, and advance the movement nationally. This grassroots perspective sheds new light on the growing tensions over slavery in the East, the increasing difficulty of opposing the institution in the South, and the importance of African Americans from this region in the movement to end slavery in the United States.

February 17th meeting: Developing and publicizing our NEH-funded African-American Families Database
February 14th, 2011

Help shape both our website and how we present it at a history conference in March. Lynn Rainville will report on progress with design of the interactive database for the website. We’ll focus discussion of the database around what is needed for our upcoming panel presentation at the Virginia Forum in Lexington.

Here’s the panel: Jean Cooper and Alice Cannon on our methods of making connections between enslaved and freed people, using families of Hydraulic Mills and Bleak House as examples; Bob Vernon on mapping post-bellum communities to reveal patterns of community formation; Lynn Rainville on the ups and downs of creating the database; and Cinder Stanton is the moderator.

February Event (in lieu of the regular February Meeting)
December 20th, 2010
February 3rd: 4pm:

Christy S. Coleman, President of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (Richmond)

Title of her talk: “Interpreting African American History at Historic Sites” (in the Jefferson Library).

Note: We (CVHR) will decide later whether and when to reschedule our regular meeting this month.

January 6th Meeting: Mapping the Richmond Slave Trade
December 20th, 2010

Maurie McInnis, professor in UVA’s Department of Art, will focus on images by British artist Eyre Crowe, who visited Richmond in the 1850s when it was the largest slave-trading city in the upper South. She will help recreate the geography of the slave-trading district, an area now beneath I-95, and show how the relationship of this district to the rest of Richmond demonstrates the slave trade’s centrality to the economic and political stability of the state. The presentation is based on her forthcoming book, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the Southern Slave Trade

CANCELED: December 2nd meeting: Topic: Trouble the Water: Antislavery Activism in the Middle Potomac Region
October 24th, 2010
[The event below has been postponed until 2011. Note Deborah Lee will be giving a talk on the same topic November 30th (Tuesday) at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.]

Deborah A. Lee, independent scholar and co-creator of the Virginia Emigrants to Liberia website, is a resident fellow this semester at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She will share with us what she is learning from her current project.

Between 1810 and 1865, on the eastern borderland of slavery and freedom, including parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, diverse activists worked together and separately to resist and gradually end slavery. These white and black men and women used sophisticated peaceful means—persuasion, law, philanthropy, colonization, and the underground railroad—to help thousands of individual bondspeople obtain freedom, fray the institution of slavery locally, and advance the movement nationally. This grassroots perspective sheds new light on the growing tensions over slavery in the East, the increasing difficulty of opposing the institution in the South, and the importance of African Americans from this region in the movement to end slavery in the United States.

November 4th meeting: Oral History Workshop
October 24th, 2010

Dianne Swann-Wright, Cinder Stanton’s colleague in the Getting Word oral history project, is coming down to be with the group. She is currently working with the oral history arm of the Civil Rights History Project. Dianne and Cinder will talk about their experience over fifteen years of 100 interviews with 170 descendants of Monticello’s African-American community—addressing how to develop interview questions, issues of privacy and public access, and ways to stimulate memories, among other things.

October 7th Meeting: A Medley
September 30th, 2010

Rev. Joseph Evans, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, DC, plans to be with us. A descendant of the Evanses of Bleak House origin, he made his first visit to Albemarle this summer and is excited about CVHR and Alice Cannon’s work on the enslaved families of Bleak House and beyond.

Christopher Owens will introduce to us his ‘Highland Mapping Project,’ documenting James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland estate and the surrounding area.

As time allows, we’ll have updates on the NEH grant and the oral history initiative, and other member input.

No August Meeting / September 9th
July 14th, 2010
Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, Sep. 9, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library

Nota bene: The September meeting is the second Thursday in the month. And there is no August meeting.

Topic: TBA, but something related to our project, African-American Families Database: Community Formation in Albemarle County 1850-1880. We hope to have a demo of how the sample database for the project is working out.

July 1 meeting: Onward & upwards
June 14th, 2010

Most of the meeting will be devoted to talking about ways to incorporate mapping and locations into the website for our NEH grant-funded pilot project, the African-American Families Database: Community Formation in Albemarle County, Virginia, 1850-1880. Bill Ferster of SHANTI (UVA’s Sciences, Humanities & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives) and Bob Vernon will take the lead in discussing the possibilities.

We also want to keep forging ahead with non-technical aspects of the website. Should we do some oral history? How can we include biographical narratives and other qualitative information? Other thoughts?

June 3: Next CVHR Meeting
May 12th, 2010
Topic: Part Two: Commonwealth vs. Judy (slave), 1859

Alice Cannon will reveal what she has learned since her presentation in March 2009. She then told us about Judy, aged eight, who was tried and convicted of attempting to murder her mistress, Margaret Rogers Terrell of Glen Echo. Judy was condemned to hang, pardoned by Governor Wise, and sent to the State Penitentiary in Richmond. The document indicating Judy had been delivered to the prison was the last known trace of her.

In the past year Alice researched Judy’s family, the Woodfolks, following them through Emancipation and afterward. In the process she has learned of Judy’s return to Albemarle County and her family.

Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, June 3, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library

May 6: Next CVHR Meeting
April 12th, 2010
Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, May 6, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library*

It’s official. NEH announced on March 30 that it had awarded eighteen Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants and ours is one of them!! Kudos and many thanks to Lynn Rainville for doing the lion’s share of the grant proposal work and shepherding it to success. And to all of you who contributed your time and ideas.

The announcement is at Click on Awards for Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants and find our project listed under Sweet Briar College.

Topic: Onward ….

With our NEH grant-funded pilot project, the African-American Families Database: Community Formation in Albemarle County, Virginia, 1850-1880. Lynn Rainville will tell us more about the grant and what it will cover. And we welcome everyone’s participation in discussing the best ways to proceed.

April 1: Slave Surnames in Jefferson’s Virginia
March 23rd, 2010

This talk is being held at Monticello during our regularly scheduled CVHR meeting so instead of holding a separate meeting, please join us at this public talk. Below is the description from Monticello. Please note they are asking folks to RSVP for the talk (see the link below). Also note that a pre-talk reception begins at 3:30.

Cassandra Pybus, professor of history at the University of Sydney, will give a talk, entitled “Calling Himself William Lee”: The Meanings of Slave Surnames in Jefferson’s Virginia, on the reluctance of slave owners such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to acknowledge or record the surnames of enslaved workers. The stance of these “enlightened” owners implies there was something novel about enslaved people having surnames. Pybus argues that the use of surnames was widespread among the enslaved of Virginia by the second half of the 18th century. By interrogating the unique dataset available for about 1,000 enslaved people from Virginia listed with surnames in the Book of Negroes in 1783, it is possible to tease out the importance of surnames; the ways in which surnames were chosen; how surnames were deployed; and why slave masters would choose to ignore them. Reception at 3:30. The talk begins at 4 p.m. at Monticello’s Jefferson Library. The talk—offered as part of the ICJS Distinguished Lecture Series—is free, but space is limited. Please e-mail to register.

April 1st Meeting: Expanding Our Research to all 50 States
March 21st, 2010

Ok, the title is an April Fool’s joke. Because of a Monticello talk that overlaps with our normal meeting time we will join forces and attend the public talk in lieu of our formal meeting. We can always stick around afterwards and catch up briefly. Please see the next post about the April 1 talk at Monticello.

March 7th Meeting: African American Schools
February 21st, 2010
Topic: Albemarle County Schools after the Civil War

Time to begin exploring aspects of community formation in depth, and to look at them in relation to our two study sites. First, education. Lynn Rainville, Gayle Schulman, and Dede Smith will update us on the Rosenwald schools project, records dealing with county schools, teachers, and attendance, and Hydraulic-area schools. Contributions from others are welcomed.

February 4th meeting of CVHR: Tunnels & Updates
January 19th, 2010

When: Thursday, Feb. 4, 4 PM
Topic: A learning and sharing meeting. A chance to share information and research methodology. Our northern Virginia members Marie and Jane are coming (weather permitting!), as are three new members who have undertaken a project to study the laborers (mostly Irish as well as enslaved African Americans) on the Blue Ridge railroad tunnels (1849-1859).

January 7th Meeting: 1850-1880 Project
December 16th, 2009
When: January 7th (Thursday)

Topic: 1850-1880 Project working meeting

We’ll coordinate project tasks and address issues relating to our website. We’ll also compile a roster of people we’re helping with tracing their enslaved ancestors. Among all of us it seems there are well over a dozen different lines that we are dealing with. Connections are bound to arise. Bring info or simplified family trees for the people you are helping.

Graveyards & Genealogy
December 9th, 2009

Join the Central Virginia Genealogy Association (CVGA) on December 12th as Dr. Lynn Rainville discusses American funeral customs, cemetery research and gravestone markings. Dr. Rainville is an anthropological archaeologist who specializes in the study of the everyday lives of ordinary people in historic Virginia communities. She has done extensive cemetery research in Albemarle County. Her website, dedicated to African American Cemeteries in Albemarle and Amherst is available at:

December 3rd Meeting: Free People of Color in the Gibson’s Mill Community
November 18th, 2009
Our next meeting of the Central Virginia History Researchers will be held: Thursday, Dec. 3, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library

Topic: Free People of Color in the Gibson’s Mill Community

G. C. Waldrep, professor of English at Bucknell University, is coming down to tell us about his in-depth research on the people of Gibson’s Mill in western Louisa County. In describing the evolving mixed-race (and presently white) community, he will explore the meanings of “mulatto” and discuss some interesting court cases and families (Gibson, Branham, Mason, Ailstock et al.), some with Albemarle County connections.

November 5th Meeting: A Collaborative Discussion of Current Projects
October 21st, 2009
Next meeting of Central Virginia History Researchers: Thursday, Nov. 5, 4 PM, at the Jefferson Library*

Jane Ailes, the genealogist working with Henry Louis Gates on his African-American Lives series on public TV and his Black Revolutionary War Veterans project, will join us to talk about a future project to document people of color in the counties of Hampshire and Hardy (now WV) and Allegany (MD) before, during, and after the Civil War.

Also coming is Deborah Lee (of the Liberian emigrants project), whose latest work focuses on the same period and deals with antislavery activists of the upper Potomac region. She has found interesting cases of “chain migration” from certain parts of Virginia and Maryland to specific locations in the north.

Jane and Deborah will tell us about their projects and are eager to hear more about our own Albemarle 1850-1880 project and its methodology.

A New Local History Website
October 21st, 2009

We are pleased to announce the creation of a new website and blog by the Central Virginia History Researchers (CVHR) based in Albemarle County, Virginia. For now we will focus on posting guidelines or helpful tips for conducting research into African American family history (check out our website for more details). Over the next two years we will seek funding to create an on-line, open-source database of African American families.

We meet as a group once a month at 4pm on the first Thursday of most months at the Jefferson Library in Kenwood (part of the Monticello complex in Charlottesville). Directions are available to Kenwood and Monticello. We will post future meeting topics here on the blog.