History

150 Years Ago This Week: Major developments

The flamboyant career of a gallant, hard-fighting but often unsuccessful combat officer came to an inglorious end when Gen. John B. Hood, the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, resigned the same day the Union assault on Ft. Fisher near Wilmington, N.C., began.
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Down Memory Lane for Jan. 22

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Jan. 22

Sept. 26, 1974 “We’ve got a co-op that co-ops,”grinned Lucio Kilby, waving a hand that encompassed a beehive of activities at the apple packing shed at Sperryville. “All the other co-ops in Rappahannock didn’t co-ops, and now we’re the only big operation left.” A large packing shed at Flint Hill, and another one on...
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Abd el-Kader’s jihad of compassion and courage

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Jan. 15
an-Baptist Huysmans’ painting of Abd el-Kader saving Christians during the Druze/Christian strife of 1860.

With radical Islam once again dominating the news, this time in France, it is important more than ever to know about the Islam of Emir Abd el-Kader al Jazairy, a great human being who was a Muslim and an Arab.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Gen. Butler is sacked

As the second week of January 1865 began, the general-in-chief of the U. S. Armies, Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant, wired President Lincoln from his headquarters at Petersburg and asked the commander-in-chief to relieve Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler.
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Down Memory Lane for Jan. 15 

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Jan. 15

Aug. 22, 1974 A 450-pound bear was killed last week by Cliff Fincham at his home near Peola Mills, just over the line in Madison County. The bear killed eight shoats and three dogs before being downed with a shotgun. The bear attempted to climb a tree in the back yard and the dogs attacked...
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150 Years Ago This Week: Debate on abolition of slavery

On Sunday, the first day of the new year of 1865, on the James River in Virginia southeast of Richmond, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, fresh from the debacle at Ft. Fisher, N.C., ordered a canal cut to bypass a large bend in the river at Dutch Gap.
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Down Memory Lane for Jan. 8

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Jan. 8

Aug. 15, 1974 Peter Kramer, recently elected to the town council of Washington, was elected by his fellow members to the seat of vice mayor at the Tuesday evening meeting of the council. A proposal was made for the purchase of new street signs for the town and Mr. Kramer agreed to check on these....
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The Unpaved Roadshow: Hooked rugs, America’s indigenous folk art

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Jan. 1
Paying homage to a vital part of the early American lifestyle, this early 20th-century hooked rug features a pair of juxtaposed horse-head motifs featuring contrasting manes and detailed bridles. Simplistic lines and rustic details add to the traditional appeal of this American antique from the early 20th century. Courtesy Nazmiyal Collection.

Early American hooked rugs were originally a craft of poverty but by the 1930s were considered an art form and tell the evolution of the country.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Failure at Ft. Fisher

Maj. Gen. George Thomas, commander of the Union Army of the Cumberland in December 1864.

On Dec. 14, 1864, nearly 60 ships of the Union naval armada opened fire on Ft. Fisher, near Wilmington, N.C. Diversionary actions Gen. Benjamin Butler, leading the Union Army of the James, was a fiasco, leading to President Lincoln’s relieving the general of his command.
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Down Memory Lane for Dec. 31

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Jan. 1

Aug. 1, 1974 Joyce Ann Pullen of Washington, Va., declares that the next foggy morning she is going to stay home from her work at the Aileen plant near Flint Hill. For the second time since she has worked there she has encountered a deer in exactly the same location. The most recent was 6:30...
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150 Years Ago This Week: A Christmas gift for Lincoln

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Dec. 25, 2014
150 Years Ago This Week: A Christmas gift for Lincoln

At Savannah, Ga., on Sunday, Dec. 18, 1864, Confederate Lt. Gen. William Hardee refused Maj. Gen. William Sherman’s demand to surrender the city, but it was clear that the city would have to be evacuated by the Confederates before their one route of escape to the north would be closed by the Union troops.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Battle of Nashville

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Dec. 18, 2014

In mid-December 1864, the Civil War ends in the west with a decisive battle at Nashville, while in Savannah, Gen. Sherman demands the surrender of the city from Confederate Gen. Hardee, in this week’s 150 Years Ago.
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Down Memory Lane for Dec. 18

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Dec. 18, 2014

July 25, 1974 The Town of Washington will be 225 years old on Sunday, Aug. 4, according to the Virginia Conservation Marker. A town meeting on the courthouse lawn at 7:30 p.m. with refreshments will commemorate the occasion. Honored guests at the meeting will be local residents who are descendants of George Washington, the...
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The telling bell

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Dec. 11, 2014
Courtesy photo

150 Years Ago This Week: The burning in Loudoun County

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Dec. 11, 2014

Winter did not impede military operations in December 1864, while, in Washington, Congress was about to consider the thorny issues of reconstruction and abolishing slavery.
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Down Memory Lane for Dec. 11

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Dec. 11, 2014

July 18, 1974 A sudden wind storm last Wednesday evening tossed and twirled tree limbs, porch furniture and TV antennas in the Washington area. Hail pelted the town, electricity failed in some places and trees were uprooted. Mrs. Bobbi Critzer was hard hit, and she said she expected the house to go any minute in...
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150 Years Ago This Week: A dark day in American history 

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Dec. 4, 2014

On Nov. 1864, Union and Confederate ships were destroyed, fighting continued in Tennessee and the Mid-Atlantic, and Federal troops massacred Indians in New Mexico territory.
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Down Memory Lane for Dec. 4

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Dec. 4, 2014

July 11, 1974 The Rev. B. Gale Titchenell of Woodville, an 11th- and 12th-grade government and U.S. history teacher and chairman of the social studies department at Rappahannock County High School, is among 76 teachers attending a graduate course on “preservation of the Principles of Freedom” at the national headquarters of Freedoms Foundation at...
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150 Years Ago This Week: The men who tried to burn New York

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Nov. 27, 2014
Harper’s Weekly (Dec. 17, 1864) depicted a Confederate agent setting a fire in Room 108 of the Tammany Hotel, one of many venues targeted for arson by the Confederates on Nov. 25.

In late November, Sherman’s army continued to burn and loot its way through the South and arsonists hired by Confederate agents set fire to multiple venues in New York, while the Booths were onstage together for the first time in “Julius Caesar.”
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Down Memory Lane for Nov. 27

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Nov. 27, 2014

July 4, 1974 Cotton Miller just hung out her shingle last month, but she’s been busy doing picture framing, flower drying and decoupage were more than 10 years. One room in her basement workshop is full of the things she’s done, dried flower arrangements pressed under glass against a velvet background, bright colored tole paintings...
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Telling stories of her ancestors’ stand against Civil War savagery  

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Nov. 20, 2014
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Kirsten Eve Beachy tells the stories of Brethren and Mennonite women in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.
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150 Years Ago This Week: March to the sea, and eloquence misplaced

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Nov. 20, 2014
Alexander Hay Ritchie engraving via U.S. Library of Congress

On Monday, Nov. 14, 1864, Maj. Gen. William Sherman and his 62,000 men were in and around Atlanta, preparing to depart for the Atlantic coast, while the cavalry was already on the move.
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Down Memory Lane for Nov. 20

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Nov. 20, 2014

June 27, 1974 Ian Pryde of Washington, Pat Biggs, Flint Hill, and Jack Atkins, Amissville, have completed a 40-hour instructor’s EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) course at Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown. They are among the approximately 25 people in Virginia qualified to teach the EMT courses. They, along with about 10 other county residents, had previously...
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In memorium

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Nov. 13, 2014
By Cathie Shiff

150 Years Ago This Week: Lincoln re-elected

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Nov. 13, 2014
150 Years Ago This Week

This week 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected president of the United States, with Andrew Johnson of Tennessee as vice president, while the Second Congress of the Confederate States met in Richmond for what was destined to be the last time.
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Letter: But who ratified the Constitution?  

I enjoyed your long article of Oct. 30 about the James Madison vs. James Monroe election for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1789. However, the author of the article is in error in twice stating that in Virginia the United States Constitution was ratified in 1788 by the Virginia...
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Down Memory Lane for Nov. 13

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Nov. 13, 2014

June 20, 1974 Dr. Jerry Martin and Dr. Werner Krebser plan to open a full-time medical clinic in Rappahannock’s seat in Washington. If their request for a use permit is approved by the Town Council next month, which seems likely, construction on the new building will begin about the middle of July. The doctors hope the...
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The garden club’s long, happy history with holiday greens

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Nov. 6, 2014
A recent example of the wreaths produced by Rappahannock County Garden Club volunteers.

How long have people been making wreaths? The history of wreaths goes back far into ancient times, when the first ones were worn on the heads of kings, emperors and military heroes. Hanging them on doors came much later, and the first recorded ones celebrated the harvest, not Christmas. But wreaths were prevalent enough...
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150 Years Ago This Week: A terrible scene at sea

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Nov. 6, 2014
The Australian packet Royal Standard narrowly escaped destruction following a collision with an enormous iceberg off Cape Horn.

As November 1864 unfolded, a wartime election and a vessel's collision with a huge iceberg off South Africa were in the news.
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Down Memory Lane for Nov. 6

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Nov. 6, 2014

June 13, 1974 When Pat and Ginger Biggs move into the new “Dutch colonial” house they’re building atop a knoll near Flint Hill, they’ll have no trouble furnishing it. Pat Biggs makes furniture when he’s not busy with his duties as a science and physics teacher at the intermediate school in Front Royal. But now,...
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The most important election . . . that no one knows about

The Hebron Lutheran Church, still standing in Madison County, served as the background for one of the most important (and largely forgotten) elections in American history.

Stiles, for the convenience of churchgoers who arrived by horse or carriage, still stand outside the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison County, which played a part in one of the most important elections in American history.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The battle of Westport

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Oct. 30, 2014
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At the close of the third week in October, C.S.S. Shenandoah was commissioned into the Confederate States Navy as a commerce raider. In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
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Down Memory Lane for Oct. 30

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Oct. 30, 2014

May 30, 1974 “It’s is my pleasure,” said Lile Sisk as she loaded down a  guest with dilled turnips and carrots and green beans and suggested that some of her carrot cake or black walnut cake, sweet and sour onions, pickled squash, beet wine or damson cordial would be good to try, too. Mrs. Sisk...
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A headmaster looks back at an era of change

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Oct. 23, 2014
Bill Dietel answers a question after his talk at the library.

Before a packed audience at the Rappahannock County Library Oct. 10, longtime Rappahannock resident and influential philanthropic consultant Bill Dietel shared stories of how he took one of the foremost independent girls’ schools in the nation from the Eisenhower Era into the Age of Aquarius.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Cedar Creek and St. Albans

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Oct. 23, 2014
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During the third week of October, fighting in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia continued in earnest between the Union forces, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, and the Confederate forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.
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Down Memory Lane for Oct. 23

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Oct. 23, 2014

May 16, 1974 Robert W. Smith of Utica, Mich., and his wife were overnight visitors of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Nethers of Sperryville. The two men were Army buddies in 1945 on Company E., 175th Regiment of the 29th Division. They had not seen each other since mustering out of the Army. They reminisced about days...
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Down Memory Lane for Oct. 16

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Oct. 16, 2014

May 9, 1974: Mrs. Alice Verner of Washington has received a 50-year pin as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. She was initiated into the order in Charleston, W. Va., in March 1924. A member of the Tiskelwah Chapter No. 45, Mrs. Verner graduated from Sperryville High School.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘Greater love hath no man’

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Oct. 16, 2014
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Some of Lt. Col. John Mosby’s Rangers attacked a Union train of ambulance wagons on Sept. 23, 1864, near Front Royal, before being driven off by the approach of Union cavalry under Col. Charles Lowell on the road from Luray.
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Amissville of old, brought to life

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Oct. 9, 2014
The Spindle House, still sitting quietly at Indian Run Road (Rt. 730) and U.S. 211, was a recruitment point for local men to join the 49th Virginia Infantry early in the Civil War. Later, the house may have been the headquarters of Union Gen. Armstrong Custer’s Michigan Brigade and Cavalry during the summer of 1863. Photo by Cathie Shiff.

It’s easy to think there’s not much to Amissville. Yet once there was a real town which, in 1900, was home to more than 150 people served by four merchant stores, five physicians, a jeweler, a cobbler, two grist mills, a large sawmill and a blacksmith named Jackson.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘Hold the fort. We are coming.’

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Oct. 9, 2014
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As October 1864 opened, the significance of the capture of Atlanta by the Federals in September was obvious to both North and South. To the North, it was helpful to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for re-election; to the South, it was an intolerable incursion.
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