Now that’s a Sweet Potato


Washington resident Susan Longyear hoists her super-sized vegetable.

I was very amused when Susan Longyear came into the office Tuesday morning holding a giant sweet potato like it was a baby. I asked her if that was her baby. With laughter from both of us, she said yes.

That was the biggest sweet potato I have ever seen. According to her husband Walt, it was harvested on Monday, Nov. 15, weighing in about 10 pounds. 

When asking Walt how long the sweet potato was, he said, “that it was longer than his granddaughter when she was born 3 months ago.”

Thanksgiving for the Longyears will definitely be sweet potato casserole, with some going in the freezer.

According to Walt the name is Beauregard sweet potato. So when you get your sweet potato plants for next year, remember to buy the “Beauregard” variety. 

Beauregard was developed at Louisiana State University in 1987 by the late Larry Rolston. The sweet potato is named after French-Louisiana Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard as Rolston was a fan of the Civil War.

History: The Washington Methodist Church

In 1866, Baldwin Bradford Baggarly purchased town lots 42 and 43 from John Bailey Jett for $2,255. In 1889, Baggarly and his wife Emma gave a parcel measuring 61’ x 37’ located at the southwest corner of lot 43 to the Washington Methodist Episcopal Church South, to be used as a place of divine worship subject to authorizations by the General Conference of the church. Many fundraisers were conducted to raise money for construction of the church building. A “ladies Sewing Society made ladies wear and household goods and donated the proceeds. A “Dinner Committee” prepared and served meals to judges, lawyers, juries, and others attending the monthly County Court sessions. There was also a weekly “Oyster Supper.” Through these fundraisers and solicited contributions, $4,000-$5,000 was raised for construction of the church.

The cornerstone of the church was laid by Washington Masonic Lodge No. 78, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in the northeast corner of the foundation, as required by Masonic tradition; the inscription on the stone was “M. E. Church South, September 5, 1889.” The building was erected by John A. Cannon of Manassas, Virginia, and was completed during 1890; the dedication sermon was by Reverend J. R. Griffith. The church was constructed as a 1 ½-story wood frame building in Gothic Revival style, with a gable roof and belfry and Gothic arch shape in each window and the front doors. There were many donations to the church; the walnut chancel rail was a gift of the Warrenton Methodist Church; a bible stand was given by Emma Baggarly; the walnut pews came from the Washington Presbyterian Church, which was no longer active; and the weathervane on the spire was contributed by the contractor, Mr. Cannon. The bell was hung in the belfry in 1895 and the organ was purchased in that year.

Ministers who served the church included Charles H. McGee, M. A. Davidson, W. A. S. Conrad, Richard Ferguson, R. T. Clark, H. J. Brown, T. G. Pullen, P. M. Bell, A. P. Williams, W. A. Osser, C. C. Jones, J. K. Holman, C. L. Salmon, J. H. Abernathy, D. L. Hager, L. Yowell, S. W. Wilkinson, L. C. Vaughan, O. W. Lynch, E. E. Henley and W. Flythe.

The church retained the property until 1980, when the congregation had so significantly decreased that the trustees of the United Methodist Church sold the property to the Town of Washington. The church pews were moved to the Washington Town Hall. The Washington Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Thrift Store operated in the building for some time. The building was used only sporadically and in 1990 the town sold the land and building to Rappahannock County for use as a public facility. In the 1990s it became the Ki Theater, and then, until recently, the theater of the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC).

The county retains ownership of the property, designated as Tax Map 20A-1-114 (310 Gay Street).

Editor’s note: This information was excerpted from Maureen I. Harris’ book, “Washington, Virginia, a History, 1735-2018.”

Have a wonderful week.


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