Not Necessarily in Them Thar Hills," author Bobby Watkins tells the stories he recalled from the days he spent chasing bootleggers in Northern Neck and Middle Peninsulas of Virginia. Each story has factual information, portrayals of the characters he encountered, and includes many humorous incidents. He likes to say, "All of the stories are mostly true!"
Many people think moonshining takes place primarily in mountainous regions, but Watkins dispels the common notion with his stories of the illegal business of distilling liquor is "Not Necessarily in Them Thar Hills" ($17).
"Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War" ($57) is annotated and edited diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire who was a notable Essex County, Virginia, resident. Her vivid account of life during the Civil War now includes vital details not given in the original text.
Nelson D. Lankford, editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, said, “Long valued by students of the Civil War, Judith McGuire’s vivid account suffered from inadequate context—until now. At the hands of a master chronicler of war, we can now read McGuire with fresh eyes and relive with her the hopes, tribulations, despondency, and endurance of a singular Southern woman.”
Distinguished Civil War author and historian James I. Robertson Jr. will be debuting his book, Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War at St. Margaret’s, Sunday, December 15. The book is the annotated and edited diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire, who was a notable Essex County resident. Robertson will discuss and sign copies of the book from 2-4 p.m. at the Brockenbrough House.
McGuire moved to Tappahannock after the war and operated a girls school from 1865 to 1875 in the Brockenbrough House, almost 50 years before the Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia established St. Margaret’s School. McGuire’s husband, Rev. John Peyton McGuire, was a noted Episcopalian minister and known as the "Apostle to the Rappahannock." The couple is buried in the St. John's Episcopal Church graveyard in Tappahannock, across the street from the Brockenbrough House.
The book, published by the University of Kentucky Press normally sells for $60; it will be on sale for $54, plus tax at the book signing event. If you would like to reserve a copy to purchase at the signing, please contact Dale Harter, at St. Margaret's School, 804-443-3357, or email@example.com, by Dec. 1. Please note that sale of books at the event will be by check or cash. Credit cards will not be accepted.
The Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration continues at the Essex County Museum during an open house Sunday, November 3 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. The newly restored 1864 cannon, the Essex Confederate Soldiers Monument 1909 dedication story, and Confederate Essex exhibit will be featured; and author Susan Anthony-Tolbert will discuss and sign her two recent books about Lucy Long, one of Robert E. Lee’s warhorses.
Admission is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. The River Gift Shop will be open and decorated for Christmas.
The Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society, and Foundation for Historic Christ Church are hosting a Slavery Emancipation Commemoration on 804-438-6855,www.christchurch1735.org., to honor Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Manumission and President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and to celebrate the lives of those set free. The event features local historians, the Church of Deliverance choir, and folklorists and musicians Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. The Ruckers will perform “Blue & Gray in Black & White,” a music and storytelling presentation on the events, personalities, and legacies of the American Civil War. The program takes place at Historic Christ Church, 420 Christ Church, Weems (near Irvington in Lancaster County). Info
Tappahannock’s own Robert “Bobby” Watkins will preview his future book publication at Essex County Museum and Historical Society Sunday, May 5th between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. Bobby will share delightful and often humorous excerpts from his book which is about his days as a “Revenuer” (Special Agent for Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Board Enforcement Division). After he retired from the VA ABC Board, he joined the Essex County District Court as a Sheriff’s Bailiff where he well known.
For many years Bobby has talked about writing a book about his experiences and local stories. That goal is about to be reached. Come and enjoy a conversation with Bobby and get a chance to learn his “why” for writing.
When he is not in the court room, he is an avid fisherman and dedicated family man. He and his wife, Barbara, and his dog, Liza Jane, currently reside in Gwynnfield community in Tappahannock. They have three grown children, Robin Harmon, Della Watkins, and Rodney Watkins, and six grandchildren. He is a longtime member of Tappahannock Memorial United Methodist Church and has been active in community organizations and activities as well as on the tennis court. Bobby is a 53 year resident of Essex County.
Also that afternoon, artisan Sam Winters from Virginia Beach will be demonstrating basket weaving. Sam has designed many baskets solely for the Museum’s Rappahannock River Gift Shop.
Come by and enjoy the two presentations being featured and enjoy a visit to the museum. Light refreshments will be available. There is no charge for this event.If you have not visited the museum before, you will find the story of Essex County’s history intriguing. The Essex County Museum and Historical Society is located at 218 Water Lane in the Historic District of Tappahannock, Virginia. For more information about the museum visit the website: www.ecmhs.org.
The museum’s cannon restoration project is nearing completion. Its wheels and carriage were completely replaced by restoration craftsmen in Essex County and Pennsylvania.
Removal of old paint from the 816 pound iron barrel is a time consuming job, but worth it according to Joe Johnston, the Museum's restoration project coordinator. He noted, "The paint removal show the barrel was made at the Allegheny Arsenal near Pittsburgh in 1864."
The restored cannon will be rededicated at a ceremony this summer at the Essex County Museum and Historical Society where the cannon will be on display.
Over 90% of the costs of restoration have been contributed by more than 30 local and distant people and organizations.
The Rappahannock River Gift Shop at the Essex County Museum is pleased to announce the addition of two excellent local history books to its collection.
The Caponka Caper by Carroll M. Garnett - For many years an old sunken ship hunk just southeast of Tappahannock has been a familiar sight to local people and a source of curiosity to visitors. Many years ago she was an impressive wooden ship who set majestically on that sight, firmly and fatally grounded on a sandbar. This is her story. Price $10
Caroline County Virginia Estates: Residences and Historic Sites by Herbert Ridgeway Collins - A fully illustrated listing of houses that were moved from Caroline County, estates listed by date, estates listed by acreage, and houses named for battles. Price $40
Both books are self-published and not widely distributed. You may purchase the books at the museum's Rappahannock River Gift Shop at 218 Water Lane, Tappahannock, or online (click on http://shop.ecmhs.org/Books_c3.htm). Current Essex County Museum & Historical Society 2013 Members are entitled to 10% discounts. To become a member or renew your membership stop by the gift shop or go on line to http://shop.ecmhs.org/Memberships-Donations_c5.htm.
Enjoy local history!
The Essex County Museum & Historical Society welcomed Barbara Sethmann, Helen Ware, and C. Norman Wood as newly elected directors at its board meeting January 16, 2013 at Lowery’s Restaurant. Their backgrounds in volunteering, managing, and fund raising activities for nonprofit organizations add significant strength to the board of directors of ECMHS.
Barbara Sethmann studied art history and museum administration at VCU and after graduation served as an intern for the Valentine Museum Textile Center. Since relocating to Tappahannock from Charlottesville with her husband Roger Sethmann in 2011, she served as a Museum docent, updated information for the Museum’s artifacts data base, and became docent director. She is active in several other historical organizations and is a member of the St. John’s Episcopal Church Choir.
Helen Ware joined the Woman’s Club of Essex County in 1981 and served it and its affiliates locally and regionally as an officer and active committee member. She co-chaired the fundraising to build the new Essex County Public Library, and with her husband, Joe, and created the war memorial on the Courthouse Green in Tappahannock the support of the community. Additionally, she has held offices for The Liberty Belles, participated in Operation Inasmuch in Essex County, and served the American Legion Auxiliary as an officer in several positions.
C. Norman Wood and his wife, Betty Burwell Dillard, have been members and supporters of ECMHS since 2001 while they were residents of Burke, Virginia and before they relocated to Essex County last year. After retiring from the US Air Force in 1992 as Lieutenant General, he was the President and CEO of the Armed Force Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) which is a worldwide nonprofit organization of 30,000 members and more than 1,000 corporate sponsors. He retired from his professional career in 2001. In addition to his Museum activity, he joined the Tappahannock Rotary Club, where he will serve as its president starting July 2013.
They join 14 other directors of the present board to help serve the Essex County Museum & Historical Society’s mission to acquire, research, preserve, educate and present the rich history of Essex County for its citizens and visitors.
Another successful year for the Essex County Museum and Historical Society is coming to a close and it is time for all of us to help it get 2013 off to a great start.
In 2012 the Museum created its popular exhibit, “Proving Ground for Freedom: The War of 1812 in Essex and Rappahannock” with its multimedia component, it received several important artifact donations, it began restoration of the County’s Civil War cannon, it hosted a “train the trainer” opportunity for local teachers using the Rappahannock River and its vast shipping and wharf history, it held a well-attended High Tea at St. Margaret’s School, and it celebrated a highly successful Fall Gala at Wheatland’s Saunders Wharf. Next year’s plans include another active calendar of events, educational activities, historical research, and new displays.
Besides your personal satisfaction being a member of an important local non-profit cultural organization, your membership will also
Look for your personal letter from ECMHS and complete its enclosed response envelope and renew your membership or become a member at a level that represents your sponsorship for the Museum’s commitment to preserve and present the history of Essex County. You can also renew your membership or become a member online at shop.ecmhs.org/Membership-20001.htm. And, your membership contribution prior to December 31 qualifies for a full tax deduction in 2012.
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Hundreds of Deltaville Maritime Museum's historic books were destroyed during its catastrophic fire in June. Many of the books were rare and out of print. The region's museums are working together to replace the lost books.
See attached Deltaville Museum Lost Books List.
The Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library and the Friends of the Lancaster Community Library have already stepped forward to donate some of the titles that were in their duplicate or book sale collections. Essex County Museum and Historical Society is searching its archives and asking its members to check their personal libraries for replacement books.
Here is how you can help:
· Do you have new or used copies of any of these books that you can donate or sell (at lower than online prices)?
· Can you make an organizational or personal cash donation to buy a replacement copy?
· Can you donate other maritime/Chesapeake-related books that the Deltaville Museum can use for their own fundraiser book sale?
Any assistance is greatly appreciated!
For questions and more information, contact:
Karen Hart, Executive Director
Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library
The History and Genealogy Center for Lancaster and Virginia's Northern Neck
The Essex County Museum is restoring the Civil War cannon on permanent loan to the Museum from Essex County and has begun a funding campaign to solicit public donations to cover the cannon's restoration costs (estimated at $5,800). When the cannon is restored, it will be displayed indoors at the Museum where its history will be fully presented and preserved.
To make a contribution, go to http://www.essexmuseum.org/ecm-shop.htm, or stop the by the Essex County Museum (10 am to 3 pm, Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, or Sat), all major credit cards are accepted. Your contribution will be placed in a restricted funds account, “Cannon Restoration Fund,” to be used exclusively for the restoration and maintenance of the cannon.
When you make a donation Cannon Restoration Fund, ECMHS will send you a letter of confirmation for receipt of funds which you may retain with your tax records. Essex County Museum and Historical Society (ECMHS) is a non-profit, non-sectarian corporation that is tax exempt under section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Your support of our efforts to collect, preserve, and present the significant and colorful history of Essex County for its citizens and visitors will be greatly appreciated.