Essex County Museum - essexcountymuseumessexmillstour

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Essex County Museum & Historical Society website
Essex County and Town of Tappahannock lie on the beautiful Rappahannock River in Virginia's Middle Peninsula. The Essex County Museum, founded in 1996, and the Essex County Historical Society joined forces in 2006 to celebrate the heritage of the town, county, river and its people.  Exhibits include pre-historic through modern displays of life in Essex.

Essex County Museum & Historical Society, Inc. is located at 218 Water Lane, Tappahannock, Virginia and is a non-sectarian non-profit corporation that is tax exempt under section 501 c(3) if the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code.

Welcome

Welcome to the Essex Museum photo and video site. Here you'll find the latest pictures, videos, and upcoming events about Essex County Museum & Historical Society. Visit us regularly to see what we're up to and invite your friends to visit us. Our museum and well stocked gift shop are located in the Historic District of Tappahannock, Virginia at 218 Water Lane.  Also see our web site, www.ecmhs.org, or call us (804) 443-4690.

Upcoming events

Map

Essex County Museum is located in the heart of the Historic District in Tappahannock, Virginia, between Prince Street and Queen Street on Water Lane.

News

Essex Museum at Lancaster County's Arts, Crafts, and History Festival

Essex County Museum will demonstrate how Native Americans and early settlers ground corn at the Lancaster County "Court Day" Arts, Crafts, and History Festival at the Mary Ball Washington Museum, Saturday, April 12, 2014.  For complete information see the attachment below.
Attachments:
Lancaster Court Day Arts, Crafts, and History Festival 4-12-2014.pdf

Northern Neck History and Culture Day for Home School

Museums, Historic Sites, and Parks located within and around the Northern Neck region are hosting a Northern Neck History and Culture Day for Home School groups on May 2, 2014 at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster County.  This is the first time the museums and parks have gathered together to present an array of educational and interactive programs for Home School groups.  

Located along the Rappahannock River in upper Lancaster County, Belle Isle State Park offers a beautiful  setting for this event.  

Activities include but are not limited to:  18th‐century brickmaking & construction of brick walls;  Colonial
 and Native American clothing;  Replica of John Smith’s Shallop and life cycle of oysters;  Archaeology;
 reading, writing and schooling in early America;  Indians in the Northern Neck; Water Quality analysis;
 Reviewing original source documents and maps;  and 18th‐century Gardens and House patterns.

High Tea Luncheon March 22, 2014

A great time was had by all at the fourth "High Tea" luncheon, presented by the Essex County Museum & Historical Society on March 22. The "High Tea" again was catered and served with all the fine trimmings by the Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society group from Fredericksburg. They were fashioned in their beautiful period costumes and entertained us with their 18th Century stories and dance.  Several persons were selected from those attending the tea to participate in learning how to perform these period dances, accompanied by music of that era. Among those selected was Mrs. Lillis Avery, who was also feted at this event for her 91st. birthday. Mrs. Avery and the other ladies performed gracefully and beautifully when participating in these new colonial dances.

Bobby Watkins' Book and James Robertson's New Book at Museum

Bobby Watkins' book, "Not Necessarily in Them Thar Hills," and James Robertson's book, "Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War," are now available at the Essex County Museum gift shop and online at its online book store.  Secure credit card purchasing is available at both gift shop and online.  "Not Necessarily in Them Thar Hills" was just released December 19, 2013 and is nearly sold out. 

In "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.”

McGuire moved to Tappahannock, Virginia, 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 author Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr. is a noted scholar on the American Civil War and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech. Robertson is the founding executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies research and education center. 


Colonial Christmas at Essex Inn

The Woman's Club of Essex County hosts a Colonial Christmas at Essex Inn Sunday, December 15, from 3 to 5 pm featuring St. Margaret's Choir and Anita Harrower sharing Civil War stories while local artist, Bruce McComb, exhibits his Civil War paintings.  Program includes children's entertainment and holiday refreshments.

 Donations of $15 per person over age 12 benefits Local Food Bank.

 The Essex Inn is located at 203 Duke Street, Tappahannock, VA.

Award Winning Author to Debut Book at St. Margaret’s

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 dharter@smsapps.org, by Dec. 1. Please note that sale of books at the event will be by check or cash. Credit cards will not be accepted.

Civil War Cannon, Soldiers Monument, and History Author Featured at Museum Open House

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.

Mildred Cavin Joins Museum as Administrative Assistant

Mildred "Milly" Cavin assumes the Administrative Assistant duties for the Essex County Museum & Historical Society on September 16, 2013.  She brings strong accounting and administration management background to the organization.

Her bachelor's degree in accounting from VCU and 40 plus years working for The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company in Fredericksburg before she retired as its Chief Financial Officer will help ECMHS continue its growth and strengthen its management.  

"We are fortunate to have a local person with Milly's capabilities accept our part-time job," commented the ECMHS Treasurer, Ron Geiger.  He added, "I look forward to working with her."

Milly replaces Kelly LaFollette who has been with ECMHS since its early days initially as a volunteer and board member organizing most of the organization's administrative functions and most recently as its Administrative Assistant.  Her contributions to the Museum are commendable.  As she assumes her new job as Essex County's Assistant Registrar, the ECMHS Board wish her continued success and welcome her volunteer support for the Museum.

Museum Annual Membership Meeting - Sunday October 6

Annual Membership Meeting & Picnic 
Essex County Museum & Historical Society

Sunday, October 6 - 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
at Atkins Waterfront Park 
at the foot of Prince Street in Historic Tappahannock.
 (In case of rain, the event will be moved to Old Beale Memorial Church.)

Plan to join your friends for snacks and drinks 
and hear the Museum's latest news.

Free to Members, 
Members' Guests $20.
Not a member? Join for as little as $25.

Mark Your Calendar and Attend

Job Opening: Museum Adminstrative Assistant

Essex County Museum & Historical Society (ECMHS) has a part-time (8 hrs/week) job opening for an Administrative Assistant (AA).  The position description is attached.  Starting wage is $12/hour.  

The AA and the Museum's curator are the only two paid positions at the Museum.  Therefore, the AA is responsible for all administrative activities of the Museum.  The AA handles all the Museum's accounting, correspondence, reporting, filing, and all other administrative activities.  The Executive Committee of the ECMHS Board of Directors is responsible for all management functions.  The Administrative Assistant reports to the ECMHS Treasurer and provides assistance to the Executive Committee.

The present Administrative Assistant will continue working through September and will train the person selected to fill the position.

Candidates for the position should email their resumes to Treasurer@ECMHS.org or postal mail to Treasurer, ECMHS, PO Box 404, Tappahannock, VA 22560-0404.  All resumes will be reviewed promptly.
Attachments:
Museum Administrative Assistant Position

Slavery Emancipation Commemoration, September 7, 2013

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 Saturday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m., 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 804-438-6855,www.christchurch1735.org.

War of 1812 in Tappahannock and Essex County

As our nation celebrates the 237th anniversary of signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it is also observing the 200th anniversary of the The War of 1812 which did not end until late 1814. 

Many people do not realize the role of Tappahannock and Essex County in the War of 1812.  The Essex County Museum and Historical Society has dedicated its Carl D. Silver Gallery to exhibit War of 1812 uniforms, weapons, ships, photographs, and a video presentation. 

To view the video of the War of 1812 in Tappahannock and Essex County on this web site, select "Pictures & Videos" tab above and then select the "War of 1812 in Tappahannock and Essex County" video in the right column.  Be sure to select "full screen" to see the video full size.

Everyone is encouraged to visit the Essex County Museum in Tappahannock and to view The War of 1812 exhibit and other local historical displays.  Hours are everyday except Sundays and Wednesdays and major holidays between 10 am and 3 pm.

Bobby Watkins Previews His Book

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.

Cannon Restoration Well Underway

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.  

Attachments:
Sanding Cannon Wheel for Paint

New Books: The Caponka Caper & Caroline County Estates Books

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! 

Sethmann, Ware, and Wood Join Museum Board of Directors

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.  

IRS Tax Tips for Charitable Contributions

The following is from IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2012-15, December 6, 2012:

December is traditionally a month for giving generously to charities, friends and family. But it’s also a time that can have a major impact on the tax return you’ll file in the New Year. Here are some “Season of Giving” tips from the IRS covering everything from charity donations to refund planning:


Essex County Museum & Historical Society thanks you for your support and wishes you and yours a very Happy and Healthy New Year

2013 Membership Campaign Kicked Off

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.  


Questions? Need more information?  -- Just submit a comment to this News item and we will respond to you.             

November 2012 "The Time Keeper" Newsletter Published

The Time Keeper is a five page publication loaded with information about the Museum's recent activities, programs, artifacts accessions, new Board Directors, and docents news.  Simply click on the link below to open it.
Attachments:
The Time Keeper - November 2012

Deltaville Maritime Museum Books Destroyed in Fire

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

PO Box 97 / 8346 Mary Ball Rd
Lancaster VA  22503
804-462-7280 fax 804-462-6107
karen@mbwm.orgwww.mbwm.org

Attachments:
Deltaville Museum Lost Book List

Save Our Cannon

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. 

Attachments:
Click here for photo of Essex County Cannon

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4/25/2014 12:45:44 AM