Monday, July 10, 2017

Faces from the Past: Corn Judging Contest

Manassas Journal
03 March 1932


Ivan May / John Hively / James Randall / Wilson Kite

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Mary Virginia (Strother) Leachman

Manassas Journal
20 November 1914


Had Been an Invalid for Several Years - Funeral Thursday Afternoon

Mrs. Mary Virginia Leachman, wife of Mr. John Pendleton Leachman, died Tuesday morning at the family home near Bristow. She had been in failing health for several years.

The funeral took place Thursday afternoon at her late residence and interment was made in the family burying ground. The services were conducted by Rev. J. F. Burks, rector of Trinity Episcopal church, of which she was a member.

Mrs. Leachman was the daughter of the late George and Mildred Strother, of Markham. She was born 55 years ago, and was married at the age of 26 to Mr. Leachman, who is now the treasurer of Prince William county.

She leaves five daughters, Mrs. D. B. Smith and Mrs. Allen Laws Oliver, both of Cape Girardean, Mo., and Misses May, Lillian and Marie Leachman, all of Bristow; three sons, Mr. J. P. Leachman, Jr., of New Mexico, and William and Keith Leachman, of Bristow, a sister, Miss Kate Strother, and three brothers, Messrs. Thomas, James, and Edward Strother, all of Markham.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Mary Belle (Pridmore) Merchant / Benjamin Merchant

You never know what you're going to find when sifting through chancery and legal cases.  The marriage license shown below was an exhibit in the 1913 divorce suit between Mary Belle (Pridmore) Merchant and husband Benjamin Merchant.  It is a gold mine of information, including the names of both bride and groom's parents.  In addition, the case itself mentions the name of their child, Warren Merchant.

This divorce case can be found online at the Library of Virginia's digital collection under the chancery records.

(The suit was dismissed on 5 May 1913 at Mary's request.) 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Trials of Soul and Flesh in 1860's Revealed by Pastors

Richmond Times Dispatch
27 October 1937

Trials of the Soul and Flesh in 1860's Revealed by Pastors

Walking 10 miles to preach a sermon, falling into a creek, watching the flames of war ravage, a church -- all this seemed to be just part of the day's routine for hardy ministers of the Gospel in the 1860's.

Those, at least, are some of the experiences mentioned by preachers in a packet of unpublished letters recently deposited in Spence Library, Union Theological Seminary. The correspondence, most of which dealt with the Sustenation Fund for Impoverished Ministers, was written to the Rev. J. D. Mitchell of Lynchburg during 1866.

The Rev. Matthew W. Jackson of Rough Creek described some of his troubles: "I sometimes walk 10 miles to preach and then home again on the same day; and on the third sabbath in January I fell into a creek about two feet deep and walked several miles home with my clothes wet and freezing..."

Couldn't Raise a Dollar

"As religion seems almost extinct in Eastern Virginia, we must awake in earnest," was his solemn warning.

From Prince William County the Rev. A. M. Hershy of Nokesville wrote:  "The church building, which was nearly new, was burned to the ground, it is said, by Unioin soldier,s near the end of the war ... The congregation was scattered..."

Light on the financial difficulties is given by the Rev. R. L. Dabney, noted theologian; the Rev. Moses D. Hoge, founder of Union Seminary, and Dr. James Woodrow, uncle of President Woodrow Wilson.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Francis H. Hereford

Alexandria Gazette
22 October 1851

Mr. Francis H. Hereford departed this life in Independence, Mo. on the 17th of July 1851.  Mr. Hereford was born November 23d, 1810, in Prince William county, Va.  Before leaving that State he was married to Miss Sarah Foot, a sister of the distinguished Gen. Foot of Mississippi.  He had been a citizen of Missouri for some time -- after residing in Boonville several years, he moved to Independence, where he died.

[Francis H. and Sarah Hereford are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, Mo. --cgl]

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Events: "The Dead Files" investigates the Weems-Botts Museum

Noted for years as being one of the most haunted places in Virginia, tonight the Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries, Virginia, will be the focus of The Travel Channel's "The Dead Files."  The investigation focuses on the Merchant family, who resided in the house from the 1860's until 1968.

More on the museum and tonight's episode can be found here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

People & Places: Former Elkhartan in Charge of Big Virginia Orchard (Ben Lomond)

Elhart Truth (Elkhart, Indiana)
5 June 1919


Former Postmaster W. H. Anderson of 714 West Lexington avenue, who is an intimate friend of Howard A. Knevels, for many years proprietor of a book and stationery store in this city, now of Manassas, Va., is in receipt of a letter from Mr. Knevels which contains the following statement of interest to the many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Knevels here:

"I am in the kind of work I enjoy. I have charge of about 100 acres of orchard three miles north of Manassas. I live in Manassas and go to the farm each day when the weather permits. I am my own boss and have a snap. The Ben Lomond farm is owned by F. W. Bruch of Cleveland, O. It consists of about 2,000 acres with quite a village of buildings and more going up. A $10,000 dairy barn was built last year. Two tractor sand 20 horses and mules are used and about 15 to 20 people are employed. A dairy of 80 cows is kept going, the milk being taken to Washington each morning. We have a dairy maid who has charge of the  milk business and she is scientific -- even prescribes the feed for each cow according to the milk she is expected to give.

On Edge of Battlefield.

"It is quite an interesting experience to me. Enjoy the whole business. We are located on the edge of the Bull Run battlefield. Bull Run goes through the farm. The old, big house, built similar to Mount Vernon, was used as a hospital in the time of those battles. People frequently pick up old shells, bullets and bayonets.

"I have an offer to take charge of 400 acres of mountain orchard next year in addition to what I have now. Those orchards will be seven years planted next year and are bearing considerable fruit this year. Thirteen hundred acres of apple orchard at the top of the Blue Ridge is some orchard. If I go to this orchard next year I shall live near there. It is near Markham, Va."

The letter is accompanied by a photograph of "our home." It shows a large, two story and attick structure with porches and surrounded by numerous shade trees.