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March Meeting – Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

31 Mar

 

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President Scott Johnson welcomes guests

On March 12, 2017, the society held its first meeting of the year at the Grace Church Parish House. President Scott Johnson welcomed the attendees after which Vice-President Bruce Venter introduced our guest speaker Jeffrey Nichols, CEO and President of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. Poplar Forest, located south of Lynchburg, was the home Thomas Jefferson built to get away from everyday life at Monticello. Mr. Nichols explained to the group about the restoration efforts past, present and future for the site. A slide show and lively discussion kept everyone’s attention.

 

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Jeffrey Nichols

The Hospitality Committee lead by Louise Thompson prepared a wonderful selection of snacks for all to sample after the discussion.

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Thank you to Jeffrey Nichols for visiting with us and to all of the society members who helped bring this meeting to our members.

 

Drunken Swine

12 Mar

The following is an article that ran on March 31, 1922 in The Bee (Danville, Virginia). It gives a totally new meaning to March madness.

Pig And Hogs In Goochland Drunk On 9,000 Gallons.

Richmond, March 31, – Pouring of 9,000 gallons of mash into a spring branch in Goochland county, near Irwin Station, yesterday afternoon by federal prohibition agents provided a feasta [sic] for more than a score of hogs and pigs. But after partaking of the mash, which had practically completed fermentation, the hogs displayed all the symptoms of drunkenness and were unable to walk. They crawled off into the woods and lay on the ground groaning, federal agents said, in much the same manner as a man under the influence of liquor.

In the raid the officers destroyed a 500-gallon capacity wooden kettle, confiscated a four-horsepower steam engine, 30 fermenters, 1,500 pounds of sugar, one horse, one mule, a new two-horse wagon and other equipment.

The plant was not in actual operation at the time of the raid and no arrests were made. It was located on an excellent site adjacent to a spring branch and was one of the few captured in Virginia that used steam engines for distilling the mash.

2017: A Year of Changes

31 Jan

Greetings and Happy New Year!

First, I want to recognize those who are leaving their positions with the Society. After 16 years as Executive Director, Phyllis Silber retired at the end of December. I wish to extend thanks and recognition to her for all her many accomplishments and years of dedicated service. She led the Society to unprecedented growth in both membership and scope of activities. In 2016 alone, the Old Stone Jail restoration was completed, with the ribbon cutting in the fall. However, the Courthouse Green Project continues with work on the Old Clerk’s Office. Also, 2016 saw the publication of Phyllis’s book UNDER

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Phyllis Silber and Rossie Fisher

EVERY TREE: A Guide to Finding Your Roots in Virginia which has been well received by the genealogy community. While we will certainly miss Phyllis, we wish her the very best in her retirement.

Bonnie Stamm left her part-time position as Office Manager in November for a full-time position at another non-profit in the Richmond area. While we will miss Bonnie’s friendly attitude and excellent technology skills, we wish her the greatest success in her new employment.

A search for a new Executive Director and Office Manager will get underway shortly. In the meantime, Christina Dunn has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director and Ginny Olsen as Office Manager; both are members of the Board and current volunteers. With extra hours of assistance by our dedicated volunteers, the Society’s office hours will remain the same and all services, publications, and member activities and events will continue as usual.

We welcome the two newest members of the Board of Directors: Alan Crouch, Assistant Dean of the School of Business at Reynold’s Community College and William Quarles, former Chairman of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors. Thank you to those who have agreed to continue to serve on the Board of Directors, on our various committees, and as volunteers.

As an organization, we have been highly dependent on member support for our successes over the years. As a result we have had an impressive record of accomplishing ambitious projects and doing so in a timely and professional manner. The Courthouse Green Project is the latest of these. Plans for 2017 include turning the Old Clerk’s Office into a small museum and visitor center; and installing another section of the commemorative pavers on the central walk, as well as interpretive signs in strategic locations on the Green. Bruce Venter, First Vice President, is arranging for speakers of the highest quality for our membership meetings, lectures and book signings; the Publications Committee is already working on the 2017 magazine and the 2018 calendar; and I am working with the YMCA to plan new History Walks.

These accomplishments are made possible through the collective efforts of the Society’s officers, Board of Directors, committee members, volunteers, and staff, but, most importantly, it is you, the members, who are the heart of the organization. I strongly encourage you to continue your interest, keep informed of and participate in the Society’s activities, and make your recommendations and suggestions known to the officers, Board, and staff. We want to hear from you and we need to hear from you. While we have a strong organization, there is always room for improvement and new direction. We believe 2017 will be an exciting year for the Society.

Warm regards,

C. Scott Johnson, President

The Old Stone Jail Restoration Celebration, September 11, 2016!

8 Sep
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The Old Stone Jail (1825)

The Goochland County Historical Society will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the restored Old Stone Jail at the Goochland Courthouse Public Square at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2016. This celebration represents the culmination of research, construction and fundraising activity that began two years ago.

The Old Stone Jail has been restored to depict three eras of prison life over its nearly two centuries of existence.

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Architectural historian Gibson Worsham, left, and restoration contractor Jim Haskell, right.

This project has been led by the work of architectural historian Gibson Worsham, with the construction phase managed by Goochland contractor Jim Haskell of Sermat Construction Services.

In addition to the ribbon-cutting activity, the Historical Society will unveil the inaugural phase of the Courtyard Green Commemorative Bricks installation.

The public is invited to attend, and tours of the newly restored Old Stone Jail will take place immediately after the ribbon-cutting.

Under Every Tree

28 Apr

Phyllis book1

Finally there comes along a true guide to finding primary genealogy resources in Virginia! This little book will dispel the burden of where one should go first: a courthouse, library, or historical society. It provides detailed driving, and parking directions to the most helpful resources in each locality and a suggested visit-here-first for each county in the Commonwealth. The reader will also find valuable suggestions for places to visit in each county. Pack Under Every Tree with your essential research materials. Put it in the glove compartment of your car and head out.

Purchase online in the historical society gift shop or from www.undereverytree.com

Richmond Magazine – November 2014

22 Nov

The November 2014 issue of Richmond Magazine is on stands now! This issue features a wonderful article, “Time Travel”, penned by Nicole Cohen with photos by Jay Paul.

Richmond Magazine - November 2014

Richmond Magazine – November 2014

The article is all about how the Goochland County Historical Society is striving to get history to the people through photographic installations in several public buildings: Goochland County Administration Building, Reynolds College, and soon in the High School and in the Parks and Recreation complex.

Time Travel by Nicole Cohen, Photos by Jay Paul

Time Travel by Nicole Cohen, Photos by Jay Paul

We are hoping the exposure helps to take our message to even more people: See It, Share It, Celebrate It!

The Moonshine Ladies

31 Aug
Martha Napier and Mary Manley

Martha Napier and Mary Manley

In July, GCHS archivist James Richmond happened across the above picture listed for sale at an online auction site. Thanks to fast action from Mr. Richmond and GCHS director Phyllis Silber, they were able to obtain this original press photograph for the Goochland County Historical Society photographic collection. The photograph is mother and daughter, Martha Napier and Mary Manley sitting in jail. These two suffered the misfortune of getting caught making moonshine during the infamous period in American history known as Prohibition.

The two women were arrested and convicted on December 8, 1930 for operating a still in Goochland. The ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920 ushered in a period when the production, sale, transportation, importation and exportation of alcoholic beverages was prohibited in the United States. Prohibition lasted until 1933 when the unpopular law was finally repealed. Bootleggers, such as the two women pictured, set up stills to produce moonshine to fulfill the needs of drinkers. Moonshine, produced primarily in the southern states, was so called due to its being produced under the shine of the moon and was also called “hooch” and “White lightening”. Mrs. Napier and Mrs. Manley pled not guilty but the evidence convicted them anyway. They were sentenced to one year in jail and a $50.00 fine. According to the note on the back of the photograph, they were then “remanded to the Henrico County jail because the jail of this county is unsafe”!