World War II Soldiers Remembered: Charles Massie Johnson

19 Jun
CharlesMJohnson post

March 17, 1916–July 31, 1986

Charles Massie Johnson was born March 17, 1916 in Goochland, Virginia. He was 24-years-old when he registered in October of 1940. According to his Registration Card, we know he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, and had brown eyes and black hair. He listed his employer as the State Farm (James River Correctional Center) in Crozier. On March 3, 1945, he married Irene Davis Lacy in Richmond, Virginia.

Advertisements

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Robert Rollo Richmond

13 Jun
Robert Richmond

November 5, 1925 – February 21, 1945

Robert Rollo Richmond was born November 5, 1925 in Goochland, Virginia. He was 18-years-old when he registered in November of 1943. According to his Registration Card, we know he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, and had blue eyes and brown hair. He listed the State Farm (James River Correctional Center) in Crozier as his employer.

He was assigned to the 484th Bombardment Group and was stationed at Torretto Airfield in Italy. While on a bombing mission over Austria, his plane was hit by flak and had to be abandoned. All crew members had to parachute out of the plane, before they did so, they attached a static line to the severely injured Sgt. Richmond and assisted him out of the plane first. He succumbed to his injuries and was buried in an unmarked grave near Novi Sad in present day Serbia.

Rollo Richmond Plane adj

Standing L to R: Charles Marshall – Pilot, John Gross Jr. – Co-Pilot, Al Denealt – Navigator, and Robert F. Anderson – Bombardier. Kneeling L to R: Charles A. “Al” Harford – Engineer, George Joe Cataldo – Radio Operator, Robert D. “Bob” Powers – Upper Gunner, Pete Regelman – Nose Gunner, Bob Sorenson – Ball Gunner, and Robert Rollo Richmond – Tail Gunner.

Early photography

16 May

In the collection of the Goochland County Historical Society are several types of early photographic techniques. Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes all appeared in the mid 1800s. Daguerreotypes were first on the scene, beginning around 1839. They were made on a shiny, silver plated copper surface and had to be viewed from an angle for the best image. The surface is very delicate and they are usually sealed under glass.

post 3

Daguerreotype of unknown child

Ambrotypes came along in the 1850s. It is an image made on a glass plate and is also quite delicate. They were usually sealed in a case and had a glass protective layer over the image. The prints were often tinted to add color.

post 2

Ambrotype of unknown woman

Tintypes were the last on the scene and appeared in the 1850s buy enjoyed their peak of popularity in the 1860s and 1870s. The images were made on thin sheets of metal that were coated with a photographic emulsion. They were quite durable and didn’t need elaborate cases to protect them.

post 1

Tintype of an unknown soldier

Since the tintype was so inexpensive and relatively easy to make, traveling photographers would load up their wagons and travel the countryside setting up their tents to bring photography to everyone.

post 4

Photographers tent in front of George Bowles’ house, Shannon Hill

The photographs range from excellent to barely in focus. Sometimes the edges of the curtains or backgrounds could be viewed around the subjects. One wonders if they were given out at a reduced price?

post 5

Sky and trees are clearly visible in the upper left corner as is the structure of the tent. 

All of the pictures shown on this page were donated to the society, unfortunately there are no names with them. One picture has “Mr. W. H. Bowles, Tabscott” scratched into the back of it, the only clue as to who the family might be. According to the 1870 census, there was a Walter H. Bowles living in Tabscott which hopefully puts the house and pictures in Goochland. Either way, the pictures are enjoyable and teach us a lesson about early techniques.

post 6

Tintype, back of photograph has Mr W H Bowles, Tabscott scrated into the back.

*Update. The house with the photographers tent has been identified at the home of George Bowles, the father of Walter Bowles.

Highlighting Historic Properties – Reed Marsh

1 Mar

For the web 2Reed Marsh was purchased by William Miller in 1817, and remains one of the best examples of classic central-passage-plan dwellings from the nineteenth century. William Miller was the first of five members of the Miller family who served as county clerks in Goochland for a period of 152 years. William Miller was clerk from 1791 until his death in 1846, he was succeeded by his son Narcissus Miller who is credited with saving Goochland County’s records during the Civil War when many other county’s public records were destroyed. Narcissus Miller’ son, William Miller Jr., served from 1868 to 1900; his son, Peter Guerrant Miller, from 1912 to 1942, and his daughter Margaret Miller, from 1942 to 1955. They all lived at Reed Marsh. The house and the Miller family service led the property to be considered by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as a potential candidate for inclusion on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1933, forty-two acres of land from the Reed Marsh property was sold for the first consolidated secondary school in Goochland County, Goochland High School. The original school’s structure was quite elaborate for its day. It still remains standing to date and serves as the county administrative offices. Land from Reed Marsh was also sold for the location of the Goochland Branch of the Pamunkey Regional Library.

Henry Wood’s Tomb

21 Feb

SONY DSCSometimes, the best things are found in the oddest places. Recently, the Goochland County Historical Society began a search for the tomb of the Goochland’s first Clerk of the Court, Henry Wood (1696-1757). There were many old pictures in the Society files showing that the tomb once existed. However, we began to worry that the tomb might have disappeared, being the victim of progress in a county changing from rural to residential. A Facebook campaign sought help from as many people as possible and the power of the people proved successful. A landowner in East Leake saw the post and responded: the tomb was indeed still standing on her property.

SONY DSC

 

Now came the part that all historians love, we made arrangements to go to the site and see for ourselves, photographing the tomb for posterity. On a cold blustery, but sunny, day, we made the trip to East Leake, the location of the grave. A long driveway through the woods led us to a beautiful old farmhouse on a ridge of rolling hills. We boarded an ATV and off we went into a cow pasture in search of history. Quite some distance from the farmhouse we came upon the tomb on another ridge. It was completely surrounded by grazing cattle that didn’t seem to mind sharing their field with what could be Goochland’s oldest dated gravestone.

Wood tomb 3

Considering that we were in a cow pasture, we gingerly approached the tomb. It is in amazingly good condition for a 262 year old marker. The table top stone is about the size of the average dining table, sitting on beautifully carved pedestals in a style that was popular during the colonial era. The top stone had cracked years ago, but the landowners had successfully had it repaired. After a quick dusting, we got a look at the fully carved epitaph which reads exactly as follows:

Henry Wood son of

Valentine & Rachel

Wood Born in London

July the 8th 1696 and

Departed this life

May the 2nd 1757

Fuimus quoque Nos

A search for the meaning of the Latin phrase has proved elusive. Possibly some future Latin scholar may clear this up, but for now it remains an interesting footnote to the story.

Wood tomb 1

We took many pictures of the tomb from many angles: high, low and from a distance. At one point, Catherine Southworth, Goochland County Historical Society staff, lost a shoe to the mud, but she persevered! Near the stone is a higher flat ridge, which would have made a wonderful site for a house. Possibly Henry Wood lived on this site and not at the house known as Woodville which is more than a mile from the location of the grave. Graves were not usually so far from the house. Henry Wood is the only known grave at this location. There are no depressions or other markers in the vicinity of the tomb. There may have been others, but time has erased them. We came, we saw, we photographed the tomb. May you rest in peace Henry Wood.

Old Cemeteries

20 Dec
Abbott, Mrs

Mrs. Jno. Abbott – Alvis-Richmond Cemetery – Crozier

Old cemeteries are truly outdoor museums. They are full of history and monuments to people from another time. Each cemetery, large or small, has a story to tell. The markers themselves are works of art, whether just a rock or carved stone, from obelisks to statues of angels, they take on many shapes. Some cemetery markers in Goochland date back to the eighteenth century. They should be treated with care and respect as should be the ground they stand on.

Leake Obelisk adj

Leake Obelisk – Rocky Spring-Leake Cemetery – Across from Leake’s Mill Park

In some cases, they are the only physical reminder of a person and therefore are extremely important link to a family. To genealogists, they are a connections to the past that may exist nowhere else. Small family cemeteries have a troubling habit of disappearing as land becomes more valuable. The Goochland County Historical Society is trying to document as many of these as we can and we need your help. If you have a cemetery on your land, please let us know about it so that we can photograph and document everyone in it. Call us (804-556-3966) or email us (Goochlandhistory@comcast.net) and we can check our large database to ensure that those who are gone will never be forgotten.

Cider Week 2018

9 Nov

November 9-18, 2018

IMG_2885~photo

From colonial times until the early 20th century it was common for almost every homestead to have an orchard, with apples as the primary crop. While owners may have munched them, their essential purpose was for cider. The popularity of cider is not a new trend; its roots go deeper than almost any other alcoholic drink. In the 1600s, Virginia’s early settlers brought their cider-making traditions with them from England. Cider met their immediate needs. It was cheap and easy to produce; once established, apple trees were fairly easy to grow; and it was much safer than drinking water from rivers, streams, or shallow wells.

Although the cider during the 1700s contained about 6 percent alcohol, it would not have been unusual for the founding fathers to have downed a tankard for breakfast. When William Henry Harrison ran for president in 1840, cider had so many pleasant associations with people’s lives that he made it part of his campaign, passing it out at his political rallies. When yesteryear’s youth began abandoning farm life in the late 1800s, cider’s popularity also waned, until by the 1920s, helped along by the Temperance movement and Prohibition, it had all but disappeared. While cider is seeing a revival today, the amount produced does not come close to the amount produced in the late 1800s before it began its decline.

Virginia is the sixth-largest apple producing state by acreage in the United States and cider is a rich part of the Commonwealth’s heritage, so it seems only natural that cider would make a comeback. Today’s cider producers—there are more than 20 cideries across the Commonwealth–make a variety of different styles, ranging from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, simple to complex. Goochland’s own Courthouse Creek Cider (1581 Maidens Road, http://www.courthousecreek.com) grows heirloom American, English, and French cider apple trees and with minimum intervention, produces a variety of ciders, ranging from Rustico and Black Twig to Blackberry Lavender and Honest Farmer. You might want to celebrate Virginia Cider Week with a visit to Courthouse Creek Cider and lift your glass to celebrate cider’s rich history and our cider-drinking forefathers.