50 years ago this week!

22 Mar

In March of 1968, Elie Weeks and Circuit Court Deputy Clerk Margaret V. Henley met to discuss the upcoming meeting to establish the Goochland County Historical Society. The following article is the call to action that was published by the Goochland Gazette on March 21, 1968.

Elie Weeks and Margaret Henley

Elie Weeks and Margaret V. Henley

Historical Society

By Ellie Weeks

There will be a meeting of all persons interested in establishing a Goochland County Historical Society on Monday night, March 25th, 8 pm, in the County Courtroom of the new annex to the Courthouse at Goochland.

Mrs. Margaret Henley, deputy clerk has arranged for Mr. Porter Wright, Secretary of the Louisa County Historical Society, to be present for the purpose of advising us on the problems a new Society faces and to explain the projects that the Louisa Society is sponsoring.

The State of Virginia has established a Historical Landmarks Commission which is making an inventory of all landmarks on a statewide basis. Copies, with photographs and descriptions, of each landmark will be filed with the Federal Landmarks Commission in Washington, DC. It is hoped that this will tend to delay or prevent the destruction of irreplaceable landmarks.

It is hoped that the members of the Goochland County Historical Society can assist in locating, identifying and making an inventory of our landmarks. The Society should maintain a master file of landmarks and provide the basic data of the State Commission.

Another worthwhile project might be the preparation of a booklet listing some of our more outstanding landmarks and attractions. There is also a possibility of establishing museum in the Old Stone Jail at the Courthouse. In it memorabilia, photographs, maps, papers, and artifacts could be deposited, either on loan or as gifts. There they could be adequately preserved in a relatively fireproof building, in rooms next to the Sheriff’s office where pilferage would be less likely. These rooms have recently be restored by our Board of Supervisors. Adequate light, heat, air conditioning and toilet facilities have been installed.

Goochland County is far from being first in forming such a Society. In fact the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission has an eight page list of Societies in Virginia which are concerned with preserving the records of our past as a means of guiding our footsteps while we move forward into the unknown future.

If you are interested in this project, please attend the meeting at 8 pm Monday, March 25th, at the Courthouse Annex. Your support and advice are needed at this organizational meeting.

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World War I Soldiers Remembered: William Earle Coffee

16 Mar

Earle Coffee post

William Earle Coffee was born March 12, 1889 in Louisville, Kentucky. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, of medium build and had gray eyes and dark hair. Earle’s father was Dr. William Oakley Coffee and his mother was Mattie Merle Dodson. Shortly before the war, Earle’s mother purchased Eastwood, a large home in Sabot and relocated to Goochland.

On December 27, 1917, Earle boarded the British ship Andania in New York City and headed for the European theatre of war. After the war, he was aboard another British ship, Winifredian, when he returned from Brest, France on April 18, 1919.

Eastwooda

Eastwood

Earle returned briefly to Iowa and married before moving permanently to Goochland. The marriage didn’t last long and for a while Earle and his mother ran a tearoom near Eastwood, on River Road in Sabot. Eastwood burned in 1941 and he moved to Crozier and married Esther Mae Layne. That marriage lasted until his death on May 25, 1965, he was 76 years old. Earle Coffee is buried in Greenwood Memorial Gardens in Goochland.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: William Marion Childs

9 Mar
William Marion Childs 03

William Marion Childs on left, unknown soldier on right.

William (Willie) Marion Childs was born July 31, 1888 in Fife, Virginia. He was a 28-year old Station Lineman with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad when he was drafted on May 27, 1918 and sent to Camp Lee. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had gray eyes and brown hair. Willie’s father was William Wood Childs and his mother was Martha Catherine Tankersley, both born in Richmond, Virginia.

He was inducted into service on June 12, 1918 and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Co. A, Depot Brigade, 11th Battalion. He left Norfolk, Virginia for the European theatre on August 22, 1918. Willie boarded the USS Princess Matoika, a German ship that had been seized by the U.S. Government for service after entry into World War I. He arrived at Brest France on September 3, 1918. He proceeded from Brest to Contres then on to St. Aignan, Tours and Colombey-les-Belles, France. During his time in France, as a Corporal in the 68th Prisoner of War Escort Company, he worked as an electrician installing the wiring on a prisoner of war camp near the German border. He also was a patient in the worldwide influenza epidemic while stationed at Tours in October of 1918.

USS_Princess_Matoika_underway_in_1919

USS Princess Matoika

Childs arrived back at Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the MSAT America on October 28, 1919 and was officially discharged from Camp Dix on November 1st of the same year. He reported that his experience in the war left him with “no bad effects” and about his state of mind afterwards, he wrote “I suppose my mind is as good as it was.”

Childs returned to Goochland and resumed his job as an electrician on the C & O railroad. He wired many of the houses around his home for electricity when it moved into the rural areas and at one time he operated a phone company in the same area. His body was discovered on Cartersville Road on February 2, 1946 and his death was attributed to heart disease. He was 57 years old. He is buried at Elk Hill Baptist Church.

Uncle Willie Childs post 2

William Marion Childs, 1906

 

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

Historical Dinners Coming to Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant

7 Mar

“An Evening With…” to Feature Virginia History

Tanglewood Tavern

Tanglewood

 Richmond Discoveries and historic Tanglewood Ordinary Restaurant are teaming up to bring monthly living history dinner events to Goochland County.  Each event will feature a prominent figure from history and will provide an entertaining, enlightening and engaging evening.  Tanglewood’s famous southern comfort food, served true FamilyStyle, and its historic setting, will complement each special event.

 “An Evening With…” will kick off on Thursday, March 15, and will feature James Madison, portrayed by Historical Interpreter Charles Wissinger.  The event will showcase Madison’s life and stories and weave a living image of the role Madison played in shaping our state, and our nation.  Mr. Madison was a native Virginian who was known as the father of the Constitution and the author of the Bill of Rights.  A few years later Madison married Dolley Payne Todd, the perfect wife for the introverted Madison.  Mr Wissinger will bring these and other stories to life.

On April 19th, Ken Chandler will illuminate the life of a Civil War officer and his men through stories and music.  Richmond Discoveries most popular program, Mr. Chandler will paint a colorful picture of this historic time through flags, artifacts and musical instruments.

Each event will benefit a local community organization.  The March event will be held in support of Goochland Pet Lovers, an innovative public/private partnership with Goochland County that is developing a new state-of-the art adoption, care and education center with a commitment to involving the community in saving the lives of companion animals.

In April, the Goochland Historical Society will be the beneficiary of the event.  Celebrating 50 years in 2018, the Goochland Historical Society is a non-profit, educational organization created and operated for the presentation, preservation and protection of Goochland County heritage and tradition.

Tickets for the first event are on sale now and will be limited to 100 seats.  Seating will be at community tables, which will be filled on a first come-first served basis.  Each evening’s historical figure will dine with the first table to be filled.  The cost is $50 per ticket.  A cash bar for beer and wine will be available.  A link with further details and for purchasing tickets is on line at www.ordinary.com.

Founded in 1985, RICHMOND DISCOVERIES is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Richmond’s unique historical and cultural heritage through educational tours and programs.

On the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, TANGLEWOOD ORDINARY has been the home of Fine FamilyStyle dining with Virginia Southern comfort food since 1986.  One of the largest commercially used log structures in the country, Tanglewood has since ca. 1928 served as a tavern, dance hall and community gathering place, and now houses the area’s only true FamilyStyle dining restaurant.  Tanglewood Ordinary is located at 2210 River Road West, Maidens (VA Rt 6/Patterson Av), Virginia 23102, in Goochland County.

For additional dates and historical figures to be featured go to www.ordinary.com, www.richmonddiscoveries.com or their respective Facebook pages.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Harry Briesmaster

1 Mar
Harry Briesmaster post 2

Harry Briesmaster ca. 1918

Harry Briesmaster was born October 31, 1892 in Brooklyn, New York. Harry was a 24 year old auto mechanic in Crozier when he was drafted on May 27, 1918 and sent to Camp Lee. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. Frederick’s father was Edward Briesmaster and his mother was Helen Wilke, both from Prussia.

According to his Military Service Record, he was inducted into service on June 12, 1918 and sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, assigned to Co. A, 11th Battalion, Depot Brigade. He transferred into Co. I, 12th Battalion, Infantry Training Center. He was promoted from Private to Corporal and then to Sergeant. He was discharged at Camp Lee on December 21, 1918

Harry returned to Goochland and resumed his profession as an auto mechanic. Along with his brothers, he was a part of Briesmaster Bros. which eventually became Briesmaster Chevrolet. He married Leita Ellis, his wartime sweetheart, in 1923. They remained married until her death in 1980. Harry passed away on January 31, 1986, at the age of 93 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

World War I Soldiers Remembered: Edward Robert Briesmaster

23 Feb
Eddie Briesmaster post

Edward Robert Briesmaster ca. 1918

Edward Robert Briesmaster was born December 7, 1888 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Edward Briesmaster and Helen Wilke, both immigrants from Brandenburg, Prussia. Edward grew up at a home called “Elmington” in what was then Enright, Virginia. Enright is now part of the Manakin-Sabot area of Goochland. He was working as a vulcanizer at the Kaddatz Tire Company in Lewiston, Idaho. He was drafted on March 27, 1918 at the age of 29. According to his Registration Card, we know he was single, tall and had grey eyes and brown hair.

On June 27, 1918, he boarded the ship “Empress of Russia”, anchored in Hoboken, New Jersey and sailed for Europe and the war. He arrived at Brest, France on July 14, 2018. Edward participated in several key battles during his time in Europe including Saint-Mihiel, Argonne Forest and Ypres, Belgiam. According to his post-war questionnaire, he was gassed in Ypres and was under medical care afterwards. In December of 1918, Edward sailed back to the United States aboard the Vaterland.

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Edward Robert Briesmaster’s mess kit

Edward moved back to Goochland after he returned from Europe and worked the dairy at “Elmington”. Along with his brothers, he later worked at Briesmaster Bros. Motors/Briesmaster Chevrolet in Crozier. He married twice and lived to be 82. He passed away on June 9, 1971 and is buried in Greenwood Memorial Gardens in Goochland.

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Edward Robert Briesmaster’s uniform while on display at the History Center.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

The Jackson Blacksmith Shop

22 Feb

Jackson 1

The Jackson Blacksmith Shop was built in 1932 by George Wilson Jackson, Jr. with the help of his father and family to provide shelter for his blacksmithing trade. This is the last blacksmith shop still in working condition in Goochland. The shop is a 16’ X 24’ rectangular pole structure with an earthen foundation and boards attached vertically to make all four walls. The anvil is well over 130 years old and belonged to George Jackson’s maternal grandfather. The 172 pound anvil was once in Richmond and was in use when Richmond burned in 1865.

The first of the Jackson family’s blacksmith shops was built by Henry Jackson before the Civil War. Henry Jackson was born into slavery around 1830. He came to Goochland when he was sold to a county resident and opened a shop on what is now known as Whitehall Road. In 1880, he purchased land at the corner of Route 607 and U.S. 522 where he built another shop, about 400 yards east of the present shop. Henry Jackson’s shop lent its name to present day Jackson Shop Road.

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Henry trained his oldest son Wilson (born 1876) into the business. Wilson built a shop at what was then called Old Office, near the intersection of present day Fairground Road and Maidens Road. Wilson worked from both his father’s shop and his own shop until 1915 when he moved to a location near the current shop. Wilson Jackson’s son George was born in 1902 and trained under his grandfather and father to learn the blacksmith trade. In 1932, he built the still standing Jackson Blacksmith Shop.

Henry passed away in 1919 at around 89 years of age. Wilson worked at the trade until shortly before his death in 1956 at age 80. George worked in his shop until the 1970’s when the blacksmith trade fell out of use. He lived until 1998, long enough to see his shop listed on the National Register of Historic Place and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

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George Jackson setting a shoe at his shop

To read more about The Jackson Blacksmith Shop: read volume 30 of the Goochland County Historical Society’s magazine. Visit the official online site of the Jackson Blacksmith Shop.