Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com
Open by appointment only

Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.

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News 2009, Fourth Quarter

HCHS President's Message

Tourists from our sister city - Visiting middle school students from Yangju, South Korea pose for a group picture after a tour of the county lead by HCHS President Sarah Pace.  If you look very closely, you can see her in the middle of the photo.

I recently had the pleasure of guiding a tour of Henrico for a group of visiting South Korean middle school students from Henrico's sister city of Yangju.

We started our journey at the location of Short Pump which I explained as recent history of Henrico with divided highways and shopping centers lining both sides. We then went to the two-room Deep Run School, which accommodated seven grades when the area was more rural in nature. Next to that school is Short Pump Elementary, which replaced the two-room school in 1911. The first buses were horse drawn wagons.

From there we traveled along Three Chopt Road, first described by early settlers as the Three Notched Trail. Reported to have been an Indian trail marked by notches in the trees to guide travelers, this road was well documented in the 1700s as a main east-to-west route.

Along Three Chopt road we passed Deep Run Church, one of the oldest churches in Henrico, once used as a hospital and meeting place during the Revolutionary War. I explained to the students that many people came to this country for religious freedom which began the diversity of cultures we experience today.

We then traveled along the Mountain Road corridor to the Courtney Road Service Station, which represents another era when automobiles were the main means of travel annd roads became more accessible. After seeing Meadow Farm, the former site of Forrest Lodge Hotel, Walkerton, and the Virginia Randolph Museum, we took a break from history to visit Three Lakes Nature Center.

We were also very privileged to visit the Virginia Historical Society where an original copy of the Declaration of Independence was temporarily on travel display.

400 years of American history in three hours - I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sarah Pace,

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In Memorium: John Louis Ayres

John Ayres, 1922-2009.

John was a Charter Member of the Henrico County Historical Society. He served as Treasurer for the Society for 20 years and served as Director of the Varina District until the time of his death. He was a decorated military veteran who served with the Army Air Corps in WWII and with the Air Force during the Korean Conflict; he was also a member with the Virginia National Air Guard. John was a retired traffic engineer with VDOT; a lifelong member of Calvary United Methodist Church; an active member of the Eastern Henrico Ruritan Club; a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America; and he volunteered with Baker Elementary School and with Mended Hearts. John was preceded in death by his wife Malinda and survived by three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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Order Your 2010 Historic Churches of Henrico County Now!

HCHS 2010 calendar featuring twelve county churches and their histories.

...and order a few extra for Christmas gifts.

Our 2010 calendar features twelve county churches and their histories: St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church; St. Anthony's Maronite Catholic Church; Trinity United Methodist Church; St. Matthew's Episcopal Church; Poplar Springs Baptist Church; Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church; Laurel Presbyterian Church; Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church; Overbrook Presbyterian Church; River Road Church, Baptist; Biltmore Baptist Church; and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

All proceeds from calendar sales will go to fund a scholarship for a Henrico County student interested in the study of history. The total cost is $17.60 ($12.00 cost, $.60 tax, $5.00 posting & handling.)

To place your order, please contact Sarah Pace at 839-2407. Calendars should also be available at the HCHS quarterly meeting on Sunday, December 6.

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The Henrico County Historical Society Wishes To Congratulate The Following Individuals and Organizations...

Carrie Persing, a teacher at the Math/Science Innovation Center in Henrico, was one of the top winning teachers in Virginia out of 87 chosen nationally for the 2009 Presidential Award for Science, Math and Engineering Teaching from the National Science Foundation.

Henrico County was selected as one of 15 winners in the annual Virginia Association of Counties Achievement Awards program honoring innovative programs recently implemented by local governments. One of only three counties to earn two awards, Henrico was recognized for the Electronic Waste Recycling program and its Regional Supplier Conference.

Henrico County aslo received 23 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties, the third highest in the nation, after Los Angeles and San Diego.

Several members of the Division of Recreation and Parks staff were recognized by the Virginia Amatueur Athletic Union (AAU) for their extraordinary efforts at two major AAU baseball events held in Henrico County. They were Andy Crane, Sports Program Supervisor, and the following individuals under the overall direction of Park Services Manager Ray Pauley: Eddie Branch, West District Athletic Fields Supervisor; Mike Acors, Crew Chief; and Eugene Dodson, Jerry Kerstetter, and Mike Turgeon, Equipment Operators.

St. Joseph's Villa is celebrating the 175th Anniverary of its founding.

Five Henrico Public School educators were named 2009 Gilman Award winners. Katrise Perera, principal of Elko Middle School was named Instructional Leader of the Year. Paula Brown, English teacher at Douglas Freeman High School; Ryan Conway, social studies teacher at Short Pump Middle School; Wilhelmina Greene, school counselor at Baker Elementary School; Michael Hasley, former instructional technology resource teacher at Henrico High School and current secondary social studies specialist at Central Office; and Amy Powroznik, art teacher at Lakeside Elementary were honored for outstanding peformance, innovative leadership performance, and innovating leadership and active service in the life of their schools.

The Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District announced winners of its annual college scholarship competition. Kameron Adams, a senior graduating from Maggie L. Walker Governor's School; Allison Still, a senior graduating from Deep Run High School; Corbyn Riddell, a graduate of Hermitage High School and current student at Virginia Tech.

Henrico County Police Chief Henry W. Stanley, Jr. received the 2009 Presidents Award from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Stanley has been a Henrico police office since 1962 and a police chief since 1995.

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Miller and Rhoads

Scenes from the September meeting, featuring Miller & Rhoads history and memorabilia.

September meeting treats members to an afternoon at Miller & Rhoads.

After lunch at Imperial Plaza, Judy Beck shared her collection of Sarah Sue hats created exclusively for Miller & Rhoads. The presentation reached across generations as members "passed the hats" and tried them on. Then it was on to the auditorium where speakers George Bryson and Earle Dunford, authors of Under the Clock: the Story of Miller & Rhoads, presented a history of the landmark Richmond department store and shared reminiscenses and anecdotes collected from the many devoted shoppers who loved old downtown. Members also shared memories and even artifacts, like the friendship card and envelope from the 1924 Miller & Rhoads Book Fair. Mr. Bryson and Mr. Dunford also sat down to sign copies of their book.

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Travel with the Henrico County Historical Society

Our recent journey was to Charles Town, West Virginia. It was a beautiful fall day; the foliage brilliant with color. We had fun drawing for prizes and we celebrated the birthday of Mr. Welford Williams, HCHS Director of the Fairfield District, who had a number of his family members with him. We had lunch at the historic Charles Town Track Casino and later toured the Courthouse where John Brown was found guilty of treason. The Charles Town courthouse was built about 1836, replacing the first 1808 courthouse built on a lot donated by Charles Washington, brother of Beorge. It is listed on the Register of Historic Places. Visiting the courthouse was like going back in time, but surprisingly the courthouse is still in use. Judge David Sanders led the tour and gave interesting details of John Brown's trial. After leaving the courthouse, the group walked to where it is thought the gallows were located. From there we then visited the Charles Town Museum and viewed a wonderful collection which included the wagon that took John Brown to the gallows.

We hope you will join us for our next excursion in April of 2010 to Mr. Lincoln's Cottage where the Lincoln family spent their summers while in Washington and to Ford's Theatre which has recently reopened after a major renovation. Additional details will be included in the next newletter. If you would like to receive email notices about future travel plans, please contact Sarah Pace at sarah.pace@verizon.net.

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Regreening Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery.

On November 7, 2009, another step was taken toward reclaiming the badly overgrown Evergreen Cemetery. While working to clear the area, John Shuck, Vicki Stephens and John Stephens encountered members of the Penny Fund, who were there with the same purpose. John, who has been independently working there for about a year and a half, said that the day's work resulted in the clearing of about an acre of overgrowth - the undergrowth remains.

For more on the work that day at Evergreen, visit the following websites:

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On Collectors & Collections: He Measures Up

Ken Lantz and his collection of measuring devices.

HCHS member Ken Lantz has a collection that is almost a half a mile long and about 25 years old, and he keeps it in the den of the house he shares with his wife of 57 years, Polly. No, it's not a huge room, but it is a huge collection of over 700 yardsticks and other measuring devices.

For a man who spent 37 years as a revenue officer for the Internal Revenue Service and some of his retirement years doing title search work, a collection of items to mesure and record seems natural. "I've always liked things like that."

That attaction has led him to haunt not only local yard sales, but also has occupied him on trips he has taken to Florida every winter, to a San Diego swap meet where he and Polly were visiting their daughter, and to 46 of the 50 states they have visited.

Usually, he picks them up at yard sales and says he pays fifty cents to a couple of dollars a piece, but he does have one that he shelled out $25.00 for. It's a metal one that was hand made by a Norlf & Western Railroad man up in the valley. It's a heavy piece of metal with Norfolk & Western Railroad inscribed on it, and he says he got it from the man who made it because he got tired of flimsier ones breaking all the time.

When he spots a yardstick or ruler, Ken first looks for the telephone number. "I like the fact that you can tell how old they are by the telephone number. It's the first thing I look for," he said. And one of his rulers with an interesting phone number is from Collier's Light, Heat & Power Company in Coopertown, New York. It has the image of an old candlestick phone on it. The company's phone number is the single digit 7.

While Ken likes the phone numbers, his wife Polly finds the mottoes of the various companies interesting. For example, Arnold Funeral Home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, says "Service measured not by gold, but by the golden rule." And Capital Savings & Loan urges you to "Put a little green in your life."

Going through his collection is also like taking a tour of bygone Richmond businesses. There's a ruler from T.W. Wood & Sons on Marshall Street, Rockingham Clothes, Smithdeal-Massey Business College, and even a 6-inch ruler from Connie's Shoe Repair at 312 North 7th Street offering "Half Soles & Rubber Heels - 59 cents."

Ken's favorite yardstick is from the 1920s and is also from a long-gone local business- Kline Kar. As the ruler says, its factory was on the Boulevard across from the fairgounds, and its showroom was at 322 West Broad. According to the inscription on the back, the "kar" got 17 mpg and was "$300.00 lower than any car in its class."

Some of his other rulers are more than mere measuinrg devices. There is one that's a pencil, one that's a magnifying glass, one that measures angles, one that has samples of wood available from the dealer on it, and one that is a flyswatter.

Measure for measure, Ken Lantz's collection shows how seemingly ordinary utilitarian objects can tell us stories and teach us about the past.

Tell us about your collection or a collector you know about. Email us at jboehling@verizon.net.

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Genealogy Corner

We received a request from Mike Hulsey, whose email address is mhulsey7@aol.com:

I was recently looking at your web site for information on ancestors, and I see you have a listing for a lot of old churches in your area. How would I get a list of these names and the people in their cemeteries? I'm looking for the early 1700s-1800s. Specifically, I'm looking for Peter Hulsey and descendants. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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A Nineteenth Century Christmas

Re-enactors in period dress at Meadow Farm.

We will soon be decorating for Christmas. According to Mary Miley Theobald and Libbey Hodges Oliver in their Four Centuries of Virginia Christmas, "By the middle of the nineteenth century, all elements of today's Christmas were firmly in place. Tabletop Christmas trees decorated with sweets and small toys were gaining in popularity on both sides of the sea, thanks to Her Majesty Queen Victoria." In the picture, we can see re-enactors in period dress at Meadow Farm before just such a tabletop Christmas tree. The photo is courtesy of Gary Boyd, County of Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks.

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Memories Locked Away in "Combination Locks"

Victorian memorial pieces constructed of the hair of loved ones.

Our last issue featured an article on Victorian memorial pieces constructed of the hair of loved ones. Marie Jennings sent along this note and the accompanying pictures:

[Here] is a picture that was sent to me by a Hanes Ancestor which contained the hair of my great great grandparents, Joshua Ellett and Nancy Atkins Ellet and others mentioned in the [family] Bible. Mary Eliza Ellett married MR. Hanes and lived in Henrico County, Virginia. Mary Eliza and her sisters were dressmakers in the 1880 census records. I just received this picture this summer and find it yet again interesting that you have another article that I can relate to! I had no idea what this was, nor did the cousin that sent it to me (I have already sent her the article to read) but now we do!

Lock of hair from Hanes Famly Bible labeled "M.E. Ellet". There were as many as four locks of hair and many more names and string attached where other locks probably were attached. The other names listed are "Aunt Betsy," "J.T.Ellett," "Le Ellett," "Alatt(?) Fleel(?) hair," "Mrs. J.D. Atkins," "Joshua Ellett hair," "W.H. Ellett," and "Martha E. Ellet hair".

Lock of hair found in Hanes Family Bible likely belonging to James Harrison Hanes. It was labeled "JHH" and was sewn on the paper directly beneath a lock of hair belonging to M.E. Ellett (his wife). The following words were also written directly above the lock of hair: "While Life is sweet remember me until we..."

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An Affair Of Honor: But It Was Illegal, and Nobody Was Talking

Sources: Ryan Chamberlain. Pistols, Politics, and the Press: Dueling in 19th Century Journalism. McFarland, 2008 and transcripts at

The front page of the August 17, 1864 edition of the Richmond Sentinal ran the following article:

A Duel - At five o'clock yesterday morning, John M. Daniel, of the Richmond Examiner, and R. C. Elmore, of the C. S. [Confederate States] Treasury Department, fought a duel on Dill's farm, near the Central railroad, two miles north of the city. The weapons used were duelling [sic] pistols; distance ten paces. Two shots were exchanged. At the second fire Mr. Daniel was shot through the calf of the right leg, the ball missing both the bones of the leg and the femoral artery. Mr. Elmore received no injury.

The duel apparently stemmed from an editorial by Daniel in which he intimated that high officials had been involved in criminal activities. It would seem that his target was Elmore, the Confederate States Treasurer.

This was not the first time that John M. Daniel had been shot, nor was it the first time he had been involved in a duel. As Ryan Chamberlain notes in Pistols, Politics, and the Press, Daniel's right arm had been shattered in battle when he was an aide to General A.P. Hill, and Daneiel's cousin claimed that he had fought as many as nine duels during his life.

The abovementioned duel, however, has a connection to Henrico County and is an interesting account of dueling and its results in the nineteenth century.

Dueling had been outlawed in Virginia, and in 1860 Act of Assembly compelled seconds in duels and attending surgeons to testify in court when called to do so. The Daniel-Elmore duel put this law to the test, but the test results were inconclusive.

The day after the duel, the Sentinal reported that Elmore and Henry R. Pollard (Daniel's second) were called to court in Richmond to answer the charge of "being about to break the peace by engaging in a duel with deadly weapons." Dr. E. A. Peticolas testified under protest of implicating himself that Mr. Daniel was wounded and "had received his wound at a point two miles or thereabouts north of the city, west of the Central railroad, and about fifty yards north of a country road which runs west from the old gate on the Mechanicsville road to the Brook Turnpike." This put the duel's location in Henrico County, not the City of Richmond, thereby bringing up a question of jurisdiction.

As a result, the case went before Justices Riddick and Lee of Henrico at the Henrico County Courthouse on Saturday, August 210th. It was at this trial that Dr. Peticolas refused to testify on the grounds that by his testimony he might incriminate himself. He was excused from testifying. The case was continued until the next Saturday, when the prosecuting attorney asked that Peticolas be found in contempt because of the Act of Assemly of 1860 compelling his testimony. The court adjourned until August 29, and the court issued an order for Dr. Peticolas' committal to jail for declining to testify.

It is an interesting side note that the Sentinel reported that "the torch of the incendiary was applied to the stable of Mr. John M. Daniel, on Council Chamber Hill," on the evening of August 27.

At any rate, when the court met on August 30th, to hear the case, Peticolas' lawyer addressed the court for three hours while the prosecuting attorney presented his argument the next day. It was thought, according to both the Richmond Whig and Sentinel that the judge would declare the Act of Assembly unconstitutional. Instead, he decided that Dr. Peticolas would not be obliged to testify and discharged him from custody.

In February of 1865, the Richmond Daily Dispatch announced that the Court of Appeals had supported Dr. Peticolas right to refuse to testify. This meant that Pollard, Elmore, and Daniel would not be prosecuted for the duel.

So the question of the legality of dueling was never answered, and, though technically illegal, duels continued. In fact, some 13 years after the Elmore-Daniel duel, an attempt was made by the attorney for Henrico County to remove a public offical because he had participated in a duel. You'll hear more about that and about another duel involving John Daniel in the next edition of the the newsletter.

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Now You Know: And Now You're Really Cooking

Cooking instruments.

The "What do you know?" mystery object pictured at the top of these photos is called a spider. This cast-iron turntable was used in open hearth cooking. It was placed on the hearth near the fire with another cooking vessel on top of it that could be turned for relatively even heating. Here are five other blacksmith-made items from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that were also used in open hearth cooking.

Corn Roaster: Ten ears of corn could be spiked on this 18-inch long rod that was hung in the fireplace. For a corn feast, another roaster could be hung from the small tab seen at the left of the roaster.

Trivets: These cast iron trivets are about 6 inches long on each side. They were placed in the coals and supported a cooking vessel.

Skimmer: This spoon is about 16 inches long and worked just like a slotted spoon today works.

Trammel: As shown, this object is about 40 inches long and can be extended another 18 inches. It was hung from a jack in a fireplace (and it must have been a pretty big fireplace) and a cast iron pot would be hung from it at the desired height.

Small tin item that is an inch and half long and an inch wide - answer of what this object may be posted in our next newsletter.

Another Spider: This heavier spider works just like the mystery object at the top, except that it cannot be turned. Notice the tooling on the handle.

Do you know what this object was used for? This is a small tin item that is an inch and half long and an inch wide. Email your answers to jboehling@verizon.net. All correct respondents will be recognized and congratulated. Suggestions for future "What do you know?" topics will be gladly accepted at the same email address.

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News 2009: Fourth Quarter
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