Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jackson's Headquarters

Jackson's Headquarters Marker Q-4f  City of Winchester, VAMarker No. Q-4f
Frederick County, VA
City of Winchester

Marker Text: This house was used by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, then commanding the valley district, Department of Northern Virginia. As his official headquarters from November, 1861, to March, 1862, when he left Winchester to begin his famous valley campaign.

Location: At 415 North Braddock Street in front of the headquarters. Erected by the Virginia State Library in 1963.

I am quite comfortable.”
(from a letter Stonewall Jackson wrote to his wife about his stay here.)

Jackson's Headquarters marker on N. Braddock Street  I decided to write about today's marker for two reasons. First, it was 150 years ago that Stonewall Jackson lived here during the Civil War and second, today is Mary Tyler Moore's 75th birthday. You might wonder what Mary Tyler Moore has to do with Stonewall Jackson, but you will need to read to the end to find out.

  Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, commanding the Shenandoah Valley military district, lived in this house from mid-November 1861 through early March 1862. His stay preceded his famous 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. While here he planned a winter campaign against Union forces at Romney and Bath (present-day Berkeley Springs, WV) and his defense strategy for the Shenandoah Valley. The Shenandoah Valley was militarily significant, since it provided a good staging area for military operations into Washington, D.C., Richmond, VA and points north. The valley also was the bread basket for the confederacy providing needed food for the army.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dr. Ephraim McDowell 1771-1830/McDowell-Crawford Surgery

Dr. Ephraim McDowell side of the marker #2281, Danville, KYMarker Number 2281
Boyle County, KY

Marker Text: Burial site of Ephraim McDowell, the “father of modern surgery.” His family moved here from Va. in 1784. He studied medicine in Va. and Scotland before practicing in Danville. In 1802, he married Sarah Shelby, dau. of Ky.’s first gov. Was also a founder & early trustee of Centre College.
McDowell-Crawford Surgery side of marker #2281, Danville, KY(Reverse) McDowell-Crawford Surgery- Dec. 25, 1809, McDowell performed world’s 1st successful abdominal operation when he took a 22-pound ovarian cyst from Jane Todd Crawford of Green County. With no anesthesia, she sang hymns during the ordeal. She recovered in 25 days & lived until 1842. McDowell died in 1830 and is buried in the Presbyterian churchyard.

McDowell Surgery marker looking west on Main Street.Location: West Main St. at McDowell Park, Danville west of the Presbyterian Church and in front of the location of Dr. McDowell's grave. Presented by Ephraim McDowell Health and erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2008.

  Since November, I have been covering historic markers related to the family of Dr. Ephraim McDowell. When Ephraim was about 12 years old, he moved with his family to the Danville, KY area from Rockbridge County, Virginia around 1783, when Ephraim's father, Samuel McDowell was appointed as one of the judges for the first Kentucky court and later played an important role in the framing of Kentucky's constitution and statehood. Links to other markers are included in this post.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Old Providence Church

Old Providence Church, Marker A-31 - Augusta Co. VAMarker No. A-31
Augusta County, VA

Marker Text: Two and a half miles northwest. As early as 1748, a log meeting house stood there. In 1793 a stone church (still standing) was built. In 1859 it was succeeded by a brick church, which gave way to the present building in 1918. In the graveyard rest ancestors of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper, and fourteen Revolutionary soldiers.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Lee Jackson Highway) at County Route 620 (Spottswood Road), 1.4 miles north of Steeles Tavern. The church is located west on Spottswood Road at intersection with Old Providence Road (VA Route 919) Erected by the Virginia Conservation Commission in 1939.

Old Providence Church, Marker A-31 on U.S. Route 11

Photo taken looking south on Route 11.

  I have not posted about a church lately so today, I will cover one the remaining old church structures in Augusta County, VA. Historical Road Marker A-31 located on U.S. Route 11 between the villages of Greenville and Steeles Tavern tells briefly of the history of Old Providence Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. This marker among others in the valley points out the significance of Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the settlement of the Shenandoah Valley and their presence here for more than 250 years.

  As settlers into the Shenandoah Valley traveled south from Pennsylvania on the Great Wagon Road, German Lutherans and Scots-Irish Presbyterians were the main ethic groups to move into the valley in 1700's bringing their religion and cultural influences that still persist in the valley today.

Friday, December 16, 2011

White Post

White Post - Marker T-7 in Clarke County, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)Marker No. T-7
Clarke County, VA

Marker Text:  The crossroads village of White Post grew up around the white-painted marker that Lord Fairfax had erected in the 1760s to point the way to Greenway Court (south), the nearby estate from which he managed his vast proprietary holdings including Battletown, now Berryville (north), Berry's Ferry (east), and Stephen's City (west). The post that gave the town its name has been replaced several times, but its form has been maintained as a village landmark and symbol of community identity for more than two centuries. Bishop William Meade was born at White Post and later led the remarkable revival of the Episcopal Church in the decades following the War of 1812.

Location:  On U.S. Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Parkway) at Route 658 (White Post Road) in White Post Village Park, south of U.S. Routes 50 & 17.  Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1997.

White Post column at center of town, plaque seen on column  Traveling around the U.S., I frequently encounter towns with odds names. Many towns are named after some notable individual who might have founded the community or the name may have derived from some natural formation or interesting feature of the terrain. Today's marker is about a town in Virginia named after a white post in the center of the town. Of course, this is no ordinary post according to the plaque on the post it was placed here by George Washington at the direction of Lord Fairfax who made his home near here in Greenway Court.

  White Post is a small crossroads village located in southwestern Clarke County at the intersection of state routes 658 and 628 near where U.S. Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Parkway) by passes the town. Marking the midpoint of these roads, the post is a white-painted, octagonal wood column that rises eleven feet in height and is sixty-four inches in circumference. A small lantern rests on top of the post, below which radiate four directional pointers labeled: Battletown (north); Greenway Court (south); Berry's Ferry (east); and Stephens City (west).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jane Todd Crawford

Jane Todd Crawford marker, Rockbridge County, VARockbridge County, VA

Marker Text: Jane Todd, pioneer heroine of abdominal surgery, was born 12-23-1763 just west of here across Whistle Creek near Todd's Mill. She married Thomas Crawford in 1794. In 1809 she rode 50 mi. on horseback to the home of Dr. Ephraim McDowell in Danville, KY., where she underwent the world's first ovariotomy. The ordeal lasted 25 min. without anesthesia. She recovered, lived 32 more years, and died near Craysville, Indiana. The restored McDowell home is a surgical shrine.

Location: On U.S. Route 60 (West Midland Trail) at junction with VA Route 669 (Beatty Hollow) southwest of Lexington city limits, grouped with marker L-8 (New Monmouth Church and Morrison's Birthplace). Erected in 1974 by the Women's Aux. To the Sou. Medical Association.

  During the past couple of weeks I have posted markers related to the family of Dr. Ephraim McDowell who is known for his groundbreaking abdominal surgery in 1809. Dr. McDowell did not publish his medical notes related to the surgery until eight years later. In his subsequent writings, he describes the surgery in detail, but only refers to his first patient as Mrs. Crawford and gives few details about Jane Crawford. Any pioneering physician would not be very successful, if they did not have brave patients willing to take the risk to save their lives. In the years that followed, the identity of Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford was almost lost to history.

  For over 100 years, the world took little notice of Mrs. Crawford until 1911 when August Schachner began a comprehensive biographical study of Dr. McDowell. During a visit to Danville, he found the McDowell home was in a terrible state of neglect and disrepair. By May 1912, he addressed and urged the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs to begin efforts to rescue and restore the home and to establish a monument to the memory of Dr. Ephraim McDowell and Mrs. Crawford, whose first name he still did not know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Craik-Patton House

Craik-Patton House marker on U.S. Route 60 east of Charleston, WVKanawha County
Charleston, West Virginia

Marker Text: Built 1834 as "Elm Grove" by James Craik, grandson of Geo. Washington's personal physician. Sold to George Smith Patton, 1858, and retained by family until end of Civil War. Born here was father of noted World War II general Geo. S. Patton. Moved to Lee St. from original Virginia St. location in 1906. Acquired by City of Charleston in 1968 and leased to Colonial Dames. Moved to park 1973.

Location: On U.S. Route 60 (Kanawha Blvd E) east of Charleston and west of Daniel Boone Park, Charleston, WV.

Craik-Patton House marker on U.S. Route 60 east of Charleston, WV (Click any photo to enlarge)

Photo taken looking east on U.S. Route 60, the entrance to the Daniel Boone Park is just beyond the marker on the right.  Interstate 64 is above the retaining wall on the left.

  Today's marker is about an historic house once located within the main section of Charleston before being moved to this location in 1973. Originally located on Virginia Street, the Craik-Patton House was moved to Lee Street in the early twentieth century. The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of West Virginia, as part of the nation's Bicentennial celebration, acquired the house and moved it to Daniel Boone Park.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ephraim McDowell House

Ephraim McDowell House Marker 2284 on S. Second St., Danville, KYMarker Number 2284
Boyle County, KY

Marker Text: Home of Ephraim McDowell, the “father of modern surgery.” Here on December 25, 1809, McDowell performed the first successful abdominal operation when he took a 22-pound ovarian cyst from Jane Todd Crawford of Green Co. With no anesthesia, she sang hymns during the operation. Crawford recovered in 25 days and lived until 1842.    Over.
(Reverse) Built in 3 stages. Brick ell, or single-story wing, built 1790s. McDowell purchased house in 1802 and added front clapboard section c. 1804. Rear brick office and formal gardens added in 1820. House sold when McDowell died in 1830. In 1930s, Ky. Med. Assoc. bought house; restored by WPA. House dedicated on May 20, 1939. Now a house museum. Over.

Location: 125 S. Second St., Danville, KY across Constitution Square. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 2009.

"If you think you are prepared to die, I will take the lump from you..." Dr. McDowell said this to Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford prior to the first successful abdominal operation.

Ephraim McDowell House marker in front of house, Danville, KY  After Dr. Ephraim McDowell completed his medical training in Scotland and with Dr. Alexander Humphreys in Staunton, VA, he returned to Danville, Kentucky to began the practice of medicine. Fourteen years later he was called to see Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, the wife of Thomas Crawford.

  Earlier in 1809, Mrs. Crawford developed an enlargement of her abdomen which progressively got larger. Her local doctors assumed that she was pregnant, even though she was 45 years old. By December her abdomen was huge, and two physicians who examined her sought McDowell's advise and assistance about what they believed would be the delivery of baby. He came on horseback to her home on December 13, 1809. Jane Crawford lived on the land known as Motley's Glen on the waters of Caney Fork, nine miles southeast of Greensburg, KY and about sixty miles from Danville.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Greenway Court

Greenway Court, Marker T-3 east of Winchester, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)Marker No. T-3
Clarke County, VA

Marker Text: Three miles south is Greenway Court, residence of Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, proprietor of the vast Northern Neck grant, which he inherited. Born in Leeds Castle, England, in 1693, Fairfax settled in Virginia, in 1747, for the rest of his life. He made Greenway Court his home in 1751. George Washington, employed as a surveyor on this grant, was there frequently in his youth. Fairfax died there, December 9, 1781.

Location: At the intersection of U.S. Routes 17/50 (John S. Mosby Highway) and U.S. Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Parkway) on the northwest corner of the intersection, east of Winchester, VA and southwest of Boyce, VA. Erected by the Virginia Conservation Commission in 1948.

Greenway Court marker at intersection of Route 340 and Routes 17/50

Photo taken looking south on U.S. Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Parkway), the intersection with U.S. Routes 17/50 running left to right. Traveling down road in the background will take you to Greenway Court.

  The visitor to northern Virginia will encounter streets, roads, towns and counties and other places named for individuals important to Virginia's history. One such name is Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron or simply Lord Fairfax. The Fairfax name is seen throughout northern Virginia. Fairfax County was created in 1742 from Prince William County for Lord Fairfax. There is Lord Fairfax Community College as well as others such as roads and streets. I decided to post this marker today, because this is the anniversary of Lord Fairfax's death at Greenway Court 230 years ago on December 9, 1781.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Windber marker in the borough of Windber, PA (Click any photo to enlarge)Somerset County, PA

Marker Text: Founded 1897 by the Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. Distinctive among bituminous coal towns, this community had a large independent center surrounded by 13 "patch towns." Among notable structures built by Berwind-White were the Wilmore Building here (1914) and Arcadia Theatre across the street (1919). Thousands of immigrants came across here to work the mines; largest in output was Eureka Mine #40, 2 miles NW. Company mining ceased, 1962

Location: At the intersection of Graham Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 160) and 15th Street near street address, 501 15th St., Windber. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1999.

Windber marker on Graham Avenue in Windber looking west  Today's marker I discovered while specifically looking for markers about Alan Freed and Johnny Weissmuller, both whom lived here during their childhood. On the same street there were two other markers. I did not know anything about “Windber” and the other marker the “Windber Strike of 1922-23” before my visit.

  Windber is a borough in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, eight miles south of Johnstown. It was at one time a place of industrial activities which included coal mining, lumber, and the manufacture of fire brick. In 1897, the community was founded as a company town by Charles and Edward Julius Berwind owners of the Berwind Corporation based in Philadelphia, PA.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dr. Alexander Humphreys

Dr. Alexander Humphreys  Marker A-63  City of Staunton, VAMarker No. A-63
City of Staunton
Augusta County, VA

Marker Text:  Dr. Humphreys (1757-1802), an important teacher in 18th-century Virginia, received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He practiced medicine in Augusta County and Staunton from 1783 to 1802 in an office facing the county courthouse. Among Dr. Humphreys' many students were Dr. Ephraim McDowell, the "Founder of Abdominal Surgery;" Dr. Samuel Brown, a pioneer in the use of smallpox vaccination; and President William Henry Harrison. Dr. Humphreys is buried in the churchyard of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Location: Downtown Staunton at intersection with South Augusta Street at West Johnson Street. Erected by the Department of Conservation and Historic Resources in 1987.

  In the past few weeks, I have posted markers related to the McDowell family in Rockbridge County, VA and particularly Dr. Ephraim McDowell and his father, Samuel McDowell who became renowned individuals after moving to present-day Danville, KY. Today's marker is related to the medical training of Dr. McDowell, as well as notable other individuals who were trained and mentored by Dr. Alexander Humphreys. Dr. Humphreys’ was a pioneer teaching doctor who left his mark on Staunton, VA and the medical profession by his own medical practice and others he trained, who in turn made their mark on medical history.

Dr. Alexander Humphreys marker at intersection with S. Augusta & W. Johnson Sts.  Alexander Humphreys was born in the north of Ireland in 1757. Alexander's first medical training was gained by apprenticing with his uncle. He later traveled to Scotland to further his education by studying at the University of Edinburgh for three years. His graduation at the age of 25 gave him the title of doctor of medicine. Soon after his graduation Dr. Humphreys decided to emigrate to Virginia and join his older brother, David Carlisle Humphreys, who lived near Greenville in Augusta County since 1764. Humphreys lived in the Greenville area from 1783 until 1787, when he decided to move his medical practice to Staunton and became a leading citizen there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boyhood Home of Colonel John Mosby

Childhood Home Of Colonel John Mosby, Marker R-50 Nelson Co., VAMarker No. R-50
Nelson County, VA

Marker Text: Confederate Col. John Singleton Mosby was born in Powhatan County on 6 Dec. 1833. Nearby stood the early childhood home in which Mosby lived from soon after his birth until his family moved to Charlottesville by 1841. Before the Civil War, Mosby was a lawyer in Bristol, Va. During the war, Mosby and his Partisan Rangers (43d Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) used guerilla tactics to raid Union outposts, communications, and supply lines in Northern Virginia. On 21 Apr. 1865, Mosby disbanded his rangers in Salem (present-day Marshall, Fauquier Co.), after learning of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's surrender. After the war, Mosby practiced law and was U.S. consul to Hong Kong (1879-1885). He died on 30 May 1916.

Location: On Route 6 and 29, 3 miles north of Woods Mill at intersection of Mosby Lane (State Route 779) in the northbound lane. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2000.

Childhood Home Of Colonel John Mosby, Marker R-50 (Click any photo to Enlarge)  Today is the 178th Birthday for John Singleton Mosby who was born in Powahatan County, Virginia on December 6, 1833. Shortly after his birth his family moved here in Nelson County, VA near this marker where he spent his childhood. The location of his boyhood home is about 23 miles southwest of Charlottesville, VA. According to reports, John S. Mosby was a sickly child to the point that he was relieved of most chores and other household duties as a child. As a youth, his small size and general weakness led other boys to bully him. As a result, he began to learn how to use his smaller size and speed against larger and more formidable individuals. From what I could learn the house where he lived no longer stands, but the remains of the house’s foundation might still exist, but are located on private property.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fort Lee

Fort Lee marker in Charleston, West Virginia along Kanawha RiverKanawha County, WV

Marker Text: A western frontier outpost, guarding settlers against the Indians. Built here in 1788 and named for Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, one of Washington's most trusted officers. Later Lee was governor of Virginia.

Location: 1100 block of Kanawha Boulevard, near junction with Brooks Street, Charleston, West Virginia next to the Kanawha river. Erected by the West Virginia Department of Archives and History in 1974.

  Today's marker mentions an early frontier fort that once stood here at the intersection of Kanawha Boulevard and Brooks Street in Charleston, West Virginia.

Fort Lee marker in Charleston, West Virginia along Kanawha Boulevard

Photo taken looking west on Kanawha Boulevard and Brooks Street is to the right.  Another marker in the background is called First Gas Well. (Click any photo to enlarge)

  Early settlers of the Virginia frontier, now West Virginia, began moving south of the Potomac River about 1719. The Native American Indians had misgivings about the early settlers, but since their arrival was gradual and in small numbers, they at first had a degree of tolerance. For the first thirty years the settlers and Indians lived to some extent in peace and tolerance of one another, often trading.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Grayson's Tavern

Grayson's Tavern Marker - Danville, KY in Constitution SquareMarker Number 755
Boyle County, KY

Marker Text: Danville's first tavern, operated in this building before 1800 by Benjamin Grayson. Often within these walls the burning political issues of the day were discussed. The Danville Political Society, organized in 1786 and the first of its kind in the West, met and dined here at Grayson's Tavern to "plan the course of the empire" before blazing log fires.

Location: In Constitution Square in Danville, KY at 1st & Walnut Streets, Danville, which is U.S. Routes 127 & 150. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 1964.

  In March 1783, Kentucky County of Virginia was made into one judicial district. This proved to be a watershed event for Samuel McDowell's political career.

Grayson's Tavern marker on Walnut Street looking west, Danville, KY  When Samuel McDowell moved his family from Rockbridge County, VA, he had already established himself an individual who cared a great deal for this new nation. Like many of the Scotch-Irish settlers who came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Samuel promoted religion and education. He was a founder of Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church and was also a trustee of Liberty Hall Academy, the precursor to Washington and Lee University. As one early Kentucky historian remarked, "The most valuable lessons taught him were those of self-reliance, love of liberty, and fear of God; that these were sown on good and fruitful soil, the record of his whole life attests." He was an elder and trustee in Danville's first Presbyterian Church, led by the Rev. David Rice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Knights of the Golden Horseshoe

Knights Of The Golden Horseshoe VA Marker JE-2 Madison CountyMarker No. JE-2
Madison County, VA

Marker Text:  Near here Governor Alexander Spotswood and his troop of gentlemen, Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, on their way to explore the land beyond the mountains, camped on August 31, 1716.

Location: On U.S. Route 15 (James Madison Highway) near the intersection with Madison Mills Lane, 3.3 miles north of Orange, near Rapidan River crossing, near Madison/Orange County line. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1961.

  Today's marker located near the Madison and Orange County line on Route 15 marks one of the locations where Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood's expedition camped during their trip through the wilderness to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. Only a couple of his camp locations are indicated by a historical marker. Looking around the location of the marker, the area is much changed from what Spotswood and his men would have seen and experienced. If you can imagine this area without roads, bridges or clear fields, but a wilderness thick with trees and brush and all types of wild animals, bears, rattlesnakes, etc. To read more go to posts, “Knights of the Golden Horse Shoe – 1934” and “Knights of the Golden Horse Shoe – 2004”

Knights Of The Golden Horseshoe  Marker JE-2 on U.S. Route 15

Photo taken looking north on Route 15.

  John Fontaine who was one of the men who traveled with Lt. Gov. Spotswood maintained a journal of this expedition and provides simple descriptions of the daily challenges these men faced.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old Chapel

Old Chapel Marker T-2 in Clarke County, VAMarker No. T-2
Clarke County, VA

Marker Text: Lord Fairfax worshipped here in the “Old Chapel” of Colonial Frederick Parish, established 1788. This stone building dates from 1790 and witnessed the early ministry (1810-1885) of Bishop Meade. Governor Edmund Randolph and Col. Nathaniel Burwell lie in this burying ground with relatives friends, and neighbors.

Location: At the intersection of VA Route 255 (Bishop Meade Road) and U.S. Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Highway) on the south side of Bishop Meade Road in front of Old Chapel and cemetery. Erected by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission in 1976.

Old Chapel Marker T-2 in Clarke County, VA (Click any photo to Enlarge)  Whenever I am out and about taking photos of historical road markers, I always take special interest in the old churches and chapels I encounter. I have visited this chapel several times mainly because so many notable Virginians and their families buried in the graveyard or burying ground as it is sometimes called.

  Old Chapel is situated on the slope above the burying ground at the junction of Routes 340 and 255. The graveyard, has many examples of some excellent ante-bellum gravestone art and craftsmanship. The graveyard is enclosed by a low random rubble stone wall and is shaded by numerous trees.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Site of Log Courthouse

Site of Log Courthouse Marker 49 in Danville KYMarker Number 49
Boyle County, KY

Marker Text: Kentucky District Court sessions held here March 14, 1785, until Court of Appeals set up in 1792. Created by Virginia statute on May 6, 1782, the court first met in Harrodsburg on March 3, 1783. Later meetings at Low Dutch Station and John Crow's Station before moved here. Samuel McDowell, John Floyd, George Muter, first judges; Walker Daniel, prosecutor; John May, clerk.

Site of Log Courthouse Marker 49 in Danville KYLocation: 134 S. 2nd Street in Constitution Square, Danville, KY Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Transportation in 1980.

  In 1783, Samuel McDowell moved his family from Rockbridge County, VA over the Wilderness Road and took up residence in Fayette County. He had received an appointment in 1782 by the Virginia Assembly as one of the commissioners to settle land claims in the district of Kentucky. Like his father, Samuel McDowell was a surveyor.

  In 1783, the District of Kentucky was formed and the first district court was opened at Harrodsburg, with Samuel McDowell, George Muter, and John Floyd as judges. It is said that owing to the unsuitability of the building, the court was moved in 1784 to Crow's Station, near what is now Danville. This led to the development of Danville, the place where McDowell was destined to spend the remainder of his life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cherry Grove Estate

Cherry Grove Estate Marker A-47  Rockbridge Co., VAMarker No. A-47
Rockbridge County, VA

Marker Text: Here was born James McDowell, Governor of Virginia, 1843-46.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (North Lee Highway) in the south bound lane, south of Fairfield, VA. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1928.

  About 0.7 of a mile to the north are earlier posts about the McDowell family and this marker is the birthplace of James McDowell. (see Red House and the McDowell Family and McDowell's Grave) James McDowell was a cousin of Dr. Ephraim McDowell. Their fathers were brothers, Samuel and James McDowell. While Samuel McDowell moved his family to Kentucky where they made their mark on a new nation. James McDowell remained in Rockbridge County to develop these communities.

Cherry Grove Estate marker along U.S. Route 11  James McDowell was born here at Cherry Grove Estate on October, 11 1795. McDowell was the third child of Colonel James and Sarah Preston McDowell. He attended a classical school at Greenville, Virginia, a private school at Brownsburg, VA, Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and Yale College. He graduated from Princeton College in 1817 and studied law. He was admitted to the bar, but never practiced law. McDowell married Susan Preston, daughter of General Francis Preston & Sarah B. Campbell, and had nine children. McDowell was the brother-in-law of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, a Senator and a Representative from Missouri from 1821 to 1851.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Champe Rocks

Champe Rocks marker in Pendleton County, WV (Click any photo to Enlarge)Pendleton County, WV

Marker Text: Near Champe Rocks is the home and grave of Sergeant John Champe who was sent by General Washington and Major Lee to kidnap Benedict Arnold, the traitor, from within the British lines. The daring plot almost succeeded.

Location: On U.S. Route 28 & WV Route 55 (northbound) approximately six miles north of Seneca Rocks. Erected by the West Virginia Historic Commission in 1963.

  Yesterday, I wrote about John Champe who lived in Loudoun County, VA during the American Revolution and the marker “A Revolutionary War Hero.” John Champe a notable sergeant-major of Maj. “Light Horse Harry” Lee's celebrated partisan legion, earned honorable fame as a result of Lee's "Memoirs of the War", which told of Champe's patriotic and heroic adventure as a fake "deserter" to the British ranks in order to capture the traitor Benedict Arnold.

Champe Rocks marker with the Rocks in the background  Champe Rocks is named for John Champe because he reportedly lived for a short time in the narrow river plain near these rocks. The Champe Rocks are two sandstone masses that rise on the east side of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River, six miles north of Seneca Rocks along State Route 28 & 55 in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Champe Rocks can be seen from this marker. They stand some 900 feet above the valley floor and overlook the narrow river plain.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Revolutionary War Hero

A Revolutionary War Hero Marker B-33 Loudoun Co. VAMarker No. B-33
Loudoun County, VA

Marker Text: Near here stood the home of Sergeant Major John Champe (1752-1798), Continental soldier. Champe faked desertion and enlisted in Benedict Arnold's British command for the purpose of capturing the traitor. Failing in his attempt, Champe rejoined the American army. His meritorious service was attested to by such patriots as General Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee.

Location: On U.S Route 50 (John Mosby Highway), 2.59 miles west of Route 15 (James Monroe Highway), just east of Champe Ford Lane. Group with three other markers, B-30 (Stuart and Bayard); B-22 (Cavalry Battles); B-32 (Gettysburg Campaign). Erected by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission in 1983. Marker probably replace an early marker erected in 1934.

A Revolutionary War Hero grouped with three other markers

Today’s marker is the one on the right.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  As you can see from the photo, today's marker is grouped with three other markers along U.S. Route 50. Traveling Route 50 from Winchester to Washington, D.C. you can find numerous markers and historical sites related to many different periods of U.S. history. The story of John Champe whose home use to stand every near here in Loudoun County, VA is about a man who became a double agent in an attempt to capture the Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold.

  In late October 1780, near Bergen, N.J., the Loudoun Dragoons were encamped a few miles from the Hudson River. John Champe was 28 years old at the time and the cavalry unit's sergeant major. Maj. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee was its commander. Across the river was New York City, which housed the British headquarters.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Duncan Tavern

Duncan Tavern marker 93 in Paris, Kentucky, Bourbon Co.Marker Number 93
Bourbon County, KY

Marker Text: Built in 1788. Gathering place of pioneers. Shrine, Museum, Library. Restored by Kentucky Daughters of the American Revolution.

Location: In Paris, KY at 323 High St., on U.S. Routes 68 and 460 behind the Bourbon County Courthouse. Erected by the Kentucky Department of Highways.

  Few of the old taverns and/or inns that were built along the early roads that helped settle areas, such as in Kentucky, still exist compared to the hundreds that once existed. The Duncan Tavern is an excellent example of one of the finest of these taverns and inns.

Duncan Tavern at 323 High Street, Paris, KY built 1788  The Duncan Tavern is constructed of native limestone, has twenty rooms and is three stories high.  The rich timber resources of that early day made possible the use of the finest hardwoods of the forests. At Duncan Tavern, oak and ash girders, beams, and joists have given lasting support and ribbing to the structure due to the finest resources in hardwoods that were available in those days. There are hand-carved mantels and stone fireplaces where many famous and common citizens of the new nation gathered to share their stories of life and struggles for liberty.

Friday, November 18, 2011

McDowell's Grave

McDowell's Grave Marker A-43 in Rockbridge Co., VAMarker No. A-43
Rockbridge County, VA

Marker Text: Nearby is the cemetery that contains the grave of Capt. John McDowell, who died on 18 Dec. 1742 during a conflict between Iroquois Indians and colonial settlers. Although accounts differ on how the conflict arose, it resulted in the deaths of more than seventeen Indians and settlers including McDowell. To avert a war, Lieutenant Governor George Thomas, of Pennsylvania, mediated the conflict in 1744 with the Treaty of Lancaster. It was decided that Lieutenant Governor William Gooch, of Virginia, would pay the Iroquois a reparation of 100 pounds. Also buried at the cemetery are other members of the McDowell family.

Location: On U.S. Route 11 (North Lee Highway), 1.1 miles south of Fairfield, grouped with marker A-45 (Red House and the McDowell Family) Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2000.

McDowell's Grave marker with family cemetery in backgroundIn photo, McDowell cemetery is in the background at the brick wall.  Below are two other photos of the cemetery from different locations.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The McDowell family lead by Ephraim McDowell was originally from northern Ireland, were the first official settlers on the Borden Grant (see prior post “Red House”) which was later known as the Irish tract because of the large numbers of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who eventually settled here.

  The McDowell family had a significant impact upon their communities over the years in both Virginia and Kentucky. Dr. Ephraim McDowell, the great-grandson of Ephraim the original family patriarch, was probably the most well-known, but others families made important contributions. Dr. McDowell's cousin James McDowell became the Governor of Virginia. Dr. McDowell's father Samuel McDowell was appointed one of the first judges in Kentucky and was a major player in shaping Kentucky's constitution and gaining statehood.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Erie Extension Canal

Erie Extension Canal marker near intersection of Route 18 & 518Mercer County, PA

Marker Text: Route of travel and trade, Pittsburgh to Great Lakes, 1840-1871. Important to the western Pennsylvania iron industry before the rise of the railroads. The only remaining canal lock still stands in Sharpsville.

Location: West of the intersection with PA Route 18 & 518 on Route 518, east of Sharpsville. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1946.

Second Erie Extension Canal marker in park in Sharpsville, PASecond Marker Text: Route of travel and trade, Pittsburgh to Great Lakes, 1840-1871. Important to the western Pennsylvania iron industry before the rise of the railroads. Lock #10, a guard lock, represents the only remaining canal lock.

Location: In front of the park where this canal is located. East High Street Extension along the route going to the Shenango Dam. Project sponsored by: PA Department of Community Affairs State P-500 Bond Program.

Only remaining Erie Extension Canal Lock in Sharpsville PA  For today's posting there are two markers making reference to the same remaining canal lock on the Erie Extension Canal. One marker is near Hermitage, PA at the turn going west to Sharpsville where the lock is located. There is a similar, but smaller marker in front of the park leading to the only remaining lock. The complete masonry remains of Erie Extension Lock number 10 are preserved in a public park with picnic grounds and fishing facilities.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Red House and the McDowell Family

Red House & the McDowell Family Marker No. A-45Marker No. A-45
Rockbridge County, VA

Marker Text: Nearby once stood a log house painted red, built by the McDowell family. John McDowell received land here for surveying Borden's Grant in the late 1730s. In 1742 McDowell was killed during a conflict between settlers and Indians. Dr. Ephraim McDowell, grandson of John McDowell, was born nearby on 11 November 1771. When he was 13 years old his family moved to Kentucky and he later became a prominent physician. He is referred to as the "father of ovariotomy surgery." A nearby cemetery contains the grave of kinsman James McDowell, governor of Virginia from 1843 to 1845.

Location: On U.S. Route 11, (North Lee Highway) 1.1 miles south of Fairfield, VA and is grouped with marker A-43 (McDowell's Grave). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2000.

Red House & McDowell Graves marker with E. McDowell monumentPhoto taken looking south on Route 11. Red House marker is in the center of photo.

  After Lt. Governor Spotwood's Knight of the Golden Horseshoe visited the Shenandoah Valley in 1716 and word got out about the futile valley beyond the Blue Ridge mountains it took about 15 years before people moved to the area north from Pennsylvania through the lower Shenandoah Valley instead of across the mountains. Most of the settlement of the area began around 1731-32. One of the first families was the McDowell family that moved to this region of what is now Rockbridge County.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Logan's Station or St. Asaph

Logan's Station or St Asaph marker in Stanford, KYLincoln County, KY
Marker Number 56

Marker Text: Colonel Benjamine Logan settled here after leaving party of Colonel Henderson at Hazel Patch because of settlement plans. Scene of courageous rescue of fallen companion by Logan in Indian attack (1777).

Location:  At Danville Road (U.S. Route 159) and Water Street (Martin Luther King Blvd). Actual site is west beyond creek and past former ice plant. Erected by the Kentucky Department of Highways.

Logan's Station or St Asaph marker on Danville Road on left  Before the creation of the town of Stanford, Kentucky was the settlement established by Col. Benjamin Logan. Due to the threat of native Indian attacks, Col. Logan needed to establish a fort to protect his family and others moving to the area to develop their land.

  Col. Benjamin Logan's Fort or Station which existed from 1777 to 1790 is located one mile west of the Stanford courthouse or about 0.5 miles west from this marker. Logan's Fort set on a slight elevation about fifty yards west of the smaller spring at St. Asaph. The fort was constructed of logs and was 150 feet by 90 feet with blockhouses at three corners and a single cabin at the fourth corner. Gates were located at each end and were raised and lowered by leather thongs. The main gate faced east. Three cabins each formed the north and south walls, which were occupied by William Menniffee, William Whitley and the James Mason families. There were four cabins adjoining occupied by George Clark, Benjamin Logan, Benjamin Pettit and Samuel Coburn.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knights of the Golden Horseshoe - 1934 Marker

Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Marker D-10Marker No. D-10
Rockingham County, VA

Marker Text: Here, it is believed, Governor Alexander Spotswood and his party crossed the mountains into the Shenandoah Valley, September 5, 1716. This expedition paved the way for the settlement of the west, on the return east, Spotswood gave his companions small golden horseshoes because their shoeless horses had to be shod for the mountain journey.

Location: Marker no longer exists and was replaced by a newer, updated marker in 2004 with the same identification number and the new marker is on the spot of the original 1934 marker pictured here. Originally erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1934.

Early photo of Marker D-10 and two other monuments

This is the only photo from a distance of the 1934 marker that I have.  It was oriented facing the road unlike the current marker.

  One of my earliest photos of state historical markers that I still have is a photo of the earlier marker erected in 1934, before it was replaced. I ran across a couple of digital photos of this earlier marker when I was looking through some of my old photo CD's. The new marker was yesterday's post and can be seen at Knights of the Golden Horseshoe – 2004 Marker.  Many markers are replaced with newer versions in order to provide more accurate and reliable information or may be updated when the marker needs replaced due to damage to the original.