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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knights of the Golden Horseshoe - 2004 Marker

Marker D-10
Knights of the Golden Horseshoe marker D-10  2004 markerRockingham County, VA

Marker Text: On 5 Sept. 1716, in this region, it is believed, Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood and his party of government officials, gentry, Native Americans, soldiers, and servants crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley. Their adventure into Virginia's western lands began at Germanna late in Aug. and ended when they returned there on 10 Sept. According to legend, Spotswood gave his companions small golden horseshoes on their return and the group became known as the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. The journey has been fictionalized and mythologized in literature since the 19th century.

Marker D-10 and two other related monumentsLocation: On U.S. Route 33 (Spotswood Trail) near the intersection with the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park just outside the Swift Run entrance to the Skyline Drive at the crest of the hill. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2004, this marker replaces an earlier marker erected in 1934.

Marker D-10 and two other related monuments Swift Run entrance to right

Photo on the right is looking west toward the valley and Route 33 and the entrance station to Shenandoah National at Swift Run Gap is on the right in the background.

  The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition took place in 1716 in the British Colony of Virginia. It is a frequently recounted event in the History of Virginia.  According to existing records on September 5, 1716, Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood and his party of government officials is believed to have reached a point near the location of this marker, the top ridge of the Blue Ridge mountains at Swift Run Gap (elevation 2,365 feet) to have their first look of the Shenandoah Valley.