On Wednesday, September 11th, Historic Shepherdstown will present “Artisans of the Lower Shenandoah Valley,” a panel discussion by four experts on the history of decorative arts in this area. Located at the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education on the Shepherd campus, the free event will begin at 6:45 with Historic Shepherdstown’s annual meeting followed by the talks from 7 to 8:30. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.
Matthew Webster, former Shepherdstown resident, now Colonial Williamsburg’s Director of the Grainger Department of Architectural Preservation and Research, will lead the discussion. He assembled this group of young speakers, saying that they are “up and coming stars in their field. I have seen their lectures develop from research and each is highly regarded. This is a great opportunity for them and Shepherdstown.”
The three additional speakers will be: Kate Hughes, Decorative Arts Trust Curatorial Intern and Research Scholar of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Katie McKinney, Colonial Williamsburg’s Assistant Curator of Maps & Prints; and Nicholas Powers, Curator of Collections, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
The titles of the individual talks will be:
Matt Webster: “But with a Banner Left”
Kate Hughes: “Piedmont’s Portraits: Patrician Image-Making in the Lower Shenandoah Valley” (Piedmont refers to the old Briscoe home in Jefferson County.)
Katie McKinney: “William Roberts’ ‘Excursion over the Mountains’: Backcountry Landscapes ‘by the Pencil of a Virginian’ “
Nicholas Powers: “Frederick Kemmelmeyer: Hessian Mercenary to American Artist” (Kemmelmeyer’s last signed portrait was of Shepherdstown’s Catherine Weltzheimer.)
Each talk will take place at 7 p.m. at the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/20180912_panel_.png338985Kelsey Hotalinghttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngKelsey Hotaling2019-08-12 15:05:242019-08-13 13:14:31Four Experts to Discuss Artisans of the Lower Shenandoah Valley
Growing up surrounded by my mother’s family, the Hendricks’
of Shepherdstown, the concepts of history and collecting were always impressed
upon me as being a worthwhile endeavor. As a child the wonders of the natural
world were the pride of my collecting ambition: feathers, snail shells,
smoothly polished river rocks, moths and butterflies. The most highly prized of
all in my child’s eye were bird eggs. The latter to the great chagrin of my
grandmother who often chided me that I would one day be struck by lightning if
I continued in my harassment of her beloved birds. In my naïve way, I curated
my treasured objects neatly and safely between cotton balls, all housed in a
series of Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler boxes. Like advanced collectors and
museums, I culled my collection making room for superior objects when found. As
time and age progressed, my exposure to new objects and people affected my
collecting drive. Eggs, feathers, and stones made way to old American and
foreign currency. This new passion faded as well thanks in part to influences
bestowed on behalf of my great grandmother and mother who loved antique glass. This
collection was carefully collected and displayed under lights and ranged in a
rainbow of colors and forms.
These jewels still hold a proud place in my
collection. With time I began to realize that an object is not an independent
entity, it is connected to a vast history of individual artisans, styles of
regional and cultural influence and a chain of ownership or provenance. Understanding
these factors led to a defining shift in the objects I sought out. Locally
crafted objects passed down in my family that were connected to personal
stories, launched and fueled this later passion. The thought of long past ancestors
personally selecting objects from local artisans and experiencing and seeing
their personal taste or needs in object form connected deeply with me. This led
to an almost obsessive passion for the collecting and preservation of Jefferson
and Berkeley County artifacts.
Collecting at times can be a cumbersome
task. Some objects such as furniture can be limiting because of home size,
ceiling height or style. Other objects such as fabrics can present issues of
display as seen in quilt collecting requiring vast areas for display not to
mention the fragility of cloth hundreds of years old. One collectable however
meets a myriad of requirements in the antiquarian world….silver. Silver is
easily stored and portable and it remains useful retaining the function of its
intended purpose. Silver expresses a wide variety of forms and styles thus
meeting individual collectors taste. It may be bestowed with individual
monograms or heraldic symbolism connecting it to prominent families or
individuals. Silver is regionally and locally identifiable by its maker, thanks
to artisan marks. Despite high and lows in antique collectability value, it
retains a high intrinsic value due to its precious metals and construction.
desired silver for millennia, its uses and forms are as varied as the people
who sought to acquire it. Silver belongs to a select group of metals known as
the noble metals as identified on the periodic table. This list is comprised of
platinum, silver and gold. These elements are valued not only for their beauty,
but for their ability to resist corrosion, tarnish and staining. Silver held
immense value to the ancients, across all inhabited continents and races not
solely for monetary reasons, but also for spiritual value. Silver is referenced
320 times in the Bible[i],
perhaps most notably referenced in the Gospel of Matthew in which Judas
Iscariot betrayed Jesus for the price of 30 silver coins.
Silver has long
been tied to the occult. Horror tales of vampires and werewolves terrorizing
the countryside, preying on innocent victims who’s only means of defense lie
with a silver bullet or cross have kept many a child awake. No doubt silver
found its connection to creatures of the night because of its ancient
associations with the moon and the lunar deities of old. One such example can
be seen in the Celtic goddess Arianrhod, who’s name means “Silver-Wheel.”[ii]
The protective nature of silver continues through history in the belief that it
would reputedly detect various poisons by changing color thus leading kings and
nobles rushing to the silversmiths to fashion for themselves drinking chalices
and plates as a means of defense against the malicious and envious bent on ill
Throughout history we find great
civilizations expending tremendous efforts and resources in the search for
precious metals. It was often reported that Helen of Troy had a face that
launched one thousand ships resulting in the Trojan Wars. These efforts for
love would be dwarfed by the Spanish Naval powers enlisted not for the love of
a woman but for greed, as witnessed during the 16th and 17th
centuries in their insatiable quest for New World gold and silver. The Spanish
exercised the motto of Gold, God and Glory in their explorations and
colonization of the New World following Christopher Columbus momentous
discovery in 1492. Conquistadors hoped that through explorations they would
become the “Rock Stars” of their day returning to Spain in a triumphant manor,
covering themselves in glory. Adventurers also hoped that these dangerous
excursions would be lucrative ones filling their family coffers with New World
gold and silver which had been evident among the natives of the Caribbean
Islands, Mexico and Central and South America. These explorers also felt
obliged to spread the word of God among the “Heathens” perhaps in an effort to
ease their own conscience about the nature of their actions.
Gold and Silver hunger ran at a fever pitch
perhaps not seen again until 1849 with the California Gold Rush. King Ferdinand
became desperate for gold and silver as a means to spread his power and
influence. On July 25th, 1511 he unequivocally instructed his New
World explorers to “Get gold, humanely, if you can, but at all hazards, to get
gold.” A plan followed by future Spanish leaders.[iv]
Between 1500 and 1650 it is reported that the Spanish imported 181 tons of gold
and 16,000 tons of silver from the New World.[v]
The silver alone from the New World brought back by the Spanish ended up
accounting for almost 90% of the world’s production from 1500 to 1800 A.D.”[vi]
This massive influx of wealth into European hands did not go unnoticed and the
numerous crown heads of Europe all sought to claim their pieces of the proverbial
pie. One such leader was the independent and powerful Queen Elizabeth 1st
who in her quest for riches employed a two pronged approach, that of
exploration of new lands to the north of Spanish claims and theft on the high
seas carried out by privateers who lay in wait to unburden Spanish treasure
ships from excess cargo. It was through exploration fueled by a quest for
silver and gold that settlements would be established at Roanoke under Queen
Elizabeth 1st in 1585 and Jamestown under Elizabeth’s successor King
James VI in 1607.
Witnessing the immensity of Spanish wealth
pilfered from the newly-discovered colonies, English explorers and adventurers
had the mistaken notion that they only needed to turn the soil with a spade to
discover the gold and silver riches of a “Virginia El Dorado.” Quickly the
resident of Jamestown realized their fallacy but reality did not quench their
thirst for riches. The starving men of Jamestown continued digging as a result
of their lust for metals. “In 1608 Jamestown received its first supply ship,
contained there in which were two goldsmiths, William Johnson and Richard
Belfield; two refiners, William Dawson and Abraham Ransack; and one jeweler,
Daniel Stallings imported to seek silver and gold.” These men appeared to be
more of a burden than a help to the struggling settlement. Capt. John Smith
said “But the worst was our guilded refiners who with their golden promises
made all men their slaves in hope of recompenses; there was talke, no hope, no
worke, but dig gold, wash gold, loade gold, such a bruit of gold, that one mad
fellow desired to be buried in the sands least they should by their art make
gold of his bones… the whole colony was on the outlook for mines.”[vii]
The dangers of the New World would prove too much for these guilded refiners,
the grave claiming them or they sought a return to the gentler climes of
England, not again until 1620 would a Silversmith, Thomas Howard appear in the
register of the Virginia Company.
Despite the lack of vast quantities of raw
silver in Virginia’s soil the finished product in the form of plates, chalices
and spoons could be found in notable quantities among the churches and landed
gentry. These early holdings of silver were not fashioned in the new colony,
but in England. For the educated, landed and noble of Virginia, their true home
lay across the Atlantic Ocean in England. Those of wealth and position sought
to have their children educated in England. Finished products such as china,
furniture, cloth, jewelry and silver that was made in the latest fashion
crossed the Atlantic in vast quantities in exchange for tobacco, pitch, tar,
rosin, turpentine and timber. With each shipment of goods from the motherland
the hostile frontier became a little more genteel. “Byrd, writing to his merchant in London in
1684, instructs him to send to him, “two new fashioned silver mugs, one to
contain half a pint and the other one-quarter of a pint.” The landed Mr.
Fitzhugh in 1687 directed Mr. Hayward to invest certain bills of exchange which
stood to his credit in London in a pair of middle size silver candlesticks, a
pair of snuffers, and a snuff-dish, and half a dozen trencher salts, the
remainder to be expended in a handsome silver basin.”[viii]
These anglophilic feelings and trends of consumption would continue to favor
the British in the silver market as well as other luxury goods until February
of 1765 when the British Crown and Parliament in an effort to pay debts
incurred during the French and Indian War implored Americans to pay a share of the
burden through the Stamp Act and later duties levied on luxury goods. The die
was cast, once loyal colonist shifted allegiances not only of heart but also of
pocketbook, their anglophilic tendencies waivered. Through a series of boycotts
along the eastern seaboard colonist started what would perhaps become the first
buy local campaign. Silversmiths of Virginia and the other colonies who were
once relegated to the menial task of mending and repair work for British made
silver, now were encouraged to supply bespoke pieces for American clients.
The early American silversmiths of the
Revolutionary and Federal period and continuing till just after the Civil War
used a silver called coin silver from which to fashion their wares. Coin silver
is comprised of 90% pure silver and 10% copper versus sterling silver which is
92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Coin silver derives its name from two various
avenues. First the practice where currency in some cases Spanish, English and
Mexican coins were melted down for use by silversmiths. Secondly from the fact
that the measure of silver purity bore the same as that found in coins of the
period. Whether “coin silver” or “sterling silver,” both remain highly valued
and a much sought after collectables.
Are you on the hunt for “southern silver?
What is “southern silver”? What is “southern coin silver”? Why does it matter
if the silver is southern or northern? The Museum of Early Southern Decorative
Arts of North Carolina defines Southern Silver as any silver made in the region
that would become a Confederate State or states that sent soldiers to the
Confederate cause. These states would include Virginia/West Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Maryland.[ix]
Collecting southern silver differs greatly for those that are on the hunt for
it, compared to those in search of northern silver. Collectors should be
prepared for long hunts and prices at times almost ten-fold to that of northern
silver counterparts. Why? The answer is as simple as…. rarity. The South’s
early agrarian economy did not support a large population, at the time of the
Civil War, Northern states had a combined population of 18.5 million vs the
South’s 8 million free and 4 million enslaved.[x]
As a result of a smaller population, the south required fewer silversmiths. New York State Silversmiths by The
Darlington Foundation list just over 283 silversmiths and jewelers working in
New York between 1800-1810, while Charleston, South Carolina– the souths most
affluent center– reported just 79 during the same time period.[xi]
A second reason for the scarcity of
southern silver was the very nature of silver itself. Much of the value of
silver lies in its ability to be shaped and reshaped through melting and
reforming. Like today those of means wished to constantly be up to date with
the latest fashions in clothing and furniture. In the past, silver styles came
and went. Those without sympathetic ties to a piece often cast it to the
melting pot to be reborn in the taste of the time. In fact, almost every area
silversmith advertised their willingness to take in scrap silver in exchange
for a discount on new creations. “All kinds of jewelry work and repairs
executed with promptness and dispatch; and old gold and silver purchased, for
which the highest price in cash will be given, or taken in exchange for goods
in kind. Two apprentices wanted to the clock and watch making and silversmith
business. Smith Hunsicker.”[xii]
The third reason for the scarcity of
southern silver is war time theft and destruction. Often we fall victim to over
romanticized images of the antebellum south thanks in part to Hollywood images
such as Scarlett O’Hara and Gone with the
Wind. These images over simplify the “peculiar institution” of slavery and
the glamour of plantation life. In contrast to this glamorization, the images
of theft, depravity and destruction visited upon the south clearly and
accurately play out on the silver screen when witnessing the character Aunt
Pittypat Hamilton racing away from the encroaching Yankees burning Atlanta
snuggly tucked in her buggy between silver candelabra and plate with smelling
salts in hand. Or Yankee marauders pillaging countryside homes and farms in the
quest for loot. The American South has been plagued by a list of hardships,
both natural and man-made. The American Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil
War have been fought on her soils, as well as, tremendous hardships brought
about by hurricanes, floods and the lingering suffering of the Great
Depression. All of these factors helped to liberate southerners from treasured
family heirlooms and stores of wealth. “Milby Burton in his book South Carolina Silversmiths, 1670 to 1860 talks about the estimated
loot, valued at 300,000 pounds sterling, taken from Charleston by the British
during the War for Independence. Burton continues by recounting a disturbing
letter found near Camden, South Carolina, from Union Lieutenant Thomas J.
Myers. Myers wrote home stating: “We had a glorious time in this state.
Unrestricted license to burn and plunder was the order of the day. The chivalry
(landed gentry) have been stripped of most of their valuables. Gold watches,
silver pitchers, cups, spoons, forks & c., & c. are as common in camp
as black berries. We took gold and silver enough from the damned rebels to have
redeemed their infernal currency twice over.”[xiii]
Closer to home few towns saw such utter
destruction from the civil war as that faced by the residents of Fredericksburg,
Virginia, in December of 1862 as chronicled by a Union soldier from New York.
“Fredericksburg is given up to pillage and destruction. Boys came in loaded
with silver pitchers, silver spoons, silver lamps and castors etc. Great three
story brick houses furnished magnificently were broken into and their contents
scattered over the floors and trampled on by the muddy feet of soldiers.
Splendid alabaster vases and pieces of statuary were thrown at six and seven
hundred dollar mirrors. Closets of the very finest china were broken into and
their contents smashed onto the floor and stamped to pieces… Rosewood pianos
were piled in the street and burned or soldiers would kick the keyboard and
internal machinery all to pieces… everything turned upside down. The soldiers
seemed to delight in destroying everything.”[xiv]
For the uninformed it is often assumed
that silver production and use was isolated strictly to the elite metropolitan
port cities of Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Charleston and New York where
fashion and wealth dictated its use, leaving the inhabitants of the provincial
back country to the less favorable use of wood, pewter and clay for their table
wares. This fallacy couldn’t be further from the truth. Jefferson and Berkeley
Counties location in the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, though isolated
by distance and terrain from the port centers of the coast, were still highly
connected through a network of trade routes and family connections. Merchants,
pioneers, gentlemen and yeoman pushing into the region during the 1700’s all
sought to cultivate this welcoming Eden into a prosperous home equipped with
objects taste and fashion. Pattern books, fashion plates and architectural
drafts filtered along trade routes from city to settlement importing the latest
crazes upon an eager audience. Artisans
sensing demand and opportunity poured into Jefferson and Berkeley Counties
eager to impart their craft unto a waiting clientele.
Like other artisans of the period, silversmiths
settled in principal centers of growth. Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Harpers
Ferry and Martinsburg all boasted a number of silversmiths through the years
with a current approximate total of thirty-two known between the years 1780 and
As with current entrepreneurs, some found lifelong success and permanence while
others moved onto greener pastures after only a year or two of tenancy. Most,
however, would remain within the Valley Road corridor, today’s I-81 moving
between towns ranging from Chambersburg and Hagerstown in the North to Winchester
and Woodstock in the south. This nomadic craftsmanship was the result of
silversmiths needing steady work which in a luxury commodity can be a fickle
thing often depending of the tides of fortune and harvest. Following a maximum
seven-year apprenticeship, silversmiths moved out of their master’s shop
searching for an area in need of their skills and away from competing with his
former master. In many cases silversmiths because of the nature of their
aptitude with metals, worked not only in the crafting of silver teapots, spoons
and plate but in the realms of clock making and dentistry, all in an effort to
make ends meet. An example of this can be seen in Shepherdstown with silversmith
Jacob Craft. Craft is most notably remembered these days as the maker of tall
clocks found in museums and collections throughout the region. However, Jacob
was in fact trained as a silversmith and was listed as such during the census
of the period. As a clockmaker, Jacob Craft did not fashion the elegant clock
cases of walnut and cherry, those would have been the work of trained cabinet
makers, such as Shepherdstown’s James Shepherd and others. Craft would have
been responsible for the unseen genius of the clocks mechanical engineering and
function both assembling ready made parts from England such as clock faces and
crafting his own various wheels, pinions, plates, bushings etc. In the case of
Martinsburg silversmith Joseph McFeely and John Little dental work proved to be
there avenue of diversification. Dentistry and silver-smithing had long been
tied together as duel trades due to the silversmith’s ability to manipulate
metals into various forms whether it be a spoon or the crown for a tooth. In fact,
the most notable of all American silversmiths and Revolutionary War figures,
Paul Revere fashioned dental work for numerous leaders of the day including Dr.
Joseph Warren who would be killed at Breed’s Hill in Boston.[xvi]
The silversmiths of Jefferson and Berkeley
are a long and varied list of unique artisans each complete with unique and
interesting lives. Due to restrictions of space, the following is a curtailed
review of the various silver smiths across the area’s four major towns. A
complete review can be found in Catherine Hollan’s groundbreaking work Silversmiths of Virginia 1607-1860.
(1805-1879?): a silversmith and
watchmaker, originally from Winchester, Va., Brown lived in Shepherdstown from
1829-1839 and had his shop across the street from the Entler Hotel.
Cordell (1788-1867?): a silversmith, clock and watchmaker, worked in
Leesburg, Va., Charlestown, W.Va. (1806-1810), Warrenton, Va., and St. Louis,
Jacob Craft (1765-1825): a clockmaker and
silversmith, born in the Marburg Region of Southeast Germany and settled in
Shepherdstown about 1790. His residence and workshop were located in various
spots around town including the southeast corner of Washington and Church
Streets and the south side of German St., across from the “Yellow Brick
Bank.” The Entler Hotel Museum has three
tall clocks made by Craft, as well as a Craft Family birth record or fraktur.
John Foster (1797-1858): an orphan, he was
apprenticed to Baltimore silversmith, George Thorpe in 1812. He worked as a
silversmith in Martinsburg, W.Va. from 1831-1835.
(Nicholas) Smith Hunsicker; (1800?-18?):
born at the family plantation “Prospect Hall” in Smithfield (Middleway),
Jefferson County, he was a silversmith and watchmaker who worked from a room
adjoining the Entler Hotel (1832-1836). When he lost the 175-acre family farm
in Middleway, he moved to Arkansas in 1837.
James Hutchinson (1795-1854): a silversmith who worked in
Martinsburg, W.Va. from 1823 to 1854. He also invented a washing machine that
received a U.S. patent in 1843.
Little (1793-184?): a silversmith, clock and watchmaker, as well as a
dentist. He worked in Greencastle, Pa., before settling in Martinsburg, W.Va.
McFeely (1790?-1840?): a silversmith, jeweler and dentist who practiced
in Martinsburg, W.Va. from 1808-1826.
Melhorn (1790-1840?): likely apprenticed under the clockmaker and
silversmith, George Woltz of Hagerstown, Md. A jeweler, silversmith and
watchmaker, he worked in Hagerstown, Md. (1803), Martinsburg, Va. (1804+),
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (1828-32), and Boonsboro, Md. (1832-1835).[xvii]
Jerome Posey (1815-1881): a silversmith and watchmaker, who maintained a shop
in a rented room at Entler’s Hotel in Shepherdstown (1840-1845). Posey was the
keeper of the town clock during his years of operation here. Unlike fellow silversmiths Hunsicker and
Brown, Posey was an
opponent of slavery. Posey attempted to assist a group of slaves to escape from
their owner to Canada in 1857. Posey lent his carriage to the group, which was
led by an enslaved man named William Henry Mood and included a woman named
Belinda Bivans. Bivans was attempting to find her father, who had escaped to
Canada earlier. She said that her owner, though a Christian, was a
“backslider,” and added that “money was his church.” The runaway group was
caught in Chambersburg, Pa. before making it to freedom in Canada.[xviii]
Charles G. Stewart (1797-1866): a
silversmith, born in Delaware and settled in Charles Town, W.Va. about 1820. He
was a trustee and influential member of Charles Town’s Presbyterian Church.
John Bernard Woltz (1785-1850?): the son of George
Woltz, a prominent silversmith, and clock maker in Hagerstown, Maryland.
John moved to Shepherdstown in 1811 and worked as a silversmith, goldsmith,
watchmaker, clockmaker and jeweler at several locations in town, including his
home and shop which was located one door up from Weltzheimer’s Tavern. A tall
clock by John B. Woltz is located in the front parlor of the Entler Hotel Museum
Young & Bockius: Philip Young,
William Young, and Daniel Bockius were silversmith and watchmakers working in
Martinsburg, W.Va. from 1798 through about 1825.
Samuel Young (1780-1851): a
silversmith and clockmaker who worked in Hagerstown, Md. and Winchester, Va.
before settling in Charles Town in 1811. He served in the War of 1812
John L. Albert: Silversmith,
clockmaker, Shepherdstown 1826, Winchester, Va. 1827-1828.
Anthony Bondel B. 1752 West
Indies-D. 1833) Silversmith-Jeweler. Born in Santo Domingo, West Indies Anthony
Bondel and his family fled the Islands during a massive slave revolt. Starting
over in America Blondel worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore,
Maryland from 1791-1813 before moving to set up shop in Martinsburg, Va. Anthony
Blondel’s son John Henry Blondel was a noted coppersmith working in
Oliver Calame (B. 1768
Switzerland) Watchmaker, silversmith. Harpers Ferry 1820-21, Charles Town 1821.
Collin Cordell (B. 1784
Va. D.1809) Silversmith. Son of
silversmith George Cordell. Charles Town 1803-1809.
Paris Corey (Cory) (B.1824
Connecticut- D 1878 MD.) Silversmith. Harpers Ferry 1852-54, Charles Town
John Gooding, Silversmith.
John Grove (Johann Groff) Silversmith,
Clock Maker. Martinsburg 1800-1814/20, Shepherdstown 1809, Hardscrabble 1825.
Frederick Tyler Harrison (B.1793-D 1878)
Silversmith, Watchmaker. Charles Town 1811-1814.
Charles Thomas Hayden (B.1845-D.1826)
Silversmith. Son of Silversmith Wm. Hayden. Martinsburg, 1866-74.
Hollan, Catherine B. Virginia and West
Virginia Silversmith and Related Artisans to 1900 (Alexandria:Hollan Press,
Still, William. Still’s Underground
Railroad Records: With a Life of the Author (Philadelphia: William Still,
1886), p 388-389.
[xix] Hollan, Catherine B. Virginia and West Virginia Silversmith and Related Artisans to 1900 (Alexandria:Hollan Press, 2017).
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Jenkins-silver2.jpeg476640Kelsey Hotalinghttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngKelsey Hotaling2019-07-31 14:43:372019-07-31 14:43:40Silversmiths of Jefferson and Berkeley Counties: Preserving the History of the Eastern Panhandle One Spoon at a Time
In his talk, “Rediscovering the History of a Long-Forgotten Shepherdstown Log Farmhouse,” Mr. Goss will describe his determined efforts to research the history of the log home near Shepherdstown he and his wife Lynne purchased in 2011.
Local author Joseph Goss,
will present the second talk in Historic Shepherdstown’s 2019 Speakers Series
on May 22 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Shepherd University’s Byrd Center
for Congressional History and Education. The talk is free and open to the
Having been told that the house was built in 1780, Mr. Goss set out to discover the cabin’s first owner, its age and boundaries, and to lay bare some of the house’s unexplored secrets. It was not an easy task. However, his fascination with discovering the building’s mysteries eventually led Mr. Goss to write the story of what he had learned. His recently released book, Frontier Cabin Story: The Rediscovered History of a West Virginia Log Farmhouse, will be available for sale at the Byrd Center that evening.
In his introduction to the book, Mr. Goss writes of his convictions about why this story needs to be told: “I believe the past owners and residents are an essential part of the history, spirit and energy of the house. I hope that this project will honor them and the other pioneers, both men and women, European and enslaved African American, who settled the frontier.”
Joseph Goss is an engineer who earned degrees from UC Berkeley and Stanford University. He served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in the 1960’s. He spent much of his career working to rehabilitate the aging water and sewer infrastructure of the DC region. He and his wife divide their time between the log farmhouse and the DC suburbs.
In addition to Mr. Goss’s talk, Historic Shepherdstown will mark Preservation Month in May by presenting its annual Preservation Awards. The Awards are given to local citizens who have contributed to historic preservation in Shepherdstown. In addition to the Preservation Awards, Historic Shepherdstown will present their first “Contributions to Historic Shepherdstown” award at the meeting.
Light refreshments will be served after the event.
For more information, contact the Historic Shepherdstown office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-876-0910.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Joseph-Goss-photo.jpg39292208bts4hsmhttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngbts4hsm2019-05-15 21:16:492019-05-15 21:16:50Speakers Series: Rediscovering a Local Log Farmhouse
The Historic Shepherdstown
Museum will open for the season on April 6 with a display of historic Shepherdstown
and Jefferson County silverware.
Beginning on April 6, the Museum will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. It is located in the Entler Hotel building at 129 E. German Street in Shepherdstown.
The silver display, which includes spoons and serving pieces made by a number of local craftsmen, is on loan from the extensive collection of Eric Hendricks Jenkins, a twelfth-generation resident of the Eastern Panhandle. He is an avid collector of local silver and other artifacts, a history teacher at Wildwood Middle School, and a docent at the Shepherdstown Museum.
Mr. Jenkins tells some great stories about his pieces and the people who made them. Among the items featured are spoons by Frederick Jerome Posey (1815-1881), who lived at the Entler Hotel and had his workshop there at one point. An opponent of slavery, Posey attempted to assist a group of slaves to escape from their owner to Canada in 1857. Posey lent his carriage to the group, which was led by an enslaved man named William Henry Mood and included a woman named Belinda Bivans. Bivans was attempting to find her father, who had escaped to Canada earlier. She said that her owner, though a Christian, was a “backslider,” and added that “money was his church.” Unfortunately, the group was caught in Chambersburg.
Also on display will be silver items made by Jacob Craft and John Bernard Woltz, both also makers of tall clocks, several of which are on display in the Museum. Clockmaking clearly was only one source of their income.
The Shepherdstown Museum houses a varied collection of other Shepherdstown objects, from prehistoric tools to an early Rural Free Delivery mail cart to two mid-twentieth century dial phones on which guests can call each other.
A suggested donation of $4 for adults is welcome. Admission for children and members is free.
For more information about the Museum opening or the exhibits, contact the Historic Shepherdstown Commission office at email@example.com or 304-876-0910.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Jenkins-silver2.jpeg476640Kelsey Hotalinghttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngKelsey Hotaling2019-04-01 12:55:352019-07-31 14:16:46Shepherdstown Museum to Open with Display of Local Silver
A partnership of Shepherdstown churches and community organizations is sponsoring the first Shepherdstown Tour of Historic Churches on December 26 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The churches, all located in town and all with long histories, are Christ Reformed United Church of Christ, New Street United Methodist, Shepherdstown Presbyterian, St. Agnes Catholic, St. Peter’s Lutheran, and Trinity Episcopal. All will be decorated for Christmas. The tour will be free and open to the community and visitors.
Participants may start at any of the churches, the Historic Shepherdstown Museum (located at E. German and Princess Streets) or the War Memorial Building (located at German and King Streets). At the War Memorial Building, refreshments and hospitality will be available. Maps will be available at each location.
Greeters and docents will be stationed at each church to welcome visitors with information about the history of the congregation and the church, architecture of the buildings, and interior accoutrements of the sanctuaries.
The tour partnership includes the participating churches, the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, the Shepherdstown Community Club, and the Shepherdstown Visitors Center.
Jerry Bock, Historic Shepherdstown President, says “This is an unprecedented opportunity for Shepherdstown residents and out-of-town visitors to admire the interior beauty of the town’s houses of worship.” All of the churches are within walking distance of each other and will be marked by luminaries. The event will begin with a citywide ringing of the church bells.
Questions regarding the tour may be directed to Jerry Bock, HSC President. He may be reached at 304-283-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Shepherdstown-Presbyterian-Church.jpeg1280960bts4hsmhttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngbts4hsm2018-12-15 14:40:462018-12-15 14:40:48Holiday Tour of Historic Churches
Historic Shepherdstown will present two events for children during Christmas in Shepherdstown. Both will take place at the Shepherdstown Museum in the Entler Hotel building at the corner of German and Princess Streets. On December 1, right after the 10 a.m. Shepherdstown parade, Santa will greet children at the Museum. The next weekend, on December 8 at 2 p.m., Mrs. Margaret Entler, wife of the original proprietor of Daniel Entler’s Hotel, will present ” ‘Twas a Night Before Christmas,” the famous poem written in the early 1820’s, the same period when Daniel Entler opened the hotel.
As he has done for many years, Santa will talk with children about their Christmas wishes in the parlors of the historic hotel and museum. Santa will present each child with a small gift. This event will begin when the parade ends, around 11 a.m., and end around 1 p.m. The Museum will be decorated for Christmas.
On December 8, ” ‘Twas a Night Before Christmas” will feature Mrs. Entler, portrayed by Karen Johnson, recounting some of the town’s and the hotel’s history and reading Clement Moore’s famous poem. The old-fashioned Christmas decorations will be reminiscent of 19th century Shepherdstown and will represent parts of the poem. There will be activities for the children, along with a copy of the poem for each child and some small surprises.
Historic Shepherdstown’s President, Jerry Bock, noted that “it is good to have children visit the Museum, whether it’s for Santa, Mrs. Entler or a school tour. We want to provide a welcoming place for children and their families. We also want to share this town’s exciting history with its younger members.”
Both events are free.
The Shepherdstown Museum will be open for visitors on weekends from November 24 through December 16: Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.
For more information, contact Historic Shepherdstown at email@example.com or 304-876-0910.
Historic Shepherdstown now has its 2018 Christmas ornament available for sale. This year it is the historic Entler Hotel. It is the fourth in a series of historic buildings by HSC. Ornaments can be purchased in the museum on the weekends during Christmas in Shepherdstown and also in the HSC office during normal business hours 9:30 – 5:30, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Also, please join us and bring your children or grandchildren to the Shepherdstown Museum on December 8th at 2 pm for a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by “Mrs. Entler” herself in character. This is a way we can make history come alive for both adults and children. This famous poem was written in 1823 the same year that Daniel Entler became the proprietor of the Entler Hotel. The museum will be decorated as we think the Entlers would have done so and there will be a small gift for the young ones that attend. There is no cost for this event.
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Dr. Jerry Bruce Thomas will present “Images From the Right Bank: The Lives and Times of the Botelers of Fountain Rock” at Shepherd University’s Byrd Auditorium on November 14 at 7 p.m.
The Auditorium is located in the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education on the Shepherd campus. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will follow the talk.
Shepherdstonian Alexander Boteler was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives before the Civil War, a member of the First Confederate Congress, a Confederate officer, the owner of Boteler’s Cement Mill, an avid artist and cartoonist, an early supporter of building a Rumsey monument in Shepherdstown, and one of the founders of Shepherd College. In other words, he was a man engaged in the major events of his time with many interests and enthusiasms and a surprising talent.
Dr. Thomas’ interest in Alexander Boteler has led him to conduct considerable research on Boteler’s life and times, and a book is in process.
Dr. Thomas is a native of Wyoming County, WV. He received his BA from West Virginia University and his MA and PhD in American History from the University of North Carolina. After more than 30 years on the faculty at Shepherd University, specializing in courses in World Civilization and Recent American History, he retired in 2009. The University Press of Kentucky published his An Appalachian New Deal, West Virginia in the Great Depression in 1998. West Virginia University Press published a new edition (2010) as well as An Appalachian Reawakening: West Virginia and the Perils of the New Machine Age, 1945-1972 (2010). Thomas formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Historic Shepherdstown Commission.
Dr. Thomas’ talk is the last in Historic Shepherdstown’s 2018 Speakers Series. The 2019 schedule will be announced early next year.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Jerry-Thomas.jpg712698bts4hsmhttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngbts4hsm2018-10-29 14:17:052018-10-29 14:17:05Nov. 14: Images From the Right Bank: The Lives and Times of the Botelers of Fountain Rock
On Wednesday, October 10, Historic Shepherdstown will present Dennis Frye, recently retired Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, speaking on “Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination.” The free event will take place in the auditorium at the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education on the Shepherd campus. It will begin at 6:45 p.m. with Historic Shepherdstown’s annual meeting, followed by the talk at 7:00 p.m. Light refreshments will follow.
Mr. Frye has been studying Antietam and the first invasion of the North for nearly 50 years. From his earliest days as a National Park Service volunteer at the Dunker Church (he is a Dunker), and as a native of the area, Dennis has immersed himself in the Civil War, publishing many books on the subject. He is also a prominent Civil War battlefield preservationist. He was one of the founders of what is today the Civil War Trust. The Trust, which has spearheaded the saving of much battlefield land, awarded Mr. Frye with their highest honor, the Shelby Foote Award.
Mr. Frye’s talk, based on his recent book, also called “Antietam Shadows,” challenges many of the commonly held beliefs about the Battle of Antietam. Of this book, he has said: “I’m challenging my peers. I’m challenging myself. I’m challenging what we have accepted as fact, what we have accepted as reality.” He has also said that he hopes the talk will stimulate debate as he explores uncertainties and unknowns.
On November 14, Historic Shepherdstown will sponsor the last talk of the 2018 Speakers Series. Jerry Thomas, Shepherd University Professor Emeritus of History will speak on “From the Old South to the New in the Lower Shenandoah Valley: The Life and Times of Alexander Robinson Boteler, 1815-1892.” His talk will take place at 7:00 p.m., also at Shepherd’s Byrd Center.
For more information, contact the Historic Shepherdstown Commission office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-876-0910.
http://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Dennis-Frye.jpg701670bts4hsmhttp://historicshepherdstown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hsc_logo_dummy.pngbts4hsm2018-09-28 20:57:072018-09-28 20:57:07Oct. 10 Speakers Series: Dennis Frye
Historic Shepherdstown will feature a talk by Karen Good Cooper entitled “Shenandoah Valley’s Germanic Heritage” on June 13 at 7 p.m.
The talk will take place in the auditorium at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education on the Shepherd University campus. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served after the presentation.
With a main street called German Street and a town museum full of German crafts, it’s hard to miss Shepherdstown’s German heritage. Ms. Cooper will provide a broader context in her talk. The Germans brought their own ideas, methods, and customs. Who were they? Why did they come? What happened as they formed their communities and as their children began to move away? Ms. Cooper says the talk is designed to make people think about how the “Shenandoah Deutsch” affected so much of how we behave and how we work together.
Karen Cooper is a 10th generation Shenandoah Valley resident and the head of the Board of Directors for the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum and its parent organization. She graduated from Western Maryland College and has an MA in history from James Madison University. She has been studying local history and genealogy for fifty years and served as the founding president of the Shenandoah County Historical Society.
The 2018 Speakers Series will feature three additional programs:
September 12, Matthew Webster, Kate Hughes, Katie McKinney, all of Colonial Williamsburg, and Nicholas Powers, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley,”Artisans in the Lower Shenandoah Valley.”
October 10, Dennis Frye, Chief Historian, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, “Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination.”
November 14, Jerry Thomas, Professor of History Emeritus, Shepherd University, “From the Old South to the New in the Lower Shenandoah Valley: The Life and Times of Alexander Robinson Boteler, 1815-1892.”
All of the talks will take place at 7 p.m. at the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education.
For more information, contact the Historic Shepherdstown Commission office at email@example.com or 304-876-0910.