Keep up with the Joneses …

Or at least Jones Mill, on Saturday afternoon, September 24 at from 4:30 to 7:00, when Historic Shepherdstown Commission and Museum holds its fall fund raiser on the grounds of the Thomas Swearingen House at the Jones Mill Historic District. Come out and spend an afternoon on the front lawn, with food, refreshments and live music.

The property is the site of the first mill in what is now the State of West Virginia. In 1734, two years before Thomas Shepherd came to the area, Josiah Jones had built a mill on Rocky Marsh Run. The original mill building is long gone, perhaps destroyed in a fire in 1811, but the foundation and the half-mile-long mill run and tale races remain. The current mill structure dates from the turn of the 19th Century and is said to have generated electricity for the nearby town of Scrabble through the early 1950’s.

Thomas Swearingen acquired the mill in 1748. He or his oldest son, also named Thomas, built a three-bay, two-story stone house near the mill around 1760. The first Thomas is well known in the history of Shepherdstown for having established a ferry across the Potomac in 1755 near the current James Rumsey Bridge, and for getting more votes than George Washington for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1757. Son Thomas was a major in the Revolutionary War.

The three-bay, two-story house is built of local stone and was grand in its time and place. The east chimney, which extends only half way out, is somewhat unique. The woodwork and moldings inside the house are original.

Come out and enjoy a taste of history and good food with old and new friends.

The Jones Mill Historic District and the Thomas Swearingen House are located on Dam 4 Road in the town of Scrabble.

Michael Rode the Boat

Michael-on-boat_sm

… down German Street in Shepherdstown’s Fourth of July Parade.

Michael Langmyer also catalogued the Museum’s photograph collection, led museum tours, entertained school groups, conducted oral history interviews, transcribed existing ones, took photos, moved furniture, developed web pages, assisted genealogists, and learned a lot about managing and developing a museum during his 10-month internship with Historic Shepherdstown and Museum.

Michael came to the Museum through AmeriCorps, a national volunteer program and the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, which seeks to promote historic preservation, economic development and heritage tourism in the State.

A 2016 graduate of Shepherd University, he is now on his way to the University of Kentucky, where he’ll be working on a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation.

Enthusiastic, reliable, persistent, ready with a quip or to lend a hand, Michael left an impression on his Historic Shepherdstown friends and co-workers, who said goodbye to him at a lunch on July 29th, his last day at the office.

“My time as an AmeriCorps member has been nothing but an adventure and a journey, and I would have had it no other way.”

We wish him much success in the future.

Photo of Peter Fischer presenting a portrait of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg

The Hanging of the Queen

Preserve WV history as an AmeriCorps Member

Recruitment for Americorps Members for 2016-17 through Preserve WV is now open to all adults 18 and older. We’ll be so sorry to see current Member Michael Langmyer go, but he’s going off to do graduate work in historic preservation at the University of Kentucky and we knew we could only keep him for a year. Are you interested in preserving WV history through Americorps? Apply today!

http://www.pawv.org/americorps.htm

 

Our Own Ghost of Shepherdstown

If you watched the television series, Ghosts of Shepherdstown, you know all about the spirits of Confederate soldiers that haunt the basements, attics and streets of Shepherdstown.  But did you know that the Historic Shepherdstown Museum has its own phantom?

It all started back in 1808.

Peyton Bull Smith and Joseph Holmes, sons of prominent Winchester, Virginia, families, were boyhood friends. Smith had just graduated from the College of William and Mary and set up a law practice in Winchester with Holmes as an associate. After an evening of drinking, a minor argument ensued between the two. Smith called Holmes a “damned fool” and Holmes challenged his colleague to a duel.

The site selected for the duel was in Maryland, across the Potomac River from Shepherdstown. The two faced each other at daybreak on Tuesday, November 3, 1809. Witnesses stated that only one shot was fired – by Holmes. Peyton Bull Smith, mortally wounded was carried back to the Entler Hotel (the Globe Tavern at the time), where he was placed in an upstairs chamber. Later historians wrote that he died in Room One, the location of which is unclear

Mrs. Brown, the innkeeper of the tavern, clipped a lock of Peyton’s hair and sent it to his mother in Winchester.

Over the years, strange noises and moans, the sound of footsteps and items being moved around have been heard during the night time hours in the Entler Hotel. Many think this could be the ghost of Peyton Bull Smith, or perhaps one of the other spirits that reportedly haunt the building.

Over the years, strange noises and moans, the sound of footsteps and items being moved around have been heard during the night time hours in the Entler Hotel. Many think this could be the ghost of Peyton Bull Smith, or perhaps one of the other spirits that reportedly haunt the building.

6th Annual Jefferson County Civil War Seminar

The Sixth Annual Jefferson County Civil War Seminar will be held on June 21, 22, and 23, 2016. Sponsored jointly by the Charles Town Library Civil War Roundtable, the Harpers Ferry Historical Association, the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, and the Jefferson County Historical Society, the seminar is free of charge to the public. Seating for this popular event is limited, so plan to arrive early. The location for each day and a summary schedule follows:

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Allies For Freedom Exhibit on the 2nd floor of the John Brown Museum (corner of Shenandoah & Potomac Streets) in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Pay the entrance fee and ride the park shuttle to the Lower Town.

9:20 AM:         Don Watts: “In My Backyard? Yankees?”
10:45 AM:       Jim Glymph: “Wearing of the Gray, Brown…! Uniforms in the Confederate Army 1861-1865”
1:15 PM:          Bill Berry: Civil War Railroads
2:40 PM:          Doug Perks: The County Seat Controversy

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Entler Hotel, 129 East German Street, Shepherdstown WV

9:20 AM”         Dave Collins: Civil War 101
10:45 AM:       Steve French: “Belle Boyd: Myth and Reality”
1:15 PM:          Dave Collins: Topography 202:
2:40 PM:          John Kavaliunas: Far Away Dixieland?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Fisherman’s Hall, southwest corner South West and West Academy Streets, Charles Town WV

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.:       James Taylor, George Rutherford, and James Tolbert: “Post-Civil War Advances in Education, Self-Help Fraternal and Religious Organizations, and Civil Rights in Jefferson County”
1 to 2:20 p.m.:             James Broomall: “After Appomattox: Reconstructing the American South, 1865-1877”
2:30 to 4 p.m.:             Donna Northouse: “Building a Better America: Catalysts Frederick Douglass, Clara Barton, and Walt Whitman at Work in Post-Civil War Washington, D.C.”

Shepherdstown Honors Its Revolutionary War Soldiers

After 100 Years Danske Dandridge’s Wish Fulfilled

To honor the men of Shepherdstown who fought in the Revolutionary War, a plaque was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, a 100th anniversary gift of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Pack Horse Ford Chapter to the town. Cheryl Brown, Regent of the local DAR chapter, and also a Historic Shepherdstown board member, headed up the effort to place a plaque on the town’s War Memorial Building.

In 1910 Shepherdstown poet and historian, Danske Dandridge in her book, Historic Shepherdstown, wrote “Should not a monument to the patriotic young riflemen of Shepherdstown and its neighborhood be erected in our village?”

Finally, more 100 years later, Dandridge’s wish became reality when Shepherdstown’s Revolutionary War soldiers were honored with a memorial to their sacrifice.

Dr. John E. Stealey III, a retired distinguished professor of history at Shepherd University, gave an address at the ceremony.  He stated that Shepherdstown’s citizens participated extensively in the eight-year war (1775-1783) and many made the ultimate sacrifice.  He spoke of the prison ships in the New York harbor, where poor conditions led to a high number of lives lost.  Stealey also said, “The War Memorial Building bears plaques recognizing those who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam…and with the installation and dedication of this plaque on this building in Shepherdstown, we can today assert that the memory of patriotic sacrifices in this community has not faded and has been renewed.”

Pack Horse Ford Chapter Historian, Cindy Nicewarner, led the dedication ceremony and spoke of Danske Dandridge, an early member of the DAR, and her desire for a monument for Shepherdstown’s Revolutionary War dead. Ms. Nicewarmer is descended from John Adam Link Jr., a Revolutionary War soldier buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Shepherdstown.

During the Revolutionary War, seven companies of riflemen were raised in what would later become Jefferson County.

Among these was Capt. Hugh Stephenson’s Company of 100 men who drilled on a vacant lot behind the Entler Tavern and who made a “Beeline March” to Concord, Massachusetts, in 1776 covering 600 miles in just 24 days.

Some 300 privates enlisted at Shepherdstown, then a mustering point for the Continental Army. Over 100 of these men were residents of the town, which had a population of about 1,000 persons. Two-thirds of the Shepherdstown volunteers, according to historian Millard K. Bushong writing in 1941, are said to have died in active service.

Shepherdstown in proportion to its size, provided more officers and men to the Continental Army than any other town in Virginia.

In addition to serving as Regent of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, Cheryl Brown is a descendent of Berkeley County residents Robert Snodgrass and James Verdier, who provided supplies to the army.

“In planning for the event, we learned a lot about Shepherdstown’s role in the American Revolution,” Cheryl said.  “But so many of the documents containing information on Shepherdstown’s role are housed at the Duke University Library. At a minimum, a copy of the documents should be available in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.  There is more work to be done! “

 

Office Space Available

For the first time in years, the Entler will have office space available (as of June 1). Suitable for counselors, therapists, etc., 106 sq. ft of space with closet. Electric, heat, water, and trash is included. Some tenant parking available on a first come first served basis. If you would like to know more, please email HSC1786@gmail.com or call 304-876-0910 and leave a message.

"Strange As It Seems" DVDs

Jim Price “Strange As It Seems” DVDs, while they last!

On October 23, Dr. Jim Price gave a talk as part of HSC’s Speakers Series called “Strange As It Seems: Actual Happenings in Shepherdstown.” One attendee called it “Jim Price at his best”, as I’m sure all who were able to attend agree.

Because many people asked for a copy of the presentation, Historic Shepherdstown arranged through Ascent Video Productions for a limited release of DVDs of the talk. The price is $15, most of which goes to defray the cost of mastering and copying the DVD. Dr. Price has generously agreed for the extra $5 to serve as a fundraiser to benefit Historic Shepherdstown.

During Christmas in Shepherdstown, the DVDs can be purchased at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum on Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., cash or check only please. Those who would like to purchase them at other times can call or e-mail the office at 304-876-0910 or hsc1786@gmail.com to make arrangements to pick up a copy. The office is normally open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Again, cash or checks only please. It is also possible to send a check for $19 (which includes shipping & handling) to Historic Shepherdstown at PO Box 1786, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.

Holiday Ornaments Available

When the cornerstone of McMurran Hall was laid in October of 1859, the editor of the Shepherdstown Register predicted that McMurran Hall would be “a lasting ornament to our town.” He was not wrong, and in honor of that distinction, Historic Shepherdstown chose McMurran Hall as the first in its series of holiday ornaments. The cost is $20, and proceeds will be used to further local historic preservation efforts. If you would like one of your own, they will be available at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, the Shepherd University Bookstore, and at Historic Shepherdstown’s Fall Fundraiser. You can also email or call Teresa at Historic Shepherdstown’s Office. (304.876.0910 or hsc1786@gmail.com)<