Historic Speakers Series Opens with March 8 Talk on Forgotten Local Roads

David Bullock will speak on “Forgotten 18th Century Roads: Shepherdstown and the Philadelphia Wagon Road” at 7 p.m. on March 8. The talk will be in the auditorium of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education located on King Street on the Shepherd University campus next to Scarborough Library. Parking is available on the street or behind the library. The event is free and open to the public.

Dave Bullock attended Shepherdstown Middle School, Jefferson High School, and Shepherd College. His family has lived in the area since 1857. He had an abiding interest in history and has spent considerable time studying maps and other documents to learn about lost local roads that once shaped the history of the area. His talk will focus on the Philadelphia Wagon Road, which was central to Shepherdstown’s prosperity in the town’s early days. The Philadelphia Wagon Road started in Philadelphia and ended in Georgia. It has been given credit for much of the settlement of the backcountry of the South. Originally, the Wagon Road was a trail used by Native Americans called the Warrior Trail.

Mr. Bullock’s talk will kick off the Historic Shepherdstown Commission’s 2017 Speakers Series.

The Speakers Series schedule for the rest of the year will feature three additional programs. On May 24, textile historian and quilt expert Fawn Valentine will present a two-part event. First, from 1 to 3 p.m., she will provide “readings” of historic quilts. Local quilt owners will be invited to bring their quilts to learn more about designs, motifs, patterns, and cultural influences (not financial appraisals). Preregistration will be required. More information will be forthcoming. Second, on the evening of May 24, Fawn Valentine will give a talk on quilts and quilt makers. On August 30, at the Historic Shepherdstown Annual Meeting, Shepherd University History Professor and Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War Dr. Jim Broomall will speak on “The Brother’s War: The Civil War Experiences of Virginia and West Virginia Soldiers.”  On November 8, local historian Doug Perks will present old and new images of local people and buildings, highlighting the changes over time.

All of the talks will take place at the Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education at 7 p.m. The Quilt Reading will be at the Entler Building. 129 E. German Street.

For further information, contact Historic Shepherdstown Administrator Teresa McLaughlin, 304-876-0910 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday or e-mail info@historicshepherdstown.com.

March 2, 2016: "John Storer: A Renaissance Man for the Nineteenth-Century Shenandoah Valley" by Dr. Dawne Raines Burke

May 4, 2016: "The French and Indian War: The Conflict’s Impact upon the Scots Irish in Appalachia and Ireland" by Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst

Sept. 2, 2015: Worth a Voyage Across the Atlantic, by Matt Webster

September 2, 2015

Matthew Webster, who grew up in Shepherdstown and is now Director of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grainger Department of Architectural Preservation, will speak on September 2 at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies Auditorium. The talk is part of the Historic Shepherdstown Commission’s Speakers Series.

The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6:45 p.m. with Historic Shepherdstown’s brief Annual Meeting, including election of board members. The talk is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Webster’s talk is entitled “Worth a Voyage Across the Atlantic: Early Settlement and Trades in Jefferson County.” He will focus on the crafts of the area, the settlers who produced them and their role in the local economy. He is passionately interested in and knowledgeable about Jefferson County history and an accomplished speaker.

As Director of Architectural Preservation, Matthew Webster is responsible for preservation and maintenance oversight for more than 580 original and reconstructed buildings in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and for oversight of architectural collections. Prior to joining Colonial Williamsburg, he served as director of preservation at Drayton Hall in Charleston, S.C., responsible for architectural, archaeological and landscape resources, collections and maintenance. His professional career in architectural restoration began at George Washington’s Fredericksburg Foundation, where he managed the restoration of Kenmore, the 1770s home of Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.

The Robert C. Byrd Center Auditorium is located on King Street on the Shepherd University campus. It is connected to the Scarborough Library. Parking is available in the lot behind the building.

October 21, 2015: Boteler's Cement Mill, by Dr. Karen Gray

Boteler’s Cement Mill

Dr. Karen Gray, who has been studying the C&O Canal and nearby areas for 40 years, will give an illustrated talk on the historic Boteler Cement Mill near Shepherdstown as part of the Historic Shepherdstown Speakers Series.

Boteler’s Cement Mill, located near Packhorse or Boteler’s Ford, one half mile below Shepherdstown, played an important role in the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown, and in the construction of the Canal and of many Federal buildings in Washington. It has been designated a Jefferson County Historic Landmark by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

The talk is set for October 21 at 7 p.m. at the Auditorium of the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, located next to the Scarborough Library on the Shepherd University Campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

November 7, 2015: The Tumultuous History of the McMurran Hall Clock Tower

The Tumultuous History of the McMurran Hall Clock Tower

Saturday, November 7, 2015, 11 a.m. Reynolds Hall
The Origins of McMurran Hall: Rezin D. Shepherd, the Clock Tower, and the Town Hall. Featuring speakers Jim Surkamp and Dan Tokar.