2023 Preservation Award Winners

Historic Preservation Month award winners

May is National Historic Preservation Month and we celebrated by honoring individuals involved in preservation efforts in the Shepherdstown area.  We are delighted to announce our award winners for 2023.

The Preservation of Historic Properties award was given to Steve and Harriet Pearson, for the renovation and rehabilitation of the Shepherdstown Opera House.  To watch their Speaker Series talk on the process of the renovation see https://youtu.be/-kD47VvjKIk

Harriet and Steve Pearson with Donna Bertazzoni and Jerry Bock

The Preservation of Historic Legacies (James C. Price) award went to Jim Surkamp, for his years of actively promoting and preserving the local history, sharing his knowledge of historically significant families, and creating numerous videos about historic events in Shepherdstown.

Jim Surkamp and Donna Bertazzoni

The Service to Historic Shepherdstown Commission award was given to two important long-time HSC volunteers, A. Jerry Bucey and Nick Blanton. Bucey is receiving the award for his dedicated service on the Board of Directors and for his work on the Executive Committee, as co-chair and member of the Building Committee, and as chair of the Cemetery Committee. Blanton served one term on the HSC board, and since then has been a dedicated volunteer member of the Building Committee and the Museum Committee. He has also been the liaison with the Rumseian Society and has been the lead volunteer with the James Rumsey Boathouse and replica boat, frequently volunteering to tell the James Rumsey story during student field trips.

Blanton Bucey

Nick Blanton and Jerry Bucey, service to Historic Shepherdstown with Donna Bertazzoni and Jerry Bock.

Historic Shepherdstown Speaker Series Presentation, Awards Scheduled

May is Historic Preservation Month, and the first Historic Shepherdstown Commission Speaker Series presentation and annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 17 at the beautifully renovated Opera House on German Street in downtown Shepherdstown.

Author Kevin Pawlak, a Shepherd University graduate and local history expert, will discuss the recently released book “John Brown’s Raid: Harpers Ferry and the Coming of the Civil War, October 16-18, 1859”, which he co-authored with Jon-Erik Gilot.

Immediately preceding Pawlak’s talk, Historic Shepherdstown Commission will present the 2023 Historic Preservation Awards to this year’s recipients. The Preservation of Historic Properties award will be given to Steve and Harriet Pearson, for the renovation and rehabilitation of the Shepherdstown Opera House

The Preservation of Historic Legacies (James C. Price) Award is going to Jim Surkamp, for his years of actively promoting and preserving the local history, sharing his knowledge of historically significant families, and creating numerous videos about historic events in Shepherdstown

The Service to Historic Shepherdstown Commission will be given to two important long-time HSC volunteers, A. Jerry Bucey and Nick Blanton. Bucey is receiving the award for his dedicated service on the Board of Directors and for his work on the Executive Committee, as co-chair and member of the Building Committee, and as chair of the Cemetery Committee. Blanton served one term on the HSC board, and since then has been a dedicated volunteer member of the Building Committee and the Museum Committee. He has also been the liaison with the Rumseian Society and has been the lead volunteer with the James Rumsey Boathouse and replica boat, frequently volunteering to tell the James Rumsey story during student field trips.

The May 17 presentation is the first of four Speaker Series planned for 2023. All of the events are free and open to the public. The additional talks are:

  • June 21 at the Byrd Center Auditorium on the Shepherd University campus: Lori Wysong, director of the Jefferson County Museum, will make a presentation on Prohibition in Jefferson County, including temperance, bootlegging, and present-day legacies of Prohibition. Wysong’s presentation will tie into a new exhibit on Prohibition, which opened at the Jefferson County Museum in early May.
  • September 6 at the Byrd Center Auditorium: Dr. Ben Bankhurst, who holds the Ray and Madeline Johnston Chair in American History at Shepherd University, will speak on Loyalism in the Lower Valley during the American Revolution. Bankhurst is also the Co-Director of the Maryland Loyalism Project, a public archive and database documenting the experiences of Chesapeake Loyalists in the Era of the American Revolution. This event also serves as our HSC Annual Membership Meeting.
  • October 18 at the Byrd Center Auditorium: Important Architectural Features of the Shepherdstown Historic District, which will be presented in partnership with the Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission.

Questions regarding the Speaker Series may be directed to the Historic Shepherdstown office by calling 304-876-0910 or emailing [email protected].


Historic Shepherdstown Museum opening April 15 with map exhibit.

Map exhibit

Historic Shepherdstown Museum map exhibit

In 2023, Historic Shepherdstown Museum will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of its opening with a new exhibit, “Great Dreams: Maps of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County from the 17th through the 21st Century.” The museum reopens for the season on Saturday, April 15, at 11 a.m.

The exhibit features 20 maps, including six original maps owned by the museum. The maps are grouped by era: Early Maps, Civil War maps; and 20th and 21st Century maps.

The Early Map exhibit includes what is believed to be the earliest plat map of Shepherdstown, then known as Mecklenburg. The map, which is owned by the museum, has been dated to the 1760s by paper conservators. Also included in the Early Map era are copies of the first map of British America drawn by John Smith; Charles Varle’s 1809 map, which includes the first depiction of Jefferson County; and Thomas Shepherd’s original 222-acre land grant.

The Civil War maps include one pre-war map, an original of S. Howell Brown’s 1852 map of Jefferson County Virginia. That map was donated to the museum by Mary Hartzell Dobbins and was restored in 2022 thanks to an Americana Corner grant, which also funded the exhibit.

Brown and noted mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss both served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and both drew detailed maps of actions in the Shenandoah Valley.  The Civil War maps include depictions of the Battle of Antietam by Brown and the U.S. Government; the Battle of Shepherdstown by the American Battlefield Trust; and actions near Kearneysville and Shepherdstown in August of 1864 by Hotchkiss.

The final era depicted features an original 1883 S. Howell Brown map of Jefferson County, West Virginia, and a 2007 Jefferson County map by local cartographer Lori Simmons. The Jefferson County Historical Society donated the Brown map, and Simmons donated the 2007 map. Also included in that grouping are an original 1890 plat map of Shepherdstown by local architect S. P. Humrickhouse, an original 1920s Shaw and Whitmer map of Jefferson County, and an overlay of the Shepherdstown Historic District produced by the Jefferson County GIS/Addressing office.

The map exhibit is the second new exhibit the museum has opened in the past 12 months. Educational Opportunities for Black Jefferson County Residents Before and After Brown v Board of Education opened in May of 2022.

Also new to the museum this year is the Baptismal Font from the former Christ Reformed Church in Shepherdstown. The font was handmade in 1881 by S.P. Humrickhouse, who drew the 1890 plat map of Shepherdstown featured in the map exhibit.

The museum will open on April  15 with hours 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The suggested donation is $4 per person. Admission is free for members of Historic Shepherdstown, the military, children, and students. Special tours are possible if a volunteer docent is available. Call 304-876-0910 on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday to inquire. 

Historic Shepherdstown Newsletter Feb. 24, 2023

Dear Historic Shepherdstown Members and Supporters,

Historic Shepherdstown is excited to share some good news with our members and supporters. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, and we are delighted to announce that we are opening a new exhibit; John Kavaliunas, the chair of our Museum Committee, has been named a West Virginia History Hero; and we have received a grant from Volunteer West Virginia to update our training materials for volunteers and docents.

40th Anniversary Celebration

The Historic Shepherdstown Museum will kick off its 40th year on Saturday, April 15, when the Museum reopens to the public. The highlight of the year will be a new exhibit entitled “Great Dreams: Maps of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County from the 17th through the 21st Century.” The exhibit includes several original maps owned by the Museum, including what is believed to be Thomas Shepherd’s original plat map of Mecklenburg, both an 1852 and an 1883 Map of Jefferson County by S. Howell Brown, an 1890 plat map of Shepherdstown by S.E. Humrickhouse, and a 1920s Shaw and Whitmer map of Jefferson County. In addition, the exhibit includes maps that show the evolution of Jefferson County, several Civil War-era maps, and an aerial map that outlines the Historic District of Shepherdstown.

The exhibit is located on the third floor of the Museum. Thanks must be extended to Americana Corner for funding the restoration of the 1852 S. Howell Brown map, the reproduction of several maps from the Library of Congress map database, and the signage for the exhibit. We also need to thank the Jefferson County Historical Society for donating an original copy of S. Howell Brown’s 1883 map of Jefferson County. That map is being conserved, and we expect it to be in place by the time the Museum opens.

For our celebration, we are also assembling an exhibit of photographs that highlight the Historic Entler Hotel, including its restoration by local residents after it was turned over to Shepherdstown by the West Virginia legislature.

Stay tuned for other 40th anniversary-themed events.

History Hero

John Kavaliunas, a long-time member of the Historic Shepherdstown Board of Directors and the current chair of our Museum Committee, has been named a 2023 West Virginia History Hero. Historic Shepherdstown Commission nominated John for the award because of his dedication to the Museum. John is always on the lookout for new Shepherdstown-related acquisitions. He also was the driving force behind our new map exhibit. He researched early maps of the area, selected those that best told the story of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County, and wrote many of the descriptions that accompany the maps. John received his award in Charleston on Feb. 23, from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. Congratulations John!

Volunteer West Virginia grant and call for volunteers

Historic Shepherdstown was recently notified that we have received a grant of more than $6,000 from Volunteer West Virginia to update our volunteer training materials. We plan to use the funds to develop a new docent handbook with information about important artifacts within the Museum. We will share the handbooks with current and new docents as well as with new members of the Board of Directors. In addition, we will be looking at best practices for recruiting and retaining volunteers, including for the Board, committees, and docents. Thanks to our grants committee – Frances Bernstein and Claudia Dressler – and our vice president Jerry Bock for writing and submitting the grant proposal.

Historic Shepherdstown welcomes volunteers to serve as Museum docents, members of the various Board committees, and as members of the Board of Directors. Docents commit to volunteering for two to three hours a month while the Museum is open. Board members are elected in September and commit to attending six board meetings, a strategic planning meeting, the annual meeting in September, and to serving on committees. If you don’t have time to serve as a docent or on the board but are still interested in volunteering, we also have a number of committees that support our organization, including for the Museum, the Entler building and grounds, grants, marketing, and events. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact us at [email protected], or by calling 304-876-0910.

Annual membership drive

HSC is holding its annual membership drive. We depend on the support of our members to fulfill our mission to tell the story of Shepherdstown, and to help us maintain the historic Entler Hotel complex and the Historic Shepherdstown Museum. We welcome new and renewing members. You can mail your membership contribution to Historic Shepherdstown Commission, PO Box 1786, Shepherdstown, WV, or join through our website, www.historicshepherdstown.com. Select “Support” from the menu at the top of the page and then “Join or Renew” from the drop-down menu.

George Tyler Moore Center news

Dr. Jim Broomall, the director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, is now a member of the Historic Shepherdstown Board of Directors. The center will be featuring Dr. Emilie Amt, professor emerita of history from Hood College, on Thursday, March 2, at the Byrd Center at Shepherd University. In her lecture, “Black Antietam: Searching for African American Civil War History,” Amt will talk about the hundreds of Black civilians, both enslaved and free, who lived on and around the battlefield at Antietam. Amt will cover how they experienced the war and the battle, how they reconstructed their lives afterward, what America’s bloodiest day and the Emancipation Proclamation meant to them, and how their memories of this pivotal event were preserved or erased. The 7 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public.

Finally, save the date. Members will be receiving an invitation to the Spring Opening Reception, scheduled for April 21. Keep an eye out for it and thank you for continued support.

Donna M. Bertazzoni
President, HSC Board of Directors


A New Map Exhibit Opens in April 2023

Some 20 maps of Shepherdstown, Jefferson County and the surrounding area will be on display in a new exhibit that will kick off the 2023 season at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum.  The maps span several centuries of the region’s history from the 17th through the 21st Centuries and include reproductions of maps from the Library of Congress and elsewhere, as well as maps from the Museum’s own collection.  Included are the 1612 John Smith Map of Virginia, a copy of the Thomas Shepherd land grant of 1734, several Civil War Era maps, and a recent aerial view of Shepherdstown.

Funding for the exhibit, as well as for the restoration of the Museum’s 1852 S. Howell-Brown Map of Jefferson County, was provided by the Americana Corner.

This April will also marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Historic Shepherdstown Museum.

Holiday Ornament

2022 holiday ornament

The 2022 holiday ornament  is now on sale. This year’s ornament, the eighth in the series, features the iconic Rumsey  steamboat. They make great gifts! This is an annual fundraiser for Historic Shepherdstown and past ornaments are also available for purchase.
The ornament can be purchased, along with past ornaments, in the Museum on weekends through October. It  will also be available during Christmas in Shepherdstown when the Museum is open November 26 – December 18, Saturdays 12-4 and Sundays 1-3. It can also be purchased  at the office on Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, 10-5 or on our website at
Rumsey ornment
Front parlor with fan window

Historic Shepherdstown Museum – virtual video tour

Have you ever wondered what artifacts are housed in the Historic Shepherdstown Museum and how it tells the story of Shepherdstown? Or, have you visited the Museum and wished you could show it off to friends who don’t live in the area? Now, you have a chance. You can preview the Museum via YouTube.

During the summer of 2022, Jessie Ramchurran, a Communication Arts major from Hood College who interned with Historic Shepherdstown Commission, completed a three-part video tour of the Museum. The tour gives an overview of each floor of the Museum, and it also highlights artifacts from several of the rooms. The tour is now available on  Historic Shepherdstown YouTube channel

The museum is housed in the historic Entler Hotel. The first floor is set up to resemble the parlor and dining area of a 19th century inn. Highlights include three tall clocks; Col. John Francis Hamtramck’s sword and West Point commission; and furniture made by Adam Link, James Shepherd and Thomas Hopkins. Visitors are then invited to tour the garden and the James Rumsey Steamboat Museum, which houses a working half-size replica of Rumsey’s steamboat. Rumsey conducted the first successful steamboat demonstration on the Potomac River at Shepherdstown on December 3, 1787. The first-floor video can be found at  HSM – First Floor Video Tour

Chronologically, the next video to watch features the third floor of the Museum, which focuses on the early-Colonial era through the late 19th century. Highlights of this floor include a 1760s plat map of Mechlenburgh (now Shepherdstown); Shepherdstown samplers, Sheetz rifles and Schindler kettles; a room dedicated to the impact of the Civil War on Shepherdstown; the importance of the Potomac River and the railroad; and maps of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County. The third-floor video can be found at  HSM – Third Floor Video Tour

Finally, view the video of the second floor of the Museum, which is mostly dedicated to the 20th century. The Traveler’s Room (purported to be the most haunted room in the Museum) features rope beds and a 19th century bathtub. Other highlights include the Small Town America room, which is dominated by an early Rural Free Delivery horse-drawn mail cart; the 20th century room which features posters from Morgan’s Grove agricultural fairs and circuses, and pictures from the Israeli-Syrian Peace Talks that were held in Shepherdstown in 2000; and the African American room, which houses exhibits related to the educational opportunities for and leisure activities of the area’s Black community. The second-floor video can be found at  HSM – Second Floor Video Tour

We hope the virtual tour will inspire you to take a trip to Shepherdstown and visit the Historic Shepherdstown Museum in person. The Museum is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m., from April through October and during Christmas in Shepherdstown. For more information about our museum, hours and artifacts, visit our Facebook page Historic Shepherdstown Museum Facebook or check out the digital exhibits section of this website.

Doll given to local girl in 1832 and a quilt made by Sarah Moler acquired by museum

August, 1832. One can imagine the soft smiles and joyous tears as a healthy baby girl was born to Jane and Corban Blackford on the family farm near what is now Bardane, West Virginia. But who was the child and what is her connection to an 1830s-era doll recently acquired by the Historic Shepherdstown Museum?

A note that accompanied the doll, written by Hugh S. Moler, a descendant, indicates the following:

“Great Grand Mother’s cousin William Anderson was going west to make his fortune and gave this doll to James [although it could have been Janie] Jackson Blackford for Virginia (not 100 percent sure of that name) Hellen Blackford in the year 1832.”

Virginia Helen Blackford was a daughter, mother and wife who lived a long 83 years of life. Her parents were Corban Blackford (1792-1841) and Jane Jackson Blackford (1802-1856).

Jane (Jackson) Blackford migrated to the United States at age 14 from Ireland with help from members of the Jackson family. In particular, she was assisted by her uncle, a Presbyterian minister named Anderson, whose mother was a Jackson. That made Jane a cousin of the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.

Jane originally settled in Baltimore but eventually she met Corban Blackford. They were married at Corban Blackford’s family home Ferry Hill, the home in Washington County, Maryland, that overlooks the Potomac River on the border of Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg. After their marriage, they moved to the farm in Bardane and raised five children, one of them being Virginia.

“There were a number of reasons why the Historic Shepherdstown Museum was interested in acquiring this doll,” said Donna Bertazzoni, president of the Historic Shepherdstown Commission Board of Directors. “First, it is a well-preserved example of an 1830s doll. But more important is the fact that the Museum already owns a sampler made by Virginia Helen Blackford. The doll is a wonderful complement to the sampler.”

Eleanor Lakin, a doll expert and retired architect, examined the doll before it was purchased by the museum. Lakin determined that the doll was from the early 1830s and had been imported from Germany. Germany was one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers during the 19th century. “Well, we really didn’t have much in doll manufacturing in America,” Lakin said. “Most dolls and toys came from Germany.”

According to Lakin, the design of the doll has some notable characteristics. The legs and arms of the doll are wooden, and the head is paper-mâché. The clothing is made of gauze and possibly silk. The style of the dress and the painted shoes are typical of the era.

However, the doll the Museum purchased does have an unusual hairstyle. According to Lakin, most female dolls of that era featured a hairstyle called an Apollo knot. In this style, the front section of hair was parted in the center, and the back section was collected into a knot-like bun at the very top of the head. There would also be some framing hair pieces in the front, generally represented by a cluster of curls around each ear. Like the face, the hair would be painted on the doll.

The Museum’s new doll does have the front framing hair pieces. However, there is no Apollo knot. Underneath the doll’s gauze cap, there is simply a bun on the back of the head.

Lakin determines a doll’s age based on her experience and research, including through researching costume books. “I collected [dolls] many, many years and went to a lot of auctions, a lot of sales, read a lot. … You learn by experience,” Lakin said. “I have a whole collection of costume books and that shows the hairstyle and clothing…so you use that.”

So what happened to Virginia, the original owner of the doll? In 1855, Virginia Helen Blackford married Jacob Henry Engle. Engle had been born in 1825 on a farm in Jefferson County, Virginia. In 1849, he was among a group of men from Charles Town who headed to California to seek their fortune in the gold rush. Engle succeeded, and returned to farming in Jefferson County in 1853. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate army, reaching the rank of captain.

Following the war, Engle returned to his farm near Engle Station in Jefferson County. He and Virginia had three children: Alice Jane Engle Moler, Varena (Irene) Catherine Engle, and Lodenza Corban Engle. Jacob Engle died in 1900 and Virginia Engle died in 1915. They are both buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown.

The doll eventually descended through the Moler family. Virginia and Jacob’s daughter Alice Jane Engle married Raleigh Moler, and their son Hugh Swagler Moler wrote the note that accompanied the doll.

At the same time that the Museum bought Virginia’s doll, it also purchased a lover’s knot quilt made by Raleigh Moler’s mother Sarah Moler, in honor of her son Raleigh’s marriage to Alice Engle. The Museum has discovered a possible connection between that quilt and “Aunt Sallie’s Quilt,” which has hung in the Museum for many years.

“In researching Sarah Moler, HSC board member Terry Fulton found her obituary. It mentions that she was known as Aunt Sallie,” Bertazzoni said. “We are excited that we may not only have purchased a beautiful locally-made quilt, but that we may also have finally discovered the identity of Aunt Sallie. We are looking forward to displaying both the doll and the quilt.”

The Historic Shepherdstown Museum purchased both the doll and the quilt from a local antique dealer, who acquired them at an auction. They are expected to be on display when the Museum opens for the 2023 season.

By Jessie Ramcharran, HSC summer intern, 2022

1852 Map of Jefferson County after restoration

Restored 1852 Map of Jefferson County on display

1852 Map of Jefferson County before ter restoration

1852 Map of Jefferson County before restoration

1852 Map of Jefferson County after restoration

1852 Map of Jefferson County after restoration

From a run down to a practically brand-new map, it is almost like magic.

In February, Americana Corner awarded Historic Shepherdstown Commission & Museum a $7,000 grant to restore its S. Howell Brown 1852 Map of Jefferson County, Virginia. The map, which was donated by Mary Hartzell Dobbins, was considered to be in poor condition.

Americana Corner, established in 2020 by Tom Hand, is an online resource that helps organizations tell stories about America and its Revolutionary past. Hand set up a website and posts videos about Revolutionary-era Americans such as John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Andrew Hamilton to YouTube and Facebook. He also developed the Americana Corner Grant Program. This program provides funds to organizations to enhance a historical site, establish academic exhibits and recondition historical pieces.

“The grant we received from Americana Corner gave us the opportunity to conserve the map, and we want to thank them for it,” Donna Bertazzoni, president of Historic Shepherdstown Board of Directors, said. “The map was donated to Historic Shepherdstown Commission in the early 1990s, and for nearly 20 years, we did not have the funds to have it restored.”

The work to restore the map was done by Maria Pukownik Fine Art and Paper Restoration. It is a privately-owned art restoration center in Orrtanna, PA. Before doing the work, it developed a restoration treatment for the 19th century wall map.

This map by S. Howell Brown is subtitled “Actual Survey with Farm Limits”. It encompasses 27 Districts alongside the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and includes accounts of Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown. It was lithographically printed on two sheets of paper, hand-colored in some areas, and coated with varnish. The map was entered into the Act of Congress in 1852 by Brown and its dimensions are 39 inches by 54 inches. Maps were seen as tools used for direction, especially in the 19th century, and this map is a prime example of that.

Before its restoration, the map was in poor condition with discoloration, dirt, dust, varnish damages, fragmentation, and some decomposition in the back of the canvas. There was also masking tape found securing the map edges to the glass frame.

The preservation and restoration process took roughly three and a half months and 10 steps. First and foremost, the frame was removed, and the map conditions were photographed. Then, the surface of the map was sealed with tissue.

“It’s a Japanese tissue that can be adhered to the front of the map with a very light glue, a water-based glue that further, later on, is easy to remove,” Maria Pukownik, chief conservator of MP Fine Art and Paper Conservation, said. Sealing the surface protects the map from any possible shifting.

Next, the backing canvas was removed for the cleaning process. Layers of fabric were laid onto the map to absorb moisture from the aqueous solution that was applied. This solution was sprayed profusely until it was completely saturated. This method was repeated in certain areas.

“You know some stains, like the stains on the map, they had to be pretreated to be able to remove them, and the process is pretty long,” Pukownik said. “You spray the water – it’s completely wet – then, the dirt comes to the surface as it’s being blotted, for as long as it is needed and until you can tell there’s no more dirt coming through.”
After this stage occurs, fractured and creased areas were filled in with matching paper pulp and tissue. Then, the map was set overnight to dry and the next day, a water-based starch glue was applied. After this application, Pukownik used reference material to restore missing pieces within the map.

“Before we put the new canvas … that same tissue is applied on the back because the map, even de-acidified and cleaned, the paper is still antique paper, fragile and could be too weak for contact with other materials,” Pukownik said. “So, we applied the same tissue, clean tissue, on the back, all over and then, followed by the fabric backing.” The fabric backing is modern cotton that was pre-washed. Then, the map was put under weights until it was fully dry.
The entirely dried map was then touched up in color and surface sealer. “The Jefferson [County] map had some weakness in color – some colors faded, original colors,” Pukownik said. “So, they needed to be touched up slightly because of the geographical borders. They were important for the map to be fully informational, so we touched it up with watercolors and at the end, everything was sealed, and the varnish was sprayed on the surface to keep it nice and stable, and it went back in the frame.”

“The work that Maria Pukownik did was so good, I jokingly asked if she had bought us a new version of the map. The before and after comparison is that striking,” Bertazzoni said.

The museum intends to open a new map exhibit in September, and the restored map will become the centerpiece. “The museum owns several maps, including what is believed to be the original plat map of Shepherdstown, as well as two other Shepherdstown maps and another map of Jefferson County,” Bertazzoni said. “We have also just received a gift of an 1883 S. Howell Brown map of Jefferson County from the Jefferson County Historical Society. It is very interesting to compare all of them and see the evolution of both the town and the county.”

The Library of Congress has the 1852 S. Howell Brown map on their website in a form that allows the viewer to zoom in to a specific location Map of Jefferson County, Virginia 1852

Jessie Ramcharran, 2022 Intern

A Shepherdstown resident writes to Martha Washington, 1799

The Museum recently came across a letter that was written to Martha Washington, expressing condolences on the death of her husband,  President George Washington.  The letter was written on December 26, 1799, from “Shepherdstown on the Potomac.”

The author of the letter was Mary Stead Pinckney.  Mary and her husband, General Charles Coatesworth Pinckney, earlier that month, had leased “a small house” in Shepherdstown to serve as their residence. The house would also serve as the general’s headquarters while he oversaw the establishment of the armory at Harpers Ferry as head of the Southern Command of the fledgling American Army. The Pinckneys lived in the house from December 1799 through September 1800.  That house is now the Historic Shepherdstown Museum on East German St.

Charles Coatesworth Pinckney was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, a signer of the United State Constitution, and the American Ambassador to France. He ran for vice-president on the Federalist ticket with John Adams in 1800 and was nominated by the Federalist Party as its presidential candidate in 1804 and 1808, losing to Thomas Jefferson and then to James Madison.

Image courtesy of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.