History Blog

09/03/2015 - 2:37pm
After Appomattox: Civil War History Series at the Library

Ever wonder what happened after Lee's surrender to Grant that fateful day at Appomattox? Did everyone simply go back home and pick up their lives as they once were?

Three of the best historians from the National Park Service will present three different topics on three evenings at the HQ Library theater from 7:00-8:00. Each program is designed to give you information you may not have heard before and an opportunity to ask questions.

07/22/2015 - 1:29pm
Patawomek village coming to HQ

Fifty members of the Patawomeck tribe will recreate one of their villages at the library. On the front lawn, you’ll smell venison and fish roasting on an open fire, hear live Patawomeck music, explore a longhouse, sit in a 13-foot canoe, and see Patawomeck dancing. You and your family can pound cornmeal, play Indian football, play drums, and meet a Pocahontas reenactor. Inside the theatre, you’ll see artifacts that are 10,000 years old, learn how regalia is made, hear Patawomeck storytelling, watch a movie, and make crafts.

Save the date: Saturday, August 1, from 9:00-3:00 at Headquarters Library. Rain or shine.

06/19/2015 - 12:45pm
Free History at Sunset Tours Explore the Civil War

Each summer, the National Park Service offers free History at Sunset tours which give insights into our area’s Civil War past. Hosted by Park Service historians, they are a tremendous treat for history lovers. Unless otherwise noted, tours begin at 7pm and last about 90 minutes. Here is their schedule and our suggested titles to go with each topic:

06/12/2015 - 2:51pm
CRRL & Civil War Sesquicentennial

The CRRL is proud to partner with area historians, museums, tourism agencies, organizations, churches, and scholars to provide programs and information that can promote understanding of the events that exploded here in the 1860s and their far-reaching impact.

Over the last four years the community has been invited to commemorate—through lectures, re-enactments, exhibits, film screenings, and musical performances—the extraordinary fact that we were a war zone from 1861-1865.


06/12/2015 - 9:33am
The Spy Within

This June, Fredericksburg has two wonderful events that will bring to light lesser-known aspects of African-American history. On Saturday, June 20, the library will join the Race Coalition’s celebration of “Juneteenth," the date in 1865 when news of the 13th Amendment finally reached the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, 2½ years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite the long delay, there was much cause for celebration, and many Juneteenth traditions have ensued. This year marks the 150th anniversary, and you are invited to celebrate! Enjoy inspirational and educational performances and activities to promote cross-cultural understanding, unity, and peace. Stop by the library’s table at the Juneteenth Celebration, Saturday, June 20, at noon at New City Fellowship, 200 Prince Edward Street, Fredericksburg, Va. For more information, contact blessedhaigler@aol.com.

02/06/2015 - 9:49am
For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-eight Revolutionary War Soldiers From the Old Dominion by Harry M. Ward

Virginia’s Civil War history sometimes overshadows her Revolutionary past.  In For Virginia and Independence, Dr. Ward shares fascinating, adventurous stories of soldiers, some local, whose deeds should be remembered. There’s Peter Francisco, the strongman immigrant soldier; Jack Jouett, Virginia’s Paul Revere; Anna Maria Lane, who dressed as a man and followed her husband into battle; and 25 more. 

02/05/2015 - 11:11am

The year 2002 celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of "George Washington's Mother Lodge." According to the authors of The History of Freemasonry in Virginia, "Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 stands out as one of the brightest Lodges in the early history of Freemasonry in Virginia." Since 1752 it has maintained a continuous Masonic presence in Fredericksburg. Many of the town's prominent citizens have been members, and many of its prominent buildings have Masonic cornerstones.

01/27/2015 - 10:09am
Gladys Poles Todd, Courtesy of the Free Lance-Star

Gladys Poles Todd, long-time Fredericksburg resident, died recently at the age of 101, having witnessed and been a part of the city’s changeover from its days of segregation. She lived to see schools and lunch counters integrated, and she was an important force behind making that happen. Among her many works, Mrs. Todd organized sit-ins, led voter registration drives, and supervised night study programs.

Her obituary gives a goodly number of details from her long and generous life, but you may also wish to read more about her in Fitzgerald’s A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania.

In 1997, she and other local leaders in the Civil Rights era got together for a forum at the library to discuss those difficult days. Fortunately, the program, Civil Rights: Fredericksburg’s Story, was recorded in DVD format and can be checked out.

Besides a historic legacy to be shared by the community, Mrs. Todd also left a personal record of her life. Her oral history, part of HFFI’s Pieces of Our Past series, is available to read in the Virginiana Room of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Photo courtesy of The Free Lance-Star
01/29/2015 - 3:18pm

"Fredericksburg; may it increase and its commerce flourish." --Toast by George Washington, 1784

Fredericksburg-area residents and visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Washington and Lincoln. Both presidents were entertained lavishly across the river at Chatham estate, but under very different circumstances.

To Washington, this small town of Fredericksburg was his childhood home, populated by many friends and relatives. His sojourns here are noted in his diary with a pleasant familiarity. Lincoln's view of Fredericksburg could hardly be of greater contrast, for Fredericksburg was a Union-occupied town, and although the president was certainly welcomed by his own men, he was not welcomed by Confederate townspeople. In the chill of that December, Fredericksburg would become the site of one of the Union's worst defeats.

01/15/2015 - 1:38pm
2015 Great Lives Chappell Lecture Series

The University of Mary Washington's popular Great Lives Chappell Lecture Series returns in 2015 with another great lineup. Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium and are free and open to the public. For more information about each lecture and presenter, see the full schedule here.


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