September 2009

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club Sept. 13th 2009

Tonight’s meeting reminded me of three things I absolutely love about the SSC: the people are wonderful, the food is great (and worth every extra minute I have to spend on the elliptical machine) and even when I don’t think I’m all that interested in a topic I always get drawn in by our well-informed and passionate speakers!  After listening to Ken Garrett and Cate Magennis Wyatt I had to purchase the Journey through Hallowed Ground guidebook and Heather and I have already visited the Cemetery at Balls Bluff (which I can now tell you is the smallest national cemetery in the United States).  More facts to follow…

Thank you to Ike and Julie Broaddus for once again hosting us at the lovely “Tranquility Post”, a home so pastoral we even had a goat attempt to join us for the meeting.

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- After paying $96.00 for 2 months at the Marshall Community Center (more on this to follow) our current balance is $283.95.

Farmer Girls- As previewed at last month’s meeting, “Farmer Girls”, the new “electronic farmer’s market” offering local farm fresh foods is now up and running. Consumers will be able to order the products on line and then pick them up at a designated time at Vint Hill.   For those unable to make the Saturday Farmer’s Market this is a great opportunity to “Eat fresh, buy local.”  Visit www.farmersonlinemarket.net for more information.

Meeting Place Search- John Anderson filled us in on the current happenings in the SSC’s search for a home.  As you know, we have been trying to find a more or less permanent location for our meetings.  After checking out many different options we’ve decided to try the Marshall Community Center for our meetings in November and December.  The space there is quite nice and reasonably priced and will include a café area for sharing our wonderful food and a separate meeting room.   We hope that many of you are able to join us for our trial months as we very much would like feedback on the space and the location.

9/12 Protest- Calvin Hicks provided us with a brief report on his trip to DC for the 9/12 protests.  He remarked on how the movement that started as “tea parties”, non-partisan events to protest how our taxes are spent, has now been taken over by the extreme right wing.  At the DC protest he observed many different factions: anti-abortion, “birthers”, “You Lie” groups, skinheads…

Community Announcements

“Fish and Fixin’s” Fall Festival-  Bob Zwick invited us to this Sat. Oct. 10th event sponsored by the Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia and held at his Dondoric Farm. The event runs from 1:00 to 5:00PM and will feature a fish fry, entertainment and current Democratic candidates.  Individual tickets are $20.00.  For more information please contact Pat Lightfoot: email plightfoot@qcsit.com, (571)261-3965 or (703)314-1727.

Sat. Oct. 24th from 8:30AM to dusk the Horses for Houses Fall Festival and Horse Show will be held at the Warrenton Show Grounds.  Presented by Tractor Supply Company, the event will feature crafters, vendors, silent auction, bake sale and more.  All proceeds will go to Fauquier Habitat for Humanity.  Emailhorsesforhouses@gmail.com or call 540-341-4952 for more information.

Andrea Martens shared her recommendation of “Nora Taste of Lebanon”, a fabulous new restaurant in the Gainesville Square shopping center.  Having had wonderful meals there on a number of occasions I have a vested interest in keeping Nora’s open.  Bob Zwick shared that Gainesville Square is also home to a few other great ethnic restaurants including Saigon Crepes and Afghan Kabobs.  If you are looking for great food in between SSC meetings take a trip to Gainesville J

Everyone is welcome at the next SSC Planning Committee Meeting to be held Tuesday Sept. 29th at 6:30 at Panera’s in Warrenton.

Ike suggested we check out the new Vint Hill Craft Winery located on Vint Hill.  A blurb from their web site: “Vint Hill Craft Winery focuses on wine education and winemaking; the knowledge, skill, art and passion that surround it.  You choose your level of participation at every step, from advanced wine tasting to crafting your own wine alongside our winemakers.”  Visit http://www.vinthillcraftwinery.com/ for all the details.

Donna Lipinski invited us to attend the meetings of the Holistic Business Alliance held on the 4th Wednesday of the month from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  The meetings take place at Donna’s Blue Ridge Immigration office at 9 North 3rd St. and are open to all who have an interest in running their businesses in a holistic manner.

Feature Presentation

We were thrilled this month to have Ken Garrett and Cate Magennis Wyatt share with us their passion and knowledge about the history and importance of this area of America.  Ken Garrett began the evening by discussing his work on the book, Journey through Hallowed Ground, as well as sharing with us many of his gorgeous photographs.  As I try to write up the minutes this month my notes seem particularly inadequate in capturing the breadth of information as well as the beauty of his work. At the risk of sounding like a bookseller, I’d suggest that everyone purchase a copy of the book (available on line at http://www.hallowedground.org/ and in Warrenton at The Town Duck) and read about the fascinating history of this region.

“Welcome to where America Happened” is the headline on the Hallowed Ground web site and this sentiment captures the theme of Ken’s presentation.   The 175 mile Journey through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) begins at Jefferson’s Monticello and extends up to Gettysburg.  This region is home to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, multiple presidents, one of the first Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and much else.   The goal of the book as well as of the JTHG Partnership is to help us to see, appreciate and preserve the history and natural beauty that surrounds us.

As there is no way I could even begin to give you all the history in Ken’s talk, I’ll try to whet your appetite with my own little “factoid slide show.”

§         Don Tharpe, a major contributor to the book is currently doing an excavation at Norman’s Ford in Culpeper County.  Previous finds indicate that areas along the Rappahannock have been continuously occupied for 11,000 years!

§         In 1716 Royal Governor of Virginia Alexander Spotswood led “the Knights of the Golden Horse Shoe” expedition up the Rappahannock River Valley.  This expedition was the first to go over the Blue Ridge Mountains and to discover the central valley of Virginia.

§         Fort Frederick, near Hagerstown, MD sits near the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Potomac River.  This fort contributed greatly to the success of the British during the French and Indian War and later served as a Revolutionary War prison camp and a fortification during the Civil War.

§         In 1785 George Washington helped found the Potomac Company with the aim of facilitating trade by improving navigability on the Potomac River.  The need to establish consistent trade regulations between the states helped spur the organization of the Constitutional Convention.

§         Many Virginians attended the Constitutional Convention including George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Monroe and John Marshall.

§         John Marshall served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835 and is widely credited with protecting the judicial system as a branch of government co-equal to the executive and legislative branches.

§         Brandy Station, site of the war’s largest cavalry battle, is also home to the “Graffiti House.”  This building was used as a triage hospital for the South during the Civil War.  It also served as a headquarters facility for the Federal forces during the winter encampment of 1863-1864.  Soldiers from both sides made drawings and signed their names and units on the walls.  The house has been recently renovated as is open for tours.  For more information visit:http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/index.html

§         Rose Hill Manor, the former home of the first elected governor of Maryland Thomas Johnson, is now operated as a children’s museum.  Downtown Frederick, MD is home to a Civil War Medical History Museum.

§         Gettysburg, PA is the most visited spot on the corridor.   The Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, is considered a major turning point in the war.  The Confederacy was routed and both sides suffered massive casualties with combined totals topping 54,000 men.

§         When Lee surrendered at Appomattox, he negotiated an agreement that the troops could wear their uniforms home with the provision that all insignias must be cut off.    The stars from Lee’s uniform were recently found in a bank vault in Alexandria.

§         In the 1870’s George Gilmore, a former slave at Montpelier, along with his wife Polly built a cabin on land leased from President Madison’s great nephew.  The Montpelier Foundation began reconstruction of this cabin in 2001, finishing in 2005. Archaeological excavations surrounding the Gilmore cabin at Montpelier are helping to inform the “transition that the Montpelier enslaved African American Community made from bondage to freedom after the Civil War.” (http://www.montpelier.org/explore/archaeology/gilmore.php)

§         Following the Civil War, Clara Barton traveled to Europe and learned of the work of the International Red Cross.   Upon returning home she went to Congress with the idea of forming a U.S. chapter of the Red Cross.  Although it took 20 years, in 1888 she succeeded!  Barton’s home in Glen Echo, MD is today a national historic site.

§         A visit to Harper’s Ferry brings you to the home of a major native American trading post, John Brown’s raid, Storer College, and the Niagara Movement (cornerstone of the civil rights movement as well as the forerunner to the NAACP).

§         On the steps of the capitol in Leesburg, George C. Marshall read his Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after WW II.  “Dodona Manor”, Marshall’s home in Leesburg from 1941 until his death in 1951, is now open to the public as the “George C. Marshall International Center.”  Marshall referred to Dodona as his one and only home “after 41 years of wandering.”

§         Karen Hughes White, director of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Plains (and October’s SSC guest speaker), has been instrumental in researching and recording the history of African Americans in Virginia.  Her family has been in Virginia for generations, dating at least back to Monticello. Her great grandfather settled in Fauquier County after the Civil War.

§         Of the 28 towns named “Washington” in the United States, Washington, VA claims the title of “The First Washington of All”. Surveyed by George Washington on July 24th, 1749 the town was officially established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1796.

§         “Value Added Agriculture” continues to play an important role in the preservation of the area.  VAA seeks to allow land owners/farmers to bring in income using a relatively small amount of land and to draw agricultural tourism.

§         The Barboursville Vineyard on the site of the ruins of the Barboursville Mansion is a great example of VAA.   Now the biggest tourist attraction in Orange County, the vineyard is also home to a fabulous restaurant.

Following Ken’s incredible slide show, Cate Magennis Wyatt, president of the Journey through Hallowed Ground president, spoke with us about the mission of the JTHG.

§         Every generation has placed their lives and their livelihoods on the line to create this country.

§         The JTHG corridor has the largest concentration of Civil War battlefields in the country as well as a large portion of the Underground Railroad.

§         9 presidential homes also lie within the corridor.

§         The JTHG Partnership was launched 3 ½ years ago.  The JTH put together a business plan and visited every town and Board of Supervisors along the route and asked them to get involved in rebranding this region as a national treasure.  In 2008, a bill was signed into law designating the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

§         One of the biggest challenges for the JTHG Partnership is to change the lens through which we see the area around us.  We are enormously privileged to live in this region and we can all do something to help preservation efforts.

§         The goals of the JTHG Partnership include:

1.     National Awareness Campaign

2.     Education Outreach

3.     Obtain National Heritage Area Designation (Goal accomplished!)

4.     Attain National Scenic Byway Status

5.     Creation of a socially responsible “Real Estate Investment Trust” (REIT).

§         The JTHG web site page detailing their educational programs states that “JTHG educational programs leave you riveted by the past and ready to discover the future.”  A number of us agreed that we wished we were kids so we could participate in some of the amazing programs Cate described!  Thankfully the JTHG is also designing programs for families.

§         Education as to the importance of this region is vital as “you don’t conserve what you don’t value.”

§         Their “Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student” service learning project, created, developed and sponsored by the JTHG, resulted in the creation of 6 mini-documentaries by approximately 70 Harper’s Ferry Middle School Students depicting their understanding of the famous John Brown Raid.  For more information and to see the videos visit http://www.hallowedground.org/videos/harpers/of-the-student-videos-harpers-ferry-2009.html

§         The JTHG Partnership is also focused on exploring the contributions of blacks, native Americans and women.

§         Each town along the journey has been asked to create a legacy project for the susquicentennial.  The JTHG Partnership is exploring the possibility of planting one tree for each of the 670,000 people killed in the Civil War.  Planting trees along the corridor would be a poignant representation of the sacrifices made here.

So much is getting lost every day; the time to act is now.  Find out what you can do to help preserve this priceless region by visiting www.hallowedground.org

Also at this site you may purchase any of the books referenced above:

-          The Journey through Hallowed Ground- The Official Guide to Where America Happened

-          Journey through Hallowed Ground, Birthplace of the American Idea

-          Honoring Their Paths: African American Contributions Along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground

Save the Dates
You won’t want to miss the interesting meetings we have planned!

Proving yet again that the SSC is the place to be, the following month’s meetings tie in quite nicely with the wonderful presentation given us by Ken Garrett and Cate Magennis Wyatt.  Our October speaker, Karen White, will address the issue of the African American history in Virginia and we now have an example of Service Learning in action to help us better understand Dr. Karen Schultz’ topic.

Oct. 11th-  Karen White of the Afro-American Historical Association joins us to speak about the great work of the AAHA and their newly (as of October) published book.

Nov. 8th- Dr. Karen Schultz  will talk with us about her new position as Director of the Institute for Government and Public Service at Shenandoah University as well as the  “educational philosophy and course work of Service Learning.”

We hope to see all of you soon.

Andrea