2017 Lectures

January 29, 2017 – “The First Front:  The Baltimore & Ohio Railway During the Civil War.” 
On Sunday, January 29, the Lovettsville Historical Society will kick off its 2017 Lecture Series with a presentation by Daniel Carroll Toomey, the curator and designer of the acclaimed exhibit “The War Came by Train,” at the B&O Museum in Baltimore.

When the Civil War began, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad quickly became the most important railroad in the nation. Located entirely within the state of Maryland and the present-day state of West Virginia, it represented the only direct rail link between Washington DC, and the loyal states. During the first three months of the war, the fate of the Nation’s Capital and these two states were primarily determined by the movement of Union soldiers on trains provided by the B&O Railroad. Throughout the war, its destruction was a constant objective of the Confederacy. Mr. Toomey will explore this “First Front” concept as presented in his book The War Came by Train: The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad During the Civil War.

Daniel Toomey is the author or co-author of a dozen books, also including The Civil War in Maryland and Baltimore During the Civil War. He has lectured for many historical organizations and colleges, including the Smithsonian Institution and Johns Hopkins University. His course “The Civil War in Maryland” has been taught throughout that state.

Mr. Toomey has won numerous awards for his historical research and exhibits, including the Gettysburg National Battlefield Award in 1985, and was the 2001 recipient of the Peterkin Award given by the National Park Service at Fort McHenry. He is currently the Guest Curator at the B&O Railroad Museum, and he designed The War Came by Train exhibit – the largest Civil War railroad exhibit ever presented. He has contributed to a number of radio and television programs and several video productions, including a C-SPAN feature on the B&O exhibit, broadcast on Jan. 8, 2013. https://www.c-span.org/video/?312190-1/bo-railroad-civil-war

The program will be held at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East  Broad Way, Lovettsville, Va., at 2:00 p.m.   Admission is free, but donations are welcome to defray expenses of the program.

February 19, 2017 – “The Ground Beneath Your Feet:  The Fairfax Land Grants in Loudoun County,” by Loudoun County historian and researcher Wynne Saffer.

On Sunday, February 19, 2017, the Lovettsville Historical Society will continue its 2017 Lecture Series with a presentation by Loudoun County historian Wynne Saffer on the Fairfax Land Grants in Loudoun County.  If you live or work in Loudoun County, the ground under your feet – in fact, all the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers — once belonged to the 5th and 6th Lords Fairfax, stemming from a grant by King Charles II of England.  Fairfax land agents sold patents of large tracts of land to land speculators, who in turn sold or leased smaller tracts of land to settlers and plantation owners. If you trace title to any tract of land in Loudoun, or Lovettsville, back far enough, you will end up with a Fairfax.

German squatters from Pennsylvania occupied some of the lands in this area starting in the 1730s – much of which remained in Fairfax hands. Over time, the Germans and other settlers had their “lease for lives,” and generally did not or could not buy property until after the American Revolution.

Wynne Saffer, a life-long resident of Loudoun, and a winner of the Balch Library History Award, has documented and mapped all of the Fairfax land grants in Loudoun County. He will describe how we went from all the lands in the hands of one owner, to the many tens of thousands of separate properties today.  He will describe the difference between land grants and patents, and how this grew into our modern system of land ownership today.

March 12, 2017 — “C. F. Wenner and C&O Canal Navigation at the Opening of the Civil War,” by Tim Snyder, author of Uncertain and Precarious: C&O Canal Navigation at the Beginning of the Civil War.

April 23, 2017 —  “Myth’s About Lee’s Surrender,” by Patrick Schroeder, Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.

On Sunday, April 23, the Lovettsville Historical Society will continue its 2017 Lecture Series with a presentation regarding the events at Appomattox in April 1865, entitled,  “Myth’s About Lee’s Surrender.”  The speaker will be Patrick Schroeder, Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  Mr. Schroeder has lectured and written extensively about the events surrounding Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

Separating myth from fact, Mr. Schroeder will discuss what really happened at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.  He will describe many of the commonly-held mythical stories that have grown up around Appomattox, and then tell what actually happened.  You may be surprised at what you thought you knew about the end of the Civil War!

A few of the topics that will be discussed include:  Why did Lee surrender at Appomattox?  Did Lee surrender under an apple tree?  Was there fighting prior to Lee’s surrender?  Did General Custer receive the truce flag?  What were the numbers of Lee’s army when he surrendered?  Where did the last Confederate surrender take place?

The program will be held at St. James United Church of Christ, 10 East Broad Way, Lovettsville, Va., at 2:00 p.m.   Admission is free, but donations are welcome to defray expenses of the program and to support the activities of the Lovettsville Historical Society.

June 11, 2017 — Colonial Life in Maryland and Virginia.”  Presented by Paul McDermott, professor emeritus, Montgomery College.

July 9, 2017 — “The Edwin Washington Project: Documenting Pre-Integration Schools of Loudoun County” with Larry Roeder, Principal Investigator. The project, begun in 2012, is working to fully document the “colored” schools of Loudoun County – including in Lovettsville — that existed between the end of the Civil War and full integration.

August 13, 2017 – Hope On the Hill:  The Story of Harpers Ferry’s Storer College.  In 1867, Storer College, one of the first desegregated schools in American history, opened in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and welcomed former slaves who sought an education.  It grew from a one-room schoolhouse into a degree-granting college open to all races, religions, and sexes.  Many of the graduates became teachers in the 19th- and 20th-century “colored” schools of Loudoun County, Virginia.  Presented on August 13, 2017 by Guinevere Roper, National Park Service Ranger.

Sept. 17, 2017 – The Story of Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church. Mt. Olivet is one of Lovettsville’s oldest churches; its present building was dedicated in 1881, but the congregation was meeting in school buildings prior to the Civil War. A team from Mount Olivet will present the congregation’s history.

Oct. 15, 2017 – “Mapping the Short Hill.” Historian and map-maker Eugene Scheel will discuss the making of his latest map, covering the Short Hill area from Lovettsville to the Blue Ridge. He will have maps available for sale and signing. (Rescheduled from May 21).

Nov. 5, 2017 – Remembering John Hanson: First President of the Original United States Government. Hanson family descendant John H. Michael, author of Remembering John Hanson: The First Lincoln will tell the story of this forgotten Founding Father who was our Nation’s first President under the Articles of Confederation.