Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

The Leigh Street Armory – The First Armory Built By Black Americans In The United States

The Leigh Street Armory, in Richmond, Virginia, is the first armory ever built by Black Americans within the United States. Currently the former armory is the site of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

Faithe Norrell, the History Services Associate of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, is related to civil rights activists Maggie Walker.

Fort Bridger, Jim Bridger, Oregon Trail

1843 – Jim Bridger Established A Fort That Become Part Of The Oregon Trail In Wyoming

Sketch of pioneer Jim Bridger.

In 1843, pioneer and mountain man Jim Bridger established a fur trading post, and a fort to protect him from Native American attacks, within present day southern Wyoming. Fort Bridger eventually became one of the stops for emigrants embarking on the Oregon Trail.

On July 7, 1847, the Mormon Pioneer Company, one of many private pioneer companies at that time, stopped by Fort Bridger. However, the employees of the company considered the prices at the trading post to be too high, and moved on to another part of the Oregon Trail.

In modern times, Jim Bridger’s former trading post is owned by the statue of Wyoming and has been established as the Fort Bridger State Historic Site.

The Exchange Hotel

The Exchange Hotel – Where Over 70,000 Wounded Civil War Soldiers Were Treated

The Exchange Hotel was utilized during the United States Civil War to treat over 70,000 soldiers during the course of the conflict. Most of the soldiers were treated for their wounds on the grounds outside of the hotel, while about 200 soldiers were allowed to stay inside of the hotel per night. Soldiers were placed on straw mats, which could be easily replaced, due to the bodily fluids which leaked onto the floor. Doctors and nurses treated both Confederate and Union soldiers at this hotel.

After the end of the U.S. Civil War, the Exchange Hotel was utilized as a Freemans’ Bureau where freed black Americans were taught how to read and to write. In the 1920s, the floor boards on the first floor of the Exchange Hotel were replaced. The second and the third levels of the hotel still have the original floorboards, which are stained by the blood of soldiers who were treated by doctors and nurses during the U.S. Civil War.

In 1950, the Exchange Hotel was sold for five dollars and was converted into a Civil War Medical Museum. Currently the museum is under private ownership with exhibits regarding Union and Confederate spies, medical treatments and other topics.

Room at the first floor of the Exchange Hotel.
The Freemans’ Bureau exhibit on the third floor.
Blue Ridge Mountains, Lou Henry Hoover, Madison County, Virginia

Rapidan Camp – President Herbert Clark Hoover’s Retreat In Madison County, Virginia

While President Herbert Clark Hoover was in office, he had the Rapidan Camp retreat built in the Blue Ridge Mountains within Madison County, Virginia.

The Brown House was the log cabin owned by Herbert Clark Hoover, and his wife Lou Henry Hoover, within the Rapidan Camp.
The Hoovers at Rapidan Camp.

Lou Henry Hoover’s bedroom at the Rapidan Camp.

General Marquis de Lafayette, Gordonsville, Virginia

Boswell’s Tavern – Site Where French General Marquis de Lafayette Camped On June 12, 1781

In 1735, Boswell’s Tavern, was constructed in Gordonsville, Virginia, within Louisa County. During the American Revolution General Marquis de Lafayette, and his fellow soldiers, camped during his pursuit of General Charles Cornwallis and his forces. Other famous Virginians such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe had been patrons of Boswell’s Tavern.

Elk Hill, General Sir Charles Cornwallis

Elk Hill – A Former Estate Of Thomas Jefferson Which General General Sir Charles Cornwallis Utilized As A Headquarters During The Revolutionary War

Elk Hill was a residence which Thomas Jefferson’s wife Martha Jefferson lived in, with her first husband whom widowed her, before they were married. During the American Revolutionary War, British General Sir Charles Cornwallis utilized Elk Hill as his headquarters. General Cornwallis had various barns within Thomas Jefferson’s estate burnt down as he vacated the property.

Fluvanna County, Virginia, General John Hartwell Cocke

General John Hartwell Cocke – A Friend Of President Thomas Jefferson Who Designed The Palmyra Fluvanna County Courthouse

General John Hartwell Cocke, who served for the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War, was a friend of Thomas Jefferson who designed the Palmyra Courthouse in Fluvanna County, Virginia.

The Old Stone Jail of Palmyra is located down the street form the courthouse that John Hartwell Cocke designed.

General Stonewall Jackson, General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson

The Packet Boat That Transported General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson To His Gravesite In Lexington, Virginia

Ruth Olga Sherman looking at the packet boat on display in Scottsville, Virginia.

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was shot by friendly fire and had his amputated arm buried behind a home in Locust Grove, Virginia. Soon after, Stonewall Jackson’s died at a home in Woodford, Virginia within Caroline County. A packet boat, which was a common type of boat during the United States Civil War, transported Stonewall Jackson’s body to a gravesite near his home and the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

Scottsville, Virginia, near the city of Charlottesville, has an outdoor display with the packet boat that transported Stonewall Jackson to Lexington, Virginia.

Danville Musuem of Fine Arts and History, Danville, Virginia

January 26, 2021 – Philip Andrew Hamilton Visited The Last Capital Of The U.S. Confederacy

On January 26, 2021, author Philip Andrew Hamilton visited the last capital of the Confederacy, during the United States Civil War, in Danville, Virginia. Jefferson Finis Davis, and his cabinet, traveled to the Sutherlin Mansion, after the city of Richmond fell to the Union Army.

Presently the Sutherlin Mansion is the site of the Danville Musuem of Fine Arts and History.

Anna Eilbeck Mason, George Mason IV, George Mason University, Jeffrey Patrick Hamilton, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

December 27, 2020 – Philip Andrew Hamilton Visits The Home Of His Relative George Mason IV

On December 27, 2020, author Philip Andrew Hamilton and his partner Ruth Olga Sherman visited Gunston Hall, the home of the author’s relative George Mason IV. Founding Father George Mason IV had written the Virginia Declaration of Rights in Williamsburg, Virginia, which the Bill of Rights was based off of, and voted against the adoption of the United States Constitution, because it did not consist a Bill of Rights.

Wedding portait of Anna Eilbeck Mason at Gunston Hall.

George Mason IV, had twelve children with his first wife Anna Eilbeck Mason. Philip Andrew Hamilton is related to George Mason IV’s son William Mason, whom served in the Fairfax Militia that his father formed and led.

George Mason IV, Anna Eilbeck Mason, and other members of the Mason family are buried within a brick wall, inside a wooded area, walking distance from Gunston Hall.

Author’s Note:

The author Philip Andrew Hamilton and his identical twin brother Jeffrey Patrick Hamilton were both born on the year that the Bicentiennial of the United States Constitution was being celebrated. However, that year many with a critical eye of our nation’s history, such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall did not believe it was appropriate to celebrate the Constitution since it took so long for all Americans to obtain voting rights.

Philip Andrew Hamilton, along with five of his siblings, went to George Mason University; a former University of Virginia institution named after George Mason IV. While at the University, Philip Andrew Hamilton studied Constitutional Legal Issues, Contract Law, Family Law, Business Law, and obtained a Paralegal Certification.

In addition to adding the Bill of Rights, George Mason IV particularly supported adding Article V of the United States Constitution which allows for a, “Convention of States”:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate”.

George Mason IV supported this measure to allow a majority of states to exert power over the federal government. Philip Andrew Hamilton supports having state legislators evoke Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of having term limits for U.S. Congress members and U.S. Senators, and for other measures.

Baltimore, Maryland

A Pro-Confederate Riot Near The Jones Falls Bridge In Baltimore, Maryland Causes The First Loss Of Life In The U.S. Civil War

On April 19, 1861, Confederate sympathizers, in Baltimore, Maryland, launched an attack on the 8th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment while the troops were changing trains. A week after the attack on Fort Sumter, this attack by “Pro-Confederate Rioters” resulted in the first loss of life during the United States Civil War.

Monument Avenue

The Robert Edward Lee Statute And The Changes To Monument Avenue In 2020

On May 25, 2020, after the death of George Floyd by the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, groups such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and various other political groups actively called for the removal of Confederate monuments, and other historical monuments, throughout the United States. Richmond, Virginia, one of the three former Confederate capitals for the Confederate States of America, had large monuments dedicated to Jefferson Davis, General Robert Edward Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson on it’s street Monument Avenue. All of the Confederate statutes, except for the one of General Robert Edward Lee, which is on land owned by a descendent of Lee, was removed in 2020. Only the foundations of those monuments remain.

Edgar Allen Poe, Francis Gary Powers, Junior

My Visit To The Edgar Allen Poe Musuem With Francis Gary Powers, Junior

On December 9, 2020, Philip Andrew Hamilton went on a tour of the Edgar Allen Poe Musuem with Francis Gary Powers, Junior; the founder of the Cold War Musuem of Warrenton, Virginia, a aboard member of the Strategic Air Command And Aerospace Musuem in Nebraska, an honorary board member of the International Spy Musuem and the author of two books.

Lexington, Virginia

December 7, 2020 – The Virginia Military Institute Removed The Stonewall Jackson Statute On The Anniversary Of Pearl Harbor

Crane removing the statute of Stonewall Jackson from the grounds of the Virginia Military Institute on Monday December 7, 2020.

On October 4, 2020, I visited the George C. Marshall Center, the Stonewall Jackson House, the Virginia Military Institute, the chapel where General Robert Edward Lee used to attend within the Washington and Lee University, in addition to the gravesite of Stonewall Jackson in Lexington, Virginia.

On December 7, 2020, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Stonewall Jackson statute in front of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which was sculpted by a former VMI Cadet Moses Jacob Ezekiel, was removed and relocated the the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Members of the public, at large, seem to have forgotten that Stonewall Jackson was a unionist before the war began and that he stopped cadets at the institute from firing their weapons on pro-Union protestors within the town of Lexington. Union colonel Robert Edward Lee was offered, by President Abraham Lincoln, to have control of the entire Union army after the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. However, Robert Edward Lee declined that position, before resigning his commission with the U.S. Army because, because he believed, as thousands of others did, that his state was his “country”. Members of the public tend to forget that those who were pro-Union, before Virginia’s vote to secede, took arms against the union because they did not want to take arms against their fellow friends, family and neighbors within their own state.

We need to remember that history was not so black and white and the removal of historical statutes in public spaces is a huge disservice to that discussion, that could be had, with future generations of individuals seeking to learn the, “good, the bad and the ugly” within our national history.

Philip Andrew Hamilton by the Stonewall Jackson on October 4, 2020.

Author’s Note:

The board at VMI is considering realigning the George C. Meade statute to the center front, of the barracks, where the Stonewall Jackson statute used to stand.