Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe, Virginia State Penitentiary

The Virginia State Penitentiary That Held Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr While He Was Awaiting Trial For Treason

In 1796, the Virginia General Assembly appropriated taxpayer dollars for the construction of a new Virginia State Penitentiary. Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe, who later hired by U.S. President Thomas Jefferson to become a ”Surveyor of Public Buildings” and the second architect for the United States Capital, took on the role of primary architect for the new penitentiary.

Portrait of the British neoclassical architect Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe.

In 1807, seven years after the opening of the penitentiary, United States President Thomas Jefferson accused the former United States Vice President Aaron Burr, whom had served under his first term as President, with treason. Aaron Burr was alleged to have spent time traveling in the western parts of the United States to devise a plan to seize land in Mexico, for the purpose of provoking a war a foreign nation, so that his followers would take up arms against the United States. Ultimately, Aaron Burr was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, within the area of the future states of Alabama, while he was with sixty of his followers attempting to travel to New Orleans. Aaron Burr was moved to the Virginia State Penitentiary while awaiting his federal court case.

The court case turned into a showdown between United States President Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and United States Supreme Court Justice John Marshall. However, on September 1st, 1807, Aaron Burr was acquitted of all charges of treason.

Albemarle County, Virginia, Brown’s Cove, Virginia

The Seven Sons Of Benjamin Brown, Senior Whom Served As Revolutionary War Patriots

Benjamin Brown, Senior and his eldest son patented land before and after the creation of Louisa County Virginia. In 1750, after the creation of Albemarle County, King George II of England granted Benjamin Brown, Senior land east and west of the Doyles River. Benjamin Brown and his wife Sara Brown became the founders of Brown’s Cove, Virginia and an area along the foothills of the Shendoah Mountains.

The Brown’s Cove Patriots Historical Marker is dedicated to the seven sons of Benjamin Brown, Senior, who all served during the course of the American Revolution against Britain. The historical maker is located off of Blackwell Hollows Road in Brown’s Cove, next to the Doyles River, in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Charlottesville General Hospital, Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, Charlottesville, Virginia, Fluvanna County, Virginia, General John Hartwell Cocke

The Charlottesville African Church Congregation Held Meetings In The Delevan Building That Was Constructed By War Of 1812 Veteran General John Hartwell Cocke

In 1828, General John Hartfield Cocke, a War of 1812 Veteran who was a friend of then deceased United States President Thomas Jefferson, built the Delevan building, which was also known as “Mudwall”, in Charlottesville, Virginia. That same year General Cocke was also building a new Fluvanna County Courthouse and a stone jail, currently called the “Old Stone Jail” in Palmyra, Virginia.

Sketch of the University of Virginia’s anatomical theater in the foreground. In addition to General Cocke’s Delevan building, and various other local buildings, both the theatre and the Rotundra were part of the the Charlottesville General Hospital.

During the United States Civil War, also referred to as the “War Between the States”, the Delevan building became part of Charlottesville General Hospital, that the Confederate government established after the Battle of First Manassas. In addition, the Albemarle Courthouse, the Charlottesville Townhall, the anatomical theatre and the Rotundra at the University of Virginia, various homes and hotels were all part of the makeshift Charlottesville General Hospital. After the Battle of First Manassas, the Delevan Hospital, also called the Mudwall Hospital, received the first wounded troops from a nearby Virginia Center Railroad station. On March 3rd, 1865, Union General Philip Henry Sheridan, and his calvary, occupied the town of Charlottesville. At the time, the Charlottesville mayor, Charlottesville town council members and University of Virginia professors asked the Union for protection as the Charlottesville General Hospital fell under Union control. During the occupation, the Union accidently burnt down a textile mill, owned by the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, while attempting to burn down a Virginia Center Railroad trestle in the Woolen Mills District. However, no other buildings were burnt down, during the occupation, and General George Armstrong Custer temporarily in a Charlottesville historic home called, “The Farm”.

In 1864, before the Union occupation of Charlottesville, the Charlottesville African Church Congregation was organized. In 1868, that congregation bought the property, where the Delevan Hospital had once stood, in order to erect a house of worship. In 1877 construction began on the Delevan Baptist Church, which was also known as the First Baptist Church. In 1883, construction of the baptist church was completed and it has been a place for Christians to worship ever since.

Author’s Note:

A historical marker for the Charlottesville General Hospital is posted on the grounds of the University of Virginia, in an area formerly known as Monument Square, next to where the George Roger’s Clark Monument used to be until the university relocated that historical statue to storage on July 11th, 2021.

Charlottesville, Virginia, John West

John West – A Former Slave, Barber, And Property Holder Who Lobbied The Charlottesville City Council To Create The Jefferson High School

John West, a former slave who later worked as a barber, was a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia. As a member of the Four Hundreds Club, John West and others would purchase plots of land in Charlottesville for $400. As a property owner, John West lobbied the Charlottesville City Council to create a high school for Black children. The City Council eventually agreed to fund to create a new school, which is presently called the Jefferson High School.

Brooklyn, New York, Charlottesville, Virginia, Harold Warren Billings

Artist Harold Warren Billings’s Grand Three Piece Mural Of Charlottesville, Virginia

In 1896, artist Harold Warren Billing was born in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout his life he crafted various murals of landscapes in both the states of New York and in Virginia.

Harold Warren Billing created a mural of Charlottesville with one piece dedicated to the local mountain scapes, another to the view of the city from afar, and his last piece the view of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello from the mountains. In 1955, Harold Warren Billing’s three piece mural of Charlottesville was donated by Mrs. Inez Duff Bishop.

Charlottesville, Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe, Fort Monroe

Edgar Allan Poe’s Brief Tenure At The University Of Virginia

On Saint Valentine’s Day, in 1826, Edgar Allan Poe registered to attend undergraduate classes, in Ancient and Modern Languages, at the University of Virginia. As a student he wrote the short story, “A Tale Of The Ragged Mountains”, which was about his prospective of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Charlottesville. John Allan, his adoptive father, refused to pay any of the debts that Edgar Allan Poe accumulated while pursuing higher education. Therefore, Edgar Allan Poe dropped out of the prestigious school, after a single semester, due to not having the funds to continue his enrollment.

Author’s Note:

A mere two years after Edgar Allen Poe dropped out of the University of Virginia, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Monroe, a military installation named after President James Monroe.

Charlottesville, Virginia, The Rotunda at the University of Virginia

Thomas Jefferson’s Rotundra At The University Of Virginia

Former United States President Thomas Jefferson designed a Rotundra, which was structurally based on the ancient Greek Pantheon, to be built on the lawn of the University of Virginia that he founded in 1819. Construction of the Rotundra began in 1822 and it was not completed until two years after Thomas Jefferson’s death in 1828. The Rotundra was the last of the original buildings to be built on the lawn, in an area which Jefferson deemed to the “Academical Village”.

Agricultural Society of Albemarle, Albemarle County, Virginia, American Colonization Society, Brigadier General John Hartwell Cocke II, Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis, Elizabeth Kennon Cocke, Fluvanna, Virginia, Historic Fluvanna Courthouse, John Hartwell Cocke

The Historic Fluvanna Courthouse – Designed And Built By President Thomas Jefferson’s Friend Brigadier General John Hartwell Cocke II

Brigadier General John Hartwell Cocke II led four Virginia Brigades against the British during the War of 1812, a conflict that some call the “Second American Revolution”. After the war, General Cocke joined former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the founding of the University of Virginia in 1819. The general would serve on the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors until 1856.

Two years after the death of General Cocke’s friend Thomas Jefferson, he embarked on the designing and the construction of the Fluvanna County Courthouse and of a jailhouse, which is presently known as the “Old Stone Jail”. Both structures were built in Palmyra, a town in Fluvanna County named after King Solomon’s former trading post.

Author’s Note:

Brigadier General John Hartwell Cocke II, whom was born in Surry County, Virginia, attended school at William and Mary, where he empathized with abolitionist views from the abolitionist minded faculty on campus. In 1800, General Cocke ran for the Virginia House of Delegates and lost, never to run for that seat again. General Cocke lived in Surry County until he moved to the Bremo estate, in Fluvanna County, in 1809. On May 5th, 1817, General Cocke founded the Agricultural Society of Albemarle and devoted time towards educating the African American slaves that he inherited from his father John Hartwell Cocke and his mother Elizabeth Kennon Cocke. General Cocke became an official of the American Colonization Society, which sought to resettle freed black slaves and manumitted slaves to the African country of Liberia, and he joined the Virginia Society for the Promotion of Temperance. Soon after joining the Virginia Society for the Promotion of Temperance, he became the Vice President in 1826 and the President of that organization in 1830. As a devout Christian, not only did he not consume alcohol, he never sought ownership of any tobacco crops, despite the popularity of tobacco in the Commonwealth. Later in life his abolitionist views, which he acquired at William and Mary, subsided and he turned more into an anti-abolitionist by siding with the Confederacy during the start of the U.S. Civil War.

General Cocke had three sons, one of whom was named Philip Saint George Cocke. Philip Cocke was born in 1809, in Surry County, and attended the University of Virginia from the years of 1825 and 1827 to 1828. On July 1st, 1828, Philip Cocke entered the United States Military. In 1832, after graduating from the United States Military Academy, Philip Cocke served in Charleston, South Carolina as a second lieutenant of artillery, for the U.S. Army, during the South Carolina Nullification Crisis. On April 1st, 1834, Philip Cocke resigned his military commission so that he could marry Sally Elizabeth Courtney Bowdoin. From 1853 to 1856, Philip Cocke served as president of the Agriculture Society to Albemarle, that his father has once served as president for. In 1860, in response to John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry the year prior, Philips Cocke organized a calvary troop and the year after he joined the Confederate army. Upon joining the Virginia volunteers for the Confederate cause, his rank was reduced from Brigadier General to Colonel. During the Battle of First Manassas, which was called the First Battle of Bull Run by the Union Army, Philip Cocke commanded the fifth brigade of Confederate Virginia volunteers, as U.S. Senators, Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis. and others were looking on as spectators. Months after the battle, Philip Cocke resigned from the Confederate army, due to physical disability and nervous prostration, and committed suicide in December 26th, 1861.

The Albert and Shirley Hall Small Collections Library contains the John Hartwell Cocke Papers, the Cocke Family Papers at the University of Virginia, and other resources for researchers to review.

Amherst County, Virginia, William Harris Crawford

William Harris Crawford – A 1824 United States Presidential Candidate Who Was Born in Amherst County, Virginia

William Harris Crawford, who was born in Amherst County, Virginia, ended up residing in Georgia early in his life. Crawford served as the Secretary of War and as the Secretary of the Treasury for the United States before running for the office of United States President, as a Democrat, in 1824.

Charlottesville, Virginia, Nicholas Meriwether II

The Maplewood Cemetery – Charlottesville, Virginia’s Oldest Public Cemetery And The Gravesite Of Philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire

In 1827, a year after the passing of President Thomas Jefferson, the Maplewood Cemetery was established within a plot of land granted to Nicholas Meriwether II, by King George II, in 1725. War of 1812 veterans, Confederate veterans, Spanish American War veterans, Philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire, former slave and Civil Rights activist Fairfax Taylor, and many other members of the Charlottesville community are buried within the grounds of the Maplewood Cemetery.

Author’s Note:

In 1735, Nicholas Meriwether II added used part of his land grant, which he added 1,900 acres to, for the foundation for “The Farm”.

Albemarle County, Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States Army

The United States Bicentennial Markers At The Piedmont Virginia Community College In Albemarle County

While visiting the Piedmont Virginia Community College, I got to see a “Vanguard of Freedom Historical Marker” that was erected, in honor of the United States Army in 1975, on the campus grounds during the United States Bicentennial. The plaque, near the foothill within the college’s entrance, discusses Revolutionary War Patriots, Thomas Jefferson’s friends Captain Meriwether Lewis, whose relative Phil Anderson still lives in Charlottesville, and Lieutenant William Clark, President Zachary Taylor, Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert Edward Lee, Confederate Colonel John Mosby, the Confederate soldiers, from Albemarle County, who served in Gettysburg during Pickett’s Charge, Charlottesville author Stephen McDowell is related to one of the few Albemarle County Confederates who survived Pickett’s Charge, Union General Winfield Scott, who was a native Virginian, Virginia Spanish American War veterans, Virginian World War I and World War II veterans.

Next to the “Vanguard of Freedom Historical Marker” is a secondary marker, attributed to the United States Bicentennial, which is dedicated to the Irishmen and Irishwomen who settled in Virginia and in other parts of the United States of America.

Edward Virginius Valentine, General Robert Edward Lee, Lexington, Virginia

The Transportation Of Edward Virginius Valentine’s “Sleeping” General Robert Edward Lee Statue To The Washington And Lee College

In 1875, two Richmond College literary societies, Mu Sigma Rho and Philologian, paid for the expenses related to transporting the General Robert Edward Lee statue, created by sculptor Edward Virginius Valentine, to the Washington and Lee College in Lexington, Virginia.

In return for paying for the travel expenses, associated with transporting the General Lee statue via rail to Lynchburg and via canal boat to Lexington, the members of both literary societies requested that the students, within their organizations, be the escorts for the General Lee statue that was being transported to the North Dormitory of the Washington and Lee College.

At the time General Robert Edward Lee’s son Custis Lee was president of the Washington and Lee College, and the statue of the “Sleeping General” was kept at the North Dormitory until a mausoleum could be constructed at the Lee Chapel.

“My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor indisposed me to serve them; nor in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or of the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future.

The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we only see the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope”.

– General Robert Edward Lee

Virginia War Museum

The Replica Of The “T1 240mm Gun” At The “Virginia War Museum” In Newport News

Next to one of the signs for the “Virginia War Museum” is one of the “T1 240mm Guns” that the U.S. Army began developing towards the end of World War II. In 1953, this massive artillery piece was utilized to test fire nuclear artillery rounds in the Nevada Desert, two years before the construction of a top secret installation, commonly known as Area 51.

In the 1970s, the U.S. Army transferred ownership of this “to scale prototype” of a nuclear weapon, that President Eisenhower considered deploying against Chinese and North Korean forces during the Korean War, to the Virginia War Musuem, an institution that will be celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary in 2023.

Albemarle County, Albemarle County, Virginia, Confederate Captain Marcellus Newton Moorman, General George Armstrong Custer, Jefferson Finis Davis, Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, Stuart Horse Artillery

February 29th, 1864 – General George Armstrong Custer Leads A Calvary Charge At Rio Hill

On February 29th, 1864, General George Armstrong Custer led about 1,500 Union calvary members into Albemarle County, Virginia, for a diversionary raid, at Rio Hill, that was to pull Confederate troops away from the forces defending the outskirts of Richmond. As General Custer’s raid was occurring, Kilpatrick and Dahlgren were conducting a series of raids, outside of Richmond, in an attempt to liberate Union soldiers from the Libby Prison and to attempt to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis.

General Custer’s men destroyed the winter camp of the Stuart Horse Artillery. In response, about 200 Confederates, under the leadership of Captain Marcellus Newton Moorman, rallied for a counter attack against General Custer’s calvary forces. Since the diversion was successful, instead of continuing the engagement, General Custer had his men withdraw from skirmish in Albemarle County.

After the end of General Custer’s raid, what became known as the “Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid” ended up becoming an abject failure, since no one was liberated at Libby Prison and no assassination attempt was made on President Davis.

General Robert Edward Lee, Hampshire County, Virginia, Hardy County, Virginia, Henry Lee III, Light-Horse Harry, Lost River State Park, William Edward West

The West Virginia Summer House Of Former Virginia Governor Henry Lee III – General Robert Edward Lee’s Father

Henry Lee III served in the American Revolutionary War, as a member of the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788, the Virginia House of Delegates, three one year terms as a Virginia Governor, under the Federalist Party, and was appointed by President George Washington, as a U.S. Army Major General, to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. On December 26th, 1799, Henry Lee III spoke at George Washington’s funeral in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania where he famously stated, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen”. Soon after the first U.S. President’s death, in 1800, Henry Lee III had a summer home built in Hardy County, Virginia, a county that on December 10th, 1785, was formed by the Virginia General Assembly from parts of Hampshire County. From 1808 to 1809, Henry Lee III was imprisoned for unpaid debts. During that time he wrote the book about the American Revolutionary War, which was titled, “Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States”.

Artist William Edward West created this posthumous portrait of Virginia Governor Henry Lee III.

Presently, the historical house, of the Lee family, is situated within the “Lost River State Park” in Mathias, West Virginia. The house operates as the “Lee House Museum”, also known as the “Lee Cabin Museum”.

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First Seminole War, Joe Knetsch

A Summary Of Joe Knetsch’s Book “Flordia’s Seminole Wars 1817 – 1858”

On Christmas Day I finished reading author Joe Knetsch’s book “Flordia’s Seminole Wars 1817 – 1858”.

The First Seminole War was faught under the leadership of General Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812. In 1817, Native Americans, within the Spanish ruled colony of Flordia, were crossing the border attacking settlers in the state of Georgia. The Spanish provided aid to Seminoles, and other Native American tribes, that were responsible for the attacks. Later, General Jackson found two British men, including one British Marine, who was providing aid to the Seminoles. General Jackson had both men hung, thus risking another conflict with Britain. Later in the war, without Congressional approval, Jackson invaded the Spanish Colony, took over multiple Spanish Forts to stop the trade of arms to the Seminoles, and installed a military Govenor of Flordia. The main consequence of this war was Spain’s decision to sell Flordia to the United States, rather then defending their colony from foreign intrusion. Many wanted the Seminoles to move westward, but a tentative peace was achieved while allowing the Seminoles to remain in Flordia.

The Second Seminole War, which lasted from, Dec 23, 1835 until Aug 14, 1842, while lacking the involvement of the British, was a more complicated affair. The American Navy conducted regular patrols around the Everglades to present the Spanish, in Cuba, from trading with the Seminoles that were attacking and killing settlers in southern and northern Flordia. There were various additional Native American tribes, such as the Creeks and the Miccosukees, whom were involved in this conflict. The Army compelled the Seminoles to abide by a treaty, that yhe U.S. Senate ratified, which mandated that the Seminoles move westward and to not have the free Blacks, some of which were escaped slaves whom were living among the tribes, move with them. A major reason why the second Seminole War dragged on for seven years was not just the ability of the Seminoles to slip away into the swamps, after engaging in guerrilla warfare, or the difficulty of sending the necessary supplies for soldiers stationed at U.S. Army forts that were surrounded by marshes and swamps, but due to the unwillingness of the Secretary of War, and other political leaders, to allow the freed blacks and former slaves to live with the Seminoles. A temporary peace was negotiated, but when Seminoles attacked and killed multiple settlers Flordia politicians encouraged the United States Congress to pass, which historians consider as the predecessor to the “Homestead Act of 1862”, which was the “Armed Occupation Act of 1842”. This law allowed for rations for settlers whom returned to their properties, that Native Americans had driven them away from, and provided free land for settlers who chose to settle as long as they were armed and proved that they could protect their own property. However, while this law was passed in Congress, the continual funding of the war ignited a debate between Democratic and Whig party members over abolition and slavery, some believed that the war was supporting the institution of slavery by seeking the apprehension of escaped slaves living along the Seminoles. During the Second Seminole War Winfield Scott, later a prominent Union leader in the U.S. Civil War, and Colonel Zachary Taylor, who would later be a hero of the Mexican American War and a future U.S. President, were leading some of the U.S. Army forces. While hundreds is Seminole warriors were killed in the second war, there were still a remainder of natives in the Everglades and other parts of southern Flordia.

Another period of peace, which almost led to war again after various attacks led to the deaths of various other settlers. Many Flordian settlers wanted another war because they wanted the remainder of the Seminoles removed from Flordia. Under pressure from politicians, and the settlers that influenced them, the U.S. Army increased it’s patrols of the Everglades and surveyors came out to plot lands for new settlers that were to arrive near the native territories. On December 20th, 1855, Seminoles had already seen growing evidence that they would eventually be driven out of their lands, by new settlers, so they went on the offensive, by attacking Lieutenant George Lucas Hartstuff’s command, which lead to the start of the Third Seminole War. The last Seminole War, which started as Jefferson Davis was ending his term as Secretary of War, did not consist of large battles between hundreds of soldiers and native warriors, like the previous two conflicts, but rather it was a war of attrition. A summer campaign, which was a continuation of Windfield Scott’s strategy in the Second Seminole War, involved soldiers burning down dens, villages, and food storages that the Seminoles had scattered across the Everglades. Many Seminoles, after losing their supplies of food, raised the white flag of surrender and after three years Seminoles, including their leader Billy Bowlegs, were sent westward out of their native lands. In fact, the last of the Seminole Wars was described by Doctor James Covington as “Billy Bowlegs War”.

Fort Pulaski, General Robert Edward Lee, Joseph King Fenno Mansfield, Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron

Fort Pulaski – Named After A Revolutionary War Hero And Constructed Under The Leadership Of Army Engineers Robert Edward Lee And Joseph King Fenno Mansfield

Fort Pulaski, located in the Cockspur Island in Georgia, is named after an American Revolutionary War Hero, Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron, who died at the Battle of Savannah on October 9th, 1779. In 1829, Robert Edward Lee, who recently graduated from West Point, was assigned to work as the assistant engineer for the construction of Fort Pulaski. Lee worked on the preliminary construction of the fort until 1831, the same year that he married Mary Custis, when Joseph King Fenno Mansfield, the Second Lieutenant of the Army Corps of Engineers in charge of building southern coastal defenses, took over the construction efforts. Mansfield oversaw the construction of Fort Pulaski, which was designed to mount 146 cannons, until its completion in 1847.

Author’s Note:

The year before Fort Pulaski was completed, Captain Robert Edward Lee was sent to fight in the Siege of Vera Cruz, during the start of the Mexican-American War, where Lee was frequently engaged in reconnaissance behind enemy lines and where he saved a wounded Mexican drummer boy who was trapped under the weight of a dying Mexican soldier.

During the Mexican-American War, Joseph King Fenno Mansfield served as the chief engineer for General Zachary Taylor, a future United States President. Mansfield was promoted to major for his service at Fort Brown, Texas. Later in the war, Mansfield was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel after he was wounded in his leg at the Battle of Monterey and he received a third promotion to Colonel after his service at the Battle of Buena Vista.

Photograph of Joseph King Fenno Mansfield during the United States Civil War.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Dorothy Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward, Farmville, Virginia

The Prince Edward County Courthouse – The Site Of A Virginia Court Case That Was Part Of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

In 1939, the most recent version of the Prince Edward County Courthouse was built to replace another courthouse that was built in the 1870s.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the segregated schools for blacks were experiencing overcrowding in Prince Edward County, Virginia. In response, Barbara Jones, a student from the Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, organized a student strike on April 23, 1951, which lasted for four weeks. The Prince Edward County School Board, in spite of the strike, refused to consider building a new school for the black students. Attorney Oliver Hill and Attorney Spottswood W. Robinson III met with the parents of the students and agreed to represent them if they would agree to ask for the abolition of segregation, in addition to the creation of equal facilities. On May 23, 1951, attorney Spottswood W. Robinson III completed and filed, with the Prince Edward County Clerk of Court, the case Dorothy Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward, a court case was later incorporated into the United State Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling.

In 1959, five years after the Brown ruling, the Edward County Board of Supervisors, voted to shut down all of the existing public schools in the county. This resulted in fences and “no trespassing” signs being erected around all of the local public schools. During the period of “mass resistance” to integration between blacks and whites in public schools, the courthouse was the location of legal battles, which were supported by the NAACP and other groups, that were against the public school closures.

Gunston Hall, Lorton, Virginia

October 3rd, 1987 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Speaks At Gunston Hall

Portrait of Justice Sandra Day O’Conner which is located in the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

On October 3rd, 1987, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor gave a speech about the lasting legacy of my relative George Mason IV, on the grounds of Gunston Hall in Lorton, Virginia.

In 2006, Justice O’Connor retired from the U.S. Supreme Court to tend for her husband, whom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.