For the Love of Virginia – Part 1

Every man carries within him a world which is composed of all that he has seen and loved, and to which he consistently returns, even when he is traveling through, and seems to be living in, some different world.”   Chateaubriand 1803

Several years ago my son asked me to help him prepare a report on his ancestors and the countries (perhaps England, Scotland, France or Italy) in which they once lived.  I started to explain to him about all the different nationalities in our family tree, but stopped short, realizing that it would be easier, and more meaningful, to have him tell about his Virginia ancestry. Both sides of my family trace to individuals who settled on the Virginia frontier well before the Revolutionary War.  I realized I could tell David how my father’s forebears emigrated to southwestern Virginia from New York, and my mother’s from Philadelphia (arriving in the Virginia wilderness with Col. Patton in 1748.)

I chose to tell David all about my mother’s ancestor, Mary Draper Ingles, and her remarkable story.  She and her two children were captured by the Shawnee Indians in 1753 [1755] and taken to a village near present-day Cincinnati.  Mary gave birth to a baby girl during the journey westward and won the respect of the Indians through her courage and intelligence.  About six weeks later she escaped from the Indians, leaving her infant and her two boys behind, and walked back to Virginia through the forest, accompanied by a German woman (who had been captured in Pennsylvania).  Starving and exhausted, Mary reached a neighbor’s cabin about 20 miles from her home (Drapers Meadows – in present day Blacksburg).

She survived, was reunited with her husband, bore four more children and lived to be a great-grandmother.  Her infant and her youngest son died in captivity.  Her oldest son, Thomas, grew up among the Indians, but, at seventeen, was brought back, perhaps against his will, to his family in Virginia, after his father had spent years bartering and negotiating for his return.

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For the Love of History

As part of our VA History Exchange we are starting this new blog, and in it we will be sharing various articles we have written and information about new and exciting projects that we are working on.  As a way to get our blog started, I wanted to share with you why the VA History exchange was founded, and why we work hard to keep history alive.

The following was written by Ellen Apperson Brown, the founder of the VA History Exchange.

“History is important to me.  I am curious to know, not just the names and vital statistics of my ancestors, but of their stories.  I read a book once which made the statement ‘there are voices in your blood,’and I am becoming convinced that it is true.  As I read old letters, visit places where my family has lived, and consider the real people who emerge, I am enriched and encouraged.  My sense of family identity and of rootedness – to places and to traditions – is cultivated and enlarged. This VA History Exchange is a way for me to celebrate and memorialize the lives of individuals who are significant to me, and to help others in their quest to discover the truth about the voices in their blood.  I suspect the VA History Exchange fits into the newer style of historical writing which examines and respects the experiences of individuals, finding as much worth in the private and personal as in the public records of global events.  My focus for the VA History Exchange is to promote projects that offer “just” a glimpse of the people in my family and the families of others who have influenced us, and our world, and for a moment, ever so brief to allow history to have a voice and come to life.”

Join us the next few weeks, as publish a series of blogs on the Essay written by Ellen Apperson Brown entitled “For the Love of Virginia”.  We hope you will visit our blog regularly, or subscribe to our blog via email so you can stay informed about all of our latest projects and events.  We are very excited about the future of the VA History Exchange, and we hope you will be a part of it !

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Welcome to our New Blog

Art by Kara Duffus

Art by Kara Duffus

Welcome to the VA History Exchange’s new Blog Page !  We are excited to be starting this blog, and have great plans for all of the things we can accoplish with a new blog on our website.

We plan to publish many of our own articles that have already been published in other places so we can keep all or our work in one centralized location. We also plan to publish articles by historians and journalists, and we hope to have community content as well.   Our dreams and hopes for this blog are endless.  We hope you will follow along as our new blog develops, and give us your thougths and input.

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