Presentation Marks 289th Anniversary of Carter Emancipator

January 2017

Historic Christ Church & Museum presents “The Life and Times of Robert Carter III” on Thursday, February 9, at 7:00 p.m. The event marks the 289th anniversary of the birth of Robert Carter III. In 1791 Carter presented to the Northumberland District Court a Deed of Emancipation that provided for the gradual manumission of over 500 enslaved persons, likely the largest individual emancipation in the United States before the Civil War. 

Education Director & Curator Robert Teagle will trace Carter’s extraordinary life in a slideshow presentation that begins at 7:00 p.m. From 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Historic Christ Church & Museum invites visitors to tour the exhibition Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Emancipation. There is no admission charge for the exhibition or the talk.

Born February 9, 1728, Carter was the grandson of Virginia’s largest tobacco planter, Robert “King” Carter. Robert III settled at Nomini Hall in Westmoreland County and operated fifteen other plantations in the Shenandoah and Tidewater. In 1791 some 511 enslaved men, women and children lived on these properties.

After a spiritual experience, Carter began worshipping and taking communion with his enslaved people, like valet-barber Sam Harrison and laundry maid Sarah Johnson. On September 5, 1791, he filed a deed where he declared that he had “for some Time past been convinced that to retain them in Slavery is contrary to the true Principles of Religion and Justice, and that therefor it was my Duty to manumit them.”  

Carter’s deed freed people gradually according to age. Despite challenges from Carter’s children as well as his neighbors, the document held up. Several decades after his death in 1804, his executors were still carrying out manumissions. Thousands of people in Virginia and other states trace their ancestry to the more than 500 individuals ultimately emancipated by Carter’s deed.

 

New York Times Best-Selling Author Headlines Virginia's Gardens Lecture Series

January 2017

New York Times best-selling author Andrea Wulf and three other internationally acclaimed historians will explore the theme of “Virginia’s Gardens: Past & Present” at Historic Christ Church & Museum’s 2017 Sunday Lecture Series.

Local favorite and renowned daffodil expert Brent Heath kicks the series off on February 26 with “Heirloom Bulbs for Restoration Gardens.” A third-generation bulb grower, Heath is one of the world’s leading authorities on daffodils. Heath will share the history of different bulbs ranging from 50 to 500 years old and show how to use them in restoration projects like colonial landscapes or family gardens. He will highlight the different colors, seasons, heights, shapes and sizes that these historic bulbs offer.

On March 19, Peter Hatch’s “Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden” will explore the innovative garden and cuisine Jefferson created at his 1,000-foot-long terraced vegetable garden at Monticello. A celebrated author and professional gardener who served as Monticello’s Director of Gardens and Grounds for 35 years, Hatch calls Jefferson’s garden “an experimental laboratory, an Ellis Island of new and unusual vegetable novelties from around the globe.” Hatch will examine some of the 330 vegetable and 170 fruit varieties Jefferson cultivated and his role in supporting farmer’s markets and promoting vegetable cookery and their inspiration for today's farm to table movement.

The series continues April 2 with Mount Vernon Associate Curator Adam Erby as he brings to life “The General in the Garden: George Washington’s Landscape at Mount Vernon.” Erby will describe Washington’s design efforts in the years between the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, showing how Washington drew on British designs but adapted them to his own circumstances to create a truly American landscape. Erby will also highlight the groundbreaking archaeological and scientific analysis Mount Vernon is using to restore the landscape and gardens to their appearance in 1799, the year Washington died.

New York Times best-selling author Andrea Wulf concludes the series on April 23 with “Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation.” Wulf’s beautifully illustrated talk investigates the lives of the founding fathers and how their attitudes to plants, gardens, nature and agriculture shaped the new American nation they were creating. In a unique retelling of the creation of America, award-winning historian Wulf will show how plants, politics and personalities intertwined as never before.

All presentations are Sundays at 2:00 p.m. at Historic Christ Church & Museum, 420 Christ Church Road in Weems. Each presentation includes an illustrated slideshow followed by a book signing and wine and cheese reception with the author. Tickets are $125.00 for the four-part series or $35.00 for each individual presentation; each presenter will have copies of his/her book for sale as well. Tickets are limited and may be purchased at https://christchurch1735.ticketleap.com/2017-sunday-lecture-series/ or by calling HCC&M at 804-438-2441. All proceeds benefit preservation and education programs at Christ Church (1735), a National Historic Landmark.

 

Chesapeake Chorale and Christchurch School Cantorion to Perform at The Holly & The Ivy

November 2016

The Chesapeake Chorale and the Christchurch School Cantorion will perform at the Foundation for Historic Christ Church’s “The Holly & The Ivy” on Monday, December 5 at 3:30 p.m. The community is invited to join in this annual caroling program at the 1735 church located at 420 Christ Church Road in Weems.

Directed by Dr. Cheryl Brown Davis, the Chesapeake Chorale will sing traditional carols like the Irish tune “Love Came Down at Christmas” and the Scottish favorite “Auld Lang Syne,” among others. The Christchurch School Cantorion, directed by Mark Parsons, will perform the 16th-century Spanish carol “Riu, Riu Chiu” as well as “Ding, Dong, Merrily On High” and other Christmas favorites.

There will also be a number of Christmas carols for the audience to sing, including “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Joy to the World.” Denise Cromer will accompany both groups on the church organ, and Historic Christ Church & Museum volunteer Ersel Buckley-Sharp will act as Mistress of Ceremonies. The church will be “greened” for the season by HCC&M volunteers the week before.

Admission to “The Holly & The Ivy” is two nonperishable goods to be donated to the Northern Neck Food Bank. One of the food bank’s trucks will be at the church to receive donations as people arrive for the carol sing.

Following the caroling there will be refreshments served in the Bayne Center, adjacent to the church. For more information, visit christchurch1735.org or contact the Foundation office at 804-438-6855.

 

The Holly & The Ivy Welcomes in the Season at Historic Christ Church & Museum

November 2016

The Foundation for Historic Christ Church invites the community to join its annual “The Holly & The Ivy,” a popular caroling program at Robert “King” Carter’s 1735 Christ Church in Weems, on December 5 at 3:30 p.m. The event began in 2002 as a carol sing for volunteers. In 2007 the program was expanded to include both the community and instrumental and choral groups. This year The Chesapeake Chorale, led by Dr. Cheryl Brown Davis, and members of the Christchurch School Cantorion, led by Mark Parsons, will welcome in the holiday season. Denise Cromer will accompany both groups on the church organ. Historic Christ Church & Museum volunteer Ersel Buckley-Sharp will act as Mistress of Ceremonies.

According to Marilyn Hedges, publicity chair, the selection of carols range from well-known, traditional carols that the audience can join in singing to less familiar songs that range from the 13th century to the Renaissance, to familiar and not so familiar carols from the 20th century, and from both European and American composers. Hedges also noted that the church will be “greened” for the season by Historic Christ Church & Museum volunteers the week before.

Members of the Christchurch School choir will enter the church singing the 16th-century Spanish carol, “Riu, Riu Chiu.” The Chesapeake Chorale will follow with “Love Came Down at Christmas,” a traditional Irish carol. The audience will have opportunities to lift their voices in song to such favorites as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Joy to the World,” among others. The carol sing will conclude with the Christchurch School Cantorion singing “Ding, Dong, Merrily On High” and The Chesapeake Chorale performing “Hallelujah Chorus” by Handel and the traditional Scottish carol “Auld Lang Syne.”

Admission to “The Holly & The Ivy” is two nonperishable goods to be donated to the Northern Neck Food Bank. One of the food bank’s trucks will be at the church to receive donations as people arrive for the carol sing.

Following the caroling there will be refreshments served in the Bayne Center, adjacent to the church. For more information, visit christchurch1735.org or contact the Foundation office at 804-438-6855.

 

Emancipation Event to Feature Descendants of Families Manumitted by 1791 Deed

August 2016

A program this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Heathsville will commemorate the 225th anniversary of Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Emancipation. Recorded at the Northumberland District Courthouse on September 5, 1791, the deed provided for the gradual manumission of more than 500 enslaved African-Americans living on plantations Carter owned in Virginia. It was likely the largest single emancipation in the United States before the Civil War.

Along with music from the First Baptist Church Choir and a historical reenactment featuring Robert Carter III and black Baptist minister Gowan Pamphlet, several descendants from those families manumitted by Carter’s deed will participate in the program, reported Historic Christ Church & Museum Education Director & Curator Robert Teagle. Thomas Duckenfield, a descendant of the Thompson and Newman families, will share his thoughts in an address entitled, “Intersecting Worlds: The Unique and Peculiar Zodiac Orbiting Robert Carter III’s Historic 1791 Manumission.” Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Mr. Duckenfield graduated cum laude from Princeton University and earned his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Lieutenant and a reserve Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Today he is a partner at the law firm Wong Fleming.

LaTonya Lawson-Jones, also a descendant of the Thompson and Newman families, will discuss her website, the Nomini Hall Slave Legacy project (nominihallslavelegacy.com). The site includes lists of all the individuals known to have been manumitted by Carter’s deed, and it seeks to connect descendants and preserve the spirit and legacy of their ancestors who forged a new world in freedom, said Teagle.

Following the program, Mrs. Lawson-Jones, as well as representatives from the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society, Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library and Historic Christ Church & Museum, will be on hand to share research materials and resources for persons interested in learning more about the history of the area and doing genealogical research.

The commemoration is part of First Baptist Church’s year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary. Following the program on Saturday, First Baptist will offer box lunches for $10.00 per person that include choice of chicken, ribs or pig feet along with vegetables, potato salad, bread, a slice of cake and a drink. For more information, visit christchurch1735.org or contact Robert Teagle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 804-438-6855.

 

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