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.
Historic Christ Church & Museum will host an Ice Cream Social this Saturday, August 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Children and their families are invited to explore colonial history, games, and crafts outside the churchyard while enjoying ice cream treats and lemonade. Activities include writing with quill pens, making whirligigs and ball and cup toys, bowling with nine pins, dressing in colonial clothing and excavating “shoebox” archaeological sites. Tours of the 1735 church will be available, and the museum includes several hands-on areas for children. Historic Christ Church & Museum also just opened a new exhibition, Robert Carter III’s 1791 Deed of Emancipation. For more information, please visit christchurch1735.org or call 438-6855.
Historic Christ Church & Museum will hold its annual Hands-On History Day next Friday, July 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Children ages 6-12 are invited to explore the history of Christ Church and colonial Virginia through a variety of exciting hands-on activities.
Participants will learn about archaeology by examining original artifacts connected to the 1735 church and Corotoman, the mansion house Christ Church’s builder Robert Carter completed in 1725 and that burned in 1729. Participants will then try their own hand at archaeology by excavating “shoebox” archaeological sites filled with artifacts representative of the colonial period.
The program will also explore brickmaking and other technologies colonial craftsmen used to build Christ Church. After examining the church's walls, participants will use molds and clay to shape their own bricks, just like Robert Carter's brickmaker James Bryan did in the kilns he set up at Christ Church in 1724-1726.
Inside the museum, children will learn how to construct a brick wall like Christ Church’s. They will also layout a compass-arch with keystone and use mortise and tenon joints to connect the pieces of a model king-post roof truss.
Several other exciting activities round out "Hands-On History Day." In a tour of the church’s interior, participants will make grave rubbings from two 17th-century tombstones at Christ Church. They will also try on clothing, write with quill pens and play games children had in colonial Virginia. At the end of the day, Christ Church will sponsor a pizza party for all participants. Each child will also receive a souvenir pencil and bookmark from Christ Church.
An awards ceremony held last Wednesday at Historic Christ Church & Museum honored participants in the 2016 Northern Neck History Fair. Students from Chesapeake Academy, Lancaster Middle, and Northumberland Elementary schools submitted projects on an event, person, or cultural development related to Virginia from 1607-1789. The fair is designed to promote research on life in colonial and revolutionary Virginia by the area’s elementary students, who study the period as part of their Virginia studies curriculum, reported HCC&M Education Director & Curator Robert Teagle.
The fair is sponsored annually by the Foundation for Historic Christ Church along with the Bank of Lancaster and Bay Trust Company, Chesapeake Bank, Connemara Corporation, and Anna’s Pizza of Kilmarnock. Each student received a certificate for participation and a gift certificate for two slices of pizza and a drink courtesy of Anna’s Pizza.
Edd Young from Bay Trust was on hand to present awards. Rachel Rice’s detailed display “Talking Bones: Telling Stories of Jamestown” earned first prize and $100 courtesy of the Bank of Lancaster and Bay Trust. Celden Hornsmith’s creative exhibit on “Powhatan Indian Houses” earned second place and $75 courtesy of Chesapeake Bank. Wynne Smith’s informative display “Captain John Smith and the Oyster” took third place and a $50 prize from Chesapeake Bank. Honorable mentions and $25 courtesy of Connemara Corporation went to Robert Cunningham for his detailed “Virginia Colonial Farm 1775” and Lorry Manetz for his thought-provoking “Jamestown’s Defensive Strategies-My Ideas About Improving Jamestown.”
Jocelyn Hasson won the essay category with a well-written account of Pocahontas’ life. Hannah Ditch won a random drawing sponsored by Historic Christ Church & Museum from all participants for two tickets to Busch Gardens and Water Country. Leona Li won a random drawing also sponsored by HCC&M for a gift certificate to Stevie’s Ice Cream.
Historic Christ Church & Museum hosted an exhibition of the fair for four weeks in April.
In addition to those students mentioned above, other participants included McKenna Dooley, Tayloe Emery, Lydia Engleman, Gavin Jett, Grace Jett, Jayla Giles, Joey Porter, Marissa Robinson and Zyaera Smith.
Historic Christ Church & Museum is pleased to announce its schedule of summer children’s programs. The annual “Hands-On History Day” will take place on Friday, July 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Children learn about the history of colonial Virginia through hands-on lessons with archaeology, 18th-century brickmaking, grave rubbings, architecture, and other exciting activities. This event is free and open to children ages 6-12; however, all participants must pre-register, and space is limited to the first 25 persons to register. Lunch will be provided for all registered participants.
On Saturday, August 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Historic Christ Church & Museum will present its annual Ice Cream Social. It’s fun for the whole family with colonial games, crafts, history and of course tasty ice cream treats. Children can play games like the hoop and stick, the ball and cup, graces and nine pins. They can learn how to make their own ball and cup or whirligig toys and bead necklaces and bracelets. In the museum, children can pick up a free Museum Activity Book and go on an artifact hunt or become an “undertaker” (colonial builder) by constructing a brick wall or arch with a keystone. Kids can also try on colonial clothing or excavate a mock archaeological site, and they can learn to write with a quill pen and sign their own copy of the Declaration of Independence. The 1735 church, a National Historic Landmark, will be open for tours as well.