May 2007 Newsletter, Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc. Surry County Virginia Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
E-mail address: [email protected].
Location Map
We are here!
May 2007 Newsletter and Meeting Notice.

The Monday, May 14, 2007, meeting of the Society will be at 7:00 P.M. at the Surry County, Va. Recreation Center.


A nominating committee has been appointed. It consists of members Bess Richardson, Bo Bohannan and Eve Gregory. Their selection of nominees are shown below.

Nominees for the Board of Directors are Kathy Thompson, Tarika Blizzard, Troilen Seward and Rev. James Harrison as President. A nominee to replace Shirley Cockes has not been selected at this time.

Nominations may be made from the floor for all positions.

If the math is correct, this election starts our eleventh year of operation, following approximately a year of getting organized.

Building Update! It is a done deed!

Yes, the contract is signed, and the deposit made. Now we are handling details, permits, exact location, utilities, etc.

Depending upon how fast commitments are received and new gifts, the building will be close to being paid for. At last check we have approximately $275,200.00 in the bank. Some additions we would like will depend upon new gifts. The Society has been approved for a loan, if it is necessary. As with most construction, there will likely be some surprises and changes necessary.

Also, this will substantially increase our operating cost. There will be electricity, water, heat and air conditioning. There will be grass to cut and driveways to build and maintain. We will need to establish a maintenance fund. This will start a new era for our Society. I can't wait! JEA

Members of the Building and Finance Committees
Watch as President James Harrison Signs the Contract.
(Left to right, Bo Bohannan, Kent Harrell, James Harrison, Shirley Cockes, Claude Reeson)

MAY 5TH & 6TH, 2007
At The Town Center:
  • 1st Aide & Info Station
  • Vendor, Volunteer, Security Check-in
  • Portapotties
  • Local History Museum
  • TomLori Tent
  • Surry County Historical Society
  • APVA-Thomas Rolfe Chapter
  • Kids Crafts
  • Food

    (Sunday ONLY)

  • Godspeed Time Tickets

Saturday May 5th:
  • TomLori
  • Mill Swamp Messengers
  • Gospel Noon
  • Michael Monaco - Harpsichordist 3:00 pm

Sunday May 6th:
  • TomLori
  • Piano soloists Patsy Rush & local students 1:00
  • Mill Swamp Messengers 3:30
At The Ball Field:
  • Chickahominy Tribe
  • (Shallop & Militia being negotiated)
Opening Ceremony:
  • Wakefield Scout Troop 24 Color Guard 10:00am
  • Appomattox Regional Governors School Interpretation of May 5th, 1607 landing at Claremont
  • 2 Performances 10:30am & 1:30 pm
  • TomLori - 17th Century Musicians
  • Falling Water Drums and the Chickahominy Tribal Dancers 2:30pm
  • Nottaway Tribe of VA, Inc.
  • Dedication Ceremony to the Virginia Indians "Plaque of Gratitude" Presentation 4:00pm
At United Methodist Church
  • Loaded baked potatoes
  • Portapotties
At The Library
  • Local Authors Exhibit
  • Leslie Garland Bolling Exhibit
  • Ann Lamb Ellis Exhibit
At The Old Survey Building
  • 1st Aide & Info Station
  • Vendor, Volunteer, Security Check-in
  • Portapotties
  • Kids Crafts

At The Ball Field:
  • Chickahominy Tribe Booth
  • Grizzly Forge - Distinctive Handcrafted ironwork
  • (Shallop & Militia being negotiated)
  • Falling Water Drums and the Chickahominy Tribal Dancers 2:30pm
  • TomLori
  • Nottoway Tribe of VA, Inc
At The Library
  • Local Authors Exhibit
  • Leslie Garland Bolling Exhibit
  • Ann Lamb Ellis Exhibit
Sunday May 6th

  • Church Service at 9:00am
  • Reverend Bill Taylor
  • Assistant Chief Canaday will be present

At United Methodist Church

  • Church Service at 11:00am
  • Reverend Melanie D. Franklin
  • Baked potatoes Noon


  • Opening ceremony at the Waterfront with local, state & federal officials (invited); tour of the Godspeed for dignitaries & townspeople prior to opening to public
  • Presentation of "Plaque of Gratitude" to lst Assistant Chief Glenn Canaday, Chickahominy Tribe
  • Replica of Godspeed opens to public at Noon.
  • TomLori
  • Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Outreach Artifact Interaction

From the Surry Side of the Jamestown Ferry:
Stay on Rt. 31 into Surry. At the flashing red light, go straight (You'll be on Rts. 31 & 10).
Go through town and then follow Rt. 10 West, bearing right when the road forks.
Continue on 10 West, until you get to Spring Grove. You'll know you're there, the speed limit drops to 45 mph! Take a right onto Swann's Point Road. It's a sharp turn at Parth's Food Mart.
Follow Spring Grove Road, bearing left at the fork.
Satellite parking at the Volunteer Fire Department, $5.00 per vehicle.

From Richmond and general vicinity:
Take 95 South and exit in Chester, #61A, 10 East. Go through Hopewell and continue on 10 East to Spring Grove.


Take 295 South. Exit at Hopewell, 10 East.
Go through Hopewell and continue on 10 East to Spring Grove. You'll know you're there, the speed limit drops to 45 mph!
Take a left onto Swann's Point Road, just in front of Parth's Food Mart.
Follow Spring Grove Road bearing left at the fork.
Satellite parking at the Volunteer Fire Department, $5.00 per vehicle.
for more details

Subject to change as events are finalized. 3/15/2007

masons' plaque

This wooden plaque came from the Cabin Point Royal Arch Lodge, established April 13, 1775. Apparently nailed to the inside of the lodge. Laurie Hopper found it and gave it to Clark Sieburth of Cabin Point. He has graciously loaned it to the Surry County Historical Society to be shown at our great celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Capt. John Smith and his settlers' first landing in Surry County

At this time no one, including the State Masonic Lodge headquarters, has been able to de-cypher the Code.
Can You? Help needed!


Our History, our Heritage, our roots.

Today there is an explosion of interest and activity in tracing our roots. We have so many more research assets available, and new communication systems make information available worldwide. It has changed the way research is done.

This is very upsetting to many long-time genealogists who consider themselves purists. The traditional genealogist depends upon the source documents. Wills, deeds, marriage records, birth records and death records provide the "meat" for most research. Often years or decades would be spent searching lost ancestors. Where did they move, whom did they marry, what were the names of their children? Did they die at 40 or live to 90? Complicating the situation was two or more sons naming their children with the same names, our recent generations moving everywhere, and daughters marrying unknown spouses, divorces and remarriages.

Quite often our citizens of Anglo-Saxon bloodlines search out records diligently, but stop when it takes them back to Europe. Pre-1607 information, where they came from, were they originally English, Danish or French? Did their ancestors originally come from Europe, or have Asian or African origins?

Today, the computer and the DNA programs available allow a novice to collect reams of information quickly. Sometimes they are lucky, and make a direct hit immediately. Like a gambler at Las Vegas, they are more likely to spend lots of time and money, and may have empty pockets at the end of the day. Yet, it is a beginning. Often it introduces beginners to experienced genealogists and that gets them on the right track. Do not knock it.

But it is much more complicated than that. Our African American citizens are now very active in searching for their roots. Many of their original ancestors in this country came in as slaves. They were moved from farm to farm. Sometimes the slave owners and slaves moved from state to state. Most could not read or write. Marriages were informal and often never registered. From what country, what tribe, in what century did they arrive here in America? Did they come directly from Africa, or through the islands and central America? Their original language is inevitably lost. There are no written records. Perhaps a few words or expressions may give a clue, but only a clue. Most could not read or write for generations. Records kept by slave owners usually gave only a single name determined by the slave owner. Even if they can put together their ancestry here in the USA, where did they come from? Check out all information on their owners. Often records on the owner's family will give information and insight into yours.

Here we get into the only tools available. DNA and the genes that, collectively, can tell their past. What country, what tribe or tribes. Every year as files and tools get better, the more accurate the information becomes. It gets to the point that you can tell where in a certain country in what century their ancestors were moved, often against their will, and ended up here in the USA. You may learn that nearly all from their source came into the Islands, before coming to the USA.

We cannot determine their names, or their language, but we can learn more year by year of their roots. This is important and builds the foundation for increased knowledge in the future. Do not knock it. Try to insure you have the best information available, unembellished, and fact. It becomes the foundation for studies of their lives, their past, and your future. Leave unanswered questions open. As time passes, many may be answered. Try to minimize or clearly identify speculation. Ask readers to give you their research. A single clue may lead you to answers.

Indian blood lines call for similar research. Because their tribes were in the USA, it sometimes is easier to search. There is often written information available, but few written Indian languages. You must depend on the oral history and written information of recent generations.

Much of the early written information available was written by the English settlers. Is it biased? Is it accurate? So much of our written history tells of the good, and ignores the bad. I can remember my mother telling me not to write down certain facts about ancestors. Write it all down.

Also there was considerable intermarriage between the African Americans and the Native Americans. Sometimes the Indian blood was hidden, and it takes considerable research to bring it out. For some in early days, Indian blood was considered beneath that of African Americans. Most Indian languages consisted largely of pictographs, and their own languages were largely never meant to be read, only to depict.

Again Genes and DNA often give the clues as to which tribe, or perhaps mixture of tribes in your past.

There are three important rules to follow. If you follow these you will leave work that is invaluable to the succeeding generations.

  1. Determine the difference between what you know, what you think and what you believe. Insure you represent and identify these differences in your work.
    • A. What you know, footnote and give your references and sources.
    • B. Give your reasoning for what you think. While you may not be able to tie these down, this information may help others fill in the gaps.
    • C. What you believe often gets down to gut feeling. Often it is right. Don't embellish. Represent it as such, and why, but write it down.

  2. Document, Document, Document. Leave tracks that others can follow. They then can build on your work.
  3. What you believe often is unprovable today, yet may give the vital link in the future, or when combined with research by others. Do not represent it as fact, but present it as your belief.
Keep up the good work, write it all down, and give our Society a copy. Our work and files will make it possible for our descendants hundreds of years in the future to understand who we are, our roots and our history. Jim Atkins

The Dendron Museum and Boxcar opening dates for the remainder of 2007 are scheduled for the following Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.:
  • May 19 & 20
  • June 9 & 10
  • July 14 & 15
  • Aug. 11 & 12
  • Sept. 8 & 9
  • Oct. 13 & 14
  • Nov. 10 & 11
  • Dec. 8 & 9.
We are trying to follow the Jamestown 2007 Themes as closely as possible, so our displays will change monthly.


  • March - Women's History
  • April - Natural Environment
  • May - Jamestown, etc.
Other openings may be possible if volunteers are available. Tours at other times can be arranged by calling Bess & Bill - (757) 267-2625 or Martha - (757) 267-2376.

Hardware shown in our last newsletter is from the window jam of the 1737 home. One on each side of the lower window frame springs open when the window is raised, holding the window open. Pushing in on the small round end allows the window to be closed.

The hardware shown below came from the same house, although it may be a little younger. What is it, what does it do? A hint - it fits fairly close to the first piece of hardware. See the answer in our next newsletter.


Books2 We have many Surry BOOKS for sale. Most of them cannot be gotten anywhere else! We also have the beautiful Surry Courthouse medallian and the new 1607-2007 ship pin/pendant.
Take a look at them and order with the BOOKS!

Keep your Dues up to date. Check the renewal date on your Newsletter mailing label. Support your Society!
Membership information and Application Form

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