Community Archives of Southwest Virginia, LLCVirginia History for Yankees and Other Outsiders (plus other history the locals never learned in school) A workshop covering… 1. back in the 1950’s - how Virginia history was taught in school 2. a sampling of topics being addressed by historians in recent years 3. making a list of topics that should be covered in textbooks today www.vahistoryexchange.com
50 Years ago…how Virginia history was taught in school… an example….Virginia’s History, a textbook from 1956
Virginia History told from an English perspective, starting with Sir Walter Raleigh… “He knew that Englishmen …would like to find new lands to make their country great and strong…” Question: Should Virginia history start with the Lost Colony?
What about the Spanish??? New evidence points to… conquistadors in Saltville (many years before Jamestown)• According to a retired chemistry professor at Virginia Tech, Jim Glanville, Hernando de Soto brought an expedition into Southwest Virginia in 1539• “Virginia’s recorded history began in Southwest Virginia”• “An American Indian woman from Southwest Virginia married a Spaniard long before Pocahontas was born”• “On a spring day in 1567, a group of saber-wielding conquistadors slaughtered hundreds of Indians at present-day Saltville, some 40 years before the English landed at Jamestown” If conquistadors had murdered hundreds of Indians at Jamestown—or anywhere else in Eastern or Northern Virginia – there’d at least be an historical marker at the site of the bloodshed, No such marker exists at Saltville, although Glanville has designed one.
What about Christopher Columbus? Many scholars now speak of the “Great Columbian Exchange,” and not much is said anymore about the “Discovery of America”• The Great Columbian Exchange…The term was coined by Alfred W. Cosby in 1972, in his book by that name. According to Cosby and others who have since expanded his research, the Europeans brought horses , wheat, rice, onions, lettuce, honey bees, and apples to the New World, and sent new plants and animals back home to the Old World… maize, tomatoes, potatoes, vanilla, turkeys, guinea pigs, rubber trees, cacao, and tobacco.• Sadly, “Old World diseases had a devastating impact on Native American populations because they had no immunity to the diseases….Smallpox epidemics resulted in devastating death tolls for Native Americans. ..Data for the pre-Columbian population is uncertain, but estimates of its disease-induced population losses between 1500 and 1650 range between 50 and 90 percent.”
Revising our understanding of what Columbus represents In a report Columbus sent back to court, he wrote, “Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and pastures, are both fertile and beautiful…the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold…There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals…” (All this, of course was fantasy.)
Another attempt to plant a colony - Jamestown“The governor found one clue that thesettlers had left. The clue was the wordCROATAN, carved on a tree trunk.”
There may have been other European settlers in Virginia before the English came…the MelungeonsAs early as 1654, English and Frenchexplorers in the southernAppalachians reported seeing dark-skinned, brown- and blue-eyed, andEuropean-featured people speakingbroken Elizabethan English, living incabins, tilling the land, smelting silver,practicing Christianity, and, mostperplexing of all, claiming to be“Portyghee.”
Captain John Smith and Pocahontas Question…Did Pocahontas really save Captain Smith’s life? …An example of how hard it is to separate truth from fiction…
Massacre of 1622…How did Captain Smith describe it? What do we know about the Indians of Virginia? From John Smith’s General History of Virginia, about the Indian uprising that took place in the spring of 1622: “On the Friday morning that fatal day, being the two and twentieth of March…as at other times they came into our houses, with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us, yea in some places sat down at breakfast with our people, whom immediately with their own tools they slew most barbarously, not sparing either age or sex, man, woman, or child, so sudden in their execution, that few or none discerned the weapon or blow that brought them to destruction…and by this means fell that fatal morning…three hundred forty seven men, women and children…”
Bacon’s Rebellion By the 1670s…The colony spread out over most of the eastern part of Virginia, and more than 50,000 settlers lived there…
Planters, rebels, Loyalists - 1676 “In May 1676, without a commission from the governor, Bacon marched at the head of an expedition that descended upon the Roanoke River to destroy a Susquehannock village. He was promptly accused of treason, but the governor pardoned him when he acknowledged his offence. “ (Firsthand America: A History of the United States)
In Southwest Virginia… First People: The Early Indians of Virginia Keith Egloff and Deborah Woodward• The first palisaded villages in the region were built around AD 1200. At the Crab Orchard Site in Tazewell County, archaeologists excavated portions of a Late Woodland village in 1971 (before a road was constructed), and again in 1978. Evidence gathered there provided clues as to what the Indian’s lives were like. Based on the excavated remains, archaeologists can tell us about the village:• The village at the Crab Orchard Site was built around AD 1500. It was 400 feet across and was surrounded with a wall that was replaced three times as the posts decayed…• Within the palisade, the Indians built circular homes in rows around the central plaza and dug many storage and burial pits. They buried hundreds of people at this site, mainly in the area between the homes and the palisade…
Native Americans in the Mountains (First People)• The early colonial times were turbulent for the Indians of the Shenandoah Valley. On only a few generations the Susquehannock, who wanted to control the European’s fur trade, forced the Shawnee out. The Iroquois in turn forced the Susquehannock out.• The French and Indian War (1754-63) started over competing claims to the Ohio territory between the British and French. Upon attack, the settlers sought refuge at nearby forts that the colonial government constructed. …Many settlers who lied in this area fled to the safety of the Piedmont and Tidewater regions of Virginia and the Carolinas. Those who stayed risked attack, death, or capture by the Shawnee from the Ohio Valley, later by the great Indian Chief, Tecumseh.• By the time enough Europeans came to set up towns, southwestern Virginia had become another region devoid of Indian villages. The only natives sighted were hunting and trading groups of Cherokee and Shawnee passing through.
Friends of the Draper and Ingles families on the frontier… Adam Harmon and Andrew Lewis“Adam Harmon took Mrs. InglesTo his cabin and gave her foodand took care of her. When shewas stronger he took her to a nearbyfort.”“There were many other brave peoplein the Southwest during the French andIndian War. One of them was namedAndrew Lewis. Andrew Lewis grew upin Augusta County. He was tall and strongand a fine hunter. When he went to live inthe Southwest, his home was near the placewhere the town of Salem stands today.”
Battle of Point Pleasant - 1774 Chief Cornstalk, Governor Dunmore, Colonel Andrew Lewis
Virginia’s most famous heroes… Starting with Patrick HenryTwo of Patrick Henry’s sisters marriedmen who played prominent roles inVirginia’s frontier history…Anne married William ChristianElizabeth married (1st) William CampbellAnd (2nd) William Russell
Patrick Henry’s home, as described by one of the best authors of fiction for children: Ann Rinaldi… Or Give Me Death…
About Sally Hemings “of all the women in Thomas Jefferson‟s life, Sally Hemings has been the most controversial ever since the angry journalist James Callender proclaimed in 1802 that „the man, whom it delighteth the people to honor, keeps, and for many years has kept, as his concubine, one of his own slaves. Her name is Sally.‟ The accuracy of Callender‟s assertion has been disputed ever since he printed it, and his veracity may never be determined with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, the available evidence now suggests that Callender was essentially correct about Jefferson‟s relationship with Sally Hemings. Thomas Jefferson fathered six children born to his slave Sally Hemings between 1795 and 1808.”
Albion’s Seed – David Hackett Fischer Left – “The log cabin did not spring spontaneously from the American forest. It was a type of vernacular architecture that had been carried out of Europe by Scandinavians, Germans and especially North British borderers.” Right – “The old border custom of bridal abduction continued in the American backcountry. The petitions of the Regulators complained of frequent abductions, and even members of the border ascendancy resorted to this practice. The leading example was Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson. This was a case of voluntary abduction; Rachel went willingly. But her departure started a feud that continued for many years.”
Folk Ways“Crackers, Rednecks, Hoosiers – wordsthat described the largest social class inthe American backcountry- were notcoined in the New World. They werecarried out of North Britain. For threecenturies these terms were variouslyused as praise words and pejoratives,according to context and occasion. Butalways they described the same paradoxof poverty and pride. Something of thatspirit was captured by the Americanpainter Frederick Remington in a sketchfrom which this drawing is taken.”David Hackett Fischer…Albion‟s Seed
Four British Folkways in America “During the very long time period from 1629 to 1775, the present area of the United States was settled by at least four large waves of English-speaking immigrants. The first was an exodus of Puritans from the East of England to Massachusetts during a period of eleven years from 1629 to 1640. The second was the migration of a small Royalist elite and large numbers of indentured servants from the South of England to Virginia (ca. 1642-75). The third was a movement from the North Midlands of England and Wales to the Delaware Valley (ca. 1675-1725). The fourth was a flow of English speaking people from the borders of North Britain and northern Ireland to the Appalachian backcountry mostly during the half- century from 1718 to 1775.” David Hackett Fischer…Albion‟s Seed
Conditions for African Americans were “tragical”
Hatfields and the McCoysThe Coffin Quilt – Ann Rinaldi Folkways of the Southern Appalachians… In the hands of a master story-teller, the famous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys comes to life. Here, a girl named Roseanna (McCoy) flirts with Johnse Hatfield, and they go off together… while Roseanna’s younger sister waits for her to return…
In this Virginia textbook, notice that chapter 26 is entitled.. ”The War Between the States.”
Much has been written at Stonewall JacksonHere are two very interesting sources of information – one a biography, and the other a diary written by a medic in the field hospital
Assignment #1How would you organize a children’s textbook? Working in small groups, make a list of 30 chapter headings. Just to make things easy, this book should only cover through the end of the nineteenth century…Writing about the twentieth century would be much harder!