Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 104

Just a short blog tonight. I set off to find Howard's Neck, Edward Cunningham's plantation. The route northwest was convoluted and time consuming. It quickly became obvious that our ancestors must have come up river by boat - not overland. Howard's Neck sits above a large switchback on the James River and must have a gorgeous view. The residence is a Federal house, 2-story with four chimneys. The property also contains a one-story frame house from the colonial times, and three log slave quarters. Although this sounds like I saw the plantation, I found the location but was unable to get very close. The best I could do was drive across country along some abandoned railroad tracks but was unable to see up hill through the vegetation. I chickened out on trespassing. I guess I needed a co-conspirator. Maybe the Historical Society will have photos.

I then made my way south of Richmond to the city of Petersburg. This is the original immigration point for Edward and his brothers. The city was a key hub for commerce in the 1700s - much bigger than Richmond - and is situated near the confluence of the James and Appomattox Rivers. During the Civil War, 5 railroads met at the city which made it a prime target for Grant's northern armies. They city suffered a huge fire in 1815 so most of the buildings are from that era but it provided an overall view of what our raw businessman must have seen as they sailed into port. I have attached a historical marker which has some interesting information relating to the use of slaves.

I took an hour to tour the Blandford Church and Cemetery. This church was established in the early 1700s and became the site for 30,000 Civil War burials after the end of the war. It took 15 years to recover all the bodies in the area. The church has 15 Tiffany windows commemorating the southern states and the men who gave their lives during the long fight. The windows are glorious. Tiffany made them from flat and rolled/twisted glass. The pieces vary in thickness from 1/4" to 1.5". The cemetery is the 2nd largest in Virginia - after Arlington.

Back to the library tomorrow. Hope I find good leads.

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