…Back to Ole’ Virginny


agriculture-vineyard-orchard-aerial-warren-couty-aerialAlthough we are officially two weeks into the 2013 Fall Season today (October 3), it is yet another day in a string of unseasonably warm ones with brilliant blue skies, bright sunshine, blossoming flowers, mostly green trees, and temperatures rising again into the mid-80’s.  What an opportunity to  ‘Saisir le jour,’ as the French would say, and just jump in the car for still another day trip back to ole Virginny, the home state in colonial times to so many in my Boling family.

Carry Me back to Ole Virginny…

Is a song that was written by an African American minstrel, James Bland, (1854-1911) and sung by Confederate Troops during the American Civil War.  …Ole Virginny has been Virginia’s state song since 1940:

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There’s where the cotton and corn and taters grow.
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

There’s where I labored so hard for old Massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn;
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There’s where the cotton and the corn and taters grow;
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

Carry me back to old Virginny,
There let me live till I wither and decay.
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There’s where this old darkey’s life will pass away.

Massa and Missis have long since gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bright and golden shore.
There we’ll be happy and free from all sorrow,
There’s where we’ll meet and we’ll never part no more.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There’s where the cotton and the corn and taters grow;
There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.

Culpeper County Marker History Z-124

Culpeper County Marker History Z-124

Today, we’re going to Culpeper.  According to the Museum of Culpeper History, “Some 50 years ago, Culpeper was ranked as the second healthiest place in the United States, second only to Asheville, N.C.  In 1971, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the Culpeper-Warrenton area as one of the seven most desirable places in the nation to live.” When I checked 2012 stats, I found, unfortunately, that Virginia in the last 51 years has moved down the ranks substantially to the 21st healthiest place to live in the nation. Culpeper ranks 41st out of the 133 counties in Virginia with Fairfax ranking first in the state.

Culpeper County is a granddaughter of Spotsylvania, from which Orange was formed in 1734, and great-granddaughter of Essex, from which Spotsylvania was taken in 1720. The county was named for Lord Thomas Culpeper,  Governor of Virginia, 1680-83. He inherited his rights from his father, Lord John Culpeper, to whom King Charles II had given a large land grant.

Lord Thomas Culpeper

Lord Thomas Culpeper

Lord Thomas Culpeper’s holdings, including all of the Northern Neck territory, were inherited by his daughter, Catherine, who married Lord Thomas Fairfax. Their son, the sixth Lord Fairfax, inherited the property and it was for him that the town of Culpeper, first called Fairfax, was named. Lord Fairfax’s Virginia treasure estate, comprising 5,282,000 acres, was confiscated by the colonists when the Revolutionary War began.Culpeper-10-3-2013 MainandDavis2

After 78 miles of traveling from Southern Maryland, we find ourselves on Route 15 entering the Historic District of Culpeper at Main Street and traveling down to the Intersection of Main and Davis Streets where we notice several directional signs that can lead us to historic sites within the city.  First though on our itinerary was getting some refreshments.  So we see a rather inviting diner across the street from us.  It’s named Frost’s Dining.  Culpeper-10-3-2013Frost Cafe

Once seated in a window booth inside the diner our natural curiosity is to look around and get a feel for the diner, its staff and its customers. Everyone was very friendly. The single commode restrooms were large, very clean, and scented with automatic cinnamon mists that smelled just great. Looking around the dining area at the shined brushed aluminum grill cover, backsplash, and counter trim, I felt like I had been transported back the early 1960’s and one of those Woolworth counters that we’ve seen on TV. All in all, a very pleasant experience and a very quaint city. Culpeper-10-3-2013FrostDinerLunchCounter

We next visited the Museum of Culpeper History that was just a short walk down Main from Frost’s Diner.  There we toured the relatively small house  that included colonial era history exhibits and other artifacts and treasures.  We’ll done, Culpeper!Culpeper-10-3-2013 CulpeperMuseum.jpg And beside the museum was the Burgandine House. This charming little building is Culpeper’s oldest house, a reminder of Culpeper’s Colonial era. It is a log house covered outside by clapboard. The interior is original with the exception of a few “mended” places. It was standing in 1749 when Culpeper County came into being by separation from Orange County. At that time this site was in the “country” as the town limits did not extend this far south.BurgandineHouse7

With the car parked many blocks away, Bob walked back to retrieve it.  We agreed that we would meet up at the Culpeper National Cemetery in the historic district of Culpeper on South East Street, just a couple of blocks over from the museum and back up Main Street closer to where we entered the city.

What an absolutely fantastic walk down the sidewalk of a mature tree-lined street with houses on either side from the 17 and1800’s.  Prettier than any picture I might have seen in a book.  I liked best the “Wysteria House”at 602 S. East Street.  Built in 1885, this impressive wysteria covered eclectic Victorian house seems to step out of the quintessential American Gothic novel with all its spires, arches and iron cresting. [This home has been featured on HGTV’s If Walls Could Talk and in Victorian Homes Magazine.]Historic Wysteria House

Several blocks more and bob and I joined up at  the Culpeper National Cemetery (which, by the way, was open despite the Federal a Government Shutdown) It is every bit as breathtaking as it’s Washington, DC counterpart. During the American Civil War, the territory around the city of Culpeper was defended vigorously by both sides, as it was a strategic point almost exactly between Washington D.C. and the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. Numerous battles took place in the region, including the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Battle of Chancellorsville. The dead from those conflicts were buried nearby in makeshift grave sites. After the war a reburial program was initiated, and in 1867, Culpeper National Cemetery was established to reinter many of the remains from the makeshift sites.Culpeper-10-3-2013 CulpeperCemetery7

After the long walk up and down the hilly cemetery with the unusually hot afternoon sun beating down on us, with the help of findagrave.com, we found three people buried among the nearly 11,000 graves whose last names were Bolling. A husband and a wife, A2C Richard H. (Oct. 7, 1935-Jan. 19, 1985) and Evelyn R. (Oct. 19, 1938-Jul. 23, 1981) Bolling; and a WWII Veteran, Tech Sergeant Maurice L. Bolling (Oct. 7, 1907-Jul. 25, 1972).  Now sweating profusely as though we had been through a strenuous workout at the gym, we leaned up against our car parked in the shade and looked these three people’s names up in my ancestry.com family tree.  Much to our dismay my tree doesn’t have their names in it.  But, as genealogists know, the research never ends.  Who knows someday I might uncover a connection.

Cedar_Mountain_BattlefieldCulpeper-10-3-2013 Cedar Mountain5