“Tapp-ing” Into Lives in 19th Century Spotsylvania County


Local author, Pat Sullivan, penned and published the post that follows on Saturday, September 2014.  It is a far more intimate story of Phenie Tapp's (my second great aunt) family than my post "Bi-racial Relationships of the 60’s–the 1860’s!", penned May 14, 2014. My post tells about my second great-grandmother Catharine Elizabeth "Widow Tapp" Dempsey (descendent … Continue reading “Tapp-ing” Into Lives in 19th Century Spotsylvania County

The Killing Spree . . . Our Ancestral Legacy


Attributing our traits to our ancestors Some days when I look at myself in the mirror, I can see glimpses of my ancestors. My once beautifully brilliant blue eyes; I remember seeing these same eyes in my maternal grandfather, Roy (a Ford from Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina).  Unfortunately, I also get my thick midriff from either or both--my … Continue reading The Killing Spree . . . Our Ancestral Legacy

Bi-racial Relationships of the 60’s–the 1860’s!


The Year 1868 Last week my genealogical research took me back to my second paternal great grandfather, Lawrence T. "Larl" Boling.  I already knew that Larl married Sarah Elizabeth "Bettie" Tapp in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but when I looked more closely I found that their wedding took place just one week before Christmas 1868--that was the Christmas day when … Continue reading Bi-racial Relationships of the 60’s–the 1860’s!

Walt Whitman’s Battles of Chancellorsville: Horrific Wounds, Night Fighting, and Other “Strange and Fearful Pictures”


Mysteries and Conundrums blogs about Civil War Battles in Virginia stir deep emotions in me as I try to imagine the fear. horrors, and impact of families during these times. The Bolling family, my grandfather, 3 great grandfathers and their families (descendants from the Bolling family originally from England) and descendants of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, lived for decades (1802-1946) on Elys Ford Road immediately adjacent to major Civil War Battles at Chancellorsville, Five Forks, and the Wilderness Farms. In fact the now infamous “Widow Tapp” was my 3rd great grandmother. The bulk of the Bolling descendants also lived in Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties, and in Petersburg. Where Widow Tapp lived a simple and poor life in Spotsylvania County, Robert Bolling IV in 1823 built the Bollingbrook Mansion, known today as Centre Hill Mansion Museum. Thank you again for these wonderful posts.

Mysteries & Conundrums

from: Harrison

This year’s sesquicentennial commemorations of the Battle of Chancellorsville will build upon long traditions of eyewitness, published narrative and non-eyewitness scholarship.  Yet I’ve been fascinated lately to realize that Chancellorsville inspired Walt Whitman to make, forcefully, one of his earliest contrarian forecasts for writing about the Civil War, a view that he later expressed in the now-famous sentence, “The real war will never get in the books.”

Whitman’s longest-known rumination on Chancellorsville, dated May 12, 1863, asked

Of scenes like these, I say, who writes—who e’er can write, the story?  Of many a score—aye, thousands, North and South, of unwritten heroes, unknown heroisms, incredible, impromptu, first-class desperations—who tells?  No history, ever—No poem sings, no music sounds, those bravest men of all—those deeds.  Nor formal General’s report, nor print, nor book in the library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, North or South, East or West.

(If…

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The Changing Story of Race in America & in Our Family


In my efforts to find out when and how the Boling family came to the infamous Ely's Foard Road property in Spotsylvania County, Fredericksburg, VA, I was merging individual family timelines into one to identify the earliest beginnings of the family name at this residence. As always in research, one thing leads to another and … Continue reading The Changing Story of Race in America & in Our Family