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They Called Stafford Home: The Development of Stafford County, Virginia, from 1600 Until 1865
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They Called Stafford Home: The Development of Stafford County, Virginia, from 1600 until 1865. Jerrilynn Eby. Paperback, (1997), 2005, 5½x8½, Biblio., Illus., Index, 430 pp.
Tucked between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers and being the uppermost part of Virginia's historic Northern Neck, Stafford County has a wealth of historical sites and has been home to some of the nation's most notable leaders; yet researching Stafford's rich history has been daunting due to the loss of county records. This major new work not only fills the research gap but provides a delightful portrait of early life in Virginia, from 1600 until 1865. Here you can glimpse the early Stafford settlements; face life's hardships with the lowland planters; track the movement toward independence from Mother England; experience the development of local industries (tobacco and iron paramount among them); discover the devastation of the county as a result of the Civil War; and understand the slow, tedious path back to prosperity. The facts are in all cases amplified by anecdotes of Stafford families, including stories of their celebrations and misadventures, and their Civil War experiences. Every passage is infused with the author's admiration and enthusiasm for the locations she discusses. The book's chapters break Stafford County into regions, within which the estates are dealt with one by one - tracing owners, construction and destruction, communities and traditions through the years. The author's intention has been to catalog as many of Stafford's historical sites as possible, and included in the volume are more than 100 buildings discussed in detail. Many related articles explain the historical significance of churches, ordinaries, roads, court houses, mills and industries. The book is founded on a wealth of heretofore untapped primary source material. Sources include wills, deeds, court and tax records, minutes of the House of Burgesses and the Council of Colonial Virginia, census figures, maps, church and cemetery records, business ledgers, insurance policies, contemporary newspaper accounts, letters, diaries and personal interviews. The volume is thoroughly indexed (everyname plus subject) and includes an extensive bibliography. The closing chapter focuses on five strong women of Stafford: Margaret Brent, Anne Thomson Mason, Anne Eliza Stribling Waller, Kate Waller Barrett and Miss Anne E. Moncure. In the pages of this exciting book, you can trace the steps of Stafford's early residents from the comfort of your favorite armchair; or plan your own sightseeing tour with this as a guidebook! Read about Stafford land bought, sold and divided many times and, over time, forgotten. Seven regional maps allow readers to locate every place mentioned; a few other maps highlight specific locations. The history is enhanced by diagrams from insurance policies and twenty beautiful paintings (done from rare photographs) of Stafford homes and other buildings, many of which are long since lost. A bibliography, illustrations, and maps augment the text.