Posts tagged ‘history’

A Sunday at James Madison’s Montpelier

Sometime last week, I had decided that today was going to be the day that I would go to James Madison’s Montpelier. I figured that with wrapping up research during this week and with getting ready to go home to Massachusetts next week, I wouldn’t have any time to go back and see how much the place had changed since I had last seen it in its stripped down, down-to-the-brick form undergoing renovation two years ago. It was certainly a real treat to see the hard work of so many people at the Montpelier Foundation finally starting to come to a real fruition.

The interior of the house was still in an in-progress state, but certainly far from where it was when I had last been there. Most of the walls were covered, and there was even artwork hanging in some of rooms. They even had a few more pieces of furniture that Madison had once owned – such as one of his bookshelves from his library room. This time around, they also walked us out onto the rooftop patio on the right side of the building, which is something that I had wanted to do on my last visit but it wasn’t open for touring at the time. I had also noticed on the outside of the house that the last portion of the du Pont additions had finally been demolished, which was cool.

Also on my little trip, I visited some of the rescued Thoroughbreds up at the Montpelier barn. Apparently, since I was last there the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation had set up shop there and has been very active in caring for these horses and finding them each a better home. I was so happy to see this, and I really wished that I could’ve taken one of them home but I don’t think my landlady would like that too much. Or Toronado, for that matter. 😛

After I visited the horses, I walked down to the graveyard to pay respects to Mr. and Mrs. Madison and then headed home. It was such an awesome trip, and I hope that I can come back a third time (!) when the Foundation has aquired more of Madison’s furniture and the house is finally completely transformed into what it was when James and Dolley had lived there.

Pictures of the Day (and even more on Flickr):

Oh man, that is such a good part!

Enjoying some quality reading time with James and Dolley.

Goofing around with Jeanie, a rescued Thoroughbred.

Goofing around with Jeanie, a rescued Thoroughbred.


July 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm 2 comments

And Now A Word About William Howard Taft.

Mad props to Scott Wilson for sending me this. 🙂

July 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

What a Riot – Studying the Happenings of William and Mary During Jefferson’s Student Years.

This morning, I decided to dig into the last and largest of 5 articles that I had printed out yesterday for background reference. At a whopping 38 pages, Mark Wenger’s 1995 article from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography — Thomas Jefferson, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia — does not fail to disappoint. As is the norm with a lot of historical writings, the first page or few can be quite dry, as was in this case. However, when the author began to delve into the tensions of the mainly clerical-led faculty and board of visitors (of which TJ mentor Peyton Randolph was a member), it seemed like all colonial hell broke loose.

The article outlines a melee and all-out war over control over the proceedings of the school and clerical outrage over the Two Penny Act. The clerical faculty of William and Mary wanted president Dawson to allow them to convene and make a case to the Archbishop of London in the event of their suffering heavy financial losses due to the Act. Dawson refused, and there was a lot of unrest among the college faculty. There then was a fight involving a faculty member’s student brother which resulted in none of them testifying due to their dissatisfaction with the president’s and the board of visitor’s influences over how campus happenings were run. Most of the faculty were expelled, and within the new crop of professors came William Small, TJ’s much admired academic mentor and Jacob Rowe, who (ironically) was appointed the professor of moral philosophy.

Rowe turned out to be a bad choice for the college, as he was given to bouts of public drunkenness and instigating large fights with the Williamsburg townies. This gem from Wenger’s article gives the reader a tiny, tasty morsel of dirt on what was only a fraction of the debauchery:

“…Rowe had involved himself in the ensuing dispute [as a result of a second wave of the Two Penny Act] and was hauled before the House of Burgesses for publicly suggesting that certain members should be hanged and for vowing that he would deny any burgess (sic?) applying to him for the sacrament. To secure his own release, Rowe had to submit a written apology and pay a fine.”

But wait, it gets better:

“Within a short time… Rowe… became notorious for public drunkeness, outbursts against the authorities, and ‘horrid oaths and execrations in their common conversations…’ [Rowe was] accused of trying to ‘destroy the regular authority of the President of the college, and to create and keep up Differences and Parties between the President and Masters.’ ”

On this incident, then Lieut. Governor Fauquier (who later as Governor was known for his outrageous gambling habits) let Mr. Rowe go. Rowe had promised to be a good egg and reform his behavior, but as is with most “badasses” this pledge didn’t last very long. Rowe incited a large-scale fight between townies and college students which resulted in Visitors’ Board member Peyton Randolph confronting him about the incident. This immediately resulted in Rowe shoving a loaded pistol to Randolph’s chest, and resolving to “[threaten] the lives of all who obstructed his efforts to redeem William and Mary’s honor”.

Then, Wenger gets to Rowe’s fate, in which he apparently “suffered immediate dismissal [from the William and Mary faculty]  for his part in this adventure and returned to England in disgrace”. To add salt to the wound, the man who carried out his censure and expulsion was Lieut. Gov. Fauquier. Awesome.

Pictures of the Day (another two-fer!)

My feet, Monticello, April 2007.

My feet, Monticello, April 2007.

The Reprisal - June 2009.

The Reprisal - June 2009.

June 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm 3 comments

I’ve Been a Busy Lil’ Bee.

Alright, so most of you have by now noticed that I’ve been ‘a slackin in my daily postings. There IS a good reason for this, I assure you. I’ve been having some major problems with misunderstandings and whatnot with the woman who I’ve been subleasing from, but all of that has FINALLY been resolved today. All is now very well in the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (and sometimes James  Monroe too!). I’ve also been very, very busy with my daily Japanese lessons as well. They’ve been taking up a considerable chunk of time as well, but not nearly as much as the first thing.

As you can tell by now, this week  was really stressful. It began with frantically trying to solve the leasor/rent problem, then onto solving the problem of my housemate’s puppy having an accident (twice!) on my bed. Thankfully I sleep on an air-mattress and laundry doesn’t cost too much to do. On Thursday this problem was solved by Susan from the Library, who is loaning me a fantastic wooden baby gate to keep the little leaky puppy out of my room. Awesome! 🙂

As for my research (oh yeah, I remember that! :P), in spite of all the shenanigans, it’s been going very well. I’ve been getting a lot of work done researching and taking notes on the people in TJ’s life while he was in Williamsburg and while he was being tutored in his earlier years as well. It’s pretty fun and interesting stuff, but it’s also hard work as well.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. I had two very wonderful and productive days at the bookstore, and I even got to leave 1 1/2 hours early today since I did such an awesome job in restocking shelves. I even got paid for those 1 1/2 hours! What can I say, I love my job. 🙂

On to the juicier bits – the Pictures of the Day that I’ve missed for the past few days.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library.

Comfy Campeachy chairs inside the Jefferson Library. TJ had a few of these made for himself, he liked them so much. He also liked to give them as gifts as well, if my memory serves me right.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Reading Room at Jefferson Library, where all the magic happens.

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I <3 Scott Wilson or I <3 TJ on it. :'(

An Interactive Monument to the First Amendment at the Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall. Unfortunately I had no chalk at the time, so I couldn't write a huge I ❤ Scott Wilson or I ❤ TJ on it. :'(

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The other half of the First Amendment Monument.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: TJ, J-Mads, and President Monroe.

The Big Three of Charlottesville: J-Mads, TJ, and President Monroe. Presidents Monument on the side of City Hall in Downtown Charlottesville.

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. :P

Lastly, for good measure, a healthy dose of cute in the form of a Charlie nap. 😛

June 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm 2 comments

Paul Leicester Ford Madness and on to the Next Step of My Research.

This morning at the Library was fairly exciting for me. When I was doing some research about an acquaintance of TJ’s, I had to go to the Reference Section to get Vol. 9 of Paul Leicester Ford’s set on his writings when I noticed that this set was practically the only one that the Library did not have a copy of in circulation. This was where the adventure began, as somehow I had made my way to and stumbled upon recently published paperbacks of volumes 5, 9, and 10. Awesome! So I relayed my exciting find to Anna, only to discover that we would not find any solid information on a publisher or on where to find the other 7 volumes of the set in paperback either. So we set off trying to find information on the proper publisher. A simple Google search took us to many websites that didn’t seem like they would be the responsible party for publishing these fine volumes, as most of them were either Art book publishers, disconnected websites, or a profile in some form or another of the Art book publisher’s website.

I’m sure that we had spent a good 20 minutes trying to clear this hurdle, when it occurred to me that perhaps the information would be in one of the cover or title page images on Amazon. After getting back to the page that started these shenanigans, I promptly checked the back cover and, low and behold, there it was! Had we only changed the domain, we certainly would’ve stumbled on the rightful publisher at Apparently, in addition to re-printing the Ford set, they publish some American classics and hard-to-find titles, as well as government titles like the 9/11 Commission Report. Fantastic! So now I feel as if I’ve contributed a fairly productive tip for the Library, and now we may finally see some circulating copies of the wonderful Paul Leicester Ford edited set of Jefferson writings. Yay! 🙂

More to come later.

June 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Ketchup Day.

First, I would like to apologize for the massive lack in posts for the past two days. Every night that I’ve gotten home I’ve been too busy and/or tired to post, so here’s some highlights of the past few days:


– Went to the library as usual,and had a jolly time doing my work. I then attended a historical meeting of sorts afterwards.

– Studied some Japanese.


– Went to work my first day at the bookstore. I restocked the Science Fiction section, mailed an online order for my boss, met the guy that owns Blue Whale Books, and cleaned off some shelves. It was actually lots of fun! 🙂

– Ate a tasty ham and cheese sandwich washed down with a massive strawberry milkshake at the locally famous historical landmark, Timberlake’s Drug Store. I also explored the Pedestrian Mall a little bit.

– Went grocery shopping and forgot to buy chicken, paperclips, and laundry detergent. Whoops. 😛


Moving on to today, I once again headed over to the bookstore for work this morning. I cleaned all of the outdoor bookcarts and restocked a lot of the fiction section. When it was time for lunch, I once again went out to explore the mall and headed into Five Guys, which was a highly recommended burger joint. It definitely lived up to expectations, but I think that I’ll be heading back to Timberlake’s next week. 😛

So all in all, it wasn’t TOO much of an eventful weekend (although I did have the bejeezus scared out of me when I came home from work and was face to face with a MASSIVE  wolf spider on my closet door). Starting my fun new job was pretty exciting, but now that my week has ended it is time to kickback, relax, toss in a couple loads of laundry, and maybe even sleep in tomorrow (that is, Charlie permitting 😛 ). My first full week here in Charlottesville has been pretty amazing, but also very demanding at  the same time. There is so much that I want to do and so little time, and I hope that I can spare a few moments to squeeze it all in.

Picture of the Day (once again, a delectable two-fer!):

This one is for Lisa - The Great Wall of Mystery.

This one is for Lisa - The Great Wall of Mystery.

In an unfortunate turn of events for us at the Jefferson Library, apparently there will be no Pie allowed in Charlottesville. :'(

In an unfortunate turn of events for us at the Jefferson Library, apparently there is no Pie allowed in Charlottesville. :'(

June 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm 2 comments

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