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September 2021 Issue
In this issue:
  • Museum "joins" Lovettsville Municipal Complex
  • "A Most Excellent Barn:"  A Pennsylvania-German Barn in Lovettsville
  • The family of W.S. Seitz, builder of the Ruse bank barn
  • Article now online:  "The Readjusters: The Black-White Alliance that once governed Virginia"
  • Nearby Events
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Museum "joins" Lovettsville Municipal Complex

The new Lovettsville Administration Building was dedicated on Aug. 3 with a well-attended ceremony and Open House. The ceremony included  the unveiling of a new sign which named the Municipal Complex for Samuel Finz, who has served as Interim Town Manager over many years, including just recently when he oversaw the completion of the new building.

For the first time, the Lovettsville Museum was included as part of the Muncipal Complex, as is reflected on the new signage. 

Sporting a fresh coat of paint, the Museum was also part of the Open House which lasted from 6:00 tp 8:30 p.m.  An estimated 100 people visited the Museum during this time.

The Lovettsville Museum is now open again on Saturday afternoons, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and also by appointment. 

Undated image of the Ruse stone and frame bank barn. Photo courtesy of Reed family..


"A Most Excellent Barn:"  

A Pennsylvania-German Barn in Lovettsville

Editor’s Introduction:

In reviewing the research in Lori Kimball’s article on the Ruse-Seitz barn, and comparing the barn to the Ruse log house (built around 1876) which we covered in our January and February issues, we were reminded of what was often said about the Pennsylvania Germans: that their barns were built bigger and better than their homes – and some would say, mockingly, that they took better care of their animals than of their families. That may be an exaggeration, but their barns had no parallel.

The same thing was true here, in the German Settlement. In Loudoun, critics such as Yardley Taylor noted that the Germans were living far below their means, writing that "Many old log houses that are barely tolerable are in use by persons abundantly able to build better ones." This was in 1853, when the Germans here were already at least third generation. But they were building large and substantial barns.

What was it about those Pennsylvania – and Maryland and Virginia – Germans and their barns?

The Pennsylvania “bank barn” – with variants known as the “Swiss” or “Switzer” barn -- is regarded as one of the most important, distinctive types of barns built in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was characterized by being built into the side of a hill or a rising, with the ground floor, which housed cattle and farms animals, opening to barnyard on the south where the sun warmed the animals in winter. There were often rooms next to the embankment on the ground floor used for storage of vegetables, particularly root vegetables. The second floor, accessed from the higher ground on the north side, often featured an overhanging “forebay” or “overshoot” on the south side, and its unbroken floor space was used for threshing, storage of hay and flour, and even for farm chores such as spinning in the summer months. (The photo above shows a Pennsylvania bank barn in the Valley of Virginia, that is similar in appearance to how we imagine that the Ruse barn looked. Photo courtesy Shenandoah County Historical Society)

The heyday of the Pennsylvania-German bank barn was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but they continued to be built into the late 19th and even early 20th centuries.

We had a fine example of the Pennsylvania forebay barn close by, in the Ruse bank barn: a magnificent structure which was built in the 1880s. It was constructed in the traditional manner, even with the second floor, the hay lofts, facing more-or-less north, and the barnyard on the lower level, facing south. Not to mention the size. 

(The Ruse barn had sheds build on the side, which might have looked something like this bank barn in Shenandoah County, Va. Photo courtesy Shenandoah County Historical Society)

And it also seems to have been built with first-rate materials. Two examples are revealed in the records of the Chancery Case cited by Lori Kimball: (1) lumber which was shipped from the prominent Wheatley Bros. firm in Georgetown, D.C. – when, one would assume, that there was still plenty of lumber available locally; and (2) a slate roof by A.N. Hartman of Frederick, who put slate roofs on hotels and homes all over the area, as far as Baltimore.

Even though the barn no longer exists, we are fortunate to have so much detailed information about its construction, which Lori Kimball discusses in the feature article that follows. We also present, separately, a profile of the Seitz family, which was related by marriage to the Ruse family.


“A Most Excellent Barn”

By Lori Hinterleiter Kimball

There has been a lot going on at the county park site since the articles about the Ruse/Reed farm and historic farmhouse were published in our January and February newsletters.  The ballfields are taking shape, and towering lights were installed in early summer.  A lot of earth is being moved in the passive area of the park that contains the historic buildings.  When that section of the park opens to the public, the stone foundation of a former barn will be visible to the west of the former house and extant smokehouse and stand-alone kitchen.  The barn burned during the 1970s or 1980s, and what we know of its early history comes from historical records in the archives at the Loudoun County Courthouse.[1]

The Ruse family owned a 185-acre farm in the 1800s on which the current park is being built.  Over time the farm was divided into tracts for family members, one of which was a 60-acre parcel owned by Emanuel Ruse.  It was during his ownership in the last quarter of the 1800s that the former farmhouse was built on the northern side of today’s park site.  Emanuel also owned a lot in the town of Lovettsville where he operated a carpentry shop, and he lived there at the time of his death in 1891.  His daughter Anna and her husband Winfield S. Seitz lived and worked on the 60-acre farm property.  During the mid- to late-1880s, Seitz and Emanuel Ruse built a large barn to the west of the house.

Continue reading Lori Kimball's article


The Family of Winfield Scott Seitz,
builder of the “Ruse bank barn”

Although the Seitzes were not one of the pre-Revolution German families in Lovettsville, the family’s roots were thoroughly grounded in Pennsylvania German and Swiss immigrants. They came to the Lovettsville area from Pennsylvania via northern Baltimore County, not through Frederick County as did most of the local families. 

And, unlike the family of Christian Ruse, which was almost impossible to trace, the Seitz family is well-documented back to its immigrant origins.

Winfield Scott Seitz (or “W.S. Seitz” as he seemed to prefer to be known) was a son of Andrew Seitz (Jr.), who was in Lovettsville at least by 1848 when he married the widow Amanda Yakey. Andrew then spent the rest of his life here, except during the Civil War years when he took refuge in Morgan County, West Virginia. Andrew died in Lovettsville in 1888 and is buried in Lovettsville Union Cemetery, as are Winfield and ten other Seitz family members.  (Additionally, Amanda Russell Seitz is buried in the Reformed Cemetery, and Mary Seitz Goodhart is buried in Leesburg Union Cemetery.)

Andrew Seitz [Jr.], Winfield’s father, was born in 1823 in Gorsuch Mills, Maryland, a small town in Baltimore County which is about a mile south of the long-disputed Pennsylvania-Maryland border.  His father, Andrew Seitz [Sr.] had moved there from Hametown, in York County, Pa., which is only about ten miles from Gorsuch Mills. His grandfather Johannes Georg Seitz was a “Palatine” immigrant, having been born in Baden-Württemberg (now Germany), in 1740, and emigrating to Pennsylvania in 1764 with his new bride, Anna Catharina. There is even some direct Swiss ancestry there, through Catharine Klinefelter, the wife of Andrew Seitz Sr.
Read more about the Seitz Family

Article by LHS author now available online

The following article was published in the 2019 issue of the Bulletin of Loudoun County History, and was only available in hard copy until recently. Now, the Bulletin has made its 2019 issue available online, and thus this article is now available to a wider audience. We are pleased to be able to make the full article available to our readers. Copies of the Bulletin of Loudoun County History are available for sale at the Lovettsville Museum and other locations. 

The Readjusters: The Black-White Alliance That Once Governed Virginia

By Edward Spannaus

Hard as it might be to believe today, an alliance between poor and working-class Whites, and recently emancipated Blacks, governed Virginia and several of its major cities from 1879 to 1883. Every former Confederate state had some sort of Black-White coalition grouping, but Virginia’s – known as the “Readjusters” or the Readjuster Party — has been called “the most successful interracial political alliance in the post-emancipation South.”

It resulted in very real –albeit temporary –political and economic gains for many of Virginia’s Black citizens during the movement’s ascendancy. And it posed, in the minds of its participants, an alternative model for the post-Reconstruction development of the former Confederacy....A Readjuster political cartoon shows Independence destroying the power of the Bourbons over the South.

Read the full Readjuster article

Nearby (virtual & in-person) events of interest:


Sept. 1 through Sept. 30 – “Back to School: Education in Loudoun’s Past,” a new exhibit from Loudoun County Clerk of the Circuit Court Historic Records and Deed Research Division, is available for viewing at Thomas Balch Library. This exhibit features facsimiles of historic court records on the early and primitive free education system that existed in Loudoun County from 1789-1861. The exhibit explores financing of public schools for the poor, private academies, and Margaret Mercer’s school at Belmont. This exhibit will be available to view during the month of September. Please call 703-737-7195, or email for more information.

Now through Nov. 30 Larry Roeder Art Show. The Leesburg Commission on Public Art (COPA) is pleased to announce a new art display that is available for viewing at Leesburg Town Hall (25 West Market Street). A variety of ceramics, oils, charcoal drawings, photographs, and multimedia, created by local artist Larry Roeder, will be on display through November 30, 2021. Roeder’s work can also be seen online at Larry comes from a long line of artists and received training in Germany, Missouri, the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria.  Both abstract and representational art is shown.  One charcoal rendering is of Edwin Washington of Leesburg, the first Black youth documented to have gone to school while keeping his job during Reconstruction.  The public is encouraged to stop by and see the art during normal business hours at Leesburg Town Hall.


Thurs., Sept. 9. at 10 a.m – Balch Library virtual class: “Digital History.” Stephanie Seal Walters, PhD will teach a two-hour virtual class. Dr. Walters, former Senior Library Associate at the library, will introduce the digital side of historical research and explore new and different digital humanities’ methodologies and tools that are accessible and friendly to all users. Pre-registration is required for this event. Please call 703-737-7195, email, or register online.

Thurs., Sept. 9, at 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. – “Back to School: Education in Loudoun’s Past.” A virtual program about the history of Loudoun’s schools from the 1700s to the early 1900s. Sponsored by the Historical Records Division of the Loudoun County Clerk of the Court office, Gary Clemens, Clerk of Court. The program will be available at

Fri., Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. – Culture & Cocktails: “John Brown and the Raid on Harpers Ferry.” Join us in welcoming renowned historian Dennis Frye for a look at John Brown and his infamous, ill-fated raid on the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Beginning on the night of October 16, 1859, John Brown's raid ended in his capture and the death of two of his sons. The featured cocktail will be: The Man o’ War! This boozy bourbon concoction is a new take on the classic Manhattan. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Culture & Cocktails 2021 has been made possible by the generous support of the James and Mary Schurz Foundation. Cost is $10 for mebers, $15 for non-members. Register Here.
Miller House Museum, 135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. 301-797-8782.

Sat. Sept. 11, 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – 2021 Barnstormers Tour Presents: “The Barns of Burkittsville.” In-Person Event (Tickets Required). This popular self-guided tour of historic barns brings awareness to the public of our strong agricultural heritage and how barns were constructed to last. Barn docents will greet ticket holders at each barn location to share information and answer questions. During this time, artists and crafters will be creating at the barns. Antique farm equipment and tools will be on display. See a working dairy farm, a sheep farm, Red Angus beef cattle, donkeys, and other farm critters. From 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, tour-goers are invited to a judged art show and art sale at the Burkittsville Ruritan Club, located at 500 East Main Street in Burkittsville, Maryland (21718). Old-time music will be provided by the Main Line Gravy Soppers until 5:30 pm. Food trucks will be at the Ruritan Club beginning at noon with delicious BBQ, cold drinks, and shaved ice. For tickets and more information, click here. The events will be held rain or shine.

Wed., Sept. 15, at 6:00 p.m. – Harpers Ferry Civil War Round Table: “No, it is not!” Burnside Bridge conjures two words: “Burnside Bungler.” How stupid, of course, for Burnside to ram his troops endlessly against such a naturally fortified position. This is Antietam history. No, it is not! Join our guide Dennis Frye as he turns the traditional interpretation of the happenings of Burnside Bridge upside down and backwards. You'll never look at this episode in the same way again. Dennis Frye retired recently after serving 20 years as chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Renowned also for his Antietam scholarship, Dennis enjoys challenging convention, especially in his most recent book: Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination. Dennis' books and articles are acclaimed for provocative perspectives, and his tours titillate too. Park at Tour Stop 9 on Old Burnside Bridge Road (or just beyond in the overflow lot). Walking is moderate; we will meet at the overlook and walk down to the bridge and return. (Those unable to manage the hill may use the handicapped approach at the bottom of the hill along the original road bed.) Masks are welcome but not required, and we urge all to practice social distancing. There are no restrooms in the area. We will carry on in light rain (bring an umbrella) but postpone if a downpour looks likely. There is no charge for the tour, but hold your place and allow us to contact you about any changes by contacting Chris Craig at or 304-433-1260.

Thurs., Sept.16, at 6:30 p.m. – History on Tap Fundraiser at Harrison Hall. Join the Historians on Tap from Loudoun Museum, Heritage Farm Museum, and Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area at Leesburg’s Harrison Hall to hear unusual stories from the history of the surrounding area. Special guest appearance by Dana Shoaf, Editor of Civil War Times magazine! $20 for adults. Click here for tickets. Your first drink is included with registration! Additional beers will be available for purchases. Harrison Hall, 205 North King Street, Leesburg, Virginia 20175.

Thurs., Sept. 16, at 7:30 pm – Constitution Day at the Byrd Center, Shepherd University. Free Event (RSVP Required). The Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education is pleased to announce that the speaker for the 17th annual Tom E. Moses Memorial Lecture on the U.S. Constitution will be Dr. Ray Smock, former Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and currently the interim director of the Byrd Center. His topic will be “Re-Energizing the American Experiment.” The lecture will be held on, Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of the Byrd Center on the campus of Shepherd University, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The lecture will also be available to view on Zoom for people who register in advance (click on the button below to RSVP). George Washington wrote: “The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment in providing human happiness.” If the goal of government is human happiness, can any of us say we are currently happy about government or the state of the Republic? With political partisanship at dangerous levels and threats to the American Republic at higher levels than at any time since the Civil War, Smock will explore ideas to re-energize government, re-think our historical narratives about political parties, Constitutional history, and the concept of American greatness. He will also offer his perspective—based on truths long known, but never fully realized, that no American can truly be free until all are free. To register click here.

Sat. & Sun. September 18 & 19, at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – The Maryland Iron Festival at Catoctin Furnace. Join the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society for their free, outdoor festival featuring blacksmithing, artists and crafts, food, beer and wine, games, tours of historic Harriet Chapel, musical performances, including the Caswells on Saturday and Braided Lives (a poetry and musical program by HALO and Elayne Bond Hyman) and Slim Harrison on Sunday and more! Masks required (and supplied for free!) Negative COVID or vaccination required for enclosed events. Free. For more information, click here.

Wed., Sept. 22, at 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Counting Crows by Linda Sittig - Virtual Book Event by Thomas Balch Library. Linda Sittig’s sincere belief that every woman deserves to have her story told shines through her historical novels, Cut From Strong Cloth, Last Curtain Call, and Counting Crows. Her most recent book, Counting Crows, is the third in her “Threads of Courage” series and tells the story of young Maggie Canavan, who goes to New York City in the summer of 1918. She intends to take art lessons but becomes embroiled in the sweatshop scandals that have claimed many young immigrant women’s lives. She falls in love with the city until the Flu Pandemic changes everything, and Maggie is forced to grow up overnight. This is a virtual event that requires registration. To register: Event Registration.

Sat. & Sun., Sept. 25-26 – French & Indian War Living History Weekend at Abrams Delight, Winchester. This joint event is sponsored by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society and The Virginia Regiment Captain George Mercer's Company. Learn about life on the Virginia frontier in the late 18th century and the French & Indian War era. Meet Living History Interpreters such as Capt. George Mercer and his company of Col. George Washington's Virginia Regiment, and others, at this historic Winchester site. All members, friends, families, and friends of families are invited to attend. This is a combined indoor/outdoor event. Visit the French and Indian War Foundation Website to learn more (
The French & Indian War Foundation adheres to the recommendations from the Office of the Governor of Virginia regarding COVID-19 precautions for social distancing and wearing of face coverings when not eating or drinking.


Wed., Sept. 29, at 1:00 p.m. – Balch Luncheon Travel Lectures: “The Greely Expedition” by Andrew Jampoler. (Virtual) Disinterest in Washington and the failure of two annual resupply missions to arrive condemned Army Lieutenant Adolphus Greely’s 1881-1884 scientific expedition in Arctic Canada to starvation, cannibalism, and death. His plight and rescue were major news stories through the 1880’s. Pre-registration is required:


Visit the Lovettsville Museum

We are open to visitors on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., or by appointment. Call 540-822-9194, or write to:
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Membership Information
About Us
Our Mission:
The mission of the Lovettsville Historical Society is to foster a sense of place and community by preserving, protecting, and educating about the history and heritage of Lovettsville and the  German Settlement.  

   We achieve this by:
    1.  Operating, maintaining, and expanding the Lovettsville Museum in order to acquire, display, and preserve artifacts, documents, and records which relate to our local history;
    2.  Maintaining and operating a physical and online research library for use by historians, genealogists, and the public;
    3.  Educating the public about Lovettsville area history through programs, printed and online resource materials, and events.
*   *   *   *   *

The success of our mission relies heavily upon our membership, which provides the needed resources and also committed volunteers who share our passion for local history. Please encourage your friends, family, and others to join the Lovettsville Historical Society (LHS), or renew their annual membership, to ensure our continued success in preserving and promoting our local heritage.

There are many opportunities for members and others to participate in supporting the Lovettsville Historical Society and also meet others who share in our passion for preserving and promoting our local history. This includes volunteering to help with the museum, fundraising, organizing events, website and social media, and publicizing our activities.  We enjoy hosting special presentations for groups such as Scouts, school classes and tourists. Lastly, the donations of local historical artifacts such as family documents and pictures (or digital scans thereof), ensure that we can continue our efforts to expand our presentation of local genealogical information.

The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and membership dues are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 170.  The Society has been deemed to be exempt from registration under the Commonwealth of Virginia's charitable solicitation law.
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Lovettsville: The German Settlement is available for sale at the Lovettsville Museum.
 Archive of Back Issues
 In case you missed any past issues of our monthly newsletter, here are links to our recent Back Issues, for your reading enjoyment.

August 2021
July  2021

June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021

December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020

April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020

December 2019
November 2019 issue
October 2019 issue

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019 October 2018 
September 2018 
August 2018 
July 2018 
June 2018 
May 2018 
April 2018 
March 2018 
February 2018 
January 2018 

December 2017 
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017

If any of the above links don't work correctly, please let us know by email at
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