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October 2021 Issue
In this issue:
  • LHS Seeks Museum Expansion
  • Mount Sinai Cemetery update
  • Feature: Trees Made of Stone
  • Liz Whiting: Attorney Guided Historical Society
  • More articles on Loudoun History now online
  • Nearby Events
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

LHS Seeks Museum Expansion

On September 7, LHS President Fred George and Vice-president Ed Spannaus met with Lovettsville's Interim Town Manager Sam Finz for an exploratory discussion about possible expansion of the Lovettsville Museum. At the September 9 Town Council meeting, Finz reported about the proposal to expand the Museum to allow for more display space to tell the story of Lovettsville. “I think it’s a great idea,” Finz told the Council. Finz noted that what is being discussed is perhaps a 20 by 20 foot addition to the existing building on the east side, that is, toward the parking lot. Restroom facilities, which are lacking in the present building, would be another part of the plan.

Pointing out that there is obviously a need for some site improvements, Finz said that the LHS proposes to contribute $25,000 from the LHS Museum Expansion Fund for site improvements, to be matched by $25,000 from the Town. It is envisioned that most of the construction could be done by volunteer labor, Finz said, adding that “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

The building which houses the Museum was originally a retail butcher shop, part of the slaughterhouse complex operated by Thomas L. Potterfield which was centered behind the Museum, on the site of the building now being used for the Town Council chambers. It is believed that the butcher shop, also known as the meat store, was built around 1890. Restoration of the building began in 1974 as part of planning for the Bicentennial, and it was opened in 1976 as the Lovettsville Museum and Library.

Mount Sinai Cemetery (above):  After the Family &  Friends cleaned the area around the known gravestones in April, neighbors in the Little Britain neighborhood have helped to maintain it. The grave markers have also been cleaned by volunteers using professional methods. The cemetery was established by the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church, and was active from at least 1887 to 1955.

Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery ask for Board of Supervisors help in preserving abandoned burial ground

On Sept. 7, representatives of the Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery participated in a virtual meeting with Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall and with staff from her office and from the office of Catoctin District Supervisor Caleb Kershner. The meeting was hosted by Chair Randall in response to two letters:

(1) A July 30 letter to Chair Randall from Claudette Bard, a co-founder of the Family & Friends group and a Board Member of the Lovettsville Historical Society, asking for Chair Randall’s support for having members of the Family & Friends group appointed as Trustees for Mount Sinai Cemetery; and

(2) an August 16 letter to Chair Randall from Robert Pollard, Chairman of the Loudoun County Heritage Commission, supporting the Family & Friends request to be appointed Trustees for the abandoned African-American cemetery “in order to enhance and expand its ongoing efforts to restore this significant heritage site.”

During the meeting, Chair Randall discussed the resources that the County could bring to bear on the efforts to preserve the cemetery and to right the wrongs which were committed in the past. This would include attempting to determine and document the number of burials beyond those already known. She advised the group that she and Supervisor Kershner will bring an initiative to the full Board of Supervisors to correct the situation with the neglected and abandoned cemetery. It is expected that Chair Randall and Supervision Kershner will present their proposed initiative at to the full Board of Supervisors in early November.

Trees Made of Stone
By Lori Hinterleiter Kimball

Many cemeteries contain unusually carved or shaped gravestones, but the markers that look like tree trunks are some of the most unusual.  Called by various names – tree trunk stones, tree stump stones, treestones – they are found in cemeteries throughout the United States, and usually mark burials from the 1880s through the 1930s.
There are four burials in Lovettsville cemeteries marked with these unique stones.  The earliest is for Christian Nicewaner (or Nicewarner), who died at age 81 or 82 on 10 January 1902.  Christian was a prosperous farmer who married Albina W. McDaniel in 1860.  He kept a diary that spanned the Civil War years and excerpts are included in Yetive Weatherly’s book, Lovettsville: The German Settlement.  He recorded activities and events “as he saw them or lived them,” writing in a straightforward manner and without commentary, even when he was the focus of the entry.  For example, on 1 March 1862, he wrote in his diary, “Federal troops came to our house.  Taken prisoner by Col. Geary.”
Two notices ran in The Brunswick Herald newspaper after Christian’s death.  A brief announcement was published on Friday, 17 January 1902, announcing: “Mr. Nicewarner, one of Loudoun’s richest men, died at his home near Elvan on Friday evening and was buried at Mt. Olivet on Monday, Rev. D.C. Hedrick officiating.”  
Christian and Albina are buried in Mount Olivet Methodist Cemetery on Mountain Road, with a single treestone marking their grave.  The trunk appears to be “growing” from the ground, and the ferns at its base are believed to represent humility, sincerity, or sorrow.  His inscription is: “In full age like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.” 
Keep reading about Lovettsville's treestones
Liz Whiting (1949-2021): Attorney Guided Historical Society

Elizabeth D. Whiting, one of Loudoun’s leading attorneys, who was of great assistance to the Lovettsville Historical Society, died on September 8 at her home in Leesburg.
Whiting served as the muncipal attorney for many towns in Loudoun County, including serving as Lovettsville’s Town Attorney for many years.
At Whiting’s funeral service on September, friends and associates of Whiting paid tribute to her. Among those offering remembrances were Nate Fontaine, Mayor of Lovettsville, and Edward Spannaus of the Lovettsville Historical Society.
Spannaus recalled that Whiting had spent many hours helping the LHS to incorporate, and then to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2009. After this, she advised the Society on numerous legal matters, including the creation of the Museum Expansion Fund in 2017, registration under the Virginia's charitable solicitation law, and the establishment of the Family and Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery earlier this year. And she did all this cheerfully and on a pro bono basis.
In an interview with Loudoun Now, Lovettsville’s Interim Town Manager Sam Finz described Whiting as “genuine, sincere, and very professional,” adding that “She was so knowledgeable about state law, and so able to give you an immediate response.” Finz told Loudoun Now that there was a palpable sense of regret and loss expressed by those who knew her.

More articles on Loudoun history now available online

In our last issue we pointed to an article on the Readjuster movement which governed Virginia in the early 1880s.

We should have also mentioned two other related article that were published in the 2019 issue of the Bulletin of Loudoun County History, and which are now available online as well as in hard copy. These are:

A Study in Civil Rights:  The Delegates of the 1883 Mass Meeting, by Donna Bohanon.

The Readjuster Movement in Loudoun, 1877-1885, by Wynne C. Saffer.

For additional articles, see here for the 2019 issue, and here for the 2020-21 issue.

Copies of the Bulletin of Loudoun County History are also available for sale at the Lovettsville Museum and other locations. 

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


Oct. 1–31 – Balch Library Exhibit: Wynne Saffer Personal Collections. Margaret Mercer Room, Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, VA. For more information, please call 703-737-7195, email

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.


Sat.-Sun., Oct. 2 & 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Brunswick Railroad Days. With live music, food, street vendors, carnival games, crafts and a petting zoo. The Brunswick Heritage Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days of the festival, so visitors can learn more about the town’s railroad history. “There would absolutely be no Brunswick without the B&O Railroad,” said James Castle, director of the Heritage Museum, told the Frederick News-Post. Train rides will be offered at 1:00 each day, headed for Buck’s Lodge, a popular vacation spot around the turn of the century. Tickets for the train ride are $10 for adults, and $15 for children ages 3 to 12. Masks and social distancing will be required. For more, see the article on Brunswick and the B&O in the Frederick News-Post.

Wed., Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. – Harpers Ferry Civil War Round Table, Tour of Second Battle of Kernstown. (In-Person Event, Registration Required) Our guide to the Battlefield will be historian and retired Army Officer Larry Turner. Turner joined the Kernstown Battlefield Association in the fall of 2015, began giving guided tours of the battlefield and the Pritchard house in 2016, and was voted to join the Board of Directors in 2017. His background and research have led him to special expertise in Civil War artillery weapons and fuses. The tour will involve less than a mile of walking, with an 80-foot elevation gain. Motorized help for those with mobility impairments will be available. In case of rain, the presentation will move indoors, and in that case masks will be required. We will be making a contribution to the Kernstown Battlefield Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Please bring $5 (exact change appreciated) to help with that expense. Reserve your space by email to Kernstown Battlefield is at 610 Battle Park Drive, Winchester, VA. (From I-81 South, take exit 310 for VA 37 toward US-11/VA 642/Kernstown. Turn right at the end of the ramp and exit immediately onto US 11. Turn left at the bottom of this ramp. In 1.4 miles, turn left just before the Subaru Dealer on Battle Park Drive. Look for the entrance sign to the Battlefield. The driveway is to the left of the sign. Use caution approaching Saratoga drive to the right as residents there don't stop at the stop sign at Battle Park Drive.) We will meet at the artillery building.

Thurs., Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. – “Preservation for Home Archives” (virtual class, pre-registration required). Contract Archivist and former Thomas Balch Library Reference Associate Gabrielle Sanchez will introduce participants to the basics of preservation and discuss the best ways to house and protect personal archives. Topics will include proper ways to handle letters, books, photographs, and other media; common conservation needs; threats to paper and electronic media; and the dangers of non-archival storage products. Pre-registration is required for this event. Please call 703-737-7195, email, or register online.

Fri.-Sat., Oct. 8 & 9, at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Fall Fest at Catoctin Furnace. We will continue the decade long autumn tradition in Catoctin Furnace. Stand around the copper kettle and help stir the apple butter while it boils this year! Join us for apple butter boiling, blacksmithing, and museum touring … plan your perfect day at Fallfest! Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., 12610 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, Maryland 21788. 240-288-7396.

Sat., Oct. 9, at 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Grand Reopening of the Sharpsburgh Museum of History. (In-Person Event). Come celebrate with us! See artifacts once belonging to Sharpsburg's Founder Joseph Chapline. Day to include Plumeria Pig BBQ, Jeff Taulton, John Schultz, Living History Demonstrations, Door Prizes, Exhibits open all day, and something for the whole family. 106 East Main Street (2nd Floor), Sharpsburg MD

Sun., Oct. 10, at 2:00 p.m. – Daniel Dangerfield and the Underground Railroad (in-person program). Learn the story of Daniel Dangerfield, a self-emancipated man who grew up enslaved in Loudoun and worked in his youth at a mill in Aldie. Captured in Pennsylvania, his sensational court hearing led to his release and eventual productive life in Canada. Discover how his story is part of heightened tensions over slavery in the 1850s and the growth of the international anti-slavery network. Presented by historian Dr. Deborah A. Lee and co-sponsored by NOVA Parks, the Black History Committee of Thomas Balch Library, and Gary Clemens, Clerk of the Loudoun County Circuit Court. Aldie Mill, 39401 John Mosby Highway, Aldie, VA. Free admission, but seating is limited. Registration required at

Thurs., Oct. 14, at 6:30-8:00 p.m. – “The Ground Holds Secrets: Courthouse Archaeology” (virtual program). Join the Clerk of the Circuit Court Historic Records team, County Archaeologist Stephen Thompson, and Principal Planner Heidi Siebentritt from Loudoun County’s Department of Planning and Zoning, for a virtual program on the history of the courthouse complex and the role of archeology in county development. Sponsored by: Gary M. Clemens, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Historic Records Division; and the Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning. For more information, go to

Thurs., Oct. 14, at 7:00 p.m. – Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy's America in Black and White, with Dr. Patricia Sullivan (virtual event, registration required). The Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education will welcome historian Patricia Sullivan for a virtual book talk. History, race, and politics converged in the 1960s in ways that indelibly changed America. In Justice Rising, a landmark reconsideration of Robert Kennedy’s life and legacy, Patricia Sullivan draws on government files, personal papers, and oral interviews to reveal how he grasped the moment to emerge as a transformational leader. ​When protests broke out across the South, the young attorney general confronted escalating demands for racial justice. What began as a political problem soon became a moral one. In the face of vehement pushback from Southern Democrats bent on massive resistance, he put the weight of the federal government behind school desegregation and voter registration. Bobby Kennedy’s youthful energy, moral vision, and capacity to lead created a momentum for change. He helped shape the 1964 Civil Rights Act but knew no law would end racism. When the Watts uprising brought calls for more aggressive policing, he pushed back, pointing to the root causes of urban unrest: entrenched poverty, substandard schools, and few job opportunities. RFK strongly opposed the military buildup in Vietnam, but nothing was more important to him than “the revolution within our gates, the struggle of the American Negro for full equality and full freedom.” This lecture will be held via Zoom. Please register here to receive a Zoom link. Patricia Sullivan will be at Four Seasons Bookstore on Friday, October 15 from 2-3PM to sign books and meet the author where you can chat with her about Justice Rising.

Thurs., Oct. 21, 7:00 p.m. – "America’s Good Terrorist: John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid." Presented by Dr. Charles Poland and the Frederick County Civil War Roundtable. John Brown is a common name, but the John Brown who masterminded the failed raid at Harpers Ferry was anything but common. His failed efforts have left an imprint upon our history, and his story still swirls in controversy. This new biography covers Brown's background and the context to his decision to carry out the raid, a detailed narrative of the raid and its consequences for both those involved and America; and an exploration of the changing characterization of Brown since his death. The Roundtable meets at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM), 48 East Patrick Street in Downtown Frederick. The meetings are open and free to the public. For more information, email Matt Borders,

Wed., Oct. 27 at 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. – The Powell Family Papers with Alison Herring (virtual event). Alison Herring is an independent historian engaged in researching and working towards the publication of the Powell Family Papers held at William & Mary.  Herring learned of the Powell Family Papers while volunteering in an online transcription project at the university’s Swem Library. The collection includes a large volume of documents that belonged to Selina Lloyd Powell, her husband Charles L. Powell, and their six children. In her research, Herring also uncovered the story of Ariana Bingham and her four children, all enslaved by the Powells. The two families lived near Upperville and in Leesburg before the Civil War, and the collection provides rich details of life at that time. Their paths diverged in 1851 when the Powell’s moved west to Henry, IL and Ariana and her children were sold to the Delany’s at Welbourne Farm. The Powell’s later returned to Virginia and opened a boarding school for girls in Winchester on the eve of the Civil War. Closing the school in 1862, they fled the area, living separately for the next three years and supporting themselves by teaching young women around the state. Their separation produced a large volume of letters documenting their experiences, the people they encountered, and the events they witnessed. Herring found their stories compelling and tracked down the old houses where they lived and taught, reuniting their letters with those who live and work at those sites today. Thomas Balch Library. Please call 703-737-7195, email, or register online.

Thurs., Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. – History on Tap: Spooky Scaries. Get into the Halloween spirit with the Historians on Tap as they share a series of weird, wild, and wacky local history stories! Costumes encouraged! Flying Ace Farm Distillery and Brewery, 40950 Flying Ace Ln, Lovettsville, VA This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area.

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 30 & 31, at 7 p.m. – Haunted History at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. On the creepiest weekend on the calendar, tour this historic structure, exploring the building’s history as they walk through the darkened galleries and offices. Staff and volunteers will share stories of Civil War embalmers, the building’s most infamous tenants, and their first-hand accounts of paranormal activity that has given the building the reputation as being the most haunted building in Frederick. In addition to a trip through the museum galleries, the tour provides exclusive access to the third floor where numerous sightings have occurred. 48 East Patrick Street was built in the 1830s. Before it became the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, the building was a furniture shop and a site of Civil War embalming, as well as home to many Frederick residents and their businesses. The past still echoes through the halls of the building. The haunting sights, sounds, and sensations from the building have been reported for decades by the people who lived and worked in the building over many years. Join us to hear our staff and volunteer’s stories first-hand. You are invited to bring your own cameras and ghost-finding apps – who knows what you’ll capture! Flash photography is prohibited. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $20 for Museum members.

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.
Volunteers needed

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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