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November 2020 Issue
In this issue:
  • Elaine Walker Memorial Address, delivered on behalf of the LHS on  October 10
  • History Feature: Remembering Private Samuel Benjamin Timbers
  • The Mystery of the Re-appearing Gravestones
  • Waterford Foundation releases young adult book "The Thinking Rug"
  • Nearby (mostly virtual) events of interest
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Lovettsville Museum is open by appointment

Due to restrictions imposed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Lovettsville Museum will continue to be open only to those making an advance appointment.  Anyone wishing to visit the Museum for research purposes, or to view any exhibits, is encouraged to contact us at to request an appointment.

Facial masks will be required, and physical distancing will be observed.

Unfortunately, our lecture series must remain suspended for the coming period; we will resume it as soon as possible, which at this point looks like Spring of 2021.

As always, the safety of our members and participants is our foremost concern.

Our website is open 24/7 -- with lots of videos, history features, and research guides.

Memorial Address for Elaine Walker

Delivered by Michael Zapf on behalf of the Lovettsville Historical Society,
October 10th, 2020
at the Walker Pavilion, Lovettsville

Elaine Walker’s career in the administration of Lovettsville’s town government is a testimony of the love and devotion that she held for this place and the people who live here.  She was proud of the unique place that Lovettsville, the German Settlement, played in the history of the Commonwealth. 
Lovettsville is close to the center of events of this great nation and yet in many respects it is far enough and small enough so that most everybody knows your name.  In organizing the Oktoberfest, Mayor Walker was mindful that the community was a little bit of German and a lot of Virginia.  Fate settled us in this valley of the Old Dominion on grants owned by Fairfax, Tankerville, and Awbry.  Kinship and culture connected our Lovettsville forebears North to German families in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Elaine enthusiastically promoted German Settlement heritage to the end of her life.

She was a charter member of the Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum, which came into being on the occasion of the national bicentennial in 1976.  She, her husband Clifton, and other citizens restored and converted the derelict, old Potterfield Meat Store on Pennsylvania Avenue in Lovettsville.  Until the county built the current library, the building served both as a library and museum.  Period clothing, antique furniture, tools, journals, books, photographs, and artifacts were pulled out of attics, barns, and trunks where they had waited for generations, and were assembled and curated to tell the story of the who, how, when, and where of this community.  Each new generation has contributed to the stories of our community since 1976.

Elaine always insisted that this story was a living story, not nostalgia, but a story of how far we have come and how we have changed.  Most importantly, our mission as an Historical Society and Museum is to include your story in the whole.  Elaine felt very strongly that the Historical Society nurture a sense of place, a sense of belonging and community for the people who live here, not just the old-time families but the the new families as well.

Generations have passed through this gentle landscape:  Tuscarora, English, German, Scotch-Irish, Black, slave and free.  They cleared the forest, tilled the land, built homes, raised families, loved, fought, moved on, or were laid to rest here.  Mighty armies camped on the land where children play.  Your feet now tread the earth they turned, and some of you may live within the walls that they raised.  Now your story and their story are part of this heritage.  That is what Elaine Walker, that good and gracious lady, wanted for this community.

On behalf of the Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum, I would like to thank the organizations and individuals who have generously contributed to the Historical Society in memory of Elaine Walker and to Linda, Debbie, and Carol for the honor of being part of this celebration of her life.

Please be part of the legacy.  We welcome your interest, contributions, and talents in preserving and enhancing the fabric of our history.

Remembering Private Samuel Benjamin Timbers 

by Howard Gilbert Timbers, Jr.

In the October 2020 Lovettsville Historical Society Newsletter, there was a story entitled “Hidden History:  Mount Sinai Church and Cemetery at ‘Little Britain.’”  My family has a connection to the cemetery that I would like to share with you.
I am a fifth-generation descendant of Private Samuel Benjamin Timbers, whose grave marker stands in the Mount Sinai Church cemetery.  As a proud veteran myself, I was overjoyed when I discovered this information a year ago while researching my family’s genealogy.  I was aware that African Americans from Loudoun County, Virginia had served in the Civil War, but had no idea that a member of the Timbers family had served in the Civil War.
Samuel was born sometime between 1845 and 1847.  His mother was Ann Maria Timbers (daughter of Margaret Timbers) and his father was Elijah Nelson.  At the age of 18 (although I suspect that he may have been much younger), he enlisted at Baltimore, Maryland on October 17, 1964, to serve one year as a member of the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry. 
Samuel was deployed to Petersburg, Virginia in November 1864.  Sometime in December 1864, Samuel got sick and was admitted to a military hospital in the area. In February 1865, Samuel was ordered detached from his company and was reassigned to the Quartermaster Department at Division Headquarters for the rest of his service as a teamster with the Division wagon train (which normally would carry equipment and supplies, as well as baggage, to the soldiers or camp).  Samuel, being detached from his company, was most likely in the rear with the wagon train and probably wouldn’t have been on the front lines in combat.
By the time Samuel got out of the hospital, the Army of The James had been reorganized into two Corps, one white (XXIV) and one black (XXV).  The Army of The James was a Union army that was composed of units from Virginia and North Carolina.  They served along the James River and in the final stages of the Siege of Petersburg up through the fall of Petersburg on April 2, 1865.  Samuel’s regiment became part of the 25th or “XXV Corps.”  The XXV Corps was unique because it was formed entirely from the USCT (U.S. Colored Troops) regiments from other commands and was the only entirely African-American corps in the Union Army.  Though Samuel experienced several more sickness episodes, his unit served in the trenches and were some of the first soldiers to reach Petersburg and Richmond on the morning of April 3, 1865.
Continue reading about Samuel Timbers

The Mystery of the Re-appearing Gravestones

Here’s a story you may have missed, in the absence of the Brunswick Citizen and its news coverage of "Greater Lovettsville."  We are sad to learn that the Citizen has taken an earlier retirement than expected, and will not be resuming publication, due to the pressures of the pandemic. We happened to learn about the incident at the cemetery from the Hagerstown news source WDVM, which published a story and a video on Oct. 12, which you can find here.
Dr. Wayne Allgaier has been one of the volunteers leading the beautiful restoration of the Old Berlin Cemetery in Brunswick, also sometimes called the Old Lutheran Cemetery.  On October 6, he was walking in the cemetery when he came across a group of young school girls who were using the cemetery as a quiet reading place in between virtual classes.

Why are these stones laying down, when the others are standing up, the girls asked, pointing to four grave markers. (See the WDVM video link above.)  Dr. Allgaier thought to himself that these markers didn’t look familiar, and he soon realized that he had never seen these markers before.  Up to this point, there were 71 identified headstones or monuments in the cemetery; about a third of these had been just recently identified and restored. 

The four mysterious markers were near the “orphans memorial” – a group of markers or parts of markers whose original locations could not be determined.

Dr. Allgaier told the Lovettsville Historical Society that he has been able to identify the names on two of the four suddenly-appearing markers – Cora Musgrove (rear right in photo) and Ader Cooper (front left) – who have siblings buried there.  (Cooper is of course a common name around Lovettsville, and Dr. Allgaier notes that the Coopers and many other Brunswick families came across the river from Lovettsville.)

The third of the four mysterious markers (rear left) has the initials “J.B.”  There are two known burials with those initials, Allgaier said. (The death dates for these are 1845 and 1895.) The fourth is only the top part of a marker, and has a carving of an angel.  All four markers are believed to have been for children buried in the cemetery. They have now been temporarily added to the “orphans memorial.”  (see photo; newly-found markers are the last two in each row, propped up with temporary wooden stakes)

Neither Dr. Allgaier, nor Town of Brunswick officials, have any idea how the gravestones got back to the cemetery, but everyone is grateful that they are back, and they hope that whoever left them there over the night of October 5-6 will come forward.  This might help to track down other markers which have gone missing over the years.

There are 149 documented burials in the cemetery, and likely many more undocumented. Most burials took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but there is one dated 1810, and another reported stone from 1806. In 1799 the property was sold, and already at that time a burial ground was included. The land was later owned by Lovettsville-born Joseph Waltman (1800-1870), and his will specified that the land “now used as a graveyard” be held in trust for the Lutheran church being formed in Berlin (now Brunswick). Waltman himself and his family are buried in the Old Lutheran Cemetery in Lovettsville.

Many gravestones have also disappeared from Lovettsville cemeteries and burial grounds over the years, and some are thought to have been used as paving stones on private property.  The Lovettsville Historical Society notes that it has learned of a couple of markers in yards or garages in recent years, and we believe there are many more out there.

Anyone with knowledge of lost gravestones should contact Dr. Wayne Allgaier,, for Brunswick; or the Lovettsville Historical Society,, for Lovettsville.
New! Young Adult Novel
Set in the Black Community of Waterford’s Post-Civil War Past
It’s 1880 and young Leven Thomson discovers startling facts about his close-knit family and community. Why did his mother value a dirty old braided rug so much? What had happened to her brother? Who was the mysterious Dr. Haskins and did he really have supernatural powers? Who was the furtive man in the woods? What did Emancipation Day really stand for?In a year full of transformative events—from house fires, death and childbirth, illness, a hostile farm foreman, old and new friendships, learning in the one-room segregated schoolhouse, and celebrating freedom–Leven learns the truth about life before the Civil War and experiences the strength of his African-American community.

 “… through a young person’s eyes …we discover how family choices, made out of fear and from a place of love, during the enslavement period, affected the generations that followed. a wonderful story of individual, family and community perseverance.”
— Donna Bohanon, Chair, Black History Committee Friends of Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, Virginia

By Bronwen Curtis Souders
Available in special signed limited edition at $20

A few nearby events of interest:


Now through December – Exhibit: “A Step in Time,” at Thomas Balch Library. The exhibit features oil paintings by Leesburg artist Bethany Widom, and is now available to view in the lower level meeting room of the Thomas Balch Library. The show features 22 oil paintings, inspired by objects that were a part of Widom’s own life and that of her family. Her paintings have a reminiscent quality that invite you to appreciate a moment in time. The exhibit runs through December and may be seen by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 to 3 p.m. Please call 703-737-7195, email, or fill out an Appointment Request Form online. To learn more about the artist, visit

Now through Nov. 30 – Exhibit: Selections from the Collections in the Rust Archives. Curated by Laura Christiansen. Margaret Mercer Room, Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg. Exhibit can be viewed on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment (see above).

Nov. 8, 2020 through Jan. 24, 2021 – Exhibit: “The Dutch Golden Age: Prints by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries.” During the Dutch Golden Age the arts and artists flourished—many artists who are now beloved household names, including Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), worked during this period, when middle-class life rapidly developed and material comforts and luxuries, including art, became available to more people. This exhibition brings together more than 60 prints that illuminate this exciting period, including seven prints by Rembrandt, and works by his precursors, peers, and followers. This exhibition is organized by the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania. Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, 401 Museum Drive, Hagerstown, MD. 301-739-5727.



Mon., Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. – Virtual Program: “The Politics of Civil War Medicine.” The education team at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine gathers on the eve of the 2020 election to discuss how politics played a role in Civil War medical practice. How did public opinion about the medical departments play a role in the care for soldiers during the war? How did the internal politics within the US and Confederate armies influence the medical departments and their staff? This discussion will examine examples from the Civil War era to show that, like today, medicine was mired in the politics of the day. National Museum of Civil War Medicine, 48 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701. For more information call 301-695-1864, or click here.

Thurs, Nov. 5, at 10:00 a.m. – Preservation for Home Archives. Gabrielle Sanchez, Contract Archivist and former Library Reference Associate at Thomas Balch Library, will introduce participants to the basics of preservation and discuss the best ways to house and protect personal archives. This workshop will be held virtually via Webex - preregistration is required. Register online at or by calling 703-737-7195.

Sat, Nov. 7, at 10:00 a.m. – Walking tour of historic Charles Town, led by historian Jim Surkamp, sponsored by the Harpers Ferry Civil War Round Table. The level walk will also include the Carriage Inn, the Zion Churchyard, and the site of John Brown’s hanging. The walk will be nearly a mile, though the distance will be flexible, based upon the wishes of the participants. Jim’s tour will touch on Brown’s raid, trial and hanging, Civil War skirmishes in the area, African American US Army field officer Martin Delany, Grant-Sheridan meetings, and fire hall benefactor Charles Broadway Rouss. Meet in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse, 100 E. Washington Street, Charles Town. Due to COVID and logistical concerns and restrictions, we may need to limit attendance. Please reserve your space by replying to Chris Craig at or 304-433-1260. We ask that you wear a mask and practice social distancing. There is no charge for this tour, though we welcome your membership in the Round Table.

Sat., Nov. 7, 4:00 p.m. Guided Tour of the Battle of Middleburg battlefield at Mt. Defiance. Join a guided tour of the Mt. Defiance battlefield, part of the June 19, 1863 Battle of Middleburg. Led by local educator and historian Rich Gillespie, the tour will look at site features and the battle events in context, and will include strategic military aspects of the battle, landscape features, and engaging human-interest stories. Free admission; no reservations necessary. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. Meet in the parking lot at 35945 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg. If you’d like to register ahead of time, you may, but it is not required:

Thurs., Nov. 12 - Leesburg in 1920: A Centennial Panel Discussion. Sponsored by the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area (540-687-6681), in partnership with the Black History Committee of the Thomas Balch Library (703-737-7195). Call for more information.

Thurs., Nov. 19, at 8:00 p.m. – Frederick Civil War Roundtable: “The Pratt Street Riots.” Mr. Bill Hallett, former radio announcer and current voice-over artist, will present "The Pratt Street Riots." He’s a past president of the Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire and current board member of the Civil War Roundtable of the Merrimack in Salisbury, Massachusetts. Mr. Hallett's presentation will also be streamed lived through the Museum's Facebook page. National Museum of Civil War Medicine, 48 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701. For more information call 301-695-1864, or visit


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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.
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