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April 2020 Issue
In this issue:
  • Closings and Openings
  • Upcoming Lectures -- Postponed
  • Loudoun and Lovettsville History on the Internet
  • Community Center update 
  • History Feature: Hessian Soldiers in Lovettsville
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Closings ...  and Openings

Under the provisions of Governor Northam's March 23 and March 30 Executive Orders, the Lovettsville Museum must be closed through June 10, and our lectures scheduled for April 19 and May 17 must be rescheduled. We will keep you advised as soon as we are able to resume normal activities. Meanwhile, stay safe and stay well!

But, even in these trying times, history is not shut down!  It is open. We continue to bring you our newsletter, with a pioneering article on the Hessian soldiers who stayed in America -- and in the Lovettsville area -- to build a better life after the American Revolution.

And, below, we will point you to some useful on-line resources which you can use to enrich your knowledge of history and genealogy, during these stay-at-home days.

Our 2020 monthly lecture series:

Postponed until further notice: 

April 19 -  Loudoun County: Federalist Stronghold in Virginia, by Nancy Spannaus. It is well-known that Alexander Hamilton’s vision of America’s future as an industrialized nation was not broadly popular in Virginia, where the opposition was led by Thomas Jefferson. But not all Virginians shared Jefferson’s animosity. Here in northern Virginia, especially Loudoun County, Hamilton’s Federalist Party enjoyed solid support. In her lecture, Nancy Spannaus, author of Hamilton Versus Wall Street, will discuss how leading Loudoun Federalists pressed for Hamilton’s program. Loudoun produced two of the most prominent Federalists in the state, Levin Powell of Middleburg and Charles F. Mercer of Aldie. Their lengthy careers enrich the picture of Virginian politics on the crucial issues of the time—and even today. Nancy will be joined by Franklin Bell, who has done extensive research on Mercer’s career.

May 17Secrets of Catoctin Mountain: Little known stories and hidden history in Frederick and Loudoun Counties, by James Rada.

June 14 – “’I am persuaded they will do great execution’: The Maryland and Virginia Rifle Companies of 1775,” by Travis Shaw

July 12  –  Climatic Change in Loudoun County, by Eugene Scheel

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.  The  Society 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.  
Thanks to Dinner Belles Kitchen Cupboard and Back Street Brews  for providing coffee and snacks for our Open Houses at the Lovettsville Museum after the Feb. 9 and March 8 lectures. Both Dinners Belles and Back Street Brews are offering pick-up service during this time of social distancing:  Back Street Brews has window pick up, and Dinner Belles has curb-side pick up. 

Loudoun and Lovettsville History on the Internet

Rich Gillespie, retired history teacher and public historian

It can get pretty boring during a “Stay at Home” edict due to the novel coronavirus these early weeks of 2020. With the beauty of a western Loudoun spring, we can telecommute, telestudy, go sit on the porch, go for a walk with family (keeping our distance otherwise!), watch television, read that good book you’ve put off tackling. Then there’s the Internet--what an amazing number of offerings are available!

If you’re curious about our local or community history, perhaps wanting your kids to be, there are several sites on the Internet and Facebook well worth a visit. Let’s start with your very own Lovettsville Historical Society website at Our volunteers have produced a gem. Why do I like it so? First, there are old photographs—omigosh, I love climbing into these! Want to see the 1898-1955 Brunswick bridge? Want to see what Broadway in Lovettsville used to look like? Go play! Then there are articles on Lovettsville and northern Loudoun history—local German history, Civil War history, architectural history, nearby Maryland and West Virginia history—a very nice collection! There are hour-long videos of some of the most popular presentations given during the Lovettsville Lecture Series—very nicely done courtesy of the historical society. There are several video documentaries that introduce us to Lovettsville’s history, even one on the 1940 airliner crash here. You can hear our elder residents remember this section of Loudoun as it once was. And you will learn a great deal! Just pop over to this website and take a gander—you’ll want to come back. Something good to do if you can’t sleep at night!

I like the Mosby Heritage Area Association website as well: . This is the history area that Loudoun, Clarke, Fauquier, Warren, and parts of Prince William County are a part of. Their mission is local history and its amazing historical landscape, much like the Lovettsville Historical Society’s mission, only a bigger area. Their website has three crucial parts. In “See it” you can find a number of tours that you can go on when things get better or that you can do right now virtually. You can find history scavenger hunts by county. There are blog articles on a number of famous people, places, and events that took place in our region. There are both scenery and history tours by topic. “Save it” talks about historic preservation and what is at risk locally. “Pass it On” provides tools for families, teachers, students, home-schoolers, and visitors to pass this historical landscape wealth along, including activities. Lots of Loudoun history to be had here!

Facebook-wise, the staffs of the Loudoun Museum and the Mosby Heritage Area have been visiting places and interpreting them with their stories several times a week, pasting videos on their Facebook pages for you to view. If you are on Facebook, you may want to “friend” them so you receive these engaging posts. The Loudoun Museum has been offering panels of local historians lately, sort of like going to a “History on Tap” that the Loudoun County Public Libraries have begun to offer, using their historical partners/colleagues speaking from the comfort of their homes. This way, you can imbibe history and your “favorite beverage” at home. These are a hoot—the historians give each other a hard time and are quite witty--but they are very insightful. Go to their Facebook pages, and you’ll see these archived. The most recent one I enjoyed was on how we fared locally in epidemics/pandemics of the past. These historians know their stuff!

Just across the river is another heritage area run by the State of Maryland, the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, exploring the before, during, and after stories and places of our neighboring Frederick and Washington counties, plus Carroll County to the northeast. Their web site,
has videos, stories, blogs, and tours to explore just across the Potomac.

Our own local history library, the Thomas Balch Library of History and Genealogy can be reached online at There are a number of useful databases and resources there.

The Community Center parking lot, now a construction site, is supposed to be shared with the house behind it, which used to be part of the old school and was called the "teacherage," used as living quarters for teachers and the school principal.
Board of Supervisors is asked to stop demolition of Lovettsville Community Center

More voices are being raised to stop the demolition of the Lovettsville Community Center, including that of the Loudoun County Heritage Commission.

Meanwhile, the County has resumed work to complete the parking lot and other work on the western part of the site, which was left unfinished when the County fired the construction contractor in January. The restoration of the parking lot was one of the requests made by Lovettsville Historical Society officials when they met with Catoctin District Supervisor Caleb Kershner last month.

At the end of March, the Heritage Commission sent a letter to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors stating their support of the Lovettsville Historical Society and the Lovettsville Alumni Association in their efforts to save the Community Center. The Heritage Commission advises the Board of Supervisors on preservation and history issues, and makes recommendations regarding the stewardship program for county-owned properties.  

In early March, Fred George and Ed Spannaus of the Lovettsville Historical Society made a presentation to the Heritage Commission concerning the Community Center and the violations of County policy that took place when the original plan for renovation of the Community Center was changed to demolition in 2011-12.  

The change of plans was made so stealthily that not even the Town’s Mayor, Elaine Walker, was told of the plan to demolish the Community Center.  At the core of the Community Center building are classrooms of the old Lovettsville High School and Elementary School, which date back as far as 1927.

Official Loudoun County policy favors preservation of historic buildings, and in fact before demolition of any building more than 50 years old can take place, it is supposed to be reviewed by the County’s Planning Department.  This was never done in the case of the Community Center.

The Historical Society has also asked the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition, an alliance of over 50 community groups, to lend its support to the drive to save the Lovettsville Community Center.

Our fight to  save the old School/Community Center was covered in Loudoun Now on March 11, and by the Brunswick Citizen on March 19.

For more background on the Community Center fiasco, see our article, "What we are losing, by demolishing the Community Center building" from our September 2019 Newsletter. 
Read more about the Lovettsville Community Center
History Feature:

Hessian Soldiers in Lovettsville

By Edward Spannaus
                                                                                                                                                                            During the American Revolution, tens of thousands of German soldiers were sent by their rulers to fight against the American colonists on behalf of the British crown. Thousands of them defected and stayed in America  to build a better life.  Some of them came to the German Settlement in Loudoun County, to the area now known as Lovettsville.

Among the dozen or more Hessian soldiers who settled here and raised families, are names familiar to us today, such as Abel, Arnold, Barnhouse, Dinges, and possibly Rickard.

There have been many stories over the years about Hessians and Loudoun County. There are stories about Hessians captured at the Battle of Saratoga being marched south through Loudoun,  that some worked on local farms, and even that they were camped at Noland’s Ferry and built the brick warehouse there. Others have claimed, improbably, that Hessians were key in founding the “German Settlement.”  Here, we will confine ourselves to what can be reasonably documented about those Hessian prisoners who actually settled here, a story that, to our knowledge, has never been told....

Read more about the Hessian soldiers who settled in Lovettsville
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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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