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September 2020 Issue
In this issue:
  • Lovettsville Museum open by appointment 
  • Video: "Down the Old Potomac on the C&O Canal"
  • Black Voter List from 1890s found in Museum
  • Feature:  The Right to Vote: An Ancestral Story
  • Nearby (virtual) events of interest
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Lovettsville Museum is open,
by appointment

The Lovettsville Museum is now open  to those making an advance appointment.  After reviewing the Governor’s “Safer at Home: Phase Three” requirements and guidelines, we do not believe that we have adequate staffing or facilities to be able to open to the public and to walk-ins at this time.

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.

Our lecture series will remained suspended for the coming period. We are anticipating resuming lectures in the fall, with a limited live audience, and on-line streaming which could include questions-and-answers. As we noted previously, the lectures depend upon the generosity of the St. James Church and the Church Council's decisions in this matter.

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.

And don't forget, when you're not looking at our website, wear your mask!  Our nation has done this before....

 A citizens group in California urges everyone to wear a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. 
Photos;  National Archives

Video Feature:
"Down the Old Potomac On the C&O Canal"
In this issue we again feature this  silent Thomas Edison Film, made in 1917, which gives a rare glimpse of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, back in the days when it was in working order -- with water, locks, gates, towpath, and barges and canal boats. From 1831 to 1924, the C&O Canal was used to transport goods from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C.  The flood of 1924 ruined the canal and it was abandoned, supplanted by the B&O Railroad which, from Point of Rocks west, had been also built alongside the Potomac River. Today the C&O Canal towpath has been repurposed as a popular 184-mile-long bike trail, owned by the National Park Service, and easily accessible to Lovettsvillians through the Brunswick train station parking lot.

Register of Black Voters in Lovettsville from 1890s
Found in Lovettsville Museum

A few years ago, volunteers working in the Lovettsville Museum found a list of registrations of Black voters in Lovettsville, dating from 1888 to 1900.  The original voter register was among a set of 12 school registers from the same period, covering eight white schools and two “colored” schools in the Lovettsville District. The registers were shared with the Edwin Washington Project which is documenting  segregation and its effects in Loudoun County schools.

The voter register was labeled “List of Colored Voters Registered at Lovettsville Precinct in Lovettsville Magisterial District, Loudoun County, Virginia.” The underlined words were filled in by hand on what appear to be standardized register books and labels used throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The voter register doesn’t provide the name of voter registrar or clerk; however the school registers are signed by “T.L. Potterfield, Clerk,” which would be Thomas L. Potterfield, the owner of the meat store whose building now houses the Lovettsville Museum. Thomas Potterfield was probably the creator of the voter register, since he was the Registrar of Voters for the Lovettsville Precinct, according to documents at the Clerk of Court archives in Leesburg.

There were four precincts in the Lovettsville District at the time; these were: Lovettsville, Waters (Between-the-Hills), Bolington, and Taylorstown.

There are 37 names of Black voters in the Lovettsville Precinct – all men, of course, since women’s suffrage was not adopted until 1919.  The names, with original spellings, are:

George W. Anderson, James Curtis, Edward Curtis, E.M. Curtis, J.G. Curtis, J.A. Curtis, C.W. Curtis, J.F. Curtis, Simon Davison, Silas Furl, Lewis Hamilton, Chas. Howard, Henry Howard, G.W. Hogan, Harrison James, Henry Lee, James L. Lee, J.J. Mason, John Manley, C. Morgan, Charles Morgan, Marchal Morgan, J.H. Morgan, John Michell, John Moten, Thos. H. Nelson, Thomas Nelson, John Paris, Edward Paris, J. William Paris, John E. Paris, Chad Perkins, Joseph Rivers, C.C. Roberson, James Randolf, William Scott, Albert Washington, and Luther Young.

We have asked Claudette Bard, a member of the Board of Directors of the Lovettsville Historical Society, to share her remembrances about some of those named on the voter register.

The Right to Vote:

An Ancestral Story

by Claudette Bard

Like many African Americans, my genealogical journey began when I watched Roots, the television mini-series that aired in 1977, which chronicled Alex Haley’s family history. I sat down a few years after that viewing to speak to my maternal grandmother. Now she was like many blacks in her age group who did not speak of the past and kept those stories guarded secrets. I later learned it was often too painful a subject to remember. I have seen other relatives approach her, asking such questions and it was usually followed by “the look,” which meant “that’s none of your business.” Nevertheless, I sat down with her one day and prepared myself for “the look.” 

I began, “Do you remember your grandmother’s name?” She calmly said she did not. 

“Do you remember your grandfather’s name?” She sat silent for a few seconds and then exclaimed, “His name was George Washington Anderson!” and said it with such pride. I let out a sigh of relief and, thus, my journey began. 

I shared in my grandmother’s pride recently when I viewed a transcribed document, courtesy of the Lovettsville Historical Society. It listed the “colored” voters registered in Lovettsville. On the transcribed document was my great-great grandfather’s name, listed as George W. Anderson. It was a very emotional moment, to say the least. 

This is a brief story of his journey to vote. 
Continue reading

Whose Folly, or, Who’s Fawley?

During colonial times, it was common for land tracts to be given colorful names, such as “Tasker’s Chance,”  “Arnold’s Delight,”  “Mortality,” or “Mill’s Folly” -- all of which were in nearby Frederick County, Maryland. “Folly” was often used in land tract names; other Maryland examples include “Browne’s Folly,”  Allbreck’s Folly,” and Rhinehart’s Folly.”

So one could be forgiven for thinking that “Folly Lane” was named after someone’s folly. But it’s origin is much more interesting, having been derived from the Fawley family which settled there long ago.  And as we’ll see, “Fawley” is but the modern spelling of the old German name which had many variations of “Pfahlÿ.”

In 1989, Loudoun County undertook to rename its roads, because of confusion caused by the numbering system that had been instituted in the 1920s.  Local mapmaker Eugene Scheel was invited to sit on the road-naming committee, because he had included old road names on his well-known 1972 map of Loudoun County. In a 2004 Washington Post article, Scheel described how Folly Lane got its modern name:

“Folly Lane, northwest of Taylorstown, gained its name by accident. I recommended to the committee that it be called Wash Fawley Lane, the traditional name. Fawley's nickname -- his real first and middle names were George Washington -- was always included in the lane's name to distinguish him from others of his clan.
“But the lane's residents, all of whom had moved there since 1980, thought ‘Wash’ a hillbilly name. They agreed to Fawley Lane, but a few didn't like that either. Someone remarked ‘about the folly of it all,’ and one homeowner chimed in, ‘That's it.’"

In Scheel’s “Loudoun Discovered” book series, he discusses the roads that take off from the hub at Lindsey’s Corner.  “Also leading to the river is Fawley’s Lane, named for farmer ‘Wash’ Fawley’s two farms at its end near the drains of the Quarter Branch. George Washington Fawley was said to have the loudest cattle call in Loudoun. When he yelled for his stock, they said you could hear him in Brunswick, more than a mile away.”

Old German-language church records from this area show many variations of the original Fawley name, and give an idea of how long the family has been here. In the records of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick (which recorded pastoral acts in Loudoun County prior to 1784-85), we find baptisms for Phale children as early as 1771, and confirmations of three Phale boys in 1783 “in Loudoun County on the Short Hill” – which is how the New Jerusalem congregation was known in the late 18th century.

From the original register at New Jerusalem Lutheran Church, which began as a separate register from its mother church in Frederick around 1784, we find the following variations of the name:  Pfalÿ, Pfahle, Pfahly, Pfahlÿ, Phale, Phaley, Phalaÿ, Phaly, Phalÿ, Fahle, Fahlÿ, Fally, and finally, Fawley.

Now, isn’t it easier to call it “Folly Lane,” than “Pfahlÿ Lane”?
Nearby (mostly virtual) events of interest:
Now through Sept. 30 – Exhibit: “Loudoun County Civil War Artifacts.” The Loudoun County Civil War Artifacts Exhibit by John Creamer will be on display the months of July - September 2020 in the Margaret Mercer Room located at the Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street. Items include belt buckles, rifles, artillery, and currency, most of which have been found throughout Leesburg and Loudoun County. A number of the items are associated with the Battle of Balls Bluff. The exhibit will be on display through September 2020, and can be viewed by appointment only. For more information, call the Thomas Balch Library at 703-737-7195 or email

Mon., Sept. 7, at 4 p.m. – “Jewish Americans and the Civil War:” a virtual event with Brad Stone sponsored by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Education Coordinator John Lustrea will talk with Museum docent Brad Stone about Jewish Americans in the Civil War. The program will feature an overview of the many contributions Jewish Americans made to both sides of the struggle and reveals the strong influence that surrounding social forces had in shaping Jewish communities’ views towards slavery and secession. The lives of some of the key players in this story — both prominent Jews and other famous Americans whose actions directly impacted the Jewish community – are highlighted throughout the talk to add a more human dimension to this compelling and complex story. These people had an enormous impact on many aspects of the war – everything from the design of the Confederate flag to the abolition of flogging in the U.S. Navy. Their contributions continue to affect us today. The presentation also focuses on how these personal stories provide insight into a critical aspect of the Jewish American Civil War experience — that this pivotal point in U.S. history in many ways forever established the Jewish American community as a key element in the fabric of American culture. Send your questions in advance on Facebook or by email (, and you can tune in live by visiting at the scheduled time.

Wed., Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. – Guided walk on the Battle of Harpers Ferry, by historian and author Dennis Frye. Bolivar Heights Battlefield, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Whitman Ave., Bolivar, WV. Stonewall Jackson faced his toughest tactical challenge of the Civil War at Harpers Ferry. Discover how the Union commander frustrated Jackson’s designs, so much so that General Lee nearly terminated the first Confederate invasion of the North. The 90-minute program will include a one-mile walk on level ground. We encourage all to wear a mask and to practice social distancing. Bring an umbrella in case of light rain. (We will cancel in case of a storm.) Because we are presently limited to 25 attendees by West Virginia COVID restrictions, reserve your space (and let us know if you must cancel) for this first event by contacting Chris Craig via email reply to this message or at 304-433-1260.

Wed., Sept. 9, at 7:00 p.m. – “Pitchfork Populism:” a virtual book talk with Bradford Kane, sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. What political, social, and cultural forces shaped the election of 2016? Political analyst Bradford R. Kane explores ten dynamics of American politics and society that played a role in the 2016 presidential election and continue to exert an influence on our current politics. Some of these dynamics have deep historical roots, such as the cultural divide between those who define our national identity in terms of rugged individualism versus those who emphasize community collectivism. The author notes that these opposing viewpoints helped craft our national identity as far back as the 1700s. He also considers the effect of changing demographics, which will have a profound effect on community relations and politics. The book talk will be delivered virtually via Zoom, RSVP required. Please click here for more information and to RSVP and receive a meeting code.

Thurs., Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. – 158th Antietam Anniversary – Virtual Battlefield Tour. To commemorate the 158th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, staff from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine will conduct a special digital program about medical care at Antietam. Throughout the day in a live stream presentation, staff will be giving special outdoor presentations about the most important medical innovations enacted for the first time on American soil that still impact us 158 years later. The Pry property was vitally important for both the Union high command and its medical department during the Battle of Antietam. Come see the place where General George McClellan directed the battle and Letterman oversaw his system which changed emergency medicine in the United States forever. You can tune in live by visiting at the scheduled time.

Thurs., Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. – "Targeted Tracks: The Cumberland Valley Railroad in the Civil War." The Frederick County Civil War Roundtable will begin its 31st season on September 17 at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine at 48 East Patrick Street in Frederick at 7 PM. The speaker will be Scott Mingus with a presentation on his book "Targeted Tracks: The Cumberland Valley Railroad in the Civil War." All attendees will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. If you don’t have a mask, they will be available upon entrance to the museum. Mr. Mingus’ presentation will also be available to watch from home streamed live through Facebook from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Books will be available for purchase at the meeting or from the author's website at Free for members, $5 suggested fee for non-members. National Museum of Civil War Medicine, 48 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD.

Thurs., Sept. 24th – Fall History Series: Marc Leepson, sponsored by the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association’ (VPHA). Journalist, historian and author Marc Leepson will give a lively talk on the history of the American flag, from its beginnings to the 21st century, based on his popular book, Flag: An American Biography. The talk will be held outdoors at Stoke Farm, and drinks and light hors d'oeuvres will be served. More details and tickets will be available soon! For more information, 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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