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November 2021 Issue
In this issue:
  • Museum Expansion Update
  • Loudoun Supervisors will explore steps to preserve Mount Sinai Cemetery 
  • Family & Friends of Mount Sinai win Loudoun History Award
  • So you think your log house is old?
  • Courthouse Historic Records Division videos now online
  • Nearby Events
  • About us
  • Archive of back issues

Museum Expansion Update

As we reported last month, the Lovettsville HIstorical Society entered into discussions with the Town of Lovettsville in September, to explore possible expansion of the Lovettsville Museum.  Since that time, we have had meetings with museum professionals and with an architect to discuss ideas about adding a couple of rooms to the existing Museum building, and the types of displays and facilities that we would like to put into a reconfigured building.

If you have ideas about what you would like to see in an expanded Lovettsville Museum, please let us know. You can write to us at

Meanwhile, the Museum is open most Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by special appointment. 

Mount Sinai Cemetery (above):  The known burial area at Mount Sinai Cemetery as it appeared in late October. While only about a dozen marked graves have been located, we have now documented 30 burials, but there could  be as many as one hundred grave sites in this cemetery which was active from the 1880s to the 1950s.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Approves Initiative to Protect Mount Sinai Cemetery

Update --  At its Nov. 3 business meeting, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted the Mount Sinai initiative by unanimous consent.  The item was one of more than half a dozen items that had been agreed to in advance for approval by consent. Most of the discussion on the motion to approve the consent agenda was on Mount Sinai. 

First, Supervisor Kershner (Catoctin District]) thanked the Board for supporting the initiative for the purchase of Mt. Sinai Cemetery. He said that this is an important part of our history, that this was a cemetery for enslaved persons and for those after the slavery period. We have done this for other places in the county.  He looks forward to the staff report.

Chair Randall then said she that had met by phone with a large group about this last month. A number of options were discussed.  There are even some personal family connections to this cemetery. She had talked about the County's commitment to preservation. I told them you have my commitment.  This could be a long process. She thanked  everyone for their support.

The motion to adopt the consent agenda passed 9-0.
Over a year after the Lovettsville Historical Society began its drive to draw public attention to the plight of the abandoned African-American cemetery on Mountain Road known as the Mount Sinai Cemetery, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is schedule to vote to proceed with exploring how to preserve and protect the cemetery at its November 3 business meeting.

The initiative is expected to be approved by unanimous consent, signifying that there is no opposition to the motion among any of the nine County Supervisors.

This represents a significant victory in our drive to restore and protect this abused and neglected burial ground in the “Little Britain” community.  The church property, on which there may be as many as 100 burials, has been owned privately for the past 60 years.

What is called a “Board Member Initiative” was placed on the agenda for the Nov. 3 meeting, presented jointly by Phyllis Randall, the Chair of the Board of Supervisors, and Caleb Kershner, the Catoctin District Supervisor.  The initiative asks the Board to have County staff look into options for either acquiring the cemetery property, or for taking other measures to preserve and protect the historic property. (To read more, click below)

View of Mount Sinai Cemetery property from Britain Road, late October.  Some grave markers, behind the yellow tape, are just barely visible from the street.
Keep reading about the Board of Supervisors Initiative

Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery Win Loudoun History Award

The Family & Friends of Mount Sinai Cemetery, a project of the Lovettsville Historical Society, have been awarded the 2021 Loudoun History Award, it was announced on Nov. 3 by Thomas Balch Library.  Following is the Town of Leesburg's  press release about the awards:

Thomas Balch Library Announces 2021 Loudoun History Awards Recipients

Leesburg, VA (November 3, 2021) – Two recipients have received this year’s Loudoun History Award based on their contributions to preserving Loudoun’s past. Due to COVID-19, this year’s honorees will be recognized during next year’s Loudoun History Awards ceremony in November 2022.

Michael R. Napper has been recognized for his many contributions to preservation and documentation of the memory of African Americans in Loudoun County’s history.

The Family and Friends of the Mount Sinai Cemetery, Claudette Bard, Ron Campbell, Edward W. Spannaus, and Howard Gilbert Timbers, Jr., has been recognized for their many contributions to the conservation and documentation of African American cemeteries in Lovettsville.

In addition, The Black History Committee of Friends of the Thomas Balch Library has been given special recognition for their commemorative efforts in connection with Frederick Douglass Elementary School.

Each recipient has preserved Loudoun’s past through a collection of county documents and memorabilia, preservation of historic landmarks, visual arts, writing, and long-time commitment to local history organizations.

For more information contact the Library Director, Alexandra S. Gressitt, at or by phone at 703-737-7195.

Thomas Balch Library is a history and genealogy library owned and operated by the Town of Leesburg. A designated Underground Railroad research site, the Library’s collections focus on Loudoun County, regional and Virginia history, genealogy, military history with special emphasis on the American Civil War, and ethnic history. For more information, visit



          So you think your log house is old?

While touring the Lake Garda area in northern Italy last month, my wife Nancy and I visited the Museo Rambotti, an archeological museum in Desenzano. This museum features the prehistoric “pile dwellings” (we might call them stilt houses) which were built around Lake Garda and other pre-Alp sites dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age (spanning the period 5500 – 500 BC). The area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My jaw dropped when I saw the log construction in a replica of a house of the style used around 4000 years ago, during the Bronze Age (pictured above). It wasn’t all that different from the log structures we can still see in the Lovettsville area – the area once known as “the German Settlement.” It got me to thinking, and to looking a few things up.

Log construction of houses was brought to the North American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries by Scandinavians and Germans, including Swiss-Germans. (The English did not build log cabins and houses when they first came here.) Much of our early architecture in the Lovettsville area came from the Germans and Swiss who originally settled in Pennsylvania and then migrated south through Maryland into the Valley of Virginia. In past issues of this newsletter, we have featured articles on the German two-door house (said by some to have originated in the Tyrol region, a German-speaking area of Austria, now part of Italy), and the Pennsylvania bank barn (also brought to American from German and Swiss parts of Europe).

Just earlier this year, we wrote about Ruse property on the outskirts of Lovettsville (now the Community Park site) which had both a remarkable bank barn which was called a “Switzer,” and a less-remarkable log house whose log structure was exposed when the County prepared to dismantle it. We have lost both of those buildings. Let’s hope we can preserve others which reflect thousands of years of European heritage.

        -- Ed Spannaus   

Courthouse Historic Records Division Programs -- Videos Online
Videos of three recent presentations by the Historical Records Division of the Loudoun County Clerk of the Court are now available for viewing at any time.  These are:
PDFs of other presentations can be found on the Historic Records website:

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


Nov. 5 – 30. Thomas Balch Library - Selections from the Collections in the Rust Archives. A new exhibit of Selections from the Collections in the Rust Archives presented by Laura Christiansen, Curator of Manuscripts and Archives, Thomas Balch Library will be on display at Thomas Balch Library through the month of November, 2021. It may be seen during regular library hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 am-4 pm [closed for lunch 12-1 pm],  Wednesday 2 pm-7:30 pm. Please call 703-737-7195, email for more information. 


Thurs., Nov. 4, at 10 a.m. – “Identification and Care of Photographs” (virtual class). Laura Christiansen, Curator of Manuscripts and Archives at Thomas Balch Library, will guide participants through a practical approach to the identification and preservation of photographs from the daguerreotype to the inkjet print. The workshop will include an overview of the history and technology of photographic materials, identification and dating techniques, and best practices to care for and preserve your photograph collections. Pre-registration is required for this event. Please call 703-737-7195, email, or register online.

Fri., Nov. 5, at 7:00 p.m. – “Legends by Lanternlight: Millwood.” Join the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area and Clarke County Historical Association for a lantern lit walking tour through Millwood, Virginia. An 18th century rural milling town, Millwood retains the historic character of years past. Interpreters will describe first-hand accounts of Millwood’s fascinating history spanning three centuries, included war-hardened waggoners, families divided by war, and one of the 20th century’s most famous heiresses. Burwell-Morgan Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood, VA. $15 for VPHA or CCHA Members / $20 for non-members. Click here for tickets Click here for tickets

Sat., Nov. 6, at 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Fairfax County History Conference (live-streamed). “WE Are Fairfax County!” Part I. The first of Four Consecutive Annual Conferences that will chronologically explore the Peoples who have lived here and called Fairfax County “Home”! This year: Part 1: Our Native American, Enslaved and Free African American Peoples. Free. There are multiple options for viewing this year's conference: In Fairfax County on your television: Cable 16 or HD Cox 1016. On Fairfax County's Facebook page:

Sat., Nov. 6, at 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Burwell-Morgan Mill Heritage Days. Experience everyday life in the 1700s at the Burwell-Morgan Mill! Demonstrations on how people lived and worked in the colonial era. This event is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated. Burwell-Morgan Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood, Clarke County VA.

Sat., Nov. 6. at 2:00 pm – Walking Tour of Green Hill Cemetery in Martinsburg. Sponsored by Harpers Ferry Civil War Round Table. Originally laid out by Martinsburg native David Hunter Strother in 1854, Green Hill Cemetery has many connections to the Civil War. The tour will cover the history of the cemetery, its own role in the war, and will emphasize the Civil War related personalities buried there. Unlike surrounding areas, there is not a dedicated Confederate Cemetery in Berkeley County. However, in Green Hill there is a single lot which contains the remains of 30 Confederate soldiers. Frequently referred to as the “Confederate Unknowns,” it was recently discovered that most of these soldiers were in fact not unknown. How and why they became “unknown” is entangled with the mythology of the “Lost Cause”. This phenomenon and the identities and stories of some of those Confederates will be covered. In addition, the mausoleum, which is rarely accessible to the public, will be open. This tour is free and open to the public, but reserve your space by email to to receive detailed directions and to be notified in case of weather postponement.

Fri., Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. – Culture & Cocktails: The Bridges of Washington County. Do you know that Washington County has more stone arch bridges than any other place in the mid-Atlantic? Featuring Paula Reed of the Washington County Historical Society, on Friday, November 12th at 6:00 P.M., join us for an architectural exploration and history of the stone bridges of Washington County! The featured cocktail will be: Water Under the Bridge! Named for the water that flows under Washington County’s historic bridges, this watermelon and lemon infused cocktail is sweet, fresh, and delicious! 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 members and $15 for non-members. Miller House Museum, 135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. Website 301-797-8782. Register here.

Tues., Nov. 16, 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 p.m. – Historic Encounters Day at the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum. Our series of family-friendly history days is back! Visit the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum for hands-on activities, see historic trades in action, and meet farm animals in person. Each day includes a variety of stations to explore, and is perfect for students of all ages. Registration and tickets are required to attend. This program is made possible in partnership with the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum and Claude Moore Park. 21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, VA

Wed., Nov. 17, at 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – “Lost in the Ice” Luncheon Travel Lectures with Andrew Jampoler (virtual). Lightship Cross Rip vanished off her station near Nantucket, Massachusetts, in February 1918 during the record “freeze-up” that year, the coldest North American winter in a century. Caught in pack ice, the old, small vessel with her crew of Cape Cod watermen drifted into the broad Atlantic and was never seen again. What precisely happened to Cross Rip and why, and was her first mate a hero? Pre-registration is required:

Thurs., Nov. 18 – History on Tap (TBD) For more information, go to

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:
Explore Our Website
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.

October 2021
September 2021
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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Lovettsville Historical Society Inc. · 4 East Pennsylvania Ave. · P.O. Box 5 · Lovettsville, Va 20180 · USA

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