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January 2018 Newsletter

  •  Membership Renewal Time
  • 2018 Lecture Series 
  • Nearby Events of Interest
  • Shane and Fay Branchcomb Donate to Museum Expansion Fund
  • Museum Wins Award in "Light Up Lovettsville" Contest
  • History Mystery #2
  • The Meaning Behind the Lovettsville Community Quilt
  • 1940 Airline Disaster in Lovettsville
  • "What the Heck IS This Thing?" Game
  • The Wayback Machine: Lovettsville Episodes on the "  Loudoun Scrapbook" Public Access Television Program
  • LHS Membership Elects 2018 Board of Directors
  • Twitter and Facebook
  • About the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum
  • Answer to the "What the Heck IS This Thing" Guessing Game
Have you renewed your Lovettsville Historical Society membership for 2018?  Join or renew today, and your 2018 membership will be valid from January 1 to December 31.  Please support the activities and programs of the LHS ... it's tax-deductible.*

We look forward to this new year in continuing our mission of preserving and promoting the heritage of Lovettsville, and also our surrounding area formerly known as “The German Settlement."  The success of our mission relies heavily upon on our membership, which provides the needed resources and also committed volunteers to share our 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.

LHS membership dues and funds raised support activities such as:
  • Maintaining and expanding the museum
  • Purchasing artifacts and library resources
  • Funding our lecture series and educational projects
  • Preserving and updating our collections, displays, and exhibits
New memberships and membership renewals are transacted at our online store (see links below).

$35.00 New Individual Membership 2018

$25.00 Renewal Individual Membership 2018

$50.00 New Family Membership 2018

$35.00 Renewal Family Membership 2018

$25.00 Student Membership 2018

$25.00 Senior Lifetime Membership 65+

$500.00 Lifetime Membership < 65

Or if you prefer to write a check, mail it to:
Lovettsville Historical Society
P.O. Box 5, Lovettsville, VA 20180
Please enclose a note with your contact information and membership type.

There are many opportunities for members 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, and publicizing our activities. We are always in need of guest speakers in support of our historical education program and also 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), ensures that the 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.

2018 Lecture Series

All lectures are held at 2:00 on Sunday afternoons, at St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville; they are free and open to the public, although donations are encouraged to support the lecture series and the programs of the Lovettsville Historical Society.

Feb. 11, 2018 – “The Washington Family Homes of Jefferson County, West Virginia” presented by Walter Washington.  The Lovettsville Historical Society will open its 2018 lecture series on February 11, with a presentation by Walter Washington of Charles Town which will chronicle the migration of the Washington family from the Virginia Tidewater to the Lower Shenandoah Valley.  
            In 1750, eighteen year-old George Washington made his first real estate purchase of 500 acres in what is now Jefferson County, West Virginia, then part of Frederick County, Virginia. In 1770, his brother Samuel moved to his new home there, called “Harewood.” Ten years later their younger brother Charles built his home called “Happy Retreat,” and in 1786 he founded Charles Town. Their great nephews built the homes called “Blakely” and “Claymont,” and Samuel’s grandson built “Cedar Lawn.”  
            All in all, the Washington family owned ten manors in Jefferson County, seven of which have survived to this day. Today more Washington family descendants are buried in the Zion Episcopal Church cemetery in Charles Town, than in any other place in the country.
            The February 11 event will also include background on the Washingtons in Loudoun County.
            Our presenter Walter Washington practices law in Charles Town, West Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Carleton College and his law degree from American University. He lives at “Harewood,” the home built by his 5th great grandfather Samuel Washington in 1770. He is also the president of Friends of Happy Retreat, the non-profit corporation that has acquired and is restoring “Happy Retreat,” the 1780 home of Charles Washington.
March 11, 2018 – “How Do We Remember the French and Indian War?” Patrick Murphy, author of the award-winning book “The French & Indian War in Shenandoah County: Life on the Inner Frontier, 1752-1766,”  will discuss the French and Indian War in the Shenandoah Valley – the closest the war came to Loudoun County — with a focus on how we remember it today.  Murphy, who has been a Navy engineer, an English professor, and a practicing lawyer, is now an accomplished historian and is a Board member of the French and Indian War Foundation in Winchester.

April 8, 2018 — “Mary Quantrell:  The Real ‘Barbara Fritchie.'” Chris Haugh, Frederick County historian and Historic Preservation Manager of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland, will explore the legend of Barbara Fritchie as it was shaped by Whittier’s poem, and will reveal who was the real flag-waver on that day when Stonewall Jackson and Confederate troops marched through Frederick.  

May 20, 2018 – “The Story of George’s Mill,” presented by Fran Wire, proprietor of George’s Mill Farm B&B, and a former Board member of the Lovettsville Historical Society.  Fran will tell the story of George’s Mill, located near Lovettsville, which has been in the hands of the George family for eight generations.

June 10, 2018 – “Waterford: A Village in Time,” by Neil Hughes, based on his new book A Village in Time 1660-1990: Discovering American History in a Small Virginia Quaker Village.

Other lectures being planned for 2018 include:

--- James Willard and Willard Hall, Lovettsville.
--- Caspar Wever and Weverton, Maryland.
… and more.
Nearby Events of Interest 

Jan. 1–31 --- Exhibit: The Mexican War-Connection to Virginia, by Gregg and Patti Paxton.  Margaret Mercer Room, Thomas Balch Library, 208 W Market St., Leesburg, VA.

Sat., Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m. –  Re-opening of Bluemont’s General Store. Nearly 80 years after shutting its doors as a general store, the store in Bluemont built and run by Edward E. Lake will reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m.  For three decades, it served as the grocery store for Bluemont residents and visitors. It later housed a branch of the Loudoun National Bank of Leesburg, and still later served as the local post office. In recent years, the citizens association has opened it to the public during the Bluemont Fair. The building today is a large component of the Bluemont National Register Historic District and is also within the county’s Historic and Cultural Conservation District.  Visitors will be invited to take tours of the building immediately following the ceremony on Saturday. See

Sat., Jan. 6, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm – Celebrate America's most important black history site. The farm that launched John Brown's raid on Harper’s Ferry was also home to the Black Elks fraternal organization and hosted Ray Charles, James Brown and the biggest names in R&B. Author Ed Maliskas presents highlights from his book John Brown to James Brown: The Little Farm Where Liberty Budded, Blossomed, and Boogied, during two sessions on Jan. 6: 1 p.m. at the Purcellville Library, and 3 p.m. at Rust Library in Leesburg. More details:

Wed., Jan. 10 –  Harpers Ferry Civil War Roundtable: “Southern Oasis at Gettysburg.”    A study of the northernmost Confederate hospital in the Civil War for the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association resulted in the writing of Bob O'Connor's recent fictional account entitled Southern Oasis at Gettysburg. The novel tells the story of the owners and the family of the Daniel Lady Farm house and barn that were used by over 1,800 casualties suffered by Major General Edward Johnson's division of the Army of Northern Virginia on July 2nd and 3rd. The story is historically accurate and every person mentioned in the book was present on the property which was the closest hospital to Culp's Hill where Johnson's men fell. The research for the book is based on regimental rosters, letters, diaries, and official records. The last part of the novel gives a footnoted list of each person mentioned in the book and what happened to him after Gettysburg. The Daniel Lady Farm is located along Hanover Road in Gettysburg. It is also the northernmost Confederate site still open regularly to the public.  A portion of all book sales goes to the educational foundation set up to develop programs for the farm.  A family-style meal will be served at 6:30 PM prior to the program. The cost of the meal is $15.00 per person. Reservations for the meal must be made no later than Sunday, Jan. 7th, with Kevin Pawlak at Dinner 6:30 PM; Program 7:30. Camp Hill Methodist Church, Harpers Ferry, WV.
Shane and Fay Branchcomb Donate to the
Lovettsville Museum Expansion Fund

Lovettsville residents Shane and Fay Branchcomb (shown above with Fred George III on the left), made a substantial donation to the Lovettsville Historical Society's Museum Expansion Fund on December 23.  We thank them very much for their generous contribution.  The Branchcombs' support -- and yours -- enables us to carry out our mission of preserving and promoting the history and the heritage of the Town of Lovettsville and the surrounding area formerly known as “The German Settlement.”   

As of the first of the year 2018, the Expansion Fund stands at $57,762, which includes a $10,000 matching grant made by Dr. Donald Cooper (pictured below left, with Fred George) -- an excellent start for the Fund's first year of existence.  

Support the Museum Expansion Fund
To keep up with our increasing activities and new acquisitions, our Museum seeks to expand, to provide more space for displays, research, and activities, which is why the Museum Expansion Fund launched in December 2016.  Contributions of $2,500 or larger, will be acknowledged on a permanent plaque in the new Museum facility.  

Tax Deductible
Your gift supporting the LHS's Museum Expansion Fund is tax-deductible.  The Lovettsville Historical Society is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions and Memberships are tax deductible, and support our operations, acquisitions, and events.  If, like Mr. & Mrs. Branchcomb, you too would like to make a donation to the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum, or purchase a Membership, visit our online payment portal.


Top photo, courtesy of Ed Bard.
Bottom photo, courtesy of Melani Carty.
Lovettsville Museum Wins Award in
"Light Up Lovettsville" Contest 

On December 20, 2017, at the "Light Up Lovettsville" awards ceremony at Lovettsville Town Hall, Mayor Bobby Zoldos and Councilwoman Kimberly Allar handed out the awards for Lovettsville homes and businesses with the best holiday exterior illumination.  Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum received first prize in the category "Best Overall Holiday Spirit Trophy (Best Business Display)."  

Elaine Walker accepted the award from current Lovettsville Mayor Bobby Zoldos on behalf of the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum.  Walker is a former multi-term Mayor of Lovettsville, a current board member of the LHS, and one of the original trustees of the Lovettsville Museum, which opened in 1976.  By Walker's side was Lovettsville Historical Society board member, Melani Carty, who, along with fellow LHS board members Sam Kroiz and Ed Spannaus, illuminated all four sides of the exterior of the Museum building with mini-lights and LED spotlights.
Fred George III, President of the Lovettsville Historical Society, and his wife Anne George, provided the Light Up Lovettsville judges with warm and comfortable transportation through all the streets in town, in their personal tour bus.


Photos courtesy of Eric Wickstrom, Vintage Photo Works
Lovettsville Museum History Mystery #2:
Lovettsville High School Class of 1942 (?)
Seeking community assistance to identify these students.
Click here >>> to link to enlarged photo.

First row (left to right):  Jimmy George, Edward Brooks, Vivian Viola McGaha (Lynn), Graham Spring, [? could be Elizabeth Myers], [? could be Betty Wire], and Fairfax George.

Second row: James Conard, [?], [?], Mary Frye, Ruth Thatchin (Sutpin), and William "Billy" Rollins.

Third row:  Mr. L.A. Womeldorf, John Compher, Tom Mentzer, [? female, standing slightly lower], Glenn Grove, [?], Junior King, [?, could be Betty Sue Potterfield (Tyler)], and Bob Wire.

Others in class:  (in addition to the unidentified students above, Elizabeth Myers, Betty Wire, and Betty Sue Potterfield) were: Janet Baker, Jackie Brown (Thomas), Elizabeth Abel, and Sarah Menafee.
Please email your feedback to
Photo submitted by Amanda Conard, 
compliments of the James S. Conard family.
First pass at naming the students (above), courtesy of Walter Fleming.
The Meaning Behind the
Lovettsville Community Quilt

The Lovettsville Community Quilt, featuring 20 local landmarks, was sewn by community members in 1990, and is on permanent display at the Lovettville Historical Society & Museum, 4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Lovettsville, Virginia.  Click through to our website to see our newest webpage, "The Lovettsville Community Quilt," to browse the history of these 20 iconic structures.  Did you know that Lovettsville's downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Postcards of the Lovettsville Community Quilt, and other Lovettsville-related images, are available at the Lovettsville Museum Gift Shop, 4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Town Hall, Saturdays 1:00-4:00.
The 1940 Airline Disaster in Lovettsville

On August 41, 1940, a Pennsylvania Central Airlines DC-3 transport crashed into a cornfield in rural, sleepy Lovettsville, Virginia, killing all 25 passengers and crew.  At the time, it was the most horrific air crash accident in United States history, and put Lovettsville in the national media.  In 1940, the National Transportation Safety Board s we know it, did not yet exist.  Crash investigation science was in its infancy.  To this day, questions remain as to whether the investigation was adequate, what was the true cause of the crash, and whether it was a result of weather  --- or perhaps politically-motivated sabotage?  Visit our Lovettsville Air Disaster Archive webpages to watch a documentary film, read scans of several actual 1940 newspapers, and look at newspaper wire photos ---  all from Lovettsville Museum's Archives Room.

This issue of LIFE Magazine, dated September 16, 1940, was generously donated to the Lovettsville Museum Archives Room by LHS Board member, Judy Virts-Beard Fox.
The Lovettsville Museum has quite a few farm and household implements from the 19th and early 20th centuries, which have been grouped together as a look-and-touch interactive display and guessing game of "pre-digital era" technology, with answer cards attached.  Many of the objects truly amaze and confound today's youngsters, who love to pound the keys on our prehistoric computer, aka our 1913 Underwood typewriter from the old Lovettsville Post Office (today's Thaiverse Restaurant).  For your consideration and puzzlement, presented here is one of the mystery objects in our exhibit.

Can you guess what this object is --- and what it does?  
(Hint: the answer is at the bottom of this newsletter

Visit our "What the Heck IS This Thing?" mystery objects exhibit and guessing game, on Saturdays between 1:00-4:00 at the Lovettsville Museum, 4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Lovettsville Town Hall.
VIDEO:  Lovettsville Episodes of
"Loudoun Scrapbook" (circa 1990) 

Jump in our Wayback Machine to the days of VHS tapes, and watch two back-to-back Lovettsville Episodes of the public access television program Loudoun Scrapbook on YouTube.  Guests interviewed and people thanked by the producers include: Esther Johnson, Eliza George Myers, Richard Hickman, Mrs. Richard Hickman, Robert Wire, Fran Wire, Lt. Col. Billy Simms, Mrs. Billy Simms, Ed Henline, Frankie Easterday, St. James UCC Pastor Roland England, Nancy England, Fred George III, Mrs. Fred George Jr., Marguerite Mentzer, Mike Miller, Cheryl Conrad, Martha Bernhart, Taylor Hines, Judy Hines, Martha Shurtleff, Linda Kelley, Mary Conover, Bryan Mullins, and Chuck Kaster.

In fond memory of interviewer and host Kathleen McCormick, recipient of the
1996 Loudoun History Award from the Thomas Balch Library.

Lovettsville Historical Society Membership
Elects 2018 Board of Directors
Mary “Mitch” Armstrong is a retired attorney with the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration.  She majored in American History at Mary Washington College (now University). She was raised in Alexandria, but her family has owned a farm in the Lovettsville area since 1950.  She previously served on the LHS Board, and continues to volunteer at Oktoberfest and other events throughout the year.

Claudette Bard was born and raised in Rockville, Md., then moved to Baltimore in the early 1970s to attend college. She subsequently received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore. She is presently employed by the Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore. Claudette is a current member of both the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland and Baltimore’s Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society. She is a descendant of ancestors born and buried in Lovettsville. Claudette and Ed, her husband of over 27 years, and their dog Roxi, call Baltimore County home.

Melani Carty is our graphic designer; our webmaster; our Facebook & Twitter page administrator; creator of our online gift shop and membership system on Square Store; administrator of our YouTube channel of lecture videos; and co-editor of the monthly email-newsletter. She has a B.A. degree in Liberal Studies and a M.A. degree in Geography (urban planning), from California State University at Fullerton.  Melani enjoys working with Mike Zapf on reorganizing the museum to maximize space for new displays.

William (Bill) J. Davisson is a retired veteran who served over 26 years in the United States Army. Bill is from St. Louis, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri as an Army ROTC Cadet. Bill is currently employed as a Management Consultant. Bill is married to Julie Davisson and they have three children and one grandchild, and moved to Lovettsville in the Summer of 2016.  Bill is very excited about learning more about Lovettsville history and looks forward to participating on the LHS board. 

Bruce Funk, a Brunswick businessman and historian, is the current Secretary of the LHS, and has been a  Director since 2012. He is descended from the Demory, Virts and Shoemakerfamilies of Lovettsville. He began genealogical research in 1969, and has written five books about Brunswick's history, including Smith and Wenner. He is a long-time member of the Maryland Historical Society, and one of the commissioners of the Brunswick History Commission.

Fred L. George III, a local businessman, has served as a Lovettsville Historical Society Director since June 2012, and as LHS President since 2016.  He is also President of the Lovettsville Alumni Association, President of the Lovettsville Game Protective Association, and is involved in numerous other community activities. Fred and wife Anne have an interest in restoration, and own several older historic buildings in town that they have maintained close to original condition. The George family settled in the Lovettsville area in the early-to-mid 1700s, and many close kin and and extended family still live in the Lovettsville area today, including Fred & Anne's grandchildren, who are 10th-generation Lovettsvillians. 

Richard Gillespie is a veteran history teacher at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, who retired to pursue a second career in museum education, becoming the Mosby Heritage Area Assocation’s (MHAA) Director of Education. He expanded the MHAA classroom program, reaching 5,000 students a year, has written four Scavenger Hunts and Driving Tours, as well as providing expertise for MHAA programs. He also created the very popular "Cavaliers, Courage & Coffee" program. Rich became MHAA executive director on February 1, 2015 and has been Historian Emeritus since January 1, 2017. He has presented at least five lectures to the LHS Lecture Series beginning in 2011. 

Dave Kirk is Director of Systems Engineering at a small engineering shop in Ashburn. He is a Past President of the Lovettsville Lions Club, Master Mason of Freedom Lodge 118 in Lovetttsville, works with Boy Scout Troop 962, and is a Trustee and Financial Secretary for St. James UCC church in Lovettsville. 

Sam Kroiz, grandson of long-time, now retired LHS Board member Fran Wire, has been a Director for four years. Sam operates Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese, with his wife Molly. He was a leader in the Short Hill Rescue campaign.

Edward Spannaus is vice-president and former secretary of the LHS. He was instrumental in obtaining federal and state recognition of the Lovettsville Historic District in 2012. He also serves as a Trustee of the Lovettsville Union Cemetery Company. In addition, Spannaus is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; and the Lutheran Historical Society of the Mid-Atlantic. 

Judy Virts-Beard Fox is retired from the Department of Energy, and is also VP of the Lovettsville Alumni Association. Judy is currently involved in genealogical research for a number of early Lovettsville families (e.g., Everhart, Virts, Wenner, etc.).  She has served as a LHS Director since 2004.

Elaine Walker was born in this Town of Lovettsville, and has lived here all of her life.  In 1976, she and her husband, Cliff, were appointed by the Mayor and Town Council to the committee to restore the Potterfield Building and have it become a Museum.  Thus the beginning of the Lovettsville Museum.  She has continued to serve as a Board member since that time.  Later while serving on the Town Council and serving as Mayor for the next 32 years, she made sure the building was maintained on the outside, and utilities were paid, while helping to maintain the inside and raise funds for the purchase and care of the artifacts. Elaine continues her work with the Town by serving as Vice-Chair of the Lovettsville Oktoberfest Committee and many other Community activities including being a Trustee of the Lovettsville Union Cemetery.

Mike Zapf, a retired Department of the Army civilian employee, has served as a Director for many years. He has also been active in researching history for New Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and is active with the Lovettsville Oktoberfest.

President:  Fred L. George III
Vice President:  Edward Spannaus
Secretary:  Bruce Funk
Treasurer: Dave Kirk

Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum is now on Twitter!   Please follow @LovMuseum.

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About the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum

4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Town Hall
Year-Round Hours:  Saturdays 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, or by appointment

The former Potterfield Meat Store, now home to the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum, was operated by Thomas Potterfield, who lived in the large house next door.  The Potterfield Meat Store was built in the early 1900’s as part of his meat business, which he likely started when he returned from the War Between the States in 1865.  The actual butchering shop and hog scalding trough were in a building that was once located behind the Meat Store.  Both pork and beef were sold in the store.  The meat not immediately sold was kept in a large wooden icebox that held 200-pound chunks of ice in a top compartment.

The horse-drawn vehicles were kept in a small wing of the building, now the second room of the museum.The main room of today's museum is where the meat was once sold. Mr. Potterfield also hauled meat to sell in Brunswick and also sold groceries there. After Thomas Potterfield's death in 1912, the business was carried on by his sons, Robert and Edward Potterfield. 

In May 1974, the Lovettsville Town Council appointed a committee to restore the building.  After several fund-raising events, the Museum was opened for the first time during the 1976 Septemberfest.  The building underwent further improvements, including the complete restoration of the small wing, which became the Lovettsville Library.  The official opening of the Lovettsville Museum & Library took place in September 1979.  In the following months, additions and improvements were made, as funds became available through the Town and its citizens, and the building came to look as it does today.  The Library is now located on north Light Street.

The displays in the Museum consist of donations, mostly from local families, some old, some not so old, but all represent our community’s heritage and various facets of a past way of life.  

The Museum also contains an archives and research library of genealogies, maps, books, photographs and other resource materials that illustrate the history of Lovettsville and its inhabitants.  

In addition, the Lovettsville Historical Society offers a monthly lecture series, monthly newsletter, group tours by appointment, gift shop, Facebook page, and online store for memberships, merchandise and financial contributions. 

The members of the Board of Directors are most grateful to all who have made donations or contributions to support the mission of the Lovettsville Historical Society & Museum. 
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please support our mission to protect and preserve the history and heritage of Lovettsville, the German Settlement, and our unique corner of Loudoun County, Virginia, by purchasing a membership or making a financial contribution

The Lovettsville Historical Society, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the Society, and membership dues, are tax-deductible under the Internal Revenue Code.  
ANSWER to the "What the Heck IS This Thing?" Game

This is a vintage HAT STRETCHER & SIZER, sometimes also referred to as a HAT BLOCK.  This object is for for reshaping hats that are a little too tight, or hats that have shrunk in size.  The center rod of the hat stretcher swivels to expand the device outward by separating and expanding along the center seam.  Similar in concept to the “shoe tree,” our particular hat stretcher is size 6-5/8.

Visit our "What the Heck IS This Thing?" mystery objects exhibit and guessing game, on Saturdays between 1:00-4:00 at the Lovettsville Museum, 4 East Pennsylvania Avenue, next door to Lovettsville Town Hall.

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