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Central Rappahannock
Heritage Center Newsletter
A place that loses its history loses it soul
Volume 7, Issue 8
August 2017
In This Issue

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Message From The Chairman

I am so pleased to announce that The Heritage Center's archives will be expanding!
But, first, a little background. The Center has continued to actively seek new collections through its efforts in outreach and raise awareness of where we are and what we do: preserving and making available for research the documents and photos important to this region and its people. The Center has been very successful in encouraging local people to gift their family documents to the Center; so successful that we were rapidly running out of space in which to archive the documents. We were facing the prospect of physically having to pack up and move thousands of boxes to another site due to lack of space, or to slow down, or even stop accepting new collections. None of these were good options.
Since last fall, we've been in discussions with Fredericksburg's City Manager, Tim Baroody, about the possibility of the Center expanding into the Community Room, the space adjacent to our existing archives. Tim visited the Center for the first time and we walked the building and talked with him about our concerns. After careful consideration, Tim gave his approval for our request to go forward through the City Attorney's office and, ultimately, before the Fredericksburg City Council.  On July 11, 2017, Council approved our request and a new lease was signed by the Center and the City, extending our lease for 5 years and allowing the Center exclusive use of the (now former) Community Room!
We, and especially our Collection's Manager, John Reifenberg, are so excited, and relieved, to be able to use the extra space.  No more thoughts of having to stack archival boxes to the ceiling!  And believe me, that option was discussed!
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire staff of The Heritage Center, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to Tim Baroody, Kathleen Dooley and Rob Eckstrom from the City Attorney's office and to the Mayor and members of City Council for their efforts in making this expansion possible.

The Center can continue its mission of preserving history, one paper at a time, and remain in beautiful downtown Fredericksburg.
And there is more exciting news coming..........

Meredith Beckett
CRHC Chairman  

Become a Member Today    
CRHC memberships support the important work done by the Center.  The Center fills a unique role in the region, the preservation of our people's history, which we make available for research.  We are a 100% all volunteer, non-profit organization.

Please join us as part of the Heritage Center's preservation team!  As a CRHC member, you will be helping to preserve our priceless local history.  Click here to become a member today! 

Thank you for your support,

The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center

White Oak Primitive Baptist Church Documents

At the Heritage Center, volunteers are always pleased when a visitor finds answers, particularly if it's been a long search. Recently a collection arrived that has enormous potential to answer many questions.

The new collection contains documents, beginning in 1802, allowing slaves to join the White Oak Primitive Baptist Church. There are many small slips of paper naming the individuals who are referred to as "servants." Only a few of the slips use the term slave or property. They state the name of servant, saying the individual has permission to be baptized (or immersed) into the Baptist church. Because the individuals were considered property, permission was necessary. Peter, Matty, Moses, Aga, Sam, Rachel and even Cupid sought their owner's permission. The owners' names are still familiar today: Taliaferro, Fitzhugh, Pratt, Dunbar, Hooe, Brooke, Thornton, Gray and Skinker.

Examples of typical permissions are "The bearer Peter has permission to be baptized at the White Oak Church. I know of no reason why he should not be. His conduct for the last two years has been very good" and "My man Jack has been a good and faithful servant for the last ten years, he has my permission to join any religious community that will receive him."

One of our readers read about the collection in the July newsletter. He contacted the Center and asked to review the documents. This man is a member of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church, formed 150 years old ago by the members of White Oak Primitive Baptist Church. He is hoping to trace some of the original members of White Oak Primitive Baptist Church and see if any can be connected to the founders of Bethlehem Baptist. Although in most cases, the people seeking permission to join White Oak Primitive Baptist Church don't have last names, some of their given names (Cupid) are unusual. It may be possible to trace them to the founding members of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church. Stay tuned.

Beth Daly
CRHC Member


Newly Acquired Collections

Acquired collections for the month include: 

  • Snellings family genealogy from a family bible
  • Eleven letters, three in V-mail format, written to Catherine and Mary Powell from Leon Lloyd during WW II
  • Music composed by local resident Glenna Graves; documents relating to her membership in the Colonial Dames of America; a poster entitled "Uniquely Fredericksburg"
  • A 1921 yearbook, "The Rapahonoc"
  • Three sections of The Daily Star, circa 1920

John Reifenberg
CRHC Collections Manager
Can you help identify this photo?

Margaret Pitts has on the yellow lei
and next to her, with the cigarette, it appears to be Mrs. Miller.  Thank you Janet Sullivan.
(click on photo to enlarge)

Stafford County law enforcement officers speak to students at Hartwood Elementary School  

(click on photo to enlarge)

Please contact Sharon Null at
The Circle Unbroken: Civil War Letters of the Knox Family of Fredericksburg

On sale now at the Heritage Center 
$29.70 for members 
$33.00 for non-members 
You can also purchase the book online from the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation
   (click on image to order online) 
Daisy Turner's Kin
An African American Family Saga
Jane C. Beck

On sale now at the Heritage Center