Books recommended by Germanna Foundation members:
Seasons of War: The Ordeal of the Confederate Community, 1861-1865, by Daniel E. Sutherland
In 2014, the Germanna Foundation is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Germanna. At the mid-point of its story is the Civil War, which pitted Germanna families against one another in battles spanning a continent over four years.
If there is one more book you must read on the Civil War during its 150th anniversary commemorations, Sutherland’s Seasons of War: The Ordeal of the Confederate Community, 1861-1865 is it.
The Germanna scholar will read with interest about Confederate Generals (and Germanna descendants) Robert E. Lee and James Lawson Kemper, but also other members of recognizable Germanna families: Armstrong, Clore, Coons, Crigler, Hitt, Slaughter, Utterback, Utz, Yager and many other notable Culpeper families who have played an important role in the story of Germanna.
Sutherland’s book weaves events and families to the geography of Culpeper that is now a part of the fabric of American history: Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Stevensburg, and Germanna Ford.
From the preface:
Forty-eight months of war, that is what the years 1861-65 meant to the people of Culpeper County, Virginia.
Forty-eight monte of military training, invasion, occupation, liberation, battle, hardship, triumph, and sorrow, forty-eight months and their ever-changing seasons of war.
This is the story of the people of Culpeper, and the story of the soldiers, Blue and Gray, who fought, lived, and sometimes died there. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson and George G. Meade, James E. B. ‘Jeb’ Stuart and George Armstrong Custer, Richard S. Ewell and John Pope — they all knew Culpeper.
Culpeper was one of the most important strategic spots in the war.
Nestled below the Rappahannock River and north of the Rapidan, it became a natural point of invasion for the Union army and a place from which some of the most important campaigns of the war were launched, including First and Second Manassas, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness.
Few confederate communities hosted more soldiers or witnessed more combat than Culpeper.
A Pride of Place: Three Hundred Years of Architectural History in Fauquier County by Kimberly Prothro Williams
Kimberly Prothro Williams has done a beautiful editorial work in leading a gifted group of writers to portray historically significant houses in Fauquier County, settled circa 1721 by German Reformed colonists from Germanna.
Assisted by the talents of Cynthia A. MacLeod (now Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park of the National Park Service and wife of Germanna descendant and former Germanna Foundation trustee Doug Harnsberger, architect of the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center) and Germanna descendant Bob Barron (former publisher of Preservation magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation), this splendid book includes houses associated with John Kemper, Peter Kemper, Benjamin Hitt, John Rector, Caleb Rector, William Rector, Thomas Rector, Tilman Weaver and many others.
250 Years in Fauquier County: A Virginia Story by Kathi Ann Brown, Walter Nicklin, John T. Toler
Colonists from Germanna founded Germantown about the year 1721, years before founding of Fauquier County. Find out what happened next over the following centuries!
Beginning with the early interactions between Native Americans and European explorers and settlers, this history traces three and a half centuries of change in Fauquier County, Virginia.
Commissioned by the Fauquier Historical Society to commemorate the county’s 250th anniversary, this engrossing narrative tells the story of the men and women, black and white, who built the region’s farms, plantations, schools, and churches.
Individual biographies are interwoven with a social, political, and military history of the American Revolution and Civil War, allowing crucial events in the county’s history to come alive.
This book also explores Fauquier’s depressed economy after the Civil War and shows how the area’s location and natural beauty drew wealthy outsiders to purchase estates in the early part of the twentieth century.
After midcentury, the enormous expansion of the Washington suburbs ignited a heated and ongoing debate over the county’s position on growth and development.
Related here is the fascinating story of a historically significant county.
The volume has more than two hundred illustrations, some displaying the county’s stunning beauty, which enhance the book throughout.
Fauquier County in the Revolution by T. Triplett Russell, John K. Gott
John K. Gott (1929-2004), a former trustee of the Germanna Foundation, was the foremost authority on the history of Fauquier County, Virginia.
He had deep Fauquier roots, descending from the Rector and Fishback families of Germantown in southern Fauquier County.
So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State by Forrest Church
A history of the battle lines formed and fought over religion and politics, this book features an illuminating discussion of the race for the first Congress under the recently enacted United States Constitution, with a focus on the race between James Madison and James Monroe.
The Constitution was unpopular among the voters in what is now Culpeper and Madison Counties because it lacked a Bill of Rights that would protect non-Episcopalians from the re-establishment of a State church.
Both candidates did extensive outreach to dissenting clergy and spoke to several Baptist gatherings.
Included in the politicking was a debate after services on the steps of Hebron Lutheran Church (founded by Germanna colonists).
Of the debate at Hebron, Madison wrote,
“Service was performed and then they had music with two fiddles. They are remarkably fond of music. When it was all over we addressed these people and kept them standing in the snow listening to the discussion of constitutional subjects. They stood it out very patiently – seemed to consider it a sort of fight of which they were required to be spectators.”
The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg by Cary Carson, Carl Lounsbury
For more than thirty years, the architectural research department at Colonial Williamsburg has engaged in comprehensive study of early buildings, landscapes, and social history in the Chesapeake region.
Its painstaking work has transformed our understanding of building practices in the colonial and early national periods and thereby greatly enriched the experience of visiting historic sites.
In this beautifully illustrated volume, a team of historians, curators, and conservators draw on their far-reaching knowledge of historic structures in Virginia and Maryland to illuminate the formation, development, and spread of one of the hallmark building traditions in America architecture.
The essays describe how building design, hardware, wall coverings, furniture, and even paint colors telegraphed social signals about the status of builders and owners and choreographed social interactions among everyone who lived or worked in gentry houses, modest farmsteads, and slave quarters.
The analyses of materials, finishes, and carpentry work will fascinate old-house buffs, preservationists, and historians alike.
The lavish color photography is a delight to behold, and the detailed catalogues of architectural elements provide a reliable guide to the form, style, and chronology of the region’s distinctive historic architecture.
Journey Through Hallowed Ground: Birthplace of the American Ideal by Andrew Cockburn
Along the 175-mile stretch from Monticello to Gettysburg—designated by Congress as the official “birthplace of America”—intriguing details of our nation’s past emerge from every town and byway.
This beautiful book spotlights key places and personalities on the route, revealing insiders’ stories of early America.
The creative team—renowned author Andrew Cockburn, along with National Geographic photographer Kenneth Garrett and Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks—will garner nationwide attention with this masterwork of history and heritage.
Cockburn’s textured prose details the development of the American character through explorations of Native American burial grounds and little-known battlefields; legends of heroes, spies, and wartime romances; breathtaking secrets of the Underground Railroad; and the sagas of seven presidents who lived in the region.
Interwoven is the story of the remarkable nonprofit organization, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, which is innovating sustainable economic development to support historic preservation, as covered by the Washington Post, Smithsonian and the New York Times.