Ball-Sellers House

Ball-Sellers House The Ball-Sellers House built by John and Elizabeth Ball c.1750, is the oldest house in Arlington, VA

On this day in Arlington history: September 24, 1881: Julia Rhinehart (Powell) is born. Julia will become one of the fir...
09/24/2023

On this day in Arlington history: September 24, 1881: Julia Rhinehart (Powell) is born. Julia will become one of the first women to enlist in the US military during World War I. In 1920, she and her husband, William Powell, bought what would become the Ball-Sellers House and she lived there for the rest of her life.

Julia was the oldest daughter among nine children born to farmer Isaac Newton Rhinehart and his wife Victoria Elizabeth in Linville VA, small town a few miles north of Harrisonburg. According to the 1910 census: Julia was living in Washington, DC on 1440 Clifton St. NW Washington where she was working as a maid to a middle class family who had two children and a cook. Glencarlyn records show that sometime in the mid 19-teens Julia was boarding in a home in Glencarlyn and was working as a government clerk.

Glencarlyn was a new neighborhood in what was then Alexandria County. It had just been established in 1887 when the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) railroad line was built. People came out of DC to the country for day trips, eventually bought summer homes to visit on holidays and weekends, and then eventually bought to live there. Like many, Julia commuted to work in DC to her government clerk job.

After the US entered the First World War in April 1917, Julia heard the call to duty. As in wars before and since, women were called upon to work to help free men to serve on the front lines. Posters like this one probably helped make Julia take service to her country one step further than most women. She enlisted in the Navy and was one of the first women allowed to do so. She became a Yeoman (F). Julia was inducted into the service at the Washington Navy Yard on August 30, 1918. She was one month shy of being 37 years old - which was old by comparison with most of the other women. Julia was described on her medical record as 5'4", 127 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes, and with "ruddy" complexion. Her occupation was as a clerk and dressmaker.

She was on active duty from September 3, 1918 to July 31, 1919 (the final parade). Her rank at discharge was Yeoman 2nd class. Julia was one of 11,275 yeomanettes. She is among the women pictured here who were presented for inspection on the National Mall. Julia was assigned to the USS Triton, a tugboat, a steam powered, steel-hulled tug that operated out of the Washington, DC Navy Yard. The Triton steamed up and down the Potomac River to the Naval Proving Grounds and Powder Factory, pushing barges loaded with materials for producing gunpowder. It is unknown if Julia may not have seen or stepped onto her decks, but for naval policy, this was her assigned ship. Julia and none of her yeoman (f) colleagues ever saw combat.

The military career span of Julia and most of the Yeomen (F) turned out to be brief. The war ended November 11, 1918. Even though Julia signed up for four years. She was kept on inactive status until her enlistment expired, receiving a retainer of $1 a month. When Julia was discharged, she got $60 and a War Service Certificate.

Julia Rhinehart met William Powell while living in Glencarlyn. He grew up there. They were married on December 5, 1920 and bought the house now located at 5620 3rd Street, South. Julia grew vegetables and had a reputation as a great cook. Julia worked at the Commerce Department commuting on the rail line. In 1932, her brother and his wife were killed in an automobile accident in the mid-west and their daughter, Marion Rhinehart came to live with Julia and Will Powell.

Julia died on January 9, 1957, she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery under the right of her army veteran husband, William Powell. But Julia, as a veteran in her own right did not have her own gravestone. Her niece and the Arlington Historical Society launched a search for her records to prove Julia’s military veteran status. In 2000 with help from Sen. John Warner’s office, Julia received her own headstone in the Arlington National Cemetery. (excerpted from the Arlington Historical Magazine, 2000)

On Wednesday, the Ball-Sellers House director attended a symposium of the Historic House Museum Consortium in Alexandria...
09/23/2023

On Wednesday, the Ball-Sellers House director attended a symposium of the Historic House Museum Consortium in Alexandria's Lyceum. The topic was preparing your house museum to interpret its history of enslavement.

AHS research in Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington has uncovered the fact that three people were enslaved at the house. Not by John and Elzabeth Ball, but by the second generation of Carlins.

We are grateful to our AHS colleagues for uncovering this history. One of the ways the House plans to include this historic fact into the house is to install a small bronze plaque for each of the three enslaved. The event will take place on October 28 at 11:00. More details will be coming. soon.

Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington is pleased to announce the unveiling of the first edition of The Enslaved People of Arlington, Virginia: A Spreadsheet documenting the lives of over 140…

The Ball-Sellers House will NOT be open tomorrow (9/23) due to the weather.  The refurbished and preserved colonial farm...
09/23/2023

The Ball-Sellers House will NOT be open tomorrow (9/23) due to the weather. The refurbished and preserved colonial farmhouse does not have electricity nor AC/heat. Please visit us any other Saturday from 1-4 pm April through October

Hours: 1-4 pm on Saturdays April through October. Exceptions to this for 2023 are: very rainy days, days that are below 50 degrees or that are a lot about 90 degrees. (email us if you’re not …

The local chapter of the Questers, an international preservation group, has joined the effort to maintain Arlington’s ol...
08/17/2023

The local chapter of the Questers, an international preservation group, has joined the effort to maintain Arlington’s oldest dwelling.

International preservation group's support aids Arlington Historical Society efforts

Our newest docent, Nora, just passed her docent test AND she's already conducted her first tour of the Ball-Sellers Hous...
08/12/2023

Our newest docent, Nora, just passed her docent test AND she's already conducted her first tour of the Ball-Sellers House.

We are lucky to have her. Besides a love of history, she brings an invaluable background as a colonial and Revolutionary War era reenactor.

The Ball-Sellers House remains in excellent hands, even at 280 + years on!

It is very nice here at the Ball-Sellers House.  We have a free tour in action right now, we're watering the vegetable g...
08/12/2023

It is very nice here at the Ball-Sellers House. We have a free tour in action right now, we're watering the vegetable garden and reclining in the shade. What a fabulous way to spend a summer afternoon. Oh, and even an occasional breeze. Stop in before 4pm. 5620 3rd Street, south.

As part of its “Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington 1669-1865” initiative, the historical society and Black Heritage...
08/09/2023

As part of its “Memorializing the Enslaved in Arlington 1669-1865” initiative, the historical society and Black Heritage Museum of Arlington have identified 1,500 individuals; information (names, birth and death dates, etc.) is known in full or part for about half of them.

To honor their memory, the organization hopes to place brass plaques, roughly 4 inches square, in the locations where they had lived. A pilot effort, honoring a man and a woman, is slated for the Ball-Sellers House, an historic property owned by the society.

Questions about size, materials remain outstanding

08/08/2023

Historic Gardening at Arlington House
Thursday, August 10, 2023 @ 7 pm
Marymount University Library Auditorium
This program is free and open to the public. You can attend via Zoom or in-person. See details on the AHS website for details on both ways to attend.

History reenactor and Friends of Urban Agriculture volunteer gardener at Arlington House, Sandy Newton, will discuss the historic gardening methods in use at the National Park Service’s Plot Against Hunger.

Sandy will cover the history of Arlington House, focusing on two enslaved individuals who tended the garden, Ephraim Derricks and George Clark. She’ll talk about the role of the gardening used at the in the house garden and the role of the garden in the life of the house as well as the Lee girls’ contributions to it. She will describe the garden as a Plot Against Hunger and the historic gardening methods in use today to produce and donate fresh foods to local pantries.

https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/

08/08/2023
For garden and history lovers:Historic Gardening at Arlington HouseThursday, August 10, 2023 @ 7 pmMarymount University ...
08/03/2023

For garden and history lovers:

Historic Gardening at Arlington House
Thursday, August 10, 2023 @ 7 pm
Marymount University Library Auditorium
This program is free and open to the public. You can attend via Zoom or in-person. See details on the AHS website for details on both ways to attend.

History reenactor and Friends of Urban Agriculture volunteer gardener at Arlington House, Sandy Newton, will discuss the historic gardening methods in use at the National Park Service’s Plot Against Hunger.

Sandy will cover the history of Arlington House, focusing on two enslaved individuals who tended the garden, Ephraim Derricks and George Clark. She’ll talk about the role of the gardening used at the in the house garden and the role of the garden in the life of the house as well as the Lee girls’ contributions to it. She will describe the garden as a Plot Against Hunger and the historic gardening methods in use today to produce and donate fresh foods to local pantries.

https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/historic-gardening-methods-at-arlington-house/

Back in 1776, the Ball-Sellers House was owned by its 2nd owner, William Carlin (for whom Glencarlyn in named). It was l...
07/04/2023

Back in 1776, the Ball-Sellers House was owned by its 2nd owner, William Carlin (for whom Glencarlyn in named). It was located in what was then Fairfax County, along with Alexandria City. On July 4, 1776 no one in what would become Arlington County celebrated Independence Day, nor even knew about it.

In Virginia, the first documented reading of the new independence declaration was in Williamsburg on July 27. Although George Washington had already lead the first Independence Day celebration in NYC on July 7.

Public readings of the newly minted Declaration of Independence took place in taverns, churches, town greens, or anywhere else people could gather. This July 27, 1776, issue of the Virginia Gazette records a public reading of the Declaration that took place in Williamsburg two days earlier. It was ....

No better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to see how we lived in the colonial era. But not at a rich guy's esta...
06/30/2023

No better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to see how we lived in the colonial era. But not at a rich guy's estate, rather at an average farmer's house. See the real thing! Free, open on Saturdays from 1-4. Guided tours with a knowledgable docent.

5620 3rd Street, South in Glencarlyn.

Yes! It's True! We did it with YOUR help!
06/14/2023

Yes! It's True! We did it with YOUR help!

The Arlington Historical Society reached its fundraising goal of $6,000 to save the Ball-Sellers House from powderpost beetles.

We did it!A GREAT BIG Arlington Historical Society THANK YOU to the 123 donors who helped us raise $6,000 to save the Ba...
06/13/2023

We did it!

A GREAT BIG Arlington Historical Society THANK YOU to the 123 donors who helped us raise $6,000 to save the Ball-Sellers House!

Please come by and see the house YOU helped save. If you tell the docent you are a GoFundMe donor, we will thank you in person -- but we understand if you prefer to remain anonymous.

We are open 1-4 pm on Saturdays April through October.

Exceptions to this for 2023 are: very rainy days, days that are below 50 degrees or that are above 90 degrees. (email us if you’re not sure) The house has no electricity or air conditioning which is why we are not open in really hot or really cold weather

Ball-Sellers House Location:
5620 Third Street, South, Arlington VA 22204
Email: [email protected]

Once again -- THANK YOU!

So excited that we have two new docents ready to take their test this month. It's always wonderful to hear new people ta...
06/13/2023

So excited that we have two new docents ready to take their test this month. It's always wonderful to hear new people talk about this story of this unique house and who come to love it like we do!

You don't have to be in costume to docent at the Ball-Sellers House, this is a gang from a previous Glencarlyn Parade.

06/09/2023

A piece of history in Arlington Virginia, the Ball-Sellers House is in jeopardy of being destroyed and a tiny insect is to blame. Gwen Tolbart has the story.

The 2023 Season of the Ball-Sellers House is a mere 4 months away. What ideas do you have about a big opening day event?...
12/22/2022

The 2023 Season of the Ball-Sellers House is a mere 4 months away. What ideas do you have about a big opening day event? Opening Day is Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 1 pm

12/21/2022

Where did Four Mile Run get its name? According to the “Landmarks of Old Prince William” by Fairfax Harrison, the stream was named in 1706 because it was four miles north of Great Hunting Creek (really creative). From the colonial period through the mid-19th century, it served as the power source for numerous grain mills. Today, the channelized Four Mile Run serves as part of the northern border of Alexandria with Arlington.

John Ball, the builder of the Ball-Sellers House played the fiddle. We don't know how good he was at it, but it probably...
12/20/2022

John Ball, the builder of the Ball-Sellers House played the fiddle. We don't know how good he was at it, but it probably didn't matter to his wife and 5 daughters who probably appreciated this entertainment in the cold of winter.

NEW EPISODE RELEASE!
Our study of music in Early America continues with this third episode in our five-episode series.

Our last two episodes (Episode 343 and Episode 344) helped us better understand the musical landscapes of Native North America around 1492 and colonial British America before 1776. In this episode, we jump forward in time to the early days of the United States.

Glenda Goodman, an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the book "Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic", joins us to investigate the role of music in the lives of wealthy white Americans during the earliest days of the early American republic.
Shownotes: https://benfranklinsworld.com/345

12/20/2022

Everyone knows how Christmas looks today, but some people wonder how Christmas time looked like in the past. The 18th century was both a time of violence because of the reactions against the rich and a time of economic expansion and Enlightenment ...

The Ball-Sellers House has boxwood. We think the Powell's planted them. Photos we have of them at the house in the 1920s...
12/20/2022

The Ball-Sellers House has boxwood. We think the Powell's planted them. Photos we have of them at the house in the 1920s don't show them but later photos during the time they lived there do. They probably planted them for decorative purposes but we're on the lookout for evidence some were planted elsewhere on the property.

Their predecessors may have found them growing wild elsewhere on their property and used them for this same purpose: pleasant winter greenery and cold air blockers. It's easy to imagine what they looked like inside the c.1750 house.

Our 18th century German farmhouse is decked out with bundles of boxwood in the windows. Not only did these bundles bring in some festive greenery for the holiday season, but they also served as draft blockers to keep the cold wintery wind out. Boxwood was also long thought to protect the home against the winter spirits that were looking to cause mischief in the darkest time of year.

11/25/2022

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is full speed ahead to Christmas, one month away. Make your Black Friday purchase from the comfort of your own home. Lynch Creek has some beautiful wreaths and holiday décor that can be shipped free throughout the USA. If you order through this link www.lynchcreekfundraising.com/c/300152 your purchase can help the Arlington Historical Society with !5% of your purchase going directly to support the preservation of the Arlington Historical Society Museum in the Hume School.

The Ball-Sellers House is proud to say that veterans have lived here since the late 1700s.  -- Wesley Carlin was in the ...
11/11/2022

The Ball-Sellers House is proud to say that veterans have lived here since the late 1700s.
-- Wesley Carlin was in the War of 1812
-- William Harriman was a machinist 2nd class in the US navy during the Spanish American War and served on the USS Yankton (see photo)
-- Will Powell was in the US Army during World War I and tried, unsuccessfully, to reenlist in World War II (see photo)
-- Julia Powell was one of the first US Navy Yeomen (f) also during World War I. She was a clerk and was also assigned to the USS Triton a tug on the Potomac. (see photo)
-- Jack Foster, among our early caretaker/renters, served in the US Army during World War II
-- Even our current caretaker, Margaret, served in the US Army.

Happy Halloween! from the oldest house in the county!
10/31/2022

Happy Halloween! from the oldest house in the county!

No event at the Ball-Sellers House could occur with out the many volunteers at the Arlington Historical Society who make...
10/30/2022

No event at the Ball-Sellers House could occur with out the many volunteers at the Arlington Historical Society who make it possible. Yesterday's team was Sue, Margaret, Jane, Michael, Jessica, and Mark. We had about 50 people come for the event and/or a tour!

Bee Day was a great event today!! Here's Dwight Foster scout leader for Arlington's troop 106 introducing eagle scout Ow...
10/30/2022

Bee Day was a great event today!! Here's Dwight Foster scout leader for Arlington's troop 106 introducing eagle scout Owen Yingling. Dwight tasked about Eagle Scout requirements and the value of being an Eagle Scout.

Then Owen talked about his project, building life size model bee skeps for the Ball-Sellers House. John and Elizabeth Ball were beekeepers when they built the house c. 1750.

After that, Virginia Johnson spoke about the history of beeking in Virginia from her book, "Virginia Honey, a Sweet History." We ate great foods made with honey, toured the museum, and talked about history and beekeeping. It was a great history party!

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped set, make and/or serve food, sell books, and provide tours! We couldn't have done it without you.

Happy Cat Day!The caretaker at the Ball-Sellers House has cats! They love to climb in the wisteria.
10/29/2022

Happy Cat Day!
The caretaker at the Ball-Sellers House has cats! They love to climb in the wisteria.

The Friends of Urban Agriculture who care for the Ball-Sellers House kitchen garden are "buttoning" it up now that most ...
10/25/2022

The Friends of Urban Agriculture who care for the Ball-Sellers House kitchen garden are "buttoning" it up now that most of the growing season is over. Thank you Mary Resnick and other FOUA volunteers for tending the garden using some historic methods and supplying vegetables to Arlington food pantries to help feed Arlington's neediest.

The Ball-Sellers House, the oldest structure in the county (built c.1750) is open today, Sat. Oct 22 from 1-4 for free t...
10/22/2022

The Ball-Sellers House, the oldest structure in the county (built c.1750) is open today, Sat. Oct 22 from 1-4 for free tours led by a knowledgeable docent. Step into the artifact of the house and back into America's colonial era. FREE. 5620 3rd St. South in Arlington.

See it for yourself today (Oct 15)
10/15/2022

See it for yourself today (Oct 15)

Interesting details in the Colonial-era house Ball-Sellers House Museum! ...

On this day in Arlington history: October 9, 1943: Marian Rhinehart married George Sellers. Marian Rhinehart was the orp...
10/09/2022

On this day in Arlington history: October 9, 1943: Marian Rhinehart married George Sellers.

Marian Rhinehart was the orphaned niece of Julia and Will Powell who lived at 5620 Third Street, in the Glencarlyn neighborhood. Marian, wo ws living in Illinois with her parents, came to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents died within six months of each other.

She attended grade school at what is now Carlin Hall, then attended the Maury School in Clarendon. She graduated in 1940 from Washington-Lee High School. She met George Sellers over the back fence. They married and eventually settled in Vienna, Virginia. She and her husband established a life for themselves and had two children, Janet and James. She eventually came to serve as Vienna’s Town Clerk and retired from there are 40 years.

When her Uncle Will died in 1969 and left her the house, she didn’t need or want to live in it. In 1975 she donated the house—the oldest house in Arlington—to the Arlington Historical Society. It was built in the 1740s by John Ball and given to AHS by Mrs. Marian Sellers so that’s why it’s called the Ball-Sellers House. Both George and Marian are buried together in Arlington National Cemetery.

(Photo, Marian as a young woman in Glencarlyn, George Sellers’ family home in Glencarlyn, George and Marian’s gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery)

Today is National Teacher DayIt's a great time to tell you that the Ball-Sellers House was once owned by a teacher: Iren...
10/05/2022

Today is National Teacher Day
It's a great time to tell you that the Ball-Sellers House was once owned by a teacher: Irene O. Young

Irene Ottilie (Hussey) Young was born in Iowa in 1857. She became a teacher and married Robert Young, also a teacher, on Christmas morning in 1876. They had a daughter named Vera and moved to Helena Montana. Irene continued to teach while her husband became principal.

By 1892, Irene was no longer teaching in Montana but was living in Washington, D.C. At first she became a clerk in the USG Pension Building and by the next year she was divorced. By 1896 Irene was teaching math at Western High School. (This was the high school closest to what would be come Arlington County and many kids from the Virginia side of the Potomac attended it. It is now the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts)

For a few years, she rented what is now the Ball-Sellers House as a weekend getaway and bought it in 1911 when she was 54. She continued to teach at Western because the railroad enabled her to have an easy commute in and out of DC.

Until recently, we knew little about Irene (and still have not found a photo of her) but she led a full vibrant life. She revised the math instruction for her school, helped establish a forerunner to the PTA and organized school social events for the faculty. She also continued her own education by attending academic courses as Columbia, Harvard, and George Washington University.

She liked classical music and attended concerts and women’s teas. She was also a suffragist, attending suffragist rallies advocating that women earn the right to vote. Her mother also came to visit her as did her daughter.

Irene sold the house in 1920 to Will and Julia Powell. She continued to teach and returned to Iowa to live near her daughter until she died in 1936.

Thanks to Janet, the daughter of Marian Sellers, we have several artifacts that Irene had in her home, including a settee, chairs, and a framed painting that hung over the mantle.

We are proud to share her life and teaching legacy.
(Images: a class at Western High School during Irene's tenure there; the Ball-Sellers House when Irene lived there; her settee; and her gravestone

The Ball-Sellers House is closed this Saturday, October 1 due to rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ian. Our scheduled ...
10/01/2022

The Ball-Sellers House is closed this Saturday, October 1 due to rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ian. Our scheduled event: BEE Day at Ball-Sellers has been rescheduled to Saturday, October 29.

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.We ar...
09/30/2022

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29
The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.

We are proud to say the John and Elizabeth Ball, the builders of Arlington's oldest standing house, c. 1750, were bee keeepers. Saturday Oct 1 is BEE Day at the Ball-Sellers House! starting at 1pm We celebrate the bee and we celebrate those who help us understand them.
https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/putting-the-bee-in-ball-sellers/

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.BEE t...
09/29/2022

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29
The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.

BEE there or BEE square! It's BEE DAY at the Ball-Sellers House on Saturday, Oct 1, at 1 pm. We have a lot going on and its all centered around our friends the BEES! Click here for all the details.

https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/putting-the-bee-in-ball-sellers/

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.Satur...
09/28/2022

RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29
The remnants of Hurricane Ian have forced us to reschedule this event. See you on Oct 29.

Saturday's scheduled event (Oct 1: Bee Day at Ball-Sellers House) has been rained out. Meteorologists have predicted that we will be rained out by the time our event would start at 1:00 by the remnants of Hurricane Ian. We are working to reschedule this event and will let you know as soon as WE know when it will be.

Find out about Virginia's sweet honey history at Bee Day at the Ball-Sellers House. Saturday, Oct 1 at 1 pm
https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/putting-the-bee-in-ball-sellers/

CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN - WILL BE RESCHEDULED Saturday's scheduled event (Oct 1: Bee Day at Ball-Sellers House) has been r...
09/27/2022

CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN - WILL BE RESCHEDULED
Saturday's scheduled event (Oct 1: Bee Day at Ball-Sellers House) has been rained out. Meteorologists have predicted that we will be rained out by the time our event would start at 1:00 by the remnants of Hurricane Ian. We are working to reschedule this event and will let you know as soon as WE know when it will be.

Join us for a HONEY of a day on Saturday, Oct 1 at 1 pm when it's Bee Day at the Ball-Sellers House
https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events/putting-the-bee-in-ball-sellers/

On this day in Arlington history: September 24, 1881: Julia Rhinehart (Powell) is born. Julia will become one of the fir...
09/24/2022

On this day in Arlington history: September 24, 1881: Julia Rhinehart (Powell) is born. Julia will become one of the first women to enlist in the US military during World War I. In 1920, she and her husband, William Powell, will buy what will become the Ball-Sellers House and she will live there for the rest of her life.

Julia was the oldest daughter among nine children born to farmer Isaac Newton Rhinehart and his wife Victoria Elizabeth in Linville VA, small town a few miles north of Harrisonburg. According to the 1910 census: Julia was living in Washington, DC on 1440 Clifton St. NW Washington where she was working as a maid to a middle class family who had two children and a cook. Glencarlyn records show that sometime in the mid 19-teens Julia was boarding in a home in Glencarlyn and was working as a government clerk.

Glencarlyn was a new neighborhood in what was then Alexandria County. It had just been established in 1887 when the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) railroad line was built. People came out of DC to the country for day trips, eventually bought summer homes to visit on holidays and weekends, and then eventually bought to live there. Like many, Julia commuted to work in DC to her government clerk job.

After the US entered the First World War in April 1917, Julia heard the call to duty. As in wars before and since, women were called upon to work to help free men to serve on the front lines. Posters like this one probably helped make Julia take service to her country one step further than most women. She enlisted in the Navy and was one of the first women allowed to do so. She became a Yeoman (F). Julia was inducted into the service at the Washington Navy Yard on August 30, 1918. She was one month shy of being 37 years old - which was old by comparison with most of the other women. Julia was described on her medical record as 5'4", 127 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes, and with "ruddy" complexion. Her occupation was as a clerk and dressmaker.

She was on active duty from September 3, 1918 to July 31, 1919 (the final parade). Her rank at discharge was Yeoman 2nd class. Julia was one of 11,275 yeomanettes. She is among the women pictured here who were presented for inspection on the National Mall. Julia was assigned to the USS Triton, a tugboat, a steam powered, steel-hulled tug that operated out of the Washington, DC Navy Yard. The Triton steamed up and down the Potomac River to the Naval Proving Grounds and Powder Factory, pushing barges loaded with materials for producing gunpowder. It is unknown if Julia may not have seen or stepped onto her decks, but for naval policy, this was her assigned ship. Julia and none of her yeoman (f) colleagues ever saw combat.

The military career span of Julia and most of the Yeomen (F) turned out to be brief. The war ended November 11, 1918. Even though Julia signed up for four years. She was kept on inactive status until her enlistment expired, receiving a retainer of $1 a month. When Julia was discharged, she got $60 and a War Service Certificate.

Julia Rhinehart met William Powell while living in Glencarlyn. He grew up there. They were married on December 5, 1920 and bought the house now located at 5620 3rd Street, South. Julia grew vegetables and had a reputation as a great cook. Julia worked at the Commerce Department commuting on the rail line. In 1932, her brother and his wife were killed in an automobile accident in the mid-west and their daughter, Marion Rhinehart came to live with Julia and Will Powell.

Julia died on January 9, 1957, she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery under the right of her army veteran husband, William Powell. But Julia, as a veteran in her own right did not have her own gravestone. Her niece and the Arlington Historical Society launched a search for her records to prove Julia’s military veteran status. In 2000 with help from Sen. John Warner’s office, Julia received her own headstone in the Arlington National Cemetery. (excerpted from the Arlington Historical Magazine, 2000)

(Images: Julia as a young woman; Julia in her uniform excerpted from a group photo of her unit in 1918; and her grave at Arlington National Cemetery.)

Address

5620 3rd Street S
Arlington, VA
22204

Opening Hours

1pm - 4pm

Telephone

(703) 577-7042

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