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"HELEN'S MIND"The Brain of Helen Hamilton GardenerBorn in Winchester, Virginia - 1853Alice Chenoweth was born in Winches...

The Brain of Helen Hamilton Gardener
Born in Winchester, Virginia - 1853

Alice Chenoweth was born in Winchester, Virginia on January 23, 1853. The family would move around and finally settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. From an early age, Alice felt that women were not getting the intellectual respect or acknowledgment from the men of her day. Alice would form a pen name, Helen Hamilton Gardener, and make it her life's work to prove once and for all that women were as smart (if not smarter) as men.

In 1887, former Surgeon General of the United States, William A. Hammond, published a paper that said he had found a neurological basis for female inferiority in the brain based on size. This paper ignited the fire in Helen and the battle was on!

Gardener began working with neurologist Edward C. Spitzka to refute Hammond's thesis of inherent inferiority of the female brain. Gardener ultimately produced a paper entitled "Sex in Brain" that was read to the 1888 convention of the International Council of Women in Washington, DC. In this work, Gardener argued that no connection between brain weight and intellectual capacity had been established and challenged Hammond's methodology of comparing the size and mass of brains. Gardener emerged from the Hammond controversy as a leading public speaker for women's rights. In 1893 she would deliver three more scholarly papers on feminist themes to the Congress of Representative Women held in Chicago in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition. In 1920, Woodrow Wilson appointed her to the United States Civil Service Commission, the first woman to occupy such a high federal position.

Gardener died in July of 1925 at the age of 72 in Washington, D.C. of chronic myocarditis.

Always one to prove her point, she donated her own brain to Cornell, “to help provide superior female brains for future research.” Cornell researcher James W. Papez found her brain to be abnormally large for a woman, with well‐developed frontal, occipital and parietal regions and “nothing to indicate that hers was a one-sided or single‐tract mind.”

"THE PAINTING OF ROBERT E. LEE"Robert Caledon Bruce of WinchesterPetersburg, VA - 1865Edward Caledon Bruce was a noted W...

Robert Caledon Bruce of Winchester
Petersburg, VA - 1865

Edward Caledon Bruce was a noted Winchester painter who was born in 1825 at the home located at 217 W. Boscawen Street. Edward was quite the renaissance man...he surely looked like one in a self portrait done in 1855 and now hangs in the Abram's Delight Museum. Edward C. Bruce has the distinction of being the only artist allowed to paint Robert E. Lee from life during the Civil War.

He was the son of a successful businessman, John Bruce, who came to the U.S. from Scotland. They are said to be a direct relation to Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. John Bruce, built the Christ Episcopal Church and helped establish the Winchester Academy. Edward Caledon Bruce became deaf from scarlet fever at age fourteen. It was at this time that he went into self-reflection and the artist was born...not only in painting but writing as well.

During the 1840's Bruce became the owner of the Winchester Virginian newspaper. In 1849 he exhibited his artwork at the American Art-Union to great success. He married the daughter of artist William James Hubbard in 1854 and lived in Charlestown (West Va.) from 1854-57. There he worked as a writer and illustrator, contributing to Harper's and Lippincott's magazines.

When the Civil War began, the dashing young Bruce wanted to take part in what he thought a chivalrous war, but his deafness kept him out of the army. He went to Richmond to work in the Confederate government. It was at this time that Bruce befriended an official who knew Robert E. Lee personally and was able to convince Lee to let Bruce paint his portrait. Lee was headquartered in nearby Petersburg. This would be the only sitting Robert E. Lee allowed during the war.

From 1875 to 1877 Bruce moved back to Charlestown, finally returning to Winchester and working as the editor of his newspaper. Edward Caledon Bruce, the dashing man who resembled one of Alexander Dumas' musketeers, died in 1900 and was laid to rest in the family plot at Mount Hebron Cemetery.

"A PLACE IN THE WOODS"Carysbrooke House - KernstownJuly of 1862As you drive on Rt. 37 east and travel the new Tasker Roa...

Carysbrooke House - Kernstown
July of 1862

As you drive on Rt. 37 east and travel the new Tasker Road, the woods to your left are full of history. Late in the Civil War, these woods would have over 1,000 dug-in huts for General Philip Sheridan’s massive army. Also, in these woods, sat a simple and lonely house called Carysbrooke.

On July 9, 1862, Susan Jones peered out the living room window of Carysbrooke. It had been raining all night. She was wondering if her husband, Major Frank Jones, of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, was safe. Something felt wrong. Frank was a good husband and he wrote to Sue often, but the letters had stopped in mid-June. Sue tended to her four children in the home. A newborn named Frances or “Frankie” had yet to meet her father.

Frank Jones was part of a family that had deep roots in the founding of Winchester. He was the great-grandson of Gabriel Jones, the valley lawyer who lived at Vaucluse below Stephens City in the late 1700s. He was also related to the Barton family who lived at Springdale, the large stone mansion below Kernstown in Bartonsville. As a young man, Frank and his siblings would run and hunt the fields across the street from Springdale. There were two mills on Shady Elm Road during the Civil War, the Barton or Springdale Flour Mill (which can still be seen today) and also the Shady Elm Mill. Springdale was great, but Carysbrooke was Frank and Sue Jones’ dream. A farm of their own. He grew up with a family name, money, and a mansion, but this home was his. Frank and Sue were only a mile away from his family at Springdale, and only five miles from his mother and ancestral home of Vaucluse. At Carysbrooke, he was able to carve out a little heaven on a 100 acre parcel dotted with hills, woods, and ravines. He intended to grow old here. This was not to be.

By June of 1862, Frank had become a Major in Stonewall Jackson’s 2nd Virginia Infantry. Jackson had found Frank very useful in his familiarity with Winchester and Kernstown’s topography. In mid-June, Jackson met with Robert E. Lee near Mechanicsville to discuss strategy. Jackson wanted to move back to Winchester to protect the town, but Lee needed his help as the defense of Richmond was paramount. Frank’s only chance to get home to see his new baby girl “Frankie” was dashed with one swift order by General Lee. By late June, Jackson’s army was poised and ready to engage near a small area called Gaines’ Mill. Frank was suffering badly from diarrhea and was too weak to take part on foot. He was placed upon a horse and went into battle. The union left was breaking as artillery rained down on Frank’s position where he and Colonel James Allen were trying to take the hill. At that moment, union cannister shot exploded nearby, mortally wounding Hill, while hitting Frank at the knee. Frank spent the night on the field in agony. He was taken the next day to a makeshift hospital where his leg was amputated. Eventually, Frank was taken to a friend’s home in Richmond to recover.

While in Richmond, Frank contracted Typhoid Fever and died on July 9th, 1862. Susan did not find out about Frank’s death until she and Frank’s mother left Vaucluse to tend to Frank in Richmond. By the time they had crested the hill in front of Larrick’s Tavern (Wayside Inn), a family friend, Mr. Allemong, was riding toward them. He stopped and relayed the message that Frank had died. The women turned the coach, and made their way back to Vaucluse. Susan Jones would never remarry and she would stay at Carysbrooke until her death in 1907. The home fell into disrepair in the late 1950s and all that remains now is a stone foundation in the middle of the woods.

"LINCOLN'S LAST MEETING"James Washington SingletonPaxton House - Marker-Miller Farm - Frederick CountyOn the afternoon o...

James Washington Singleton
Paxton House - Marker-Miller Farm - Frederick County

On the afternoon of April 15, 1865, a man was led into Abraham Lincoln's 2nd story office in the White House. When he entered the room, Lincoln was already seated, anticipating the man's arrival. "So good to see you James." Lincoln said. "Thank you Mr. President." the man replied. The man was a Democrat, sometimes Lincoln's adversary, but always a friend. The man was James Washington Singleton, born in Frederick County off Cedar Creek Grade at a stately home called Paxton.

The men had been conversing in private for six months. The discussions were about Lincoln's plan for the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. Lincoln had known Singleton from their friendship in Illinois when both were very green politicians. After the Whig party dissolved in 1854, Lincoln gravitated to the new anti-slavery Republican Party, whereas Singleton joined the Democrats. Yet, here they were, friends with opposing political views. Lincoln knew that bringing Virginia back into the union would take special care. The capital was Richmond and Singleton had a brother who served in the Confederate cabinet. "If there is anybody in the country who can have any influence on the people of Virginia, and bring about any good," Lincoln told Singleton, "you are the man.... You have been as much their friend as it was possible for you to be and yet be loyal to the government under which you live."

Lincoln laid out the entire reconstruction plan to Singleton that afternoon. James Washington Singleton was the only person who truly knew Lincoln's entire vision for reconstruction and the mechanics of uniting the country. Lincoln didn't write this plan out on paper as he believed that the process must be malleable. Lincoln and Singleton met for half an hour that afternoon. Lincoln signed a pass for Singleton to cross Union lines into Richmond to meet with what was left of the Confederate government. At that moment, Lincoln's secretary interrupted the meeting. Time forced Lincoln to leave. He had an engagement with his wife Mary that evening to see a play, "Our American Cousin," a comedy, at Ford's Theatre.

Lincoln's plan for the reconstruction of the south would die with him that night. Even though Singleton tried to convey Lincoln's wishes to Andrew Johnson, the hard nosed politician had a different idea about reconstruction. Singleton appreciated Lincoln's trust. He wrote to his wife: "My intercourse with (Lincoln) for the past six months has been so free, frequent, and confidential that I was fully advised of all his plans, and thoroughly persuaded by the honesty of his heart and wisdom of his humane intentions."

James Washington Singleton was born at Paxton, and lived there until he was an adult and left for Illinois. Paxton is the house that one sees at the Marker-Miller Farm on Cedar Creek Grade. The home still retains it's beauty and the owners should be very proud that Singleton was born there.

"APPLES TO APPLES"Thomas Wood SteckGreenwood Orchard - Opequoun VA - 1912In 1900, Winchester was not the apple capital o...

Thomas Wood Steck
Greenwood Orchard - Opequoun VA - 1912

In 1900, Winchester was not the apple capital of the world yet and the orchards of Frederick County were sporadic, overgrown, and not organized. A twenty-year old man would change the face of the apple industry from his ancestral home "Greenwood" near Opequon (Frog Eye). This was Thomas Wood Steck. What he was able to achieve in his short life was incredible and the knowledge he possessed in science and horticulture was given freely to his neighbors enabling our county and town to own the apple industry for almost a century.

When Thomas Wood Steck was just a small boy, he lost his father to a stroke and was thrust into the role of farmer. This young man noticed things most adults of the time did not. He closely monitored diseases in his orchard, pests, and patterns that created less than the desired result. In 1900, Red Apples had just become popular, green and yellow apples (pippins) were only grown locally to feed livestock. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho owned the title of best apples, but Thomas Steck wanted to change that. He felt the west coast apples only looked good, but his apples tasted better. Thomas Steck's dream of "a community working together for the production of the perfect fruit" had not been realized by 1909. He gave speeches at the local Farmer's Institute on maintenance and spraying (which no one did in Frederick County at that time). Some listened but most did not. This didn't matter because only three years later, Steck would win the most prestigious East Coast fruit growers award offered, and the local industry would never be the same.

In 1912, a friend encouraged Steck to enter the Coe-Mortimer Company contest in NY to establish once and for all who had the best apples on the eastern seaboard. Steck entered but was at a disadvantage. He had to ship his apples 350 miles in the days without refrigeration. Luckily, they arrived in good shape. When the contest began, there were one hundred entries. Steck exhibited three cases of what he believed to be Frederick County's best. Newtown Pippins, Stayman Winesaps, and Grimes Goldens. At the end of the day, only two men remained...Granville W. Leeds of New Jersey and Thomas Wood Steck of Opequon, Virginia. The huge silver and gold trophy shined from its pedestal and Steck eyed her from his booth. The judges made one last pass...."the winner in overall quality, texture, color, and flavor is...Thomas Wood Steck of Greenwood Orchards, Opequon Virginia!" He did it!

With this award and the prominence it brought, the local orchardists who once dismissed Steck, now followed his instructions closely. They would listen, learn, and prevail in making Virginia apples, second to none.

Unfortunately, Thomas Steck died in 1914. He was only 42 years old. Harry Flood Byrd Sr. (a fellow orchardist) would write a touching tribute to Thomas in the local paper. County orchardists proudly carried the torch that Thomas Wood had lit. The Apple Blossom Festival is a direct result of that work and it is a befitting yearly tribute to "The wiz kid of Greenwood Orchard."

"Miss Ginnie's Album"Willow Grove - Merriman's LaneMay of 1862Nancy Larrick Clark was going through her late mother's be...

"Miss Ginnie's Album"
Willow Grove - Merriman's Lane
May of 1862

Nancy Larrick Clark was going through her late mother's belongings in the early 1980's and she came across a Red velvet autograph album that belonged to her grandmother. What she found inside was a treasure, a moment in time captured on yellowed pages held together with a tattered binding. The book gave a glimpse into the life of a teenager caught in the turmoil of war in Winchester.

The sprawling farm that is Willow Grove can still be seen looking east when you cross the railroad tracks on Merriman's Lane. The beautiful home now sits in front of White's Lake and during the Civil War, it was the home of James Clark, his wife Nancy, and their daughter Anne Virginia Clark, or "Ginny."

James Clark passed away in 1860, leaving Nancy and seventeen-year old Ginny to care for the massive house and farm. Little did the women know that in one year's time, their farm fields would be blanketed with Confederate soldiers, tents, and camps. Prior to the war, Ginny was given a Red Velvet autograph book made by a company called Leavitt & Allen of New York. During the war, many soldiers would call on the Clark home and would leave their mark in Ginny's velvet book.

Many troops from Virginia, Maryland, and Louisiana stayed in the fields of Willow Grove and many of the young men who called on Ginny fell for the blonde haired - blue eyed girl. One autograph found in the book was from a Winchester soldier named George W. Glaize, great-grandfather of Fred L. Glaize and Elizabeth Glaize Helm.

"I am thinking of you Jennie,
When thou are not of me,
When birds are sweetly warbling,
Upon the lifeless tree,
When little stars are twinkling,
and the moon shows forth her light,
I am thinking of thee Jennie,
Within the silent night."

Some soldiers would just leave initials, or some would give a name and company:

Willie PP of Tenn
7th Reg. of Tenn. Vol.

J.S. Faulkner
7th Regt. of Louisiana Vols - Hays Brig.

One soldier who remained anonymous wrote:

"May Angels twine
A wreath for thee
In Heaven..."

At some point in the war, a soldier with the Stonewall Brigade would stay near the Willow Grove home and win Ginnie's heart and marry her a few years later. Joseph Abraham Nulton married Ginny and they had one daughter, Nancy Nulton Larrick. This is the mother, in who's belongings Nancy Crosby found this wonderful family treasure so many years ago.

Ginny's album holds dozens of signatures and poems from young Confederates, who in 1862, still believed the war was a romantic and chivalrous endeavor. In short time, many of these boys would be dead. For those who survived the war, the horrors they witnessed would be forever etched upon their minds.


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Since we're on the topic of Orchardists I wanted to mention my great-great-granduncle James Langley Robinson who was a pioneer in the field. For those not familiar he was the grandfather of J. Kenneth Robinson who was a Congressman in this area. Uncle Jimmy, as my grandmother referred to him was descended from Quaker stock being descended from Steer, Jackson and other Quaker families. His wife Sallie is also descended from Steer and Jackson and also Robert Mackay, Sr. Here's their family Record:
Very cool!! Thank you for posting these, I used to love all the stories my father would tell me about this area growing up, and this reminds me of those times.
I'm trying ti find some history on the old Zeropak and the train depot just down the street. Any help would be grateful. Thanks
Anyone have an old photo of the house that was next to the Winchester Star. Its no longer there since the late 90's. It was my husband's grandmothers
I don't know if I shared this or not but I run the website Robert Mackay Clan which is about Robert Mackay Sr., a Quaker pioneer who settled in what is now Warren County. He had connections to Winchester. He along with his business partner Joist Hite were instrumental in settling the Valley of Virginia. Our family is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Mackay (McKay, McCoy, McKoy etc) families in North America. Most other families came over during the time of the Highland Clearances. Check us out:
Stonewall Jackson and wife in front of the Taylor hotel
I'm really enjoying the old pictures of Winchester. Thank you.
I have been researching to find out information on a large White House on Pleasant Valley that was located where Martins is now. I believe it was a fairly large farm. Any info would be great
Hello, my friend and I are new to the area and would love to know some of the religious history of this area! Does anyone have any information they could share with us?
Anyone have any history about the Henkel/Stackhouse home? Was it ever used for anything other than a home and Henkel Harris?
If anyone here is descended from Robert Mackay Sr., Quaker Pioneer Settler in Warren County, Virginia or related families I invite you to join our Newsletter group. It is tied to our four pages connected to the family website. Here's the link:
I wanted to say...we were downtown yesterday early evening and on the way, I found myself 'opening my eyes' looking at 'things'. I've always loved downtown, imagining the horse buggies pulling up to some of those houses, trying to think what life was like 'back in the day'. However, this site has encouraged me to look a little closer. Thank you.