The September meeting of the Historical Society will be held on Monday, September 10th at 7:00 PM at the Surry County Recreational center.
The speaker will be Alice Elmore, Society member and tour director for our to Surrey" trip next year. She will discuss our trip to Surrey, England as part of Surry County's celebration of our 350th anniversary in 2002.
Alice has lived in Waverly, Va. for forty years. For years she has conducted custom tours over much of the world. She has specialized in Southern England, and therefore brings immense knowledge and connections to our upcoming tour.
Alice will walk us through the itinerary. We will have some slides and displays on Surrey, UK. The tour has been designed at a relatively easy pace. Staying in one place the entire time, you only unpack your bags once. We also expect to offer bus service to and from Surry to Dulles Airport, making it a much easier journey for those who live close to Surry.
This program should be of great interest, whether you plan on going on the trip or not. So much of our early history is tied to our namesake in England. See the attached itinerary.
For Sale: The 2002 Celebration committee will have Surry County shirts, caps and pins for sale at this meeting.
Information needed! Surry's history during the Revolutionary War years. We know less about our part in the Revolutionary War than any other era. The Society wants to start a special collection of all information on soldiers, battles, Revolutionary War land grants and events. The goal is to gather enough information on this period to interest someone in writing a book on Surry's part in the War for Independence. Please help us get this collection started.
Rogers' Store. After months of waiting, it looks like we will soon be in a position to use a significant amount of the grant awarded last year for preserving Rogers' Store. Recent discussions with the Virginia Department of Historical Resources were successful and we plan to do the most urgent work first. We expect to paint Rogers' Store, fix the porches, new electrical service and some inside work. We also expect to stabilize Gwaltneys' Store, including a new roof, siding where necessary, electrical service and floor repairs. Overall, we expect to spend $50-60,000.00. Any gifts you give for this project will also be matched by the grant from the state, doubling its value.
On Sat., Sept. 15, at 12 noon we plan to work at the store, cutting more bushes and moving inventory, etc. from Gwaltneys' Store into Rogers' Store. Help if you can.
Cope Roberts was a Black Surry County citizen who served in the Civil War. Unlike Adam Boykin and Cornealous C. Hart who served in the Union Army and Navy respectively, Cope Roberts served in the Confederate Army. His service is documented by several official pension records and private notes on conversations with him long after the war.
Cope Roberts was born free in Surry County ca. 1840-41. While he is not in the Surry County, Virginia Register of Free Negroes, many Roberts are. He lived off Rt. 40 close to Spring Grove, Va. and owned his own farm.
Cope Roberts' marriage is listed in the register of Robert Wilkins Berryman, a Methodist Protestant Minister in Surry County from 1847 through 1889. He listed 832 marriages in his register, both blacks and whites. We learn from the register that Cope's full name was Copennitus Roberts. He married Sally Thomas Debrix after the Civil War on Jan. 30, 1868, marriage #354. Rev. Berryman received $3.00 to perform the marriage.
Roberts joined the Confederate Army in 1862 and served as body servant to Capt. Ben Drew, Company G, 13th Cavalry. He also worked on Confederate breastworks at Days Neck, Isle of Wight County. Near the end of the war, Capt. Ben Drew resigned, as did Cope Roberts.
Blacks were considered servants and thus, unfortunately, left no official records of their Confederate service. Virginia, under an act of March 14,1924, approved pensions for those who served the Confederacy.
Three, including Cope Roberts, applied for a pension. The two others were John James, free black from Carsley Va., son of Nancy James who gave the land for Jerusalem Baptist Church, and John Nelson, slave of William Wilson from east of Bacon's Castle.
That so few applied is certainly due to the fact that they had to live 59 years after the war terminated to apply, a feat that few achieved. The three that applied were born in 1840, 1841and 1849 respectively. If three lived to 1925-1930, how many are likely to have served? The only statistics that have been found came from Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, published by the Bureau of the Census.
Perhaps the best comparison is the population of Virginia, broken down by age in 1930. It showed that 4.8 percent of the population was over 65 years old. Another breakdown showed that 3.32 percent of Negro males were over 65 in the USA in 1930. If you consider that if these three who served in the Confederate Services were five percent of those likely to have served, it would mean that perhaps sixty served. This is supposition, as there are no figures available. We welcome any information our members and friends may have.
Cope Roberts applied for a pension on September 24, 1924. On January 28,1925 he had to swear that he had not joined the Northern Army after his service, and came home and farmed for himself. Cope Roberts was 84 years old when he applied. His warrant #337341, dated Jan. 30, 1925 was for $6.25, his pension for three months.
The Roberts family graveyard with some grave stones is on their farm. Claude Reeson of Spring Grove and I found the grave stones of Sarah Roberts, 1853 - 1928, and Charlie Roberts, 1878 - 1918. There is evidence that some graves have been moved..
In 1927 A. W. Bohannan wrote and published Old Surry. This book has been a "Bible" of information on Surry County. Several years ago we learned of the existence of a notebook of the notes he made in his search of Surry history. We were very fortunate to be allowed to copy this notebook by the Bohannan family. Much information was not used in his book, or in a later book, Surry County at War, written on the Civil War by his son, Willis W. Bohannan.
A. W. Bohannan's notes included two of his conversations with Cope Roberts in 1926. I am including below these notes in their entirety, verbatim.
Willis W. Bohannan, son of A. W. Bohannan, wrote Surry County at War, 1861 - 1865. Willis W. Bohannan credited his father's notes and files for much of the information. Some of the notes from Cope Roberts' conversations obviously made their way into his book. From Cope Roberts' comments, it appears he served with Captain B. C. Drew in Company G, 13th Va. Cavalry and Captain Samuel H. Burt in Company K, 13th' Va. Cavalry.
The following article was reported in the Richmond Dispatch on Monday Morning, February 13, 1863. It is likely this article reports one of the battles in which Cope Roberts participated. in Surry County. Please note that battlefield reporting in the War between the States was not always exact, and that Cope Robert's comments were taken 63 years after the event.
AFFAIRS BELOW PETERSBURG - CAPTURE OF SOME NEGRO CAVALRY
On the 23d ultimo, a detachment of Captain Shadburne's scouts tapped the Yankee telegraph wire in about a mile of Cabin Point. The Yankees soon discovered the disconnection, and sent out an operator and an ambulance containing material for repairs, guarded by an escort of thirty-five negro cavalry, to discover and re-establish the break. When the party came in sight our scouts charged them, killing eleven of the negroes, capturing twenty-four horses, the ambulance and material, the operator and the driver, and put the balance of the negroes to flight. The captures were safely brought off. The only loss among the scouts were one killed - a man named Morris, formerly in the Yankee Service, but who, since he had joined our scouts has behayed on many occasions in the bravst and most acceptable manner. Since their operations in Grants rear, Captain Shadburne's scouts have turned over to the Government one hundred and twenty horses, eighty mules and some valuable material.
Further information and comments: There could be some truth to Cope Roberts' comment "Cope says his mother's first cousin, a Surry Negro, was first president of Liberia."
Joseph Jenkins Roberts was the first president of Liberia. He was born free in 1809, in Norfolk, Va. His Father was James Roberts, his mother was Antie Robos? His family owned boats and took merchandise to Petersburg and Richmond. They moved to Petersburg, Va. when he was sixteen years old. He sailed to Liberia on Feb. 9, 1829 on the ship Harriot. He served as Liberia's first president from 1847 - 1856 and also from 1872-1874. He died there in 1876. He is recognized as the father of Liberia.
There were free blacks named Roberts in Surry very early. There are thirty six registrations of Roberts as free blacks in Surry County. One was James Roberts, born Ca. 1778 and registered as #129 on 18 April 1801. Did he move to Norfolk? Could this be Joseph Jenkins Roberts father? There may be much more on this later!
The notice below is believed to have been published in the Williamsburg Gazette. Of interest is the fact that you had to pay the inspectors with English Shillings before you got your notes, undoubtedly in pounds of tobacco, not English money. Sounds like the last gasp of the British in America.
Ancient Ancestors, Ancient Records.
Many of our members have ancestors who came to Virginia and to what is now Surry County in the early 1600s. Tracing these earliest settlers has been very difficult, especially those who came in from 1607 through 1624. These were the years that the Virginia Colony was under the control of the Virginia Company of London, a private corporation established to settle Virginia.
The corporation's purpose was divided. Some wanted quick profits, others were more interested in a strong English colony. This division was somewhat settled when the king ousted the Virginia Company of London in 1624. Virginia became a dominion of the King, The Old Dominion, as we are still known.
Most of the records of the Virginia Company of London were in London, or shipped back there when the company was dissolved. Unfortunately, they are reputed to have been burned later in a warehouse fire, a tremendous loss.
Even after 1624, finding records of early English settlers is often difficult. Settlers came from many areas of England and records are scattered. Only those researchers with excellent knowledge of how and where English records were kept, or with sufficient funds to pay for research, are likely to find very much information there on their ancestors.
The information in the previous paragraph has not changed, but we now have much information available in Virginia that can often provide significant knowledge, and if it leads you to England, you will likely have a much more focused search.
A partial list of our Historical assets.
There are probably a lot of duplications between the above sources. Unquestionably, the Virginia Records Project is the largest Virginia collection and is available at all of the four organizations that sponsored the project.
The sources named above contain much more than just genealogical information. There is likely information on any subject concerning our early years. The information on all aspects of our early history is of paramount importance. As an example, there is much information on the War for Independence, some with a different point of view. JEA
Surry Research and Upcoming Publications
It is gratifying to see all the research and publications underway on Surry County, Va.
Among them are:
Undoubtedly, there are other projects underway. It is exciting to have so much new information becoming available. With the combination of extensive research, publications and growing archives, we expect the coming years to continue to be exciting.
Society Business and Housekeeping Notes.
Margaret S. Berryman, Lillie Fields and W. E Richardson Jr. were reelected as board members for a three-year term at our May meeting. On July 2,2001.
ABC aired a program on The Union Navy during the Civil War. Cornealous C. Hart from Surry County was featured in this program. You will recall his grandson, David C. Hart, was our speaker for our May 2001 meeting. A view of our Courthouse was included. We hope to get a copy of this film. It is possible that a subsequent program will use more of the filmed information on Cornealous C. Hart and Surry County.
The Society has moved into its new office at 16 Academy Street. The new office is larger, with three rooms, and work is underway on indexing and filing our extensive collection of historical information. There are more filing cabinets, bookshelves, a fire safe, a computer and space. The new office is directly behind the Courthouse.
This one story building was built in 1908, and started its life as a jail. It is of heavy brick construction, and the walls inside of the brick are made of welded steel plates. Small high arched windows with heavy steel mesh inside were extended downward when it was converted to an office building. In old houses we have seen holes in the floor inside of doors to bolt and lock them from intruders. This building has holes in the floor outside of the door for bolts to keep the original inhabitants in.
The building is included with the Courthouse and other buildings on the site as a Historic District by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Visitors have increased significantly at our new location. There is an urgent need for more volunteers to keep the office open more than Tues. and Thurs. afternoons. Please call if you can help.
The Surry County Tourism Bureau has a new E-Mail address. email@example.com
The Society shared a booth with The Dendron Historical Society and the 350th Celebration committee at the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival at Chippokes Plantation in July. The weather was great and the crowd overwhelming. There was a steady flow of visitors at our booth, and we expect to gain a number of new members from participation in this event.
Recent Acquisitions. The Society has been given:
SURRY TO SURREY 350 ANNIVERSARY TOUR
The tour encompasses many historical places and aspects which figured in the foundation of America's history. You visit beautiful Windsor Castle and magnificent Hampton Court, palaces of power, the fields of Runnymede where the Magna Carta was born, see Canterbury with it's Cathedral, seat of the Anglican Church, and the City from where the Pilgrim Fathers hailed. You are taken to mystical Stonehenge and on into Salisbury whose Chapter House contains the most perfect copy of the Magna Carta document which formed the basis of your American Constitution. There is a tour of London and you visit the lovely City of Bath, famous for it's Roman baths. There is free time for you to shop and a momentous day with officials from the County of Surrey, namesake of your own County. A comprehensive and interesting tour with many delightful additions sure to make it a time to remember.
OCTOBER 1 TUESDAY
Departure from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. on our international overnight flight. Dinner and Break fast on board.
OCTOBER 2 WEDNESDAY
We collect you from the Airport and take you by private motor coach to your hotel. After lunch we travel to nearby Clandon Park, an unusual mansion, built in Palladian style by Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni. Inside there is a magnificent two-story Marble Hall and a superb collection of furniture, porcelain, textiles and carpets. The world-renowned Ivo Forde Meissen collection of Italian comedy figures and Mortlake tapestries are also on view. The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Museum is also based at Clandon Park with much military history contained in it's archives. In the evening you return to your Surrey hotel for Dinner.
OCTOBER 3 THURSDAY
An early start to the day as you head for Windsor Castle via the rolling meadows of Runnymede of Magna Carta fame. The event in 1215 is commemorated by the American Bar Association Memorial and John F. Kennedy Memorial. From here you move to Windsor Castle. Originally built as a great fortress over 900 years ago, it is now one of the chief official residences of the Queen. The magnificent State Rooms are in regular use and are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection. You take lunch at Hampton Court Palace before taking time to discover the beautiful and fascinating interior of this unusual red brick Palace. Rich in history and indeed so rich in furnishings and paintings that the senses could be stunned were it not for the air of serenity that seems to permeate the very fabric of the buildings. At the end of the day, you are transported back to your hotel for Dinner.
OCTOBER 4 FRIDAY
You leave the county of Surrey to travel into Kent and the medieval City of Canterbury. It was here that the Pilgrim Fathers planned their long voyage to the New World and our guide tells the story as you wander through the quaint streets to the magnificent Cathedral. This was the place of the first Christian Cathedral and also the first Anglican Cathedral in England, and is remarkable for it's soaring architecture, sculptures and stained glass windows. After this visit you are invited to the Lord Mayor's Parlour for a private reception. After a break for lunch we transport you back through Surrey via towns and villages of familiar names and countryside known for it's natural outstanding beauty. In the evening you dine at your hotel.
OCTOBER 5 SATURDAY
Today you are taken by private motor coach to London for a guided tour of the major buildings and sites of historical interest. After a lunch break there will be free time to shop and explore or to take a trip on the River Thames by boat to view London from a different angle or visit a place of your choice. We meet at the end of the day to be transported back to your hotel in Surrey where you take Dinner.
OCTOBER 6 SUNDAY
Stonehenge, the ruins of a unique prehistoric temple over 3,600 years old, is the first stop on your journey today. From. there we go to Salisbury, ancient City and beautiful Cathedral with the tallest and most perfect spire in England. You have a guided tour of the vaulted Chapter House where the Magna Carta is displayed, written in Latin on vellum in original form. After a lunch break we continue on into the lovely mellow brick City of Bath. It was here that the Romans harnessed the natural warm springs to make the famous system of baths. When the Romans left much fell into disrepair and the remainder was controlled by the nearby monastery. In the seventeenth century Bath emerged again as a spa and the Victorians finally made the full discovery of the time capsule that lay beneath the City. At the end of the day you are taken back to your hotel in Surrey for Dinner.
OCTOBER 7 MONDAY
This is a full free day with time for you to shop or explore your surroundings or perhaps go back up to London to shop or visit a place of your choice. In the evening Dinner is provided at your hotel.
OCTOBER 8 TUESDAY
This day is sure to be the highlight of your tour as you spend time with Officials and dignitaries from the County of Surrey at the County Hall in Kingston-upon-Thames, and visit the Surrey History Centre. Farewell dinner is included this evening. Private transport between venues provided.
OCTOBER 9 WEDNESDAY
You check out of your hotel and are taken by private motor coach to the Airport where we wait with your until all formalities are completed for your return journey.
COST PER PERSON BASED ON TWO PEOPLE SHARING A DOUBLE OR TWIN BEDDED ROOM: $2175.00
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT: $185.00
DEPOSIT DUE BY JANUARY 1, 2002: $400.00
FINAL PAYMENT DUE JUNE 15, 2002
Included in the itinerary cost
Round trip group airfare from Washington, D. C. to U. K. Please indicate gateway city.
Not included in itinerary cost:
Cost of passport, Travel insurance, Alcoholic and other drinks unless specified in the itinerary, or laundry, telephone calls and all items of a personal nature, and cost of airfare from your gateway city to international flight
IMPORTANT POINTS CONCERNING THIS ITINERARY:
Dear tour participants,
I would like to express my appreciation to THE SURRY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY and THE COUNTY OF SURRY and especially Jim Atkins and Janet Appel Macintosh for their support in this endeavor. Your tour has been customized to reflect the interests of your group It is not a "brochure" tour. Every effort has been made to have an affordable, informative, and exiting program. I sincerely believe that you will agree as you read your itinerary and its inclusions. Except for lunches and your personal expenditures your tours is almost all inclusive. You will, of course, be responsible for cost of add on fare to connect with our intentional flight if needed and also optional insurance.
All monies will be held in the James River Bank, P.O. Box 1254. Waverly, Va. 23890
I look forward to meeting each of you and sharing the great learning experience of navel!!
Mrs Alice Epes Elmore
Notes on the" Surry to Surry tour":
Please request an application from Alice Elmore, even if you sent in a previous form showing your interest. All Applications go to Alice Elmore. While we welcome your membership in the Historical Society, it is not necessary to join us on this adventure.
Some important information: You will need a current passport. Forms are available at Post Offices. Passport pictures may be taken in photo shops.
If you have to fly to Dulles Airport to meet the group, I highly recommend that you let Alice make the arrangements. Only seamless ticketing will insure that, should there be delays, the airlines will have complete responsibility for getting you to your destination.
Trip insurance will be available for in case you cannot go because of health problems. It also pays for most medical emergencies on the trip. It is necessary to buy and pay for the insurance within a week or so of signing up for the trip to insure preexisting conditions are covered. Details are covered in the packet you will receive.
Travel checks in British Pound Sterling are available from AAA and American Express. Most ATMs will work in England [check with your bank].
The maximum number that can go will be 40 people. First applications and deposit in, first confirmed for the trip.
Bon Voyage - Jim Atkins