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Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
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April 1999, page 2
James Atkins, Editor

Our Hidden History: Few Surry County families were as prominent and as little known as the Short Family. William Short I came to Virginia with Capt. William Peirce in 1635. Thomas Rolfe came on this same trip. William Short II received 400 acres of land close to Cabin Point, part in Prince George County. His son, William Short III inherited this land. He was Tobacco Inspector at Cabin Point. This property was known first as Spring Garden and for many generations has been known as Broomfield. William Short III died in 1757. William Short IV married Lady Elizabeth Skipwith.

William Short V was born in 1759 and died in 1849 in Philadelphia at approximately 90 years of age. What a life he had! He was educated at William and Mary College and was president of Phi Beta Kappa from 1778 to 1781. When Thomas Jefferson was appointed Minister to France, William Short accompanied him as Secretary of the Legation. When Jefferson left France, Short was made Charge d' Affairs. On January 16, 1794 he became Minister to the Hague in the Netherlands. Later as a commissioner of the United States government he was responsible for a treaty of 'Friendship, Commerce and Boundaries' with Spain, which was signed in 1795.

A. W. Bohannan visited the Short Plantation about 1927 when the burial plot and some gravestones still were in existence. Some tombstones were legible. Alas, they are now among the missing.

More Hidden History: "Mother" Amelia Howard played an important part in Surry County's history, yet most of us know little or nothing about her. She was responsible for bringing the first education for our black citizens and also helped organize the first black churches in Surry County. Amelia Howard was sent to Surry County after the Civil War by the Freedmen's Bureau to start the first schools and churches. She was sponsored and paid by The Quakers in Philadelphia, Pa.

Until recently all we knew of Amelia Howard was the oral history passed along through the generations of our citizens. Thanks to filmstrip of the State office of the Freedmens' Bureau becoming available, the first written record of her work was found a year or two ago. Knowing that there had to be more, Dennis Hudgins went to The National Archives in Washington D. C. There he found the records of the Waverly office of the Freedmen's bureau, which covered Surry and Sussex Counties.

There he finally got the Archive's staff to dig out the unopened and unseen box of records that probably had not been opened since 1870. It is going to take several trips, but we will soon have all the available correspondence of Amelia Howard. The story of her work and this tumultuous period of our history is slowly being uncovered. Much more on this later.

Report on Rogers' Store: It has taken a while, but the title to Rogers' Store is ours. Yes, in Deed Book 154 Pages 552 through 557 you will find the deed and plat transferring ownership to our Society. Now comes work. We must trim and clean up the overgrown bushes and trees. We must clean the interior and sort records, fixtures and inventory. Some floorboards on porches must be replaced. At least some insurance must be purchased. We expect to be ready to have Open House days for our members and friends by late summer.

SCVHS April '99 Newsletter, page 1         SCVHS April '99 Newsletter, page 3

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