If one is seeking to understand the philosophy driving The 1619 Project as well as the Project‘s goals, then Dr. Grabar’s work is a must read. I trust our discussion illustrates my claim, and that my listeners will get a copy of this important new book.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is Dr. Mary Grabar from the author’s website.
Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, The New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein also available on Apple Music.
1619 was indeed a big year in Virginia’s history. In previous episodes we discussed many firsts that took place in the colony, but perhaps none of those firsts has drawn more attention than the “20 and odd’s” arrival.
In 2019 The New York Times published a series of articles highlighting that arrival. It was quite a publication with many goals, most of them political. Especially because of that political focus the 1619 Project received enormous scrutiny. It could be understood that one side of the political spectrum would attack the work, but both sides cried foul.
One of the leading critics, Dr. Phillip Magness began dissecting the work in a series of his own essays. Those essays became his book The 1619 Project: A Critique. In it, he discusses the Project’s shortcomings, while also highlighting some of what the series got right. As such, he, somewhat humorously, earned both praise and ire from Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Project’s lead editor.
His work is quite exhaustive, as you’ll hear in the interview. I’ve listed a few key links mentioned in the episode, but for further, in depth material, please, do purchase his book, The 1619 Project A Critique.
Understandably, I focus upon Virginia’s history with this podcast, and I intend to keep doing so. Because of the 1619 Project‘s continued influence, based upon it’s slavery claims reaching far back into Virginia’s history, I’ve come to believe that we needed to discuss the work in more detail, hence this episode.
There will be one more interview covering the Project’s work, but in my opinion, Dr. Magness’ scholarly expertise in this area is second to none. I trust as you listen to this episode, you’ll see why I hold him and his work in such high regard.
**Full disclosure, I re-uploaded the Dr. Magness interview tonight.One of my faithful listeners pointed out that I erred when mentioning that Teddy Roosevelt would not publicly meet with Booker T. Washington.
Though there is nuance to the comment, Roosevelt in fact did meet with Washington at the White House.Roosevelt received incredibly negative publicity for meeting with Washington after they shared dinner together. Making the situation more unclear, the White House, not necessarily Roosevelt, stated that they did not eat together. Then a few staff members commented on the meal, but said it was not dinner, but lunch instead.
Either way, I was incorrect in saying that Roosevelt did not meet with Washington, and that portion has been struck from the episode. This message is to publicly state the change.
As always, thanks for listening. I greatly appreciate the feedback! Robert.
The Grymes have a hazy beginning in Virginia. The consensus is that they came from Ightham, England through Reverend Charles Grymes, but there are other theories. Bishop Meade, a Grymes descendant himself, claimed that they came from Thomas Grymes, Lieutenant General in Oliver Cromwell’s army. Famed genealogist Louise Pecquet Du Bellet recounts the same theory in her monumental work. But evidence supporting the claim is lacking. Either way, we do know who the Grymes were by their second generation.
From that generation onward we know a fair amount about this prominent Middle Peninsula family. They owned much land, served in high offices, and married very well. But by the late 18th Century the Grymes wealth had been spread thin, either by poor financial management, or inheritances which moved holdings out of the family.
The name still carried some weight into the 19th Century, especially as Grymes women continued to marry very well for themselves. However, those marriages served to spread remaining Grymes wealth throughout Virginia, and eventually out of the Commonwealth, furthering their slow decline.
Today little is left other than what was once Grymes’ land or tombstones of their most well-known family members. But they were once a proud family, a family that could rightly boast of their position among Virginia’s elite.
Jane Lucas DeGrummond. “Cayetana Susana Bosque Y Fanqui, ‘A Notable Woman.’” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, vol. 23, no. 3, 1982, pp. 277–294. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4232191.
“Grymes of ‘Brandon’ &c.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 27, no. 2, 1919, pp. 184–187. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243724.
“Grymes of ‘Brandon’, &c (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 27, no. 3/4, 1919, pp. 403–413. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243739.
“The Grymes Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 1, 1920, pp. 90–96. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243758.
“Grymes of Brandon Etc. (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 2, 1920, pp. 187–192b. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243769.
“Grymes of Brandon, &c (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 3, 1920, pp. 283–285. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243781.
“Grymes of Brandon, &c (Concluded).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 4, 1920, pp. 374–375. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243794.
Most Americans have heard about the young French war hero who formed a solid bond with George Washington during the American War for Independence. Lafayette’s work to both create a Franco-American alliance and help win the War with Britain were pivotal in American and World History. Though his work during that watershed period was profound, Lafayette’s involvement in the United State was not complete.
The famous Marquis returned to tour the young country in 1824. His year long trek was met with incredible excitement in all parts of the country that he visited. Crowds came out to witness this key historical figure from an era that by that time was passing into print only. Lafayette understood his place in history very well, and used that understanding to address key societal issues with his adoring American crowds.
The Lafayette Trail’s Julien Icher, a Frenchman himself, has made it his profound duty to retrace and highlight Lafayette’s 1824 tour, and its legacy upon American History. We discuss this impact as well as plans to honor the 200th anniversary of the landmark visit. Do, please, consider joining alongside the Lafayette Trail’s wonderful mission after listening to the episode. Information will be listed below.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is The Lafayette Trail’s Logo. The Julien Icher Picture is from the Eagle Times December 2020 article.
The Ludwell family had arguably more impact upon Virginia’s foundations in the shortest amount of time. In just over a century three Philip Ludwells stood atop Virginia’s power structure, and then because of no male heirs, the name vanished in all but first and middle names used by other First Family relatives.
They hailed from Bruton, Somersetshire, England, the same area as Governor William Berkeley. In fact, they were most likely related to the powerful 17th Century Colonial leader, which appears to have aided the Ludwells from the very beginning.
Thomas Ludwell served in the Cavalier army during the English Civil War alongside Governor Berkeley’s brother John. John Berkeley recommended Thomas to become Virginia’s Colonial Secretary of State as a reward for his service to the Crown, and Charles II obliged. Thus, Thomas moved to Virginia. Philip, Thomas’s youngest brother, tagged along, and together they planted the Ludwell name firmly in Virginia’s history.
Virginia B. Price. “Constructing to Command: Rivalries between Green Spring and the Governor’s Palace, 1677-1722.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 113, no. 1, 2005, pp. 2–45. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4250232.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of Philip Ludwell Sr’s Crest. Greenspring Plantation is from Green Spring Plantation as seen by Benjamin Latrobe during the plantation’s Ludwell ownership. The Ludwell Paradise House is from Virginia Places.
Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “Roots” by The Arcadian Wild also available on Apple Music.
Reading through William Fitzhugh the Immigrant’s letters allows us to reach back into 17th Century Virginia in a tangible way. We get a taste of life that we don’t get from the other First Family patriarchs. William shares his thoughts, feelings, and ambitions, thus making him arguably the most accessible figure from his era. Indeed historians often point to William and his letters as the single most important first hand accounts from this pivotal period in Virginia’s history.
William descended from a long line of successful Bedfordshire Fitzhughs who have been traced back to at least the 13th Century. Their family history, though in bits and pieces, makes for interesting research as it melded into the English countryside and into the Royal Court. Though successful for generations, disaster struck, which affected William directly. He chose to look for new opportunities, which he found in Virginia.
The Fitzhugh family built upon William the Immigrant’s solid foundation, and became extraordinarily important figures throughout not only Virginia, but also the new Country. They married into all of the most important families, befriended all of the leading figures, and together built a lasting legacy. They might not be a house-hold name for many, but their importance is undoubted, which is why we discuss them in this next podcast installment.
*The original podcast recording stated that Mary and George Washington Parke Custis had 7 children, which is incorrect. They had 4 children. That correction has been made in the current podcast recording.
Davis, Richard Beale. “Chesapeake Pattern and Pole-Star: William Fitzhugh in His Plantation World, 1676-1701.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 105, no. 6, 1961, pp. 525–529. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/985162.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the proper Fitzhugh Family Crest. The “Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home” is from wtop.com. The Ravensworth picture is from “The Story of Ravensworth.” The “Barons Fitz Hugh Crest” improperly used by William the Immigrant is from jstor.org. Finally, the William “The Immigrant” portrait by John Hesselius is from Colonial Virginia Portraits.
Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “Ulysses” by Josh Garrells also available on Apple Music.
The Covid pandemic has hurt many businesses during this past year. One hard hit industry is tourism due to places being shut down. Historic locations across the country have reported difficult numbers during this time, as many are shutting down, never to reopen. Some of those sites have come up with creative solutions like offering virtual tours or weekly online lectures with museum personnel. This podcast episode is yet another way that historic locations are working to attract attention during the shutdown.
The James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage, located in picturesque Orange County, and I teemed up to highlight their important collections and work. Director Bethany Sullivan graciously took the time to walk me through the museum as we discussed some of its collection. We hope that our quick podcast tour will pique your interest and get you out to visit the museum soon. When you go, please, tell Bethany that you heard our discussion! It’d be much appreciated.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is the James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage’s logo. All other photography is generously provided by the James Madison Museum of Orange County, unless otherwise noted.
Not all of Virginia’s First Families held the Colony’s highest offices, but they didn’t need to hold those offices in order to affect Virginia’s history. Some of them, like the next name in our series moved in the same circles as the other families, and often intermarried within those social spheres.
A few things make the Taliaferro name an interesting study. Legends regarding their founding reach as far back as Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror’s Norman Invasion, and into Europe’s royal families. That’s before the Taliaferro name even made it to Virginia. Once in the New World, Robert Taliaferro “The Immigrant” got to work forging new bonds, while working to expand Virginia’s landscape. That work didn’t end with Robert’s death.
The Immigrant’s children picked up where their trailblazing father left off and expanded Virginia’s borders even further. While doing so, they began adding to the colonial framework, especially along the Middle Peninsula, before moving slowly westward. Along the way, Taliaferros featured in all of Virginia’s wars from as early as small skirmishes along frontier lines to the War for Independence, War of 1812, Civil War and beyond.
Their work has left a lasting legacy that soon spread not only beyond Virginia borders, but also color lines as well. Today, it is not uncommon to see the name shared by both white and black Americans. One former slave even proudly kept the name as part of his own. Perhaps this family didn’t put a son into the highest positions, but Virginia would not be the same without the Taliaferros immigration.
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of one of the Taliaferro Family Crests. The William Booth Taliaferro and Booker T. Washington portraits as well as the Thomas Jefferson Sketch of the Taliaferro Crest are from Wikimedia Commons. The Taliaferro County, Georgia Map is from My Genealogy Hound. The final picture is of Carter’s Grove Plantation, a home designed by Richard Taliaferro from Riley and Associates.com
2020 marks the 450th anniversary of the ill-fated Spanish Jesuit Ajacan Mission. Discussing this topic and a key ingredient to Ajacan’s downfall is Dr. Seth Mallios, who wrote The Deadly Politics of Giving: Exchange and Violence at Ajacan, Roanoke, and Jamestown in 2006. The key ingredient leading to Ajacan’s fate, Mallios argues, is gift giving, or better stated, how the Spanish did not understand how gift giving was properly used in indigenous society. Because of this lack of understanding, when the Spanish returned to establish Ajacan in 1570 the mission quickly and violently ended.
Dr. Mallios then ventures into Roanoke and Jamestown with the same focus, how did gift giving affect those colonies? Tune in to this episode to find out the answer to this and other questions that Seth and I discuss, such as whether or not the Ajacan Jesuit missionaries were martyrs and differences between how European and Indigenous societies viewed transactions.
All photography on this website is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of Dr. Seth Mallios from the dailyaztec.com. The image of Don Luis decapitating the Ajacan Jesuits can be found at virginiaplaces.org.
Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “”Simple Gifts” performed by the New York Philharmonic, also available on Apple Music.
I suppose superlatives become cliche, or at least they’re overused when discussing Virginia’s leading colonial dynasties. The Randolph family, however, deserves those superlatives just as much as any of the preceding families that we’ve discussed in this series, if not more. They were an immense family that impacted Virginia and the United States in such a way that few others, even from this series, can claim.
William Randolph of Turkey Island is often credited as being the first Randolph to immigrate, but he followed his uncle, Henry, who was already established in the colony. Henry Randolph came to Virginia and soon settled just west of Bermuda Hundred on Swift Creek in today’s Colonial Heights in the early 1640s. From there Henry got involved in mid-17th Century Virginia politics, where he rubbed shoulders with all of the colony’s leading men, he even married one of their daughters when he wed Henry Soane’s daughter Judith.
Henry continued to expand his footprint throughout the 1650s and 1660s. He became friend with Sir William Berkeley, was involved in rewriting Virginia’s legal codes, and built one of the colony’s first grist mills at Swift Creek. Newly found wealth allowed Henry to return to England in the late 1660s, where he convinced his nephew William to join him in the New World.
William accompanied his uncle’s trip back to Virginia, and settled near him along the James River’s Curls section. It was from here that William Randolph earned his name as being from Turkey Island, and from here that an enormous family grew into being one of Virginia’s largest. Largest didn’t always mean best, as the family has a few interesting characters dotting the history books, but the Randolphs have do have some of American History’s stalwarts.
This First Family of Virginia episode takes a look into the Randolph patriarch’s life, and then summarily dives into some of those characters and stalwarts. Find the links below.
LINKS TO THE PODCAST:
Mary Isham Randolph
William Randolph House at Colonial Williamsburg
Swift Creek Mill
Randolph Family Tree
Wilton Manor House
Turkey Island Marker
William Randolph of Turkey Island
Anderson, Jefferson Randolph. “TUCKAHOE AND THE TUCKAHOE RANDOLPHS.” Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, vol. 35, no. 110, 1937, pp. 29–59. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23371542.
Jefferson Randolph Anderson. “Supplement to Tuckahoe and the Tuckahoe Randolphs: As Appearing in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XLV: No. 1, January, 1937.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 45, no. 4, 1937, pp. 392–405. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4244824.
Cartoon depicting the needed State votes to Ratify the US Constitution
John Randolph of Roanoke
First Page of the Virginia Ratification Convention
St. George Tucker House, Colonial Williamsburg
Peyton Randolph House, Colonial Williamsburg
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Randolph Family Crest. All Randolph Portraits as well as Swift Creek Mill are from Wikimedia Commons. The Turkey Island Mansion Marker and The Dungeness Marker are both from hmdb.org. Tazewell Hall is located at Skinner Family Papers.The Randolph Family Tree is located in Tess Taylor’s article, found in the Bibliography above. The Prayer in the First the First Congress, A.D. 1774 can be found at Boston Tea Party Ship. Edmund Randolph’s former home was accessed at RV Hub. The Virginia Ratification Convention Cartoon is part of Historically Thinking’s Shownotes page for Episode 78. Lastly, Edmund Randolph as Member of Washington’s Cabinet is found at the American Herigate.