Above is a beautiful statue of the Roman goddess Diana. It was the first sculpture I saw in the garden. It looked brand new and I read later it had recently been restored. It was added to the garden between 1921 and 1927 by the owners Daniel and Helen Devore (not the original owners I might add and more on that in a future post). An article with more information can be found at this link.
On a more somber note the painting above was printed on one of the information signs. Perhaps a mother, grandmother and two small children, and someone coming out of the shed (which may be a spring house) holding meat or a bag of vegetables perhaps. Chatham Manor has quite a history and you can read all about it at this link. It was a plantation and it gives a detailed description of what it must have been like for the enslaved people here. There were 100 men, women and children. Since going to several old homes in Virginia over many years, including Mount Vernon which was George Washington's home, I have read a lot of this part of our history, and if you go to this link there is an article about two revolts that happened here.
There was also the Civil War. It is only recently that I found out some of my own ancestors fought on both sides of the war, never having learned this growing up in England. I don't even think my parents knew, but a few of our ancestors emigrated to America as far back as colonial times to Virginia, and later also to Maryland. One relative who was a Methodist in the same area I grew up, converted to Mormonism when he settled in America, and ended up in Utah. One of his descendants is a current historian in the Mormon Church. I have my husband to thank for all these interesting facts, as he has been researching both our families for the last four years.
It is said every time but it really is hard to comprehend that such a beautiful area, a beautiful house has this kind of history, and we always say the same at other places, as there are many plantations in Virginia, and many battle fields where we walk. Two very famous conflicts took place not far away from our home, the original one being The First Battle of Bull Run in Manassas. We are both interested in history and have learned a lot from visiting places such as these.We had a chat with a very nice gentleman who was a docent at the manor house. We also saw the 12 minute movie he recommended, and there were several people mentioned that I had heard of before. We never miss a movie if available. It gives you a good sense of what went on, and helps all those jigsaw pieces of information to fit together in your head.
One notable was Walt Whitman who was born in Huntington, Long Island on May 31st, 1891. He was 42 years of age when the Civil War started. An American poet, many of his poems can be found here. He was also an essayist and journalist. He came to the manor house when it had been turned into a hospital, looking for his wounded brother. He didn't find George, who as it turned out only suffered a small facial wound. However, what he saw at Chatham affected him deeply. Help was badly needed and he stayed on as a volunteer nurse to assist the doctors as they dressed wounds, and carried out any menial task he was given. He recorded his experiences on scraps of paper that he stuck together with pins. These were eventually published and people were able to read about everything he saw there, about the horror of war, and about the men who fought in that war.
Clara Barton was also a nurse at Chatham. She was born on December 25th, 1821. There were no trained nurses in her day, no nursing schools, was self-taught and she became known as the American Florence Nightingale. She was a teacher, a patent clerk, carried out humanitarian work and was a civil rights advocate before women received the right to vote. She also founded the Red Cross. That's quite a resume isn't it, especially in a day when women weren't supposed to be so forward thinking and even more so when I learned that as a child she was painfully shy? How she became a nurse in the Civil War is an amazing read, her life is an amazing read and I highly recommend clicking on her name where you will learn more.
Another amazing lady, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the first U.S. Army female doctor, a surgeon, was one of those who tended to the wounded. She astounded people because she wore men's pants, sensibly putting aside voluminous skirts of the day, for ease of movement but for hygiene purposes in her surroundings. Not only a doctor and surgeon, she was an abolitionist, prohibitionist, and prisoner of war. She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians, and arrested as a spy. As a prisoner of war she was sent to Richmond, Virginia, until she was released in a prisoner exchange. After the war she was given the Medal of Honor for her efforts of treating the wounded during the Civil War. However, it was later taken from her, along with hundreds more from other people, as it was decided that she/they had not been given their medal for gallantry in action. I learned from two of the Park Rangers, both young ladies who had just begun their shift as we ended our house tour, that she refused to give it back. We all felt very strongly as we discussed this and was glad she had kept her medal. I mentioned that it didn't seem right after what she did, and that being a woman may have been a factor. We found ourselves nodding in agreement. Unfortunately her name was struck off the list from the Army Medal of Honor Roll in 1917. Her medal was eventually given back to her posthumously in 1977, by President Jimmy Carter. After the war she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women's suffrage movement until her death in 1919. All this information and more can be read if you click on her name in red lettering above. Such a fascinating and an amazing lady! Another link on her life can be found at this website.Visiting Chatham Manor House certainly was very interesting, and I have enough photos for at least two more posts.