Monday, March 16, 2015

Chatham Manor




We are so lucky to live in an area that has taken pains to preserve history.  Even if the history is shaded.  Recently we visited Chatham Manor that is not very far from our home at all.  On a good day, we could walk there.




Chatham was built between 1768 and 1771 by William Fitzhugh.  This grand Georgian-style home overlooks the Rappahannock River.  Originally it was a thriving plantation that included a dairy, ice house, barn and stables.  The 1280 acre estate had gardens, orchards and a gristmill.




This plantation was worked by over one hundred slaves.  There was a slave rebellion at Chatham during this time.  It ended with three slaves dying and two others deported to a slave colony in the Caribbean.

Major Churchill Jones, a former officer in the Continental Army, bought the plantation in 1806 for 20,000 dollars.  His family owned the property for 60 years.

Many famous people have visited Chatham---including  Robert E. Lee, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson  and later Abraham Lincoln.

During the Civil War , destruction came to many plantations and it did bring change to Chatham.  The Lacy's lived there at the time and Mrs. Lacy fled to save herself and her children.  In 1862 Union forces occupied the home as headquarters.  General Burnside bought 115,000 man Army of the Potomac to Fredericksburg.  It was a disastrous Union defeat.  Burnside lost 12,500 in the battle.  Clara Barton assisted doctors in operations inside of Chatham.  The manor basically served as a hospital.  Walt Whitman came to Chatham to write letters for the wounded.  I won't go into detail but it was a horrific scene inside the home.

By the time the Civil War ended in 1865, Chatham was a bloody mess.  When the Lacy's returned home they were unable to maintain it properly so it was sold in 1872.  After several owners tried to restore Chatham it wasn't until the 1920's when Daniel and Helen Devore undertook a proper restoration.  Chatham's last owner was industrialist, John Lee Pratt.  He owned the property from 1931 to 1975 when he willed it to the National Park Service.

Today Chatham serves as the National Park Headquarters for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Inside the home we are introduced to some of its former owners.






Here is another  painting from the gallery.  This is the most famous painting at the Headquarters and was done by Emanuel Leutze --the same artist that painted Washington Crossing the Delaware.  The guide told us they were told if there was a fire to first take this painting out with them!  It is a painting of J. Horace Lacy.  Leutze was an artist from Frederickburg.




Since Chatham is used as headquarters for the Park Service, only three rooms are open inside.






The view from Chatham is just beautiful!





It was a beautiful day to be outside and learn something!


Grayden and Samuel

Of course my favorite is the landscape and the gardens.  It will be more beautiful when everything is in bloom!













20 comments:

  1. Thank you for the tour, Martha Ellen. There IS so much history in our area. It looked like a lovely day to be out and about. Is your grandson enjoying the area?

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    1. Cathy, we all love history in our family and Samuel is no exception. It's been fun showing him the same things we shared with our children as they were growing up. He is such a joy to have in our home. I do believe he is enjoying our area. He lived here until he was 6, when his family moved to NH. ♥

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  2. I so enjoyed your history lesson tonight, Martha Ellen! I do believe that you could be a docent for some of these places that you've shown us. Your love for the history of your area shines through.

    Chatham looks like a beautiful place! How interesting that it is a headquarters for the National Park Service.

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    1. Cheryl, Chatham is a great place. I'm always amazed to see what life was like not that long ago.
      Hopefully we can learn from the good and the bad and do better. ♥

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  3. You do live in a history~rich area! I'm so pleased you are sharing it with us, for it is fascinating to learn {I'm like a sponge, absorbing it all} Yes, the gardens will be beautiful when in full bloom {perhaps you will take us there again?} but I do love the garden in winter when all the structure shows, and if we are lucky there is a dusting of snow and the familiar becomes unfamiliar and we see things differently again.
    I especially like the photograph of the view with the steeple in it.
    ~~~Deb in Wales

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    1. Deb, we are enjoying revisiting sites with our grandson. The gardens at Chatham are enjoyable to see anytime of the year. Seeing the "bones" of the landscape is so evident now. Hopefully we can revisit soon.
      We have a lovely view of all of the churches in Fredericksburg this time of year. The steeple you commented on is of St. George's Episcopal. Many churches of Fredericksburg have quite a bit of history themselves! ♥

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  4. Lots of history there! I really enjoyed the views opened at this time of year. I am imagining how foliage would cover so much of what you have shown in these photos. Please feel free to revisit at any time! =D I'd love to see this home in all seasons.

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    1. Vee, the views from Chatham are great this time of year. Recently the Park Service opened this view even more. Many trees and brush were removed to open the vista. I love it, but many folks aren't happy about it. I'll try to go back again so you can see the beautiful gardens in bloom. ♥

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  5. Wow, I need to move to where you live. Just beautiful. We just do not have that kind of history here. Enjoy for me ;-) Clarice

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    1. Clarice, we are so fortunate to live in an area that is rich with history. I hope you are able to visit us sometime. ♥

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  6. It would be nice to be able to walk to such a historic lovely estate. I enjoyed reading about it and seeing a peek inside.

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    1. Dotsie, I'm glad you came to see Chatham. It is a lovely place to visit if you ever get the chance. ♥

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  7. Thank you Martha, for a very interesting post with very lovely and wonderful photos and images! You have a real artistic eye in your picture taking!!
    Have a wonderful week, many blessings and warmth, Linnie

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    1. Linnie, there are many places in our area I hope to share. I'm learning to take better photos as I blog. My new camera challenges me to learn more about photography. I'm excited to take photos this Spring as the flowers bloom. ♥

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  8. What an interesting place, Martha Ellen. I did enjoy learning about the history behind it.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It is an interesting place, Amalia. It was a lovely day to go exploring with our grandson. ♥

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  9. Oh, what a nice tour and thank you for sharing this with us. So much history to learn and it means so much more to me the older I get! I'm sure those gardens are beautiful all greened up! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. Shelia, I have always loved history. I guess the older I get I feel the same as you--We appreciate it more. Thanks for coming over. ♥

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  10. So much history at Chatham! Hopefully we can persuade you (and your camera) to visit the gardens again in the summer, Martha Ellen. Can't wait to see what other interesting places you will take us to visit! It's such fun to visit with you! ♡Dawn

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    1. Dawn, I hope to revisit Chatham in the coming weeks to photograph the beautiful gardens there. I hope that my camera and I can do it justice! I'm a history nut, so I'll be sharing more from our area and the travels we take this year. I'm so glad you came to visit! ♥

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