September 6, 1716, John Fontaine
“We crossed this river which we [named]… I got some grass hoppers and fished. And another and I ‘catched’ a dish of fish… The others went a hunting and killed deer and ‘turkies...’ The highest of the mountains we named Mount George, and the one we awed over Mount Spotswood.”
John Fontaine and his leader, Governor Alexander Spotswood, believed they were the first Europeans to see this great valley, its river, and the bordering Blue Ridge Mountains. Little did they know their 1716 expedition had been preceded by at least 47 years, and the names of the river and mountain peaks they christened would be forgotten.
In 1710 Spotswood was appointed Her Majesty's Lt. Governor, and Commander in Chief of the Colony of Virginia. We often hear Spotswood titled “Royal” Governor, but these officials almost all stayed in England during the Colonial period, not wishing to suffer the rigors of life in the New World’s “backwater wilderness.” However, Spotswood thrived in Virginia and its small, but beautiful capital- Williamsburg.
Alexander had been an adventurous military man in England and served under the Duke of Marlborough. As with many men who rose in stature, he met the “right people” and eventually found himself in Virginia, commissioned as England’s “on-site Royal Governor.”
One hundred years after Jamestown’s settlement, Virginians still lived within a hundred miles of the Atlantic Coast while areas to the west remained unexplored. Hostile Indians and thick, impenetrable forests made it risky to live, or even explore, far from eastern settlements.
[Article originally appeared on ShenandoahValley.com during October, 2007.]Read more...
Hiking on Blue Ridge Mountain trails, canoeing and kayaking on the Shenandoah, catch an outdoor concert or sip Virginia wine or craft beer at a huge variety of festivals. Shenandoah is the place to be in the Summer!
412 W. King St. Cinderella`s Soc Hop. Runs on Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. Tickets: $5 for 2 years and up, free admission for ages under 2. Sock hop dancing after the show, doors open 20 minutes before the show. For more information, call 304-258-4074 or visit www.wondermentpuppets.com
336 Belle Grove Rd. Belle Grove Plantation front yard. 30 minute interactive orientation for all ages about the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Cedar Creek and the impact of the Civil War on the Valley. Various props from a box to visually interpret surrounding landscape features. August schedule: Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 3-5, Sept. 11, 16, 18, 26 and 30 at 11:30 a.m.
Lee Chapel and Musuem, Lee in the Field. Runs through Aug. 31. Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 1-5 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children. For more information, call 540-458-8768 or visit www.wlu.edu/lee-chapel-and-museum.
10 S. Market St. A Midsummer Night`s Dream. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.
95 Chalmers Ct. The Clermont Collection: Portraits of Farm Animals by local artist Doug Pifer. Aug. 7 - Sept. 19, open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission. For more information, call 540-955-2004.
310 E. Rockingham St. Gen. Stonewall Jackson Headquarters in 1862. Sundays only, from 1 to 5 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Air conditioned, Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-578-3046 or visit www.elktonhistoricalsociety.com.
Cole Hall. Dr. Larry Taylor, associate professor of music: kinetic energy organ recital. Free admission, open to the public.
Brownsburg Museum, 2716 Brownsburg Turnpike. Civil War Brownsburg: A Community`s Civil War Story. Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-348-1600 or visit brownsburgva.wordpress.com/museum-news.
Each October, a Civil War living history reenactment commemorates the 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek at Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park in Middletown, Virginia.