Culpeper Currents: Map making, part two

In April 1819 John Wood began his survey of Virginia counties in preparation for the publication of a state map. He had secured the job through the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson. Wood had been the mathematics instructor of Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, at the Academy of Louis H. Girardin in Richmond from 1809 to 1810. […]


Culpeper Currents: Map making, part one:

In February 1816 the Virginia Legislature authorized the creation of a state map. When completed the map would be housed at the newly created Board of Public Works and be a reference for the planning of public highways, turnpikes, canals, and later, railroads. […]


Culpeper Currents: A new county is born

In the decade following the American Revolution the population in Culpeper County’s western area grew. As the county courthouse had been situated in 1749 to the convenience of the county’s original population, those living in the western area found themselves with a hard journey to transact business. To that end a group of residents made the following petition to the Virginia General Assembly on November 29, 1785: […]


A practical Christmas in Culpeper

In 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression, Culpeper celebrated Christmas with familiar traditions. A decorated tree stood near the courthouse steps, surrounded by filled stockings which would be handed out to the children who attended the tree lighting and carol singing on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, the musicians would take their instruments and continue their performances outside the homes of local shut-ins who were not able to attend the festivities. The tree and gifts were sponsored by the Culpeper Post of the American Legion. That organization also organized the donation and delivery of food baskets to about 30 families that year, and collected toys for close to 100 children. […]


Culpeper Currents: Culpeper was a hospital town during the Civil War

In the spring of 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, the town of Culpeper was the headquarters for the Confederate Provisional Army. Under Colonel Philip St. George Cocke, a camp was established north of town on the land of Rev. Cumberland George. The camp was named “Camp Henry” for former governor Patrick Henry. Here the units that had been organized in the county, as well as some from more distant areas, gathered to train. As more and more soldiers came and went from the camps, illnesses began to spread, including an outbreak of measles. […]


Culpeper Currents: A celebrity visits Bell Tavern

My last column focused on a description of Bell Tavern which sat at the southwest corner of Main and Locust Streets in Culpeper. I mentioned that the proprietor Benjamin Shackelford had hosted President Thomas Jefferson. Here is a brief account of the President’s arrival: […]