Tag Archives: Virginia Chronicle

The Idle Hour: The Eccentric Life of Capt. John Cussons

By Kyle Rogers, LVA Newspaper Project volunteer

Portrait of young Cussons, courtesy of LVA special collections

Portrait of young Cussons, courtesy of LVA special collections

Captain John Cussons, Jr., is one of Glen Allen’s most fascinating historical figures.  A nineteenth-century English immigrant with an entrepreneurial spirit and an insatiable wanderlust, Cussons left Lincolnshire for the United States in 1855, at the age of seventeen.  During his explorations of the Old West, Cussons encountered a Sioux village, where he simply walked into a young Native American woman’s tipi and remained for four years.

He then wandered southeast to Selma, AL, where he became part owner of the Morning Reporter newspaper  before enlisting in the Confederate Army at the outset of the Civil War.  As a scout, Cussons participated in several early Confederate victories and received rapid promotions before, true to character, he casually wandered behind enemy lines on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg and was captured by Union soldiers.   Whether Cussons escaped from the Johnson’s Island military prison on Lake Eerie or was simply paroled out in a prisoner exchange is unclear, but Steve Cooke of the Richmond Navigator notes, “The catalog of items in the American Civil War Museum in Richmond lists a ‘Saw made by Captain Cussons when at Johnson’s Island to make his escape.’”

Cussons (left) with Gen. Law (center) of his former 4th Alabama Infantry regiment.

Cussons (left) with Gen. Law (center) of his former 4th Alabama Infantry regiment.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/gen-law-capt-john-cussons-4th-ala-infantry-need-help-identifying-others-in-photo.124548/

Rather than returning to England after the Civil War, Cussons ventured to Glen Allen, where he married the widow of Benjamin Allen, after whose prominent family the town was named.  Using funds from his successful printing company—Cussons, May, & Co.—the entrepreneurial ex-Confederate constructed the now-defunct Forest Lodge resort on Mountain Road, adjacent to the town’s railroad tracks:

Forest Lodge, 1880s

Forest Lodge, c. 1880s

https://donnawatkins.smugmug.com/Travel/Virginia/Forest-Lodge/i-kckpfFn
Mountain Rd., Glen Allen Historical Marker

Mountain Rd., Glen Allen Historical Marker

http://www.markerhistory.com/glen-allen-marker-e-10/

In its day, Forest … read more »

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Into the Woods: VNP Visits the CCC

Exterior of the CCC Museum at Pocahontas State Park

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Well, look no further. Recently, the staff of the Virginia Newspaper Project returned newspapers to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. The museum generously lent newspapers from its collection for the VNP’s CCC newspaper digitization project. As luck would have it, team VNP picked a beautiful day for a visit.

Museum Brochure Cover

Located near the Education Center, nestled in the woods and housed in a small cabin built with materials from homes that once stood on the land, the museum shows how CCC members lived and the public projects on which they worked. For example, in one corner of the exhibition area, a visitor can see a standard issue cot among other memorabilia. Also on display are common tools workers used, uniforms enrollees wore and historic photos, letters, architectural drawings, ephemera and other documents related to the CCC. The Museum even has a bird egg collection, with eggs that date back to the 1880s!

As described in its pamphlet, “Visitors can learn about the dedication and sacrifice in the words and letters of the men whose contributions will last forever.”

In addition to the Museum, the park offers a long list of other fun things to do—and all for just a five to seven-dollar admission fee (depending on the time of year you visit). With 25 miles of off-road trails, Pocahontas State Park has some of the best hiking and mountain biking Virginia has to offer. It also has thirteen miles of bridle trails, picnic areas, an Aquatic Recreation Center (A.K.A. an impressive swimming pool complete with water slides), an Education Center, fishing and boating, camping and even has yurts available for nightly rental—as described on the … read more »

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Virginia Chronicle and Chronicling America

 

 

 

 

 

If you read this blog, you might know that the Virginia Newspaper Project (VNP) contributes digitized newspapers to two websites, Chronicling America and Virginia Chronicle. These sites are both wonderful repositories of historic newspapers from Virginia, but they aren’t the same, and don’t have exactly the same content.

Chronicling America hosts newspapers digitized through the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Newspaper Projects across the country apply for two-year grants that allow  each project to digitize about 100,000 pages per grant cycle. Until 2016, the newspapers digitized through NDNP grants were published between 1836-1922, but that window has been expanded to newspapers published between 1690 and 1963. Currently, Chronicling America has over 13 million pages from newspapers across the country!

The Virginia Newspaper Project has completed four grant cycles, and has been funded for its fifth. As a result, Chronicling America has 489,994 pages of Virginia newspapers.

Virginia Chronicle, which hosts the pages digitized through the NDNP, also contains additional digitization projects undertaken by the VNP. The Virginia Chronicle database currently has 977,408 pages of digitized newspapers–more pages will be added soon, which will put it at or near the one million page mark!

The nearly 500,000 pages on Virginia Chronicle not found on Chronicling America were funded by various sources, including publishers, donors, the Virginia Farm Bureau and the Library of Virginia itself.

Some of the newspapers on Virginia Chronicle do not fall under the scope of the NDNP, like those that are more current and non-traditional newspapers, like those published by high schools or the Civilian Conservation Corps. Virginia Chronicle has 598 issues of The Monocle, John Marshall High School’s newspaper, spanning from 1929-1973. These offer a fun, fascinating … read more »

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Easter on Virginia Chronicle

bunnyMaud ruins a new Easter suit, Uncle Sam feeds the chicks of prosperity, Easter bargains, poison-free Easter egg dye, a delightful Easter egg hunt, and Mrs. & Mr. Seldomgo go to church. . .Below are just a few results from doing an “Easter” search in Virginia Chronicle: Easter Suit 2 April 1905Easter 4Easter2Easter 6Children's Page 31 March 1907 TDEaster7Easter 8read more »

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St. Patrick’s Day Miscellanea

By C Johnson, Newspaper Project Intern

times dispatch march 17 1911_2

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we found a selection of the (very) broad ways that newspapers have chosen to acknowledge the feast day over the years.

The Weekly Register from Point Pleasant West Virginia published a poem, “The Shamrock,” in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on March 22, 1899. The next year, the  Virginian-Pilot published “Oran Gailig (Exile’s Song).” Both poems speak about the love an Irishman has for his country, and the longing felt when far from home.

Weekly Register 22 march 1899

Virginian Pilot March 18 1900

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The debate about proposed “Home Rule” versus a continued union with Britain shows up in Virginia papers even on St. Patrick’s Day, as shown in these political cartoons.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 17, 1913.

Norfolk Post, March 17, 1923.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norfolk Post, March 17, 1922.

Norfolk Post, March 17, 1922.

 

The men in the Civilian Conservation Corp joined in the St. Patrick’s Day fun with themed covers for their camp newspapers, like this 1936 cover from Company 2344 in Big Stone Gap, Va.

Wise Owl March 23 1936

It wouldn’t have been the 1960s without a gelatin recipe for every occasion, and the Highland Recorder did not disappoint, offering a recipe for “peppermint flavored, green tinted gelatin dotted with miniature marshmallows.” If that sounds odd, give it a chance- they’re “sweet as the music of the harp,” and fully leprechaun endorsed.

Highland Recorder, March 17, 1966.

\ Highland Recorder, March 17, 1966.

If gelatin isn’t your thing, maybe take inspiration from the small boys who decided to take dessert acquisition into their own hands, and stole all the ice cream from this 1922 Norfolk party. We recommend asking first, though.

Norfolk Post, March 18, 1922.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the VNP!

Rappahannock Record 13 march 1986

 … read more »

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Happy Birthday Mr. President

In honor of George Washington’s 286th birthday, we thought we’d share some of the many front page renderings of the nation’s Founding Father drawn by men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Nearly 100 CCC newspaper titles have been digitized and are available on Virginia Chronicle. The rest of the collection will be added soon: wASHIGNTONdWashington (8)Geaorge Washington (1) Washington (7) Washington(3) Washington(6) Washington .Washington (9)read more »

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Groundhog Day: The Furry Barometer Digs his Way Into Print

GHHAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY FROM THE VNP!

Just in case you caught yesterday’s depressing article in the RTD about Virginia’s own groundhog (warning, it’s sad) and his tragic demise, we thought we’d share some sunnier stories on the forecaster of spring’s arrival. We searched “Groundhog Day” in Virginia Chronicle, and here’s a sampling of what we found:

Staunton Spectator, February 5, 1884

World News 2 Feb 1920

World News, February 2, 1920

World News 3 April 1922

World News, April 3, 1922

Roanoke World News 2 Feb 1923

Roanoke World News, February 2, 1923

Alexandria Gazette 2 Feb 1922

Alexandria Gazette, February 2, 1922

Recorder 1 June 1923

Highland Recorder, June 1, 1923

SS 30 Jan 1930

Southside Sentinel, January 30, 1930

Monocle 5 Feb 1965

Rappahannock Record 4 Feb 1988

Rappahannock Record, February 4, 1988

read more »

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New on Virginia Chronicle: Richmond Whig and Commercial Journal

First, a quick note that the Library’s Out of the Box and Fit to Print blogs will be joining forces under one name in the new year, so look for the new blog in 2018! Archived entries from both blogs will continue to be available. Stay tuned. . .Masthead

The Virginia Newspaper Project is delighted to announce digitized copies of Richmond Whig and Commercial Journal, a daily published by John Hampden Pleasants and Josiah Abbot from 1831-1832, are now available on Virginia Chronicle.

Thanks to a partnership with the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, which generously shared its collection with the Library of Virginia, the digitized issues on Virginia Chronicle represent a nearly complete run of Richmond Whig and Commercial Journal. This title is one among many in the Whig family of newspapers published in Richmond during the nineteenth century.

Enquirer March 3, 1846John Pleasants, born in Goochland and educated at William and Mary, practiced law before becoming a newspaper publisher. He began printing the Whig in 1824 in response to the Democratic Richmond Enquirer, published by Thomas Ritchie. The political and personal discord between the two editors became so intense it culminated in a duel on Feb. 27, 1846. Pleasant’s eventually died, at age 49, from wounds he suffered in the brutal encounter, but the Whig carried on in his absence.

Ads

Ads from Richmond Whig and Commercial Journal, July 5, 1831

Initially, the Whig was published semiweekly as the Constitutional Whig, until the name changed to the Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser in 1833. A daily edition of the paper commenced in 1828 as the Daily Richmond Whig. The name changed to the Richmond Whig and Commercial Journal from 1831-1832, and then changed again to the Daily Richmond Whig & Public Advertiser. If you’re not confused … read more »

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To-night is Halloween!

By Claire Johnson, Newspaper Project Intern

Halloween Header ImageHappy Halloween From the VNP! In honor of the spookiest of holidays, here’s a look back at how Richmonders of the past celebrated Halloween.

Richmond Dispatch 10:30:1897

For young women at the turn of the century, Halloween presented an opportunity to glimpse into the future and see the face of their husband-to-be by completing one of several complex rituals. The Richmond Dispatch on October 31, 1897 described one such ritual, performed at or near midnight on Halloween. Wearing her hair loose down her back and barefoot, the curious young woman must light a candle, and descend down her basement stairs backwards. As she walks, she repeats a stanza from Robert Burns’ 1743 poem, “Green Grow the Rashes:” “Auld Nature swears the lovely dears, Her noblest work she classes, O: Her ‘prentice han’ she tried on man, And then she made the lasses, O!”At the bottom of the steps, after turning around twice and taking ten steps, she looks over her shoulder into a mirror. If she is going to be married, she will see the reflection of her husband in the mirror.To-night is Halloween! Throughout the city, in the house of rich and poor alike, its joyful customs will be observed.

The same article explained the soothsaying powers of “ducking for apples.” The instructions begin in a familiar way for those of us who bobbed for apples at harvest festivals or Halloween parties as children: fill a vessel with water and add apples, then close your eyes, lean in, and try to get one. Here, 19th century ducking for apples diverges from the modern incarnation of the game. According to the superstition, those who successfully picked up an apple with their teeth three times in five minutes would dream of their future spouse that night.

On November 1, 1896, the Richmond Dispatch published a poem titled “Girls on Halloween,” which detailed more of the practices girls … read more »

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Awaiting the Great Path of Darkness – The Total Eclipse of 1900

27May_2

On a Monday, in late May, 1900, a corner of Virginia, under clear skies, experienced not the partial eclipse we’ll experience here in the Commonwealth, but a total eclipse of the sun.

Norfolk was one of the few major population sites in the United States situated in the path of totality. The eclipse path moved from the Gulf of Mexico into southeast America and then into the Atlantic Ocean.

We have selected images from the Newspaper Project’s digital archive, Virginia Chronicle, previewing a story of a celestial nature that previously had not been described in such detail by newspapers.

And consider that in-depth reporting of the eclipse belonged almost solely to the newspaper medium – before the advent of radio, television, and Instagram.  It is difficult to conceive, given our 21st century media landscape, that newspapers served as the primary source, and for many, the sole source, of information; hence the graphs, charts, and the heady mix of scientific facts and romantic conjecture.

The first front page coverage appeared on the preceding Thursday. It notes that teams of scientists and dozens of members of  the Geographical Society, as well as President William McKinley, will arrive to observe the phenomenon.

Solar Eclipse_2

Of the papers in the Tidewater region, only the Virginian-Pilot published illustrations like the following from Friday’s edition:

Illustration_1

Operating on the same principle that if you drain the Atlantic Ocean you’ll find the lost city of Atlantis, there was hope that the planet Vulcan would reveal itself during the solar eclipse. Alas, it remained undiscovered. For the curious, Wikipedia outlines the 19th century origins of the pursuit for the mystery planet.

More detail for the curious shows up, page 2, on Saturday:

Day 3_1

The Sunday edition featured the zodiac framed graphic shown at the top of this page, plus, … read more »

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