Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives is a local history and genealogy center jointly operated by the Handley Regional Library and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. Our holdings include a variety of materials documenting the history of the Lower Shenandoah Valley from 1732 to the present, with an emphasis on the City of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia.
When one thinks of the American heroes of the Revolutionary War, the names Washington, Greene, Lee, Morgan, and even Arnold come to mind. Much has been written of these American patriots, and rightly so, but the attention these officers have long received has also obscured the contributions of many, many other patriots of the Revolutionary War. One such person is General William Woodford of Virginia, a man chosen by Virginia's leaders to command a regiment of Virginia regulars at the onset of war and who remained in service for over five years.
"I believe few Officers either in America or Europe are held in so high a point of estimation as you are..." --Gen. Nathanael Greene to "Light Horse" Harry Lee January 27, 1782 The sentiment above, expressed by General Nathanael Greene, an officer whose military contributions to American independence are second only to General George Washington, captures the view of most Americans in 1782 regarding Light Horse Harry Lee.
Far too many towns and cities across the United States continue to deny the history of the interstate trade of enslaved men, women, and children, and are resistant to recognizing sites associated with enslavement. The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is one of these regions, and its historical texts and public history sites perpetuate the racist belief that enslaved individuals were not a factor in the establishment and history of this region because the census numbers in the antebellum era were â ~lowâ (TM).
Cultural, economic, and political networks formed the early modern Atlantic world into which the Society of Friends ventured within the first decades of its existence, developing networks through which to meet its goals: spreading the faith and supporting dispersed Quaker communities. During the development of these networks, London was the seat of government, banking, foreign trade and printing. Being in London gave Quakers access to political bodies, to centres of commerce and shipping, and to an extensive printing industry.
A gripping, fact-based story of how Daniel Morgan and his courageous riflemen played a crucial role in George Washington’s victory in the American Revolution. They wore hunting shirts, deer-skin leggins and moccasins. Each had a tomahawk and a scalping knife in their belts and carried “long rifles” in their hands. Every rifleman was a Patriot volunteer, a tracker, and a hunter. And they could kill a redcoat from 250 yards. “This is a war story. It’s about real people and events before, during, and after the American Revolution.
The Story of the Legendary Clergyman-Turned-Soldier for the American Cause Standing at the pulpit in his church in the Shenandoah Valley, the preacher borrowed from Ecclesiastes, declaring in a firm voice that "To every thing there is a season . . . ." He then announced, "that there is a time to fight, and that time had now come," and abruptly removed his clerical robe to reveal his colonel's uniform. There is little doubt that this clergyman-turned-soldier uttered words to this effect, but whether he threw off his robe to reveal a gleaming uniform may be embellishment.
The role of African-Americans, most free but some enslaved, in the regiments of the Continental Army is not well-known; neither is the fact that relatively large numbers served in southern regiments and that the greatest number served alongside their white comrades in integrated units. They Were Good Soldiers begins by discussing, for comparison, the inclusion and treatment of black Americans by the various Crown forces (particularly British and Loyalist commanders, and military units).
A bold and searing investigation into the role of white women in the American slave economy Bridging women's history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave‑owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South's slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth.
Travel in old Virginia was many things, but it was never dull. Stagecoaches were the primary means of transport, carrying mail as well as passengers. Trips that now take hours lasted for days. Coach trips could be dangerous, and all-hands situations arose quickly. A traveler might need to apply horsemanship, carpentry, leather-mending or the sheer brawny effort of shoving the coach out of a muddy ditch. Inns across the state catered to stagecoach riders and acted as community gathering places.