President’s Message

As we begin the new year of 2016, I look back at my first year as president of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association with gratitude.

I am so thankful for the board members, a dedicated group of women who have guided the association through this past year. A huge thank you goes to Susan Emert, who, after seven years of faithfully performing her duties as president, has graciously served in the role of vice-president for 2015 and will continue to serve through 2016.

Susan DuBar, corresponding secretary since 2002, has bravely dealt with questions from members and institutions as we transition from the paper publication of the Central Virginia Heritage to digital publication.

Diane Inman, treasurer since 2012, always has the financial well-being of the association close to heart. She has worked to make it possible to pay dues online using Paypal and is working on making available a CD of all past issues of the Central Virginia Heritage.

Pam Vandenhoff began serving as recording secretary in 1998. She has recorded the minutes of almost 200 meetings of the CVGA. Good work, Pam!

Jean Cooper has ushered us into today’s digital world as our able webmaster. She has designed the beautiful website you are accessing and continues the hard work of making it fully functional for our members. In place is an online registration form which facilitates signing up for membership and soon she will have the bugs worked out so that members can read all of the back issues of the Heritage.

The Central Virginia Heritage will be published on our website. We are in need of an editor for the publication which we plan to produce twice-yearly. If you would be willing to take on this position, please let me know. Of course, the publication needs material. We look for original work within the association’s geographical region which can be found under ‘Home: About CVGA’ on this website.

In December, Sam Towler spoke to the group about his ‘Albemarle Courthouse Chancery Court Preservation Project’ which can be seen at the Facebook page under that name. Clearly, Albemarle County is not the exception with yellowed papers packed away in dusty vaults concealing valuable information about our ancestors. Such archives are there, just waiting for you to open them up and do some transcribing. The mild winter weather we have experienced lately is most suitable for a trip to your local historical repository, whether it’s a courthouse, an historical society, your church’s archives, or even a local funeral home. While you’re there collecting information, consider putting your findings into a form that can be published in the next issue of the Heritage.

Thank you for your continued support of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association in this new year.

Your president,

Patricia Lukas

Nostalgia: JEZEBEL

By Susan DuBar
Central Virginia Genealogical Association member

I don’t know what got into my grandmother that summer. Was it seeing the children next door with a pet pig? Pets moved in and out of their house as might be expected from the children of a veterinarian. Petunia had been the runt of a litter; neither the sow nor the farmer wanted to be bothered with her. My grandmother thought she was cute, and decided that I, too, should have a pet pig. I would have preferred a pony but didn’t really have a choice.

Not just any pig would do—mine had to be a purebred, black-and-white belted Yorkshire from a local farmer. Apparently all had been arranged before my arrival, so within a few days we headed out to Harley’s place, just outside of town. As my grandmother and Harley chatted, I wandered up and down the rows of pens in the barn, staring in fascination at the tiny piglets nursing in contentment, dwarfed by their huge mothers. Some pens held sows whose excessive girth indicated they were about to give birth; other pens held older litters squabbling over food or sleeping in haphazard piles. It was difficult to hear mere human voices over the cacophony of grunts and squeals, but eventually I noticed the two adults beckoning me to come over. Harley gave me a tiny piglet to hold; he said she was less than 24 hours old. Her mother had too many babies to take care of all of them.

Like all infants, baby pigs need frequent feeding. I had the privilege of giving her a bottle as soon as we got home. She was a little messy at first, but soon caught on and polished it off in a hurry. A cardboard box on the enclosed back porch was her bed. That lasted one night as she quickly learned to climb out and squeal for attention. My grandmother must have been prepared to shoulder the main responsibility for the baby; my mother spent her adult life denying all things rural, and I was too young. At any rate, it was my grandmother who had to get up for the two a.m. and four a.m. feedings.

The cardboard box on the back porch, while a temporary expedient, really wasn’t satisfactory for a fast-growing piglet, so she soon moved out to the back yard and into an old safe that had been converted to use as secure housing for previous pets. The screen door allowed plenty of air.

Picking out a name for the piglet was my job, and I wasn’t getting very far with it. Petunia had been taken, Porky was a boy’s name, and what was left after that? I had been sent to the grocery for a few items and mentioned my dilemma to the proprietor. She thought it over as she filled out the charge slip and suggested “Jezebel” after the popular song by Frankie Laine. I liked the sound of it, so Jezebel she became.

Naturally I had to introduce her to the community, and what better place than the ice cream social held in the church yard across the street. I don’t know if the ladies were more amused by her name or by the sight of a bottle-fed piglet swathed in a pink baby blanket, but they were remarkably tolerant and made us welcome. Jezebel didn’t stay long; I put her to bed and returned to enjoy the festivities. Those women could cook! Jezebel hadn’t been the only pig in attendance. There were plenty of the human variety tempted by the array of cakes and pies, hot chicken sandwiches, deviled eggs, and the star of the event, homemade, hand-cranked ice cream in several flavors.

Jezebel wasn’t a bottle baby for long; she quickly graduated to mash (standard pig feed), to my grandmother’s relief. That she thought we were her family was clear; she was happy roaming the yard so long as she had one of us in sight. We had to be careful if she followed us to the garden. She could easily get lost among the beans and would squeal pathetically for us to come rescue her. She gave us all a chuckle the day she discovered a minuscule puddle on the concrete slab behind the house. With happy little grunts she did her best to wallow in that teacup of water, leaving no doubt that she knew what pigs were supposed to do.

Jezebel had all but outgrown her quarters by the time my visit was ending. There was no problem finding a home for her—my grandmother had known all along that her cousin would let Jezebel join the pigs on his farm in the next county. She would visit him from time to time, and always made a point of seeing Jezebel and reporting her progress to me in a post script to one of her weekly letters.

That was the year her cousin discovered the government would pay him NOT to farm; he sold all his pigs, including Jezebel and her litter of eight. The proceeds from Jezebel’s sale were used to buy a nicely trained pinto named Joker for me to ride whenever I visited, so I got my pony after all.

© Susan DuBar 2015. All rights reserved.



By Charles Crenshaw, Central Virginia Genealogical Association

On Wednesday evening, June 3, 2015, the doors opened at the old Earlysville Union Church in downtown Earlysville, Virginia, for a Community Vespers Service. Walking in the door was like stepping back 150 years in time. Six kerosene lamps on the walls of the Sanctuary and one in the entrance area provided lighting, and the smell of kerosene filled the air just as it did years ago. The old wood floors have survived the years. The pulpit  is a slightly raised rounded area surrounded by a wooden fence. On the wall behind the pulpit is a picture of Jesus with lambs. In the center of the Sanctuary ceiling, the smoke stains are visible from the old wood stove stack. The pews, still in place, are of good hardwood, and no, there are no pillars. On either side of entrance area are very small rooms for Sunday School.

As people arrived, they were greeted by First Impressions member Andy Emert and one other at the doors and handed a Bible and hymnal. At seven o’clock the Ukuleaders played the old hymn, “Shall We Gather at the River,” followed by seven tolls of the hour by John Peterson. There were forty people in attendance on this evening.

There were scripture readings, songs, and prayer. Katie Alfano played her guitar and led in singing. The Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Choir kept us in tune and greatly enhanced the sound. Sarah Ford read scripture from Philippians 4:4-9. Edith Fisher offered the Guided Prayer, reading a line and giving us time to silently say our prayer on the subject of that line.

I sat close to the back and kept an infant entertained with finger and hand movements—even got some smiles. Sitting there I could not help but picture how things must have been in the mid-nineteenth century when this was the building that a number of churches called home, including Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. This location is where the name Chestnut Grove was adopted. I could picture my great, great, great grandfather, William Crenshaw, sitting there with his family in one of those pews. I wondered, could it be the pew where I was sitting? The urge came over me to sit in every pew after the service was over.

I could picture the horses tied up outside, and the horse and buggies parked and tied to hitching posts. The main road outside would have been dirt or mud. The huge old chestnut trees would have provided the shade for the horses and the church. Most of the people attending would have done a half day’s work feeding horses, cattle, hogs, chickens, and turkeys, milking the cows, making a fire in the wood cook stove, doing the cooking for breakfast, and preparing for the dinner when other family members would come after church for the noon meal. Breakfast was not just dumping Cheerios in a bowl; it was freshly made biscuits, eggs, fried ham, and red-eye gravy, maybe even some fried apples. These people had to be strong, tough, and hard-working to survive. I was brought back to the present day when I remembered the lawn outside was now parking for automobiles. Not a horse could be seen.

As people left, they turned in the Bibles and hymnals which were placed in boxes for the trip back to Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. After most had left, Edith Fisher climbed the ladder at each lamp to remove the glass cover and blow out the flame.

For those who may never have read the history marker at the Union Church, I stopped one day and wrote down the words. They are copied below:

Earlysville Union Church is a rare surviving early 19th-century interdenominational church constructed in Albemarle County. Built in 1833, this frame structure served as a meetinghouse for all Christian denominations on land deeded by John Early, for whom Earlysville is named. This building provided an early home for several local congregations of the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian faiths. The church is an excellent example of the 19th-century public architecture of rural Piedmont Virginia. It was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Department of Historic Resources, 2003

 © Charles Crenshaw 2015. All rights reserved.


President’s Message — Nov. 3, 2015

Recently I have been reading through 31 years’ worth of Central Virginia Heritage. As I read, I soon came to appreciate the countless hours of writing, researching, transcribing and editing that resulted in over 100 issues. Nine volunteer editors, Steven G. Meeks, Charley Moore, Clifford Evans, Robert Vernon, Arlene Page, Teresa Kelley, Bob Niehaus, Sam Towler and Andy Emert, took on the responsibility to get the Heritage out. The names of editors, assistant editors and contributing editors are there to see but many more people had important roles as indexers, copy editors and spell checkers. These friends and family members, who remain for the most part unnamed, deserve our thanks as supporters of these hard working editors. Thank you all very much for all the hard work you did and the many hours you devoted to making the Central Virginia Heritage a valuable resource for genealogists.

The last print edition of the Heritage was the Fall/Winter 2014 issue. The cost of printing and mailing the paper publication was draining our limited treasury. Soon we will begin to have articles available to you on this website. There will be family histories, research articles, transcriptions of historical documents, and nostalgia articles. Some articles will be posted for all to read and others will be for members only. Members will also have access to the archive of the Central Virginia Heritage. To become a member, see Membership.

You can contribute to the work of the CVGA. Have you searched for documents in a courthouse in central Virginia? Does your church have records that would be useful to genealogists? Would you like to see your family history online for distant cousins to read? If you have original work you would like to submit to our editors for consideration, please see the guidelines under Publications.

Thank you for visiting our website. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Your president,

Patricia Lukas

Central Virginia Heritage ceases print publication with Fall/Winter 2014 issue.

From the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of the Central Virginia Heritage:

“[This issue] is also the last printed edition [of CVH] that we will publish. The Central Virginia Genealogical Association members have been talking for over a year about discontinuing the printing of The Central Virginia Heritage because of the expense of publishing and mailing.  The members discussed this at length during the December meeting and it was decided to cease print publication after this issue. Also at the December 2014 meeting, a committee of six members was formed to investigate the options for electronic publication. Both motions were passed unanimously.”–Susan Emert, Outgoing President, CVGA

“It was decided that the print publication of the Heritage would cease with this issue and that the association would explore developing an electronic edition which will appear on the association’s web site at: .”–Pat Lukas, Incoming President, CVGA

Letter from Susan Emert, the Outgoing President

From Central Virginia Heritage, v.31, no.3/4 (Fall/Winter, 2014), p.26.

Hello Everyone,

Winter has come to Central Virginia, and many of us in the CVGA have expressed the hope that we will have time to settle into a researching and writing habit while it is cold. I am looking forward to the Family History Writing Project in February as a reinforcement for writing my family stories.

We were not able to send an issue of The Heritage in the fall, so this is an extended edition. It is also the last printed edition that we will publishing. The Central Virginia Genealogical Association members have been talking for over a year about discontinuing the printing of The Central Virginia Heritage because of the expense of publishing and mailing.  The members discussed this at length during the December meeting and it was decided to cease print publication after this issue. Also at the December 2014 meeting, a committee of six members was formed to investigate the options for electronic publication. Both motions were passed unanimously.

We plan to make good use of our website for announcements of upcoming meetings, weather-related cancellations, conferences, etc. We also hope to post articles about our current Courthouse Records and other articles which are submitted. The committee will be looking into other things such as having a members-only part of the site, a query section, and lots more. 2015 is going to be an exciting year of changes for CVGA.

This is my last letter to you as President of CVGA. Pat Lukas, this year’s Vice President, has stepped into the role of President. Please give her the same kind of overwhelming support that you have given me over the years. I have really enjoyed my time as President, and I will continue to support the CVGA as Vice President.

I wish you all a very happy Holiday season, and much success with your research and writing in the New Year. Please think about sharing some of your findings and stories with all of us on our website. Submission instructions will appear as soon as the committee works out the details, so please keep checking for updates.

Thank you,

Deadline for Central Virginia Heritage — 20 March 2014

The deadline for submitting material for the Heritage is March 20th. We really need material for this issue. Here are some ideas of what can be used:

  • a query or two
  • an anecdote
  • a few research tips
  • favorite web sites
  • a summary of what research you have been doing
  • a more in depth article concerning your research
  • a review of a genealogy related book you like

Please send them to me at:

Thank you,
Andy Emert

A Letter to Grandmother; an excerpt from Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2013 issue

A Letter to Grandmother
by Jenny Greenwood

This spring I was surprised to receive a letter written to my Grandmother on December 4 1913. This letter had been found in some of my deceased cousin’s papers. It was written by a woman who attended my Aunt Ollie Goss. Ollie had died after 3 days at what was probably a small hospital in Palisades, Colorado. She had been brought there by her husband. They lived on a ranch in Loma, Colorado which is about 25-30 miles away.  How did they travel?  Probably by wagon since I doubt if my aunt was in any condition to ride horseback.

Ollie Parilee McLeod Goss was born Jan 2 1892 in Sharp County AR.  She had moved with her parents, William Franklin and Fanny Belle Young McLeod to Mesa County, Colorado between 1902 and 1905. Her grandmother, several aunts, uncles and cousins were already living there.  Ollie married Jack Goss at age 16.

In 1912 her parents had moved to Oklahoma to homestead, settling in Hughes County, Oklahoma and were not aware of her illness and were broken hearted upon word of  her death.

This letter was a surprise that I will treasure forever.

Jenny Greenwood

The Letter…

Palisades, Colo
Dec 4 1913

Mrs. McLeod,

Dear Friend, I am very glad to write to you, if I can write anything that will make your grief easier to bear.  Your daughter suffered intensely but she was so brave and had so much vitality.  We thought she would soon be better, until she grew worse Saturday night.  She came here Thursday afternoon and I was with her constantly until her death.  On Friday she spoke of you and wanted to write but I asked her to let me write instead for I feared it would make her worse.  She was too ill to talk a great deal but thought of you and told me some things about her babies.  Friday night I kept hot clothes on her all night and Sat. she seemed to rest easier.  Her temperature was good and I was much encouraged that afternoon. Suddenly she grew worse and two Doctors came in.  Her senses were keen and she realized they were talking about an operation, in the hall.  She asked me if they were going to operate.  I told her they were talking it over and would see Mr. Goss.  Just at first she resented the idea, said she wouldn’t live thru it but all most at once was willing if the Dr’s thought best.  When told it was only chance she said “Let’s have it then.” But alas she could not be saved.  She came from under the anesthetic very quickly and knew everything, before I gave her morphine to deaden her pain.  I told her she was very sick and could not live.  She said and you think I can’t live?  And I told her no.  She tried to comfort her husband and told him to be a good man and good father.  She said “O my poor old mother, tell her goodbye for me and that I am ready to die.” Thru it all she was calm, she said “I have no time for tears in this world”.  She said she wasn’t afraid, she thought she would go to heaven.

She spoke of many people, calling them by name to bid goodbye.  Strangers they were to me and I cannot recall their names.  Mr. Goss will know.   Once she said “I have been praying for sleep, I did not know it would be the last sleep.”  Her mind was clear and from time to time she delivered a message for some friend or loved one.  Her husband and children were in her thoughts foremost, and next came you, her mother, knowing her death would cause you pain.  And I am sure, could she speak to you she would say “Don’t cry.” Her suffering is past.  She sleeps.  So you should try to be brave like she was and thankful that your darling was not afraid to die.  Once as I bent over her asking if I could do anything for her she answered “Help my husband to be a good man and help my children”.  How gladly I would help them if I could but I may never see them again.  You can help them in your trial, for their sake, help to train those little feet in the right way.  Teaching them that Jesus loves them and will care for them, The Bible tells us, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord”. We can’t always see or understand, but a merciful, kind Heavenly Father does all things well.  Trust Him. Serve Him.

I do not know you, but if you are a Christian, I know you will find sweet relief in this trial by saying “Thy will be done”.  If you are not a Christian, I beseech you to remember the One who said “come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden”. And then the blessed promise, “Ye shall find rest”.

(The next line was on a fold and illegible)

Blessings upon you, I am,

Your friend,
Mrs. H. F. Meeker

Ollie Parilee McLeod Goss
Jan. 2 1892 to Nov. 30 1912

She died of a burst appendix.  Although her husband got her to the doctor three days before her death, they were not able to save her life. She had been married 5 years.  Had three children, a set of twins, one of whom died at birth.  When she died she left behind 5 year old daughter, Blanche Maxine, 2 year old son, Charles William, and husband, Jake Goss.

(Reprinted with permission from Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2013.)

Excerpt from Central Virginia Heritage, Fall, 2013 (v. 30, no.3), 22.

Links to Central Virginia Genealogy Resources

Shelley Murphy

As you conduct your genealogical research it is important to know what resources are available to you. Most organizations have a website, county or city government pages and local blogs. The Central Virginia area includes the counties of: Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Madison, Orange and the city of Charlottesville. If you are researching the central Virginia area for genealogical information, check out the following list of resources.

Historical Societies & Groups