Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lincoln Homstead in Virginia

But I thought Lincoln was born in a log cabin house in Kentucky? That was my thought process when I first heard about the Lincoln Homestead and its location in the Rockingham County. So does our 16th President have any true ties to Virginia?

According to the March 24, 1887 newspaper Rockingham Register, he does. The paper ran a front page article entitled: “Lincoln’s Ancestors in Virginia.” The article is John T. Harris Jr.’s argument that the Lincolns, according to deeds in the courthouse that “survived the Federal army during the civil war”, did not leave Virginia until 1781. The article was written in response to the newspaper Century’s article by “Nicolay and Hay” that stated the Lincolns left in 1780.[1] Quite a convincing article.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kate Green Paul: Local Participation in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (continued)

Kate Green Paul is #4

Following our pervious overview of local participation in the Chicago’s World Fair at the national level, we continue with the organizations and contributions on the state and local levels. Because of her position on the National Women’s Board, Kate Paul was called upon to take part in local undertakings. Reading the newspapers reports at that time (and today we would find the writing very sexist), the prominence of many women in the preparations for the event was ground breaking. 

An act of the General Assembly, passed on March 4, 1892, created the Board of World’s Fair Managers of Virginia. An appropriation of $25,000 was approved, but no one considered the amount enough to accomplish all the plans. The governor appointed a ten member board to secure exhibits on the resources, products, and general development of the Commonwealth of Virginia to show at the World’s Columbian Exposition. The Board had authority to take all the “necessary steps to secure a complete and creditable display of interest to the state including the solicitation, collection, transportation, arrangement, exhibition of all objects sent to the Exposition.”  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kate Green Paul: Local Participation in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

Kate Green Paul is #4

(This article is a postscript to the Massanutten Regional Library’s first summer adult program on June 10 that features author Katie Letcher Lyle, who is the great-granddaughter of Kate Paul.)

  Recent books, for example, Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City (2004) and Justin Martin’s Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (2012), focused popular attention on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. While excellent, these books do not provide the reader with an understanding of the scope and widespread participation of Americans in this event. Few people know about Rockingham County/Harrisonburg resident population’s participation in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. In the local histories of this period, Mrs. Kate Seymour Green Paul’s membership on the Board of Women Managers of the World’s Fair was often noted. Kate Paul’s position gave area residents a “place at the table” with regard to national, state, and local exposition planning. The existence of the Board also called attention to the role of women in this event and in society in general 120 years ago.

 When the planning for the Fair began in 1890, Kate Paul was 43 years old, a mother of five living children that ranged in age from 2 to 12. In 1874, she married John Paul, who was then the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rockingham County, later U.S. Congressmen and now, in 1890, the US judge for the Western District of Virginia. Kate Paul’s familiarity with the political arena provided her with connections that along with her own talents and interests made her well-suited for membership on the Board of Lady Managers of the Chicago World’s Fair.