Down Memory Lane for May 23

Nov. 3, 1999

Trinity Episcopal Church, at the corner of Gay and Middle Streets in the town of Washington, is the only remaining Episcopal church in the county. It has been said that the story of Trinity Church is the story of Bromfield Parish.

Bromfield Parish was set off from St. Mark’s Parish in 1752, three years after the town of Washington was laid out. Records of the colonial church were lost. However, it is known that several “chapels of ease” existed in the parish, probably one in Washington. Records also mention a church existing in the town of Washington in 1834, one year after it became the seat of the newly-formed Rappahannock County.

By 1850, Rev. William T. Leavell was serving a parish 40 miles in radius. He and the parish vestry felt the need for an organized church in the northern part, preferably in the county seat. Plans were made to build a church in the town of Washington in 1855. James Leake Powers, who worked with Thomas Jefferson in the building of the University of Virginia, was hired as the builder.

The cornerstone of the new church was laid on May 30, 1857 by the Masonic Lodge of Washington. The church was completed by the fall of 1857 at a considerable cost of $1,800. The church was consecrated on Nov. 29, 1857 by the Rev. John Johns, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia.

In what will be considered good news for Rappahannock school athletes, County Administrator John McCarthy reports to the Board of Supervisors that seven bids had been received for the earth moving phase of the new ball field construction. McCarthy noted that the apparent low qualified bidder, Samuel James Construction of Culpeper, had tendered an offer of $106,262 for the work.

In what might be considered even better news for county taxpayers, the Samuel James bid and estimate for the balance of the work total roughly $150,000, some $80,000 under original county estimates.

The athletic fields, to be located on the former Armentrout property near the elementary school, will not initially include dugouts or other structures, but the county may seek volunteer assistance to build them in the spring.

Dec. 25, 2003

When the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that al Qaeda operatives may be plotting attacks in the United States in major cities, it also cited remote areas such as Rappahannock County as a target of terrorists.

The story went on to say that “pieces of intelligence cite such obscure locales as Rappahannock, a rural Virginia county with several government facilities” as a target.

This story created somewhat of a furor as concerned Rappahannock residents, the national news media including The New York Times and CNN, began calling the Rappahannock Sheriff’s Office and the County Administrator’s Office trying to obtain more information.

Now, the question in a lot of people’s minds is whether in fact the so called “chatter” of terrorists actually said Rappahannock, where apart from cows there are very few of anything, including government facilities, and only local ones at that. Or was it Tappahannock along Virginia’s Northern Neck that the terrorists were chatting about?

As far as extra security precautions, Larry Sherertz said, “We’re not doing anything different. We did alert our deputies to be extra vigilant because we are code orange now.”

The idea of a terrorist attack on Rappahannock County doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, including the sheriff.

Rappahannock’s historic Montpelier estate and five other key county properties, including 604 acres of Cliff Miller’s farm in Sperryville, have been donated to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation for conservation easement protection.

The easements were recorded within the past week on the Rappahannock County Circuit Clerk’s office. They total 1,474 acres, with Miller’s five parcels being the most acreage.

The easement donations from Montpelier LLC are 399 acres on the east side of Route 231, including the historic plantation house; Cliff Miller’s 604 acres of Mount Vernon Farm, adjacent to Sperryville including much of Turkey Mountain; Thomas Walker Jr.’s 199 acres, part of High Meadow Farm east of Flint Hill; Margaret and Bill Greer’s 153 acres atop Red Oak Mountain; and Leslie and Andrew Cockburn’s 118 acres on the slopes of Red Oak Mountain.

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