Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Libby Prison

Libby Prison was the notorious Confederate prison located around 18th & E. Cary streets in Richmond's Shockoe bottom.  The prison, originally built as a warehouse, fronting the canal, was designated for imprisoned captured Union officers. Its capacity was reported as 1,200, though it is certain that at times this was exceeded.

Many escapes occurred. The most spectacular was one, led by Colonel Thomas E. Rose (77th Penna. Vols.) assisted by Major A.G. Hamilton (12th Kentucky) on 9 February '64, in which 109 officers tunneled their way out. 48 were recaptured and 59 were able to reach Union lines, but 2 drowned. Rose was one of the unlucky, finding himself back in Libby. He was later exchanged on 30 April 1864. Elizabeth Van Lew, the Union agent in Richmond, was a frequent visitor to Libby, bringing food and reading material. It is stated that she obtained much valuable information from the men there and passed it thru her efficient agents to the Union. She is also credited with arranging for a number of men to escape.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Fan District

In order to establish a full perspective to tell the story about the evolution of Richmond Va's "Fan District", it is best to begin with the James River, which is only natural since the city's origins begin with the river as well. The James River flows eastward from the Appalachian mountains & across the Piedmont plateau before continuing it's descent at the top of the falls just west of Richmond, near the Huguenot bridge. The river falls descend 80 feet over a seven mile stretch past the city to reach sea level in the Tidewater basin. It was here at the bottom of the falls where the ocean going vessels would shuttle cargo in & out of Richmond at Rocketts Landing. From here, cargo interchanges in Norfolk & Nassau in the Bahamas were routine points of commerce along the trade routes to & from Europe & South America.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

Just The Way You Are

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover

Poe in Richmond

The Early Years

Edgar Allan Poe has long been recognized world wide as one of the forefathers of American literature. There are a variety of interesting biographical elements about the poet and his connection to Richmond Va. The key to understanding Poe's biography elements here in Richmond is his mother, Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe, or Eliza Poe, who died here in Richmond in November, 1811. She is buried in the graveyard outside St. John's church.

Eliza Poe was named after her mother, Edgar's grandmother, Elizabeth Arnold, who was as an experienced London stage actress who sailed across the Atlantic from England to Boston with her eight year old daughter Eliza in November, 1795 and arrived in Boston in January 1796.
Eliza (mother)

Eliza grew up traveling annual circuits from town to town on the east coast from Charleston to Boston with her mother, gradually learning her craft and earning her apprenticeship over the years to eventually become a popular and highly respected stage actress in her own right, only to be sadly struck down by either pneumonia, malaria or tuberculosis, no one knows for sure, just as her career was starting to bloom around the age of 24. After her mother's death around 1798-99, Eliza, now in her early teens, continued to travel and perform in the theater troupe.

In 1802, at the age of fifteen, Eliza married another member of the troupe named Charles Hopkins. They were married three years before Hopkins death in 1805, probably from yellow fever. It was sometime during her first marriage to Hopkins that David Poe joined the troupe in Richmond and later furthered his acquaintance with Eliza after Hopkins death. They were married several months later. Eliza would bear three children, William (Henry), Edgar and Rosalie.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Knee Deep

The song is "Knee Deep" by the Zack Brown Band has been a favorite diddie for my buddy Fred Lord and I to pluck away on for the past five years or so.  Thanks again to Amanda and Ed for allowing us to play at their home again. We had the privilege of playing here on New Years Eve back in 2016.

Want me to play your business, party or charitable event?
Let me know. I'd be glad to entertain you.

Email: MichaelJamesRVA@Gmail.com
Phone: (804) 300-4471

Friday, May 4, 2018

Alexander Parris

This the story of three mansions designed & built here in Richmond by the talented architect, Alexander Parris, a native of Maine, who gained later prominence in Boston. Two of the mansions stand still today.

Parris designed the Virginia Governor's mansion, or "Executive Mansion", which was built in 1813. It is located on the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds. The mansion's first occupant was Governor James Bourbon. It would have otherwise been Governor George W. Smith, who unfortunately perished in the 1811 theater fire.