TVHS Newsletter June 2021


Change Can Be Good

Today there are many positive changes happening around everyone.   Williamsburg and the Tidewater community are opening their doors and offering activities which many of us relate to the rites of Summertime.  While looking forward and anticipating more relaxed changes soon, the TVHS Board has been working on several efforts.  These activities are also in line with our new strategic plan of increasing the value of TVHS membership.  We want you to share with others your positive experiences with TVHS – our robust programs, private guided trips to historic sites, and additional offerings from our growing number of new complimentary organizational partners.

We hope you will take a moment and learn more about our current and future plans.  In this newsletter you will find the Spotlight column reflecting the intriguing life of Fred Siegel (a TVHS Board member).   Find the story of Carl Bass creating a special partnership with Tidewater Virginia Genealogy Society (TVGS).  In the future you might find your name in Janie Moyers’ Membership Corner – what is she doing?  Watch for future “Save the Dates” from Gloria Nelson, Program Director.  In the newsletter she talks about the Fall programs and (hopefully) the Southside bus trip.

The TVHS Board and I look forward to seeing you at our Fall activities and welcome any feedback you may have to help us for future planning.

 Have a safe and happy Summer.                                                                   

Sharon Short

TVHS FALL PROGRAMS TENTATIVE PLANS – Gloria Nelson, Program Director

An informative fall season of interesting and varying programs are being finalized.  Please know, we are mindful of keeping all safe during group activities.

Dr. Carl Lounsburg, board member of the TVHS, retired Senior Architectural Historian and Research Department for the Colonial Williams Foundation, will lead our trip to the Southside.

Our busy day will include private tours of:

  • St. Luke’s Church, the oldest surviving church in Virginia.
  • Windsor Castle, a former plantation and now a public park on the outskirts of Smithville
  • Smithville Inn, the oldest Restaurant and Tavern in Smithville for our tasty lunch.
  • Old Isle of Wight Courthouse, originally modeled after the Capitol Building in Colonial Williamsburg and one of the only four remaining colonial court buildings in VA.
  • Bacon’s Castle, the oldest documented brick dwelling in America and an extremely rare example of Jacobean architecture in the New World. 

 Wear comfortable shoes as this is a walking tour.   

All the particulars of this field trip will be announced via email to members by late Summer with the details including your cost for this exciting day.  We are hoping to make it a bus trip.

Additionally, this Fall we will host Sheila Arnold, master storyteller, historical character and interpreter.  Sheila will present a live performance on The Underground Railroad in VA including information about Williamsburg’s role.  This event will be held at the Williamsburg Regional Library Theater (Scotland Street).  A small, Meet and Greet, reception will follow.

Kindly send program ideas with contact information to

March 14th program follow up:

Tim Martin from the Toano Historical Society notified us that they have published a book which includes the slides and talk by Jack Wray from the March 14th program presented to TVHS.  Look on Amazon for the book – “The History and Revitalization of Toano” .

MEMBERSHIP CORNERJanie Moyers, Membership Director

Welcome to my corner! I am excited to have a space to share our Membership News with you. Each newsletter will feature one or two members, new and old, sharing a little bit about the people who make up TVHS. For the first Membership Corner, I wanted to catch everyone up on what our membership looks like. Since the beginning of the year, we have added seven new members. Jeannie Takesian is directly responsible for three of seven! To date, we have 70 memberships which translates to 106 members. There are 12 Life Memberships, 29 Individual, 23 Family and 6 Century. It is not hard to recruit when we have such wonderful speakers and trips planned. So reach out, invite your friends and let’s share the TVHS magic.

NEW TVHS PARTNERSHIPS – Carl Bass and Fred Siegel

Carl Bass and Fred Siegel have been working on potential joint efforts and the sharing of event announcements with complimentary organizations in the area.  Below are their reports.

Carl Bass reports –  On May 18th Sharon Short and I met with the Board members of the Virginia Tidewater Genealogy Society (TVGS) at their facilities in the historic “Old Warwick Courthouse” building in Newport News.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and explore ways that we could cooperate which would be beneficial to both of our organizations. They were very welcoming, and the meeting was a great success. It was apparent that we share many areas of common interest. As a beginning we agreed to share newsletters and announcements of upcoming events. The TVGS library has an extensive collection of books and journals for genealogical research. Although their focus is regional, they also include both national and international materials.  The library is free and open to the public most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. For those interested it is well worth a visit.

Fred Siegel reports –  Fred has been in touch with the Williamsburg Area Genealogy Society (WAGS) and the President, Debbie Misiag.  There will be a sharing of events and information that may be of interest to both TVHS and WAGS.  The May TVHS lecture was included in the recent WAGS newsletter.

SPOTLIGHT – Frederick W Siegel, Jr. – a TVHS Board member

Born in Queens, NY.  Received BA from Washington & Jefferson College 1962.

Married to Barbara M. Siegel for 57 years.  Two children and four grandchildren.

Fred spent his 35-year career with ALCOA and was involved in both domestic and international sales, marketing and manufacturing assignments.  He retired as Vice President and Director of Alcoa’s Sheet and Plate Division.  In addition, Fred spent five years living in Japan as President of Alcoa Japan and also Managing Director of four subsidiaries in Japan and Hong Kong.  Following retirement from ALCOA, he joined ThyssenKrupp America as Executive Vice President for their North American metals and plastics distribution business. 

He and his wife moved to Williamsburg in 2002 and lived in Governor’s Land, Walnut Hills, and  in The Williamsburg Landing for the last 5 years.  At the Landing, he is currently Chairman of the Activities Committee and member of the Marketing Committee.  Plus he enjoys volunteering for the popular Adult Day Care Program.

Activities in Williamsburg include: 6 years on the Williamsburg Board of Zoning Appeals and 5 years as a member of the Williamsburg Electoral Board.  Fred is an Emeritus member after 14 years of service of the Executive Partner Program at William & Mary Mason School of Business.  He is a Board member of the Williamsburg/Yorktown Navy League and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).  Additionally, he is a member of the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society Board of Directors and a Finance Committee member of Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown.  After 13 years, in April 2021, he retired as author of the “Retired in Williamsburg” cartoon, which appeared in the Saturday edition of the VA Gazette.

Hobbies include photography, playing Bocce, gin and poker.  He also painted with acrylics for five years.


Williamsburg Bray School (active 1760 – 1774)

The Washington Post reported that researchers from the College of William & Mary have confirmed that a heavily remodeled building on campus was once the Williamsburg Bray School, which was attended by more than 400 free and enslaved African American children between 1760 and 1774. Analysis of the structure’s original wood frame revealed the timber had been harvested in 1759. The four-room school’s primary purpose was to convert the students to Christianity. “Christianizing people was used as a way of controlling them to making sure that they understood their place in society,” said historian Jody Lynn Allen of William & Mary. The state of Virginia eventually outlawed the education and assembly of enslaved people because being able to read and write might facilitate their escape. The structure will be moved back to the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg, restored to its eighteenth-century design, and eventually opened to visitors. “It’s an opportunity for us to talk about another whole segment of society at the time of the Revolutionary War that has been more difficult to interpret because their spaces are often not still standing,” commented Ronald L. Hurst of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Note:  Ann Wager was the sole teacher for the Bray School.  Research is continuing on this historic building and the students attending the school.  Keep reading the local newspaper and look around when you are in Colonial Williamsburg area – the story continues.

Scroll to Top