tvhs newsletter september 2021

TVHS Observer

Volume I Number V

September 2021

MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society is to
preserve and promote the heritage of Tidewater Virginia by serving as an advocate for historic
knowledge, archeology preservation, and our geographic and cultural heritage.

Warm summer days will be leaving us soon. Our surroundings and routines continue to adjust due to the Delta variant. Thinking positive, we will be hosting (in person) our September program, the Underground Railroad by Sheila Arnold. This lecture will be held on Sunday, September 19th at 2:00 pm in the Williamsburg Library Theater. Please reference the Program section below for more details.

The remaining fall programs are planned; however, the Board has not determined if the October bus trip to Southside will be delayed to the Spring or should the November program be offered in-person or via Zoom. We want everyone to be safe and stay healthy.

In spite of the pandemic, the Tidewater Virginia Historical (TVHS) Board continues to take giant steps forward to provide “valuable” benefits for our members. We have established a Technology Committee and they are researching how we can improve our communication of future events and our partner activities with you. (Technology Committee Members – Sharon Short President, Melissa Rhodes Treasurer, Carl Bass also Strategic Partnerships, and Fred Siegel Publicity (absent).)

On this note, we anticipate an announcement this fall regarding an outdoor program at New Quarter Park by Fairfield Foundation, a long-time TVHS partner. Learn more details in the Did You Know section of this newsletter. We do not want to cover you in emails, so please monitor our website ( for new activities as they are announced.

“Autumn, the year’s last, loviest smile.” William Cullen Bryant Treasure the world around you in this exceptional, world-class historic region. Explore new historic sites and take advantage of the TVHS programs and our partner activities available to you as a TVHS member.

Warm regards,
Sharon Short

TVHS PROGRAMS – Gloria Nelson, Program Director
The Board works as a team and we want to host stimulating presentations by highly recognized experts and excursions to well-known sites as well as private tours behind-the-scenes. Our programs and trips keep us busy, so we have invited Paige Jessee to join the Program team. Paige is a fairly new TVHS member, whom we find has lots of ideas and energy too. Our Membership Corner is featuring Paige in this newsletter.

September lecture – TVHS is excited to host master storyteller and historical character interpreter, Sheila Arnold on Sunday, September 19 at the Williamsburg Regional Library Theater located at 505 Scotland Street at 2:00 pm. Master Storyteller, Sheila Arnold, shares local history on enslaved people who ran from slavery using the Underground Railroad, including some who used the locks, canals and waterways to escape. Most of the stories are from a highly
respected 1870s book written by William Still, a Conductor for the Underground Railroad and Secretary of the Philadelphia Abolitionist Society. Sheila has been a featured Storyteller at several Storytelling Festivals. She has made presentations far and wide. Further, Sheila is a Museum Consultant, turning research into stories and scripts for exhibit designers and museums as well as book premiers. Be sure to circle September 19, 2:00 p.m. on your calendar for a memorable program entitled, The Underground Railroad. Place your reservation by emailing by September 17, 2021.

MEMBERSHIP CORNER – Janie Moyers, Membership Director
I am excited to share our Membership News with you. Welcome to our new members, Darrell and Paige Jessee! Richmond natives, the Jessees have recently purchased a home on the Nansemond River in Suffolk, Virginia, and are looking forward to starting their life on the “rivah”. Darrell works for LifeNet Health in Virginia Beach and Paige serves on the Council of Historic Richmond, is active in Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and is a member of both The Tuckahoe Woman’s Club and The Woman’s Club. Darrell and Paige also enjoy VT football games. Go Hokies.

TVHS PARTNERSHIPS – Carl Bass, Fred Siegel, and Forrest Morgan
Carl Bass and Fred Siegel continue to communicate with our partners, Tidewater Virginia Genealogy Society (TVGS), Williamsburg Area Genealogy Society (WAGS), and other similar societies. Forrest Morgan continues our long-time partnership with Fairfield Foundation.

SPOTLIGHT – Jeannie Saladino Takesian – a TVHS Board member

Born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia. Jeannie has spent many holidays and summer vacations in New York. These experiences and happy times paved the way for her interests and love for history, the Arts, theater, sports (especially golf), and boating. Her first job, which was her most favorite, was working at CF Lauterback Jewelry Store at age fourteen. Jeannie has always been busy, she enjoyed playing basketball during her years at Saint Joseph’s. As life moved forward Jeannie met (Rosy) Roosevelt Takesian and fell in love. They were married fifty-seven years. Their family consists of four incredible children and six grandchildren. Jeannie’s love of jewelry found her working for twenty years in this industry in the area of Elliott City, Maryland. Upon moving to Williamsburg she found another of her passions –
history, all around her. She has volunteered for twenty years at Historic Jamestowne. Jeannie also has served on the Board of the Colonial Capital Branch as membership chair. She was involved in the planning of interesting trips, picnics, and other activities for the group. The positive attitude and energy Jeannie brought to the Preservation VIRGINIA was continued with TVHS. She became one of the Founding Members that helped form the existing Tidewater
Virginia Historical Society. Jeannie feels her accomplishments are due to the many people she has met during her journey through life. These “golden nuggets” are people from her early childhood neighborhood, the caring teachers, her supporting golf teammates, experienced co-workers, fellow volunteers, and expert archaeologists. Jeannie will always feel her family is a treasure too. She continues to demonstrate her love of history with her active recruitment of new TVHS members. “They have all made MY accomplishments possible” states Jeannie. The TVHS Board appreciates all of Jeannie Takesian’s support and energy.

Our Partnership Makes History Happen at New Quarter Park . . . And You Can Help. TVHS has a long-standing partnership with the Fairfield Foundation. We want to share the story with our membership and are hoping to offer a visit with the archaeologists this fall. Once the Public Archaeology Dig Days are available again, TVHS will announce on our website (

Twelve years ago at New Quarter Park., archaeology was a two-hour, once-every-year-or-so interpretive program. Prior to Covid, the public archaeology program became a much-anticipated hands-on program that took place over the course of 5 to 6 days each year. This public program was supervised by professional archaeologists from the Fairfield Foundation. In addition, public artifact “Wash and Talk” days were held at the York County park on second Fridays each month year-round to help process the thousands of compelling artifacts retrieved from the Armistead Manor site.
With financial support from the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society (TVHS) and the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia (MPC-ASV) for the Fairfield Foundation, public archaeology began at the New Quarter Park in 2013. Initially, historians only knew that Robert “King” Carter wrote in a 1723 diary post that he had waited at
“the new quarter” for transportation across the river to his daughter-in-law’s home, Fairfield, in Gloucester. Mid-20th-century historians knew that the name “New Quarter” appeared on a 1780’s map known as The Frenchman’s Map. Today this area is part of the Cheatham Annex.

From their first dig day in November 2013, Fairfield archaeologists noticed that the artifacts were not what one might expect to find on a slave quarter. This suggested that the site was not part of Burwell’s New Quarter. In 2015, the cellar of a substantial brick dwelling with plaster walls was found during the public archaeology program. The next year, test units were excavated over parts of the foundation. This prompted Sara Lewis from Fairfield Foundation to dust off the
50-year-old research. She spent long hours studying York County’s colonial records/files. From that information she was able to confirm that Ellyson Armistead, a York County sheriff, lived there from around 1730 until his death in 1757.
The Armistead family continued to live at the site until 1767. Ten years later, John Tyler sold his wife’s, Mary Marot Armistead, property to Nathaniel Burwell of Carter’s Grove. Nathaniel Burwell, great-grandson of Lewis Burwell, owned neighboring New Quarter as well as another adjacent quarter named Forces. His ledgers reveal that he collected rent from white and free black tenants on the property. He sold food and timber produced on the 2,300 contiguous acres to clients in Williamsburg.

This fall TVHS is hoping to be able to offer members a visit to the site with the Fairfield Foundation team plus a brief “show and tell” on the artifacts discovered at this site. Under normal circumstances, individuals can help expand the understanding of the Armistead Manor property by participating in the Public Archaeology Dig Days program
at New Quarter Park. These special Days are supported by TVHS, MPC-ASV, York County, and the York County Historical Museum.

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