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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Jackson Monuments at Chancellorsville


Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson, 1862

     He had a few peculiarities, it must be said.

     He was a lifelong hypochondriac who fretted endlessly about his maladies, both real and imagined. He was convinced that one of his arms was longer than the other, and would hold up the longer arm for extended periods to equalize his circulation. While a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, he memorized his class lectures and delivered them with a decided lack of style. If asked for clarification of a certain point, he would simply repeat what was in his lecture. He was referred to as "Tom Fool" by cadets who snickered behind his back. 

     But his time in Lexington is also rightly remembered for moments of grace at the Lexington Presbyterian Church. With the approval and assistance of the church's pastor, Reverend William Spottswood White, Jackson organized a Sunday school class for enslaved black children.

     As was the case with Ulysses S. Grant and others, the Civil War allowed Jackson to give full expression to abilities that would otherwise have never been noted in the history books. He deservedly earned a reputation as a commander of large bodies of troops during the war. It was for his performance at the war's first large-scale battle at Manassas in July 1861 that he received the sobriquet by which he is most commonly known, "Stonewall."

     His nickname, however, did not accurately describe his consistent ability to gather intelligence about the armies that opposed him, and utilized speed and maneuver to achieve victory on the battlefield. His reputation for gaining victories as well as the respect of his men he commanded was cemented in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring of 1862. With only 17,000 men, Jackson was able to flummox a number of Union generals in a series of battles, during which his men would march at times more than 25 miles a day. Their endurance and mobility earned them the name of Jackson's "foot cavalry."

     Although Jackson did not perform particularly well during the Seven Days Battles near Richmond, he and his men did splendid work in the actions that followed: Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Harper's Ferry and Antietam, and Fredericksburg. No one was snickering now. 

     Jackson's seeming invincibility buoyed Southerners' hopes for the ultimate success of their rebellion. Had he lived, it is not unreasonable to think that his continued presence on the battlefield might have extended the war for some time. Providence, however, had intentions of another kind, and Jackson's luck ran out at Chancellorsville. 

Map detail of the Chancellorsville area, 1863

     On May 2, 1863, General Jackson led the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, some 26,000 soldiers, on a circuitous and grueling march that by late afternoon placed it unnoticed near the undefended right flank of the United States army. The Confederates formed up in battle array athwart the Orange Turnpike (today's Route 3) near John Luckett's farm. 

     One can only imagine the shock and terror experienced by the wholly unprepared Union soldiers as Jackson's men surged through them like an irresistible tsunami. Many soldiers in blue fled east to the fortified position around the Chancellorsville house, where Union commander General Joseph Hooker had made his headquarters. Other United States troops were able to organize an effective defense and blunted the Confederate advance. 

     After dark, Jackson and his staff were reconnoitering an area near the Mountain Road when they startled some sentries of the 18th North Carolina Infantry. Convinced that the horsemen that they could barely see were Union cavalry, the North Carolinians fired two volleys, striking several in Jackson's entourage. Jackson's left arm was smashed by two bullets, and a third struck his right hand. No longer being controlled by his rider, Jackson's Little Sorrel plunged through the woods toward the Turnpike before he was stopped. Jackson's aide-de-camp, James Power Smith, helped Jackson down from the saddle and then assisted in carrying him to safety.

James Power Smith

     Jackson was brought to the Second Corps hospital at Wilderness Tavern. There, his left arm was amputated by Dr. Hunter McGuire, assisted by Dr. Harvey Black and others. The corps' chaplain, Reverend Beverly Tucker Lacy, wrapped Jackson's arm in a blanket and carried it to nearby Ellwood, the home of his brother James Horace Lacy. He buried Jackson's arm in the family graveyard there.

Reverend Beverly Tucker Lacy

     After being allowed to rest for a day, Jackson was then taken to Fairfield, the Caroline County home of Thomas Coleman Chandler. Jackson died there on May 10. The following day, his body was placed in a rough coffin and placed on a train at nearby Guiney's Station and taken to Richmond, where his state funeral was held on May 12.

     If General Jackson's victories sustained the morale of the Southern people during his lifetime, his death created a shock wave of grief and despair. The Army of Northern Virginia would never again be the effective instrument of offensive power it had been with Jackson at the head of the Second Corps. 

     The devastation wrought by the Civil War in Spotsylvania County made the prospect of financing the creation of any formal monument to Stonewall Jackson an unattainable luxury. Years after the war's end, an unexpected discovery made possible the first modest monument to General Jackson. 

     In September 1879, a road-widening project on the old Turnpike took place near what was still known as Luckett's farm, although it had been bought at a delinquent tax sale in 1876 by neighbor Absalom McGee. A small quartz boulder, about three and a half feet high, was unearthed in a stream near the Luckett place. Recognizing its potential as a marker for the site of Jackson's wounding, James Horace Lacy, his brother Beverly and James Power Smith (by now he was Horace Lacy's son-in-law and pastor at the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church) organized an effort to haul the stone to the Chancellorsville property. With the help of nearby farmers John Thomas Hawkins, James Meriwether Talley and Isaac Jones, who furnished teams of horses, they transported the rock to its new home. It was placed near where Jackson had been helped from his horse, rather than at the site of the actual shooting so that it could be easily seen from the road. 

Battlefield tourists pose at Jackson Rock, late 1800s

William Lee Kent with his daughter and grandchildren at Jackson Rock, 1930s

     In terms of Civil War monuments in Spotsylvania County, little changed over the course of the next several years. In May 1887, a handsome monument to Union General John Sedgwick was dedicated at the Bloody Angle battlefield. This would have the unintended effect of speeding up a process on Jackson's behalf that had its beginnings in Fredericksburg the year before.

Monument to General John Sedgwick ((John Banks) 

     In 1886, the Free Lance proposed that a monument be created by popular subscription to mark the spot where Stonewall Jackson was wounded. More than a year passed, and no one stepped forward act upon the newspaper's suggestion. The news that a monument to General Sedgwick would soon be in place in Spotsylvania appears to have focused the minds of those citizens who could make a difference. During February 15-17, 1887, the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias held their meeting in Fredericksburg. During the course of the meeting, Rufus Bainbridge Merchant, publisher of what was then known as the Fredericksburg Star, made a motion that a fund raising effort be started that would lead to the erection of a monument to General Jackson. And so was born the Stonewall Jackson Monument Association. 

Free Lance 27 March 1887

     Merchant was chosen president of the Association, which would undertake the effort to publicize the subscription drive to fund the design, manufacture, transportation and placement of the monument. For a one dollar donation, the subscriber would become a member of the Association and would receive a "handsome certificate, with a view of the monument, when a plan shall be decided upon."

Wilfred Emory Cutshaw (Lovettsville Historical Society)

     The task of creating the design of the monument was given to Wilfred Emory Cutshaw, the city engineer of Richmond. Cutshaw had learned to be a civil engineer while a student at the Virginia Military Institute. During the Civil War, he  served as a captain of artillery in Stonewall Jackson's brigade. He was shot in the knee at the First Battle of Winchester in 1862. He taught at VMI while recuperating. Although not fully healed, Cutshaw returned to active service in 1863. He received another severe leg wound during the Battle of Sayler's Creek in April 1865. This time, just days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Cutshaw's leg had to amputated.

Richard Snowden Andrews

     The granite for the monument came from a quarry near Richmond owned by Baltimore architect Richard Snowden Andrews. Like Cutshaw, Andrews was an artillery officer in Stonewall Jackson's command. During the Battle of Cedar Mountain in August 1862, Andrews was nearly disemboweled after  he was struck by fragments of an exploding shell. Surgeons sewed him up, but did not expect him to survive. Eight months later he returned to active service--a silver plate had been fitted over his wound. He was wounded two more times before he was sent to Germany as an envoy representing the Confederate government. 

     Meanwhile, as the fund raising effort of the Association continued, an offer of help came from John McCalla Boulware, the owner of La Vista farm in eastern Spotsylvania County. In 1866, McCalla's mother, Ann Slaughter Boulware, was elected president of the Spotsylvania Ladies Memorial Association, which was charged with the task of raising funds to buy land for a cemetery in which to inter the still unburied dead Confederate soldiers lying on the local battlefields. Thomas Coleman Chandler, on whose farm General Jackson had died, donated the death bed to Mrs. Boulware so that it could be offered for sale and the proceeds applied to a land purchase. As it happened, Joseph Sanford, the owner of the inn at Spotsylvania Courthouse, donated the land for the cemetery, making the sale of the bed unnecessary. The bed remained at La Vista after Ann Boulware's death in 1873. When McCalla became the owner of La Vista several years later, he also inherited the bed, which he offered to Rufus B. Merchant to raise money for Jackson's monument. As in the previous instance, the sale of the bed proved to be unnecessary, as the money collected from subscriptions was sufficient. The bed remained in the offices of the Star for some time until McCalla brought it back to La Vista. 

     Of course, land had to be made available on which to place the monument. William N. Wyeth, a Baltimore iron and steel merchant, had bought the Chancellorsville property from John Henry Walzl in 1873 (it was Walzl who had rebuilt the Chancellorsville house in 1871). Wyeth donated a one-and-a-half acre parcel at the same location where the Jackson Rock had been placed. 

     The dedication was originally scheduled to take place on May 10, 1888, the 25th anniversary of the death of General Jackson. The contractors working on the granite could not meet that deadline, so the event was put off for a month. 

     As the new date for the dedication approached, the great numbers of visitors likely to attend obliged the event planners to make some provision for transporting people from Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville. Local residents with buggies and wagons available for hire were urged to bring them to Fredericksburg the day before the dedication, now scheduled for June 13. In addition, the local narrow-gauge railroad, the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont, would run excursion trains to Alrich's Crossing (located at the intersection of today's Old Plank and Catharpin roads). Alrich's was the closest stop on the line to the Chancellorsville house. From there, attendees would depend upon transport provided by locals to get the the assembly point at the Chancellorsville house. 

Free Lance 5 June 1888

Free Lance 8 June 1888

     The heavy pieces of granite for the monument were transported from the Fredericksburg depot to where they would be assembled. In this effort, several local men volunteered to help lift the component pieces into place: Confederate veteran Vespasian Chancellor, a frequent tour guide for visitors to the local battlefields and proponent for the preservation of those very battlefields; John Roberts Alrich, owner of the farm where Alrich's Crossing was located; and James T. Hawkins and James M. Talley, who had assisted in transporting the Jackson Rock nine years earlier. In the photograph below, Vespasian Chancellor stands to the left of the completed monument just days before the dedication ceremony. Still to be installed is the iron railing manufactured by Benjamin Bowering of the Hope Foundry in Fredericksburg. 

(Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park)

     On the morning of June 13, 1888 a vast throng of people, said to number 5,000 souls, began to make its way to Chancellorsville. A miles-long caravan of horse drawn conveyances slowly made its way west along the old Turnpike. The small excursion trains of the PF&P Railroad began shuttling visitors to Alrich's Crossing, and from there they were taken to the Chancellorsville house. The procession was organized there and then paraded the short distance to the monument.

Chancellorsville, 1870s (Confederate Memorial Literary Society)

     The events of that long-awaited day were chronicled in the Free Lance on June 15 by Charles Henry Robey, whose flowing, lyrical prose was well suited to the occasion. The assembled crowd at Chancellorsville included the largest gathering of Confederate soldiers in the area since the end of the war. But a great many northern admirers of General Jackson came as well, including some who had done battle with his legions. At noon the well-organized procession started from the Chancellorsville house.

Headline from the Free Lance 15 June 1888

     A roughly-hewn speakers platform had been built near the monument. Rufus B. Merchant began the ceremony with a few introductory remarks, followed by a speech by Governor Fitzhugh Lee, who described his actions as a cavalry commander on the day of Jackson's flank attack. Other speakers were also introduced, and then Reverend James Power Smith offered a prayer appropriate to the occasion. The Fredericksburg Musical Association then sang. This musical group was conducted, I believe, by Andrew Bowering (son of Benjamin Bowering, maker of the iron railing) who had conducted the music at Jackson's funeral in Richmond. In the photograph below, sitting at left in the rear of the carriage, is Senator John W. Daniel; next to him is Governor Fitzhugh Lee. In the front of the carriage facing the camera is John L. Marye, Jr. Rufus B. Merchant, in the bowler hat, is next to him.

(Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park)

     After the formalities concluded, a festival atmosphere prevailed among the visitors: "True Virginia hospitality was the order of the day, and everybody was welcome to everybody else's lunch basket. Quite a number of booths had been erected in the shady woods, at which solids and liquids were dispensed at reasonable compensations...Everybody was in good spirits; it was essentially a good-natured crowd, it had all on the surface the appearance of a picnic...John Barleycorn knocked down a number of indiscreet visitors at Chancellorsville. They lay about in the woods like dead soldiers."


Jackson monument 1897 (Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park)

     The Jackson monument became a tourist destination from the day it was built, and has remained so for the intervening 134 years of its existence. Among its early visitors were veterans of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers, popularly known as the "Collis Zouaves." While in Spotsylvania for the dedication of their own monument in May 1899, they posed for this photograph:

Collis Zouaves at Jackson monument, 1899

     Although it is not properly known as a "monument," one more stone memorial honoring General Jackson would be placed fifteen years after his official monument was dedicated. In 1903, Reverend James Powers Smith brought to Ellwood this stone, which marks the place where Jackson's arm had been buried. 

Ellwood, 1930s

     Today, the monument at Chancellorsville looks very much like the day it was dedicated. Bowering's iron railing was removed in the 1930s by the National Park Service.


Pfanz, Donald. Jackson Rock 

Hennessy, John. A Little Mystery Solved 

Mackowski, Chris. How the Sites of Stonewall Jackson's Wound and Death Became Tourist Attractions 

Mink, Eric. "Dedication of the Stonewall Jackson Monument at Chancellorsville," Fredericksburg History and Biography, 2006

Recommended Reading:

Banks, John. Major General John Sedgwick's Death: 'Like an Electric Shock' 

Stone Sentinels. Lieutenant Thomas J. Jackson 

The Story of General Jackson's Bed

La Vista

The Funerals of Stonewall Jackson

Benjamin Bowering Rediscovered

The Zouaves Come to Chancellorsville


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Elizabeth Morrison and a History of Hazelwild


Anna Elizabeth Morrison (Rich Morrison)

     For 130 years, Hazelwild was owned by three generations of the Eastburn and Morrison families. Today this historic farm is probably best remembered because of its last private owner, Anna Elizabeth Morrison (1901-1997). Known as "Aunt Sissy" by generations of her relatives and former students, her love of teaching, her boundless energy and her devotion to her community place her in the top tier of Spotsylvania County's premier citizens.

Oliver and Anna Eastburn (Rich Morrison)

     Oliver Wilson Eastburn was born into a prosperous Quaker family in Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware on June 23, 1824. He never knew his father, David Eastburn, Sr., who died just six days after his birth. In addition to farming, David Eastburn had operated a lime kiln with with brother-in-law, Abel Jeanes (lime burning is the process of converting limestone to quicklime, a soil amendment important in agriculture). 

     Oliver married Anna Eliza Shakespeare (1832-1882) in 1850. Over a twenty-six-year period they had thirteen children together, one of whom died in infancy. The second youngest of their children was Lillian Virginia.

Lillian Virginia Eastburn (Rich Morrison)

         In the years leading up to the Civil War, a number of families from New Castle County moved to Spotsylvania. Most noteworthy among this group were the Morrisons, Armstrongs and Alriches. Compared to land values in Delaware, farm prices in Spotsylvania were quite inexpensive. This fact improved the prospects for these families to prosper as farmers. In the summer of 1866, Oliver Eastburn decided to follow their example. In July of that year, he contracted to buy a 626-1/2 acre farm along Hazel Run from the widow of Augustus Henry Malsberger. The terms appeared in the July 17, 1866 edition of the Fredericksburg Ledger. Irish immigrant Patrick McCracken acted as real estate agent:

The original house at Hazelwild, 1915 (Rich Morrison)


     In the 1863 map detail below, shown is the section of that includes Hazelwood, which is indicated as "Malsburger" at upper right:

     The purchase of what was then called Hazelwood was finalized when a deed was signed on October 12, 1866. Oliver then placed an advertisement in the November 8, 1866 edition of the Delaware Republican, offering his previous residence for sale.

       The terms of the sale of Hazelwood indicated that Oliver was providing $5,500 cash and borrowing the balance. Since he had not yet sold his home in Delaware, he was obliged to borrow that amount from his brother David Eastburn, Jr.. David was a prosperous Delaware farmer who had continued in the family's lime-burning business and was for a time the president of the Newport National Bank. The money Oliver borrowed from his brother was secured by a deed of trust to John L. Marye, Jr.

David Eastburn, Jr. (

     Like other families from New Castle County who settled in Spotsylvania, it did not take Oliver Eastburn long to become a prosperous farmer and valued member of his community. During the 37 years he lived at Hazelwood, he held a number of positions of public trust, including assessor of real estate, justice of the peace, magistrate for the Courtland district, road commissioner and school board trustee. He was popularly known as "Squire" Eastburn. He also served on the board of the Rappahannock Valley Agricultural and Mechanical Society, which was responsible for organizing the annual fair in Fredericksburg. He was elected president of the Society in 1894.

Oliver Eastburn at Fredericksburg fair (Rich Morrison)

     Oliver was a devoted member of Tabernacle Methodist Church. He was the first superintendent of the Sunday school there. Not surprisingly, he was also active in the affairs of the Virginia Methodist Conference. Shown below is Tabernacle as Oliver would have known it, and three images from a Methodist hymnal that likely belonged to him that were shared with me by Rich Morrison.


       Anna Eastburn, Oliver's wife of 33 years, died at Hazelwood on April 10, 1883. She is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg.

Anna Shakespeare Eastburn (Rich Morrison)

     In July 1895, Oliver was knocked down and trampled by one of his bulls. Only the quick reaction of his employees who happened to be nearby saved him from serious injury, or worse.

Oliver Eastburn (Rich Morrison)

     The year 1896 proved to be a momentous one for Oliver Eastburn, for reasons both good and bad. On the plus side of the ledger, his daughter Lillian Virginia married George Huston Morrison. It was also the year of the great wind storm that wrecked his barn. This unfortunate event set into motion a series of incidents that were doubtless unpleasant for Oliver, and then for his heirs.

David Eastburn, Jr. (Rich Morrison)

     At the time that Oliver lost his barn, now 30 years since he had bought Hazelwood, he still owed his brother David the $5,500 he had borrowed to make that purchase. And the deed of trust he had given to John L. Marye, Jr., to secure that loan was still in force. This placed Oliver in a predicament, because he could not borrow money to build a new barn until the promissory notes held by David were marked paid and returned to him, thereby allowing him to get the deed of trust released. He could then borrow money to raise a new barn. 

     Oliver wrote a letter to David and asked him to please mark the notes paid and return them to him. Once he satisfied the deed of trust and got his loan, Oliver told David that he would draw up new notes for the same amount and send them to him. Oliver got his new barn, but he did not execute the new notes. 

Barn at Hazelwild (Rich Morrison)

     David Eastburn died on New Year's Day, 1899. In his will drawn up shortly before his death, he wrote that he forgave Oliver for the unpaid interest on his loan, but that he still considered the principal amount of $5,500 was due to his heirs. 

Richard G. Buckingham (Rich Morrison)

     The executor of David Eastburn's estate was his (and Oliver's) nephew, Richard G. Buckingham. He took seriously his fiduciary responsibility to David's heirs, and began to vigorously pursue the recovery of the $5,500.

Daily Star 5 August 1903

Headstone of Oliver Eastburn (Findagrave)

     Oliver Wilson Eastburn died at Hazelwood on August 4, 1903. He is buried near Anna at the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg.

     At the time of Oliver's death, the matter of his outstanding debt to his brother's estate was still unresolved. It now fell to his son, Samuel E. Eastburn, as executor of his estate, to continue the legal wrangling with the tireless Mr. Buckingham.

Samuel E. Eastburn (Rich Morrison)

     After years of letter writing, legal depositions, injunctions and so on the matter of the unpaid debt was finally resolved to the satisfaction of the parties involved. On April 25, 1904, Samuel E. Eastburn executed a deed to his brother-in-law, George Huston Morrison, who bought Hazelwood from the estate of Oliver Eastburn.

     Robert Reed Morrison was born in Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware in 1823. He was the son of immigrants--his father was Irish, his mother was from Scotland. He married Mary Ann Springer on February 6, 1855. Over the next fourteen years, Robert and Mary had six children together.

Mary Springer Morrison (Rich Morrison)

     Not long after the birth of their first child, Amanda, Robert moved his family to Spotsylvania County. Their first home was on Gordon Road near two other New Castle County natives, his brother-in-law William L. Armstrong and his son, Benjamin Armstrong. In fact, most of Robert's brothers had moved to Spotsylvania during the 1850s. In time, these hardworking families made significant contributions to the civic and economic life of their adopted community. In the near-term, however, they had to endure the hatred and suspicion of their secessionist neighbors, who were unable to abide any show of loyalty to the United States. The intensity of the persecution reached the point that most of the Morrisons and Armstrongs were driven into exile. Some returned to Spotsylvania after the war, others decided to stay in friendlier surroundings. Robert and his family apparently spent some of the war years in Alexandria, where the fourth child, Anna Eliza ("Lidie") was born in February 1865. Once the war was over, Robert and Mary and their children returned to Spotsylvania.

     In 1866, Robert bought Apple Lawn, a fine house on what was then known as the Fall Hill Road (today it is known as Bragg Road). Apple Lawn was built in 1859 by Robert's brother, William C. Morrison, a well-regarded building contractor who had been awarded the contract to build the bridges needed on the still unfinished Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont Railroad. 

     The Morrisons were faithful members of the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church, and Robert enjoyed the reputation of being a prosperous and progressive farmer. Like Oliver Eastburn, he served as an officer on the board of the Rappahannock Valley Agricultural and Mechanical Society.

Gathering at Apple Lawn, May 1892 (Rich Morrison)

     In May 1892, veterans of the 15th New Jersey Volunteers visited some Civil War sites in the Fredericksburg area with which they were very familiar, such as their old camping ground near White Oak Church in Stafford County, and where they had fought near Salem Church in May 1863. While in Spotsylvania, they visited Apple Lawn, where they posed for a photograph at the front entrance of the house. Shown in the picture above are, standing left to right: Larkin W. Landram (George H. Morrison's business partner);  Robert Reed Morrison and his wife Mary; their son George H. Morrison; three daughters of Robert and Mary--Lidie, Ella and Lavenia; and Dr. Joseph Reed Hoffman. Seated are Henry Bynam Hoffman, Judge John Beam Vreeland and Justin Lindsley. A monument dedicated to the 15th New Jersey was erected in 1908 at what is now the intersection of Route 3 and Heatherstone Drive.

     Robert Reed Morrison died suddenly at Apple Lawn on July 9, 1894. He lies buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg.

Obituary of Robert Reed Morrison

Monument to Robert and Mary Morrison (Findagrave)

     In his will, Robert had bequeathed Apple Lawn to his wife Mary. Mary's daughter, Lidie, married Benjamin Thomas Hall at Apple Lawn  on November 23, 1898.

Benjamin and Lidie Hall (Rich Morrison)

Daily Star, 24 November 1898.

     Ben and Lidie made Apple Lawn their home and lived there with Mary Morrison until she died of tuberculosis on April 12, 1900. Ben and Lidie then became the owners of Apple Lawn.

Ben and Lidie at Apple Lawn, 1915 (Rich Morrison)

     Ben and Lidie lived at Apple Lawn for the rest of their lives. Lidie died of heart disease at the Stafford home of her niece, Mrs. Norman C. Blake, on January 5, 1950. Ben outlived Lidie by ten years and died at Apple Lawn in circumstances that shocked the community (see footnote at the end of this article *).

     George Huston Morrison, the second youngest child of Robert and Mary Morrison, was born at Apple Lawn on April 1, 1867. Even at a young age, George showed some of the traits that would define him in the years to come--a keen intellect, an entrepreneurial spirit and the energy and foresight to realize his aspirations. 

     By 1889, George Morrison was working as an apprentice to an uncle who was an architect in Chevy Chase, Maryland. That same year he was given the responsibility to assist in the decorating of the newly built Church of the Covenant in Washington, D.C. He took a correspondence course in architecture and acquired a number of books on the subject. 

     Soon enough, however, he understood that the life an architect was not his true calling. He already was laying plans for a new venture when he returned home to Apple Lawn. He first had to overcome a bout with typhoid fever, as was reported in the Free Lance in August 1890. Three weeks later, the same newspaper announced his plans to build a spoke factory on what is now Lafayette Boulevard on property he bought from J.T. Lowery near the depot of the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont Railtoad.


Larkin W. Landram (Rich Morrison)

     George's partner in this new business, called the Fredericksburg Spokes Works, was one of Fredericksburg's premier wagon makers, Larkin W. Landram. Together, these men created a company that sold their products internationally.

Richmond Times Dispatch, 17 June 1906

     George Morrison and Lillian Eastburn exchanged wedding vows at Salem Baptist Church on September 16, 1896. Presiding was Confederate veteran Reverend Walker J. Decker, who was assisted by Reverend B.W. Mebane of the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church. Their wedding announcement noted that they would be traveling to Saratoga Springs, New York "and other places of interest." The freshly minted bride and groom had their pictures taken at two of those places.

George and Lillian, on right, at Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Rich Morrison)

George and Lillian in Toronto, Canada (Rich Morrison)

     George and Lillian's first three children--Robert Reed, Anna Elizabeth and William Shakespeare--were born at the "Syndicate House" on Lee Avenue in Fredericksburg. For the first eight years of their marriage, this would be the Morrison home. 

     As one would expect, George was active in the civic life of Fredericksburg. He served on the city council, was a member of the Young Men's Business Association and continued to be a devoted member of the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church, where he would later be elected as ruling elder.

George H. Morrison, ruling elder (Rich Morrison)

     After the death of Oliver Eastburn in 1903, the decision had been made that Hazelwood would become the home of George and Lillian. Before he could get clear title to the farm, however, there was still the ongoing litigation regarding Oliver's unpaid notes. While that was still pending, George hired a crew to harvest some timber at Hazelwood. Word of this activity got back to Mr. Buckingham, David Eastburn's executor. He obtained an injunction preventing George from doing any more of this until he was the actual owner. Soon thereafter, these difficulties were cleared up and in 1904 George paid $9,500 to the estate of Oliver Eastburn and became the owner of the property where Lillian been born and raised.

     For the next several years, the business of the Fredericksburg Spokes Works seemed to be in turmoil as George's attention shifted away from manufacturing to farming. A number of newspaper article regarding that changes would be made at the spokes works, and then apparently unmade:

Free Lance, 13 January 1906

Free Lance, 6 February 1906

Free Lance, 25 February 1911

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2 March 1911

Daily Star, 20 June 1911

     What became of the spokes works after it was taken over by George and his cousin, Fredericksburg merchant Thomas Fell Morrison, is not known. 

     After the Morrisons moved to Hazelwood in the autumn of 1904, George set about to remedy a problem that had been going on for some time. There was another Hazelwood farm nearby in Caroline County, and as one might expect the mail to both locations was frequently misdirected. George did a little research and discovered that his farm was originally called Hazelwild, and so he changed the name to to what it is to this day.

Farming at Hazelwild (Rich Morrison)

Dairy barn at Hazelwild

     George Morrison grew corn, oats, wheat and hay and raised beef cattle. Later, a modern dairy operation was started and milk was sold to a creamery in Washington, D.C. George and his son William also ran a grain and feed store at 515 William Street:

(Rich Morrison)

      Family portrait taken in 1915. The couple standing at left are Archibald Armstrong and his wife Ellen. Next to them are Lidie and Ben Morrison. Sitting with the children are Lillian and George Morrison.

(Rich Morrison)

     Perhaps because of the violent weather experienced at Hazelwild (such as the destruction of Oliver Eastburn's barn in 1896), George Morrison was for a number of years the official weather observer for the Fredericksburg area. He kept a a variety of weather instruments on the farm.

     In 1917, a tornado struck the house, tearing off most of the roof and twisting the bottom floor. The original house was very well built with hand-hewn beams, wrought iron nails and wooden pegs. But it was too badly damaged to be saved and was rebuilt to the appearance familiar to visitors today. The Morrisons lived in servants' quarters while the house was rebuilt.

Rebuilding the house at Hazelwild, 1917 (Rich Morrison)

     Mother Nature took one more swing at Hazelwild in 1931 when lightning struck one of the barns:

Free Lance-Star, 24 July 1931

Lightning damage at Hazelwild, 1931 (Rich Morrison)

Lightning damage at Hazelwild, 1931 (Rich Morrison)


     George and Lillian Morrison's second child, Anna Elizabeth, was born at the "Syndicate House" on Lee Avenue in Fredericksburg on October 16, 1901. In an interview she gave to Janey Brown in 1992, Elizabeth Morrison said she could still remember playing in that house. The house had a dumbwaiter, and her brother Robert would put her in it and ride her up and down.

     When Elizabeth and her brothers Robert and William were old enough to begin their education, they attended a private school in Fredericksburg. The three children rode to town from Hazelwild in a buggy, with Robert in charge of the reins. They were students at the school on Caroline Street taught by Charles Henry Wissner.  Elizabeth remembered Mr. Wissner as "very learned, but not a very thorough teacher". 

     Being the daughter of the prosperous George Morrison had certain advantages. As a young girl, her parents brought her to a dental specialist in Philadelphia to be fitted with braces. In an age when car ownership was still a comparative rarity, Elizabeth learned to drive a car while in her teens.

     Living on a farm also gave Elizabeth opportunities to develop skills that she one day would stand her in good stead when she began study for a career in medicine. For example, while still a teenager she operated on a pig suffering with a hernia and saved its life.

     Elizabeth attended high school at the Fredericksburg Public School, which was a training school  affiliated with the Fredericksburg Normal and Industrial School, the forerunner of the University of Mary Washington. From there she enrolled in the Normal School. She graduated in 1921 with a degree in household arts.

Senior picture of Elizabeth Morrison, 1921 (


     A few years later, she returned to her alma mater, now called the State Teachers College of Fredericksburg, and received her bachelors degree in physical education.

Elizabeth Morrison, 1926 (


     In the period between earning her two degrees, Elizabeth taught elementary school in Bowling Green and Fairfax. After her graduation in 1926, she taught a year in Bristol, Virginia and a year in Silver Spring Maryland. Elizabeth then spent a year in the master's program at the University of Wisconsin, studying physiology.

     Before she finished her degree at Wisconsin, Elizabeth was contacted by Pearl Hicks, who had been her mentor at the State Teachers College. Miss Hicks had recently founded the Washington School of Physical Education in the District of Columbia, and she invited Elizabeth to join the faculty. She taught there for several years, during which time she too pre-med courses in preparation for attending the medical school at George Washington University. 

     Unfortunately, that never came to pass. Elizabeth's mother suffered a stroke, and she returned to Hazelwild to care for her. In time, her mother began to improve, and Elizabeth began teaching a couple of days a week at the recently opened Spotsylvania High School. Soon, she was teaching full time there and was the first teacher with a degree in physical education at the high school. She taught all the girls' physical education courses, coached all of the girls' teams and, of course, attended all their games. This was at a time when the same responsibility for the boys was shared by 2-3 men. 

     There are a number of photographs of Elizabeth during her years at Spotsylvania High School. The one shown below is that of the 1946 basketball team. My mother is directly in front of Miss Morrison:


     The 1948 basketball team:

(Courtesy of Vickie Neely)

(Courtesy of Vickie Neely)

     The girls' baseball team, about 1945. My mother is sitting at far left and holding a bat:

(Courtesy of Vickie Neely)

     The following pictures are from the 1955 and 1958 yearbooks of Spotsylvania High School:


George and Lillian Morrison (Rich Morrison)

     Both of Elizabeth's parents died at Hazelwild of broncho-pneumonia while she was still teaching at Spotsylvania High School. George passed away on January 28, 1953; Lillian on March 6 1956. They are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. After their deaths, Elizabeth became the owner of Hazelwild, as she was the only one of their children willing to take on the challenge of operating the farm.

     In 1950, Elizabeth decided to start a summer day camp at Hazelwild for children. In 1960, she retired from teaching at Spotsylvania to start a day school at Hazelwild. During her first year in "retirement," she taught a course in health education at Mary Washington College. Then she devoted herself full time to running the farm, the school and the summer camp. Hazelwild today also includes a first-rate equestrian facility utilized by the University of Mary Washington

     One day about 1960 while walking her property, she came across a crew cutting down her trees. She told them that they were on her property, and they said that they were making preparations for the new highway (I-95) that would soon be built. At that point, Elizabeth had not been contacted by anyone regarding the presence of this crew, and she saw them off the property. Condemnation proceedings were begun, and she was offered $13,000 for a 25-acre slice of her land. Not satisfied with that amount, she hired a lawyer and was ultimately given twice that amount.

Hazelwild (Camp Hazelwild Memories)

Hazelwild song book (Camp Hazelwild Memories)

     In 1988, Elizabeth Morrison was featured in an outstanding article in the Free Lance-Star written by Kim Lancaster:

     In 1983, I believe, Elizabeth established the Hazelwild Farm Education Foundation to ensure that her life's work would continue after her. 

     Like her Morrison ancestors, Elizabeth remained a devoted Presbyterian. She was a founding member of the Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church (now called Hope Presbyterian), which had its first meetings at Hazelwild until it could afford to build a church.

     In her 70s and 80s, traveled extensively both in the United States and around the world. 

     Elizabeth Morrison received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Mary Washington in 1993 for her work with children and young adults at Hazelwild. To name just a few of her activities here, she was a member and past president of the Spotsylvania Women's club, a member of the American Horse Show Association, of the Spotsylvania Farm Bureau and of the National Retired Teachers Association.

     Elizabeth made her will in January 1995. She left generous bequests to her sisters, her nieces and nephews and to her long-time employees. Money was also given to Mary Washington College, Mary Washington Hospital and to the trustees of the Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church. The bulk of her estate, of course, she willed to the Hazelwild Farm Education Foundation.

     Anna Elizabeth Morrison died at home on June 2, 1997 at the age of 95. She lies buried at Oak Hill Cemetery near her parents.


Elizabeth Morrison, seated at right. Her brother Robert is standing at left; brother William at right. Courtesy of Rich Morrison.



*As he did every Sunday morning, on October 16, 1960 Frank Porter drove to Apple Lawn on Bragg Road, the house of his neighbor, 85-year-old Ben T. Hall. He would pick Ben up and they would make the short trip to nearby Salem Baptist Church to attend the morning service. But on this particular day, things would be quite different. When Ben did not appear at the front door as he usually did, Porter took a step inside the door and found Ben's battered body lying on the floor.

 Two weeks later, authorities arrested five people in connection with Ben's murder, based on a tip from the nephew of the killers. Two small-time hoodlums from Warren County, Ralph and Lewis Martin, and Lewis's wife Flossie were charged with first degree murder. (Flossie's charge was later reduced). Two other people, Robert Thomas Hillyard and his teenage wife Barbara Ann, were charged as accessories before the fact. 

 Hillyard had told the Martins that Ben kept large sums of money in a safe he kept in the house. Where he got this notion is not clear. Ben kept his money in a bank in Fredericksburg, and the safe contained a small amount of cash and some personal papers. In the wee hours of October 16, the Martins went to Apple Lawn and knocked on the door. When Ben answered, Lewis knocked him down and looked for the safe while his brother repeated struck Ben with a pipe wrench. They carried the safe back to Warren County and forced it open. The safe contained $198.

 At their trial in February 1961, Lewis Martin was sentenced to life imprisonment. Ralph was given the death penalty. His attorney gave notice that he would appeal Ralph's sentence. Ultimately he was scheduled to be electrocuted on January 12, 1963, but for some reason this did not happen. He died in Warren County in 1996.


-My thanks to Elizabeth Morrison's nephew, Rich Morrison, for giving me permission to use photographs from the Hazelwild albums, and for the helpful information he provided.

-Thanks also to Tara Lane, who met Elizabeth Morrison as a young pupil at Hazelwild, which was the start of a lifelong friendship. Tara spent many occasions talking with Elizabeth and served as her caretaker in 1992.

-The will of Elizabeth Morrison, shared with me by Rich Morrison. 

-The transcribed interview with Elizabeth Morrison by Janey Brown at Hazelwild on August 30, 1992. Shared with me by Rich Morrison.

-Mary Washington College Today,1992 

-Camp Hazelwild Memories 

-Hazelwild Farm (ELCR)