Monday, June 30, 2014

Episode 220 (6-30-14): A July 4th Look at the River Origins of Virginia's Signers of the Declaration of Independence


Click to listen to episode (3:44)


TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 30, 2014.

This week, in honor of the upcoming Independence Day, we feature a musical history mystery.  Have a listen for about a minute to a medley of music about three rivers of great importance to Virginia, and see if you can guess what group of seven, key Virginia colonists all had birthplaces and fortunes based on rivers.


MUSIC


If you guessed Virginia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, you’re right!  The medley included parts of “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” played by Chloe Benner and Stewart Scales; “James River Blues,” by Old Crow Medicine Show, from their 2006 album “Big Iron World,” and “James and York Bluffs,” by Timothy Seaman, from his 1998 album “Celebration of Centuries.”  Because ships were the major means of transportation and commerce when colonial Virginia was developing in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Potomac, James, York, and other large rivers were the locations for settlements and for the plantation homes of wealthy and prominent families.  Such families produced the Virginia men who signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776.  Those men, and the rivers that sustained their birthplaces, were Carter Braxton, the Mattaponi River; Benjamin Harrison, the James River; Thomas Jefferson, the Rivanna River; brothers Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee, the Potomac River; Thomas Nelson, Jr., the York River; and George Wythe, Back River, a Chesapeake Bay tributary in present-day Hampton.

Thanks to this week’s musicians for permission to use their week’s music, and let’s look forward to July 4 with about 15 more lively seconds of “James River Blues.”

MUSIC


For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 6/30/14]

Revolutionary War Continental Army recruiting poster, circa 1776, from the Library of Congress, accessed online at the “Historical Background” section of the National Park Services’ “Signers of the Declaration” Web site, http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/declaration/introa.htm.


Acknowledgments
“All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight” was performed by Chloe Benner and Stewart Scales, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.  Another version of “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight,” by Bobby Horton, was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 101 (3-5-12).

“James River Blues” and “Big Iron World” by Old Crow Medicine Show are 2006 copyright Nettwork Records, used with permission.  More information about Old Crow Medicine Show is available online at http://www.crowmedicine.com/.  “James River Blues” was used previously in Virginia Water Radio Episode 166 (6-17-13).

“James and York Bluffs” and “Celebration of Centuries” are copyright 2005 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.  “James and York Bluffs” was used previously in Virginia Water Radio Episode 173 (8-5-13).


Virginians who signed the Declaration of Independence, along with their birthplaces, were as follows:
*Carter Braxton, born at Newington Plantation on the Mattaponi River in King and Queen County;
*Benjamin Harrison
, born at Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Charles City County (James River);
*Thomas Jefferson
, born at Shadwell on the Rivanna River in Albemarle County (part of Goochland County at the time) (Jefferson also lived from about age 2 to about age 9 at Tuckahoe Plantation on the James River);
*Francis Lightfoot Lee, born at Stratford Plantation on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County (brother of Richard Henry Lee);
*Richard Henry Lee, born at Stratford Plantation on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County (brother of Francis Lightfoot Lee);
*Thomas Nelson, Jr., born at a York River plantation in Yorktown;
*George Wythe, born a plantation on Back River in Elizabeth City County (now Hampton).

Sources for this episode
Charles A. Grymes, “Virginia Places,” online at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/.

National Park Service, “Signers of the Declaration of Independence—Biographical Sketches” online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/declaration/bioa.htm.


Web site for Berkeley Plantation (birthplace of Benjamin Harrison), http://www.berkeleyplantation.com/.


Web site for Stratford Hall (birthplace of Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee), online at http://www.stratfordhall.org/.


Web site for Monticello/Shadwell (birthplace of Thomas Jefferson), http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/shadwell.


Web site for Tuckahoe Plantation (home of Thomas Jefferson as a young boy), http://www.tuckahoeplantation.com/.
For more information the Virginia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence:
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Encyclopedia Virginia,” online at http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/.



Virginia Water News and Other Information
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