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Local authors forum in Harrisonburg

  
Staff Report
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The community is invited to a gathering of local authors and their books on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 382 High St., Dayton.

Following a discussion of each book, there will be a book signing.

Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

The authors and their books are:
– Dorothy Boyd-Bragg, Ph.D., editor, 1902 Voter Registration, Rockingham County, Virginia
– Charles Blair: A History of Mossy Creek Presbyterian Church
– Mary Giunta: A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country: The Selected Correspondence of John Rodgers Meigs, 1859-64
– Peggy Shifflett: Red Flannel Rag: Memories of an Appalachian Childhood and Mom’s Family Pie: Memories of Food Traditions and Family in Appalachia.
– Charles Thorne: POSTCARDS OF THE PAST – An informal history of the Shenandoah Valley from 1900-1950, as seen on the scenic postcard

Details on the authors
– Dorothy Boyd-Bragg, Ph.D., editor, 1902 Voter Registration, Rockingham County, Virginia

Transcribed from the original registration book, these 1902 voter records contain much more than voter names and addresses. At registration, male voters had to give their date of birth, age, and occupation. In addition, they had to tell how long they had lived in the state, in the county, and in the voting precinct. This list was made less than 40 years after the Civil War, and many of the voters had been soldiers. Some older residents indicated they had been soldiers in earlier wars, such as the War of 1812. Occupations tended to be honest descriptions of a man’s work; one man’s occupation was “Tramp and Painter” while another man was a “Traveling Man.” A “Loafer and Coal Dealer” had lived in Bridgewater for 20 years. This book reveals that Rockingham County had registered over 120 African-American men. Two had been soldiers and one was a son of a soldier. Some of their occupations were teacher, minister, shoemaker, carpenter, and tanner. Many had lived in the county their entire lives.

Professor Boyd-Bragg has taught European, World, and American history at Drexel University and James Madison University. At the latter institution, in addition to serving as a professor of history, she served as dean of the Graduate School from 1988-2001. Currently, she is the senior research historian associated with the James Madison Center and teaching new courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in family history and genealogical research, local history, and documentary editing. The latter is a special favorite, allowing her to remain current in what she loves best, editing, writing, research, and publication..

Boyd-Bragg has published extensively. Her articles have appeared in both refereed journals and professional publications. She has published a number of volumes of primary source materials, including several transcriptions of registers of free Negroes for various Virginia counties. Her preoccupation with Virginia ’s Shenandoah Valley materialized because of her relocation to the Valley and her subsequent research involving the early families who settled in the area that is now Rockingham County.

Boyd-Bragg has served on the board of many organizations, including the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society where she has filled many offices and chaired both the publication and the genealogy committees. Additionally, she is a former president of the Virginia Genealogical Society and former book review editor for the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Quarterly. She has given innumerable presentations on history and genealogical research at national and regional conferences for many years and is also a frequent contributor to both of the publications of the Virginia Genealogical Society, i.e., the newsletter and the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, and an instructor at the annual Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research (Richmond, Virginia).

 

– Charles Blair: A History of Mossy Creek Presbyterian Church

Charles “Bill” Blair was a professor and department head in the School of Education at James Madison University prior to retirement. Since retirement he has devoted much of his time to research about local history and has written A History of Mossy Creek Presbyterian Church and articles related to the history of this area. He has made numerous presentations to local and other groups and has been an Life Long Learning instructor since its inception.

 

– Mary Giunta: A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country: The Selected Correspondence of John Rodgers Meigs, 1859-64

John Rodgers Meigs’ death near Dayton in 1864 caused Gen. Philip Sheridan to order building over a large area including the town of Dayton to be burned to the ground. Although the order to burn the town was later rescinded, 30 other buildings were destroyed in what became the Burnt District.

This collection of letters and documents offers a rare glimpse into a young officer’s interesting but short life. Giunta’s A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country tells the story of the relationships between the headstrong John Rodgers Meigs and his family and friends; his heartwarming eagerness to please his demanding parents; his West Point experiences that include a meeting with Abraham Lincoln; and his life as a combatant in the Civil War.

Giunta was a historian with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission where she served as director of numerous projects including The Emerging Nation: A Documentary History. More about her book can be found at: http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/73hfb5fq9780252030765.html.

 

– Peggy Shifflett: Red Flannel Rag: Memories of an Appalachian Childhood and Mom’s Family Pie: Memories of Food Traditions and Family in Appalachia.

Both of Dr. Shifflett’s books tell of her experiences growing up in Appalachia. The Red Flannel Rag: Memories of an Appalachian Childhood won the 2005 Shenandoah Valley Folk Life Award for preservation of Shenandoah Valley history. The second book, published in 2006, is Mom’s Family Pie: Memories of Food Traditions and Family in Appalachia . This book tells the story of seasonal food hunting, gathering, and preservation in Peggy’s community and includes the best cooks’ recipes and stories of family and food.

Shifflett was born in the Allegheny Mountains west of Harrisonburg, Virginia. She now lives in Salem. She is a graduate of James Madison University and Texas A&M University where she earned her Ph.D. Shifflett is a recent retiree from Radford University. She served as chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and professor of sociology.

 

– Charles Thorne: POSTCARDS OF THE PAST – An informal history of the Shenandoah Valley from 1900-1950, as seen on the scenic postcard

This full-color, 128-page hardbound book tells the story of the Shenandoah Valley from 1900-1950. It is written in a light, entertaining style, and illustrated by 259 electronically restored postcards of the era.

Thorne has spent his entire life in the mountains and valleys of Virginia. He says, “I spent my boyhood summers at my grandparent’s farm along a little stream in a valley within a valley. They were too far off the highway to have electricity. At night we would sit on the front porch while Granny and Grandpa would thoroughly frighten us younguns with stories of the War between the States, (You didn’t say “Civil War” there!) mixed with bloodcurdling tales of local ghosts, haunts, and wicked witches. We would hear mountain ballads, jigs and Paul Jones’ fiddle tunes played on weekends by local musicians, or listen to the Grand Old Opry or the Wheeling Jamboree on a staticy battery-powered tube radio.” [from his website] http://www.oshenandoah.com/about_us.htm.

  


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