Today we discuss Chapter Two in our series on Word Clouds for Historical Markers in Old Town. Although some of this is certainly an important matter, we have to say we are also enjoying its lighter side too.
Chapter Two covers the Heart of Old Town, basically Royal to Route 1 and Wilkes to Oronoco. So it does not have the same sort of set of expectations as the other chapters, which are more thematic.
We’re certainly pleased to see Presbyterian. I have a vivid memory of a discovery moment at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House during my hunt for markers in 2010.
After recording the two markers on the front of the church, I noticed a small bush-lined walkway leading to the rear. Wondering about whether or not I should proceed on to what might be considered private property, I concluded, why not, I was once a good Baptist.
Fortune favors the bold. My eyes feasted on more than six different markers. I ended up talking and befriending the church historian, a true friend of history in the city and beyond.
There’s Charles again!
Not quite as tall as George, James, John and William, but he’s there on our Mount Olympus of names.
Charles Beatley, Mayor.
Charles Hooff III, ARHA.
Charles McKnight, Charles Spooner, Patriots in the Rev War.
Charles Lee, Trustee of Alexandria Academy.
Col Charles Simms, Col Charles Little, Honorary Pall-Bearers for George Washington.
Charles Firtich, Confederate Soldier, Christ Church Cemetery.
We knew this name would find a place in the cloud, but would have guessed a larger font. The Lee corner (N. Washington and Oronoco) is home to five different markers, but at one time, almost 30 Lee family members called Alexandria home or lived there in the winter.
Robert E. Lee has certainly grabbed our attention, but there's a lot more to this clan than any one person.
I've been reading about Portia Lee, who was born and partly raised in London, sailed to Virginia, lived for a while with her uncle, Francis Lightfoot Lee and his wife at Menokin and then with Richard Bland Lee and his wife at Sully, all the while spending time with family members in Alexandria. She then married William Hodgson. The newlyweds initially lived at 207 Prince Street, the famed Georgian beauty built on a lot once owned by Colonel William Fairfax of Belvoir. She pined for the trees and fresh air, so they moved to Bellevue, a country home whose footprint is just north of the power station that will soon be torn down.