Historical Society News and Events


winter.svg WEEKEND HOURS:
The Society Library on 341 West Main Street is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 4 PM; however, due to a lack of volunteers, the Library is only open on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

The library is closed Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022.

We will close on December 17, 2022 and reopen on February 7, 2023.
(If you plan on visiting us during the Winter months, we will be open by appointment only. To arrange an appointment, contact the office@hswcv.org )

The library will be closed during inclement winter weather following the Washington County Virginia School System snow day closing schedule.

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - 2023 Annual Dinner/Business Meeting

2023_annual_dinner The Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Historical Society will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2023, 5:15 PM to 9 PM, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. We’ll have a program, dinner, annual report and a little bit of business. Save the date! We expect to have the meeting available by Zoom again for those who live far from Abingdon - but you’ll miss the great meal and camaraderie, so we hope as many of you as possible can attend in person. If you have questions, feel free to contact the office at office@hswcv.org or 276-623-8337. See you there!

Saturday, October 7, 2023 - Fall 2023 Evening With The Spirits At The Sinking Spring Cemetery

2023_Evening_With_the_Spirits_Flyer 2023_fall_evening_with_the_spirits On Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, the Historical Society will be hosting the Fall 2023 Evening with the Spirits of Sinking Spring Cemetery in Abingdon, Virginia. In the 1770's, the cemetery was established by the Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church on 11 acres of land in Abingdon. The land was purchased by the Church from Dr. Thomas Walker, an explorer and wealthy land speculator who was promoting the development of the Town of Abingdon. A stroll in the cemetery can take you back through to the earliest history of the Town and County.

Our Fall presentation is a one hour seated event hosted by some of the more popular Spirits from past Summer Cemetery Tours. Tickets will be on sale at 6:30 PM at the Cemetery gate for $5 per person (CASH ONLY). Seating will be on the grass lawn in front of the cemetery cabin. We may have a few chairs available but we ask that you bring your own chairs and blankets if possible. SO WE WILL BRING THE POPCORN (FREE) AND YOU BRING YOUR OWN SEATS, BLANKETS, AND DRINKS. The one hour presentation will begin at 7:00PM. There is nothing scary about the presentations or the location. The content is appropriate for families; however, young children may not understand the spirits and may become bored. The cemetery is located at the intersection of Russell Rd. and Valley St. in Abingdon, directly behind the Historical Society building at 341 West Main St. There is free parking either along the street or in the Society parking lot. To reach the cemetery from Interstate 81 in Virginia, take Exit 17, Abingdon, Virginia. Turn North off the exit onto Cummings St. After 0.8 miles, turn left onto W. Main Street for 0.2 miles. For more information please call 276-623-8337 during our regular business hours.

The Town Of Abingdon Has A Map Of The Sinking Spring Cemetery Available Online

The Town of Abingdon has a map of the Sinking Spring Cemetery available online. The map includes a search function for headstone information. Society researchers have found it to be a very useful tool for identifying individual headstones.

The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia Has Acquired Rambling Roots

The Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia has acquired the Rambling Roots website. The website is a treasure trove of information about Diana’s Ryburn ancestors and other pioneer families of Washington County. The index lists almost 700 family surnames. The project was a labor of love of the late Diana Moffett Powell, a Society member in California who died on December 7, 2020. Arrangements were made with Powell family members to have her research records sent to Abingdon. The website will remain up and running under the Historical Society’s oversight.

D2 Headstone Cleaning Kit

D2_kit.jpg In response to recent inquiries, the Historical Society has put together a headstone cleaning kit. The kit has been assembled by our resident expert on cemeteries and headstones, Charlie Barnette, who has extensive experience in the repair and restoration of cemetery monuments. The kit contains a one quart spray bottle of D/2 Biological Solution, a brush, a pair of gloves, two toothbrushes, two picking sticks, and an instruction sheet. The price is $55 per kit plus tax. Since this is a limited offering to test member interest, it is currently available as an in-house sale at the library. You can stop by the library to pick it up. At this point we aren't offering the kit as an online purchase but if you would like to place an order by phone, please call the office at 276-623-8337 or send an email to office@hswcv.org. If you need the kit shipped then you will need to contact us before buying the kit to work out the details and shipping costs. Also, if you would like to discuss how to use the kit with Charlie you can contact him by email at brisbotls@hotmail.com We are excited about this new offering and hope there will be enough interest to keep the kit in stock.

Know any local history?
Let us know.

The Society is looking for historical accounts, tales, reminiscences about local history to put in the Bulletin. Contributions can be in any format whether it be a researched article, a short story, family history, even factoids. Give it some thought, you might be able to share some "forgotten history" with Society members. If you want to contribute please email the Society at office@hswcv.org.

Do you have any information on the Treasure Mountain Golf Course?

We are currently seeking information on the Treasure Mountain Golf Course which was behind Patrick Henry High School. Anecdotal evidence suggests the course was completed right before Treasure Mountain was opened and went bankrupt. The course was built sometime in the 1970's. If you know anything about it please email Dr. Andy Cox at pac4v@uvawise.edu.


Can you help solve a local Lewis and Clark mystery?

Follow this LINK to view page 20 of the William Clark and Meriwether Lewis Memorandum Book of 1809 which is part of The State Historical Society of Missouri Digital Collection. We are seeking help in identifying and locating the building referred to as the Brick(?) or Bush(?) or ??? house. If you have any information about the inn (residence?) in the journal, please contact Charlie Barnette at brisbotls@hotmail.com .

Abingdon Main Street Mini-Tour of the HSWCV Library and Sinking Springs Cemetery

Recently, Martha Keys was interviewed by Abingdon Main Street during which she gave a mini-tour of the Historical Society's Research Library and the adjacent Sinking Springs Cemetery. You can Watch the video on YouTube by clicking on the following link.

HSWCV tour video


Sorghum Syrup at Fairview Farm

Historical Society members recently visited The Old Glade Antique Tractor Association, located at Fairview Farm in Abingdon Virginia, where they make and sell sorghum syrup each year as a fundraiser. Sorghum has been widely used in our region since the 1850's as a sweetener in the form of syrup. One of the region's traditional breakfast foods is sorghum syrup on biscuits. Watch this video to see how it is made at the Fairview Farm.
sorghum_press video

(Available Only Through The Historical Society Of Washington County, Virginia)

The long-awaited book, CEMETERIES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA has just been released. The book updates the well-known High On A Windy Hill cemetery book published in 1969. It contains Additions and Corrections to more than 333 cemeteries that were listed in High On A Windy Hill. The book is available exclusively at the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia library in Abingdon, Virginia or through the Society’s website, www.hswcv.org. This hardbound edition consists of 642 pages and is priced at $49.95 plus tax. If ordered online, a shipping and handling fee is added. Cemeteries of Washington County, Virginia is the perfect Christmas gift for genealogists with research interests in Washington County area. Item: 421 Price: $49.95