When former SCHS Board Member, Nancy Branner Stewart, saw the many stunning portraits of African Americans by Hugh Morrison, Jr., in the Shenandoah County Historical Society notebooks, her mind began to generate questions about why she had been taught nothing concerning their presence in the history of the County. Born in Shenandoah County and a graduate of New Market High School, she wanted to know the history of African Americans in this place. She had to lift the veil of silence that has covered everything about African Americans in slavery and in Shenandoah County. As her research progressed, she was even more surprised to find that her family name was included.
Her impressive research covers four large volumes now located in the Shenandoah Room / Truban Archives at the Shenandoah County Library in Edinburg, Virginia and is available for researchers to access.
Some of the many topics addressed are:
• How Slavery Operated in Shenandoah County
• How Shenandoah County entered the Slavery Business
• The Business of Slavery in Shenandoah County
• Black Laws
• The Face of Slavery
• Shenandoah County Citizens’ Involvement in the Slavery Business
• African American Names of 18780 / 1880 compared to Shenandoah County names in 2008
• Lists, by year or decade, identifying African Americans who lived in Shenandoah County from its 1772 beginning through 1900.
• Articles, stories and advertisements collected from area newspapers
• Letters and personal recollections and other anticdotal references
• Emancipation / Manumission in Shenandoah County
• 1868 Outrages in Shenandoah County
• 1804 Wills, freed by John Momar
• The Lutheran Church and African Americans in Shenandoah County
• African Americans in the Shenandoah County Iron Industry
• A deed for a Negro Girl named Peggy, age 8, in the Shenandoah County Clerk’s office
• One African American Man’s appeal for Justice, 1858: Master William from Fortune Stepto
• African Americans in Woodstock, VA
• Where African Americans lived
• Photographs taken by Hugh Morrison, Jr. of many blacks who lived in Shenandoah County, Virginia between 1898 to 1950. These photos, most unidentified, are part of the collection owned by the Shenandoah County Historical Society and available for viewing in the County Library in Edinburg, Va. (Individual copies of the photos may be purchased from the SCHS.)
This reference work is now managed by the the Shenandoah County Library and will be made available again soon as part of the County Archives.