I Purchased a Historic Civil War Church


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Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
31
Location
Raccoon Ford, Virginia
#45
I’d like to learn more of the lawsuit. Are there other examples of former confederates or their descendants successfully suing the government for damages caused in or resultant of the war?
Pleased to make your acquaintance Gwilym!

The majority of these types of lawsuits brought by individuals were unsuccessful. The church in this case, had to demonstrate to have remained as they said at the time "In country" during the war. i.e. the minister did not advocate secession, didn't openly have the congregation say prayers for Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee or any other Confederate leaders etc. That being said, nearly every able bodied man in the parish joined the Confederate Army and served in some capacity or another during the war.

Best place to research are the Congressional Records. Eventually a Bill was passed to deal with these types of lawsuits and set some criteria for compensation, but the rulings were up to the Federal Courts to adjudicate. Getting the U.S. Treasury to pay was entirely different matter however.
 

ErnieMac

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
8,059
Location
Pennsylvania
#47
I’d like to learn more of the lawsuit. Are there other examples of former confederates or their descendants successfully suing the government for damages caused in or resultant of the war?
The most famous case is the Lee family (Mary Custis Lee and, following her death, George Washington Custis Lee) suing the Federal governement for the recovery of Arlington. While the Lee's were finally successful in their court case in 1882, they reached a financial settlement ($150,000) with the government because of the challanges posed by the need to remove the graves, a fort and a Freedman's village that were on the grounds.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
529
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
#53
Welcome from inside of Mosby's Confederacy. Several year back an old pre Civil War church was rediscovered in Loudon county. Seems that at some point they changed the path of Harpers Ferry Road. This moved the old church off the road by a good distance and every thing grew up between them. A local newspaper man located it after a search. Although I'm sure some locals knew it was still there.
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,314
Location
Gettysburg, PA
#56
A couple interesting items. Looked at a aerial of the church from 1966. Appears the front entry was not on the church at the time. Lighting and difference in roof color may have masked it though. The church grounds were much more open with less trees. A 1970 topo map shows a cemetery to the left side of the church. I cant make one out in the 66 aerial which is grainy. Church designation vanishes from topo in 2013. There was large structure in the field across the street that vanishes between the 66 and 80' aerials.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
31
Location
Raccoon Ford, Virginia
#59
What was the church's official name in 1862/3?

Raccoon Ford's role in military history goes back a bit:
View attachment 215025
Columbian Register, Aug. 30, 1862​
The original American Revolutionary war era sunken road that ran along a kind of Northwest to Southeast orientation to the ford actually lies on my church property. Although the church didn't exist when Lafayette and Mad Wayne passed thru, the remnants of the abandoned road still remain and make up the eastern boundary of the church property line. Now days the old sunken road disappears in the cultivated fields leading from the church down to the Rapidan River and the ford. However looking up in the other direction the road leading up the northwest is still visible and can be walked thru the woods.

So this brings us to the interesting story about how Raccoon Ford got it's name. There actually two versions of the story with one slight variation, but I think the truth is a combination of the two. During the Revolutionary War, Lafayette marched his army down to the bank of the Rapidan River and then halted to await General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to arrive with his own army from Pennsylvania.

While waiting for Wayne to arrive, Lafayette directed his troops to start cutting down trees in order to build wooden ramps to facilitate moving wagons and cannons across the ford. The earth embankment being somewhat steep on both sides. The troops proceeded to cut down trees until they got to one with a raccoon family living in it.

Version 1 of the story, the tree was unceremoniously chopped down with no regard for the raccoons and when the tree fell, the raccoons scampered away and forded across the river to the other side. Hence the name "Raccoon Ford". Sounds reasonable enough.

Version 2 of the story is the same except that when Lafayette observed the raccoon mother with it's babies up in the tree, he instructed the men to leave that tree alone and go chop down another one. Some kind of bru-ha-ha broke out at that point. The order meant that the soldiers were going to have to cut down and drag this second tree a much further distance to the ford, which of course would be a lot more work. But Version 2 is also very plausible if you consider a couple of facts about Lafayette. First, Lafayette was a French aristocrat, not familiar with our wildlife and had not spent a lot of time roughing it in the American frontier. This raccoon family were quite likely the first raccoons the General had ever seen. Raccoons being indigenous only to North America and not the European Continent.

I think most folks would agree that raccoons are pretty cute animals. I've been an avid hunter for many decades, but raccoons are firmly on my list of critters that I myself would never harm. So maybe Lafayette was similarly struck by the appearance of the little bandits up in the tree and decided to spare them from any harm. I don't know what the truth is, but it makes for a good story none the less. : )

Reverend Ron
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
31
Location
Raccoon Ford, Virginia
#60
The original American Revolutionary war era sunken road that ran along a kind of Northwest to Southeast orientation to the ford actually lies on my church property. Although the church didn't exist when Lafayette and Mad Wayne passed thru, the remnants of the abandoned road still remain and make up the eastern boundary of the church property line. Now days the old sunken road disappears in the cultivated fields leading from the church down to the Rapidan River and the ford. However looking up in the other direction the road leading up the northwest is still visible and can be walked thru the woods.

So this brings us to the interesting story about how Raccoon Ford got it's name. There actually two versions of the story with one slight variation, but I think the truth is a combination of the two. During the Revolutionary War, Lafayette marched his army down to the bank of the Rapidan River and then halted to await General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to arrive with his own army from Pennsylvania.

While waiting for Wayne to arrive, Lafayette directed his troops to start cutting down trees in order to build wooden ramps to facilitate moving wagons and cannons across the ford. The earth embankment being somewhat steep on both sides. The troops proceeded to cut down trees until they got to one with a raccoon family living in it.

Version 1 of the story, the tree was unceremoniously chopped down with no regard for the raccoons and when the tree fell, the raccoons scampered away and forded across the river to the other side. Hence the name "Raccoon Ford". Sounds reasonable enough.

Version 2 of the story is the same except that when Lafayette observed the raccoon mother with it's babies up in the tree, he instructed the men to leave that tree alone and go chop down another one. Some kind of bru-ha-ha broke out at that point. The order meant that the soldiers were going to have to cut down and drag this second tree a much further distance to the ford, which of course would be a lot more work. But Version 2 is also very plausible if you consider a couple of facts about Lafayette. First, Lafayette was a French aristocrat, not familiar with our wildlife and had not spent a lot of time roughing it in the American frontier. This raccoon family were quite likely the first raccoons the General had ever seen. Raccoons being indigenous only to North America and not the European Continent.

I think most folks would agree that raccoons are pretty cute animals. I've been an avid hunter for many decades, but raccoons are firmly on my list of critters that I myself would never harm. So maybe Lafayette was similarly struck by the appearance of the little bandits up in the tree and decided to spare them from any harm. I don't know what the truth is, but it makes for a good story none the less. : )

Reverend Ron
Oh to answer your original question the church was known by two different names. Officially, it was Saint Paul's Episcopal Church of Raccoon Ford, Virginia. However many locals referred to it as "The Lime Church" due to the fact that the exterior walls were filled with what we today would refer to as "concrete". A highly unusual method of construction back in the 1850's. In that time, concrete was referred to as "lime" that chemical being a major component in it's mixture. This is important in that many military records refer to either stopping at, marching past, or posting pickets at the "The Lime Church". It was a significant landmark in the area and very unique in that there were few buildings that used anything more state of the art than mortar in brick laying.
 


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