Blog

Occoquan Workhouse, Lorton, Virginia

Workhouse Arts Center Lorton, VA

Occoquan Workhouse Historical Marker, Lorton, VAThe historical marker commemorates the imprisonment of 70 suffragists during 1917. The women had been peacefully picketing on the White House sidewalk and were known as the Silent Sentinels.

The Washington, D.C., police arrested the women with the charge of obstructing traffic. They were given the choice of paying a $25 fine or going to jail. They refused to pay the fine since they considered it an admission of guilt. So, the women were jailed at the Occoquan Workhouse.

The suffragists were treated poorly at the workhouse, housed in rat-infested cells and given food that had maggots. They were forced to suffer physical and psychological violence.

On November 14, 1917, the superintendent of the workhouse told the guards that they could beat the suffragists. Then on November 15, 1917, 20 women were subject to severe assaults and torture. These included activists Lucy Burns and Dorothy Day. Many of the prisoners suffered severe repercussions. Alice Cosu had a heart attacked, and Dora Lewis was knocked unconscious.

Due to the brutality suffered, many consider this the turning point of the suffragist movement.

Historical Marker Inscription

In the nearby Occoquan Workhouse, from June to December, 1917, scores of women suffragists were imprisoned by the District of Columbia for picketing the White House demanding their right to vote. Their courage and dedication during harsh treatment aroused the nation to hasten the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The struggle for woman’s suffrage had taken 72 years.

Location

9518 Workhouse Way Lorton, VA 22079 (intersection of Ox Road and Workhouse Way)

38° 41.839′ N, 77° 15.365′ W

Dobbin House, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Dobbin House, Gettysburg, PA Historical Marker

Reverend Alexander Dobbin purchased 300 acres within Gettysburg and the surrounding areas in 1774. Dobbin was a Scots-Irish Presbyterian minister and educator. He became one of the most influential people in Gettysburg at the time.

Dobbin built the house in 1776 as both a house and a Classical School. The school taught a combination liberal arts and theology. It later became a part of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. It also was a hospital for Confederate and Union soldiers after the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.

It is the oldest structure in Gettysburg. The house is now a restaurant and tavern that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historical Marker Inscription

Built in 1776 by the Rev. Alexander Dobbin. In use for some 25 years as one of the first classical schools west of the Susquehanna River. It is now a museum refurnished in keeping with the early period.

Location

89 Steinwehr Ave, Gettysburg, PA 17325

39° 49.352′ N, 77° 13.951′ W

 

The Opelousas Post Militia of 1779, Opelousas, Louisiana

The Opelousas Post Militia of 1779 Historical Marker

This marker recognizes the contribution of the volunteer Opelousas citizen militia. During 1779, the militia took action in Baton Rouge against the British. The Opelousas militia marched across swamps and marshes to eventually join the Spanish Governor, General Bernardo de Galvez. The goal was to defend Baton Rouge and to keep the British from controlling the lower Mississippi River, especially the area between Natchez and New Orleans.

The militia left Fort Hamilton in the east of Opelousas in groups, heading towards Baton Rouge. They had to content with everything from snakes to alligators to the marshy areas.

Many of the last names of the members would be familiar with anyone from Louisiana, especially St. Landry Parish. These include Bertrand, Brignac, Dupre, Lafleur, Prudhomme, Richard, Trahan and more.

Historical Marker Inscription

In late August of 1779, men of the Opelousas Post Militia left from this place to join other militia units to attack British forces in the lower Mississippi Valley. They crossed the Atchafalaya swamp to join Brig. General Bernardo de Gálvez, the Governor of the Spanish province of Louisiana. The O.P.M. met him at Fort San Gabriel a few miles below present-day Baton Rouge. Total forces under Gálvez numbered 175 Spanish army veterans, 330 Spanish recruits, 80 free men of color, 160 Choctaws, plus about 600 men from various militias along the Mississippi River and from throughout the far-flung posts of civilization in Louisiana. On September 22, 1779, Gálvez’s effective forces, numbering less than 900, laid siege to and captured Ft. New Richmond at Baton Rouge. This victory forced the surrender of Ft. Panmure at Natchez, British headquarters in the lower Mississippi Valley. This generally unknown military action in American history in which the Opelousas Post Militia took part greatly aided in the winning of the American Revolution of 1775-1783.

Location

Le Vieux Village, 828 East Landry Highway, Opelousas LA 70570, United States

30° 31.906′ N, 92° 4.432′ W

Biloxi, Mississippi Historical Marker

Biloxi, MS Historical Marker

From as early as 8,000 BC to the 1700s, Native Americans made Biloxi home. Then, in 1697, the Comte de Ponchartrain, French Minister of Marine, ordered Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, to find the mouth of the Mississippi River. In the course of looking for it, Iberville and 14 men came to what would become Biloxi, named after the Biloxi Native Americans, who the crew met and befriended. These Native Americans might have only arrived at the coast a short while before the French.

Biloxi became the capital of the French territory from about 1719 to 1722 when the capital was moved to New Orleans. By 1779, the French had ceded the Mississippi Coast to Spain, and it briefly (in 1810) became a part of the Republic of West Florida. In fact, over the years, Biloxi was under the French, Spanish, British, West Florida Republic, Confederacy and the United States flags.

Mississippi officially became a state in 1817. By 1850, Biloxi was incorporated as a township and became a favorite summer resort.

Historical Marker Inscription

Founded by the French as “New Biloxi.” Capital of French colony of Louisiana, 1721-1722, prior to French removal to New Orleans. Incorporated as a town in 1850 by the Mississippi Legislature.

Location

Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, 679 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, MS 39350 United States

30° 23′ 33.372″ N, 88° 53′ 3.840″ W

Capon Lake Whipple Truss Bridge, West Virginia

Capon Lake Whipple Truss Bridge, WV

The Capon Lake Whipple Truss Bridge was built in 1874 to replace a wooden-covered bridge. The former bridge had been destroyed during the Civil War by Confederate soldiers.

The bridge was built by T.B. White and Sons using the Whipple truss, which was created by Squire Whipple and patented in 1847.  It was a stronger version of the Pratt truss and was known as the “Double-intersection Pratt” due to the fact that the diagonal tension members crossed two panels as opposed to the one used in the Pratt design. It typically had a trapezoidal look. Because it was stronger and firmer than the original design, it was embraced by the railroads.

The Capon Lake Whipple Truss Bridge is West Virginia’s oldest extant metal truss. It stopped being used in 1991 after the construction of a new bridge. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

Historical Marker Inscription

First erected in 1874 as a two span bridge on US Route 50 near Romney, one span was moved here in 1938 and re-erected on a new foundation. the 17′ wide by 176′ long bridge is a Whipple-Murphy Truss. The state’s oldest extant metal truss, the bridge is one of only a few of its type in WV. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

Location

10001-10099 Carpers Pike, Yellow Spring, West Virginia 26865 United States

39° 9′ 32.150″ N, 78° 32′ 5.820″ W

Mosby’s Rock Historical Marker, Herndon, Virginia

Mosby's Rock, Herndon, VA

Known as the “Gray Ghost”, John S. Mosby was part of the Confederate Army’s 43rd Virginia Cavalry Battalion during the American Civil War. Known as a rabble-rouser, he was head of a partisan ranger unit that was known by several names, including Mosby’s Raiders, Mosby’s Men and Mosby’s Rangers.

The unit was renown for its raids on Union targets and ability to evade capture. During the course of the war, Mosby’s Raiders were able to disrupt Union communications, supply lines and outposts.

A spy working for Mosby, Laura Ratcliffe, in 1863 recommended using a large rock (located in Herndon, VA) as a meeting place where the soldiers could meet after doing raids. Ratcliffe also hid money and messages under the rock, the latter which Mosby credited with helping him escape from capture by Union soldiers.

While Mosby did daring deeds during the Civil War, he was held in contempt by many of his fellow Virginians after the war. He admitted that the Confederacy had lost the war while many others still believed in the “Lost Cause” myth. This myth revolves around the belief that the South was in the right and heroic, and it tries to paint the antebellum South in the best light.

The rock is still there, but it borders a subdivision. Since 2020, the marker on the rock has been missing. It was said to read as follows: “Mosby’s Rangers (43d Bn., Va. Cav.) used this rock as a rendezvous point and met here to divide the spoils after raids. The renowned Southern spy and scout Laura Ratcliffe, who lived nearby, showed this rock to Col. (then Captain) John S. Mosby, CSA, in 1863, and suggested he use it as a meeting place”.

Historical Marker Inscription

Mosby's Rock Historical Marker

This large boulder, located just south of here, served as an important landmark during the Civil War, when Col. John S. Mosby’s Partisan Rangers (43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) assembled there to raid Union outposts, communications, and supply lines. Laura Ratcliffe, a young woman who lived nearby and spied for Mosby, concealed money and messages for him under the rock. Mosby credited her with saving him from certain capture by Federal cavalry on one occasion. She also was a friend of Maj. Gen.  J.E.B. Stuart.

Location

13570 Big Boulder Road, Herndon, Virginia, 20171 United States

38° 56′ 47.340″ N, 77° 24′ 57.000″ W

Boggsdale, Long Beach, Mississippi

Boggsdale, MS Historical Marker

Boggsdale is the area of the family home of Thomas Hale Boggs, the late U.S. Congressman from Louisiana who died in a plane crash in Alaska on December 29, 1972.

Seven acres of beachfront property was purchased by Georgian artist and writer, Robert Boggs, and wife, Eliza Jane, in 1875. The area would eventually become Long Beach. The house they built was named Breezydale. According to legend, Native Americans warned the family not to build so close to the Sound.

The property was inherited by the couple’s son, William, and wife, Claire Hale. The other son, Archibald, and his wife, Bessie, were given adjacent land. They built a home by the name of Driftwood, which was named after lumber that had washed ashore.

A major hurricane in 1947 destroyed both homes and killed Bessie. Breezydale was rebuilt 600 feet back from the water and was named Will-Stan, but that property was also destroyed during Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Hale Boggs had plans of rebuilding on Boggsdale before his plane disappeared in Alaska.

Historical Marker Inscription

Thomas Hale Boggs (1914-1972). U.S. Congressman from La. for 28 years, was born in the family home built on this site in 1875. The son of Wm. & Claire Hale Boggs, Rep. Boggs served as House Majority Leader, 1971-72.

Location

30° 20.291′ N, 89° 10.154′ W

Beach Boulevard West (intersection of Boggs Drive and U.S. 90), Long Beach, MS 39560

Our Lady of Prompt Succor Cemetery No. 1

Our Lady of Prompt Succor Cemetery No. 1 Historical Marker

St. Joseph Parish in Westwego, located on the West Bank of New Orleans, was established in 1857. It was the main church for Jefferson Parish on this side of the river. The parish grew a few years later due to the dramatic growth of the population of Westwego after the hurricane of 1893. Before land was acquired, mass was often celebrated in residents’ homes.

On February 23, 1905, land was donated by 12 men known as “The 12 Apostles” to the St. Joseph Church in Gretna. The lot was located on Laroussini Street and was 100 feet by 320 feet.

On June 7, 1906, a new chapel known as the Church of Our Lady Prompt Succor was dedicated on the north side of the site. A cemetery was added to the south side of the lot and became known as Cemetery No. 1.

Historical Marker Inscription

The land for this cemetery was part of a parcel sold in 1902 by Alphonse A. Lelong to a group called “The 12 Apostles” of Catholic Life Westwego. They were Hypolite Eloi, Victorin A. Pitre, Ernest Lefort, Andre Curol, Leo Decuers, Adrien Ortiz, Adrien Curol, Victor Arnaudin, J. Dupre Terrebonne, Felicien Sandras, Leodgard Pitre, and Edouward PItre. They donated the land to St. Joseph’s Parish in Gretna for the first chapel and cemetery in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish, Westwego. Their heirs donated it to OLPS in 1932.

Location

Our Lady of Prompt Succor & Holy Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 146 Fourth Street, Westwego, LA, 70094

29.909547579819836, -90.14553436006213

Open Spaces Sustained by Agriculture, Wyoming Historical Marker

Open Spaces Sustained by Agriculture, Wyoming Historical Marker

The open spaces in Platte County, Wyoming, are paid for by agricultural production. Wyoming can thank the introduction of agricultural mainly due to the Swan Land and Cattle Company in the 1880s. This company lasted for 68 years.

The company was founded by Alexander Swan, who may have been the best-known man in the cattle business during the early 1880. He had owned or held interest in at least 20 businesses, mainly cattle ranching.

The Swan Land and Cattle Company Ltd. was registered in Scotland on March 30, 1883. The company bought six ranches near the Chugwater and Richard and Sybille creeks in the first year. At its height, it owned 110,000 head of cattle.

However, by 1886, the price per head of cattle had fallen from its high of $40.67 in 1884 to $26.34. This resulted in now dividends being paid to shareholders. Shareholders also questioned Swan’s recordkeeping, suspecting him of fraud.

Thing also got worse during the winter of 1886 to 1887 when 15% of Wyoming cattle died due to the bad winter. Swan Land and Cattle Company had heavy losses, and Swan’s financial empire began to falter.

In May 1887, Swan was dismissed as manager by the board of directors, and the board sued Swan to try and recover costs due to exaggerated herd counts.

In 1888, John Clay Jr. was named as manager. His first move was to cut costs, including closing the Cheyenne office and moving it to Chugwater. But Clay had his own problems. He didn’t agree to cuts to his own salary, but also didn’t want to pay dividends until the company was in better shape. He was dismissed in 1896.

The troubles for the company didn’t get better. By 1904, cattle markets had significantly declined. The company instead purchased 15,000 head of sheep. Clay actually returned in 1912. But the next 15 years still had trouble with costs, and they also lost access to public lands.

The company continued on for a number of years. World War I inflation helped it make some profit. It even did rather well during the Depression during the 1930s, but Swan Land and Cattle Company Ltd. wanted to sell its assets to raise funds. But that was impossible, and the company eventually dissolved in 1951.

Historical Marker Inscription

Welcome to Platte County Wyoming. Laramie Peak frames the western backdrop of a landscape that includes the Oregon Trail and Register Cliff where thousands of Pioneers left their mark. Today these open spaces are sustained by agricultural production of livestock and crops, providing habitat for diverse wildlife and a foundation for the communities that exist in the county.

Settlement of this land began in the early 1880s with the Swan Land and Cattle Company. This ranch held more acreage than the state of Connecticut. Agriculture paved the way for construction of the area reservoirs providing water storage for irrigation, wildlife habitat, fisheries, and recreation. South of this point lies the Wheatland Irrigation District which delivers irrigation water to 55,000 acres of formerly dry unproductive landscape, making it the largest and only privately held irrigation district in the United States. Many crops including corn, sugar beets, wheat and barley are raised on this land.

Even with Platte County’s relatively small population, agricultural producers raise food for thousands of Americans. Cattle raised in Platte County provide a year’s supply of beef for 850,000 people. Agriculture serves as the backbone of the area’s rural communities and sustains the open vistas you are enjoying today.

Location

Dwyer Junction Rest Area, US-26, Wheatland, WY 82201

Intersection of U.S. 26 and Interstate 26

42° 14.008′ N, 105° 1.232′ W

Fort Union National Monument 1851-1891

Fort Union National Monument Historical Marker, NM

Fort Union was the largest military fort in the 19th century in the American Southwest. It was established in 1851 to protect the Santa Fe Trail and lasted for 40 years. The fort was actually three different forts with the third and last fort being the largest of the three.

Fort Union acted as a military supply depot, military garrison and territorial arsenal for the entire region.

Besides the remains of the fort, visitors can also see Santa Fe Trail ruts.

Historical Marker Inscription

Once the largest post in the Southwest, Fort Union was established to control the Jicarilla Apaches and Utes, to protect the Santa Fe Trail, and to serve as a supply depot for other New Mexico forts. The arrival of the railroad and the pacification of the region led to its abandonment in 1891.

Location

35° 44′ N, 105° 2.717′ W.

Traveling North on Interstate 25, Mile Marker 360, near Las Vegas, New Mexico