L’Ouverture Hospital Historical Marker, Alexandria, VA

L'Ouverture Hospital Historical Marker, Alexandria, VA

Named after Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803), the slave leader of the Haitian Revolt, the hospital was completed in 1864. On land formerly owned by slave dealers in Alexandria prior to the Union Army taking control of the area in 1861, the hospital served U.S. Colored Troops. It also treated former enslaved African Americans.

The hospital treated more than 1,400 soldiers from 1864 to 1865. The complex consisted of a cook house, mess hall, dispensary, tents, housing and jail.

A successful protest in 1864 resulted in African American soldiers being interred in Alexandria National Cemetery as opposed to the Contrabands or Freedmen Cemetery.

Historical Marker Inscription

Named for Toussaint L’Ouverture, the Haitian revolutionary, L’Ouverture Hospital opened early in 1864 near the Freedmen’s barracks in Alexandria to serve sick and injured United States Colored Troops (USCT). Designed by the U.S. Army, the hospital complex could accommodate about 700 patients and occupied the city block just south of here. The hospital also served African American civilians, many of whom had escaped from slavery and sought refuge in Alexandria. In Dec. 1864, more than 400 patients led a successful protest demanding that USCTs be buried in Alexandria National Cemetery, with full honors, rather than at the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery.

Location

1302 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

38° 48.284′ N, 77° 3.245′ W

Willow Shade

Willow Shade Historical Marker

Willow Shade was the childhood home of Willa Cather, who was renown for writing stories about life on the Great Plains. Willow Shade was actually mentioned in her last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, which was written in 1940.

“The slats of the green window shutters rattled, the limp cordage of the great willow trees in the yard was whipped and tossed furiously by the wind. I had been put in my mother’s bed so that I could watch the turnpike, then a macadam road with a blue limestone facing.”

Cather wrote 12 novels, many works of nonfiction and 6 collections of short fiction. She died on April 24, 1947 in New York City.

Historical Marker Inscription

This house, built in 1858, was the childhood home of novelist Willa Cather from 1874 to 1883, when she moved with her family to Nebraska. It was the setting of the final chapters of her novel Sapphira and the Slave Girl. Willa Cather was born December 7, 1873, one mile south in the community of Gore then known as Back Creek Valley.

Location

39° 16.139′ N, 78° 18.535′ W, near Gore, Virginia

Town of Occoquan, VA

Town of Occoquan Historical Marker, Virginia

The Town of Occoquan is a suburb of Washington, DC, located in Prince William County, Virginia. The name of the town of derived from the Algonquian Doeg Native American’s word for “at the end of the water”. Long before Europeans settled the Americas, the area was used by indigenous people, using the river for transportation and trade.

During the 1600s, Captain John Smith sailed alone the river, exploring the area. By 1734, the town had public warehouses for tobacco, and by 1749, iron furnaces were put in place along the river by Charles Ewell and John Ballendine. The first automated grist mill in the nation (Merchant’s Mill) operated in the area from 1759 to 1924 when it was destroyed by a fire.

In 1804, Town of Occoquan was formally established – located on the 31 acres that was owned by Nathaniel Ellicott, Luke Wheeler and James Campbell. It became an industrial town with the mills, forges, mercantile shops and shipping of railroad ties. During the 1890s, excursion boats from DC would bring tourists to admire the natural beauty of the area. The town, however, had begun to decline as an industrial town by the mid-19th century. Presently, the Occoquan is known as a destination for ghost walks, antiques, art, dining and more.

Bridge over Occoquan River, Virginia
Bridge over Occoquan River

Historical Marker Inscription

Nathaniel Ellicott formally established the town in 1804. Bringing to fruition industrial and commercial developments. Begun ‘at or near the falls of Occoquan’ by John Ballendine c. 1750 the estuary of the Occoquan has attracted the attention of travelers since the time of John Smith. Adjacent lands were patented by the 1850s; copper was being shipped from ‘King’ Carter’s Landing, and tobacco from a publish warehouse by the 1780s.

Prince William County Historical Commission – 1978

Location

203 Washington Street, Occoquan, VA 22125, US

38° 40′ 60.000″ N, 77° 15′ 34.518″ W