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The Surratt Courier
01-13-2014, 10:46 AM
Post: #31
RE: The Surratt Courier
So sad. What a lovely place it was!

"Right or wrong, God judge me, not man."
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01-13-2014, 01:58 PM
Post: #32
RE: The Surratt Courier
What a beautiful home Rich Hill used to be. It deserves to be saved and restored. Is it not a Civil War era home? Why can't the National Park Service or a similar organization do something to help? After all, it seems that most of the battlefields are protected. Excuse me if I sound rude, but the excuse of not wanting to help sites connected with the Lincoln Assassination and Conspiracy has gotten worn out. Those events were part of our history and can't be swept under the rug and forgotten. We've made mistakes and we need to accept them. Monticello was a slave plantation and every battlefield is a memory that man was once inhumane to man. Rich Hill and homes like it are more than just places with a conspiracy connection. They are places that, among other things, saw the American Civil War. We need to acknowledge our faults, move past them, and start preserving these irreplaceable sites. If we keep this trend alive, soon there won't be any living history for the next generation to enjoy.
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01-13-2014, 03:00 PM
Post: #33
RE: The Surratt Courier
Well spoken, Kate!

Not only does Rich Hill have a history affiliated with the Civil War - it goes back further to the 18th Century. That site is full of history - and it's all relevant. It's a shame that it isn't more well thought of....

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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01-13-2014, 04:21 PM
Post: #34
RE: The Surratt Courier
Unfortunately, historic sites are traditionally underfunded; and the National Park Service is in dire straits. If Surratt House had to depend solely on the income from our supporting government agency, we would be hurting also. We are one of fifty sites that they have to fund. God bless our volunteer group, The Surratt Society. They keep us afloat and doing what we do.

Keep your fingers crossed because I keep hearing rumblings that Rich Hill is still in negotiations. I don't stop praying until I hear a definite YES or NO.
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01-14-2014, 05:17 PM (This post was last modified: 01-14-2014 05:21 PM by brtmchl.)
Post: #35
RE: The Surratt Courier
I just received my Surratt Courier yesterday. Dave, your article was amazing! My interest was peaked the moment I started reading about the knockers. Great job again and I do hope a restoration project can be made.

I obviously meant door knockers earlier.

" Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian." - Henry Ford
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01-14-2014, 06:15 PM
Post: #36
RE: The Surratt Courier
I received it today, kudos, Dave!! This was one of the topics that I had in advance expected to find less interesting, but you made it interesting! And your style is always a pleasure to read!
I wonder if G. Brown's way to emmigrate (or immigrate from the other point of view) was a very unique fate or if similar accidents happened more often. What a nightmare that must have been to see the ship depart!
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01-20-2014, 04:07 PM
Post: #37
RE: The Surratt Courier
I received my Jan. issue a few days ago and Dave's article is wonderfully informative. As he points out, Rich Hill has a "rich" historical heritage without the Booth visitation. To look at the house today one would never know the significant ties it has to our country's founding.

Dave includes photos of portraits of Dr. Gustavus Brown and his wife and also of Rev. Richard Brown and his wife. Has the Smithsonian ever done an article tying these to the history of Rich Hill and the need for it's rescue?

Could not the 1.5 million be raised from private funds? If not, a loan of private funds in that amount to complete the renovation. When the renovation is complete the " reverter clause " would be removed. Then the Society could apply for state and federal monies to pay it back.
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01-20-2014, 06:46 PM
Post: #38
RE: The Surratt Courier
Negotiations are continuing, and it is my understanding that local government is taking part in them. Many people are waking up to the fact that the history doesn't just revolve around Booth's and Herold's visit. Samuel Cox was part of spurring Charles County and Southern Maryland back to life economically after the Civil War by working to get a railroad into the area.

Just southwest of the county seat is a community known as Bel Alton. It's original name was Cox's Station because it was a stop on the railroad that he brought down there. The original station stood right beside the tracks and Bel Alton-Newtown Road until about 5-6 years ago. During the first half of the 20th century, the town was bustling with even a hometown orchestra.
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01-20-2014, 07:06 PM
Post: #39
RE: The Surratt Courier
Thanks Laurie.

Do you know if the current owner inherited any of the original wood, doors, etc. that might have been saved from remodels?

Has the original owner sold any of the 320 acres he originally acquired with Rich Hill?

How much land goes with the house if the Society acquires it?
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01-20-2014, 08:40 PM
Post: #40
RE: The Surratt Courier
I have not been in the house for over ten years, but when it was in good shape following the "restoration" in the 1970s, doors, wood mouldings and frames, mantels, and banisters appeared to date from the early- to mid-1800s. I have no idea what time and vandals have done since then, but there is a caretaker (more like a watchman) that lives in an adjacent house, so the vandalism may not be as severe as what others have encountered.

The current owner acquired very little of the original acreage, I believe. I did take a peek at tax records, and if I read them correctly, the current acreage is about 33. I wish Surratt House had that much. Our original acreage in 1852 was 287 1/2 acres. When we acquired the property in 1968, only one acre was still available. We have since managed to acquire two adjacent parcels that were once the Surratts' orchard, and we own just about three acres now. People who live in the nearby development are afraid we're going to want our tobacco fields back!
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01-20-2014, 09:20 PM
Post: #41
RE: The Surratt Courier
Dave's article states that Rich Hill with it's 320 acres was sold to Mr. Vallario
in 1971. It's amazing if 33 acres are left.

We are fortunate to have the Surratt home restored and open to the public. Three acres is impressive in modern times.

I'm so grateful to those across the country who take up the cause of historic preservation. I 'll be watching for news of the status of Rich Hill and any way I can support the effort.
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