Committee members who coordinated the year-long planning efforts for the conference included Barbara Naef, Sallie Lyons, Phyllis Walker Ford, Esther McCullough, Mary Lipsey, Susan Gray, Naomi Zeavin, Jenée Lindner, Mike Irwin, Liz Crowell, Anne Barnes, and Lynne Garvey-Hodge, Chair. The Awards Committee included Steve Sherman, Elise R. Murray, Naomi Zeavin, and Lynne Garvey Hodge, Chair.
Photo by Nancy Olds
The seven hour long 12th Annual Fairfax County History Conference was held on Nov. 12, 2016. More than 110 guests were educated and illuminated with Founding Father history at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax. The Conference was dedicated to two Fairfax County historians who have graced the historical landscape of Fairfax County for decades: the families of both Jack L. Hiller and C. K Gailey accepted conference dedication awards in memory of these outstanding community volunteers. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) addressed the crowd with encouraging words after the 2016 Presidential election – as did Fairfax County Chairperson Sharon Bulova. They took part in presenting the Fairfax County Annual History Awards to the following individuals for their in depth research, writing and publishing of a significant document reflecting the history of Fairfax County:
The Ross Netherton Award was presented to author Ed Wenzel for his well-researched, impeccably detailed, chronologically accurate and meticulously crafted 584 page tome titled, “Chronology of the Civil War in Fairfax County, Part I.” Supported with a 192 page index authored by Mr. Wenzel, Charles A. Balch, Steve Hull and David Mudrick (members of the Award-winning Bull Run Civil War Roundtable) – these books provide an in depth look at the Civil War action, military events, photographs, maps and literally a day-by-day diary of the events as they unfolded in Fairfax County. Wenzel will receive a $1,000 prize for his work.
The Nan Netherton Award was presented to author Gregory P. Wilson for his 161 page, carefully crafted, well-researched, manuscript revealing a portion of the Civil War’s Confederate highly acclaimed guerrilla fighter and officer, during his time of military service in Fairfax County before he was known as the “Gray Ghost”, titled “Private John S. Mosby, First Virginia Cavalry – Picketing Fairfax County before Becoming the Confederacy’s “Gray Ghost.” An excellent support to the Wenzel compendium, Wilson has taken a slice of time from Mosby’s life that few other authors have covered in such detail. With a focus on Mosby’s presence solely in Fairfax County, he provides future generations with a clear picture of the key events occurring both within the county and Mosby’s early days serving in the Confederacy – which laid the foundation for his later military successes. With more than 215 footnotes, bibliography and a timeline chronology of Civil War events in Fairfax County, Wilson has gifted the historian, citizen, student and new-comer with a fascinating lens through which a more complete understanding of John Singleton Mosby can be seen. Wilson will receive a $500 prize for his good work.
The Edith Moore Sprouse Award was presented in absentia to Robyn Carter for her writing, research and compilation of a unique era in the history of Fairfax County: the early 1950s through the 1960s, “Post WW2 History of Springfield, Virginia and the Crestwood Construction Corporation.” Using the reality of the post World War II population boom in Fairfax County as a backdrop, Ms. Carter has chronicled the era’s earliest days of residential construction through Edward Ravenel Carr’s (retired WWII military officer) professional presence in this section of the county. Carr was the central figure at the helm of Crestwood Construction Corporation that designed and built what would become a template of a “planned community,” including a 2,300 acre tract of woods and fields, 5,000 homes, four schools, a shopping center and houses of worship, named “Crestwood.” Footnoted throughout the 213 page manuscript and supporting bibliography, Carter has provided Fairfax County with a look into the “tipping point” of geographic, cultural, demographic, economic and educational changes that bear the earliest semblance to the county as we know it today. Carter was presented with her award at her home, by the Fairfax County History Commission Awards Committee Chair, Lynne Garvey-Hodge on Dec. 1, 2016. Carter will receive a $100 prize for her work.
Guests included authors and exhibitors, including the Burke Historical Society, the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, Prince William County, authors Chuck Mauro, Chuck Mills, Carole Herrick, and many, many other exhibitors and authors.
Jack L. Hiller’s daughter, Libby launched the conference with a reading of her father’s essay, “About George Mason” – the perfect positioning for the presentations that followed. Scott Stroh, Executive Director at Gunston Hall gave a presentation describing how the Virginia Declaration of Rights was a cornerstone of the earliest Founding Father documents. Mark A. Tabbert, Director of Collections at the George Washington Masonic National Association, reviewed attributes of John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin’s lives and contributions to America, as Freemasons. Janis Harless gave a riveting re-enactment performance of Ann (Nancy) Eilbeck Mason. Author Terry Dunn discussed the struggle over slave ownership that George Mason endured. Brad Krueger (National Park Service) described the many iterations of the Mason Family’s Occupancy of Theodore Roosevelt Island – as well as the archaeological work planned for the park.
The second year of a new tradition, a "Drop & Swap" book table, facilitated the donating and trading of dozens of historical books by attendees. The table contained 36 books at the beginning of the conference and was reduced to six by the conference close.