Posts Tagged ‘VA’

Gone Except for the Memories

Today we went to Denbigh (Newport News) to attend the 120-year homecoming celebration at Warwick River Mennonite Church in Newport News. But first, we had to drive past the farm-Quarterfield Farm, Gene’s home place fronting on Colony and Hertzler Road.  Well, it used to be a farm, now it is just a memory.

 

The house site

The garden plot

For 118 years, it was a fertile, productive farm (dairy, then a horse boarding facility) within sight of the Warwick River and belonged to the Hertzler family: Great-grandpa, grandpa and then dad Hertzler.

The once lush meadows and pastures are now pushed over trees, tractors have given way to bulldozers and houses are starting to grace the landscape instead of pecan, walnut, crepe myrtle and oak trees. They tell us the house, barn, machine shed, milk house and shop were demolished 2 weeks ago. What once was a familiar homestead is now a dirt construction site. The pecan trees and shrubbery are still standing marking the outline of the yard but we were told they too will soon be gone. All traces of history have been removed, never to be recovered or preserved. This history was more than just Gene’s family. It was an important part of the history of Mennonites who came to Denbigh. In 1897 D.Z. Yoder and Isaac D. Hertzler (Gene’s great-grandpa) came to Denbigh and purchased a 1200 acre plantation for $10 an acre. This quickly attracted the interest of many other Mennonites in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other parts of Virginia who moved there. The land was divided between the families forming a very unique close-knit faith and agricultural community called  “The Colony”.

A new house now built in the front pasture.

The neighbors fought hard against city hall pleading for a park, a preservation of the cherished land. They fought City Hall and City Hall won. A sign saying “Hertzler Meadow” almost feels like a taunt.

It feels sad and as a family we now only have a marker in the church cemetery a mile from the farm to document Oliver and Anna Mae Hertzlers’ existence.

But, they are not forgotten. We have memories, lots and lots of memories, precious memories and pictures that we do and will continue to cherish. Dad Hertzler knew the inevitable was coming and he had worked out the plans before his death. We are just glad he didn’t have to see the reality of it.

It reminds us of the frailty of life. We are only here for a few short years and then we are gone, never to return.

What will be our legacy?

How will we be remembered when there is nothing left but a tombstone?

 

All flesh is like grass, and it’s loveliness as the flower of the field.

Isaiah 40:6

As for man, his days are as grass; as the flower of the field so he flourished. For the wind passes over it and it is gone; and the place remembers it no more.

Psalms 103: 15-16

This is a unique, to scale model of “The Colony” made by Sam Brunk for the 100th Anniversary showing how it was in 1947. It is now solid development. The 60 acres owned by Dad Hertzler was the last piece of land to be sold. He held on to the land tenaciously even though the city was determined to force him out.

Quarterfield Farm, farm of Henry-Anna Hertzler, Gene’s grandpa.

 

Some related blog posts about the farm.

A Sunday Afternoon Drive

 

My friend Donna and I took a several hour Sunday afternoon meander through the back roads of Powhatan today  just to take pictures.  If you want to touch history, capture the heart and soul of the county, and  catch a glimpse of the photogenic spots, leave the busy, main thoroughfare and cruise the back roads, the roads less traveled.  I condensed my 75 pictures to these….

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Come with us on our jaunt and enjoy the pictures.

 

Flatrock is named after this rock and is on the little side road behind Davis-Merchant Equipment.

Flatrock, Powhatan is named after this rock and it is on the little side road behind Davis-Merchant Equipment.

If someone knows the history of this rock….it would be interesting to post.

See the indentation in the rock. The Indians used this rock for grinding corn.

See the indentation in the rock. If I remember the history correctly, the Indians used this rock for grinding corn.

 

The second big indentation on the rock.

The second big indentation on the rock.

 

A large rock on Three Bridge Road by Millview Farm.

A large rock on Three Bridge Road by Millview Farm.

The golf course at the Foundry on 711.

The golf course at the Foundry on Lee’s Landing Road.

 

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Beautiful huge old oak tree on 522. I have always admired it's ability to survive and look so good.

Beautiful huge stately old oak tree on 522. I have always admired it’s ability to survive and look so good.

 

My friend, Donna.

My friend, Donna.

 

The Old Cosby Dairy on Cosby Road.

The Old Cosby Dairy on Cosby Road.

 

An old store run by the Cosbys that they have restored.

An old store run by the Cosbys that they have restored.

 

Love the stone foundation pillars and big rock for the front step.

Love the stone foundation pillars and big rock for the front step.

Old farm equipment resting in peace on the Cosby Farm.

Old farm equipment resting in peace on the Cosby Farm.

 

 

Wheat or barley field.

Wheat or barley field.

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Belmead

Belmead

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Several links about the history:

Belmead on the James

Belmead Mansion

Belmead Stables and Riding Club

St. Francis

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Old cemetery at Belmead.

Old cemetery at Belmead.

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Historic barns made into a beautiful equine facility.

Historic barns made into a beautiful equine facility.

 

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While taking the above picture of the flower bed I was standing beside this small spruce tree. A startled bird flew from the tree. I looked and found her secret...5 little eggs nestled in the branches.

While taking the above picture of the flower bed I was standing beside this small spruce tree. A startled bird flew from the tree. I looked and found her secret…4 little eggs nestled in the branches.

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A crop sprayer sitting by the edge of a corn field.

A crop sprayer sitting by the edge of a corn field.

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James River

James River

We call it the "Mighty James" but it is actually a very calm, beautiful river. It is not very deep west of the 522 bridge.  A lot of it is waist deep or less but with a few deeper pockets.

We call it the “Mighty James” but it is actually a very calm, beautiful river. It is not very deep west of the 522 bridge. A lot of it is waist deep or less but with a few deeper pockets.

There are a lot of beautiful rocks protruding from the river at different spots.

There are a lot of beautiful rocks protruding from the river at different spots.

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I wish I had looked at the signs, especially at Belmead, and gotten a little of the history. If anyone can fill in any history on these spots please add a comment.

 

Some comments:

  • Wanda Starke:  We went to Belmead when they had something going on and they had a book with the people who were buried in the graveyard. It was real sad, because most were infants and I can’t remember seeing but one or two over the age of 34. I remember sitting in church there in the 50’s listening to the cadets doing drills. There used to be a row of shops where the men learned a trade. Otto taught the blacksmiths. I remember a tailor, barbershop and I’m not sure about others.
  • Linda Smith:  The original owner and builder of the house was a distant relative of the Cocke family that I work for.  They are and old Virginia family who’s forefather’s immigrated from England in the 1600s.
    It’s lovely that it’s being saved, even though the pace is slow.  My 92 year old neighbor well remembers when it was being used as a trainer center for young men from ‘the north’.

 

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