Over the years, the Greene County Historical Society has organized more than one oral history project. The most recent was in 2013 and 2014, when current President Joann Powell worked with member Greg Gilbert to interview and record Greene residents, who told stories of the origins of their families and their memories of the past. These stories can be listened to at the museum at 360 Main Street in Stanardsville.
The Historical Society board discussed the possibility of a Black History Project last year, but we all know too well what happened to most people’s plans for last year. Now that people have been being vaccinated and we can come together again, we are restarting the oral history project, focusing on the African-American members of our community and making our story more complete.
Beginning July 7th , we hope to record our first interviews, but we need volunteers to tell their stories – and volunteers to help conduct the interviews.
We have a list of questions to get people started, developed from topics used by other societies and fine-tuned by Ron Mosher, one of our genealogists. Ron has expanded our genealogy data base to include more than 17,000 African-American Greene residents, ancestors and descendants. He himself has a historical family connection with Shelly Murphy, Director of the Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA Project (descendantsUVA.org), identifying African American ancestors who helped build the University of Virginia.
Coincidentally, the Greene County Democrats are planning a Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration on June 19th, at Greene Commons (next to the county administration building at the corner of Celt and Main Streets) from 2 – 5 in the afternoon. There will be a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and speakers along with music, food and fun.
Our African-American Oral History Project Committee will be there, with information and pictures from our collection and Ron, who can answer questions about genealogy. If you are interested in participating or know someone who should be included, please come by our table and say hello, or contact us at (434) 985-1834 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The story of Greene County is not complete without your story. Please, spread the word!
Greene County Historical Society
Greene County Historical Society
360 Main Street, PO Box 185, Stanardsville VA 22973
Open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-3
African American families had a significant influence in the development of Greene County.
The GCHS has a small collection of artifacts, documents and photos pertaining to the African-American community in Greene County, VA. The GCH Society continue to liase, communicate and be involved with the discovery, collection and illustrating the history of Greene inclusiveness.
This occurs mostly through the generosity of indviduals, families, shared archives, and diligent researchers. Not everyone is ready to tell their story... but when the time is ready, the GCHS can assist with recording your family's story, whether it be orally or digitally.
By 1868-87, 31 public schools in Greene served 899 white children and 265 colored children. Education was segregated in Greene County until 1964.
Greene desegregated schools in 1965. In 1966, Cynthia Carpenter became the first African-American female student to be admitted to William Monroe High School.
(Ref: Images of America: Greene County GCHS 2013; p 66)
Transitive verb. 1 : to free from restraint, control, or the power of another especially : to free from bondage.... 3 : to free from any controlling influence, such as traditional mores or beliefs. (Ref: Merriam-Webster Dicitonary)
Records of enslaved and slavery in Greene County.
Extract from “Finding my kin in Ruckersville’, by Betty Sims Brown.
"On November 23, 1878, thirteen years after slavery ended, James Chapman, and his step-sons Thomas and Joseph acquired fifty acres jointly, in Quinque, Greene County…. In 1894 James and his wife Hardena defaulted on a loan on the property, and were required by court to partition it in 1899. Sims family ancestors question why they borrowed the substantial amount of $201.60., when there was little opportunity to repay it in the time required…. James and Hardena could neither read nor write, and may not have understood the consequences, if they were unable to repay within a specified time…"
Betty Sims Brown has deep ancestral roots to Ruckersville in Greene County, VA. As a fifth generation descendent, and great-great granddaughter of slaves David Sims and Hardena Lindsay. Many slave births and deaths were not recorded, nor is it listed who David and Hardena were enslaved to.
To continue with Betty Sims Brown on her personal journey to “Finding my kin in Ruckersville”, read the complete article in the Greene County Historical Magazine Volume 22, 2018-2019.
Members receive a complimentary copy, and the magazine is available for purchase from the Museum Gift Shop.
The Shiloh Baptist church, is located at 71 Shiloh Road, just a short 3 minute walk from the GCHS in Stanardsville.
Shiloh Baptist Church was established in 1862, with the land gifted by the Deane family.
The original church is located at the end of Shiloh rd. and was built in 1862, and the present structure dates from 1907. Behind the church are two other buildings, the smaller of which was formerly a segregated African-American high school (6th-8th grades).
Ref: Tourism Guide 7-21-09
It is believed during the American Civil war (C 1862), at least 30 soldiers were buried near the Shiloh Church. The soldiers most likely died from typhoid fever. No one has been able to find their burial site to date.
The Shiloh Baptist cemetery is located at 993 Celt Road, Stanardsville, VA. 22973
The photo above depicts some members of the congregation outside the church. Although undated, the people's attire, suggest the photo was taken in the 1950's.
Please note, all photos on these pages are from the GCHS collection, and reproduced with the permission of the individuals and families who submitted them to the GCHS.
Please contact GCHS for more information.
National Museum of African-Americans
Black History Museum & Cultural Center (Richmond, VA.) https://www.blackhistorymuseum.org
"Finding Your Roots" TV Documentary https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07MZ9Y834/ref=atv_me_doc_c_Bk5mm3_brws_4_20 (Maybe available on other channels).
Stanardsville... Then and Now - 1794 - 1994. Nancy H. Morris Ed.
A history of Greene County . T.E. Johnson (1967)
Images of America: Greene County, Virginia. GCHS 2013
Greene County Magazine; Volume 22., 2018-2019 GCHS. Timothy Roach (Ed.)