Our Visit to Monticello

Also while in Virginia—and just the day after we visited Montpelier—we had the pleasure of a quick trip to the home of our third president, Thomas Jefferson. Our time was rather limited there, but we still managed to go on the house tour and walk around the property a bit, including a visit to the grave site where Jefferson is buried. Below are a few of our favorite photos from the visit. Enjoy!

The back of Monticello as seen on the back of the nickel

The back of Monticello as seen on the back of the nickel

Monticello's front entrance

Monticello’s front entrance

A view down Mulberry Row runs parallel to the gardens

A view down Mulberry Row runs parallel to the gardens

A view of the distant hills beyond the gardens

A view of the distant hills beyond the gardens

A replica of the observation room at the edge of the gardens

A replica of the observation room at the edge of the gardens

Another view of the hills, garden and observation room

Another view of the hills, garden and observation room

View from Mulberry Row of the gardens and neighboring hillside

View from Mulberry Row of the gardens and neighboring hillside

A flowered pathway leading away from the back of Monticello

A flowered pathway leading away from the back of Monticello

Obelisk marking the resting place of Thomas & Martha Jefferson

Obelisk marking the resting place of Thomas & Martha Jefferson

A great inscription: "Their children arise up and call them blessed"

A great inscription: “Their children arise up and call them blessed”

By |2017-02-22T16:44:13+00:00September 30th, 2008|Family, History|

Our Visit to Montpelier

While in Virginia doing the catalogue press check, we took advantage of a several-hour break and went to the nearby estate of our fourth President, James Madison. Amazingly, we were among some of the very first visitors to the estate since the restoration back to its Madison-era appearance. We learned that, after the duPont family purchased the estate around 1900, they transformed the building from a 22-room home, to a 55-room home. All duPont additions have now been removed, revealing underneath the structure as it was in the days that the Madisons resided there.

The view as we approach Montpelier

The view as we approach Montpelier

On the front lawn of the fully-restored Montpelier

On the front lawn of the fully-restored Montpelier

The view Madison had from his roof-top terrace

The view Madison had from his roof-top terrace

Annie duPont's formal garden

Annie duPont’s formal garden

Our tour guide shared one observation of the Madisons’ marriage and devotion to each other that we found quite endearing. During his study to prepare for leading tours of Montpelier, our guide observed only two documented cases in which James and Dolley Madison were separated from each other during the whole course of their forty-two-year marriage. One instance was during James’ presidency and the War of 1812. He was serving as commander-in-chief on the battlefield, and thus left his wife behind in the safety of their home. The only other documented instance was when he took a short trip to nearby Charlottesville, Virginia. In writing to his wife, he stated that he missed her so much, he was determined to never leave her again. The letter was dated a mere two days into his absence!

In front of the resting place of the fourth President

In front of the resting place of the fourth President

Obelisk marking the grave of Dolley Madison

Obelisk marking the grave of Dolley Madison

It is thought that Madison's parents & grandparents are buried here also

It is thought that Madison’s parents & grandparents are buried here also

My wife reads a tomb’s inscription in the Madison family cemetery

My wife reads a tomb’s inscription in the Madison family cemetery

While at Montpelier, we visited the Education Center where we were intrigued by a timeline on the wall displaying U.S. and world events concurrent with the lives of James and Dolley Madison. We noted especially some of the events that Dolley (1768-1849), who outlived James by 13 years, would have still been alive to experience or hear of. Some were rather surprising. It is also odd to consider that the War Between the States began only twelve years after her passing! Among the events that took place in her lifetime were these:

  • 1776 – The Declaration of Independence is drafted
  • 1787 – The Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia
  • 1789 – The French Revolution begins
  • 1791 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies
  • 1803 – The U.S. acquires 828,000 square miles as a result of The Louisiana Purchase
  • 1807 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee is born
  • 1808 – Beethoven premieres his 5th Symphony in Vienna
  • 1812 – The War of 1812 begins
  • 1821 – Mexico wins its independence from Spain
  • 1834 – Slavery abolished in the British Empire
  • 1835 – Charles Darwin travels on the Beagle to the Galápagos Islands
  • 1836 – Texas wins its independence from Mexico
  • 1837 – The development of the first John Deere tractor occurs
  • 1838 – The coronation of Queen Victoria takes place
  • 1839 – Daguerre invents the first form of photography
  • 1844The Three Musketeers is written by Alexander Dumas
  • 1848 – The California Gold Rush begins
  • 1848 – Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto is published
By |2017-02-22T16:44:13+00:00September 29th, 2008|Family, History|

The Battle of Franklin

Saturday morning, Melissa and I had the pleasure of touring both the Carter House and Carnton Plantation with Sam who is well-studied on the Battle of Franklin (and the war in general) and had long awaited the opportunity to share what he knew of the battle with us.

Over the course of the day, we learned of Fountain Branch Carter who owned and operated the largest cotton gin in Williamson County and whose property was near the center of action during the battle. Several of his out buildings were showered with bullets and one of them is said to be the most bullet-riddled building still standing from the war. In the aftermath of the battle, the house became a makeshift hospital for the wounded, and blood stains can be seen on portions of the floor to this day.

Front view of the home of Fountain Branch Carter

Front view of the home of Fountain Branch Carter

Where Mr. Carter conducted his business

Where Mr. Carter conducted his business

Behind the most bullet-riddled building from the war

Behind the most bullet-riddled building from the war

Next door, the smokehouse didn't fare much better

Next door, the smokehouse didn’t fare much better

We then visited the Carnton Plantation, founded by Randal McGavock (1768-1843) and named after his father’s birthplace in Ireland. His son, John, would inherit the estate and, along with his wife Carrie, become instrumental in the organization of the largest privately owned military cemetery, containing the graves of over 1,500 Confederate soldiers. In an amazingly selfless effort, the McGavocks identified as many soldiers as possible and meticulously catalogued their names so that their brave service might not be forgotten.

Carnton is well-known for its service as a makeshift hospital following the Battle of Franklin—similar to the service rendered at the Carter House—as well as the spot at which the bodies of Confederate Generals Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F. Strahl and Hiram Granbury would lie; officers all lost in the Battle of Franklin.

Front view of the home of the McGavocks—Carnton Plantation

Front view of the home of the McGavocks—Carnton Plantation

My wife and me on the doorsteps of the Carnton mansion

My wife and me on the doorsteps of the Carnton mansion

I like to imagine this tree was there during the battle!

I like to imagine this tree was there during the battle!

Grave of John McGavock, son of Carnton's founder

Grave of John McGavock, son of Carnton’s founder

By |2017-02-22T16:44:13+00:00September 23rd, 2008|Family, History|

John Adams on Homeland Security

It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation’s humble acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence. —John Adams

And more words of wisdom from a Founding Father:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. —John Adams

By |2016-08-03T21:19:49+00:00September 19th, 2008|Politics, Quotes|

Another Morning at the Alamo

This morning I posed for my fifth catalogue shot with the Vision Forum staff. Hard to believe this was number five! This year also marks the first time in which I got to pose with my wife by my side! Below are a few pictures of us across from the Alamo as well as shots of the Alamo’s entrance taken from the side. Having arrived early, Melissa and I were able to spend some time observing how intricate portions of the design of the Alamo are.

The Entrance to the Alamo

The Entrance to the Alamo

My beloved wife and me

My beloved wife and me

And again

And again

Enjoying the beauty of the design

Enjoying the beauty of the design

By |2017-02-22T16:44:13+00:00September 8th, 2008|Family|
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