Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A New Discovery

Today at Brandy Station: May 11, 2010

Today is one of those days when, nothing happened. I determined early on that when this occurred, I'd talk about the Graffiti House.
Recently, the Brandy Station Foundation has had an opportunity which it capitalized on, and it has paid off in spades. Christopher Mills of Christoper Mills Conservation Service has made two trips to Brandy Station this spring.
Chris was contracted by the Foundation to stabilize walls in the Graffiti House, where the pre-civil war plaster had separated from the lathing. This process is tedious and time-consuming, but ultimately he was successful.
His success has been more than could have been dreamed. In the course of repairing damage and reattaching plaster, Chris uncovered more graffiti. Additionally, while cleaning and prepping these walls, thanks to his work, what had been faded is now clear.
Names, statements, and drawings are now seeing the light of day for the first time since the mid-1860's. Researchers at the Foundation have already had some successes. Today, I will talk about one. His name is George.
George has been with us since the graffiti was discovered in 1993. George signed (at least) three walls in what we call the Dancing Lady Room. But is was always just George. We never new his story, until Chris arrived. In March, Chris uncovered Georges last name above a window. But it took a little detective work to figure it all out.
The name uncovered was Howver, George Howver.
So, into the databases and regimentals we go, but no George Howver. We were about to give up when findagrave.com was checked and we found our man. George Howver served in the 7th Virginia Cavalry. But in consulting the Virginia Regimental Series' volume on the 7th Virginia Cavalry, there was no listing under Howver. But there is an interesting note under George Hoover.
According to the book, George Hoover was born in 1847 (actually April 13, 1845) and served in Company H, joining the regiment as a substitute. He served until early 1864 when he was captured and eventually ended up at Fort Delaware in March 1864. He remained there until paroled in June 1865. Prison records indicate he was 5'8", had dark hair and eyes and a ruddy complexion.
The last notation is the money: Listed as Howver in the CSR [Compiled Military Service Records]. We have our man.
The 7th Virginia Cavalry spent time in Brandy Station during the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1863. Howver had opportunity to be in the Graffiti House. And at least once, George, picked up a piece of charcoal from the fireplace had told us he was there. George Howver died on January 1, 1916 and is buried in Singers Glen Cemetery in Rockingham County, Virginia.
The Picture, taken by Peggy Misch, is of Chris Mills hard at work, saving our walls, and above the window on the left side, you might be able to make out Howver. Thank you Chris for bringing lost history back to us.
If you havn't been to the Graffiti House within the last two months, it is time to come back. We have some new stories to tell.

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