Tag Archives: Shenandoah Valley

The Story Behind Historical Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song


Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Red Bird’s Song is inspired by events that occurred to my ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier. This award-winning adventure romance centers around their conflict with the Native Americans during the French and Indian and Pontiac’s War and has a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor.

Research into my English/Scots-Irish ancestors unearthed accounts that led to my writing Red Bird’s Song. My fascination with Colonial America, particularly stirring tales of the frontier and the Shawnee Indians, is an early and abiding one. My forebears had interactions with this tribe, including family members taken captive. I have ties to Wicomechee, the hero of Red Bird’s Song, an outstanding Shawnee warrior whose real-life story greatly impacted the novel. More on Wicomechee  is included at the end of the novel, as a bonus for those who read it.

I’ve written other Native American themed historical romances, some with paranormal elements, each carefully researched. I’m grateful for the help of historians, reenactors, anthropologists, archaeologists, and the Shawnee themselves. All the titles in my Native American Warrior series are available in kindle at Amazon.

Handsome Native American warrior

The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee at the beginning of Red Bird’s Song was born in a dream I had on New Year’s Eve–a propitious time for dreams–about a young warrior taking an equally young woman captive at a river and the unexpected attraction between them. That dream had such a profound impact on me that I took the leap from writing non-fiction pieces to historical/paranormal romance novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life. That was years ago and the saga continues.

At the start of Red Bird’s Song, I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another dream. When I describe him in the book I’m envisioning a character I know. Eyes of the Wolf became a spirit guide and spoke to me throughout the writing of this book, and others. He’s there still in various guises. My journey with him is not complete.

pipetomahawkThe attack at the opening of Red Bird’s Song in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta CountyA renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them. I’d initially intended to make Colin Dickson in Red Bird’s Song the historical villain that he was, but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.

Hawk EyeRegarding the setting for Red Bird’s Song: In the early mid 1700’s, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and surrounding mountains was the colonial frontier. Only hardy souls dared to settle here. The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish, among them my ancestors. If 18th century warriors only had to fight regular British troops, they might ultimately have prevailed. They scared the crap out of men trained for conventional warfare. But the long knives were born fighters, and not easily intimidated. They learned from their cunning enemy and adopted their methods, weapons, and clothing.

The ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies are also the setting for some of my other historical-paranormal romance novels, Through the FireKira, Daughter of the MoonThe Bearwalker’s Daughter, and my short historical romance, The Lady and the Warrior. I see these ridges from our farm in the Shenandoah Valley. The foothills are only a hop, skip and a jump away from us. The ever-changing panorama of the seasons never fails to inspire me. My Young Adult/Native American Wolf Shifter romance series entitled The Secret Warrior is also set in the mountains.

The Alleghenies, the Virginia colonial frontier

Red Bird’s Song is Book 3 in my Native American Warrior Series. The series loosely ties together based more on time and place and strong Native American characters than as a traditional series that follows the story line. However, Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the actual sequel to Through the Fire, and there will be other sequels. In addition to Native Americans, hardy Scots-Irish frontiersmen and women, colonial Englishmen and ladies, and even a few Frenchmen also play an important role in this series. So far, it spans the gamut from the dramatic era of the French and Indian War, through Pontiac’s War, The American Revolution, and shortly afterwards.

Story Blurb for Red Bird’s Song:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

ReviewerTopPick-NOR

“A beautifully written story filled with adventure and suspense…This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating.” —Night Owl Book Review by Laurie-J

Eppie

“I loved the descriptions…I felt I was there…Many mystical episodes are intermingled with the events…The ending is a real surprise, but I will let you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.”  —Seriously Reviewed

***For more on Red Bird’s Song and my other titles, visit my: Amazon Author Page.

Native American Man Headshot

Paranormal Accounts from The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


These excerpts are taken from Supernatural Tales,The Virginia and West Virginia Mountain and Valley Folklife Series by late Shenandoah Valley author and historian John Heatwole. Mr. Heatwole interviewed many inhabitants of Brock’s Gap and wrote up a wonderful collection of stories included in his series. He said, “The Brocks Gap section of Rockingham County is rich in folklore of all kinds. It is an area in the northwest part of the county isolated by the North Mountain range.” And not far from where we live, I should add. This post is one I did several years ago and thought deserved reposting.

The following spooky stories are a great source of entertainment while snug inside next to a warm hearth, but not so much fun if you find yourself out on your own in the woods and hollows after dark.~

“Frank Caplinger lived across the road from the old Caplinger Chapel near the Criders Post Office in western Brocks Gap. In the evening Frank would sometimes hear pews scraping on the floor of the church on the other side of the road. Each time he walked over to check on things he would find the building empty with no signs that anyone had been there.

Once Frank was crossing the German River on the old suspension foot bridge; he was going to the post office on the opposite bank. As he entered the bridge he looked up and saw a strange man sitting on top of the cable frame, still and quiet. When Frank neared the other end of the bridge he looked back and the figure had vanished. It was impossible for the man to have scrambled down and run out of sight that quickly.” 

****

“Other folks remember strange lights on the mountains or in the cemeteries.  Harrison May recalled: ‘We’d see lights up in the Caplinger Cemetery every so often. When we got there to check there’d be no lights anywhere. Guess they were just spooks.’”

Moonlit Night

“When Nelson Whetzel was a young man he had an interesting experience while walking home from work one evening. In Brocks Gap in earlier times the only things to light ones way were the stars or the glow from a lamp in a neighbor’s window. 

As he walked Nelson heard a horse coming up the road behind him.  Nelson stopped for a moment, thinking, ‘Good! I’ll have someone to talk to.’ But the sound of the horse’s hooves stopped when he did. He called out, asking who was there in the pitch-black.

No answer came and Nelson began uneasily walking again, this time a little faster. The sound of the horse picked up pace to match Nelson’s. He stopped a second time and the sound of the horse ceased to be heard. Nelson started trotting and the sound horse’s hooves were heard at a trot behind him, close on his heels. He grew very frightened and began to run as fast as he could.  The galloping horse seemed to be so close, Nelson thought he felt the breath on the back of his neck.

Up ahead Nelson saw the lighted windows of the cabin belonging to George and Mat Smith. He was so terrified that he hit the Smith’s front door at full force. He knocked it down and went right through the structure, knocking down the back door as he exited. The Smiths blinked at each other in wonder and amazement. They saw no phantom horse follow Nelson through their home.

Immediately after his encounter with the doors Nelson noticed the sound of the pursuing horse was gone, however, he ran on home as fast as his feet would carry him.”

*That tale reminds me of the headless horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Scary!

“The Roadcaps lived in a two-story log cabin just down the road from Gospel Hill Mennonite Church. All of the girls of the family shared a room upstairs.  One night one of the sisters, Peggy by name, went to the bedroom alone.  There she saw a woman sitting up on the iron headboard of one of the beds.

The woman didn’t say anything or move toward the frightened child, just sat there and looked at her. Peggy was rooted to the spot in fear but able to find her voice and call to her father to come to her aid.  There was something in her voice that demanded immediate attention and she heard his heavy footfall as he hurried up the stairs. As her father neared the room, the woman vanished into thin air.  Peggy never entered that room alone again.

****

The children of the Roadcap family loved to play on the banks of the little Shoemaker River near their home. Once they came running home and told their father they’d seen a woman all dressed in white walking along the opposite bank of the river from where they played. They’d never seen her before and being shy had not spoken to her but only observed her progress.

Their father listened thoughtfully and then told them they had seen the spirit of a young woman who had died years before of a broken heart. They were told they would probably see her again and that she would do them no harm. They were to behave as they had before and refrain from calling out to the spirit.

They believed their father. There were not that many people living in those parts and the children knew them all. They promised not to disturb the apparition if they encountered her again. During their childhoods they witnessed her strolling along the river on several more occasions.~

That story reminds me of the novel, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which is also a very intriguing BBC mystery/thriller starring Tara Fitzgerald. I saw the film on Netflix and highly recommend it.

***If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy other related ones.

***John Heatwole’s books are at Amazon, but may only be available as used copies.

The McChesney’s Ghost


apparition creepy dead death dress eerie female figure floating forest fright ghost

One of the scariest ghost stories ever–and it’s true.

Late Shenandoah Valley Historian and Author John Heatwole, much missed and a family friend, recorded a number of strange occurrences recounted by valley and mountain people in his fascinating book, Shenandoah Voices.  He says, “The beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is fertile and healthy ground for the sustenance of folktales…when they (the early settlers) filtered into the Valley from Pennsylvania and Maryland, they brought with them age-old traditions and superstitions. While the German-Swiss were considered to be greatly influenced by folk beliefs and superstitions, the Scot-Irish were not far behind.” Amen to that, but what if not all of these accounts are just stories? Some of them sound chillingly true and the valley and surrounding mountains are a hotspot of paranormal activity. Not every tale is imaginary, as I can attest.

The creepiest story is The McChesney’s Ghost, which I will relate from the book:

“In 1852, when Dr. John McChesney, his wife, family and their servants lived in pastoral tranquility near the village of Newport in southwestern Augusta County (***where my Scots-Irish ancestors settled–the McChesney’s among them.)

Dr. McChesney was esteemed and respected in the upper valley, and his reputation for honesty was beyond question. While deep in the winter months, the McChesneys were having supper one night, when a young slave girl named Maria burst into the house from the direction of the detached kitchen (our Augusta family home place, circa 1816, also had a detached kitchen). She was frightened and said an old woman had chased her in a threatening manner. The woman was described as having “her head tied up” which must have meant that she had her head bound with a scarf or cloth. The description did not fit anyone on the place, and the family passed off the incident as fancy.

In the next few days, however, Maria was seen to be fearful and easily startled. Dr. McChesney and the rest of the family began to take an intense interest in matters concerning the girl when stones started to fall from the roof from out of nowhere. This happened both day and night, and at times the stones were observed to be hot, as they scorched the dry grass when they fell from above.

The story of the strange happenings at the McChesneys’ became common knowledge in the surrounding countryside. It was said that hundreds of people would surround the house in the hope of witnessing a stone fall. It is not clear if they saw anything, for on some days nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Maria continued to be frightened and said that she was being chased by the old woman who remained unseen to others.

Dr. McChesney thought the girl might be tied to everything that was happening, so one day he sent her over to the home of his brother-in-law, Thomas Steele. Mrs. Steele and her children, a young white woman and a black washer woman were out in the yard doing chores that day, and Mr. Steele was away from home. Suddenly loud noises were heard from the house. It sounded like frightened horses were loose in the structure. The young woman ran to the door and called for Mrs. Steele to come look—all of the furniture was piled in a jumble in the center of the room. As if they weren’t startled enough already, stones then began to fall on the roof of the dwelling.

At that moment Maria was spotted coming toward them from over the hills. They ran to meet her and found the girl in terror of being pursued, although no one was to be seen behind her. Mrs. Steele immediately sent Maria back to the McChesneys.

Even after the girl was sent away, stones continued to fall at the Steele home. Some even entered the house and broke glass in the doors of a cupboard. Many plates and other dishes were broken, and some shards saved for many years as relics of the terrible incident.

Back at the McChesneys, strange things continued to occur as the weeks passed into early spring. One of the most singular episodes took place on a cool day as Dr. and Mrs. McChesney. Mrs. Mary Steele, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Steele and their young son, William, were sitting around a fireplace. All of the doors and windows were securely shut, when suddenly a stone seemed to fly from the upper corner of the room, hitting Mrs. Thomas Steele on the head. She was the only person struck. The wound was deep and bled profusely, and a lock of hair was cut cleanly off as if someone had used scissors. Her husband was enraged and took the invisible assailant to task by shouting that its spite should have been directed at him instead of a defenseless woman. He then sat in a chair near the door and was showered with missiles of sod and earth from within the room. His mother, Mary Steele, shouted that he would be killed and urged him to leave the room. He did so and was not followed by ‘the thing.’

It was decided to send the children of both families out of harm’s way, and they went with their grandmother to her home near the hamlet of Midway. Their error was in also sending Maria.

Soon Mary Steele’s home was in turmoil with stones flying about and the furniture in the kitchen being moved by unseen hands. One day a bench in the kitchen bucked like a playful colt. Only the children were present, and they were at first amused. Young John Steele decided to ride the bench, but the effort was more than he bargained for. He fainted and was taken from the room by the rest of the children who had become scared of the out-of-control object.

During the time the children were with their grandmother, her farmhands complained that tools and food they had taken with them to the fields were stolen—but the missing goods turned up later back at the house.

The little slave girl, Maria, complained to Mrs. Steele that she was being beaten. The kind old lady drew the child toward her and wrapped her skirts around her while she struck out at the air with her cane. Marie still cried that she was being hit and stabbed with pins. Young William Steele remembered when he was an old man that the slaps could be heard by all who were present. The child was tormented for many weeks.

Dr. McChesney, at his wit’s end, finally sold Maria south. When the child left, everything returned to normal, and Maria was not tormented in her new home. William Steele related in later years that an old black woman who lived in their neighborhood was rumored to be a witch. He described her by saying that, “She walked with a stick and chewed tobacco,” and whenever he met her on the road, he always yielded to her the right of way. William said that Maria had once spoken to the old woman in an insulting manner and was told that she would be punished for her disrespectful tongue.”

I add, apparently this punishment went on without ceasing and encompassed all those associated with Maria and any who tried to protect her. Now this is an example of a very bad witch. Exorcist, anybody?

***Royalty free images

Historical Romance Red Bird’s Song Re-Released By Amazon Encore Publishing


Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Re-release day has come for award-winning historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song by the Amazon Encore Publishing Division.

Based on events that occurred to my ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier, Red Bird’s Song centers around their conflict with the Native Americans during the French and Indian and Pontiac’s War. This adventure romance has a The Last of the Mohican’s flavor.

Research into my English/Scots-Irish ancestors unearthed accounts that inspired much of Red Bird’s Song. My fascination with Colonial America, particularly stirring tales of the frontier and the Shawnee Indians, is an early and abiding one. My forebears had interactions with this tribe, including family members taken captive. I have ties to Wicomechee, the hero of Red Bird’s Song, an outstanding Shawnee warrior who really lived and whose story greatly impacted the novel. More on Wicomechee  is included at the end of the story, as a bonus for those who read it. I’ve gone on to write other Native American themed historical romances, some with paranormal elements, each carefully researched. I’m grateful for the help of historians, reenactors, anthropologists, archaeologists, and the Shawnee themselves. All the titles in my Native American Warrior series are available in kindle at Amazon.

Handsome Native American warrior

The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee at the beginning of Red Bird’s Song was inspired by a dream I had on New Year’s Eve–a propitious time for dreams–about a young warrior taking an equally young woman captive at a river and the unexpected attraction between them. That dream had such a profound impact on me that I took the leap from writing non-fiction vignettes to historical/paranormal romance novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life. That was years ago and the saga continues.

At the start of Red Bird’s Song, I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another dream. When I describe him in the book I’m envisioning a character I know. Eyes of the Wolf became a spirit guide and spoke to me throughout the writing of this book, and others. He’s there still in various guises. My journey with him is not complete.

pipetomahawkThe attack at the opening of Red Bird’s Song in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta CountyA renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them. I’d initially intended to make Colin Dickson in Red Bird’s Song the historical villain that he was, but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.

Hawk EyeRegarding the setting for Red Bird’s Song: In the early mid 1700’s, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and surrounding mountains was the colonial frontier. Only hardy souls dared to settle here. The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish, among them my ancestors. If 18th century warriors only had to fight regular British troops, they might ultimately have prevailed. They scared the crap out of men trained for conventional warfare. But the long knives were born fighters, and not easily intimidated. They learned from their cunning enemy and adopted their methods, weapons, and clothing.

The ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies are also the setting for some of my other historical-paranormal romance novels, Through the Fire, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, and my short historical romance, The Lady and the Warrior. I see these ridges from our farm in the Shenandoah Valley. The foothills are only a hop, skip and a jump away from us. The ever-changing panorama of the seasons never fails to inspire me. My latest venture, a YA fantasy romance series entitled Secret Warrior, (release date TBD) is also set in the mountains.

The Alleghenies, the Virginia colonial frontier

Red Bird’s Song is Book 3 in my Native American Warrior Series. The series loosely ties together based more on time and place and strong Native American characters than as a traditional series that follows the story line. However, Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the actual sequel to Through the Fire, and there will be other sequels. In addition to Native Americans, hardy Scots-Irish frontiersmen and women, colonial Englishmen and ladies, and even a few Frenchmen also play an important role in this series. So far, it spans the gamut from the dramatic era of the French and Indian War, through Pontiac’s War, The American Revolution, and shortly afterwards.

Story Blurb for Red Bird’s Song:

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts. As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

ReviewerTopPick-NOR

“A beautifully written story filled with adventure and suspense…This book touched my soul even as it provided a thrilling fictional escape into a period of history I have always found fascinating.” —Night Owl Book Review by Laurie-J

Eppie

“I loved the descriptions…I felt I was there…Many mystical episodes are intermingled with the events…The ending is a real surprise, but I will let you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.”  —Seriously Reviewed

***For more on Red Bird’s Song and my other titles, visit my: Amazon Author Page.

Paranormal Account from the Shenandoah Valley


The Blue Ridge Mountains

This fascinating story is taken from Shenandoah Voices, Folklore, Legends and Traditions of the Valley by late author and historian John Heatwole.

Brock’s Gap~

“Up in the Brock’s Gap region (of the Shenandoah Valley) the old resident’s referred to the rest of the world as “out.”  It was not uncommon to hear the phrase, “people would come along from out.”

In the old days, the rest of the country was well served by the Valley Pike and other well maintained thoroughfares, but the Gap and its scattered homesteads remained isolated beyond the first rise of the Allegheny Front (*Mountains).

The hamlets of Fulks Run, Criders, Bergton and Dovesville were oases of social contact, as were a few churches here and there, but the people in the Gap were pretty self-sufficient.  Before electricity came into the area, moonless nights smothered the hills, hollows and mountains…making the faint glimmer of candlelight in a window way off a welcome sight to a late-night traveler.

It’s not surprising that some wonderful ghost stories have come from this area.  Unusual happenings were woven into stories that were told and retold…long winter nights found rapt listeners gathered around a glowing fire or warm stove to be thrilled by a story-teller.”

****

Ghost story:  “One young girl of the Crider’s area was told that she could take the horse and go to meet her mother and sister who were returning from a trip to “out” late one night.  Her path took her to a neighbor’s farm gate where she dismounted, opened the gate, led the horse through and then re-latched it.  As she climbed back on the horse, she heard something coming from the direction she had just come.

“Someone come a runnin,’ was a man a comin’ up the road a runnin’.”

He was coming fast and she was scared.  She kicked her horse into a gallop.  As she looked back over her shoulder she saw the “man” run through the closed gate as if he were made of air.  “I flew out,” she said, but it seemed to make no difference—he was gaining on her.

“When I got to the top of the hill he was about two steps behind me.  He grabbed the horse by the tail, and she kicked up, and away she went as hard as she could run!”

That did the trick and the pursuer disappeared in their dust.

“I don’t know what it was.  It wasn’t no human; no human coulda kept up with that horse!”

The woman who was once the girl in the preceding story also related her father’s brush with a demon.

“My daddy seen one, one time.  He was comin’ home after dark from Casper Turner’s.  Saw what looked like a man layin’ on a fence; had eyes like fireballs!”  Her father had a gun with him, and he shot at the demon.  The thing fell off the fence and started making a noise that made the man think he should be getting away from there.  “Had run down from the mountain.  He was scared to death.”~

I would be totally freaked out.

“The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow” And Ice, Freezing Rain…


Robin“The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.”

From Nursery Rhyme & History: “This nursery rhyme is referred to as either the North Wind doth blow or The Robin. ‘The North Wind doth blow’ is British in its origins and believed to have originated in the 16th century history. ‘The North Wind doth blow’ uses the olde English word ‘doth’. The purpose of the words to ‘The North Wind doth blow’ is to ensure that a child associates security with home whilst empathizing with the plight of the robin.”

I thought of this old rhyme because we are under a winter storm watch in the Shenandoah Valley late tonight through Sunday night and threatened with snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice. So, the generator and backup generator are as ready as they can be to keep the farm going and cows milked. I’d also like some electricity in the house, being the product of a modern spoiled age. Our internet provider is a small local company (two guys in their basement, I think) so chances are that will go out. 

ganderAnother favorite of mine is Christmas is Coming:

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do. And if you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you!”

 

From Christmas is Coming: (same site as above)

“The lyrics of the poem “Christmas is coming” associate the Christmas feast with geese which are eaten in traditional English Christmas feasts. The meaning that is conveyed to a child in “Christmas is coming” is that the festive period is where each should give to charity, according to their means… even if all they could give was their blessing (If you haven’t got a penny…)”

***A pertinent post from past holiday’s you may enjoy: Christmas is coming the Geese are Getting Fat

‘A Very Virginia Christmas Stories and Traditions’–Charming Christmas Collection!


ea3ae-averyvirginiachristmasA Very Virginia Christmas: Stories and Traditions (2012 Independent Publishers Gold Medalist) by Wilford Kale debuted last November at the Barnes & Noble in Colonial Williamsburg. I was among the authors who took part in the auspicious signing. Why, you may ask?

Because I’m delighted to have an account from my nonfiction book, Shenandoah Watercolors, included in A Very Virginia Christmas. My holiday excerpt in this wonderful collection describes celebrating Christmas at the old Family home place in the Shenandoah Valley. I’m honored to be among the illustrious authors who span centuries of life in my beloved Virginia, and proud to add my voice to the holiday reminiscences from our beautiful valley. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you’re missing out, and it’s getting to be that time of year again. The book would make an excellent Christmas gift. A Very Virginia Christmas is available in hardcover at Amazon and from many other booksellers.
 
The publisher of this lovely Christmas Collection, Parke Press, has this to say about A Very Virginia Christmas:
“For the past 400 years, Virginians have created traditions of their own, borrowing from a variety of Christmas celebrations in other countries. This year, Wilford Kale has compiled the work of 16 contributors telling how Virginians observe the Christian wintertime holiday: from the Shenandoah Valley to the Eastern Shore, from colonial days up to the 21st century, in times of need to times of feasting and merriment. Read about eggnog, Robert E. Lee‘s Christmas, Parke Rouse‘s Christmas on the Southside, Richmond’s Nativity pageant, and Earl Hamner‘s childhood Christmas in the Virginia mountains. You will also find stories including the Christmas Truce, the origin of “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph,” along with other Christmas favorites. Your storytelling time at Christmas will be warmer and cozier than ever with these tales that remind all ages of the real meaning of  “the most wonderful time of the year.”
An article in the Virginia Gazette gives even more insights to this vintage Christmas collection and the special man behind it, Wilford Kale. Entitled A Jolly Collection of Virginia Christmases, the article goes on to say: “Who better to compile a book about Christmas in Virginia than a man who could pass for Santa Claus. Wilford Kale, a long-time journalist, short-term politician and part-time Kris Kringle, has edited “A Very Virginia Christmas – Stories and Traditions,” a new collection of stories, anecdotes and traditions about Christmas. He’s included the work of some heavy hitters, including Earl Hamner of “The Waltons” fame, Booker T. Washington, Park Rouse and Francis Church. Oh, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Alfred Tennyson are included too.
The collection includes four centuries of Christmas memories and anecdotes, ranging from Capt. John Smith to the generations of children who visited perhaps the state’s best-known Santa at Miller & Rhoads in Richmond.”
To that I add, and me! For the complete article, visit the link. And God Bless us Everyone!
***Images of the old family home place outside of Staunton, Virginia, a wreath in Colonial Williamsburg, and a Victorian Santa Claus (royalty free)