WW II Army doctor’s daughter publishes his letters

Author Laura Cantor Zelman autographs a copy of her book at Ashby Ponds.

Milton Cantor hoped to write a book someday based on the letters he sent home to his wife while he was serving as a U.S. Army doctor during World War II. The correspondence describes his wartime experiences in Britain, France, Germany and Czechoslovakia, as well as at several Army bases in the United States.

He never did get around to writing that book. After the war, he devoted himself to his medical practice and his family, which grew to include four daughters. He continued to practice medicine until his death at age 74.

This year, Cantor’s oldest daughter, Laura Cantor Zelman, fulfilled her father’s dream by writing and publishing “In My Father’s Words: The World War II Letters of an Army Doctor,” which draws from more than 500 letters he wrote to his wife, Rose, between 1941 and 1945.

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The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2016

Banquet facility in horse country draws fire

A plan for a banquet and events facility in the middle of horse country sparked an outcry from residents of western Loudoun County who attended a public hearing in Leesburg this month to voice their objections.

Nearly 30 people spoke against the proposed business at Catesby Farm, about five miles west of Middleburg, arguing that the noise and traffic it would generate would disturb neighboring farms and overwhelm the narrow roads in the area. Some said that the traffic would also disrupt nearby Willisville, a small village settled by freed slaves after the Civil War.

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Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2016

200 years of criminal records indexed

Although Rachel Steer, John Lambag and Arthur White lived in three different centuries, they have at least one thing in common: At some point in their lives, each ran afoul of the law in Loudoun County.

Records of their offenses have been kept and catalogued by the historic records division of the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, which recently completed an index documenting more than 10,000 criminal cases from 1757 to 1955 — a project that took about eight years. Office staff members showcased some of the most interesting criminal records Oct. 7 at an open house in the historic courthouse in Leesburg.

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Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2016

New folk school opens in Waterford

A new school opening in Waterford asks people to step away from their screens for three days and focus on learning traditional crafts and skills.

The Waterford Heritage Crafts School will offer its first classes Friday through next Sunday, giving students a chance to receive a hands-on introduction to archaeology or to learn how to restore antique windows, make quilts or mix and apply lime mortar.

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Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2016

 

Museum gets one more chance

The Loudoun Museum has been given one last chance to get its financial house in order.

The Board of Supervisors on July 21 approved an agreement with the museum that will provide $156,000 in funding to keep it operating through June, by a 7-1-1 vote. Ron A. Meyer (R-Broad Run) opposed the plan, and Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) was absent.

The agreement spells out quarterly milestones the museum must meet to receive the funds, and requires each member of the museum’s board of trustees to contribute or raise at least $3,000 annually.

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Washington Post, July 31, 2016

Preserving historic documents

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From left: Judy Hall, R. J. Hall, John Burcham and Diane Burcham, all of Leesburg, look at a restored book of records that had been laminated.

During downtown Leesburg’s First Friday event this month, scores of people got a glimpse of a war being quietly waged every day in the Loudoun County Circuit Court archives: the battle against the ravages of time, including mold, bookworms, rust and acid-laden cellophane tape.

About 160 people stepped through the doors of Leesburg’s 122-year-old courthouse — away from the sounds of al fresco diners and street musicians — to learn how the county’s historic records are being preserved and restored.

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Washington Post, June 12, 2016

Possibilities for restoring Grace Church

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Grace Church in Lincoln

Jeffrey Jackson wants to be able to show his grandson the church where his ancestors worshiped, near the graves where they are buried.

Reginald Simms envisions a museum honoring Loudoun County’s African American veterans.

Lee Lawrence would like to see a display depicting the long-standing ties between white Quakers and the African American community in the western Loudoun village of Lincoln.

Area residents offered these and other ideas for restoring the abandoned Grace Church building during a four-hour design workshop last month at the Goose Creek Friends Meeting House in Lincoln. Architects then sketched drawings showing how the two-story stone structure that housed an African American congregation from the 1880s through the 1940s might be restored and put to use.

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Washington Post, May 8, 2016

Manassas water tower survives vote

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Supporters of the 101-year-old Manassas water tower won a major victory last month when the city council unanimously rejected an appeal that would have led to its demolition.

Instead, the council voted Feb. 22 to uphold the Manassas Architectural Review Board’s ruling protecting the water tower. The council also authorized Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parish II (R) to send a letter to state and federal agencies supporting a local preservation group’s efforts to have the structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Washington Post, March 6, 2016

Civil War artifacts donated

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Capt. Edward Todd’s haversack

In 1861, Union Army Capt. Edward Todd of the 2nd Vermont Infantry was wounded at the Battle of First Manassas. He went home to Vermont for two years to recover before returning to fight in several more Civil War battles in Virginia.

More than 150 years later, Todd’s wartime haversack — a large, purselike bag he used to carry personal belongings — has returned to Manassas. The haversack is part of a collection of Civil War artifacts donated to the Manassas Museum in the summer by Northern Virginia Community College and retired history professor Charles Poland Jr.

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Washington Post, November 29, 2015

Fairfax slavery indexing project

In 1799, a 40-year-old man named Aleck was working as a carpenter at Lexington Plantation on Mason Neck. Kate, a 50-year old woman with impaired vision, was working in the plantation’s main house.

Aleck and Kate might have been forgotten if their names had not been recorded in a will book at the Fairfax County courthouse. Both were slaves owned by George Mason V, son of the statesman George Mason of Gunston Hall, and their names were recorded in an inventory of his property.

A project now underway in the Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center is making personal information about Aleck, Kate and thousands of other enslaved people more accessible by creating an index of slaves mentioned in the county’s will and deed books.

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Washington Post, October 21, 2015