Turkey with a Side of History

I spent my Thanksgiving holiday with family in Richmond, Va. The trip was chock-full of historical and genealogical fun and so I thought I would recap the highlights here.

Libby Hill Park

My sister and I spent quality time with my half-brother and his wife, family and friends. We stayed in their beautiful home in Libby Hill Park in Richmond. Their house is actually the former Libby residence. It was owned by Luther Libby, from whom the area takes its name. Libby also owned a warehouse that was turned into a rather notorious prison during the Civil War.

My half-brother, his wife and I managed to solve a family genealogy mystery, which I will describe in another post. We also went over family history documents and photos. I learned a tremendous amount.

Richmond Skyline

We participated in a slave-trail walk along the James River on Friday morning. Richmond was once a major hub in the slave trade. The two-mile hike started at Manchester Docks. We continued up the river and over the 14th Street Bridge, ending the tour at the site of the former Lumpkin’s Jail, or “Devil’s Half-Acre,” where slaves were kept before being sold. The tour was led by a National Park Service employee and was fascinating.

That afternoon, we toured the Virginia Holocaust Museum. One of the exhibits detailed the story of Lithuanian Jews who hid from the Nazis in an underground room on a farm. The nine adults and four children stayed in the room for nine months. One of them was Israel “Izzy” Ipson. He was at the museum yesterday and we had the chance to meet him after we toured the exhibit. There is a book about his family’s ordeal that I intend to read.

Not really genealogy related, but our main adventure during the holiday involved the discovery of a lost or abandoned puppy in my relatives’ yard on Thanksgiving morning. We spent the better part of Thursday and Friday trying to find his owners. Ultimately, we found him a new home. He’s so sweet, I can’t imagine anyone leaving him in the park. Unfortunately, that appears to be what happened.