Friends took a hike on the newly developed Bluestone Trail in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The trail is a function of the city of Harrisonburg and the sprawling and growing comprehensive university that dominates the landscape in the friendly city. Hikers and bikers shared the trail on a sunny day, which all revolved around the fourth president’s namesake school, an outstanding institution in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
The history teacher recently took fifty-five students to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take a one hour tour of the distinguished University of Virginia, and then a three hour tour of the outstanding mansion and grounds of Jefferson at Monticello. The students were challenged by Jefferson’s vision for America, his determination to stand for religious freedom, and his inventive genius.
The 800 year old Magna Carta was on display in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., on December 20, 2014, when the historian and family was privileged to see the historic document. When the nobles insisted on a few basic rights in the face of King John’s tyranny, in 1215, they set a course of representative government in the western world that paved the way for other historic documents of democracy.
On October 2, 2014, the historian gave a lecture entitled “Sermons from Barns,” at the Lake Township Historical Society, Ohio. The Society members met in the Richard Werstler barn in North Canton, Ohio. The President of the Society asked to view Elmer S. Yoder’s 230 slides on barns taken over a thirty year span, which Elmer’s son gladly obliged. This is the barn where several hundred folks from northeast Ohio came to view the slide lecture.
The Historian found a Mennonite meetinghouse on Mutton Hollow Road, Greene County, Virginia, on a recent forray off the Skyline Drive. Established as a mission station by the Middle District of the Virginia Mennonite Conference in the early 20th century, the church today, Mt. Hermon Mennonite, is a part of the Southeastern Mennonite Conference.
Recently the Historian visited the site where Northern Officer John Meigs died during the Civil War. His death nearly caused the burning of Dayton, but it did result in many barns and other structures being burned by Union troops in the surrounding area. Meigs’ marker is one evidence that remains of the terrible burnning of over 400 barns, over 30 mills and around 30 houses by Union forces during the Valley Campaign of 1864, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
In 1725 Heinrich and Anne Funck built a flour mill along Indian Creek, in what is today Telford, Pennsylvania. The old mill remains and is located on Mill Road in Telford, Montgomery County, Pa. Heinrich and Anne raised a large family and one of their grandsons, Joseph Funk, eventually set up a print shop in Singers Glen, Virginia, to print song books and other materials. Heinrich Funck was a force behind getting the Martyrs Mirror printed in German in the New World.
A quote from the Old Testament book of Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty,” appears cast on the side of the famous Philadelphia icon. Located in Independence Mall, the bell stands as a symbol of independent America, which announced its separation from Britain in 1776. The historian waited in line with hundreds of others to see the famous bell in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city where the Yoders arrived in 1742.
A silver globe towers over the north side of Columbus Circle, Manhattan Island, New York City. Columbus Circle, on the southwest corner of Central Park and located along the famous Broadway avenue in New York, is the reference point from which all official distances from New York are measured. The controversy over Columbus’ legacy notwithstanding, the journeys of Columbus across the Atlantic in the 15th century became a reference point for the modern era.
An effigy of President Lincoln presides over the busy Union Square on Manhattan Island, New York City. Union Square appropriately hosts the 16th president, watching over a bi-weekly farmer’s market, artists, protesters, and youth on skateboards. A Virginia historian recognizes his legacy in terms of the Shenandoah Valley Burning in 1864, but nevertheless Lincoln kept the Union together, for which we are grateful.