Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Book Review - They Called Stafford Home

They Called Stafford Home - The Development of Stafford County Virginia from 1600 until 1865
by Jerrilyn Eby
Heritage Books, Westminster MD
copyright 1997, published 2007
ISBN 9780788406652

The history of Fredericksburg, Virginia is inextricably linked to Stafford County to which Fredericksburg is adjacent, making this book a wonderful source for information on the people who have interacted with the residents of Fredericksburg and the ways in which the places have influenced each other throughout history.

After five chapters of background, the book has sections devoted to defined areas within the county, the buildings, individual homes and families within these areas. As such, this book is a treasure trove of information for those who are doing genealogical research, as well as for those who are interested in the history of the area.

Much to my delight, there are maps at the beginning of each area section identifying the location of the homes described. Illustrations of many of the homes add to the understanding of how the residents of Stafford County lived.

This book is a prime example of preservation through publication, preserving what would otherwise be lost through the destruction of old houses and with the deaths of those whose personal histories are an integral part of the county's history.

The author, Jerrilyn Eby MacGregor, grew up in Stafford County and spent much of her childhood riding horseback visiting ruins of old houses and talking to people who shared with her stories about the houses and people. She has devoted over 20 years to a systematic research and writing of the history of Stafford County. She has published Laying the Hoe: a Century of Iron Manufacturing in Stafford County, Virginia; Men of Mark: Officials of Stafford County, Virginia, 1664-1991" and is currently finishing a book about the Stafford County militia (1781-1856) and a two-volume set on land tracts, mills, and industries in Stafford. Her interest in Stafford County and her diligent research into its history make this book a must have for anyone with an interest in this area, to include the Fredericksburg area.

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