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In the News

The Society is proud of its achievements and its regular schedule of public events.  We try to keep the public informed of all our activities and hope you will visit our web news site often to hear about the details of our programs.

Good News about the future Farm Heritage Museum

December 15, 2015

The Historical Society today received a grant for the Future Farm Heritage Museum in the amount of $30,.000 as a matching grant. Other grants are in the process of being submitted for the new museum to be located at Pleasant Grove. More information on this step forward for the museum will be announced as it is received. With the help of a number of dedicated volunteers and many donors, we have over $20,000 collected for this project. With the additional grants, we hope to have funding to build the structure to house the history of farming and heritage farm equipment. If you would like to donate, please sent your contributions which are tax deductible to the Fluvanna Historical Society at P.O. Box 8, Palmyra VA 22963 and indicate the

Farm Museum for your doantion.

Thank you!


Annual Meeting at Seay’s Chapel

Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.

The Annual Meeting of the Fluvanna County Historical Society will be held on Sunday, October 13, 2013, at Seay’s Chapel Methodist Church, Fluvanna’s latest addition to the National Register of Historic Places, at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Following the meeting, attendees are invited to tour the historic sanctuary, grounds, and cemetery with the earliest burial dating to 1895.

The meeting will include a presentation by Andy Sorrell entitled, “Fluvanna Lost but Not Forgotten” a pictorial history of lost architecture of Fluvanna County. Andy will also briefly speak of the history of Seay’s Chapel and the surrounding communities of Shores, Seven Islands, and Hardware, once bustling stops along the James River and Kanawha Canal and later the railroad.

Seay’s Chapel was built in 1892, by Captain James Henry Anderson who also built Palmyra Church.  The quaint one-room sanctuary’s façade is framed by a 200 year old White Oak affectionately known as the Seay Oak. The church is named after its benefactor, Andrew Jackson Seay who owned the home Melrose next door and owned and ran Middleton Mills down along the James River.  Seay’s Chapel is the successor of the Seven Islands Meeting House which had been located two miles to the north from the current location, between the plantations of Thomas Shores and William Henry. When the community of Shores became more populated in the years after the Civil War, the church congregation moved to the current location.  Prior to the church being located on-site, the church grounds hosted a one-room schoolhouse. Later in 1911, the Shores School was taken down and moved 1 mile north on Shores Road.  Seay’s Chapel is the last non-residential building remaining in the community of Shores. As noted on the bronze plaque on the front of the church building, the sanctuary and cemetery were added to the Virginia Landmarks registry and national Register of Historic Places in 2012.        

Seay’s Chapel is located between Columbia and Scottsville at 4800 Shores Road (Rt. 640) approximately 4 miles south of Route 6 (West River Road).  From Route 15 in Fork Union, take Route 6 for 3.5 miles  and turn left on Mountain Hill Road (Route 650).  After 4 miles, take a right onto Shores Road (Rt. 640).  Seay’s Chapel is ¼ mile on the left.  Refreshments to be provided.  In the case of inclement weather, the meeting will be in the fellowship hall directly behind the church.  If weather permits, we will have the meeting outside, so please bring a lawn chair.

Fluvanna Historical Society Publishes New Book-- A Tribute to Fluvanna Artist, Ellen Miyagawa

The Fluvanna Historical Society has for many years produced books and bulletins about the history of Fluvanna County. The Society has now published its latest book,The Artist of Melrose – Ellen Miyagawa Collection, a compilation of the pen and ink drawings of historic Fluvanna buildings by the late Society president and local artist, Ellen Miyagawa.

Given a grant to publish the book by Ellen’s husband, Bob Miyagawa, it was written and compiled by the Society’s Executive Director, Judith Mickelson and Publications Editor, David Bearr. “I want to thank David and Judy for producing a first-rate publications. TheArtist of Melrose is a moving tribute to one of Fluvanna County’s most talented people. Ellen Miyagawa’s legacy is enriched by this beautiful new book,” said Society President Marvin Moss.

Bob and Ellen Miyagawa purchased Melrose, an historic house built in 1813, and moved to Fluvanna County in 1978 after living in many different places as a part of Bob’s Navy service. After moving to Fluvanna County, Ellen immersed herself in Fluvanna’s history and served as president twiceand played a key role in moving the Society to a new and more active role in all aspects of preservation. Maggie’s House, the Society’s new headquarters in Palmyra, would not exist had it not been for Ellen’s dream of purchasing and restoring it.

Ellen’s community achievements have been honored and recognized throughout the region. In 1994 the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce named Ellen its "Citizen of the Year" and in 2003 the Fluvanna Farm Bureau Auxiliary did, as well. On November 13, 2004, The Thomas Jefferson Branch of Preservation Virginia presented Ellen with its Preservationist of the Year Award at a ceremony at Farmington County Club. In 2004, The Daily Progress of Charlottesville named her one of the paper’s “Distinguished Dozen” citizens praising her for her community work and her tireless efforts for preservation.

Throughout this period Ellen was busily traveling around Fluvanna with her sketchbook in hand. The result is a superb collection of drawings of Fluvanna’s historic buildings. Ellen died in 2006, and the community came together to celebrate her life and achievements.

The book is available only through the Fluvanna Historical Society located in Maggie's House next to the Old Stone Jail Museum in Court Square, Palmyra. 434.589.7910 The book is priced at $20 plus VA. tax. Books can be shipped out for an additional fee. Hours for the Society are Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1-4 pm or by appointment.

Historical Society Receives Gift of Land

            The Fluvanna Historical Society recently received a generous gift of 1.3 acres of land in Palmyra, Fluvanna’s county seat.  Given to the Society by the estate of William and Mary Haden, a family with deep roots in Fluvanna, the Society, in conjunction with the Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation, is developing plans for the use of the land.

Robert Harry Haden who lived in Fluvanna was the original owner of the land.  After the crash of 1929, Mr. Haden left Palmyra and moved to Washington. DC,  and then to New York state where his son, William Haden, was born.  Young William Haden kept a keen interest in the land he owned in Fluvanna, and after visiting it, decided that he wished it to be kept as it was without being subject to development.  Eventually William Haden relocated to Colorado where he died in 2011.  His family, knowing of his interest in preserving the land, made a decision to donate it to the Fluvanna Historical Society.

The land conveyed to the Historical Society is located along the Rivanna River adjacent to the entrance to the Fluvanna Heritage Rail Trail in Palmyra.  Part of the property includes a high bluff overlooking the Rivanna River and the new bridge.  The Heritage Trail Foundation is considering construction of a new trail to the bluff and a picnic shelter for the use of Fluvanna’s citizens.

“We are very grateful for this gift from the Haden family.  It is the intention of the Historical Society to honor their desire to see this property put to good public use while preserving its natural setting,” said Historical Society President Marvin Moss

The Haden Estate intends to place a memorial marker at the entrance to the new trail to commemorate the donation

Fluvanna Historical Society Convenes Planning Meeting for Regional Historical Societies (PDF)
Historical Society Exhibits Rare Documents in Celebrating Black History Month (PDF)

Newest publication: Virginia’s Palmyra - The Shiretown of Fluvanna by David W.C. Bearr. A photographic essay of the Village of Palmyra. Vintage and contemporary photos by local photographers. Available now. Click for order form.

Recent Press Releases

Civil War 150 Legacy Project: Library of Virginia and Fluvanna County Historical Society 2011 (PDF)
Sydney Valenzuela Wins 2011 Jessie Hunt Award (PDF)

Archived Press Releases

Katie Henry Wins 2010 Jessie Hunt Award (PDF)
Hannah Scruggs Wins 2009 Jessie Hunt Award (PDF)
Laura Donahue Wins 2008 Jessie Hunt Award
Society Receives Grant to Plan African-American Education Museum
Jon Lohman Lecture (PDF)
Old Fashioned Village Holiday Event (PDF)
Jessica Barnett Wins 2007 Jesse Hunt Award (PDF)
Historical Society and NAACP Receive Grant (PDF)
Rick Britton Lecture on General John Hartwell Cocke (PDF)


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