Saturday, May 5, 2012

Carry me back to olde Virginny

When I last left you on my blog post of April 30th, we were still in Accomac county on Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore. From there we headed south towards the mainland by crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel which connects Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore peninsula with Virginia Beach on the mainland. As a child, we would have to take the 90-minute ferry-ride across the Chesapeake Bay to visit my grandparents. This was not a fun time for me as I suffer from motion sickness. What a relief it was for me when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was built in 1965.

The bridge-tunnel, which spans more than 17 miles, is an engineering marvel. In fact, in 1965 it was designated as one of "seven engineering wonders of the modern world". There are two tunnels, each a mile long, which go beneath two navigation channels. Each end of each tunnel terminates on a manmade island. One of them even has a restaurant and gift shop. Tom loves to time our trip so that we can eat lunch on the bridge. Here is a video about the bridge that you might find interesting.

In the next photo Tom is next to a drawing which shows you the layout of the incredible bridge-tunnel.

Once across the bay, our next destination was Farmville, Virginia. My father's father had lived there as a young child, and I wanted to see the place and hopefully learn more about my paternal grandfather's family. We even made a trip to the county courthouse to look up some records. However, we learned very little—perhaps that was from our inexperience. My father always wanted to know more about his father's side of the family. He knew very little about them other than my grandfather's father died when my grandfather was about 7 years old. My cousin, Linda, and I are still trying to find out more about the Quigleys, but it is a struggle. (It doesn't  help that the Quigleys seemed to name most of the boys John, William, or James and the girls Mary or Elizabeth.)

We stayed at a lovely B and B, full of beautiful antiques, and owned by Longwood University (formerly the Farmville Female Seminary Association and later the State Female Normal School). Our stay in Farmville was very short, but I highly recommend this B and B if you are ever in the area.

Then it was on to Blacksburg to visit one of Tom's chemistry friends, Larry. Larry is a chemistry professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. I had met Larry before, but never his wife, Gail. I feel in love with the area, and I think I would move there in a heartbeat if it weren't for having those two little grandsons here in the midwest. The scenery was spectacular.

A very interesting thing happened on our visit. On a wall of the guest room was a framed wedding certificate for Larry's grandparents. His grandmother's maiden name was Mary Justice. My goodness! Justice was also my grandmother's maiden name! Larry's family was from South Carolina and mine was from Virginia, but could we be related?

Larry showed me a book with his grandfather's family history, and in there was a very brief reference to Mary Justice's father. Wow! With those two names, I was able pretty quickly to trace Larry's line back, and lo and behold, it appears that we are 8th cousins. (We share the same ancestor, William Justice, who immigrated from England in 1655). My line of the family stayed on the Eastern Shore while Larry's moved further south, first to North Carolina and then to South Carolina. What a small world it is indeed!

To this day, I'm amazed at how quickly I was able to piece together our connection even though the family line split several hundred years ago. This also adds to my frustration of not being able to learn more about my paternal grandfather's line. I often wonder if perhaps they were only a few generations removed from Ireland. I wonder if I'll ever know.

Knowing my interest in needlework, Larry and Gail, planned for us to visit their friend, Vickie, who is an avid needleworker. WOW!! What a visit! We took lots and lots of photos, but I'll save them until my next blog post. Be ready for lots of eye candy!
Enjoy your weekend!


HollyXSing said...

Ellen: I am so glad you are back in the Old Dominion! Next time you are in Farmville, you will need to visit Greenfront Furniture....I hope the Eastern Shore is doing well. I haven't been over there in ages...My cousins live in Onancock. I enjoyed your pictures and look forward to more!

-Holly in VA

Nancy said...

I know how much you have enjoyed visiting the beautiful Eastern Shore, and isn't the Chesapeake Bay Bridge just an amazing drive! I can't wait to see the pictures from your visit with the avid needleworker!

Margaret said...

Oh wow! That is so cool about Tom's friend Larry being distantly related to you! Wow! Looks like such a fun trip you had. I love the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. It's soooo cool. Every time I go on it, I'm so impressed and amazed.

Barb said...

It looks like a great trip! what a beautiful part of the country. We have taken many a genealogy trip! Sometimes they have proven informative,other times we didn't get very far. I think that's the nature of the beast.

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

I love VA and the CBB tunnel is a marvel! I love going thru it every single time!

What a great story about you and Larry! What a small world! Surely the name Justice needs to make it onto one of your samplers, if it hasn't already!

Gosh... I miss Virginia!

woolwoman said...

what a wonderful trip you and Tom are having Ellen - I'm so glad you are having fun combining needlework and family connections. Enjoy and be safe ! Mel

Poussy Stitches My Love said...


bisous de FRANCE

Denette said...

It is such a small world. My aunt and uncle were from Farmville, VA. It is such a wonderful little place. See you in Canton in two weeks! We cannot wait!