Thursday, May 8, 2014

Richmond, Virginia

Currently I am in Richmond for the National Genealogical Society annual conference. Jim came with me for the first part of the trip, and we flew out here last Friday. Our son and daughter-in-law also joined us last weekend, so we stayed at a Residence Inn booking one of their two bedroom suites. It was nice to have a place to gather in the evenings and as we were planning our day. On Saturday morning we drove to the Malvern Hill Battlefield, where three different wars had been fought, the most recent being a seven day battle during the Civil War. I was interested in Malvern Hill because the property was once owned by Richard Cocke, possibly my 9th great-grandfather. He left the land to his son Thomas, who built a house there in the mid to late 1600's. I had read that there were some still some remains of the home on the grounds. We drove around the area, but never did see remnants of the house.

We did find the Malvern Hill National Battlefield Cemetery, however. Unfortunately the office there was closed, because they probably could have given me more information on the family and the house.

Malvern Hill Battlefield Cemetery

We decided to head over to the American Civil War Museum at Tredegar to see if they could shed any light on Malvern Hill. When I approached the desk and explained what I was looking for, they suggested I go upstairs and talk to Ranger Mike. At the top of the steps I asked the man behind the counter if he was Mike, and he said no but perhaps he could help me. I told him I was looking for information about Malvern Hill because I believe I am descended from the Cocke family. He looked surprised, and said, "Well, then we are cousins because I am a descendant as well!" How about that? As we talked about names in the tree, it became obvious that we are referring to the same family. Ranger Mike joined us and told us what he knows about the Cocke family. The house remains are on private land, so that is why we couldn't find them.

Maymont Mansion

On Sunday after breakfast we drove to the Maymont Estate. Located on 100 acres, this Richmond area mansion was given to the city by James and Sallie Dooley upon their deaths. James was an Irish immigrant who made his fortune rebuilding the railroads after the destruction of the Civil War. In addition to the beautiful house, there are numerous gardens, a nature center, a children's farm and wildlife exhibits. And it is all free, with a suggested donation of $5 per person for a tour of the house. Amazing!


Sallie Dooley's bedroom
Maymont gardens


Maymont waterfall


Maymont Japanese garden

After the garden tour, the kids had to take off to head home and get ready for work the next day, so Jim and I grabbed lunch and then drove into downtown Richmond in the hopes of seeing some of the sites there. Unfortunately, there was a huge bike race going on and we got caught up in traffic like I haven't seen before. Over 400 cyclists were here for the US National Collegiate Road National Championships, and we could not seem to get away from the road closures and back ups. We decided to bail on the idea of touring that day, and we headed back out of town towards our hotel. It was a great two days otherwise!


1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

The Maymont is spectacular!

Leave it to you to run into a potential relative.

It sounds like you might enjoy Pinkie and Boy. Maybe they will mysteriously appear on your front porch someday....