Farmland Where Civil War Battle Occur Must Be Preserved | Latest titles
By ANNA BRYSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch
VARINA, Va. (AP) — Growing up in Varina in the 1940s and 1950s, Howard Eberly played on the family farm, swam in the creek and found “treasures” on the land. It turns out that some of these treasures are important historical artifacts.
The Eberly family moved from Pennsylvania to Henrico County in the 1880s and established Four Mile Creek Farm in Varina. Howard Eberly, 79, is a fourth-generation owner of the land and lives in the family home off Route 5.
Before no-till farming became the norm, Eberly’s family used to till the soil before planting crops. Eberly said he remembered going out after rain fell on the plowed ground and finding objects such as arrowheads and bullets.
His family knew the land had been a battlefield, but he knew little of the history.
Later, Eberly befriended a state archaeologist and historians who taught him some of the history of the land where his family’s farm is located.
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Four Mile Creek Farm is a central feature of the New Market Heights battlefield and the scene of the battle of September 29, 1864, when American Colored Troops broke through Confederate defenses for their greatest victory of the Civil War. The battle directly led to the fall of Petersburg and then Richmond. The National Park Service has considered the property among the highest priorities for preservation.
In just over an hour into the battle, around 800 men were dead. Fourteen African-American soldiers received the Medal of Honor, which is significant given that in American military history, only 16 Army Medals of Honor were awarded to black troops throughout the duration of the war. civil.
“When I think of the waste of men and resources of war, it breaks my heart,” Eberly said. “A lot of great people have been lost. I think we need to remember them.
That’s why Eberly decided to donate 28 acres to the Capital Region Land Conservancy to ensure the land will be preserved forever.
“I feel very at peace with myself knowing what’s going to happen” to the earth, Eberly said. “I think my family would believe I’m doing the right thing.”
The Four Mile Creek area has a number of archaeological sites that show that this was an important early settlement for native people.
The 28-acre land that Eberly donated to CRLC is one of two that make up Eberly’s 73-acre farm. A second 45-acre parcel, owned by Eberly and her sister, will be transferred to the land trust at a later date. The agreement with the CRLC ensures that the property will be protected while Eberly continues to live on the farm. The CRLC has also committed to keeping the Eberly name associated with the land and opening the site for future public access.
“The New Market Heights Battlefield is an important historic and cultural site in our Commonwealth, where brave American Colored Troops heroically fought back against the Confederacy,” Rep. Don McEachin, D-4e, said in a statement. “I applaud the Eberly family for their generosity in donating the Four Mile Creek farm to the Capital Region Land Conservancy, and I am confident that CRLC will effectively care for and preserve the history of the property and the Varina region. . We must continue to work to share the untold story of USCT heroism and leadership during the Civil War.
When Eberly met Parker C. Agelasto, executive director of CRLC, he said he was shocked to learn that his farm was listed in the top 10% of all Virginia land to be protected in numerous categories.
“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” he said.
The Varina district is the last undeveloped part of Henrico, and many who live there want it to stay that way despite pressure from developers.
Eberly said that when he was growing up in his 1950s, he knew every car he saw on the road. Depending on the time of day, he also knew where they were going.
“People move here, buy a lot, build a house, then start screaming overdevelopment,” Eberly said. “It’s been going on since the 50s.”
A strip of land just down the road from Four Mile Creek Farm was to become The Ridings at Warner Farm, a housing estate of 770 homes which would have been built on nearly 420 acres. Residents were concerned about the potential impact on the Camp Holly Springs aquifer and the New Market Heights battlefield.
Eventually, the developers pulled out of the decades-planned project.
Eberly’s donation of her land to CRCL ensures that it will remain intact as an important historical site as well as an important environmental site.
The land is home to animals including deer, marmots and beavers. Ongoing studies show that birds migrating from South America to Canada make a farm stop, Agelasto said.
Eberly joked that the birds treated her home like a Motel 6.
A graduate of Varina High School, Eberly said he was still friends with some of the 70 students in his class. Varina is a tight-knit community.
“This has been our peaceful corner of the world for four generations,” Eberly said. “I can’t think of a place where I would rather live.
“Since there’s so much history going on here, I’d like it to stay that way and give people a bit of interest and some knowledge of what happened here.”
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