Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry are coming to Abingdon
for a Wine Dinner on Wednesday February 12, 2020
and a Conversation on Stage at the Barter Theatre on Thursday, February 13, 2020

conversation.jpg Acclaimed reenactors Bill Barker and Richard Schumann will be visiting Abingdon on Wednesday February 12th and Thursday, February 13, 2020. Mr. Barker currently portrays Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and Mr. Schumann depicts Patrick Henry at Colonial Williamsburg. Both men have become recognized as master interpreters of these two Founding Fathers and key figures in Virginia's history.

Mr. Barker has portrayed Thomas Jefferson at Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Philadelphia, Washington and other venues around the world since 1981. He combines theater with deep historical scholarship in order to relate Jefferson’s life and times to our world today. Bill is the same height, weight and appearance as Mr. Jefferson, and has served as a model for statues of Jefferson at West Point and the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

Mr. Schumann portrays Patrick Henry at Colonial Williamsburg living museum of colonial history in Virginia. Richard has educated thousands of children each year about the legacy of one of America’s lesser known, but influential founding fathers.

With our location on the colonial frontier, the early history of Washington County is closely tied to Thomas Jefferson’s America. From his father’s role as a Virginia surveyor to the westward expansion on the Wilderness Road and Lord Dunmore’s War, followed by the Fincastle Resolutions and the Overmountain Men at King’s Mountain, our history influenced Mr. Jefferson’s era as much as it was influenced by it.

henry.jpg Patrick Henry was born to middle-class parents in 1736 and grew up to become a slave-holding farmer. He eventually became a lawyer and was twice governor of the colony of Virginia. Henry was a staunch proponent of the American Revolution who later opposed creation of the U.S. Constitution, fearing it would weaken states’ power. Later, he helped develop the Bill of Rights which guarantees rights such as freedom of speech, religion and assembly. He married twice and had 17 children before his death in 1799.

On Wednesday February 12th, Abingdon Vineyards will be hosting a wine dinner with Jefferson and Henry in attendance as a fund raiser for the Historical Society. The 4 course meal of colonial favorites will be prepared by Chef Charles Parker and each course will be paired with an Abingdon Vineyards wine. In between courses, Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson and Richard Schumann as Patrick Henry will speak about their life and times, with a focus on wine and viticulture in Virginia. The dinner will be from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Abingdon Vineyards (20530 Alvarado Road, Abingdon, Virginia). Seating is $100 per person with advance tickets required.

jefferson_horseback.jpg Tickets can be purchased at the Abingdon Vineyards website. For more information, you can contact Abingdon Vineyards by email at at or call them at (276) 623-1255. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm.

As a continuation of the Historical Society fundraising event, on Thursday February 13th, Barter Theatre will host "A Conversation with Henry and Jefferson". Bill Barker and Richard Schumann will take the Barter Theatre Gilliam Stage (127 West Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia) for a one-night interactive dialogue you won't want to miss. The doors open at 6:00 pm and the program is from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Guests will enjoy colonial era music from local brothers "Sons of Liberty" and the "Muster Ground Musick" fife and drum corps.

Tickets are $25 per adult and a free child ticket is included with the purchase of each adult ticket. Tickets can be purchased online through the Barter Theatre website or by contacting the Barter Theatre Box Office (276-628-3991 or The Box Office is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Sponsorships are also available through the Historical Society. Sponsors will be recognized in the evening’s program. There are four sponsorship levels for this event: President ($1,000) which includes eight tickets; Governor ($500) which includes six tickets; Patriot ($250) which includes four tickets; and Pioneer ($100) which includes two tickets. Click this link to view the sponsorship response form. If you have any questions or would like to become a financial sponsor, please give us a call at 276-623-8337 or email Walt Jenny at .

The Historical Society would like to recognize and thank last year's sponsors of a Conversation with Thomas Jefferson. Each of these sponsors contributed to the 2019 event, the success of which has allowed the Society to continue with this year's Conversation with Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Thank you for your support...It makes all the difference!

2019 Sponsors

We’re excited about this special event supporting the Historical Society and we invite you to attend as a sponsor or as a guest! It should be a fun evening and hopefully will raise some funds for the Society. All it needs is for you to attend and participate. So get your tickets from the Barter ticket office, figure out something to debate with Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, and show up on February 13th. Or,just come and listen to the conversation.

See you at the Barter!



Want to take a leisurely stroll or get some exercise while here in Abingdon, why not take a walking tour of Civil War related sites in town? Just click on the picture to download a PDF version of our walking tour brochure. At the moment the printed version of the brochure is unavailable, but we hope to eventually get more stock in over the coming months. In the meantime, download the PDF to your phone or print out a hard copy and start exploring the rich history of the town.

(Available Only Through The Historical Society Of Washington County, Virginia)

Item Image
The long-awaited book, CEMETERIES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA has just been released. The book updates the well-known High On A Windy Hill cemetery book published in 1969. It contains Additions and Corrections to more than 333 cemeteries that were listed in High On A Windy Hill. The book is available exclusively at the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia library in Abingdon, Virginia or through the Society’s website, This hardbound edition consists of 642 pages and is priced at $49.95 plus tax. If ordered online, a shipping and handling fee is added. Cemeteries of Washington County, Virginia is the perfect Christmas gift for genealogists with research interests in Washington County area.

Item: 421
Price: $49.95

Welcome to the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia

hswcv_icon.png Located in downtown Abingdon, Virginia, the Historical Society of Washington County (HSWCV) is headquartered on Main Street. Since its founding in 1936 the Society has grown from a small collection housed in founders' homes into one of the finest small historical and genealogical research facilities in Virginia. The Society has achieved this reputation through the depth of our holdings and the ability to make information easily searchable and available to visiting researchers. We have a reference library of over 7,000 volumes, and searchable databases of over one million indexed records (the index is available on this site), and over 180,000 digital images of photographs and historical documents. The Society also owns many rare artifacts pertaining to the history of the county. Our Vision is to be an educational resource and community leader committed to collecting, preserving and sharing the records of people, places and events, so that future generations may find common interest and knowledge in the unique heritage of our County and surrounding region. We encourage you to visit us, either in person or online, and find your Southwest Virginia roots.

facebook.png In addition to using our website, we invite you to visit our HSWCV Facebook group. Keep up with what's going on with the Society and share research with other members on our Facebook group page. Just click on the Facebook icon to log in to Facebook and go straight to our group page. Anyone can read the posts, but to be able to reply, ask to join. You will be added to the group within a day or two. We currently have over 3,000 members so there are lots of possible undiscovered cousins out there!

Most of our staff are volunteers. We derive funding from memberships, donations and store sales. Monies received are used to meet library operating expenses and for the preservation of our regional history. Your donation supports our mission to collect and preserve the history of Washington County, Virginia. Please give what you can. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated.

tripadvisor.png So whether you would like to volunteer, become a member, or just visit as you are passing through town, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to browse or search our website and, if you can, come by and see us. Oh, and leave a review at TRIP ADVISOR by clicking the link on the right. The feedback will help us improve the services we provide to visitors. We make sure to read each review so tell us how your feel about your visit.

amazon_smile.png Finally, if you shop at Amazon, please participate in their AmazonSmile program. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Every item available for purchase on is also available on AmazonSmile ( at the same price. You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages.


Volunteering is the cornerstone of the Society organization and activities. Volunteer opportunities range from greeting visitors, program and event planning, genealogy research, assisting guests in the research library, researching and setting up new exhibits in the museum, and cataloging items. We seek a diverse group of volunteers of any age who can apply their skills, interests and experiences to a wide range of assignments either on a regular basis or for a one time project/event. Please consider volunteering, your help and support are needed.

To inquire about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Society by email at or give us a call at 1-276-623-8337. We would love to hear from you.


Members of the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia are joined in a profound respect for history and share a sense of duty to maintain the historical record of the past people, places, and events which have defined our region. We invite you to join us in our preservation efforts. Become a member and receive exclusive discounts and privileges, including: invitations to member-only events, a subscription to the Society Newsletter, and member access to research resources.
If you wish to apply or renew, just click on the icon to the right to access the Memberships section of our Store page. You may also call the office at 276-623-8337 and mail us a check for your dues.

HSWCV Newsletters

To keep our members up to date on the latest activities at the Society, the HSWCV publishes two to three newsletters a year. We maintain an archive of the latest issues online. Just click on the links below to view both the current issue and preceding back issues. Please contact us if you would like to contribute content or help with editing the newsletter. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

September 2019 | March 2019 | June 2018 | January 2017 | April 2016 | December 2015 | April 2015 | Nov 2014 | Mar 2014 | October 2013 | May 2013 | February 2013 | October 2012 | July 2012 | April 2012 | January 2012 |


Cinder's Picks


Item Image
The long-awaited book, CEMETERIES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA has just been released. The book updates the well-known High On A Windy Hill cemetery book published in 1969. It contains Additions and Corrections to more than 333 cemeteries that were listed in High On A Windy Hill. The book is available exclusively at the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia library in Abingdon, Virginia or through the Society’s website, This hardbound edition consists of 642 pages and is priced at $49.95 plus tax. If ordered online, a shipping and handling fee is added. Cemeteries of Washington County, Virginia is the perfect Christmas gift for genealogists with research interests in Washington County area.

Item: 421
Price: $49.95


Item Image
A new book by Donna Akers in the Images of Modern America series.

This collection of photographs and postcards is intended to allow residents and visitors to recall the decades from the 1950s to the 1980s with images of streetscapes, buildings, businesses, churches, schools, friends, and community leaders.

Soft cover, 9 x 6", 95 pages, 2017
Item: 411
Price: $22.99


Item Image

By Muriel Kenly Vance and Elizabeth Baker Grant

The artists (now deceased) were residents of Abingdon and have captured in pen and ink 16 images of the town's historic houses and buildings, circa 1976. Each image is suitable for framing as is. Pages are approximately 12x17. These images are also excellent for an older child to colorize.

Item: 039
Price: $2.50

Friendliest Town on the Trail

Friendliest Town on the Trail

By Bunny Medeiros

The Appalachian Trail was opened by 1937 and by the mid-fifties a handful of people had walked its entire length. As "thru-hiking" took hold, more and more hikers were coming through Damascus, Virginia. Their adventures prompted a change in the character of the town, leading to its reputation of being "the friendliest town on the Trail". In this book you will meet some of the people from the town during that period and learn more about the five trails passing through the area.

Soft Cover, 6 X 9", 111 pages, 2014
Item: 270
Price: $12.95

Working for Stuarts: Life on One of the Oldest and Largest Cattle Farms East of the Mississippi


By Kathy Shearer

Working for Stuarts reveals the rich history of this immense farming operation whose family roots reach back to 1776. Stories and pictures from the 1900s to the present tell of the lives of the men and women who worked and lived on the four farms: Elk Garden, Rich Mountain, Clifton, and Rosedale.

Soft cover (8 X 10), with 100s of photographs, 2015, 575 pages with index
Item: 401
Price: $40.00


Published by Holston Territory Genealogical Society, 545 pps, Hardbound.

Item Image

Item: 010 Price: $10.95


80th Logo Tee

All cotton, mid weight, white unisex tee
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL (please specify on order form)
Item: 342
Price: $12.35


Victorian Marriage Certificate
This Matrimonial Certificate has been digitally reproduced from a late 1800's Washington County family Bible. It is printed on matt finish 13x19 inch photo paper (so the names can be written in), and is suitable for framing. This would make a unique gift for a wedding, anniversary, or any special family occasion. The Certificate is not printed until ordered, and is sent by regular mail only.

Item: 062
Price: $6.95



This essay is an examination of what happened during the Reconstruction Era in one place in the South, Washington County, Virginia. When the Civil War ended, the people struggled to reestablish their economy and cope with the frequently changing political situation. Although most white people bitterly opposed political reconstruction, they persevered and gradually accepted their new situation, rebuilt old institutions, and formed new ones. The time was not as bleak as most would imagine, at least not in this place.

Soft cover, with photographs, 2015, 119 pages with index

Item: 329 Price: $18.99