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AUTHOR:  Julia Breckinridge

My grandmother Virginia Lee Binns was the 13th child born at Silver Hall, New Kent County, VA, just up the road from Jamestown. I saw the original charter for her family’s land grant signed by King George in 1624.

Yankee soldiers came up the Rappahannock River toward Silver Hall taking blankets from the families to use for horse blankets. My great grandmother wrapped my grandmother, a new baby, in a blanket and pleaded with the Yankees not to take the baby’s blanket lest the baby die from exposure. She must have touched someone’s heart–perhaps a Northern soldier who had a baby at home–because they left my grandmother wrapped in her blanket.

The soldiers did not discover that my great grandmother had hidden the silver in the asparagus patch.

As a teenager I was taken to see Olivet Presbyterian Church. I remember the potbellied stove in the middle of the church and the balcony where the enslaved sat. The carpet had been cut out for saddle blankets. I thought it was such a desecration.

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