Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gold mining in Fauquier discussed

Throughout the history of mankind there has been a fascination with gold. Acquiring this shinny, soft metal has caused nations to rise, wars to be fought, and adventures of discovery to be embarked upon.

The gold mining industry in Fauquier County, which existed for more than 100 years, is the topic of an upcoming lecture presented by Bob Sinclair, curator and park manager at Monroe Park Gold Mining Camp Museum in Goldvein, Va. The lecture will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at the John Barton Payne Building.

The lecture will also cover the issues surrounding present day prospectors who, with pans in hand, roam the tributaries flowing into the Rappahannock River in search of instant fame and fortune.

The ongoing search for gold brought the Spanish to the New World. They were followed shortly by their “riches-seeking” European neighbors – the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, and the English.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the first “authoritative voices” to speak of the possibility of gold in the north central area of the Commonwealth, and by the early 19th century this precious metal was being mined at sites near Goldvein, Sumerduck, and Morrisville in southeastern Fauquier County.

Sinclair, who for 35 years served as Fauquier County history teacher and school administrator, is president of the Fauquier Heritage and Preservation Foundation in Marshall and chairman of the Fauquier County 250th Anniversary celebration committee. He is the 10th generation of his family to have lived in the area of the Bull Run Mountains near the present day town of The Plains.

This is the fourth lecture in a year-long series on American history sponsored by the library and the newly formed Fauquier Heritage Institute. Fauquier Heritage Institute was created to promote the study and love of American history. To that end, the institute is presenting free lectures monthly throughout 2008 by experienced speakers and historians.

Future Fauquier Heritage Institute lectures include such topics as: The French and Indian War, Project Apollo to the moon, the Revolutionary War, Warrenton’s war-time hospital sites, slave records in Fauquier County, and Kelly’s Ford.

Interested lecturers and volunteers, which are needed to help with the series in a variety of capacities, are encouraged to contact program Co-chairs Mrs. Paula Johnson, (540) 341-7019, or Mrs. Jackie Lee, (540) 347-0607.