Thursday, February 5, 2009

Historian portrays "Extra Billy" Smith

Fauquier County Public Library is hosting a free lecture presented by “living historian” David Meisky at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, in the John Barton Payne Building.

The term "living historian" refers to a person, usually dressed in period clothing, who portrays one or more individuals from the past.

William Smith, nicknamed Extra Billy, was a lawyer, congressman, two-time governor of Virginia and one of the oldest Confederate generals in the War Between the States. He established a line of United States mail and passenger post coaches through Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia in 1831. It was in this role that he earned his nickname after receiving publicity about the fees for this service.

David Meisky is a member of the Fairfax Rifles re-enactors as an infantryman. Six years ago he began presenting programs on Civil War era money and appearing as Confederate Paymaster David Meade (1833-1906). He began portraying William “Extra Billy” Smith in the spring of 2008 and is a member of Lee’s Lieutenants living history group.

The lecture is part of a series of lectures on historical topics sponsored by the library and the Fauquier Heritage Institute to be presented this year.

The Fauquier Heritage Institute was created to promote the study and love of American history and present free lectures by experienced speakers and historians. Contact program Co-chairs Mrs. Paula Johnson, (540) 341-7019, or Mrs. Jackie Lee, (540) 347-0607, for more information or to volunteer.

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