The Menokin Foundation to co-sponsor two lectures
, 2014

The Menokin Foundation to co-sponsor two lectures

The Banner Lecture Series at the Virginia Historical Society at 428 North Boulevard in Richmond will host two guest speakers in October, both co-sponsored by The Menokin Foundation.

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At noon, Thursday, October 4, Dr. John C. Coombs, a professor at Hampden-Sydney College, will present “Planter Oligarchy on Virginia’s Northern Neck.”

The rise of a distinct class of affluent families to economic, social, and political dominance in Virginia during the 17th and early 18th centuries is without doubt one of the most important developments in the Old Dominion’s early history, said foundation assistant director Leslie Rennolds.

As a group, however, the “gentry” were far from homogenous. John C. Coombs will draw on research for his forthcoming book, The Rise of Virginia Slavery, to discuss the foundations of power that were common across all ranks of the elite, as well as the circumstances that allowed the Carters, Lees, and Tayloes to achieve distinction as the colony’s “first families,” said Rennolds.

At noon October 25, David Brown and Thane Harpole of DATA Investigations will present “Unlocking Menokin’s Secrets: Archaeological and Landscape Research at a Northern Neck Plantation.”

One of the great houses to survive from colonial Virginia, Menokin was the result of a collaboration between John Tayloe II of Mount Airy and Francis Lightfoot Lee, the husband of his daughter, Rebecca, said Rennolds. Tayloe gave Lee a life interest in 1,000 acres of his vast Richmond County estate and, as a wedding present, built the plantation house and surrounding structures.

Although scant written records remain, other clues offer insight into this adaptation of European design to the environment of Eastern Virginia, she said. Speakers will discuss recent archaeological and landscape research conducted at the site.

Reservations are not required for either lecture. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children and students, free for members and Richmond Times-Dispatch readers with a Press Pass coupon. Parking is free.

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