History as a gift

Published 1:09 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A proposed highway marker for Thomas Pettus, who served on the Virginia House of Burgesses in the mid-1700s, lived in Lunenburg County, and participated in a meeting that was instrumental in the American Revolution’s development in Virginia, is considered to be installed at Route 634 near the Middle Fork of the Meherrin River.

Thomas Pettus was also among 89 former burgesses who met at the Raleigh Tavern the next day. The participants pledged to boycott most goods imported by the British East India Company and called for a congress of the colonies, according to documentation from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

I spoke to Bill Pettus V, who has been behind the effort to install the highway marker. Bill, who lives in Northern Virginia, was inspired to create the marker due to his father’s love and admiration of history, particularly his family’s history.

Bill said Thomas Pettus owned approximately 1,000 acres in Lunenburg County.

Markers provide a community service as well, informing the public of the significant roles that people in the county have played in United States history.

In 2017, Lunenburg County residents and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources unveiled a highway marker for Civil Rights Activist and Lunenburg resident Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne at 722 Mecklenburg Ave.

Hawthorne, a World War II veteran, was inspired to establish rights for African-Americans that included voting rights and school desegregation.

Hawthorne served as chairman of the Lunenburg branch of the NAACP from 1965-1974. He also served as a coordinator of the Virginia Students’ Civil Rights Committee and organized a voting rights march that passed through Mecklenburg Avenue.

Members of Hawthorne’s family were also present during the ceremony, and spoke about how Hawthorne’s legacy continues to hold meaning and inspiration.

The Hawthorne family, the Pettus family and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources provide enormous gifts to all of us when seeking to remember those in their families who were instrumental in Lunenburg County’s, and the United States’, history.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily. Hollingsworth@KVDispatchcom.