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Wednesday March 26, 2014

In her speech dedicating the founding of the Reynolds Homestead, Nancy Susan Reynolds, granddaughter of R.J. Reynolds, stated, "The old Reynolds Homestead, formerly and more properly known as Rock Spring Plantation, is situated in the southeastern part of Patrick County, near Critz, Virginia. The first fifty acres of this land were purchased on February 15, 1814 by Abraham Reynolds, often called Abram, who settled there with his wife Polly."

Two hundred years later the Reynolds Homestead is gearing up to celebrate its Bicentennial, hosting a number of events throughout the year that will kick off on Saturday, March 29 at 2:30 p.m. with a program entitled "The Past, the Present, and the Future."

Hosted by Friends of the Reynolds Homestead, the event will feature several speakers who will talk about the history of the plantation, what new research is revealing, and what the plans for the future are.

"One of the most interesting facts that has recently been uncovered, is that the land was actually not purchased until 1825," says senior program manager Lisa Martin. "We just learned this in August, and bicentennial plans were already underway, so we've decided to call it our ‘legendary' bicentennial, honoring the legend we've believed to be true for the last 40 years."

Among the speakers will be former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, who will talk about the role her mother Nannie Cooper Terry played in the creation of the Homestead, which is now a State and National Historic Landmark. Shaun Spencer-Hester, granddaughter of the African American poet Anne Spencer, will discuss her connection to the former Rock Spring Plantation. Spencer's mother was born on the plantation in 1866.

Matthew Traucht, whose research as a Garden Club of Virginia intern uncovered "new" history about the Homestead, will make a presentation on the changes to the historic legend that he discovered.

"History is never written in stone," said Martin, "and it's been exciting to learn more about the Homestead and take a look at the story we've always told and how it has changed."

Director Julie Walters-Steele will discuss plans for the future of the Reynolds Homestead, including the possible expansion and remodeling of the Community Engagement Center, the creation of museum space in the second floor of the historic home, and plans for making the tobacco barn a working living history site.

The March 29 event will be a reception from 2:30 - 5:00 and is FREE and open to the general public. Guests are invited to enjoy food, assorted drinks, wine, cheeses and music, and learn more about this important site in Patrick County.

Reservations may be made by calling the Homestead at 276-694-7181 or e-mailing Lisa Martin at martinlm@vt.edu.

Tags: History, Insider's Tips