Documents

Chemical ExperimentRevised July 2014) contains scans of many of original documents found in the Prosperity Baptist Church archives, as well as other critical original documents from the Loudoun County Circuit Court Archives.

Section One contains copies of registrations for freed slaves that moved to Loudoun County with Hampton Brewer before the Civil War. Those African-Americans and their descendants are the main focus of the Conklin series, though clearly there were many, very interesting “white” people who lived in Conklin as well and whose history deserves to be told in the second edition, which will consolidate all information.

The registrations in Section One were essential documents in Virginia before the close of the Civil War, without which freed slaves could be punished. We highly recommend that those interested in slavery and racial discrimination go to the archives of the Circuit Court of Loudoun in Leesburg, Virginia and take a look. Their entire collection has yet to be digitized, so we hope that can be accomplished, not only to help African-Americans better understand their family history; but also so that all Americans can understand this important aspect of slavery and segregation.

Section Two contains copies of interesting church documents and artifacts from the Prosperity Baptist Church in Conklin. The originals are in the archives and can be seen by making an appointment. One of the more interesting is a letter to Charles Dean from 1893.deanletter

Section Three contains a scanned copy of a handwritten hymn book by the Secretary of Prosperity Baptist Church, Christine Allen. The hand written collection contains 18 hymns and songs, mostly associated with Christmas. We suspect the book was written during the depression when Christina was a student, though there is no date. A school is named on the cover, but age has made it impossible to make out.

Some pieces are quite famous and were authored by people like Handel and Verdi. One piece, Cockles and Mussels is now the anthem of the City of Dublin and is the story of a beloved prostitute and fish monger who died of fever, not a normal church hymn. Rheuben Rachel was also a popular comic song used by Minstrels and rewritten following World War One with an earthy tone. Another is OL Satin, a part of a famous Negro spiritual. Most are variants of the original text, so I’ve also included the “official text” when I could find them, and some history. One piece called Washington was a popular patriotic hymn, well known to school children in the 1920s and 30s. In each case, I’ve tried to provide information on the author and the original words.saten

Section Four is the scan of a wonderful, small notebook full of handwritten comments on life in Conklin in the 1920’s, mostly through unordered financial transactions and personal notes, mainly 1926 to 1928, some as early as 1916. There is some art, as well as poetry. I don’t know for sure who made the notes, but because of the emphasis on activities of the Lucien Allen family, one of his children or perhaps his wife probably created the notebook. His wife was Mary Dean Allen (1880-1960), who acquired a BS in Education from Hampton Institute and taught at Conklin Colored School before returning to Hampton in 1940. In order to understand its context, the book should also be read in conjunction with A History of Conklin Village, Loudoun County, Volume One: A Basic History.

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