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Posted By: M. Meyers on: 07/18/2003 11:37:49 EDT
Subject: RE: heliograph station richmond

Message Detail:
What I have is: Vera Clarke Palmore Morton(still living, the granddaughter of John W. Clarke, a 19th-century owner of the house, stated in a Richmond Times interview about her donation of the house & property to Henrico County for use as a museum/park that "during the Civil War, Confederates used the home as a heliograph station, beaming messages from the upstairs window to decoders stationed on the roof of the State Capital two miles away" (RTD March 31, 1999).

The house is situated on a high bluff above Almond Creek; the James is visible to the west. It is quite a hill to get up, and the house is at the very top. There is a steep drop at the rear (north) of the house down to the creek. The rear also faces toward the city. Originally a one-story house, the second floor was added in 1850.

I should note, though, that John Clarke bought the property in 1855, but lost possession of it (and the house) during the Civil War; Joseph J. Pleasants bought it in 1863. Clarke bought it back from Pleasants in 1873, sold it again in 1877, bought it back again in 1886; since then, it has remained in the family. (I was wrong earlier--she did specify State Capital).

I just received your email, and will call this afternoon to continue this.

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