Salem Museum Presents: Colonial VA: Heroes and Homemakers in Western Virginia

The Salem Museum and Historical Society is housed in the historic Williams-Brown Home, which was built in 1845.

Colonial America often conjures images of people and places in Williamsburg and Virginia’s Eastern shores, but lesser-known patriots from Western Virginia also played an important role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of this country.

In February, the Salem Museum invites the public to learn more about General Andrew Lewis, Colonel William Fleming, and Colonel William Preston, and what life was like in Western Virginia in Colonial times. All events are free, open to the public, and generously sponsored by Richfield, a senior living and healthcare community named for the home of General Andrew Lewis.

William Fleming, Colonial Hero: His Sword and Story: Monday, February 19 at 7 pm

In partnership with the Nancy Christian Fleming Chapter DAR: Speaker Series talk about the life and impact of Colonel William Fleming and his wife, Nancy Christian Fleming, and the presentation of his battle sword to the Salem Museum & Historical Society.

Colonial Living History Day: Heroes and Homemakers: Sat. February 24, 10 am to 4 pm

In partnership with Historic Smithfield: Learn about the men and women who built a life on Virginia’s frontier, and who are remembered for their heroic deeds. The Colonial era in Western Virginia comes to life with Colonial and British re-enactors portraying a Revolutionary War encampment, plus bullet-making, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving lace, and other trades. The day includes talks about Mary Draper Ingles and Colonel William Preston, and an update to the Museum’s exhibit about General Andrew Lewis and Salem in the 1700s.

William Fleming, Colonial Hero: His Sword and Story: Monday, February 19 at 7 pm

The Nancy Christian Fleming Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution holds custody of two rare and significant artifacts of Western Virginia’s Colonial-era history: the battle sword of Colonel William Fleming and a delicate needlework sampler stitched by his wife, Nancy Christian Fleming. Both objects date to the mid-1700s. The Chapter will present the sword and sampler to the Salem Museum & Historical Society during the talk on the 19th. Both objects will be on loan to the Salem Museum, and displayed in an exhibit that includes the story of Fleming’s friend, General Andrew Lewis.

The program also will includes a talk by Pamela Draper, Chapter Historian, and Caroline Wehner, the Chapter’s Regent, about the life and impact of Colonel William Fleming and his wife, Nancy Christian Fleming who was a member of the family for whom Christiansburg is named.

Colonial Living History Day: Heroes and Homemakers: Saturday, Feb 24 from 10 am to 4 pm 

Learn about the men and women who built a life on Virginia’s frontier and who are remembered for their heroic deeds. Costumed interpreters and demonstrators from Historic Smithfield and others will visit the Salem Museum to immerse Museum guests in what life was like in Western Virginia in Colonial times.

Meet a bullet maker, a spinner, a blacksmith and a lace weaver, among others, and watch what it takes to hand-sew a colonial dress. Re-enactors will set up a Revolutionary War encampment to demonstrate what soldiers endured in their fight for Independence. British soldiers will be on hand, too. Children can play some of the games that children played in those simpler times.

At 12:30, Colonel Lewis Ingles “Bud” Jeffries, a historian and direct descendant of Mary Draper Ingles, will tell the story of this important Western Virginia heroine.

At 2:30, April Danner, Director of Historic Smithfield, will speak on the relationship between Colonel Fleming and Colonel William Preston.

Colonel William Fleming’s battle sword will be on display, along with an updated exhibit about Salem’s General Andrew Lewis. Lewis is remembered for leading his troops to victory in the French and Indian War and Dunmore’s War, and driving Lord Dunmore—the last British Governor—out of Virginia just days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, making it one of the first military actions of the Revolutionary War.

The Fort Lewis Chapter DAR will have a display as part of the day’s events. The Colonial Living History Day is free, family-friendly, and open to the public, and generously sponsored by Richfield, a senior living and healthcare community named for the home of General Andrew Lewis.