Plantation diversifies speaker series

By Josette Keelor

Long Branch Plantation in Clarke County has a history of offering lectures in March, but this year’s will be different.

With an evening event planned every Thursday this month, the Cabin Fever Speaker Series will include a moderated historic debate, a night about women soldiers in the Civil War and a program on regenerative medicine for horses.

It’s what director of public programs Cassie Ward said would offer a “diverse lineup of speakers.”

“We just wanted to put a little bit of something out there for everybody,” she said.

Included in the $5 admission fee will be drinks, light fare and access to the historic house’s new 19th century exhibits.

According to Ward, interpretation of the home’s full 200 years of history is the main goal at Long Branch. Its first owner Robert Carter Burwell first started a wheat plantation on the land he inherited in 1788 and then had the mansion constructed around 1810.

Following its first March program of Appalachian Folk Lore and Tall Tales, the March 13 historic debate, “The Causes of the American Civil War,” will feature a practice Ward said speaks to the 19th century history of Long Branch.

Moderated debates were popular at the time, but she said the program is a first for the restored historic home. Audience members will be invited to submit written questions to the moderator.

Speaking will be Jonathan A. Noyalas, assistant professor of history and director of the Center for Civil War History at Lord Fairfax Community College, and Dave Clarke, past commander of the Turner Ashby Camp No. 1567 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Winchester. The moderator will be Nicholas Redding, executive director of Long Branch and Civil War historian.

On March 20, “Women Soldiers in the Civil War” will enlighten listeners to a subject Ward, with a masters in history and public history, said is new to her.

“This particular topic is not as prevalent, so it’s kind of adding another layer to understanding to that period,” she said.

The series will wrap up with a lecture by Dr. Jennifer Barrett from Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center on cutting-edge regenerative medicine that’s being used to help horses.

“It’s really a diverse lineup of speakers,” Ward said. “I feel it will be a unique experience.”

“It’ll be really interesting for people to come and experience this, and then I can’t wait to hear the feedback and what people thought about the programs.”

Long Branch Plantation is located at 830 Long Branch Lane, Millwood. For more information, call 540-837-1856 or visit www.visitlongbranch.org.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com