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Sunday, April 10, 2011

High Hopes Realized

The trip to Virginia was great and my high hopes were realized. What a blessing to have a sister for a traveling companion who enjoys the same things I do!
We began our research day at 8 a.m. Thursday. I had made a list of things we could do and was surprised to actually reach the end of the list by 6 p.m. We visited the courthouse in Harrisonburg, three cemeteries, a heritage center, and a farm owned by Peter Burkholder in the late 1700s and early 1800s. We even went on one bunny trail that was not on my list and wound up driving back a dirt lane through a pasture in (an unsuccessful) search of a historical marker. The sunny warm weather was perfect for outdoor activities and photography. By the end of the day I felt satisfied that I had collected the information I need to document the statements in my Burkholder article.
The three Burkholder legends I am shattering are these:

1. Peter Burkholder traveled to Lancaster County in 1799 to visit his family, got sick and died, and was buried in the Groffdale Mennonite Cemetery.
Facts: Peter did not die in Pa. in 1799. He died in 1812 and is probably buried with his wife in Virginia.
2. Peter's daughter Anna Magdalena married Daniel Brenneman and died in Indiana in 1865. Facts: Peter's estate documents show her name was Anna, her husband was David Brenneman, and she died before 1813.
3. The house in Harrisonburg where church services were held before a church building was constructed was the home of Peter Burkholder Jr.
Facts: Peter Burkholder Jr. certainly preached in that house but a deed search proves he never owned the property.

Here is a picture of Peter Burkholder's farm at the foot of the hill where Trissels Mennonite Church now stands. This is the land that was surveyed for him in 1792 and for which he received a patent in 1801 (after he supposedly died in Pa.).

The second day of our time in Virginia was spent at the annual Writer's Conference sponsored by Christian Light Publications. My sister and I both were in the workshops on story writing in the morning and afternoon sessions. I got an update from one of the men on the book committee on the status of my new book. It is being processed but the wheels grind exceedingly slow and it may not be on the market until next year. They were not exactly sitting on their hands waiting for me to write a book. It is one of many in the lineup and I must wait my turn.
I should be able to wrap up the Burkholder article this week and have it ready to go when the editor begins working on it. And then I guess I can pick a new project. What shall it be?

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