Although the name Richard Arell is not known to many in Alexandria today, Arell probably was well known to the city’s residents in the late 1700s. When he is remembered today it is for owning Arell’s Tavern on the Market Square site and for donating property for the Presbyterian Meeting House burial ground and Meeting House. Another reminder of Richard Arell is the street sign “Arell Court” at the entrance to a residential development near the intersection of Duke Street and North Quaker Lane. The Office of Historic Alexandria confirms that Arell Court was named for “the prominent 18th century Alexandria family.” Arell’s commercial ventures and civic involvement in the late 18th century connected him to such notable Alexandrians as John Carlyle, George Washington, George Mason, and William Ramsay.
Sanborn Insurance Company Maps - April 2013
Maps have always been an important resource. Maps show where things are, how to get to places, property lines, boundaries, how land wealthy someone may be, and how things have changed over time. Maps also come in many varieties: town plats, bird’s eye view maps from the late 19th century, atlases, and globes. However, there is a category of maps that has largely gone unnoticed and unappreciated for its value to researchers, historians, and map enthusiasts alike: Fire Insurance Maps.
George II: John Carlyle’s King - March 2013
When George II became the British monarch in June 1727, after the death of his father, George I or George Ludwig, John Carlyle was only 7 years old. George II would reign until October 1760 and he would play important roles in such events of concern to John Carlyle as the Jacobite rebellion in 1745, during which Carlisle was occupied, and the Seven Years War, or what is also known as the French and Indian War. And it would have been King George II that General Braddock toasted during his 1755 stay in the Carlyle House.
African Americans and the War of 1812 - February 2013
A special thanks goes to Kyle Stevenson, a Sophomore at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. An Alexandria native, Kyle assisted me last summer by researching the role of African-Americans during the War of 1812 and the surrounding rhetoric and imagery. His research will be included in Carlyle House’s upcoming War of 1812 exhibit later this summer.
During the 1700s in Virginia, the Anglican Church was the established church. Presbyterians and other Protestant dissenters were subject to rules regulating their worship services. They could meet only on certain days and in certain designated places called meeting houses, and could not meet at night. During meetings, doors had to remain open at all times and in all weather. The Alexandria Presbyterians met in the Assembly Hall located on the northeast corner of Market Square, at the junction of Fairfax and Cameron Streets. An historic plaque on the brick wall on the Fairfax Street side marks that location.