Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Portrait of J. E. B. Stuart

Tonight I will be speaking the Fincastle Rifles Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp about the portrait and the resulting controversy and outcome of these events.

            On August 19, 2015, Judge Martin F. Clark, Jr. took down the portrait of Confederate Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart in the Stuart, Virginia, courthouse, where he presides. A few weeks later on August 31, Clark held his last book signing for his new book The Jezebel Remedy in Patrick County at Meadows of Dan. Two days after his book signing, he released a four page statement announcing he had taken the portrait down and his reasoning that was basically “someone” complained about it due to the fact Stuart fought for slavery and an African-American might feel they could not get a fair trial in a courtroom, which also held a portrait of Patrick Henry, for whom Patrick County is named. Henry was a much larger slave owner than Stuart and his portrait still hangs on the wall of the courtroom.

            Confederate symbols came under increased public scrutiny in the summer of 2015 after the June 17 massacre of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Subsequently, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley caved into political correctness and worked to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia even though there was a law in place to prevent such an action.

Oscar winning actress Julianne Moore called for the name of the high school she attended to change its name a few weeks before Clark took down the portrait. The name was J. E. B. Stuart High School, located in Fairfax, Virginia, which in 1861 had been the site of a camp Stuart occupied in the early days of the War Between the States. The school became one of the most diverse high schools in the United States.

At Hillsville, Virginia’s, giant Labor Day flea market a few weeks after the portrait came down, I was selling books. Almost everyone who came into my tent wanted to talk about “Jeb” Stuart and “PORTRAITGATE.” No one supported the removal of the portrait from the Patrick County Courthouse.

One of those who came into my tent was Ed Turner III, who shared some interesting information with me. I know there is information in my papers at Virginia Tech, but I have not had time to visit to go through all that and my memory is not what it once was on all things J. E. B. Stuart. That is why I wrote books about it. Ed’s father, Edward Turner, Jr., was Patrick County Administrator in the 1970s and in my thirty years of research I have come across his name often in his efforts to preserve Patrick County history including efforts to save Stuart’s Birthplace in the 1970s.

            After all the controversy surrounding the portrait of “Jeb” Stuart, I made a trip to the Bassett Historical Center, our regional history and genealogy library, to have a look in the files. Here is what I found after about an hour of research.

On Monday, February 7, 1972, the day before was James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart’s 139th birthday, the newly formed Patrick County Historical Society presented the “People of Patrick County” a portrait of Stuart dressed as a Major General in the Confederate States of America’s Army of Northern Virginia. Judge John D. Hooker accepted the portrait saying, “I think it is well, indeed, that one of the first things the Patrick County Historical Society is doing is placing on the walls of this courtroom the portrait of one of Patrick County’s greatest.” Judge Hooker stated that he “cherished” the fact that the portrait of his father was hung on a wall with J. E. B. Stuart, who was “a young man who made a tremendous contribution to a cause that he considered to be just.”

The portrait was the work of Ellen D. Stuart, a relative of J. E. B. Stuart. She completed the watercolor in 1889 and referred to in this document as the portrait.  It was a copy of an earlier painting that was a gift to Flora Cooke Stuart, widow of J. E. B. Stuart, from Major Heroes von Borcke, a Prussian, who served on Stuart’s staff during the War Between the States. The original painting went to the descendants of Flora and J. E. B. Stuart’s daughter Virginia Pelham Stuart Waller.

            The portrait made its way to the Stuart Normal College in Stuart, Virginia. The school started in 1906 and “The portrait of General Stuart graced this auspicious occasion.” The portrait then made its way to Stuart High School in the 1920s, but was not hung that anyone in 1972 could remember. Next, the portrait graced the walls of the J. E. B. Stuart Inn, formerly the Perkins Hotel, in uptown Stuart today.  The hotel burned, but the portrait was not a casualty. The portrait disappeared after that for many years.

            Many people worked tirelessly to find the portrait and get it in condition to hang in the courthouse. Judge Hooker pointed out that Mrs. N. C. Terry, mother of Mary Sue Terry, former Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, provided “invaluable assistance” in tracing the whereabouts of the portrait. Mrs. Terry corresponded with Miss Sidney Penn, a descendant of Abram Penn, who was the last surviving teacher at the Stuart Normal College. Miss Lula West, nursed in France during World War I was another that gave information on the portrait.

            Murray Thompson, publisher of The Enterprise, Patrick County’s weekly newspaper, contacted Edward Turner, Jr. about the portrait and the search began. Turner and Stuart Elementary School Principal Calvin Shockley found the portrait in a storage trailer at the school.

            The portrait went to Remsen Studio in Martinsville, Virginia for a restoration paid for by the Patrick County Historical Society and J. E. B. Stuart Senior Woman’s Club. Turner said the restored painting was a “real beauty” making a joke about J. E. B. Stuart’s nickname at West Point, where his classmates called him “Beauty,” which was not a term of endearment.

            That Monday night in 1972, Miss Ruth Jean Bolt of Meadows of Dan presided over the meeting as Mrs. Terry could not be present. The speaker that night was Samuel R. Levering, who owned Levering’s Orchard in Ararat.  A lifelong “Quaker,” Levering represented the Friends Committee on National Legislation. He spoke that night to 100 people on the “world situation and Vietnam.”

            Judge Hooker hung the portrait in the Circuit Courtroom near the portrait of his father James Murray Hooker, who represented Patrick County in the Fifth District in the U. S. House of Representatives in a newly renovated courtroom in 1972. Another portrait hanging is of Judge Andrew Murray Lybrook (1832-99) and Patrick Henry.

            Now a little history about Stuart and the town that bears his name today. Patrick County formed in 1790-91 depending on which source one believes. The county seat named Taylorsville, after George Taylor, a hero of the American Revolution, was usually known as Patrick Court House in most of the contemporary letters I have read over the years.

It became Stuart in 1884 during the heyday of the “Lost Cause” after the Civil War to honor General J. E. B. Stuart (1833-64). Born at the Laurel Hill Farm in Ararat, Stuart served as Robert E. Lee’s cavalry commander in the Army of Northern Virginia. Stuart served in the U. S. Army for seven years, mainly in the Kansas Territory, after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1854. He resigned as a Captain in the 1st U. S. Cavalry. Stuart joined the Confederacy and rose to the rank of Major General serving under Lee before losing his life on May 12, 1864. He rests today in that city’s Hollywood Cemetery.

In 1936, the statue of a Confederate Veteran was placed on the courthouse grounds in Stuart, Virginia, with a plaque on the base honoring J. E. B. Stuart. The statue is not Stuart, but represents all the men from “The Free State of Patrick,” who served in the war fought from 1861 to 1865.

            Several years ago at one of my myriad of book signings, a gentleman approached my table and looked at the book God’s Will Be Done: The Christian Life of J. E. B. Stuart. He said to me that he did not see how anyone who fought for slavery could be a Christian. A fair question for someone who sees the world through today’s standards, but when you judge people in the past by your standards that is simply not fair.

            I have seen the term “fair” bandied about with regards to the removal of the portrait from the Patrick County Courthouse. There was a judgement on the man in the portrait, James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, because of his service in the Army of Northern Virginia as Robert E. Lee’s cavalry commander and how it was not potentially fair to those the descendants of the slaves freed by that war.

            In 1988, I began thinking seriously about preserving the birthplace of the man in question. I became interested in the War Between the States at Virginia Tech, where I studied under renowned Historian James I. Robertson, Jr. I spent several year learning about my fellow Patrick Countian, “Jeb” Stuart. I devoted the next few years of my life to study and eventually I traveled all over the nation visiting nearly every place Stuart lived or served going as far west as Fort Davis, Texas, near El Paso, and to West Point, New York, where he graduated from the United States Military Academy before serving seven years in the U. S. Army. I have been to every library or society that had Stuart materials and read or transcribed every letter, telegraph, report, and known communication of the man in question.

            In 1990, I started the effort to preserve the site of his birthplace in Ararat, Patrick County, Virginia, where he was born on February 6, 1833, the eighth of eleven children to Archibald Stuart. Archibald served as Commonwealth Attorney, the same position held by Martin F. Clark, Sr., an interesting dynamic of fathers and sons in this is not lost on me as both Stuarts and both Clark’s were lawyers. Stuart passed the bar while in Kansas in the 1850s, and the other three all practiced law in the same courtroom where the painting hung until August.

            I wished to preserve the property that is now on the National and Virginia Registers of Historic Places because it was an important piece of historic property nationally and an important part of Patrick County’s history. I grew up two miles from Stuart’s birthplace, Laurel Hill, and thus it was part of my history.

            I wanted to preserve the property because J. E. B. Stuart did not have a single place in the country devoted to his history. He wrote often of his love for what he called “The Dear Old Hills of Patrick” and wished to return to it if he survived the war fought from 1861-65. He resigned to fight for Patrick County and Virginia. He was a man of his time and the pull of home and hearth was more important to him.

Stuart witnessed firsthand the radicalism of John Brown and the Abolitionists at Harper’s Ferry in 1859, when he approached the firehouse door to demand the surrender of Brown. Only Stuart recognized Brown from his time in the Kansas Territory in the 1850s. Stuart abhorred Abolitionists and the “Fire Eaters,” who wanted secession, but if Virginia left the Union, he would go with her. Brown’s raid, I believe, changed his viewpoint. I do not believe he saw a way out of the impending crisis.

            I have seen it stated this week that Stuart did not own slaves. He and his father owned slaves. During his time in the U. S. Army, Stuart owned slaves. Among them were William, who Stuart gave a $25.00 monthly cash allowance, Bettie, who Stuart acquired from Archibald’s estate was valued at $770. He sold her “south” for mistreatment of little Flora, Stuart’s daughter. He bought a “Negro boy” age 21 named Ben for $1100.00.

            Today, you can go to Laurel Hill in Ararat and you will see slavery talked of in the open with no effort to cover it up or the Stuart’s relationship to it. It was there. It was part of that time. We should learn from it and not judge people. We cannot walk in their shoes or understand their lives unless we do it with empathy not judgement.

Getting back to the question the man asked me all those years ago. How does a Christian own slaves or fight for slavery? J. E. B. Stuart grew up in a house with a Presbyterian father and a very “High Church” Episcopalian mother. He attended services in Mount Airy, North Carolina, at the forerunner of today’s Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street. While at Emory and Henry College, he joined the Methodist Church. While in the U. S. Army, Stuart returned to the church of his mother. I believe a man can be a Christian because he lived in a different time with a different set of values.

            Stuart lived his faith. He saw firsthand the role that alcohol ruined lives in the U. S. Army and was a “Temperance Man” giving speeches about the evil of alcohol abuse. He promised his mother at age twelve he would not drink.

            Stuart put his money where his faith was. He started a church in today’s Junction City, Kansas, just outside his post at Fort Riley. He sent his mother $100 to match him and start a small church in Ararat, which she did leaving an acre of her property for such a purpose when she sold it in 1859.

            Stuart witnessed about his faith. He attended revivals and bought his men copies of the scriptures from his own pocket. He always ascribed his military success to God in reports and letters. Here is one such statement, "From the first I prayed God to be my guide and I felt an abiding hope that all would be well with us.”

As he laying dying in Richmond on May 12, 1864, at his brother-in-law’s home on Grace Street, after receiving a wound from one of George Custer’s cavalrymen, he faced his death with the quiet grace of a true Christian. He sang Rock of Ages with those present and left this world with the last words, “God’s Will Be Done.” I believe Stuart did not fear death because he was a true believer. He believed he was right in his course and he gave his life for Virginia and for Patrick County.

            Many people disagreed with the decision to remove the portrait. I do not think it was the right decision, but all of you who talk about being Christians while disparaging Martin Clark or his family members who have been just as bad online threatening revenge on people criticizing those in this country who have every right to criticize the decision, need to step back take a deep breath and think about “What Would Jesus Do?” and maybe what would a real Christian do, “What Would Jeb Do?”

This our history and we need to leave politics and personal attacks out of this on this Sunday. Maybe we should stop and think about our behavior and if you profess to be a Christian as Jeb Stuart most assuredly was while being also a man of his time. You should live it and do not just talk about it. It is not our place to judge J. E. B. Stuart.

A protest led by my friend, Wayne Jones of South Carolina, who portrays General Stuart across the country, was held on the courthouse steps and two days later the Patrick County Board of Supervisors decided to hang the portrait on the “Wall of Honor,” which recognizes the service of the men from Patrick County, who lost their lives fighting in the myriad of wars this nations has fought.

I encouraged people to watch a documentary from my website about Stuart produced by Henrico County and read about Stuart before speaking about him. I encouraged them to speak with knowledge of Stuart and the war he gave his life in and to speak with respect about those who do not agree with their point of view. I thought it was a teachable moment.

A few weeks ago I went for my biannual visit to my alma mater Patrick County High School, as I have for a decade now, to teach Civil War to all the 11th grade U. S. History classes. I spoke of the controversy surrounding the portrait, but that will not get in the newspapers or be on television, but I hope it gets in the brains of the next generation, where if this history is to survive, it needs to be remembered.

 A Dedication Ceremony will be held for the portrait on May 12, 2016, at 10 a.m. in the Patrick County Administration Building. The portrait has been hanging on the Wall of Honor that commemorates the people from Patrick County who lost their lives in war.

Tom Perry

The Bull Mountain Bugle 2/2/1972
The Enterprise 2/2/1972
Martinsville Bulletin 2/3/1972, 2/11/1972
The Dear Old Hills of Patrick: J. E. B. Stuart and Patrick County Virginia by Thomas D. Perry

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Teaching Civil War At Patrick County High School

            Twice a year I go to Patrick County High School to teach Patrick County in the Civil War to four classes of 11th graders at the invitation of Glenn Burnett. I talk about The Free State Of Patrick, my book on Patrick County in the Civil War. We discuss the home front in the war, life for the slaves and “free people of color,” the many different men in regiments who fought in the war for the North and the South and J. E. B. Stuart. We discuss the effect the war had on the people during and after the war. Topics include Rufus Woolwine, R. J. Reynolds, Abram D. Reynolds and Stoneman’s Raid, the only time we had Union forces in the county. You can watch my talk I give them from my website www.freestateofpatrick.com. Just click on the History Talks link if you are interested.
           Teacher Glenn Burnett always has the Advance Placement class to ask a question about the war, then research it and answer it, and finally, they send me an email, which I respond too.

Here are some of the questions I got this time. They love to play “What If” about the war.

What if the Confederacy had won the Civil War?

If the South had won the war, would slavery still be around today? If not, when would it have been abolished?

            This year I got some very interesting questions that were not “What Ifs”

Do you think that "The Confederate Treasure" might be real?

Did Native Americans have a part in the Civil War? If so, how significant was it?
Mr. Perry, I really enjoyed you coming and talking to our class about Patrick County's involvement in the war. I was wondering, would the Civil War still have happened without the conflict of slavery?

Mr. Perry, Thank you for coming to talk to our class on Tuesday. It was very interesting to learn more about Patrick County's involvement in the Civil War. I was wondering, had the South won the Civil War, would the Confederate States of America have succeeded as an independent country?

             This time I got two J. E. B. Stuart questions. Here are those questions and the student’s response to them to give you an idea of what they say.
Why is Jeb Stuart blamed for Gettysburg?
Many people in the southern states and in the confederate army found it hard to believe that their great general, Robert E. Lee, could lose a battle as important as Gettysburg. They didn’t want to believe that their beloved general could make such a foolish mistake of trying to fight the union army at that particular time, so they found a scapegoat: Major General Jeb Stuart (History.net). Jeb Stuart was known for his colorful personality and somewhat of a rambunctious attitude, so many found it very easy to blame him for the confederate army's defeat. Many newspapers in the south caught word of Jeb’s insolence and they bashed him for it, they claimed that Jeb had been off raiding a union army camp, when he should have been scouting for Lee. However, Jeb was doing the job that Lee had given him, Jeb had left the Calvary to Lee so they could scout, but they apparently, they didn’t not have the skills that made Jeb the amazing scout that he was (History.net). In the end Jeb got saddled with the blame of Gettysburg because he was the easiest to lay blame to without having any back blow since he was just a lone horseman from Ararat.

What if Jeb Stuart would have lived to fight another day?

I believe that if Jeb Stuart would have lived, the war would have ended very differently. Stuart played a key role in the war. He was an effective leader and one of the main scouts for the Confederate army.

            Jeb started his military career when he went to the United States Military Academy. There he became friends with Robert E. Lee and learned everything he knew about the Military. After he graduated he started as a second lt. in the U.S. Mounted Rifles in Texas. This is where he gained his experience in the Calvary which would play a key role in the Civil War.

            When the Civil War started, Jeb left his career in the U.S. army to serve in the Confederate army. He was made a colonel under the command of General Jackson. Jackson soon placed Jeb in command of all the Northern Virginia Calvary Brigades. After a few successful missions, Jackson earned his stripes and became a major general.

            Jackson and his Calvary earned the nickname the ‘invincible’ Calvary. Jackson and his men were known for embarrassing Union troops and became real pains in the neck for the Union. He also was able to scout out the enemy and report locations and movements to Lee. This gave the Confederates a major advantage.

            The reason the war would have been different if Stuart would have lived, is because he supplied major support and reinforcements. He and his men were able to hurt the Union by scouting locations of the Union army and by hitting the Union army where it hurt. I believe with all that Jeb was able to, the South could have theoretically won the war. His effective leadership and his dedication was something that the South needed and he provided it. Therefore, I believe the war would have been very different. Works Cited: http://www.historynet.com/jeb-stuart

            I have been doing this now for a decade, twice a year. I do it because I was once a student at PCHS and would have loved to have someone come talk to us about history. My father was teacher and principal for almost thirty years in the Patrick County School System, so I understand the life of teachers. Finally, when I was in college James I. Robertson, Jr., my Civil War professor at Virginia Tech told us to get out of the “ivory tower” and talk to regular folks about the history of the war. Someone once told me I was the only man they ever saw who did his community service before he was arrested when it came to going back to high school to talk about the war with the students. I hear lots of people say that kids don’t get this history in school anymore. Well, in Patrick County they do.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Remembering Carrie Sue

                Death comes for all of us, but I really thought Caroline Susan “Carrie Sue” Bondurant Culler might live forever. She passed away this week at the age of 107 years. Born on February 7, 1909. She was born seventy-six years and one day after James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart and it was General Stuart that led me to her. My “second father” Theodore Guynn was my source for Ararat history and if he did not know the answer, he answered my question with “Go ask Carrie Sue,” so I did.

                A visit to Carrie Sue along the Rabbit Ridge was an experience. I started going in my 20s when I got the idea to save J. E. B. Stuart’s birthplace because Carrie Sue had inside information. Her grandmother or great-grandmother, I cannot remember which, knew J. E. B. Stuart, and she knew her grandmother. The Pedigos and Stuarts were next door neighbors. The Pedigo and Stuart children went to school together taught by a man named Monday in one of her stories.

                She loved her Pepsi and Reese Cups. She could play a banjo and she loved to talk about local history. She especially loved to talk about true crime. Murder sells and Carrie Sue loved to talk about it. One of her favorites was the Lynch Hollow story about a man named Henry Walls, who killed a local girl named Sadie. A vigilante mob came to the home of Bob Childress’s brother, who was the constable, and relieved him of the custody of Henry Walls and put a rope around his neck and hung him on a tree in Lynch Hollow. Henry and Sadie are both buried in unmarked graves, I believe, at Hunter’s Chapel Church, where Carrie Sue’s funeral will be today, coming full circle appropriately I think.

                One story about the man named Taylor who actually put the rope around Walls neck says per Carrie Sue that he executioner had trouble with his throat in some sort of psychosomatic reaction to hanging the man.  Taylor, I think, was a relative of Sarah Taylor, the grandmother of Andy Griffith. Yes, Andy Griffith, who played Andy Taylor, who had an operator named Sarah had a relative named Sarah Taylor. I learned this from Carrie Sue.

                In today’s world where everyone is offended by everything, Carrie Sue was not “politically correct.” She had an opinion and she was not afraid to express it and if you didn’t agree with her, don’t tell her. She was refreshing in a world where everyone is some sort of homogenous non-offensive world. She was a colorful character and that is one of the things about her I enjoyed. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but I enjoyed listening to her. She was from another time period and placing today’s world view on her was not fair to her and would make the world a lot more boring.

                When she was born on February 7, 1909, Theodore Roosevelt was in his last month as President of the United States, not Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Theodore. Back then, we inaugurated Presidents in March and not January 20 as we do now. The next month, William Howard Taft became TR’s successor. Roosevelt could have run for his second term and the third he could have served since becoming President after the assassination of William McKinley.

                She did not just talk about history, she wrote history. She kept a journal and I always imagine what she wrote about me when I made these visits. “That Perry boy came to see me. I wonder if anything he writes is true?” Imagine if you will, she was ten when World War One ended. She was a mother and probably grandmother when World War Two ended.  When I was born, she was almost as old as I am today. By the time, I went to visit her, she was in her seventies. She was one of the people I wish I could have written about, but she would rather talk about others and not herself. I always tell people that if they want to know history, go talk to an older person. I am glad I did because I learned so much from Caroline Susan Bondurant Culler.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Voting For President in Patrick County Virginia


                When was the last time a Democratic Presidential Candidate won Patrick County?

                It might surprise some to know that it was Jimmy Carter in 1976 and he just barely won the county beating President Gerald Ford 2,740 to 2, 349 out of 5,377 votes cast in the bicentennial year of our nation. I could not vote in that election, but I started voting in the next election in 1980. I am 5-4 voting for winning candidates since then and with the recent primary election I did a little research just for fun to see historically how my home county has voted in my voting lifetime and a little beyond. 

             For most of my lifetime, Virginia has been a sure thing usually for the most conservative candidate until Barrack Obama changed the scenario winning Virginia in 2008 and 2012, but not Patrick County, where got shellacked 11,113 to 5,296 in those two elections. The President should not feel bad about it though because in my lifetime only two Democrats have won The Free State of Patrick, Carter as previously mentioned and Lyndon Johnson, I believe, in 1964.

                It really surprised me when Vice-President Joe Biden showed up in the county seat to spend time at the Coffee Break during the last election because he knew his ticket had no chance of winning Patrick County. Somethings are predictable and that is often elections. For instance, it is almost impossible for a Republican candidate to win the office without winning the state of Ohio. It is just something that historically always happens.

                You can go back to study all this thanks to the internet and the Virginia Board of Elections website where you can look at past elections as a way to predict future elections. I can almost guarantee the reader that the Republican candidate no matter who he is will get around 5,500 votes and the Democrat candidate no matter who she is will get around 2,500 out of around 8,250 votes. Virginia will be decided in 2016 probably in one county in Northern Virginia and perhaps another county in the Tidewater as their populations are large and can swing either way depending on the circumstances.

             This past week the primary unusual for us in that our vote really does matter deciding the candidate for either party and you can vote in either.  Which means as a Republican you could have “Felt the Bern” and voted for the socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to sabotage Hillary Clinton. A Democrat could have voted for any of the GOP candidates to get the easiest to defeat in November. Either way you can make a difference in Virginia this year.

                I noticed that the Republican primary got 2, 517 voters, while the Democrats only had 739 voters, which is not a good sign for the latter in November in Patrick County. In Virginia, over one million voted Republican with almost 800,000 voting Democratic.

                Over the years, I have studied the voting patterns of Patrick County just for fun. Usually, the most conservative precincts are in the Dan River District close to very Republican Carroll County to the west. Usually, Patrick Springs is the most liberal precinct by who receives votes.

                Presidential Candidates who won Patrick County since I started voting are Reagan in 1980 (4297 to 2382 for Carter with John Anderson getting 105) and 1984, where he won the most lopsided Electoral College victory in history. Both George Bushes won the county in 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2004. Romney and McCain beat President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Bob Dole beat Bill Clinton in 1996 (3547 to 2301), which might surprise some.

Virginia voted for Nixon three times 1968, 1972, and 1960. “I Like Ike” was the familiar refrain in Virginia in the 1950s, but before then Virginia was part of the solid South going for Truman and Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940s and 1930s reflecting, no doubt, the influence of the Byrd Democratic Party machine.

We are Democratic Republic and we decide who is President by way of the Electoral College, which means each state gets a number of electors (13 in 2016), which I believe is based on the number in the House of Representatives, based on population and Senators (two each for the state) in the U. S. Congress.

                Now, with the 2016 election coming in November, there is a scenario where it could come down to Virginia. I went to the website www.270towin.com and it is possible that the Democrats could have 263 electoral college votes and the Republicans could have 262 votes with only the 13 votes of Virginia left to decide who is the next President of the United States. While there is little doubt that Patrick County will go for the Republican, Virginia might not. So, your vote matters in 2016 if you live in Virginia. Don’t let your future be decided by someone else voting when you can make that decision yourself. VOTE!



Here is more information about the Electoral College