Green Mont 1891. My father WFR Jr. wrote on the back of this who everyone was. (on porch) Harriot Jane Fleming, A. Walton Fleming, Mary Lee Fleming (on the steps) Robert Fleming Fleming (foreground) Mary E. L. Fleming, Roberta D. Fleming, Frances Lee Fleming. There is no indication as to who the two standing off to the side are. Is R. B. Lee Fleming in the hammock?
The backstory and the blog
I have been intending, for some time, to write down all the old stories passed down to me by the Flemings, and my parents, and many others. I figured that if I didn’t write them down soon they might be lost, either to a foggy memory or a shortage of willing audience while I was still around.
About two years ago, I started writing, promising myself I would write at least 15 minutes each day. Some days I managed to just lay down some quick random memories. More often I would write for hours, sometimes taking two or three sittings to finish one story. I did not feel compelled to do any “real” research when relating these stories. I was content to just let them “spill” out. I appropriately titled these writings “History, as remembered”.
These entries were emailed to my children, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, and a couple of cousins, Mike Harris and Rob Brundage. At the time, these were the only cousins I had managed to maintain even limited contact with, and had email addresses for; truly a sad state of family affairs.
I asked everyone to fill in holes where they could and add their own recollections and corrections. I edited as necessary, and incorporated any comments I received. This went on for about six or eight months. I vowed to continue at some point hoping to expand the concept and involve a larger sampling of family.
I spent much of my life, both growing up and as an adult, in The Plains, Virginia; more specifically at Green Mont Farm. Green Mont has been a Fleming home since its purchase by my great great grandmother, Mary Lee Fleming, in 1877. It is where my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Lee Fleming was born in 1886. She is the one on the left in that trio of little girls in the picture above. Roberta Downman Fleming is at the center and Frances Lee Fleming is on the right. I believe Mary Lee Fleming is seated to the right of the front door. This picture must have been taken about 1891.
Green Mont passed down through various members of the Fleming family until 1959, when it was sold by my Fleming great aunts to their nephew, my father, William Rust. In 1976, the farm was divided and transferred to my sister and brothers and me. I have written, and will write more about the farm and all that went on there during the Rust tenure. What I want to focus on right now is that it is still there, still in the family after what will be 140 years on July 12, 2017.
The Reunion, July 15-16 2017
I have a group photograph taken of the Fleming family on the front steps of Green Mont on July 4, 1936. I do believe that all direct family members, then alive, were present. That may be the last time there was a Fleming family photograph. It occurs to me that this upcoming 140th anniversary might be too good an opportunity to miss. It’s time for a reunion, and another family photograph.
(top) Clarissa Walton F., Mary E. L. Rust, Harriot Downman F. (middle) Billy Rust Jr., Roberta Downman F., W. F. Rust, Betsy Rust, Sam Carter Jr., Frances F. Carter Allen, Tiphen Walshingham “Tiff” Allen II (bottom) Jane Rust, Minor S. Harris, Anne F. Harris, Lomax Gwathmey, Harriot C. Gwathmey, Harriot Downman F., Richard Bland Lee Fleming Jr. (very bottom) Mike Harris Jr. and Lowboy
I have managed to complete that “tree” update, with most of the names, dates and addresses, courtesy of Rob Brundage, Mike Harris, Bev Carter and Marloe Woollett. The tree, the address list of some 140 living descendants, and an invitation to come to Green Mont for the weekend of July 15, 2017 were sent out by email last week. I believe this enterprise has outgrown email and may generally be better served by a more interactive form of communication. I’m going to try out this blog thing. I have no idea what I’m doing with this as yet, but I’ll try to keep them coming.
Several of us are going to discuss some activity and organizing options in mid February. I will post the results of that discussion. In the meantime please send any ideas you might have. Also, if any one has any other or better thoughts of how we can interactively work toward this reunion, please chime in.