Historians Seek To Restore Farm Equipment Collected From Notable Black Family | News

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A local historic collection group is raising money to revitalize an old horse-drawn manure spreader.

The historical value of the equipment is its connection to the Nokes family, known as one of the most notable African-American landowners in Loudoun County.

The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum recently announced a fundraising goal of $2,500 to restore the 1930s New Idea manure spreader. The spreader will be housed at Sterling’s museum and used to interpret the lives of the Nokes family. and other farmers, according to the museum’s executive director, Anne Marie Chirieleison.

“This manure spreader is proof that there are still parts of East Loudoun that need and are worth preserving,” she said.

If farmers did not have a spreader, historians have said they would have to spread manure by hand.

“It was almost impossible to spread [the manure] otherwise, and when the spreader arrived, it was a godsend,” said Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum board member James Roberts.

The Nokes family home was sold in October 2020. The property is on the corner of Atlantic and Nokes Boulevards, across from downtown Dulles. The spreader was recovered by volunteers in April 2021, a month after the house was demolished.

The Nokes family was one of three notable black families, particularly the Edds (sometimes called Edes) and Ewing, in Loudoun to own a significant portion of land in the early 1900s, according to historians. Meanwhile, Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation and restricted the type of property black families could own.

The Nokes family represented “an aspect of American history that is not in the history books, nor taught in our schools – the story of African perseverance, ingenuity and self-sufficiency. -Americans,” Donna Bohanon, chair of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee, previously told the Times-Mirror.

The family also established a school for African Americans in Sterling which historians still study.

In 2019, the museum and the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee launched a partnership to share black history in eastern Loudoun County.

Earlier this month, the committee voted to pledge $1,000 to restore the spreader. Committee member Alicia Cohen supports the pledge.

“This is a good opportunity for us to support other efforts related to our mission,” she said.

Chirieleison encourages those with more information to visit the farm museum as they piece together stories about the spreader and the family. She believes the manure spreader was leased to other farmers and acquired from another owner.

Longtime resident Peter Caracciolo noticed the spreader on the property after the house was demolished and called the farm museum. He said he was glad to have spoken.

“Our history is important to all of us. We should know each other, what we’ve been through and I think that’s important,” Caracciolo said.


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