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A new state historical marker on River Road in Falmouth will recognize the accomplishments of Moncure Conway, an Civil War-era abolitionist, author and minister
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By LEE WOOLF
LENETTA SCHOOLS lives under the same roof that sheltered young Moncure Daniel Conway when he grew to adulthood in Falmouth before the Civil War. Conway went on to become an internationally known abolitionist, author, minister and intellectual until his death in Paris in 1907.
Yet even though Lenetta Schools and her husband, Norman, own the Conway House at 305 King St., she had to travel to Yellow Springs, Ohio, last summer to read about Conway's accomplishments on a historical marker.
Not so anymore.
As soon as it can be installed, a new roadside marker honoring Conway will be only a few steps away, just across River Road from the stately brick home where Lenetta and Norman Schools reside.
There will be a dedication ceremony for the marker at this month's meeting of the Stafford County Historical Society at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 19 in the Board Chambers of the Stafford Administration Center.
The featured speakers will be John d'Entremont, a history professor at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg and author of an award-winning biography of Conway, and Walter Beach, a trustee of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., where Conway graduated in 1849.
Also on the program are Scott Arnold, of the Virginia Department of Historical Resources, and James Bryant, a professor at Shenandoah University in Winchester and an authority on black history.
The text for the roadside marker reads as follows:
"Nearby to the northwest is the childhood home of renowned abolitionist, writer, and lecturer Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907). In 1838 his family moved into this Federal-style house. Conway graduated from Dickinson College in 1849 and Harvard Divinity School in 1854 and became outspoken in the abolitionist movement. During the Civil War, Conway lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and traveled east in 1862 to lead his family's slaves to freedom in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Conway moved to London in 1863 and spent a number of years abroad, writing for English and American periodicals. He also wrote biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Thomas Paine. Conway died in Paris on 15 Nov. 1907."
Were Conway alive today, he would appreciate the irony of being honored with a marker on the streets of Falmouth.