Letter: Eugene Scheel, Leesburg

Editor:  The mural artwork purporting to recognize the “underground railway” in Loudoun County and approved by the Leesburg Town Council last week is not accurate.

There is no record of ferryman Bazil Newman transporting escaping slaves in his Edwards’ Ferry scow.

What does the lettering “Goose Creek” have to do with escaping slaves?

The main route for escaping slaves in Loudoun County was by the sparsely populated Catoctin Mountain, with the Potomac River crossing at the Broken Islands just west of Point of Rocks. Interviews with freedmen mention this route. 

The 1793 Fugitive Slave Act insured that escapees needed to maintain distance from unknown people, even in sometimes friendly Pennsylvania and New York. They were not free until they reached Canada.

There Loudoun Museum building is one of Leesburg’s most important structures relating to the Civil War. I would not defile its façade.

Eugene Scheel, Leesburg

14 thoughts on “Letter: Eugene Scheel, Leesburg

  • 2022-07-06 at 9:10 am
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    Unfortunately, Eugene, historical accuracy takes a back seat in Leesburg to virtue signaling. It’s only made worse by the fact that the people involved in this project seem to have all their artistic taste in their mouth.

    It boggles the mind to try and understand the fanatical need to slather historically inaccurate, garish paint on bare walls in the historic district. I guess simple people who are inundated with a barrage of visual imagery on their phones all day can’t stand to look up from them and see something as mundane as a historic streetscape. “Entertain me in the way in which I am accustomed!” and good taste and aesthetics be damned!

  • 2022-07-06 at 9:25 am
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    The woke government officials do not care about facts. They are more interested in jumping on the race bandwagon so that they can pat themselves on the backs and claim they did something for their “white guilt.” It would be too hard for them to hear that the mural is not accurate.

    If there were any common-sense, the mural would cover allof Loudoun history – which includes [accurate] black history. Why is the mural ONLY going to be of [inaccurate] black history?

    • 2022-07-07 at 2:17 pm
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      “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ― George Orwell, 1984

  • 2022-07-06 at 9:32 am
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    Must we be so technical, Mr. Scheel? Have you ever heard of artistic license? With any luck, many murals will dot the landscape of Leesburg. They’ll brighten our loves & help beautify a great town. Let’s get the show on the road! Happy Artist Appreciation Month Loudoun!

    • 2022-07-06 at 10:58 am
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      It’s a museum… where facts and history accuracy *should* actually matter.

    • 2022-07-06 at 11:33 am
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      Timmy!, Mr. Scheel is himself a part of Loudoun history, as not only a noted and respected historian, but a mapmaker, and many other things.
      Yes, he SHOULD be technical. That’s part of something being a “fact”.
      I have no objection to a public mural, but had concerns when this was first discussed at the idea of glow-in-the-dark paint being used to illuminate Harriet Tubman’s lantern for a night-time effect.
      Aside from the fact that Ms. Tubman has no documented direct connection to Loudoun County, was there ANY discussion with those people responsible for the museum, the town, and its historic district, of the contents of the mural, and how it would be executed on a historic structure, before the person proposing it sought the grant from the vodka company to do it?
      I have wondered if that vodka grant was contingent on it featuring iconic names and faces, as opposed to historic local figures.
      Perhaps someday we’ll find out.
      In the meantime, I hope Mr. Scheel, as a noted local historian, is at least given some credence in the ongoing discussion.
      (He’s an artist in his own way, Timmy! so perhaps appreciate his input)

    • 2022-07-06 at 2:22 pm
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      Get “so technical,” as in, being accurate? Wow…so you don’t think it’s a good idea to have an accurate depiction of loudoun history tied to a museum whose purpose is to teach history? No wonder you love the current public school system…it did wonders for you.

    • 2022-07-06 at 5:55 pm
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      You have something to say about everything, don’t you. You are a classic example of the adage that says, “If you walk into a room and others think of you as a fool, why open your mouth and remove all doubt?”

      I don’t have an issue with the concept of a mural overall, especially if it is going to be something about local history as the museum would be charged with preserving… but if it is going to be depicting local and significant historical events, it should be accurate.

    • 2022-07-06 at 9:41 pm
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      Well, Tim, you’ve really shown yourself here. “Artistic license” with history? Come on man! I know you’re used to the media you follow doing just that with much of recent history, even creating events that didn’t happen, but nobody in our area knows more about history than Mr. Scheel and instead of asking why he has to be “so technical” you should be asking why he wasn’t consulted prior to the commissioning of this piece. How many times must you embarrass yourself with your comments before you just take a break?

  • 2022-07-06 at 10:02 am
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    Woke people don’t read history; they re-invent it in a manner to their liking.

  • 2022-07-06 at 10:34 am
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    Murals are graffiti artists targets, a new class of lawbreakers brought to you by wacktavist Leesburg Town Council members!

  • 2022-07-06 at 12:24 pm
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    If there’s anyone who knows more about the history of Loudoun than Mr. Scheel, announce yourself.

    His hand drawn historical maps of the county are astonishing in detail and far more educational than any history book of Loudoun I’m aware of.

    Remember when the local leftist mob assured us they didn’t want to “rewrite history?” I do, and here we are.

  • 2022-07-06 at 2:20 pm
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    Wokeness at all cost. Surprised that the mural doesn’t include Donald Trump grabbing the reigns of a horse drawn wagon to run over escaping slaves.

  • 2022-07-10 at 2:33 pm
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    As concerns this rather controversial mural, I have seen a number of observations from Loudoun citizens whose views I have always respected, from Mr. Eugene Scheel on matters of Loudoun history to Mr. Ron Campbell on matters of racial reconciliation. I would add my voice to those who question the appropriateness of this mural, but from another perspective, namely that as small craft aquatics instructor who has taught the Rowing Merit Badge to a number of Scouts.

    I understand that Bazil Newman was a distinguished small craft waterman who used his oars as a means of propulsion. As such, I seriously doubt if Mr. Newman would have ever rowed his boat while facing the bow as depicted in the mural. Surely, those members of the Leesburg Town Council who have ever rowed a boat would have appreciated this.

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