Historical Markers bring attention to person, a site, a building, or an event in history. I have chosen Historical Highway Marker C-24 Laura Ratcliffe. The marker is near a family cemetery where Laura Ratcliffe is buried. The location of the marked is – 38° 57.483′ N, 77° 24.133′ W. The marker is located in Herndon, Virginia. I chose this marked because it brings attention to a female in history during the civil war. Not only that but she was a confederate spy. The marked indicates she was acquainted with Major General JEB Stuart and Lt. John Mosby. I am curious to explore the story behind this marker. I am looking forward to making a trip to visit the marker personally.
I will use Trouillot’s methods from the book Silencing the Past by visiting the marker. The point of a visit to the historical marker is to experience the location where Laura Ratcliffe was buried. Perhaps, going to the location will give me a perspective or information I would not have been able to acquire by just reading and learning about her history. That was part of Trouillot’s point that there is much in history that is silent and to get the full story we have to explore.
There is a second historical marker associated with Laura Ratcliffe that I would like to visit. It is Mosby’s Rock, which is also located in Herndon, Virginia. The marker is for a large boulder under which Laura Ratcliff would help Col. John S. Mosby conceal money and messages. Laura Ratcliffe on one occasion saved Col. John S. Mosby’s life. I am curious to learn about how that happened.
I will also explorer the story behind Major General JEB Stuart and Lt. John Mosby. I noticed that one marker says Col. John S. Mosby and other Lt. John Mosby, I would like to know why that is. I also noticed that in one of the markers it says Major General JEB Stuart was an acquaintance of Laura Ratcliffe and in the other it indicates she was a friend. By learning their stories and Laura Ratcliffe’s I can understand the history surrounding them.
I also noticed in the marker that it indicates that Laura Ratcliffe married in 1890 and she was born in 1836. That would mean that she married at the age of 54. The marked only mentions the name of her husband, Milton Hanna. It doesn’t provide any further information. I will be interested to see what I find out during my research. There is much to learn from this historical marker.