The 2018 Kegley Lecture Series of the Historical Society of Western Virginia opens Jan. 23, a Tuesday, with a talk on William Mahone, soldier, railroad executive and U.S. senator. The speaker is Rob Freis, a copy editor at The Roanoke Times and a writer of history.
Freis will discuss the rise of Mahone through railroading and politics. Mahone was born in 1826 in Southampton County and died in 1895 in Washington, D.C. The Irish-American graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1847 with a civil engineering degree.
According to Encyclopedia Virginia, Mahone was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1881 by members of the Readjuster Party. The party was a coalition of poor whites and African Americans seeking, among other things, the restoration of free public education.
Other scheduled lectures include:
On Feb, 27, Roanoke author Nelson Harris will talk about the early history of Bent Mountain and the Poages Mill sections of Roanoke County, covered in his new book on that area. Harris, pastor of Heights Community Church and a former Roanoke mayor, has written extensively on Roanoke Valley history.
On March 27, Dr. Lynn Rainille, research professor of the humanities at Sweet Briar College, will tell of her research on events in World War I. She also is director of the Tusculum Institute for Public History. Rainille is an anthropological archaeologist who studies the everyday lives of ordinary people in historic Virginian Communities.
All talks begin at 7 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, the corner of Grandin Road and Brandon Avenue. Admission is free to Society members, $5 for for guests. Light refreshments are served.