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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Turberville Memorial Garden

 
 
Turberville Memorial Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 15, 2021
1. Turberville Memorial Garden Marker
Inscription.  
The Randolph G. Corbin Turberville Memorial Garden was made possible with a generous gift from the late Ellen B. Turberville in memory of her son. Randy, as he was known, was a lawyer, Army veteran, and early supporter of the Manassas Museum System. He is said to have loved flowers and gardening. He died on March 25, 1992 at age 43.

Was There a Garden at Liberia?
The only visible clue we have about the existence of gardens at Liberia comes from the earliest known photograph of the house in March of 1862. Daffodils bloomed alongside the front walk of the house then occupied by Union troops, a natural ornament that somehow survived the encampment of two armies in the midst of the Civil War. The bright yellow blooms signal that Liberia's Weir family, like fellow plantation owners across Virginia, might have enjoyed the delights of an ornamental flower garden.

We know that Liberia's owner, William James Weir, complained to Confederate soldiers early in the war about the loss of his fruit trees on the property. An 1863 edition of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, reported that Weir was said

Turberville Memorial Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 15, 2021
2. Turberville Memorial Garden Marker
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to have been "shut up in the guard-house for saying, as he witnessed his fruit trees being made into firewood, that he 'didn't know as he would be used any worse by the Yankees than he had been by those who professed to be his friends.'"

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when owner Robert Portner transformed Liberia into a dairy farm, the Roseberry family served as caretakers of the house. They too described a garden in an undated family history: "It was a handsome house…as the bricks were large then, large and handsome tulip poplars, a beautiful rose garden and fruit trees and beyond them the family burying ground."

The Turberville Memorial Garden is planted with native plants common to Virginia and has been designed to support pollinators. The garden was initially begun in 2020 with volunteers from the Prince William Master Gardeners, Buds n' Roses Garden Club, Manassas Museum Associates, Manassas Garden Club, Manassas City Beautification Committee, Manassas Historic Resources Baord and many more individuals with a passion for gardens.

Garden Design: Rhodeside & Harwell, Inc. and the Virginia Cooperative Extension - Prince William Master Gardener Volunteers

"At night I would walk out in the garden and brood over the possible result of this slow way of making war. The garden looked toward the battle-field. At times I thought I detected
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the odor of the carcasses, lightly buried there; at others I fancied I heard weird and doleful creis borne on the night wind."
— Private George Bagby, Virginia's 11th Infantry 1861, during his time at Libera.

[Caption:]
2006 archeological study set out to find evidence of Civil War-era ornamental and kitchen gardens.
 
Erected by City of Manassas, Virginia.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is March 25, 1992.
 
Location. 38° 46.017′ N, 77° 27.651′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Portner Avenue and Princeton Park Drive, on the right when traveling north on Portner Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8653 Portner Ave, Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Liberia (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Liberia (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberia and the Weirs (within shouting distance of this marker); Enslaved of Liberia (within shouting distance of this marker); Weir Family Cemetery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Manassas 1825
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); Conner House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Conner House Restoration (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 18, 2021