WINNSBORO — Local historian Val Green will present a program at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 on the story of Laurens County native Ann Pamela Cunningham, the woman who is credited with saving George Washington’s beloved home Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect.
The program is being sponsored by the John Bratton Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The program, being held at Christ Central Community Center, 205 S. Congress St., is open to the public.
Cunningham was born Aug. 15, 1816, at Rosemont Plantation in Laurens County. In a letter to her daughter, Cunningham’s mother described the crumbling condition of the estate as she saw it in 1853 while on a steamship heading down the Potomac River.
Cunningham was in her 30s and, having been crippled in a riding accident as a teenager, decided she would initiate a campaign to save the estate. She raised funds to buy Mount Vernon by launching an unprecedented appeal for donations through newspaper articles directed toward “The Ladies of the South” and subsequently founded The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union.
The group still owns and manages Washington’s estate. She served as its first regent (president). The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is the oldest preservation and women’s organization in the United States.
Ann’s mother and Val’s third great-grandmother were sisters and he has collected some unpublished stories about his shared ancestors and their connections with the family of our first president. Recently, the newly opened Museum of George Washington at Mt. Vernon incorporated information researched by Green into an interesting artifact display among their permanent exhibits.
His third great-grandfather (William Lowndes Yancey), Pamela’s first cousin, raised $75,000 of the $200,000 to buy Mt. Vernon from the Washington family. In appreciation for his efforts, Cunningham bequeathed to him Washington’s military spy glass used during the Revolutionary War.
Call 635-9811 or send an email to email@example.com for more information.