25 March 2007 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 10 comments

I received the following press release from old friend Thomas D. “Hokey Tom” Perry about his newest book on the life of Jeb Stuart today:

For Immediate Release: Ararat, Virginia, February 6, 2007

Tom Perry is pleased to announce publication of Stuart’s Birthplace: The History of the Laurel Hill Farm. The book is available beginning on February 6, 2007, J. E. B. Stuart’s 174th Birthday.

Perry Comments: “In 1986 Professor Emory Thomas published his biography of J. E. B. Stuart Bold Dragoon, the first biography in nearly thirty years since Burke Davis’s The Last Cavalier. After reading this book I remembered how prominent Stuart’s place in our nation’s history really was and all the famous people and events he touched in his short thirty-one years. I spent the next few years reading about him and then about 1988 I decided that something should be done to save part of the Laurel Hill property and with that I began researching Stuart and his family for the next twenty years.

This new book, my third relating to Stuart and/or the Civil War is full of new information. For the first time the life along with the personal and financial problems of Archibald Stuart, General Stuart’s father, are examined in detail. This book is based on first hand accounts from manuscript collections all over the country especially the university libraries in Virginia and North Carolina. A chapter on Stuart’s wife Flora, who survived him by fifty-nine years, and her descendants down to 2006 is presented for the first time.

The three chapters on “Jeb” Stuart are full of lots of new information. Specifically, I focused on his deep religious faith and sobriety, which is far from the image of the romantic cavalier he cultivated. Stuart joined the temperance movement founded churches and even bought his soldiers copies of the scriptures. For the first time Stuart’s seven year career in the United States Army is covered relying on information gleaned from the National Archives. Areas overlooked in his career during the War Between The States such as his role at the Battle of Chancellorsville, where he replaced the wounded “Stonewall” Jackson leading an entire corps of infantry. His role in the largest cavalry battle in the Western Hemisphere at Brandy Station in June 1863 and the way he gave Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia time to escape after the Battle of Gettysburg and the postwar controversy about his role in that battle are covered. Finally, Stuart’s last days on earth culminating with his mortal wounding and death on May 12, 1864, after the Battle of Yellow Tavern, just north of Richmond is covered.

There is an entire chapter about the preservation of the site beginning in the 1960s up through 2006. The many people who assisted in saving part of the Stuart’s Birthplace are covered especially those in before the forming of the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust, Inc. and the early days of the organization we started in 1990.

This book will show why Laurel Hill is Patrick County’s most historic site and that J. E. B. Stuart thought of Ararat, Virginia, as home as do I. The many histories of Laurel Hill from the Native-Americans, African-Americans, Antebellum Farm Life and the Stuart Family’s role in our history along with the regular people of Patrick County I hope will give people a reason to visit Laurel Hill and learn more about it.”

This book tells the story of the farm in Ararat, Virginia, that was the birthplace and boyhood home of Patrick County’s most famous son James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart and the many other people who lived there. In 255 pages the story of Stuart’s family from their arrival in North America in 1733 through 2006 is told with a seven page bibliography and index.

Laurel Hill’s history begins with prehistoric times including information on the Native-Americans, the American Revolution, Antebellum Farm Life and the life of J. E. B. Stuart, who served in the U. S. Army and fought against it in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia as commander of Robert E. Lee’s cavalry in the Civil War. The life of the African-American Slaves beginning in 1780 through 1859 (nearly 50 souls) is covered in detail gathering information from original sources in the Patrick and Henry County courthouses.

The book reveals the lives of the women of Laurel Hill such as Elizabeth Perkins Letcher Hairston, who saw her husband, William Letcher, killed by Pro-British Tories in the American Revolution and then married George Hairston of Henry County. The book tells of Elizabeth and William Letcher’s daughter, Bethenia, who married into the Pannill Family and was grandmother to J. E. B. Stuart. The book tells of the life of Stuart’s mother Elizabeth Letcher Pannill Stuart and J. E. B. Stuart’s widow Flora Cooke Stuart along with information about the Stuart children and their father, Patrick County Attorney and politician Archibald Stuart.

Laurel Hill Farm after the Stuart’s sold it in 1859 is covered pointing out the history of the Patrick County’s most historic community of Ararat with stories of Revered Robert Childress “The Man Who Moved A Mountain” and the midwife made famous by the cabin along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Orleana Puckett. The book concludes with a chapter on Perry’s personal work to preserve the site along with the preservation interest of the Brown, Dellenback and Mitchell families of Ararat, Virginia.

The book may be ordered at http://www.freestateofpatrick.com/book.htm or by check payable to Tom Perry P. O. Box 50 Ararat, VA 24053. The cost is $25 plus $5 tax and shipping.
One dollar from the sale of each of Perry’s books will go to the preservation efforts at Stuart’s Birthplace in Ararat, Virginia, owned by the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace www.jebstuart.org

Places to hear Tom Perry speak on his new book

Stuart’s Birthplace: The History of the Laurel Hill Farm

May 1, Stuart’s Birthplace, 5 p.m until…, Ararat, Virginia.

May 10, Reynolds Homestead, 11 a.m. Book Discussion, Critz, Virginia.

Biographical Information on Tom Perry can be found at http://www.freestateofpatrick.com/tomscorner.htm

Historian Thomas D. Perry is the Founder of the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace and hold a BA in History from Virginia Tech (83) He is the author of Ascent To Glory: The Genealogy of J. E. B. Stuart ($20) and The Free State of Patrick: Patrick County Virginia in the Civil War ($30). Stuart’s Birthplace: The History of the Laurel Hill Farm ($30) are available on Perry’s website or by sending check payable to Tom Perry P O Box 50 Ararat VA 24053.

Perry speaks all over the country on topics related to J. E. B. Stuart, the Civil War and Patrick County history. You can see the latest events by visiting the following webpage http://www.freestateofpatrick.com/coe.htm. Perry will speak to any church, civic or school group in Patrick County free of charge. He was the recipient of the George Waller Sons of the American Revolution Citizen of the Year in 2004 for Patrick and Henry Counties and the North Carolina Society of Historians Award for a magazine article on J. E. B. Stuart’s North Carolina Connections in 2005. In 2006, the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace honored the Perry Family for its work in preserving Stuart’s Birthplace. Tom produces a monthly email newsletter about Patrick County History from The Free State Of Patrick Internet History Group, which has nearly 400 members.

Contact Information
Tom Perry
P. O. Box 50 Ararat, VA 24053

Table of Contents For Stuart’s Birthplace: The History of the Laurel Hill Farm

Foreword “Home”
Part One Journeys To Eden
Chapter 1 The Hollow: Ararat Virginia Before The Stuarts
Chapter 2 The Immigrant: Archibald Stuart (ca1697-1761)
Chapter 3 The Major: Alexander Stuart (1733-1823)
Chapter 4 The Judge: Alexander Stuart (1770-1832)
Chapter 5 The Patriot: William Letcher (1750-1780)
Chapter 6 The Daughter: Bethenia Letcher Pannill (1780-1845)

Part Two Laurel Hill
Chapter 7 The Father: Archibald Stuart (1795-1855)
Chapter 8 The Mother: Elizabeth Letcher Pannill Stuart (1801-1884)
Chapter 9 The Stuarts and Mount Airy: Connections To Surry County NC
Chapter 10 The Children of Archibald and Elizabeth Stuart: J. E. B. Stuart’s Siblings

Part Three Stuart of Laurel Hill
Chapter 11 Son of Southwest Virginia: James Ewell Brown Stuart (1833-1850)
Chapter 12 Soldier of the United States: James Ewell Brown Stuart (1850-1861)
Chapter 13 Soldier of the Confederate States: James Ewell Brown Stuart (1861-1864)

Part Four Preservation
Chapter 14 The Wife: Flora Cooke Stuart (1836-1923) and her children
Chapter 15 Laurel Hill and Ararat Virginia After The Stuart Family
Chapter 16 A Personal Preservation

Afterword “Walk This Hallowed Ground”
Appendix: The Laurel Hill Land Transactions
Records of the Slaves and Free Blacks

I’m familiar with the thoroughness of Tom’s research and know that he’s done his usual efficient job in covering all of the possible sources. I look forward to getting a copy of this one, and congratulate Hokey Tom on his accomplishment. Not bad for a Virginia Tech guy. 🙂

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 8:24 am

    That is HOKIE TOM to you husband of Susan. 🙂

    Thanks for the mention.

  2. Ken Noe
    Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 9:18 am


    Virginia Tech guys might surprise you.

    Ken Noe
    Virginia Tech, ’81

  3. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 1:06 pm


    Mr. Perry is to speak at our SCV Camp (Lexington) meeting in April and we are looking very forward to his presentation.

    (Wahoo Fan) 🙂

  4. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Richard, I look forward to seeing you in Lexington. Are you a Hoya fan this morning like all good Virginians should be? 🙂


    I had family in the 17th TN Inf at Perryville. Love your books.

    Thanks to both of you and Eric for allowing me into blog world.
    Tom Perry

  5. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Sorry about that, Hokie Tom. I stand corrected. 🙂

    Ken, I didn’t know you were a Hokie, too. Like Tom, are you one of Dr. Wobertson’s disciples?


  6. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 9:44 pm


    Ah, yes, my deepest, darkest professional secret. When I was at Tech my specialty was…World War I, especially Britain and Ireland. I only got back into Civil War after I graduated. Happily, Bud Robertson became a friend in the years that followed.


  7. Mon 26th Mar 2007 at 9:58 pm


    Interesting. I didn’t know that. WWI is of great interest to me, too. It’s an area where I would like to learn more.


  8. Tue 27th Mar 2007 at 11:03 am


    Several years ago I had a pleasant meal with Gary Sheffield–the Great War historian, not the Detroit Tigers’ new problem–and I was fascinated to discover his interest in the American Civil War. From what he told me, many of his peers also study our civil war as a precursor to 1914. The connections are obvious–think back to J. F. C. Fuller or up to Gervase Phillip’s new article in the January 2007 _Journal of Military History_. Maybe one day you can write a comparative cavalry study!


  9. Wed 28th Mar 2007 at 10:26 pm


    Wow, that must have been a fascinating discussion.

    It would be an interesting contrast, that’s for sure. I’ve long been fascinated by the contrasts betweenthe Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, largely due to the incredible evolution in military technology in just five years. The difference is REALLY striking.


    Fri 01st May 2009 at 12:33 pm


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