Virtual Belle Grove

Studying and engaging with history is exciting because there’s always more to learn, always more to uncover, and always more to interpret. One of our goals with this site is to share what we’re learning, uncovering, and interpreting with you in real time. Each exhibit tells a story using primary sources and includes learning activities that pull out the teachable moments for students, educators, and history enthusiasts alike.

We also have a collection of online talks that historians and academics have given that present various aspects of Belle Grove’s rich history, so we do hope that you explore them.

Welcome to Virtual Belle Grove – we’re glad that you’re here.

Featured Exhibit

The Jackson Family: A Story of Resilience & The Enduring Love of Family

Emanuel Jackson and Hannah Thornton’s Family Tree

Ever since historians at Belle Grove found Emanuel Jackson‘s freedom papers in the University of Pittsburgh Libraries Free At Last online exhibit, they have been fascinated by his family’s story from enslavement at Belle Grove to freedom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our latest online exhibit, The Jackson Family: A Story of Resilience & The Enduring Love of Family, begins to tell a story that unfolded from a single digitized document.

Don’t miss our other exhibits!

A Tale of Two Women during the Battle of Cedar Creek

In 1913, writer Clifton Johnson traveled along a path that took him through key moments in the Civil War, talking to ordinary people along the way and capturing their stories. In his book, Battleground Adventures, published in 1915, he shares the story of a black woman who recounts living through the Battle of Cedar Creek at Belle Grove in 1864. This exhibit shares her short but powerful story.

Honoring Belle Grove’s Enslaved Community

Since January 2021, Robin Young and Kristen Laise have been researching, writing, and producing online profiles that share the historical data collected, the connections made, and the conclusions drawn as Belle Grove continues to try understanding the lives of the individuals enslaved by the Hite family. This exhibit is an archive of the profiles that have already been published and released; however, we will continue to add a profile monthly until the end of 2022, so please check back regularly!

Mary Briscoe Baldwin

Born at Belle Grove Plantation 1811, Mary Briscoe Baldwin was the first unmarried female missionary to travel abroad in 1835. She was a missionary, an educator, a sister, a friend, a caretaker, and an entrepreneur. This exhibit follows Mary’s journey from Middletown, Virginia to Athens, Greece and from Athens, Greece to Joppa, Syria (which is modern-day Tel Aviv, Israel).

Ann Tunstall Maury Hite

Belle Grove has a collection of letters that Ann Tunstall Maury Hite both wrote and received, which provide a glimpse into what life may have been like in the Shenandoah Valley during the early 1800s. This exhibit explores Mrs. Hite’s life through her own words, from her family, to her faith, to her views on the enslaved workers at Belle Grove.