Two mentors and supporters of this site died in February 2016 – Jack Hiller on February 3 and Charles CK Gailey on the 22nd.
Jack was one of several local historians who provided encouragement, advice and critical review when the site was in early development and not yet public. A retired educator and long time member of the Fairfax County History Commission, I credit Jack’s support as a factor in the Commission’s recognizing this work with its Beth Mitchell award.
A retired Army officer, CK worked many years of volunteer service in Fairfax County’s Cultural Resource Management and Protection office. That’s the branch of archaeologists that identifies and protects the county’s important historical and cultural artifacts. When not working in the field, CK was the go to person for deed research and digital mapping. He spent many hours during many visits helping me find, access and interpret historical deeds, aerial photos and maps. Jack told me that he received similar help from CK.
I turned to Jack and CK often for suggestions and to get their take on research questions.
A recognized Civil War expert, CK coached me on the value of studying historical aerial photos to identify traces of fortifications and other structures of that era. My map of the incomplete and abandoned Manassas Gap Railroad roadbed was developed in this way. CK himself provided the right-of-way overlay file for the Orange and Alexandria Railroad map. For another project, he developed the information linked to that explains local conditions during the Civil War.
I recently learned that Jack was a prime initiator in creating Fairfax County’s historical marker program, which he administered for the History Commission. Jack guided a few of us in establishing the marker commemorating the 1861 Bog Wallow Ambush on Braddock Road. Within the area that was Ravensworth, Jack’s work is evident in the markers for Gooding’s Tavern, the community of Ilda, The Guinea Road Cemetery Reinterment, Price’s Ordinary, and Mosby Attacks Annandale. Perhaps most significant for Jack is the Keene’s Mill marker in Springfield, a focus of his historical essay “Murder At The Mill: My Search for William H. Keene.”
My relationships with them involved just a very small part of Jack’s and CK’s work. Their contributions are many, much wider and enduring.