2019 2nd Annual Ruritan Event Explores Local History

On Sunday February 24th the Lucketts Ruritan Club sponsored its second annual local history event for Loudoun families at Lucketts Elementary School. Hunting History for Kids was a presentation (with plenty of show and tell) by Lovettsville resident Eric Hillebrand who uses local archives and his trusty metal detector to search the soils of Loudoun for artifacts from earlier times.

Close to two hundred adults and children attended the event that benefitted the Lucketts Elementary School PTA and the Rudy Youth Club at the school. Several tables of artifacts were set up in the school gymnasium to whet the appetites of the audience as they arrived. Mr. Hillebrand was on hand to answer questions about the bullets, belt buckles, and buttons that form a large part of his Loudoun artifact collection. The Rudy Youth members hosted a bake goods sale before and after the event to fund their club projects.

The audience gathered in the school cafeteria where Ruritan Club President, Peter Gustafson, opened the program with comments. Officers of the Rudy Youth Club led everyone in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Mr. Hillebrand shared how he and his family developed their interest in combining metal detecting with searching for clues about the people and events that left these things behind. Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg contains original journals from people who participated in the Civil and the Revolutionary Wars as well as journals of local residents who settled the large tracts of land used for early agriculture in the County. Original documents often contain stories of places where camps or other meeting locations were established. Following historic maps for those periods helps Mr. Hillebrand focus on the best bets for finding what history left behind. Each artifact becomes another puzzle piece that helps form a picture of the people and events of 18th and 19th century Loudoun.

Mr. Hillebrand is a police officer with Fairfax County and grew up in Lucketts on Spinks Ferry Road. His wife Jodi is a teacher at Harmony Middle School in Purcellville and he regularly presents to LCPS students as part of their local history studies. For this presentation, Mr. Hillebrand added information about famous animals that traveled through the County with their famous owners. The equine history of Loudoun includes visits by four famous horses that traveled throughout Loudoun with four of the Civil War’s most famous Generals.

To complete the fun for the afternoon there were drawing for adult and youth door prizes contributed by local businesses for the day. This now annual event sponsored by the Lucketts Ruritan Club is intended to foster a greater understanding of local history in Loudoun County and bring people of all ages together to enjoy learning and fellowship.