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The 2004 crop of honorees added to the Fredericksburg Wall of Honor made lifelong contributions to the community.

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Date published: 4/24/2004


Young Emily White Fleming, a native of Georgia, arrived in Fredericksburg in 1880. She soon became immersed in local history, interviewing townspeople who had known the Washingtons and researching local places associated with the Washington family. In 1921 she published a booklet, "Historic Periods of Fredericksburg."

Fredericksburg history was a family affair for the Flemings. Emily's husband, Vivian Minor Fleming of Hanover County, was the founder of the Eagle Shoe Co. in Fredericksburg. A Confederate veteran and author of the book "Campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia," he was one of three war commissioners who mapped out the Fredericksburg battlefields for the National Park Service.

Their daughter, Annie, born in 1883, grew up sharing her parents' enthusiasm for local history. Years later, when she was known near and far simply as "Miss Annie," she would write of her mother's roles in preserving Fredericksburg's historic attractions including Kenmore, Mary Washington Monument, Mary Washington House, Rising Sun Tavern, James Monroe Museum and Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop.

In spite of naysayers, Emily Fleming also successfully spearheaded the drive for the first Mary Washington Hospital on Sophia Street.

"I remember," wrote Miss Annie, "once my mother came home weeping. She said that Judge Wallace shook his head when he met her on the street and said, 'You poor benighted little woman.'"

Thanks to the "benighted little woman," the hospital was built and prospered.

Emily Fleming's crowning achievement came in 1922 when Kenmore was about to be razed or made into apartments.

"I am old and deaf," she said, "but I would die happy if Kenmore could be saved."

To raise Kenmore's $30,000 purchase price, she formed the Washington-Lewis Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and later the independent Kenmore Association.

Mother and daughter financed Kenmore's purchase and its early repair, upkeep and furnishings with lawn socials, speeches, card parties, and bake and rummage sales.

Miss Annie remembered: "I can see my 69-year-old mother now, my son Horace, a servant and myself riding on an ice cream truck at five o'clock in the morning over bad roads to clear $500 at a lawn social."

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