top of page

Chatham Chatter – 3rd Quarter, July - September 2024

Chatham Chatter July-sept2024
Download PDF • 3.00MB

Upcoming meetings/events

Every Wednesday 0800-1200 – Garden volunteer work at Chatham (open to everyone)

Friday 12 July & 9 August – Chatham open to the public after hours (gates remain open until 8 PM). The Park Service and Friends of Chatham will be present for public engagement.

Saturday 27 July 2024 - Member Mingle – Tapa Rio Restaurant (order/pay individually, back room)

Saturday 24 August 2024 - FoC Board Retreat (at President Carol Hyland’s residence)

Monday 27 January 2025 - Annual FoC FunRaiser Dinner – (date tentative)


Caption:  A Different View of Diana.  Photo credit Michelle Lynn Paige.

President’s Message

Greetings All and welcome to the new Friends of Chatham fiscal and membership year which began on July 1. We held our Annual Meeting on June 4 at the Fredericksburg Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. After a social hour featuring some delicious snacks, the business meeting began with a welcome from President Nancy Fahy. We then heard from Beth Parnicza, Branch Manager Interpretation and Education at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, who told us about summer plans at Chatham which include pop-up activities on weekday and weekend mornings and three scheduled late evenings when the gate at Chatham will be open until 8:00 PM. The first of these evenings was in June, and the next one is planned for Friday, July 12. There will be two National Park Service employees available on the grounds with art supplies to share and information about photography and art on the Chatham grounds. The final late evening will be on Friday, August 9.

John Storke, Facilities Manager for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park next gave us an update on happenings in the maintenance area. The park is working with young people in the Traditional Trades Advancement Program which features instruction and hands on experience in historic restoration. Progress is being made on the project to install a fire suppression system in the main house at Chatham. This is moving along, with an expectation that the contract will be awarded at the beginning of July and work should start later that month. A related project to rehabilitate the interior of the house should be funded next year.

After hearing from the NPS representatives, Friends of Chatham turned to the internal business on the annual meeting agenda, including officers’ reports, approval of the budget for 2024-2025, and election of officers for the next two years. The slate of officers presented by the Nominating Committee consisted of: Carol Hyland - President, Stephanie Turman - Vice President, Sharon Adinolfi - Secretary, Michelle Pickham - Treasurer, Kevin Brown- Public Relations and Marketing Director, Pat Baughman - Membership Director, Carol Fry - Projects Director, and Patsy Thompson - Ways and Means Director. These nominations were approved by the membership without objection.

A detour from the formal agenda followed, as Stephanie Turman presented a gift from the members of the Board of Directors to outgoing President Nancy Fahy. A generous contribution to the Friends of Chatham Endowment Fund recognized Nancy’s years of dedicated service to our organization and her two terms in office as President. Fortunately, Nancy will remain on the Board in the position of Past President, as specified in our Bylaws. I am personally exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to serve as Vice President under Nancy. She patiently mentored me and shared her knowledge of the unwritten history of the organization. As I begin my term as President, I do so with a deep respect for the purpose and aims of this organization and its body of significant accomplishments achieved in a short time. Working with the newly elected Board of Directors, I pledge to do my best to continue these efforts.

President: Carol Hyland


From the Membership Meeting

Photos by Pat Baughman

John Storke, Facilities Manager, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, presented a Certificate of Appreciation and commemorative badge to outgoing President Nancy Fahy in appreciation for her many years of service on the Board of Friends of Chatham.

Bob Aarikson and Jim Purton, active members of Friends of Chatham, visiting before the meeting. Bob and Jim are photographers, and faithful contributors to the FoC Facebook page and FoC events.

Members of Friends of Chatham catching up during social time prior to the start of the meeting.


From the Garden

We have had another lovely and productive Spring in the greenhouses and gardens at Chatham. Again this March, the plant plugs arrived signaling the beginning of the greenhouse growing season. We had close to 1000 plugs, including four colors of lantana, blue ageratum and pink petunias. Gardener Scott Blake and the volunteers, most of whom are Master Gardeners, planted the plugs in 4.5 inch pots to give them room to grow. Scott then turned his attention to starting the almost 1500 seeds that had been ordered. Once the seeds had germinated and begun to grow, these little plants were also repotted into larger containers to enable them to mature enough to be ready for the garden beds. The plants started from seed included blue salvia, yellow and orange marigolds, red and white impatiens, and cherry and white zinnias.

Once the plants have grown enough in the greenhouses, they are moved in stages to the cold frames where they acclimate to being outdoors. This is done one variety of plant at a time, as each is ready. While the greenhouse plants are acclimating, Scott and the volunteers are clearing the beds in the garden where they will be planted. Scott develops a planting plan for the garden each year which always features a variety of colors which are mirrored on each side of the walk from the garden entrance to the house. Appropriately, the plan always contains red, white and blue. Because we are working with large numbers of plants, the changeover to summer annuals always takes some time but the final beauty is always worth the wait. As the greenhouse grown annuals were developing, the perennials that populate many of the beds in the garden were blooming in turn. It was another beautiful Spring with lots of daffodils followed by iris and peonies. The roses have also taken a turn as the garden’s star attraction.

Currently, we are still in the process of getting all the summer annuals to their destinations and Mother Nature is not helping by turning up the heat to mid-summer swelter levels. Hopefully there will be a return of somewhat cooler temperatures to make visits to the garden more pleasant. Meanwhile, Scott and the volunteers will continue moving the summer annuals to their designated places.

Caption: Wednesday morning volunteers working in the Chatham gardens.

Photos credit Carol Fry.


Membership Renewal Time

The Membership Committee would like to thank all current members for their support of Friends of Chatham. Without members and community partners, projects such as the restoration of the Pan statue and temple, and the summer house could not have happened. The financial support of members also helps to cover the expense of our part time gardener. During the 2023 fiscal year, our gardener coordinated the work of 21 garden volunteers who donated over 850 hours to the maintenance and beautification of Chatham’s gardens.

A basic Friends of Chatham Membership is available at $25.00 for an individual or $50.00 for a family. We would like to ask you to consider joining at a higher membership level, such as Sustaining ($100.00) or Contributing ($250.00). If you choose a higher-level membership, anything over $25.00 is a charitable contribution and tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Please consider becoming a Friends of Chatham member for the 2024-2025 membership year which runs from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. It is easy to renew your membership. You can simply send a check to Friends of Chatham, PO Box 36, Fredericksburg, VA 22404 or visit the Friends of Chatham website at to renew electronically.


Meet your new Friends of Chatham Board of Directors for 2024-2026

President: Carol Hyland

Carol retired in 2012 after a 35-year career with the Social Security Administration. At the suggestion of her best friend, she enrolled in Master Gardener training through the Virginia Cooperative Extension. To fulfill the volunteer hour commitment that accompanied becoming a Master Gardener, she volunteered in the garden at Chatham Manor. This fortuitous opportunity combined her life-long love of history with her newly acquired fondness for gardening. She picked up a Friends of Chatham card in the house the first day she ventured in, joined the organization immediately and has been an active member since. Meanwhile, the group leader for the Master Gardener volunteers at Chatham left that post and Carol was chosen to replace him, giving her a second role in the garden. To answer questions from visitors and tell the garden’s story, she delved into the history of the garden, learned about the importance of its designer, Ellen Biddle Shipman, and developed an appreciation for its place in American landscape architecture. Carol’s involvement with Friends of Chatham gives her the opportunity to spread the word about the beauty and importance of the gardens and grounds that surround Chatham Manor and to encourage folks to visit and enjoy.

Vice President: Stephanie Turman

Stephanie has lived in Spotsylvania County since 1988. Widowed in 2022, she has a son, two stepdaughters, a granddaughter, and five feline companions. She is retired from a wonderful forty-year career in the business/finance/marketing arena of labor unions in Washington, DC. After years of commuting, she only recently discovered and explored all the beauty, art, history, and other delights that the Fredericksburg area has to offer. She first visited Chatham during the COVID pandemic, and it quickly became her favorite place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Stephanie enjoys photography, acrylic painting, bowling, and travel, as well as reading, writing, editing, word games and trivia. She joined the Chatham Board in 2022 as Director of Projects and is excited to continue to serve the next two years in the position of Vice President. She appreciates the historical and educational significance of Chatham and enjoys the wonderful, year-round photographic opportunities that the grounds and gardens have to offer.

Treasurer: Michelle Pickham

Michelle has lived in Fredericksburg for over 28 years. She’s a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and has worked in the UMW Procurement Services department for the last 10 years. When she’s not working or spending time with her family, you can find her reading, baking, working on jigsaw puzzles, or spending time in her garden. Living in Fredericksburg has given Michelle an appreciation of the area’s history and colonial roots. She joined the Friends of Chatham to help support its mission in preserving the history of Chatham and its grounds for public education and enjoyment. She is honored to serve as its Treasurer.

Secretary: Sharon Adinolfi

Sharon is a retired DoDEA teacher; she worked at Quantico Middle High School.  She has three sons, a granddaughter and grandson and two great-granddaughters.  She is a volunteer at the local library, a member of the Woman's Club of Fredericksburg, and of course, a board member of Friends of Chatham.  She has served as Secretary and President of FoC and has worked on several committees for the Friends. When she retired, Sharon was looking for a new experience and attended a FoC Member Mingle in 2012.  She always says FoC chose her, it was everywhere when she was newly retired.  She joined because she loves the history of Chatham and the beautiful gardens. 

Ways and Means (Fundraising): Patsy Thompson

Patsy came to Fredericksburg in 1959 as a freshman at Mary Washington College for Women. Before transferring to Duke University’s School of Physical Therapy, she had met a Fredericksburg native, John Thompson. The two were married in the Duke Chapel in 1962. They have two children and 5 grandchildren. Patsy is a past President of the Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors, Past President of the Rappahannock Rotary Club, and past President of the Rappahannock Valley Garden Club. Community service has always been an important part of Patsy’s life. She firmly believes it is important to participate in community activities - whether it be feeding the homeless or raising funds for the needs at Chatham. At each meeting, Rotarians repeat a 4-way test of the things they think, say, and do. One of the questions they ask themselves is “does it build good will and better friendship and will it be beneficial to all concerned.” Being a part of Friends of Chatham will help build friendship and be beneficial to all in our community.

Membership: Pat Baughman

Pat enjoyed a 30-year career with the American Cancer Society, a nationwide, non-profit volunteer organization. Her work involved supporting volunteers and businesses with many community fundraising and program activities in Hampton Roads, Richmond and DC. Pat and her husband, Earl, both considered Fredericksburg an ideal place to live for its proximity to work and for the rich history of the town. Although Pat visited many historical sites and attended community programs in the Fredericksburg area, it was an event held on the grounds of Chatham Manor that captured her interest. The well-preserved home and the stunning gardens motivated her to probe into the information written about Chatham – the good and the painful side of the plantation. Pat now enjoys supporting the Friends of Chatham mission to preserve Chatham Manor and the historic grounds which surround it.

Projects: Carol Fry

Carol moved to Fredericksburg in 1995 and has two children and one grandchild. After 20 years at GEICO, she retired and became her new grandchild’s full-time babysitter. Carol’s passion for gardening led her to become a member of Friends of Chatham, where she volunteers to help keep the gardens beautiful for everyone to enjoy now, and in the future.

Marketing and Public Relations: Kevin Brown

Kevin is a retired Marine who lives with his wife Susan in the city of Fredericksburg. He has four children (3 married), Kyle (wife Claire), Kirsten (husband Duane), Karina (husband Isaiah), and Paige, and a grandson, Levi. Kevin is an active community member, hosting the popular, 32,000+ member On the Fredericksburg Va Trails Facebook group, serving on the city's Parks, Recreation, and Events, and Pathways committees, as well as supporting and participating in numerous local organizations and activities. Kevin supports the Friends of Chatham because he is passionate about maintaining Chatham as the premier scenic destination in the area, with unparalleled beautiful gardens and grounds that are freely enjoyed by thousands of grateful residents and tourists every year.

Past President: Nancy Fahy

Nancy has been a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Chatham since its inception in 2012 in various board positions, and most recently as President. Nancy believes that the history of Chatham reflects the history of the American experience with all its complexities. All the stories of Chatham deserve to be preserved and shared so that all can learn the lessons of every era. History matters. Chatham matters. The stories matter. Nancy and her husband, Dan, live across the river from Chatham in the City of Fredericksburg.


For Sale:  $35 each*

FoC is selling signed and numbered limited edition prints of Chatham Manor by Joseph M. Serino, 18 1/2 in. x 23 3/4 in.   If you are interested in buying a print you can email us at  Prints can also be purchased online from our homepage at

Did you know you can support FoC when you buy bulbs for your garden from Brent and Becky's Bulbs?  Go to  Select Friends of Chatham in the drop down menu, follow the prompts, and start shopping. Twenty-five percent of your purchase will go directly to Friends of  Chatham.


bottom of page