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Notes From The Free State Of Patrick: Patrick County Virginia History is a 205 page soft cover book that includes chapters on many people and places studied over the last decade. The book finds stories heretofore unknown or misunderstood finding new material in the Library of Virginia to the Patrick County Courthouse. Made up of speeches, blogs, websites and various sources the author gives a varied description of his native county The Free State Of Patrick. Chapters from prehistoric times about Native Americans and the American Revolution through the Civil War and the seven men who gave all in the Vietnam Conflict give a diverse look at the history of Patrick County Virginia.
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J. E. B. Stuart's biographer Emory Thomas describes Tom Perry as "a fine and generous gentleman who grew up near Laurel Hill, where Stuart grew up, has founded J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace and attracted considerable interest in the preservation of Laurel Hill. He has started a symposium series about aspects of Stuart's life to sustain interest in Stuart beyond Ararat, Virginia." Perry holds a BA in History from Virginia Tech in 1983. Tom started the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust, Inc. in 1990. The non-profit organization has preserved 75 acres of the Stuart property including the house site where James Ewell Brown Stuart was born on February 6, 1833. Perry wrote the eight interpretive signs about Laurel Hill's history along with the Virginia Civil War Trails sign and the new Virginia Historical Highway Marker in 2002. He spent many years researching traveling all over the nation to find Stuart materials including two trips across the Mississippi River to visit nearly every place "Jeb" Stuart served in the United States Army (1854-1861). He continues his work to preserve Stuart's Birthplace producing the Laurel Hill Teacher's Guide for educators and the Laurel Hill Reference Guide for groups and the organization to share his lifetime of research on the only preserved site in the nation relating to the birthplace and boyhood home of James Ewell Brown Stuart. Tom can be seen on Virginia Public Television's Forgotten Battlefields: The Civil War in Southwest Virginia with his mentor noted Civil War Historian Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. Perry has begun a collection of papers relating to Stuart and Patrick County history in the Special Collections Department of the Carol M. Newman Library at Virginia Tech under the auspices of the Virginia Center For Civil War Studies. He is the author of Ascent to Glory, The Genealogy of J. E. B. Stuart, The Free State of Patrick: Patrick County Virginia in the Civil War, and Images of America: Patrick County Virginia and Notes From The Free State Of Patrick. In 2004, Perry began the Free State Of Patrick Internet History Group, which has become the largest historical organization in the area with over 500 members. It covers Patrick County Virginia and regional history. Tom produces a monthly email newsletter about regional history entitled Notes From The Free State of Patrick that goes from his website www.freestateofpatrick.com.
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