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Yorktown and World War I Subject of Upcoming Yorktown Preservation Society Meeting
Submitted by Jennifer Carver

YW11 imageA presentation of recently discovered historic information in "The Open Door”, a guest book kept by Catherine Sheild from 1915-1945 at the Sessions House in Yorktown will be held at Grace Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 111 Church Street, Yorktown, on Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 p.m. The program is open to the public.

In 1901, Conway Sheild bought a house on Main Street that was built in the 1700’s, one of the original colonial homes in Yorktown. His wife, Mrs. Catherine Sheild, welcomed all Yorktown visitors to her home and asked them sign her Guest Book. These signatures included many prominent people including 4 presidents: Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith, Warren Harding and his wife, Florence King Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover along with the signatures of Naval officers from ships that were anchored in the York River in 1917. The Guest Book has been in the possession of the Sheild family ever since.

Recently, Letty Best, granddaughter of Mrs. Conway Sheild, loaned the Guest Book to the Yorktown Preservation Society to make a copy of the original that they could donate to the York County Historical Museum. This would allow information about early 20th century Yorktown to be available to the public.

At the next Yorktown Preservation Society meeting, Lois Winter, Yorktown historian, and Ross Patterson, a Naval warfare scholar, will explain what was revealed by examining the remarkable list of visitors to Yorktown from 1915 to 1921. Catherine Sheild’s Guest Book provides evidence of Yorktown’s significant role in the preparation and conclusion of World War I.


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