So after writing and posting the article about my family ancestry and a poem my great grand father wrote (find it here), Richard Williams commented on the article and passed on to me the name of the Director of the museum at VMI as well as all his contact information. Later that night, I emailed the director and with in twenty four hours the director confirmed some of the family stories.
Special thanks goes out to Richard Williams for suggesting and sorta kinda pushing me to contacting the director. I only live an hour or so from VMI and have never gone up there to confirm the stories. I have often put it on my list of things to do, but it always has gotten bumped off for one reason or another. With Richard giving me the email address and phone number and suggesting how helpful the director had been to him in the past...my excuses were no more. Check out Richard's blog here. It is a treasure trove of good information to any one who likes American history, particularly Southern history. Rick has also written several books, give them a try. You can buy his books here.
Another huge thanks to Col. Gibson for confirming the family stories and then some. I'm sure the Director of the Museum at VMI has to be a very busy job. I'm grateful for his time and effort put into answering my questions. Thanks again Col. Gibson...
On to the history uncovered at VMI...It turns out my great grand father donated 10 items to the museum and some of those artifacts are unbelievable. The walking cane from the vertebra of a tiger shark is there. It turns out that it was given to R.W. Weiss by a ship's Captain. It was made by French convicts imprisoned on Devil's Island. There was no record on a sword donated by R.W. Weiss.
Here is a list of other items R.W. Weiss donated to the museum:
Gun used in General Custer's command. Marked "U.S. Springfield 1873". Marked #20 on butt. Picked up by Indian scout after massacre at Little Big Horn. Bought by Weiss from an Indian with Buffalo Bill Cody. Serial # 39667.
Model, Architect's Model of an outrigger boat made by the cannibals in the Dutch East Indies.
Belt of an American soldier.
German helmet .
Piece of iron from Jamestown.
Shell from The Crater.
Five grapeshot from The Crater.
Ramrod from The Crater.
Gras Rifle, Model 1874. French. Manufacturer Armes Chatellerault, Mle. 1874 M. 80. Rifle SN: A 96498. Bolt SN: A 96498
Good luck and HH