Rucker Landing signs dedicated during Amherst County’s Batteau Day – June 10, 2017

L-R, Dr. Bill Trout, Holt Messerly, Claudia Tucker, Jeff Taylor, Mike Rucker and “Thomas Jefferson”.

Claudia Tucker, Chairwoman of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors at Amherst County Batteau Day, June 10, 2017.

Claudia Tucker Chairwoman of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors gave a nice presentation to begin the dedication ceremony. The following are her remarks we are publishing here with her permission:

“Good afternoon!

I am here on behalf of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors to join in the festivities of the day but also to share with you the impact that the Rucker Family has had on Amherst County,

In 1775 an entrepreneur, agriculturalist and businessman named Anthony Rucker [and his brother Benjamin] saw the need to develop a way to ship larger and heavier quantities of goods on the James River. At this time this was a lengthy and unreliable mode of transport. Mr. Rucker [and his brother] designed and built the very first James River Batteau. They could navigate the James and work thru the rapids, boulders and shallow water. They could carry almost 10K pounds of goods while drafting on 12-14 inches of water. Mr. Rucker [and his brother] changed commerce and agriculture, allowing Central Virginia to compete in a meaningful way with farmers and others closer to the more highly populated area of Richmond. Coming from a farming family, I have a very personal understanding of his contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We are here to again thank the Rucker Family for giving back to Amherst County. I am in awe of the time and dedication that this family has put into preserving their history – – because the Rucker Family history is Amherst County history. They have tirelessly researched, spending their own money to ensure that our history is appropriately and accurately preserved. Others could talk about their impact on the County but the Ruckers are making contributions that will ensure that future generations will enjoy this piece of history and for that we are forever grateful.

This is a true partnership between an Amherst Family and Amherst County. I’m here to speak the words but the entire county and our residents thank you for your past and present dedication. The signs say it all and they are here because you had the perseverance to help the board of Supervisors understand the significance. Government does not always act quickly but I’m so proud to be a part of this Board and the partnership that we have established.

Again, on behalf of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors, thank you.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce Mr. Christopher Rucker of the Rucker Family Society.”

Editors Note: The statement above is corrected in [brackets] to ensure that credit for the invention of the James River Batteau be given equally to brothers Benjamin and Anthony Rucker.

The Rucker Family was in attendance for the revealing of three new historical signs at Rucker Landing inside River’s Edge Park in Amherst County, Virginia on June 10, 2017. Mike Rucker (second from right above) worked very hard on the design and approval of these three new signs. 

Dr. Bill Trout unveiled the first sign, then Holt Messerly the second and “Thomas Jefferson” the third sign.

There was a festival down the park walk way with various vendors and craftsmen. The batteau “Lizzie Langley” gave the Channel 13 news reporter a ride on the batteau. The batteau Anthony Rucker was also on display near the top of the boat ramp “Rucker Landing”.

This was a wonderful day. 

Holt Messerly

To see all the photos  of this event click here.

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    VC&NS Fundraising – Krogers Reward Card

    Please link your Krogers rewards card so that your spending can help the VC&NS in our fundraising. Thank you to Donna Riedel for setting up this new deal for the VC&NS.

    Please see the following instructions on how to link your Krogers card:

    New Organization Number 92535

    Congratulations on your enrollment into our Kroger Community Rewards Program.  Your participants can begin enrolling online within 48 hours of this notification.  Just go to the appropriate website mentioned below and begin enrolling. 

    You have been assigned a new NPO number 92535.

    Please refer to this number in all future correspondence.


    • Simply encourage your members to register online at
    • Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy and register your card with your organization after you sign up.
    • If a member does not yet have a Kroger Plus card, please let them know that they are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger.
    • Click on Sign In/Register
    • Most participants are new online customers, so they must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
    • Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
    • You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
    • Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
    • Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
    • Update or confirm your information.
    • Enter NPO number or name of organization, select organization from list and click on confirm.
    • To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.
    • REMEMBER, purchases will not count for your group until after your member(s) register their card(s).
    • Do you use your phone number at the register?  Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
    • Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.

    Thank you,
    The Community Programs Staff

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      Cape Fear River Atlas – First Edition, 2016

      The Virginia Canals & Navigations Society is proud to announce the publication of the Cape Fear River Atlas, First Edition – 2016.
      Authors W.E. Trout, III, John Hairr and Nancy R. Trout.
      This new atlas is 151 pages plus covers and is plastic spiral bound.


      Before railroads were unheard of, rivers were the superhighways of the time – the arteries of commerce. Rivers carried the products of the farm, of the mine, and of the forest to market – preferably to coastal markets and to the world.

      North Carolina had only one river with a deep-water coastal port, and that was the Cape Fear. All of her other major rivers run out of the state, or into coastal sounds with only shallow openings to the sea.

      Put a dot at the center of the state, and that is where the Cape Fear begins. It was here, at the junction of the Deep and Haw rivers, that the Deep and Haw River Company laid out the town of Haywood in 1799. Everyone expected that white-water freight boats called batteaux, and later steamboats, would soon be plying the river, making Haywood one of the most prosperous cities in the state, and probably the state capital. But it never happened.

      THE CAPE FEAR RIVER ATLAS is the latest in a series of river atlases for Virginia and North Carolina, volunteer projects published by the Virginia Canals & Navigations Society. We hope that it will encourage interest in the fascinating history and archaeology of navigation on the Cape Fear and in river corridor planning. If you are interested, please join VC&NS and help us help you and your favorite river.

      This atlas focuses on the 240 miles of the Cape Fear which boats once navigated, from the House in the Horseshoe on Deep River, down to the Atlantic Ocean. This includes the river in twelve counties: Moore, Chatham, Alamance, Orange, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Bladen, Columbus, Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover. Here the Cape Fear is literally filled with history. We’ve tried to record and interpret the early canals, the batteau sluices, the locks and dams built for steamboats, the fish dams, the wing dams, the iron furnaces, the mills, and anything else in and along the river. With this atlas you can get out on the river and see them for yourself!

      Copies of THE CAPE FEAR RIVER ATLAS are available by mail from the canal society at for $35.00 each, plus $5 postage (plus tax if you are in VA). We encourage museums and outfitters to stock our atlases. A large wholesale discount is available for quantity sales (contact Please come visit our museum and headquarters at 3806 S. Amherst Hwy, Madison Heights, VA 24572. Open by appointment:, 252-301-1747.

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        VC&NS New Publication: The Belle of Rose Isle, A model-maker’s case study of The Reverend Robert Rose’s Double Dug-Out Canoe.


        The Virginia Canals & Navigations Society is proud to announce the publication of The Belle of Rose Isle, A model-maker’s case study of The Reverend Robert Rose’s Double Dug-Out Canoe. By Robert J. Faught, edited by W.E Trout, III, and W.H. Messerly, Jr.

        This book explores the history of Robert Rose’s double dug-out canoe by the author’s models that he made to study the various theories about the size of the boats and how many hogsheads each might have carried etc. Many entries from Robert Rose’s diary are cited to help explore this important early history of navigation and trade on the James River before the invention of the Batteau.

        On December, 3, 2016, Major Faust visited Batteau House, for the Christmas open house, and signed copies of this new book. A flyer is available for free download if you would like to help post this information. The VC&NS online store now lists this new publication. Retail is $20.00 plus tax if you are in VA, plus shipping.  Members can receive their 20% discount (Be sure to obtain the discount code before you order).


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          Introducing our 2017 Fundraising Campaign – “Friends First”

          “FRIENDS FIRST” Campaign “UPDATE”
          for Batteau House- 2016-2017

          We have received a $1,000 donation from Mike Rutgers and another $1,000 from the VCNS Board of directors, of which Dr Trout has matched both of these donations.  Also have received $75.00 so far from our GoFundMe account on Facebook.  I am sure there has been other donations, however these are the only ones I know of.  With the $2,000 match plus the $75 we have reached $4,075.00 toward our goal of $10,000.

          There are pictures of the inside of the museum for all to look at, take a moment and enjoy what is happening.

          We are working on making sure our Batteau History/Museum can be shared with the public. Over the years members have been collecting archives, artifacts and memorabilia of canal and river heritage and building navigable reproductions, therefore in order to share them with the public we need your help in making our New Batteau House/Museum something for all to enjoy!

          By building our 2017 Fundraising Campaign we will be able to complete items on our “Need to Due List”. Here are just a few:

          •  Much needed repairs on the Batteau Museum
          •  Building a Boat Barn to house boats and other large artifacts that are right now          being stored at private properties
          • Signage for front of Museum

          Our Goal is $10,000 by July 1, 2017!

          Dr. Bill Trout has stated that for every $1,000 Donation he will match the amount.

          You can donate to the Home Fund via the donate now button below:

          Payments are processed through PayPal and you can use your PayPal account OR enter your credit/debit card info. Various types of cards are accepted.

          You can also make your donation by check payable to: Virginia Canals & Navigations Society.

          VC&NS mailing address:

          Virginia Canals & Navigations Society
          3806 South Amerst Highway
          Madison Heights, VA 24572.

           Note: If you wish your gift to only be used towards the Home Fund, then write “Home Fund” on the for line of the check, otherwise the funds go into the non restricted funds and can be applied towards any VCNS need.

          Another method to donate is the GO FUND ME page.

          You can a visit the Batteau Museum in person (Please call Bill Trout in advance to arrange a time/date to make sure he is home. Phone Number 252-301-1747), or email Bill, see map  to the Batteau House below:

          Your generosity and belief in our mission makes our
          work possible, and we are deeply grateful for your

          For Tax Purposes, a donation receipt will be sent to you. The Virginia Canals & Navigations Society is a 501(c)3 non profit organization.

          If you have any questions, please email our fundraising committee chairperson, Ms. Donna Riedel.

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            Posted in Batteau House, VC&NS Home Fund | Leave a comment