Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Stuart Talk

December 7, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Kim served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg. A graduate of James Madison University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Kim has worked and interned in a variety of library and museum settings, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, The North Carolina State Archives, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.

A Young Man with Valley Ties: The World War I Service of President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Those who might be interested in the Valley “prequel history” of Dwight Eisenhower should attend the Thursday, Dec. 7, Stuart Talk given by historian Kim McCray at the R.R. Smith Center second-floor lecture hall at 7 p.m.

McCray will be presenting “A Young Man with Valley Ties: The World War I Service of President Dwight Eisenhower.”

This Eisenhower family photo shows Ike (far left), his five brothers and parents. Ida Stover Eisenhower, Ike’s mother, was born near Fort Defiance, VA. She attended school in Mt. Sidney and church at Salem Lutheran Church. Her mother’s death disrupted her home life such that she ended up living with relatives. She moved to Kansas where her two brothers lived. She attended Lane University (associated with the United Brethren in Christ) in Lecompton, KS, where she met and married David Jacob Eisenhower in 1885,. Like him she became involved with the River Brethren and followed him into the International Bible Students, which later became the Jehovah’s Witness. She was a lifelong pacifist who thought war to be wicked. When her son Dwight told her of his appointment to West Point Military Academy, she took to her bed for three days. She did not stand in his way, however.

The presentation begins with a brief overview of Eisenhower’s Valley roots and then continues on through his early days with a continuous thread of his mother’s Shenandoah Valley roots and her influence on the man who would lead the Allied Forces in WWII and then become President of the United States. Included are the stories of how Eisenhower’s parents met, an overview of the family’s rocky early period, Ike’s childhood and teenage years, his time at West Point, and finally, his WWI service. The story of Eisenhower’s WWI service forms the largest portion of the presentation.

McCray was inspired to learn more about Dwight Eisenhower by the discovery of her own relation to the former President through his mother Ida Stover Eisenhower, who was also born and raised in Augusta County. In this two-part presentation, Kim first shares the Shenandoah Valley and then shifts the focus to Eisenhower himself. While Eisenhower is known almost exclusively for his triumphs as a World War II General and U.S. President, we will hear about the formative experience of his stateside service during the First World War

This photo was taken in 1918 when Ike was commander of the brand new Tank Corps in Fort Colt, Pa. At that time, it was the first of two Renault tanks to arrive at camp at long last (nearly six months after Ike was appointed to the post at Fort Colt. There are some great stories about how Eisenhower kept the men occupied and productive while in a tank corps with no tanks.

Free to ACHS members; others $5 for adults and $1 for students.


December 7, 2017
7:00 pm


Lecture Room, R.R. Smith Center for History and Art
20 S. New Street
Staunton, VA 24401 United States
+ Google Map