My name is Brittney Bowes and I am one of the two Graduate Assistants for Historic Sandusky. I began my work here in May 2013 and will continue on until my graduation in May 2014. At Sandusky we all have a variety of jobs and research projects on which we work. Those jobs could range from answering telephone calls to giving guests tours of the house and grounds to, in my case, helping to create the interpretative report which will be used to determine exactly how the house will me restored. The array of potential research opportunities here at Sandusky allows for each of us to find a specific area that suits our research interests and with which we can expand out personal research efforts.
When I began at Sandusky I was give a wealth of information with which I could better familiarize myself with the house, the Battle of Lynchburg and, especially, the Hutter family. The Hutters occupied Sandusky from 1841 until 1951, and were present when General David Hunter used Sandusky as the Union headquarters during the Battle of Lynchburg. Among the information to which I was given access discussing the Hutter family was Sandusky's collection of correspondence among various members of the Hutter family ranging from the 1820's through the 21st Century. After having Sandusky's transcribed letters, a collection of over 100 individual letters, I began transcribing and typing the larger collection of Hutter family letters and have been able to expand out collection of transcribed and typed letters by nearly 100%. We now have over 275 typed and cataloged letters available to researchers, though this collection continues to grow everyday.
Thanks in part to my involvement in the transcription project, our director, Greg Starbuck, asked me to begin work on the Interpretative Report upon which the restoration of the interior of the house will be based. Aside from some personal family recollections and furniture pieces donated back to Sandusky from the Hutter family, relatively little is known about the specific details out the interior of the house at the time of Hunter's Raid during the Battle of Lynchburg. Therefore, my job has been to “throw out a wide net” in order to gather any and all possible details about the house ad property. This task has taken me from Sandusky's own library and collection of the Hutter letters to the Campbell County Courthouse in search of land deeds and wills to the library and Hutter family letter collection at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest.
While, to this point, my search has yet to unearth information which greatly expands our prior knowledge of the house and property, I have found several pieces of information which fully corroborate some of our current pieces of furniture and decorations. For me, this is one of the greatest rewards that my word can offer- the knowledge that, even little by little, we are making our grand narrative of Sandusky and the Hutter family all the more rich.