Quarstein's a gem

There are 238 comments on the Hampton Roads Daily Press story from Dec 7, 2007, titled Quarstein's a gem. In it, Hampton Roads Daily Press reports that:

Reference the article "Hampton hires historian for $120,000 a year," Nov. 8. The recent letters of complaints about John Quarstein and his salary as Hampton's new historian have prompted me to write.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hampton Roads Daily Press.

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Hugh

Williamsburg, VA

#1 Dec 7, 2007
I have known John Q for quite sometime and while some of his ways may seem a bit mysterious - he is extremely knowledgable about this areas local history. He is very cordial and kind to everyone from the experiences I have had with him. I have all of his books and have seen him on WHRO and The History Channel. I even sponsored one of his latest endeavors - the battle of the ironclads documentary that he did for WHRO and PBS...
He is very talented and Hampton got him for a steal!
Independent

Lexington Park, MD

#2 Dec 7, 2007
Then you pay him $120,000 x 5 years or 10 years....
Emmy Committee

Manchester, TN

#3 Dec 8, 2007
More of an actor and publicist than a historian. Good at the easy stuff but sometimes has problems with omission and superficial research.
Certainly not good at answering inquiry
Hugh wrote:
I have known John Q for quite sometime and while some of his ways may seem a bit mysterious - he is extremely knowledgable about this areas local history. He is very cordial and kind to everyone from the experiences I have had with him. I have all of his books and have seen him on WHRO and The History Channel. I even sponsored one of his latest endeavors - the battle of the ironclads documentary that he did for WHRO and PBS...
He is very talented and Hampton got him for a steal!
Observer

Manchester, TN

#4 Dec 9, 2007
I like his hat!
Thr Race Card

Manassas, VA

#5 Dec 9, 2007
He's constantly playing the race card by harping about slavery. It's one of his fovorite subjects. No matter what he's talking about there will always be a comment about race issues.

It gets very tiring. Fort Monroe did not revolve around the freedmen; there's no mention about McClelland's use of slaves in the building earthworks for the siege of Yorktown.

But he's a good actor!
Selective history

United States

#6 Dec 10, 2007
Just the parts he likes.
Independent

Lexington Park, MD

#8 Dec 11, 2007
He likes green pastures....of Hampton taxpayers money. Retires from Newport News just in time to work for Hampton. Ain't life grand for Peninsula taxpayers?
jvq

Hampton, VA

#9 Dec 25, 2007
I was recently advised about your comments about my work as a historian. Obviously, you have not noted my work for the past 30 years, where I've created exhibits, museums, and preserved Civil War sites. Furthermore, I don't know if you looked at 2 of my books, CSS Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads and A History of Ironclads, I'm sure you will find that these books are not based on superficial research.
I actually answer every inquiry that I can. However, receiving 60+ indepth emails a day plus regular correspondence and managing my sites, it can be overwhelming. Few people work 70-80 hours a week, managing museums and historic sites throughout the Chesapeake region like I do. I'd be happy to discuss a topic of your choice, anytime you wish. Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,
Your obedient servant,
John V Quarstein
Emmy Committee wrote:
More of an actor and publicist than a historian. Good at the easy stuff but sometimes has problems with omission and superficial research.
Certainly not good at answering inquiry
<quoted text>
jvq

Hampton, VA

#10 Dec 25, 2007
Actually, if you read my book CSS Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads, I do prefer The Confederacy, however, I do like keeping everything even-handed because I like to reach out to all populations over such a controversial issue that changed America for forever. Please note that the United Daughters of the Confederacy have awarded me two Jefferson Davis gold medals for preserving Confederate Civil War sites, i.e. Lee Hall Mansion and Lee's Mill. I'd be happy to talk with you about all this anytime you wish...

Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant,

John V Quarstein
Reinactor wrote:
He likes yankees. Can't you tell?
jvq

Hampton, VA

#11 Dec 25, 2007
Independent wrote:
He likes green pastures....of Hampton taxpayers money. Retires from Newport News just in time to work for Hampton. Ain't life grand for Peninsula taxpayers?
I have worked for Newport News for 30 years and I thought I was entitled to retire AND take another job like so many other people have done in their lifetimes. My contract with the City of Hampton actually is for 10 years, with no increases, and furthermore is for myself AND an assistant. I'm being paid the exact same amount as I was in Newport News, as is my assistant, and with no benefits. When you realize that I've written 9 books, 4 documentaries, and raised over $20 million dollars during the past 30 years, I seem to think I might be worth that $83,000 a year.

Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant,

John V Quarstein
jvq

Hampton, VA

#12 Dec 25, 2007
Thanks for acknowledging my thespian abilities. I actually do not like talking about slavery, but feel that I must talk about the Contraband of War issue when discussing Fort Monroe, for obvious reasons. If you went on a tour of Fort Monroe with me, you would realize that out of a 2-hour segment, I only spend about 10 minutes on contrabands. The rest of the time I talk about people like Jefferson Davis and R.E. Lee, as well as the fort itself. I'd be happy to take you out to Fort Monroe anytime you'd like to go. Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant,

John V Quarstein

Thr Race Card wrote:
He's constantly playing the race card by harping about slavery. It's one of his fovorite subjects. No matter what he's talking about there will always be a comment about race issues.
It gets very tiring. Fort Monroe did not revolve around the freedmen; there's no mention about McClelland's use of slaves in the building earthworks for the siege of Yorktown.
But he's a good actor!
jvq

Hampton, VA

#13 Dec 25, 2007
Thanks for your kind comments of support and recognition. Hope to see you soon. Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant,

John V Quarstein
Hugh wrote:
I have known John Q for quite sometime and while some of his ways may seem a bit mysterious - he is extremely knowledgable about this areas local history. He is very cordial and kind to everyone from the experiences I have had with him. I have all of his books and have seen him on WHRO and The History Channel. I even sponsored one of his latest endeavors - the battle of the ironclads documentary that he did for WHRO and PBS...
He is very talented and Hampton got him for a steal!
watermanswife

Seaford, VA

#14 Dec 25, 2007
jvq wrote:
Thanks for your kind comments of support and recognition. Hope to see you soon. Meanwhile, I have the honor to remain,
Your obedient servant,
John V Quarstein
<quoted text>
I e-mailed you several months ago concerning the demolition of the Deep Creek Pier. You never got back in touch with me or my sister. We could have used your help but I guess it's a conflict of interest. I've seen your documentary spots on tv and flashes of the pier between commercials. Never got to see the whole thing.Was there actually a documentary on Deep Creek Pier? It seems that the pier is very important to the watermen but the watermen aren't important to the city. What is your thought on this?
Grandma Charlotte

Virginia Beach, VA

#16 Dec 27, 2007
Part I
Yes, I recieved an e-mail back from you but you never got back with me so that we could meet. I ask you some questions regarding your information about the Deep Creek Pier and area. I noticed that you also responded to my e-mail by sending a copy of the letter to the parks and recreation head man Mr. P. I was dissappointed that the application for making the area around the Deep Creek Harbor a historic distric was denied due to the fact that the city shows no interest in making this area known for it's truest value. Which is part of not only the history of the watermen and the local area since the 1600's but also the history of the United States of America. Since Warwickshire was here and Warwick Town which later would become Warwick County and in 1952 the city of Warwick and then would incorporate with the city of Newport News in 1958. There was more than enough historical evidence in our application for there to be further investigation into the matter. However, we have been told that we are no longer allowed to pursue this application. Since you did nothing to help I feel that you were one of those that the city gave the hush hush too. We have found this in several places. Missing documents, hidden truths and obivious conflicts of interest among the highest officials in our city.
Grandma Charlotte

Virginia Beach, VA

#17 Dec 27, 2007
Part II
We learned while doing our preliminary investigations into the Deep Creek Area that there were numerous houses that were built during World War II that are still standing. A school house that was dated back to the early 1900's and the Parker house. Which dates back to 1790. Why is the most famous historian in this area being silent on such an important historical area. Shall we just let City Hall destory the rich history that we have here in this area. I see where Newport News City official's preserve Newport News. But they have all but destroyed the history of Warwick County. The only thing left is a courthouse and a tiny display to remember a part of this countries history. They scatter oyster shells around the courthouse. They call their main town center Oyster Point. Yet they turn their backs on the Oystering community.
Grandma Charlotte

Virginia Beach, VA

#18 Dec 27, 2007
Part III
I know that you know about the history of the Watermen in Deep Creek because I have read some of your work. But why did you not come forward about it. That would have added such credibility to our work. We are all just citizens that have our own memories of Deep Creek and the Deep Creek Pier. Our research comes from what was left of the history of Deep Creek through first hand accounts of those who lived there that are now in there 80's and 90's. Also, whatever books we could find which were not all that many in the Virginiana room, a few maps. The plats and deeds that are at the courthouse. Some of which by the way are missing.
You call yourself our deticated servant yet you forget who we are and what we are doing trying to save a pier that is over 70 years old and a neighborhood that is even older.
I remember walking through the woods as a child and finding redoubts and civil war bullets in the woods next to hidden estates. I also found arrowheads. Which meant to me that the civil war was fought in those woods and that at one point in time there were indians that lived in that area. I interviewed a woman recently that was the daughter of J.E. Parker. She is 95 years old. She told me about her father and how he and his brother Joseph Parker used to own most of the land around the Harris Road area up to the main road and to Maxwell Lane and across Deep Creek Road. She also told me about how J.R. Parker her grandfather was a spy during the civil war and that he hid in the chimney of his home when the army came looking for him. He was a shoemaker for both sides and that is how he got to know the secrets. There was also a cannon ball that was shot from across the creek that went through the house under the porch. The chimney still stands to this day. She said her great grandfather was a tabacco farmer. We had many stories that were told to us about heroic rescues by watermen of others on the Creek and in the James River.
There are oystermen who could not even work the water this year because of what the city has done to them by closing the Deep Creek Pier.
They were sent to a tiny piece of land 200'X 50' on the Menchville side. They are parking their boats side by side into the channel. In 3 rows of as many as 7 boats per row. Each having to walk across others boats to reach their boats. Some have left the water because of this. Some have moved their boats to other places. While some are waiting for some small miracle that will convince the politicians that it is a bad idea to tear down the Deep Creek Pier and not rebuild it. Do you know what the city plans to do. They plan to put a short walking pier at the end of Deep Creek Road with no fishing or mooring. We have also been told there are plans for condo's instead of houses at the end of Deep Creek and major construction on the Menchville side as well. They are going to move the City Farm that has been there since the early 1900's. The barracks of the City Farm were built over the ruins of Warwick Town. All the history of this area will soon be gone. Like ashes in the wind. You say you have done so much research then why didn't you do something when we ask for your help?
The Fix is in

Manchester, TN

#19 Dec 27, 2007
Grandma, Quarstein is an experienced city employee. He knows when to hold them and when to fold them.

But he hasn't shown any interest in correcting bad information (like the Deep Creek Pier was built in 1959).
For the city historian to allow an entire community to slide into hisotry's trashbin is unacceptable.

He sure didn't help us...
watermanswife

Cape Charles, VA

#20 Dec 27, 2007
The Fix is in wrote:
Grandma, Quarstein is an experienced city employee. He knows when to hold them and when to fold them.
But he hasn't shown any interest in correcting bad information (like the Deep Creek Pier was built in 1959).
For the city historian to allow an entire community to slide into hisotry's trashbin is unacceptable.
He sure didn't help us...
Maybe he's got $$$$$$ to keep his voice mute. He's given us the same answers that the city has. Nothing....... Isn't there someone somewhere that has some common sense who will listen to the common people who are getting run out of this city on a rail? The city will be be making this city that we live in only for the rich and the middle and lower classes will have to find another city to go to. That's what's coming. Why can't we take our city back? It already costs an arm and a leg to live here. I've lived here all my life and it really makes me mad and sad the city are the ones who really own all our homes. You can pay your whole life to have a home and the city can make you sell it if they want it. Or they can take it and pay you what they think is fair. Or they can take the Deep Creek Pier away and run the watermen out of business. Send the public away and trash the memory of Bonniebelle Melzer who so graciously gave her land as well as the other neighbors gave their land for them to have access to the water and for the pier to be built. Now it's all coming together. Do what they want to us because they only care about what money will go in their pockets from running all the middle class and hardworking watermen and women out of their way. They don't care where we go either, they just want us gone. He must be part of the pack too. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing and he could have done something. Maybe someone will pay to have a statue made of him in Hampton.
watermanswife

Cape Charles, VA

#21 Dec 27, 2007
The city of Newport News can say the promise wasn't made between Mrs. Melzer if they want to but they did build the road and the pier. They didn't want the documents found so nobody could have a leg to stand on when the real reason they want the pier gone is to totally remake the Deep Creek area to their liking. Not what we want. History is gonna be read about in the history books but the only areas that are allowed is what the city will allow not the people. So tell me Mr Historian, are you on the hush, hush list? You are only the servant of the city not the public,right?. Your answer of silence will tell the whole story to me.
watermanswife

Cape Charles, VA

#23 Dec 28, 2007
Curious to know wrote:
How the Newsome house qualified as historic and Deep Creek pier does not?
How does a barn at the City Farm qualify and the pier does not?
Playing games, we are!
Just like Hilton is historic and was the dividing line between Newport News and Warwick County. The land where the city farm is was Warwicktown and we weren't allowed to have it made historic either. That has to get the approval of the Mayor. That's what doesn't make sense.

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