by Henry Lane Hull
As I wrote last week’s column on my steamboat trip from Washington to Old Point Comfort, I was thinking of Anne McClintock who had worked fastidiously for many years to bring about the Irvington Steamboat Era Museum. Anne was the granddaughter of steamboat Captain Archie Long, and she grew up constantly hearing the family lore of the golden age when steamboats plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Anne had a comprehensive knowledge of the past. History was alive and well in her mind. Although the tales of the steamboats predominated in her lexicon, she also cared deeply about the land and its structures from the past. For much of her professional career she was a prominent local Realtor where she could interact with the buildings from bygone days productively and successfully.
One of her most challenging listings was “Edgley,” the Lancaster plantation in the upper region of the county, which she committed herself to see saved. The manor house, built in the 1840s, had fallen into a state of serious disrepair, and Anne feared it ultimately would collapse or be razed. For over a year that she had it listed for sale, she went to the house every week, not for showings, but rather to empty the numerous pans and buckets of water she had placed to catch the leaks throughout the building. When the property sold, she literally rejoiced, knowing that she had saved it from further deterioration. Its subsequent restoration brought her great happiness and justifiable pride.
Anne was a prodigious volunteer, giving happily of her time to work for the causes which she espoused. With respect to the steamboat days that had transformed the Northern Neck, she did not want the knowledge that she had amassed across the span of her lifetime to be lost. She campaigned diligently for the establishment of a museum that would bring her own and others’ reminiscences to new generations for whom the steamboats were as present as the Punic Wars or the Crusades. Anne was determined that those coming along should learn of the role that the steamboats had played in the history of the Northern Neck. In that respect, today the Steamboat Era Museum is her monument.
Another of Anne’s great legacies was her work throughout the years as a founder and member of the Interfaith Service Council. From its inception she worked to make the institution of ever greater service to those in need. During her term as president she led the team’s efforts to extend the opportunities it afforded to greater numbers of the population, providing items free of charge to qualified applicants. As with all the causes Anne supported, Interfaith blossomed expansively under her leadership. When Anne appeared on the scene, whatever the course at hand, everyone knew the outcome would be better because she was there.
Anne’s talent for leadership was extraordinary, a quality carried on today by her daughter, Theresa Ransone, whose illustrious career in banking was worthy of her mother’s heritage. Anne could chair a meeting with aplomb and decorum, making certain that time was not wasted, that energies were directed to the stated goals, and that everyone had his or her say. Particularly with respect to Interfaith, Anne considered her work as an extension of her abiding religious faith. She truly saw her hands and feet as being the Lord’s in her time, and she was committed to do his work. Biblical mandates were very real to Anne.
On Monday, Anne died 10 days short of her 84th birthday. She had special affection for the Northern Neck, her native land, and she understood its past and present with unique insight. Everyone who knew her profited from each conversation with her, always coming away with whatever the lacuna of information that existed previously having been filled by her thoughts and comments. Pulling a venerable term from the past, Anne may be remembered as a genuine “Great Lady.”
Esther Anne Long McClintock, January 30, 1936 – January 20, 2020. R.I.P.