The Piedmont Philosophical Society

Farmer's Delight Plantation is home to the Piedmont Philosophical Society, a group dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discussion. All talks are held in the McGhee Library at Farmer’s Delight on the third Thursday of the month at 5:00pm. Members are Free and we encourage a $5.00 donation from all others.


History of the Society

The Piedmont Philosophical SocietyAmbassador George C. McGhee was a lifelong student who loved to engage his fellow man in lively discussion and debate. Throughout his career in Washington, D.C., he and his peers would meet at least once a month in the city to discuss the issues of the day, primarily focusing on diplomatic matters. The Ambassador also belonged to the "Coach Stop Lunch Group," a band of inquisitive fellows who debated and dined at the Coach Stop restaurant in Middleburg every Friday.

After Ambassador McGhee officially retired to Farmer's Delight, he established the Piedmont Philosophical Society so that he and his neighbors could stay abreast of current affairs and developing research. He modeled the group on the American Philosophical Society, which was established by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. Topics of discussion broadened to include history, the arts, science, and literature, in keeping with Franklin's original intentions for his philosophical society.

The society was originally comprised of between ten and fifteen members at any given time, and this level of participation continues today. Members were encouraged to bring guests, suggest speakers, and engage in a lively discussion of each month's topic.

Ambassador McGhee remained active with the society until his passing in 2005. Today, before every meeting, the members of the Piedmont Philosophical Society raise a glass in salute of the Ambassador's passion for knowledge and debate.


Schedule of Speakers

  • April 18, 2013 (5:00pm) - Ken Falke
  • May 16, 2013 (5:00pm) - David Kenney
  • June 20, 2013 (5:00pm) - Bob Lee

For more information, please visit our calendar of events page.


List of Previous SpeakersExpand All | Collapse All

Please select a year below to see a list of previous speakers:

  • 2012

    • Tracy Gillespie: Spoke on “Charles Fenton Mercer: American Visionary”
    • Emily Southgate: Presented “In Search of the 18th Century Virginia Landscape; What Surveyors and Pollen Can Tell Us”
    • Anne Carter Zimmer: The great-great granddaughter of Robert E. Lee talked about “The Lees at Home”
    • Dick Engberg: Our Most Precious Natural Resource: Some Facts, Thoughts and Memories from a 50 year Water Careet
    • Douglas Foard: "The Imperious Laird": John Campbell, The Fourth Earl of Loudoun
    • Don Hakenson: Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County
    • Elaine Boland: Her Journey as Owner, Farmer and Entrepreneur of super fresh & healthy foods
    • General Crosbie E. Saint: His personal experience in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up and when it came down
    • Marc Leepson: The Marquis de Lafayette in the American and French Revolutions
  • 2011

    • Cate Magennis Wyatt: "Journey Through Hallowed Ground"
    • Todd Kearn: "Life of the Civil War Cavalrymen"
    • Eugene Scheel: "1859, 1865: An Overview of the Battles and Skirmishes of Loudoun County"
    • Paul Gilbert: "Lead Like a General"
    • Randy Rouse: Friendships with Jack Kent Cooke and George Preston Marshall (Both former owners of the Washington Redskins)
    • James Lucier: "McGhee's Vision for Iran"
    • Barbara Riggs: "Life in the Secret Service"


Join the PPS

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Piedmont Philosophical Society, would like to be included on the mailing list, or have a suggestion for a speaker, please contact The McGhee Foundation's Director of Community Relations, Sandy Danielson, at 540.687.3743 or by email at