Old Man Rob

Rappahannock News - - FROM PAGE ONE -

The Sec­ond Fri­day Talk on Fri­day, Nov 9 (8 p.m.) at the Rap­pa­han­nock Li­brary will fea­ture an ex­cit­ing look back at Rap­pa­han­nock his­tory, with nov­el­ist and re­searcher Ge­orge Pet­tie as our guide. Pet­tie is the au­thor of a tril­ogy of nov­els, In the Land of Rob, that span Blue Ridge his­tory from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

As a young boy liv­ing near Old Rag, Pet­tie lis­tened raptly to the tales of a lo­cal man, then about seventy, who spun tales of grow­ing up in a moun­tain hol­low and even­tu­ally con­fronting the mod­ern world. (Those con­fronta­tions in­cluded the re­lo­ca­tion of many lo­cal fam­i­lies, to make way for Shenan­doah Na­tional Park.)

By the time young Ge­orge Pet­tie came to visit, Old Man Rob lived alone in a cabin with his dogs. Even­tu­ally Pet­tie learned that most of the old man’s sto­ries were true. Those tales in­spired Pet­tie to set out on his own jour­ney, re­search­ing the lives of the peo­ple who lived in our moun­tains and hol­lows.

Pet­tie will talk about what he learned about the early Blue Ridge res­i­dents and how they viewed the land, and what they made of reli­gion and health and wel­fare and peace and se­cu­rity. (Ge­orge also leads lo­cal walk­ing tours that he calls Walks Back in Time.)

Ge­orge Pet­tie is ea­ger to share in­sights and answer ques­tions and show pho­to­graphs of Old Man Rob, his cabin, and the Blue Ridge Moun­tains. Some of the pho­tos are Ge­orge’s, and some were taken by one of Amer­ica’s pre­mier pho­to­jour­nal­ists, Arthur Roth­stein.

BY JOHN MC­CASLIN

Ge­orge Pet­tie, who grew up near Old Rag, is au­thor of a tril­ogy of nov­els “In the Land of Rob” that span Blue Ridge his­tory from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

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