DOWN MEMORY LANE
May 25, 1950
J. W. Critzer was appointed sheriff of Rappahannock County last Thursday at the session of the circuit court by Judge J. R. H. Alexander, to fill the unexpired term of former Sheriff James M. Lillard, who died Sunday, May 14.
Mr. Critzer married Miss Robbie Heterick of Rappahannock. They have one son, Wallace Critzer.
Mr. Critzer, whose home was at Avon, Nelson County, was a former employee of the State Highway Department for 22 years, and also served as sergeant of various road camps throughout the state. Guy Burke was reappointed as deputy sheriff. About 80 persons visited the five homes and gardens on the Home and Garden Tour, sponsored by the Rappahannock Garden Club Friday, May 19. Fine weather prevailed and cloudiness did not mar the pleasure of the visitors in seeing the homes and gardens in this first tour of its kind ever held in the county, under the theme: “Life in Early Rappahannock.”
Routes and directions were clearly marked along the roads in the county with green and white signs, and a special map of the tour was drawn up to guide those not familiar with the places.
Mrs. C. E. Johnson, Mrs. W. H. Lyne, Mrs. J. Rodes Brown Jr., Mrs. G. H. Davis, Jr., Mrs. W. C. Hall, and Mrs. L. J. Turner were the garden club’s hostesses at “Jessamine Hall,” home of C. E. Marsh on the Mt. Salem Road three miles southeast of Washington.
Aug. 25, 1983
Nethers Mill served the community on the road to Old Rag Mountain, grinding feed and cornmeal for families of Nethers, Hudsons, Lillards, Jones and Jenkins who lived there at the turn of the century, and for the Weakleys, Nichols and Dotsons who lived farther on up the mountain in Weakley and Nichols Hollows and the Hazel.
Nelson Nethers grew up in the small hill community, where Nelson’s father, William Clifton Nethers ran the grist mill and the store.
Mr. Nelson Nethers remembers the community as quiet and peaceful. “We didn't have the commotion that went on back in Nichols Hollow,” he recalls. “Except on election day. People voted at the mill and sometimes there’d be some drinking and fist fights.”
An old ledger book tells the story of long ago transactions at Fletcher’s Mill, the most important of the county’s mills. Local lore has it that the road from Page to Rappahannock was built so that folks could reach the mill on the Thornton River between the villages of Sperryville and Woodville. According to the courthouse records in Orange, the mill was used by George Washington as a survey point.
The yellowed pages of the old ledger list names, still familiar today: Pullen, Estes, Thornhill and other farmers who brought bushels of wheat and corn to be ground. Occasionally, a charge is listed — 50 cents, a few dollars. But judging from the entries written in flowing black script, the miller took most of his fees out in trade, exchanging his labor for gallons of meal and pounds of flour.
Laurel Mills was an important center for the American woolen industry in the late 19th century.
Apparently at that time, Rappahannock County supported a substantial sheep population. To make use of the wool the sheep produced, the Spillman brothers founded and built a water-powered brick mill on the Thornton River at Laurel Mills.
The ruined walls of that mill still stand today, along with an old brick store next door and a scattering of company houses across the road.
Overlooking it all on the bluffs above the settlement stands the huge old mansion built over a century ago by one of the Spillmans. A monument to sibling rivalry, it was meant to compete in opulence with the other brother’s Victorian showplace, now a ruin on a hilltop near Viewtown.
June 4, 1997
Despite efforts by the Virginia Department of Transportation and local authorities, accident statistics for Route 729 in Rappahannock and Culpeper counties continue to mount.
Bob Moore, resident engineer for VDOT in this district, was present at the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday to hear residents’ complaints about the road. His department will determine if added signage, changing the road conditions or other factors will help to make the road safer.
“For a number of years we (VDOT and Rappahannock citizens) have talked about changes to Route 729. The site of the most recent tragic accident is one of the places we go to look at what happened in these accidents and see what can be done there to help travel through that area, particularly at night.” Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Moore said VDOT is now working with the Virginia State Police to see if they also have suggestions for improving conditions on the road.
Bob Whitehead, Sous Chef at The Inn at Little Washington, recently joined 79 other chefs at the Chef ’s Best Dinner held in Washington, D.C.
The dinner was a fundraiser for Food and Friends, a Washington, D.C.-based AIDS service organization which delivers meals to homebound people with HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia and as far away as Fredericksburg.
This is the second year The Inn has helped with the fundraiser. Last year Mr. Whitehead did the dinner along with Chef Patrick O'Connell and Sous Chef Jeff Waite.
Moody’s Training and Riding Center held its first horse show on May 24 at Old Mill Stables in Woodville.
There was also an exciting outside course with fences the same height.
There were several first time show riders who did very well in each of the classes. Maggie Pearcy rode Bridgett, owned and trained by Moody Aylor, and gave her an outstanding ride in all the classes.
Other first-time show riders were Anne Pallie, Sara Adams and Doris Jones, all of whom did a fantastic job on their own horses.