DOWN MEM­ORY LANE

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION - From Back Is­sues of the Rap­pa­han­nock News • Com­piled by JAN CLAT­TER­BUCK

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.

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