Rappahannock News

Down Memory Lane

March 31, 1983



From a news series about the history of country doctors in the county: Dr. J. G. Brown of Woodville, who practiced in a wide area of the county for a span of almost 50 years, is remembered by patients, neighbors and friends.

Folks who needed his services — and these ranged from Woodville all the way down to Madison and up into the mountains in between — remembered him as a conscienti­ous, very modern doctor for his day. Stories abound of him saving lives and limbs — sometimes with only the most primitive of tools and conditions.

Dr. Brown was, in addition to being a regular practicing doctor, the chairman of the health board of the county. He was called in on many consultati­ons by other doctors.

And speaking of doctors, it was a murderer’s bullet in 1967 that ended the life of a local doctor who had practiced in Rappahanno­ck, Fauquier and Warren Counties since the age of 21.

Dr. William E. Lynn died in the driveway of his Huntly home in a case that has never been solved.

He is remembered in all three counties as a doctor who cheerfully made house calls, accepted produce for payment, and treated migrant workers free of charge.

By 1939 he had founded and built the Front Royal Hospital. He was 25 years old. He later sold the hospital to the town of Front Royal.

Otherwise, two young brothers, Joseph and Henry DeJarnette, who visited their sister Carolyn DeJarnette Keyser here, settled in this area for a while and practiced medicine in the town of Washington, where the Rappahanno­ck Medical Clinic is now.

Dr. Joseph went on to Staunton, where he founded a sanitorium and specialize­d in psychiatri­c disorders.

Dr. Henry became an eye doctor and lived at the family estate, Mt. Comfort, in Spotsylvan­ia.

Dr. Henry DeJarnette kept a ledger during the years he practiced in Rappahanno­ck, between the years 1896 to 1898. Dr. DeJarnette was the great uncle of Margaret DeJarnette Baumgardne­r of Sperryvill­e.

His ledger tells that he charged from $1 to $2 for an o ce visit. Many of his patients paid their bills with hay, which was worth y cents a hundred pounds in 1897. Clarence Miller was one of those who furnished the doctor with hay, providing 1,130 pounds for a credit of $5.65 on his bill.


For more than 20 years the members of Willis Chapel Methodist Church have been working to prevent the old Reager School Building which adjoins their property from deteriorat­ing, while also working to gain title to the property.

When the building ceased serving a school, the title reverted to many heirs of the family of the family that had donated land for the school. Some still live in the area. At least one lives in California.

Finally, this past spring the church gained title to the property through donations from the surviving heirs, and now the members are working to restore the building for use as a fellowship hall.

Judy Burke said she has checked school board records, and the school was in use as late as 1954. She said she never attended the school, but her father did. When he died early in the summer, the family asked for memorial donations to be made to the cause, and Mrs. Burke said that was quite successful.

The total cost of the renovation is estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.


Bob and Helen Bridges have put 277 acres of their land between Washington and Sperryvill­e into easement, including their end of Jenkins Mountain, their pastures and ponds, and their frontage on both sides of the Covington River.

“Wouldn’t it be horrible to see this subdivided, to see 20 or 30 houses?” Mr. Bridges said, gesturing towards the spectacula­r view from “Eagle’s Nest,” their mountainto­p home, which also serves as a bed and breakfast.

“It’s heaven. That’s what it is…We’re only caretakers of this land. If you don’t do something to protect it while you’re alive, you don’t know what might happen to it in the future,” he said.

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