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~ (() c: HO 'O (l) s ai:s: 'H (I) 'H J.l ~r:i ,J...i.:.;: '0- 0 (l) ,...; U) '+-I' U) (!) ,...; ~- '° .μ r-1 z0 ([) ..=o: ~E 0 .μ0 .μ ..(=[:) 0 ::t 'O .μ .μ ([) Q) ,.....; i:: (I) 'O ct, (I).μ c: CJ) .!tl o as HZ 'O C{l c: 'O (I) C{l II) ..J c: .!tl ::::: c: (I) Q) 0 ([) (I)..-= .μ0 .0 ~ H C) (I) a~s U) .μ C{l (I)..-= :.:.;-:=: ..c:: ..-= Q(J .μ ::::: 'O Ctl 'H C{l "tj r-1 0 O c: U) Has Pl Ctl !>-. +:> ....... ::E: +c:>: on !>-. (I) .....; ::::: .::: r-1 0) 0 (I) ..0 co o (I) E .....; ::t ::::: (I).μ..-= ..c:: (I)() E-t .0 - r-1 r··, f I i" i i i I I I. I' I' ,I I' ,j i ... .i LJ L..J j a: 1 0:: ~ ?; ~ ,j: u 7- 0 ; .. $> o ;: ci f ..; r.;::, ~f ';; • f ; () ~ .?, rl ,. J . ; . ~. .• Chapter Two 19 other reference), one old and one new railway station, and eleven unidentified structures -- all located along Morgan's Creek. A photograph, taken in the 1890s and looking across from Radford, shows a variety of buildings near the river. However, twenty years is a very long time, especially for a town in flux. Businesses undoubtedly came, went, and/or changed hands. Those operated out of rented properties may have left no record of their presence at all. Powered by a waterwheel, the grist mill was probably New River's oldest and most important commercial structure. Acquired by Wharton in 1869, it remained in his family's hands until 1906 and its continued operation guaranteed a stream of customers into New River. For every pound or bushel or sack of grain ground, the mill kept a set percentage thereof. No cash changed hands until, presumably, the mill sold its "earnings" -- perhaps to local grocers. (Mrs. Wharton had an account at a store in Radford wherein the store credited her for grain received and debited her for purchases made.) A mill race had been constructed at least by 1890 as had, perhaps, the water reservoir guaranteeing power. The 1891 map makes reference to another mill also run by water power -- perhaps the lumber mill referenced in church histories. A lumber mill would have fit nicely into W.A. Hodge's construction business. The geography of Hodge's landholding does make it possible. As of 1891 -- based on advertisements in the Radford ENTERPRISE -- at least three construction-related businesses had their headquarters in New River. From the land near the mouth of Morgan's Creek he purchased in 1888, Hodge ran a contracting operation that built new or moved existing structures. Some of the buildings visible near the river's edge in the old photograph may have been associated with his company. John Wright owned the New River Stone Company, which boasted quarries at New River, Morgan's Cut, and Belspring. He bought 5 acres of stone escarpment just up the river from the mill in 1887 and "mineral rights" on several properties in the area. W. N. Gilliam also provided "building stones." A large three story building is clearly visible in the old photograph a short ways back from the grist mill and the river. The Radford family sold this "Fremont House Hotel" to Mary Stone in 1886 -- by which time a projected relocation of the depot would have undercut some of its commercial attraction. That deed and those that followed later -- insisted that the mill race be kept open to guarantee adequate water flow to the mill. As of 1900 Stone listed her occupation as dressmaker, but she could have also been running a scaled down hotel-boardinghouse. · After the depot moved, the Browns bui 1 t a new hotel near it on land they then purchased from J.D. Noble in 1890. (Noble, in his turn, had bought the land from Wharton in 1878 Chapter Two 20 and this may have been the site of whatever the Scott and Noble partnership entailed.) One of these hotels had a wide wrap-around porch. One reputedly also had a plank board walk running all the way to the depot -- to protect passengers from the mud. They . undoubtedly served meals and may have provided rental office space. The Fremont House, if not the later Brown establishment, had a lobby large enough to accommodate dances and other gala occasions. "Near the hotels a restaurant was opened complete with a barber shop on the se~ond floor. Haircuts could be obtained for 15 cents and a shave for 10 cents."(2) Blacks could not stay in the hotels as long as they remained under white ownership, but a 1893-94 Virginia gazatteer made reference to several boarding houses in New River. As of 1900 Edward Jones (black) housed four boarders and thus may have run one such establishment. Under less formal arrangements, families supplemented their income by periodically taking in boarders. Wharton kept some of the land around the two hotels. The• rest of it became prime commercial property. The Chumbleys bought one acre to the west of the Noble/Brown hotel in 1885 and probably moved their store to the better location. Mrs. Wharton ran a credit account at the Chumbley store which she cleared only once a year and which, in 1890-91, ran to some $500 annually. The store served as a kind of bank, as well, with Mrs. Wharton sending employees to it for payments of anything from 25 cents in one time "wages" to regular monthly payments of several dollars. The Chumbleys also owned other lots on or near the railroad. Deed references put a blacksmith shop near, if not actually on, the Chumbley property. (At various times several other blacksmithies operated in various other parts of town.) G.C. Butler bought a lot right next to the Fremont House in 1890 but the purpose to which that land was put is unknown. G.G. Dudley first opened a general store near Morgan's Chapel and then moved nearer the depot. If the lot he bought in 1885 is the lot upon which that store -- the New River Racket Store -- stood, it was located north of the tracks just as the road begins to climb up into New River's residential area. "Scott's Store" dealt in general merchandise and was especially popular because of its candy. One resident recalled "He sold pieces of candy that sold for a penny. Some of the candy, instead of having prizes in them like today, contained another penny. In this way, if you were lucky, your candy would cost nothing. Mr. Scott must have liked me cause he Chapter Two 21 would take a pin and stick it in the candy to find the one with the penny so I could get it."(3) The 1890 map shows three small lots on the "new" Giles Road just across the tracks from the new depot. One housed the "Wharton store," which, like the Chumbley emporium, may have shifted location along with the depot. The other two soon belonged to W. H. Gilliam, grocer. (In 1901/02 John W. Munsey bought all three lots. His clothing and dry goods store doubled as a post office and Munsey also ran a lumber store.) Milliners worked to order and/or sold their wares at, for example, Chumbley's dry goods store. Various sales representatives, insurance agents, and perhaps even a lawyer or two worked out of the hotels, above the stores, or in buildings of which there is no surviving record. The early photograph shows several structures at the river's edge. This could have been the site(s) of: 1) the Brilheart wagon shop (which may, in fact, be the earlier Lyons wagon shop now under new management); 2) Jones' boarding house; 3) whatever outbuildings Hodge needed for his contracting business; and 4) various buildings for after hours relaxation. A 1891 newspaper made reference to a fight outside a "shack" on the river. Since the story also mentioned drunkenness as a contributing factor, perhaps the riverfront housed one or more "drinking establishments." Carpenters, plasterers, and stone masons worked in their homes or on the job. Seamstresses, and even undertakers, worked at home; blacksmiths set up shop near their homes; horse traders travelled around; salesmen went door to door. There was, of course, also the "new" depot and all of its adjunct operations. It employed telegraph operators, one or more yard bosses, and day labor. The temporary and permanent railroad workers (brakemen, construction labor, etc.) probably used the depot as their "home base" and it was the center of much activity with mail, passengers, freight, and livestock, for which it needed loading docks and nearby stockyards. On-going work up and down the line made for commotion, activity, and customers for the two hotels. H.T. Einstein, Robert Kirkwood, Newton Morgan and J.T. Whaling all shipped their livestock from the depot -- meaning that there must have been periodic cattle "drives" through town. (4) All this activity and all these people needed stables, barber shops, and eateries -- as well as the already referenced "social" establishments. The citizens of Radford complained about the profusion of saloons and alcohol on their side of the river. New River undoubtedly had similar "problems." Some New River residents worked or had their place of business in Radford. G. W. Groseclose had land in New River but ran a building and contracting company out of Radford. ---• -.-.·~~w. •• ·•··--·-··••··-·-· • •--·-• --·---·---• ·-- -·--- -• ..• . .. ·, ..... ,-·---- -- .. ---------·-·--·····-·-··-· '.;-,,-----..IL-- t.:; .IL~----11 . _ ~8~~ !~ ;'- ... .. : .. // ~- 1 // --- . -- - - -· - - ------- .... -· .·. -·- - ---· ·--·. ------- ·---- .... ·-·--- .---·---- ----------~--- -.----- 4~-5-. ~~-~- ·­?, i- ! Chapter Two 24 ·?·C, Kasey's general store was in Radford, while hi~ home was in New River. W.R. Wharton practiced law on both sides of the river; the Ransoms did the same with their machine shops. Medical services also spanned the river. Of the five or six doctors listed in 1891 and 1892 Radford papers, at least two -- Wilson and Farmer -- were familiar with New River and made house calls there. New River residents had to travel to Radford for dental services. The first approximation of a. hospital was closer to New River than to Radford. For a brief time, Dr. R. H. Cowan ran such an establishment for the railroad near today's Sunrise Burial Park. If General Wharton was the founder of New River, for many Years C.W. Scott acted as the community's unofficial "mayor." Scott first bought property in the late 1870s; he sold the last of that property, from Lynchburg, in 1916. In the interim, Scott acted as speculator, real estate agent, printer, businessman extraordinaire, and all around town booster. His name was linked, in business contexts, with Noble, Wilson, and Wharton. Of those, only the Wharton connection is 100% clear. The general owned a New River newspaper, the BULLETIN, and Scott edited it -- for about four years in the 1880s. As of 1885, the paper's motto was "Honesty, Energy, Pluck" and it served New River Depot, Central Depot (Radford), and both Pulaski and Montgomery counties. Scott listed himself as a 27 year old merchant in the 1880 census. He, his wife Rosa, and baby daughter boarded Joel Harper that year. (Harper clerked for C.W. before going into partnership with Chumbley.) The 1880 census is the only one in which Scott himself appeared, although he still owned land during both the 1900 and 1910 counts. The family may have simply been out of town or could have moved to Lynchburg. Robert Scott, "commercial salesman," lived in New River at least from 1896 through 1904. Undoubtedly a relative of C.W. 's, Robert may in fact have been the manager of the "Scott" store. C. W. Scott bought one commercial lot near the Brown hotel and another at or near the "old" depot. One probably housed his printing business -- where he published the paper and printed cards, notices, and whatever else was required -- and the other his store and its penny candy. He sold the "depot" lot in 1901 and the other in 1911. C.W. Scott had great plans for New River. He bought a big tract of residential property and, after reserving part for himself, subdivided much of the rest into sizeable residential tracts which -- unique in New River real estate -- he sold to whites only and with the proviso that purchasers were barred from resale to non-whites. Scott's masterplan must have been on paper at one time. Sales refer, for example, to Scott Section 4, lot 3, and one Chapter Two 25 can still see the symmetry of his design. New River failed to live up to his early expectations, which may explain the approximately 25 acres of Scott land which, to this day and under a variety of different owners, remains open farm land. In 1909, at age 55, C. W. Scott sold about 20 acres including his own house, to Samuel J. Carter. ' In 1891 the "Iron Highway" toll bridge was completed, down river toward the 900 acres in Pulaski recently acquired by the West Radford Land and Development Company. Intended to help "amalgamate" Montgomery and Pulaski counties' "intercourse and interests," the bridge was seen by Radfordians as an "invaluable" factor "in the building up of a city's commerce and suburban interests." The opening of this span was accompanied by much fanfare. Promoters set up a pavilion on the Pulaski side and, according to the Radford ENTERPRISE of September 9, 1891, over 10,000 people came to witness the ceremonies. (5) The completion of the toll bridge created the oft Photographed "three bridge" vista. The first of these was, of course, the original railroad trestle with its wide boardwalk connecting New River Depot and East Radford. The second span, branching off the first on the Radford side of the river, was the unique "curved" railroad bridge, completed in 1888, which bypassed New River on its way to the Pocahontas coal fields. For better or worse, and perhaps as a partial result of having been bypassed by the "Iron Highway," New River Depot never experienced either the run away growth or the grime that afflicted Radford. Along with listings of who had been sick and who had gone to visit whom, the "New River Notes" section of the 18 May 1891 Radford ENTERPRISE included the following promotional: "As a pleasant place to live -- barring an occasional breach of the peace -- New River is unexcelled; [with] its beautiful scenery, fresh air and some of the best hearted people on earth, it is an altogether desirable place to spend a month or two during the warm weather .... " In other words, while not completely staid and uneventful, New River offered relief and release from the hurly burly and air pollution of nearby Radford. The idea of New River as a place to spend time in the summer implied acceptance of another reality. The boom was over and New River was, quite literally, being by-passed by a wave of economic developments swirling around it. The "state of the art" technology involved in the curved and toll bridges reflected Radford's emergence as an industrial and transportational center of note. Maintenance problems on the New River Depot bridge symbolized that neearby community's inertia. The Radford ENTERPRISE of April 22, 1891, noted that "much needed repairs are being made on the New River bridge" apparently as a private and personal undertaking. "One who Chapter Two thinks more of humanity than he does of h' mself w~s seen repairing the bridge in the hot sun on We~nesday. There were problems of a different nature on.the Radfo~d side. In the same issue of the ENTERPRISE that discussed, in great detail, an on-going crisis over dead hogs in the city "which encumber the face of the earth" and endangered the health of the population, a New River resident compla~ned about the dead, and very odiferous, horse one could not avoid noticing on the Radford side when crossing over the bridge. 26 Scott's BULLETIN had folded in the 1880s. New River residents now relied on the Radford papers, which carried advertizements and sometimes even a column on news from New River. Latter day readers are left wondering just exactly how Thornton Taylor broke his arm in five places. Visiting from Roanoke in 1891, Taylor actually lived in New River as of 1894. The 18 June 1892 ENTERPRISE reported that a burglary at the depot had netted the culprits $75.80. A similar burglary in Radford the same night had used the identical modus operandi dynamite to blow open the safe. Depot Agent Bradshaw had seen some white men loitering nearby, and "Detective Baldwin [of the Felts-Baldwin security agency] has the case in hand ... [and] will no doubt not be long in capturing the trio of rascals." The reporter took the opportunity to complain about "the numerous tramps who infest" Radford -- and, by extension, New River Depot. That same issue also reported on a train accident just west of New River, near Morgan's Cut. The injured were taken to Cowan's "hospital." Another, much more tragic accident in that same decade left George Harris dead, hit by lightning while picking peas. On a less serious note, the 22 May 1896 ADVANCE informed its readers that T.D. Hudson was postmaster of New River, that I.W. Wilson was "cow hunting[??]," that R. 0. Scott was "rusticating" in Giles county that week, and that Robert English was recovering from an accidental gun shot wound. Despite its failure to boom, New River Depot did persevere. It had schools, streets, and churches. Despite, or perhaps even because of, the change in its status from boom town to suburb, it also continued to have an influx of people. Land sold actively during the 1890s: 17 sales to whites and 13 to blacks between 1891 and 1900. Although some of the original "settlers" left, many of the families which had arrived by 1895 stayed on. Blacks and whites alike, however self-sufficient they might try to be, had to buy some of their daily needs. Most ran credit accounts at local stores which they paid off with "notes" (records of salaries earned) from corporate employers (e.g. the railroad, the county board of supervisors) or cash earned in other ways. In addition to items of clothing and sewing needs, stores provided coffee, sugar, spices and salt. True "townees" -- i.e. those people who did not raise their own Chapter Two 27 feed stock -- also bought meat, eggs, flour, and the equivalent of what people go to grocery stores for today. Except for a few pages from Mrs. Wharton's account with Chumbley's store, store records for New River have proven elusive. The records for a Belspring (then Churchwood) store for the year 1891 are probably comparable. St. Albans, a private school for young men, opened in 1892. Whether as a school or, later, as a hospital, St. Albans provided employment for existing residents and attracted newcomers. Radford, enjoying the boom that had bypassed New River, offered a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs -- with the railroad and with several new industries, including the "iron furnace" and "pipe shop" foundry. And New River retained its own economic viability. Deeds only tell us about those who actually bought land. Many of the artisans and employees rented their living accommodations. The will of one black landowner, James Noel, made reference to at least six families living in rental property on his land. Merchants who operated businesses in New River Depot at one time or another during the 1880s and 1890s included: JHChumbley, JT and WB Ransom, Scott and Noble, RPGilliam and Sons, MCDudley, JTHarper, GW Painter, and Scott and Wilson. A Virginia gazeeteer for 1893-94 -- i.e. well after Radford had assumed dominance in the area -- credited New River Depot with four hotels and/or boarding houses, carpenters and builders, a lumber company, real estate agents, a wagon factory, a machine shop, a doctor, druggists, an undertaker, a florist, and a milliner. There was also a stove factory at one time. (6) Notes ( 1) Thomas Bruce, 5.QJ.J.:tbH~:LY..iuin1JL.~n.d_ghf.w.rulQJULY.all~_._ Richmond, 1891. (2) "New River: The forgotten community," New River Newspapers, February 25, 1979. ( 3) Ibid. (4) Smith, p. 338. (5) Radford News Journal, Progress '92, Sun, Feb 23, 1992. (6) Smith, pp. 337-39; "New River: The forgotten community." 28 MILLS RIPPY'S ACCOUNT AT THE BROWN/KIRKWOOD SiORE IN CHURCHWOOD JUNE-OCTOBER :891 bacon @ . 10 /lb flour sugar @ • 07 /lb beef oil (about 8 gallons) coffee tobacco products a stove a coat 7 pairs of shoes including $3.50 ::or boots clothes/material/sewing taxes road fine (?) washboard, tub, headboard, 2 buckets $ 68.30 12.63 Misc and/or unspecified Mills Rippy married Lizzie Black (daughter of Mills and Hannah Black). The Rippy family lived in Churchwood (now Belspring) and Mills worked day labor for the railroad. Sid Conner was either a boarder or a relative and the Rippy store account includes purchases for and payments by Conner. They had a revolving account and so total spent will not exactly match total paid. In the five months from June to actccer :891. we know, :rom the railroad's own account at the store. that Mills Rippy received at least $46. 00 :.n pay "orders" ( or ::.redi t notes) from t he railroad and Sid Conner at least $11.00. ?ayments: Notes from railroad $ 55.00 The family spent a total of $80.93 at the store in those five months and paid a total of $78.59 -- bro~en down as follcws: $ 13.04 8.74 4.46 1. 31 .72 .52 1. 29 8.00 6.00 13.50 4.75 1. 72 1. 50 2.75 $ 80.93 Cash 9.90 Combination notes/cash 13.69 -------- S 73.59 29 A Map of the New River Depot Area in about 1900 (includes old roads obtained from an aerial survey) CHAPTER III RESIDENTIAL PATTERNS IN NEW RIVER DEPOT New River Depot's business district(s) clustered around the depot(s), stream and roadways. The first residential land sales occurred with little apparent regard for city planning. Once elements of speculation and land development entered the picture, however, so too did a patterning in the lay out of a real "town." Both Wharton and Scott drew up blueprints for residential subdivisions. This helps explain why, long before it had all that many people, New River Depot had streets and alleys and uniform lot sizes. Once the Ransoms sectioned off part of their property, they added a further section of gridwork to the town's outlines. New River was, with only a few exceptions, a racially segregated community, although overt reference to residential segregation appears only in deeds for the core sections of Scott's subdivisions. (He promised not to lease, rent, or sell neighboring land to non-whites and those buying his land promised the same thing. Should they break the covenant, their land would revert back to Scott.) In general, blacks lived on the edges and/or high points of town: Fort Hill, King/Midkiff Hill, and the western end of Giles Road. White families tended to live more in the middle of town. Whites also dominated the business district. Segregation was more often than not denoted by roads, alleys, and even back yards -- i.e. nothing that precluded regular contact, communication, and even social interchange. The community was small enough that few if any areas would have been "off limits" to blacks. Children and adults of both races literally passed each other on a daily basis -- going to work, school, or the store. Despite the boom atmosphere that engulfed New River in the 1880s, most residential lots were actually sold in the 1890s. This suggests that the large, often speculative, land owners like Scott may have rented land, and possibly even built rental houses, before it became clear that Radford, not New River, would be the area's boom town. At that stage, with land not likely to appreciate significantly in value, they began selling off lots. 32 New River Depot Business District (Approximate reconstruction) 1. 2 . 3. 3a. 3b. 4. s. 6. 7. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Ransom - icehouse? machine shop GGDudley Kibler - stable, carpenter Waskey - shop? Slaughter house 8. 9 . 10. 11. a. b. c. d. First "new" depot Original depot Fremont House Chumbley old store Butler lot Mill Mill -- Hodges? Noble/Brown Hotel Wharton Store Haney/Gilliam Grocery Fleeman/Kasey/Gilliam/Munsey Jones Barbershop? Ransom/Einstein/Boyd Second "new" depot Scott store Chumbley new store Stone HBHaney Dunn/Stanley Birchfield ,·, ~· 33 Evolution of the Downtown District 4A depot, water driven grist mill, hotel, two general stores and possibly a lumber mill -- all there by the 1870s -- formed the core of New River Depot's original "water front" business district. The Whartons and Radfords owned the hotel, one store, and the grist mill. As of 1879, Mr. Yancey managed the "Cattle and Hog Scale Company of New River" -- which may have been associated with a slaughterhouse up the tracks from the depot -- and the Ransoms of~ered machinist services. Farmers came to grind their grain, ship and/or slaughter their livestock, repair their equipment and buy the clothes, cloth, and other goods not producible at home. Both the 1857 depot and a second one built just across the tracks from it sat due north of the hotel but not directly connected with it by road. The road coming up from the river forked, with the "main" branch going over the tracks past the depot and on along today's Church Street, then north toward Giles county. The left branch went past the hotel, out along the creek, up the hill, and on to the Wharton farm. A plank walkway allowed passengers to walk between hotel and depot without undue danger from mud and road traffic. The "Fremont nearby. Chumbleys opened their first store (1871) near the House" hotel. The first Wharton store probably stood The post office was in one of these establishments. In the 1880s Wallace Hodge started a construction company at the river's edge. Part of that operation may have been a lumber mill. A short way up the river, John Wright had opened his quarry by 1887, providing the community its rock foundation. About 1890, the railroad completed a new and expanded depot about a quarter mile down the tracks from the old. One result of this move, and of the town's growth in general, was a shift in "center." What had been just a track between Giles Road and the farm road now became one leg of a cross-roads of business activity. Years before the depot shifted its location, Wharton had sold adjoining lots -- at what now became the town center -- to Noble (1879) and CWScott (1881). The two men operated in partnership for some years -- the exact nature of their enterprise is unknown. Deeds place a blacksmithy on one of the properties. C.W. Scott probably operated his general merchandise store here. He owned a number of town properties, on one of which he ran a printing press. In 1885 the Chumbleys relocated their store next to Scott's, and the Wharton store soon followed suit. The shift was underway. The 1890 deed selling Noble's lot referred to a large structure which the Browns had already erected. Convenient to the depot, this Brown hotel must have eclipsed the Fremont House. For that, or some other, reason, in 1886 the Radfords and Whartons sold 34 the Fremont to Mary Stone. Al though referred to as the "hotel lot II for years thereafter, the property may already have .stopped functioning as such. There was no structure on the l?t in 1905. Perhaps the building had burned. The stone's deed promised to keep the mill race (which ran through the hotel property) open. For years thereafter deeds included the same guarantee of a water source for the ~ill. (The race had obviously been constructed pr~or to 1886. A masonry reservoir came int~ existence at some point on the mill property between road and railroad tracks.) Wharton sold G.C. Butler land next to the "hotel lot" in 1890 and the Stones sold a small piece of their original purchase to Melvina White in 1895. Given its size (20x20), the White sa~e mu~t have been for some commercial purpose. What Butler did with his land is unclear, but bear in mind that the mill would have kept people coming down the road. The Chumbley and Scott stores and the Brown hotel -- with all their various appendage enterprises -- now formed the b~se of the town's main intersection with other businesses extending out on both sides and up the 1road across the tracks. The railroad property west of the "new" Chumbley store and directly across the street from the relocated depot could have been used for warehousing, as a stock yard, or a variety of purposes. Three lots extended west of that. Dunn had bought one in 1887 and then immediately sold it to B.F. Stanley. H.B. Haney and George Stone bought the other two. All presumably housed business enterprises. On the other side of the road and sandwiched between it and the railroad tracks, w. Birchfield (1890) also probably ran a business of some kind. Heading back toward the "center, " next came the depot with its stockyards, waiting rooms, and attendant facilities -- and then the "cut through" road. ,Three stores faced that road on its eastern edge. One housed the Wharton general store and lumberyard. Another, with Morgan's Branch running through it, had originally been bought by N.L. Fleeman but then sold, in 1889, to C.C. Kasey. Kasey had the right to use water from the creek for his steam engine boiler as long as such use did not impede the flow of water to the mill. In 1891 CCKasey used his lot, the water rights, and his "stock of goods of every kind and description" then housed in Einstein's storehouse as collateral on a loan. The steam engine may have been an early generator of electricity used to power some form of machinery -­perhaps Hodge's machine driven woodworking equipment. H.B. Haney o~ne? the last of these three small lots. During the 1890s, the Gilliams bought and combined the Haney and Fleeman/Kasey lots erecting thereon their grocery store. ' North across the tracks but on the same side of the street t1:1e Ra?som.s had a "n~w" s.tore by 1887, which they sold to th~ Einsteins in 1890 and in which Kasey had stored his stock of goods. -- --------- 35 In summary, as of 1890 the commercial "cross-road" boasted a de~ot, ~ ~otel, at least five stores, a blacksmithy, and several unidentified structures. It seems unlikely that such commercial space was "wasted" on residential housing. All of the unsold land -- including much of the relatively flat terrain along Morgan's Creek -- still belonged to the Whartons. They could have rented it out, used part as a community park, or run stables, eateries, or even a saloon themselves. When New River Depot's economic future had still seemed bright, the Whartons sold a series of lots north of the tracks and east along a steep bank. With one exception, all of the original purchasers were white and all presumably had commercial or speculative expectations for the property. (The exception was an 1887 sale of the lot directly behind the Ransom/Einstein store to Coralie Lewis, black.) Other than the Ranson/Einstein establishment, there is no indication that any of these lots was actually put to commercial use and, beginning in the late 1890s, they were sold, often piece by piece, to black families. Before the depot moved, the "main" street had followed the course of what was soon (and still) called (east) Church Street. Although Church Street remained an integral part of the business district, there was more of a tendency for residential and business activities to merge here. The Ransoms, who had purchased several acres back when the original depot was their nearest neighbor, built at least one two story residence for themselves, constructed rental property, and also probably had a machine shop, "old" store, and an ice house on the road frontage. GG Dudley bought three adjoining pieces of property on Church Street between 1885 and 1903 and then, in 1907, bought a fourth lot across the street. Since two GG Dudleys lived in New River and both ran merchandise stores, it seems safe to place one of those stores on these three lots. And, since one of the lots had originally been owned by James Turner, stabler, it also seems safe to assume that Dudley continued that business. Mr. Waskey bought his Church Street lot for resident~al purposes but also had some kind of "shop" on the property. Like the Dudleys, Kibler owned land on both sfdes of Churc~ Street and, as a carpenter, may have had a woodworking shop on site. The rough triangle formed by east Church Street, the "Whart/, ., 15.- Lucy (Richard) Casey 1893 <, 16. George Austin 1892; Simon Burks 1909 (or 1919) 17. William Casey 1890-99; Robert Austin 1902 and/or Sandy Casey 1916 18. Thomas and Sandy Casey 1900; Sandy Casey 1900 Lucy and Richard Casey bought #15 in 1893 and built his first house there. In 1916 Richard bought a larger, one acre plot across "the street." (At the time, no street existed, but there was an alley leading to the cemetery.) Like his Claytor/Williams neighbors, Richard's acre lot was ref erred to by a separate designation. His 1935 will left the larger lot to his grandchildren, on proviso that they sell it to each other, not to an outsider. Charles and Lucile Casey Williams raised their family on that land. George Austin bought #16 (designated as such and located north 43 of the Richard Casey lot) in 1892. As of 1908 the land was occupied, but not owned, by John Williams. Austin sold it to Simon Burks in 1919 (or 1909). The history of Lot #17 is, to say the least, a little confusing. William Casey made the original purchase in 1890, but he relinquished all rights to the property in 1899. The land presumably thus transferred back to the Whartons. Robert A. Austin bought a lOOxlOO lot just north of Robert (really should be George?) in 1902 and then exchanged lots with his father, Robert J. Austin. The property was then inherited by Cloyd Austin. HOWEVER, when Sandy Casey (owner of #18) bought some land from Wharton in 1916, the deed clearly states the inclusion in that sale of Lot #17. The Austin purchase may actually refer to property near Morgan's Chapel, rather than to Midkiff Hill. Thomas and Sandy Casey bought Lot #18 as a joint effort in 1900 and it was this property that Thomas ceded to Sandy in exchange for Sandy's interest in the lot bought from Roy Bibbie. New River's black cemetery begins 500 feet or more down the road from #18. over two and a half acres in size, it was purchased, for that explicit purpose, in 1903. Lot #18 was the last in Wharton's numbering system, but it was just the beginning of Sandy Casey's acquisition of Midkiff Hill land. In 1916 he bought #17 AND the 462xlOO strip of land between #18 and the cemetery. In 1932 he acquired over 15 acres of land between Richard Casey• s acre lot and the top of the cemetery. Thus, he accumulated an estate of some 20 acres at the northern end of Midkiff Hill. A few early Midkiff Hill purchases were made, by blacks, that were not part of the planned symmetry. D. Thomas Mccraw bought property which may actually have been part of the one a~re Richa7d Casey acquired in 1916. Mccraw sold to Augustus Davis who, in turn, sold in 1913. George Williams also made an early purchase -­exact location unclear -- which he sold after buying a lot on King's Hill in 1912. It is very possible, however, that these Williams continued to live on Midkiff -- on property owned by Flem and Sally Ann Williams. 44 · · 1 "plan" Settlement of Fort Hill -- the origina k fortification, Fort Hill Named after a Civil war earthen wor s the old and the new rose rather steeply up to the north of both t h d laid it out :ailroad depot. Like Midkiff Hfll, General Whar onde:i nated it as into approximately equal lot sizes and apparently ·gtion in lot a black residential area. Geography dictated some var ra shape. Wharton sold the first Fort Hill land in 1887. Lot #1, at the bottom of the hill, went to Archie (F .A.) Mitchell, railroad brakeman. (Several other railroad employees would also buy property on the hill.) Lots #5 and 6 -- irregular in size and forming a triangle near the top of the hill -- went to Lewis Sheffey' s Baptist Church. Almost three years elapsed before a building was completed, but services were underway at least by 1890. Several of the Fort Hill families (and perhaps this was also true with Midkiff Hill) paid rent (i.e. lived in houses Wharton had constructed) for some time before they actually purchased the house and lot. Thus, actual date of purchase may not be an accurate reflection of when the family arrived in New River. Lots #1 through 10 were all sold between 1887 and 1891. The 45 numbering went up the hill and then back down in parallel with a "street" running up the middle until it arrived at the' church. Archie Mitchell's neighbor to the right, in Lot #10, was W. L. Clarke (on whom I have found no information). Two brothers, John and George Morton, bought adjoining Lots #2 and 9. J. carter (to whom no reference has been found) apparently rented Lot #3, with James Black (moved to town from Hazel Ridge) in Lot #8. Warren and Martha Saunders bought Lot #4; Joseph and Margaret Robinson bought Lot #6. Both of these bordered on church land. Thereafter, the numbering symmetry breaks down a little, although, in most cases, the same dates of purchase apply i.e. between 1887 and 1891. While there is land that could nave accommodated it, no sales were ever· specifically designated Lots #11 and 12. Malinda Hall bought Lot #13, less regular in size than most of the other lots and, at 3/8 of an acre, slightly larger. At some point, her daughter, Cora Hall Saunders, acquired Lot #14 -­which may actually have been a double lot. Lot #15, at the corner of two "alleys" went to the Gibsons and then, through inheritance, to Julia Montgomery. The numbering gets a little "strange" hereafter. Completing the core "block" of Fort Hill, we find Charles Brown due north of #15 and due east of #14 living on Lot #29! The land just above him was vacant (or rental) until 1916, at which time the Whartons gave it to Langhorne Ford, whose father, George, had earlier bought Lot #24 (!) which, like the Hall lot, was not symmetrical. It bordered the church land and completed the "core." Numerical logic reasserted itself on the outer edges. Lot #16 was across the alley (today a real street) from #15 and was bought by Andrew Sheffey. A Clark originally bought #17 but sold it to the Minters who, in turn, later sold it to Andrew Sheffey. The deeds refer to a street, or alley, running behind (to the east) these lots -- which alley seems to have been more a figment of Wharton's imagination than ever a real passageway. Lots #18-21 do not exist as such but may well have been intended to run down the "alley" in numerical sequence all the way through, perhaps, 23. An 1887 sale of 2. 5 acres (with reference to it containing 4 lots) to whites ended the downward sequence and marked the southern terminus of "black" Fort Hill. Andrew Sheffey eventually bought (in a two acre chunk) most of the land that would have comprised Lots 18-20. His original scheme now impossible, Wharton simply started the numbering over again, on the top of the hill and across from Lots #15 and 16. Two Charlton brothers bought Lots #22 and 23 and sold them to Andrew Sheffey fifteen years later. George Ford's #24 should have followed next (and in fact the next lot is, in one deed at least, referred to as "Ford's" lot) but, as we have seen, #24 is in the core "block." The lot next to #23 was not sold until the 1920s, at which time it was designated #25. The only remaining "original" Fort Hill lot was not sold until 1941 and has no 46 num eri· cal designation but fits right in as #26. Witne!:la~ives often bought adjoining or neighboring land. Ford a •d or example, the Charlton amd Morton brothers. George adjoini rargaret Robinson were brother and sister and bought Julia M ng t ots • The 1916 gift to Langhorne added a third Ford lot. marria on ~ornery eventually married John Morton. She came to the north g~ with Fort Hill land and later bought part of the lot due Kate R~ll~ohn's land. James Black sold his lot to the Rollins, saunde ins was Malinda Hall • s daughter -- as was ccra Hall rs. ~ 1 j 49 l'i\O lld'..D<1n,,\.&\ l'is'\'J ~,~~(!) \~II 0,<' 1i'l\ 11,-...., \ i'\ \ 1-\u,uo r-, ri.0.<1 ~ Rw.w\-s If\~~..,.-, \'l,:I.' q.-....n...< tqi,2,.Q.~n.a.c'° & f \'<\\ 1-\...r\..._,. G) 1rt2.~n 0 1l,,,.JL\rtl.n.....- ,J '1 \'i'>>~ @ \qo1-G_.-..._,,.._.-- ~·~~ .... tlr',u.,,l \.r ® L.>;"""' io.o,CC.~<..S. @ C Q'{~TR._ ,,q9~q.~ ~" "'··~ ~ /'"\<' (i.O~i:>ll,.".d\C~.. S. © Sc.ct\- !' S~cn d-. v) I.!.! J lb v 1: ,J rr: _j J: !j S=-tl- Se.c..\ion \ 50 Section 2, bordered by Giles, Locust, Scott, and ~rystal streets, is flat and, with only a small excep~ion, w~s .ultimately ~onsolidated into T.M. Greiner's ownership. It was original~y sold in nine separate transactions between 1890 and 1907. The Ricketts family had acquired about half of the section before thei~ land transferred (as the result of an estate division) to the Greiners. Section 3, bordered by Giles, Chapel, Scott, and Locust, was the most heavily subdivided section -- with at least 12 separate lots -- but here too original sales dates ranged from 18~0 to 1909. Between 1895 and 1911, WEKennedy acquired at least five of the lots. Section 4, bordered by Giles, Chapel, a hypothetical extension of Scott, and the northern edge of Scott's land, consisted of only two much larger than normal lots sold in 1891 and 1892. There are no deed references to Sections 5 and 6 but one assumes they would, if developed, have extended west of 4 and no:th of 7. Section 7 was bordered by Locust, Scott, Chapel and High streets. The western edge was never developed and thus High Street actually only runs about 150 feet north. In theory, High would h~v~ ~ontinued, intersected Chapel, and proceeded north as the dividing line between Sections 5 and 6. Scott made seven sales in Section 7, all between 1890 and 1892. On its settlement," nevertheless whites . western side, Section 1 bordered the "colored but its deeds -- like most of Sections 1 through 7 -­included covenants not to sell or lease land to non- . ~n 1909 C.W. Scott sold twenty plus acres to Samuel Carter. This included some 6 acres of presumably open land south of Locust, about. 15 undeveloped acres north of Locust, and a scattering of lots in Section 3 not already sold . . ~ome of the people who bought from Scott sold soon thereafter. Families who held their property for over ten years (between 1890 and 1925) included: Section 1 Heninger 1890-1924 Harless 1890-1900 Long 1916- 0linger 1893- Myers 1912- Section 2 Ricketts 1891-1908 McCormick 1890-1911 Greiner 1902- Brown 1892-1902 Caves 1905- Section 3 Dudley 1890-1926 WEKennedy 1895- Birchfield 1890-1911 Section 4 Sifford 1891- TJWhite 1892-1906 WEKennedy 1906-1925 Section 7 CWWhitt 1890-1922 WWPendleton 1892-1926 Mrs. CLAbell 1891-1923 51 Flanagan Land . Adam Flanagan acquired a triangular section of land across Giles Road from Morgan's Chapel. For all practical purposes, by 1890 that tract had become a black subdivision part residential and part agricultural. In 1883 Flanagan sold 1acre lots to Rush Floyd and to Charles McDaniel -- both of whom headed black families recently moved to New River from Rockford (i.e. near Flanagan's own home) · The year before, Joseph Parker (presumably black) had bought half an acre. A half acre lot behind these and off the road went through a series of sales to whites but by 1884 belonged to James Noel, also black. In 1896 Flanagan sold the two most westerly acres of the triangle to Charles Johnson, black. In 1890 Robert Austin, black, bought the rest of the land -­so~ e seven acres - - apparently with money borrowed from Cofer, white. He sold an acre to the county for a black school house. Then Austin apparently began having trouble making his payments to Cofer. Austin and Cofer sold one acre facing on Giles Road to Arthur McDaniel (who, in 1905, sold to Bocock, white). The Austins retained title to about half the remaining land but the rest reverted to Cofer, who sold it to Purdy. Ransom Land The Ransoms bought their first pieces of property, some from Abbott but most from Wharton, in 1872. They bought a large seven acre tract in 1878 and did not stop their acquisitions until 1889. Some of the property was scattered around town, but most became part of a consolidated whole, forming almost a square, bordered by Church Street, Fort Hill, and Barger land to the northeast. T~e Ransoms eventually subdivided off the western one-third of this land, forming a two-lot deep tier of ten plots bounded by Church street on the west and an alley on the east between this "subdivision" and the Ransom core holding. The earliest sale was in 1885, with the last in 1907. The Ransoms probably rented housing on these lots until they were purchased. The Munseys had bought one of the more southerly lots in 1898. In 1914 they bought out all of the remaining Ransom holdings, including the "core" homeplace. Other Large Landowners The Bargers and Chumbleys both owned sizeable multiacre tracts of land in New River Depot. Some of this may have been rented out but none was "developed" in the way Scott and Wharton land had done. The 16 acre Chumbley tract was sold to the Gilliams in 1907 and then to Samuel Carter in 1920. Assessment records for that property make reference to a defunct mill and a fou.ndary on it. Barger sold his land to the Brooks in 1908 and they, in turn, sold to the Divers in 1913. ', r : \ .). : ·\ Sc.oIT/ C..F;RTE.K tku.s(: CHAPTER FOUR ENTERING THE 20TH CENTURY 1900-1915 Disembarking from the 7:30 evening train, a visitor to New River Depot in 1910 might have seen a cluster of people playing croquet on a stretch of well maintained lawn bordering the creek. Other groups gossiped or courted, under pretense of watching the game or waiting for the train. Munsey's store sold soft drinks and G.G. Dudley's offered some particularly enticing candies. A few automobiles bumped along the dirt road but horses and wagons far outnumbered those noisy contraptions and the town still required more service of blacksmiths than of auto mechanics. People coming from work in Radford breathed sighs of relief once off the trestle boardwalk and walked toward home making plans for the weekend. Perhaps a church social was in the offing, or a picnic, or a trip to the racetrack over in Radford, or the lodge had a dance, with musicians coming from out of town. Perhaps cousin Bill, or brother Bob, was scheduled to visit from West Virginia. Or maybe there would be a wedding -- or a funeral -- with relatives from all around come to help in the celebration -- or the wake. Our visitor would have smiled at the friendly small town atmosphere. I As of 1910 New River Depot was no longer the boom town of twenty-five years earlier. But it was now much more of a community, complete with the fellowship that comes from long acquaintance and understanding of oneself and one's neighbors. "It was a leisurely life .... Back then people had time for each other .... The people in the community visited each other. They didn't call or ask if you were busy, they just dropped in." (1) They also intermarried, making it more than a little difficult for outsiders to keep track of who was related to whom but, at the same time, increasing the fact of "community." New River's 1900 population of about 600 could not com~ete with Radford's several thousand residents. Nor, however, did it represent a drop that might have been expected aftei::·the boom died. Unfortunately, the census takers that year ~eemed devoid of any sense of geographic logic. Greater New River Depot was divided between several canvasers, all of whom refused to follow straight lines in their travels. Ascertaining who actually lived where, based on that census, is impossible. Chapter Four t · " blank, Although the census also often left "occupa ion New River's residents included, at a minimum: 6 stone/brick masons 7 carpenter/plasterer/painters 4 blacksmiths 4 railroad brakemen 12 other skilled/unskilled railroad employees 25 iron furnace employees 8 clerks/salespersons/retailers/agents The number of iron furnace and railroad employee;estern reflected New River's continued links to Norfolk and d and a growing dependence on Radford -- but it still ha an economy of its own. •The community had its own shoe repairman, watch andg jewelry repairman, clergymen, school teacher, lawyer~ :~i~~ maker and repairer and even its own dentist. Peopl 1 bor owned farms, worked as farm labor, or did piecemeal d~Y a · William Ransom now listed himself as a retired mechanic-1 Gabriel Wharton's son apparently handled most of the rea. k estate work and kept the family accounts. Walter McCormic travelled the area as an agricultural machinery agent. Women who needed or wanted to earn a living had fewer options. Most were laundresses or servants. A few served live-in housekeepers. One made quilts, another made hats, taught, and one was a stenographer . as two . New River had become the residence of choice for blac~5 families. While the much larger community of Radford had 70 black property owners in 1905, the tax assessor noted ove~ lots owned by blacks in New River -- not counting Butchers Crossing or outlying farm land. . People came and went. By the turn of the centurY and increasingly thereafter the south in general witnessed an outmi•g ration I especially' among blacks I of people and fVa' mil• i~1sa seeking better opportunities. For many in southwest 1rgin ' "n th" 1 a short o: meant the coal fields of West Virginia -- on Y . 1 train ride away but offering higher wages better educationa fa · 1 · t · ' t The coal .ci i ies, and a less oppressive racial environmen · k fields attracted a significant percentage of New River's blac population -- especially among the younger generations. And from West Virginia it was easy then to keep going to Ohio, ~ichigan, or even New York. That as many people stayed as did ~s testimony to the countervailing attractions of New River itself and/or of the industrial jobs in Radford. W~ites, and especially those working for the railroad, also migrated. Thus New River Depot's population was fl~id .. even as part of it held stable. The town also remained home to people who left -- as witnessed by those who "came home" to be buried. ~----- Chapter Four 55 Although many of the outlying families had cemeteries on their own land, in 1903 five or six prominent blacks cosigned the purchase of about two and a half acres on the northwest edge of town to codify as such land already in use as a black cemetery. The earliest deaths recorded on tombstones there are three Caseys, all of whom died in 1882. Saley Brown, born in 1~18 and dead sometime in the nineteen teens, may be the olde7t s(tini ltle irnm su soef. Year born) of those buried there. The cemetery is Whites were often buried in Hickman Cemetery, up the road toward Belspring. Used by members of both communities, it contains family plots for the Chumbleys, Ricketts, Bargers, Long~, Harrisons and Carters, among other New River residents. Sallie Barger, wife of D.H. and dead in 1886, was among the very first New Riverians interred. .. But~her's Crossing remained an active and populated suburb. At least ten families owned land there at one time or another. Abram had died, but Edith Vaughn stayed on. Craig Sheffey died in 1903 but the family held on to the land. The Taylors and Butchers expanded their holdings. Tobias Hen~erson h1a88d8 ,b ought his "across the tracks" acre from the Vaughns in and sold it back to them in 1899. He was still living at the Crossing in 1910, however. Charles and William Saunders owned three acres of Crossing and Tobias Burks two (until a 1907 lawsuit forced its sale and Butcher bought the property at auction). Virginia Page acquired 1 1/2 acres -- probably as a gift for long time ssmearlvli cPel ottos t.h e Chumbley family. Minnix Hendricks owned two The 1900 census counted over 50 people at Butcher's. Crossing; the figure was only slightly lower in 1910. William Taylor and Charles Johnson (who owned land i~ to~n but apparently lived at the Crossing) both had live-in housekeepers. By 1910 the Minters, who would eventu~lly buy the Butcher land, were living at the Crossing on their ow~ 2 a 1/2 acres and Henry Burnett {whose family moved around 1r1:~ bit within "greater New River") was in residence. Of a ese People, only Abram Vaughn, Craig Sheffey, and Charles Saun~er~ listed themselves as farmers, although the landowners combine for a total of over 40 acres. Sometime after 1900 Butcher's Crossi~g acqui~ed_a.c~~t Pleasing attraction Minnix Hendricks built a child sizd h's fully operational m~del train and ran it on tr~ck~ a~o~niri~s" house. A blacksmith barber, and producer of ar en. Ph ea in addition to his b~ing a jeweller, Hendricks ma~e1~is ~m popular destination for blacks and white~, both~ uwa! ~~e next children. For many, a ride on the Hendri?ks train best thing to a trip to the carnival or circus. 56 Chapter Four A stop at that train, and perhaps a v~sit_with oth~:n to Crossing residents, might easily have fit.in with an ouui fhe the watercress pond cum swimming hole a little further P t tracks toward Morgan's Cut. "On Sunday afternoo~s we allw~~ld together and walked. It was more fun than anything. We th walk for miles, singing and talking .... We used to walk to b: cress lake." (2) Now overgrown and silted, the P?nd used to commercially harvested. One former New River r~sident remembers being warned to avoid the "cress men, who were probably migrant workers. Although some of New River's early black farming families stayed on their land, by 1900-1910 a trend away from those outlying areas and into town had begun. By 1910, for e~amp~eh Mills and Hannah Black, both approaching 80, had moved in wit their son Stewart -- himself a recent "town" resident. The Austins also bought in-town lots, although some continued to live on the "home place." George and Henry Walker stayed out at Morgan's Cut. In town, the business district underwent some changes but continued active. According to the 1905 tax assessors records, downtown New River had four buildings, presumably stores and hotel, appraised at between $400-500. As of that year C.W. Scott owned some kind of warehouse appraised at $1,200. The buildings on Barger's land (exact nature unclear) were assessed at $1,500. Given that houses apparently ranged in assessed value from $25 to about $200, anything over that amount presumably represented a commercial venture of some kind. The Fremont "hotel lot" had no structure listed that year. ·The Whartons sold their grist mill to David Fox in 1906 and the Rhudys bought it from Fox in 1907. Attracting farmers from the surrounding areas, the mill brought in customers for New River's other enterprises. ,For many years, the grocery remained under Gilliam ownership. John Munsey later bought and consolidated all three of the lots directly east of the depot. His main store building, which had been constructed so as to span the creek, had apartments upstairs and sometimes also housed the post office. A lumberyard occupied what had previously been the Wharton store site and, in 1905, was under the management of Mr. Harless. At some point one G.G. Dudley took over operation of the Chumbley store and another G.G. Dudley, known as "Hooligan," ran his own emporium. In 1920 "Hooligan" and his daughter listed themselves as postal employees. What with postal employment being a political reward, the post office changed location depending on the outcome of elections. The Einsteins sold their store to E.R. Boyd in 1912. Boyd undertook an ambitious -- and ultimately abortive -- attempt to - -·--~~·-. Chapter Four 57 refrigerate part of the structure in order to sell beef. (2) Boyd died in 1916. The real estate was bought by James Lyons and much of the store's contents was sold at auction. One of the general stores housed a dress shop on its second floor -- not a ready made clothing store but one where the customers went in for fittings on their made-to-order garments. Mrs. Headrick, dressmaker, may have worked both there and out of her house. C.W. Scott's store was probably still open at least through 1910, although he himself no longer ran it. The Haleys (or Haney's) acquired two adjoining lots between the creek and railroad tracks: from Wharton in 1903 and Birchfield in 1911. H.B. Haney listed himself as an "advertising agent" on the 1910 census. The Brown hotel (whether run by the Browns or by Mrs. Keister) may have continued to function as such for a brief time into the new century but, in 1910, Keister sold it to Martin and Nannie Williams. This black couple came to New River Depot from Giles County and reopened the "hotel" as a boarding house -- one which did accept black residents. They financed the purchase with the help of a consortium of 17 black New River Depot residents who extended a $285 loan. The Stones sold the old Fremont House lot to Tobias and Mary Henderson, black, in 1915. (Tobias was now yard boss for the railroad, and this location put him much closer to his work.) These two sales of New River's original hotel sites closed forever one chapter of the community's history. Blacks made other inroads into the business district. In 1904 Wharton sold the Oddfellows room for a lodge right behind the Gilliam/Munsey store and on the creek banks. In 1911 C.W. Scott sold his store lot to Nannie Smith. She in turn sold part to Ed Jones -- who probably operated his own barber shop at that location. Most of the land on the bank above the railroad tracks -- originally bought by whites, probably as business speculations -- had become a residential area for blacks at least some of whom worked for the railroad. J.E. Buckner took time off from his ministerial tasks to sell insurance. As of 1905 the Ransom "structures" (as opposed to land) were appraised at $825 -- which probably included rental housing, the Ransom home, and some kind of machine shop. For a while, New River was home to a stove factory of some sort, and very possibly this could have been on Ransom land. And the railroad kept running. The depot employed agents and telegraph operators in addition to the yard bo~ses and other less skilled labor. With as many as ten trains a day, the depot stayed busy and there was always work to do on the lines. ESTATE OF THE STORE, SOLD AT AUCTION IN 1916 E.R. BOYD, FROM 15 Haystacks \5'0. 00 1 Paper cutter/paper 2.35 1 stove 3.00 1 stove 3.25 1 stove 1. 00 1 typewriter 22.00 1 cash register 22.00 1 soda fountain 10.00 1 Mccaskey Register 7.50 1 show case 12.00 1 show case 6.75 1 telephone 23.00 1 telephone 10.00 1 biscuit stand 1.25 1 meat block 1. 30 1 oil tank 9.50 1 spool cannon case 1.10 1 peanut roaster 10.00 1 cheese knife 3.20 1 computing scale 7.75 58 EXCERPT FROM W.B. RANSOM'S WILL, PROBATED IN 1915 "I direct that my body be decently buried in a manner corresponding to my estate, but with as little expense as may be consistent therewith." IRENA CLAYTOR'S PERSONAL PROPERTY ESTATE, APPRAISAL THEREOF IN 1910 Cash Wardrobe Bureau Iron bedstead Sm. table Falling top dining table Washstand Clock Clothes chest Cot 14.65 6.00 5.00 3.00 1. 50 Safe Dishes Easel 2.00 3.00 .50 Lamps, vases, etc 1. 00 Complete bolster and strawtick 1.00 4 prs short pillows and hornernarj.e carpet 2.00 3.00 1. 00 2.50 1. 00 2.50 ========= $ 53.65 59 \"EW RIVER ~CHCOL HOCSE ----- 60 -·---··• w.•- • •• Chapter Four 61 Further up Giles Road, as of 1905 the Greiner property (probably.a combination of his house and a wood working shop) was a~praised ~t $475. Greiner was in the process both of starting a family of five and consolidating much of Scott's Section 2 plus some three acres due west of that under his ownership. New River Depot had lost four of its most prominent founding families by 1914 -- but had gained solid replacements. Already having moved to West Virginia, D.H. Barger sold his 20 plus acres, house and outbuildings in 1908. His son became a doctor and moved to Roanoke, although he -- like his mother but not his father -- is buried at Hickman cemetery. The family retained a small lot acquired from James Noel's heirs until 1918. Mr. Brooks, stone mason and house builder, bought the bulk of Barger's property. In 1913, at age 65, Brooks sold everything to Mary and JW Divers. Although the core Barger acreage remained intact, the Divers sometimes added to it as the opportunity arose and sometimes sold peripheral lots. The Divers paid the impressive sum of $3,900 for Barger's land (Brooks having made no changes in its dimensions) and whatever structures came with it. This compares with the $1091 Samuel J. Carter paid C.W. Scott for 21 acres, a house, and assorted outbuildings in 1909. Since there was no significant difference in acreage, this implies the presence of extensive structural property of some nature on the Barger land. The 1909 sale to Carter divested C. W. Scott of almost all of his New River property, although his very last sale (of the bottom of Section 1 to Carter's daughter Ida Carter Bowman) was not until 1916. Deeds suggest that C.W. and family spent a good deal of time in Lynchburg and, as of 1900, may already have moved back permanently. The Robert and Helen Scott who bought one of the lots in Scott Section 1 in 1900, for the grand total of $1, were probably related to C.W. and Robert, a salesman, may in fact have managed C.W.'s store. Living in New River at least by 1896, Robert and Helen sold their land in 1904 and do not appear on the 1910 census. Samuel J. Carter listed himself as a carpenter and must have been a rather successful one. He and his family apparently moved into the Scott house on Locust (now Carter) street. Two daughters married locally: as noted, Ida Carter Bowman bought the last piece of C.W. Scott's New River property in 1916. In 1920, Carter even expanded his land holdings. The Ransoms arrived in New River before either the Scotts or the Bargers (although Barger may have come from nearby) and stayed longer. They began selling off pieces of prope:ty along the western edges of their land as early as 1885 but did not make their last purchase until 1889. In 1914 Mrs. Ransom, now a widow, willed the remaining tract -- over three acres -- to 62 Chapter Four Al' h h d already bought ice Munsey, wife of the store owner, w O a 18905 other Parts of the Ransoms' land beginning in t~e. New.River Already well settled by 1914, the Munseys staye in for decades thereafter. Lewis and Mary Sheffey had been among the ~e~y f!~:tverY blacks to settle in New River with Lewis organizing · ent f' ' ·ng as a promin irst black congregation and undoubtedly servi b ght member of the community. In 1879 the childless couple ~~e land on what later became (east) Church Street and, for three Years prior to his death in 1893, Lewis served as F rt minister to the newly constructed black Baptist church ~n ° Hill. Lewis left his entire estate to his wife, in wha maY well be the first black will probated in New River. Mary stayed on for a while and then she remarried and moved ~wa~. She left her property in the care of Kibler, a white neigh ~r, who promised to forward any and all rent proceeds to her. n 1909, and apparently in conjunction with Mary's death, her heirs sold the land to Kibler. John Buckner followed in Lewis Sheffey's footsteps. ~ed arrived in New River as a bachelor but then, in 1909, ma:rie Laconia McDaniel. Laconia had been active in the shortlived black Episcopal choir, but redirected her attention to the Baptist church of which John became minister. John Buckner Probably had a'college degree and Laconia, at a minimum, had received teacher certification. Both played very active roles in the community. John sold insurance and would later serve 's several of the lodges as trustee. The heirs to Fred McDaniel land, they also acquired Louisa Anthony's property and bought several other adjoining lots. Like Lewis and Mary Sheffey, the Buckners were childless and, also like the Sheffeys, they were vibrant members of the community. Time, deaths, and frequent fires brought changes to New River. In 1907 the Chumbleys sold their large tract at the northeast edge of town to the Gilliams. Joseph, the original store owner, died in 1917 but his business district propertY remained in the family at least into the 1930s. One of the Dudleys took over operation of the store. Through marriage, death and inheritance, part of the Kasey and Ricketts land east of Giles Road merged and was then sold to the Stones. Branches of that family provided New River with several teachers and a dentist. W.H. Ricketts, farmer, had also bought several lots of Scott Section 2 and, although he died in 1903, that land stayed with the family until 1908. The Stinsons (employed bY the railroad) and Bucks, at the corner of Giles and what is today called Divers Street, sold out to AF Waddell. The several Owenses, who included carpenters, railroad employees, and merchants, bought and sold land but, in general, retained a sizeable tract bordered by Giles Road, the school lot and Barger/Divers land. By 1910, Andrew Sheffey and the Casey family had emerged Chapter Four 63 as the community's most active black members -- at least from a real estate perspective. Fred and Charles McDaniels' families were among the oldest continous black residents. ,As years passed, some of the faces of New River changed, if not always the names. More specifically, original members of the "first families" began to die. In the case of the Ransoms, death marked the end of the name. The elder Whartons died and, after about 1910, that name appears only as parties of the first part (i.e. sellers) on deeds. D.H. Barger's wife died in 1886; his 21 year old daughter in 1903. Barger himself moved to West Virginia and his son to Roanoke, thereby deleting the Barger name from New River rolls. But when Mills and Hannah Black died in the nineteen teens they left behind many descendants who continued the name and remained in New River. So too with the Sheffeys and Morgans and Owens. The 1910 census is notoriously inaccurate, with a tendency dramatically to undercount -- i.e. the canvasers left houses and even whole neighborhoods out. Even based on those questionable figures, between 1900 and 1910 the population of New River grew from about 600 to at least 650. Of those totals, the number of black residents increased from about 250 to about 320. According to the 1910 census, non-agricultural wage earners held the following jobs: 20 iron furnace 23 pipe shop 1 veneering plant 3 brickyard 5 railroad brakemen 15 skilled and unskilled railroad jobs 15 carpenters/painters/electricians/well drillers 6 brick or stone masons 3 black smiths 7 retail/commercial 8 teachers (public and private) 10 laundresses 6 seamstresses At least one-third of these jobs entailed work at factories across the river in Radford. While two of the blacksmiths worked for someone else (i.e. the railroad), Thornhill owned his own smithy (but apparently on rented land). W.A. Myers set up another blacksmith shop, in 1912, right across from the Owens homeplace and on land once owned by Robert and Helen Scott. Wallace Hodge now had competition from the Brooks family in the house contracting business. W.E. Kennedy had replaced Kasey as operator of the town's stationery boiler and had begun to build a mini-estate, consisting of several lots in Scott Sections 3, 4, and 7. 64 ~-------- ------ -----~ Chapter Four two bookkeepers, In addition, there were two clergymen, 1 ees a barber, two Radford hotel employees, three postal emP oy ts' a "h t monumen orse trader," an advertising agen' a t People maY (gravestones) salesman, and an insurance agen · . that this ~~11 have worked two jobs or moonlighted-~ me~ni~~tal talent ist is not necessarily inclusive of New Rivers 1 Greiner Pool. Nor were all carpenters, for example, equa · and Carter were affluent; others less so. B 50% f the community. Over . Y 1910 blacks comprised about O O utting it into time, that percentage actually increased, thus P 1 tion in sharp contrast with Belspring (where a 20% black popu a k 1900 had dwindled to 0% in 1925) and Radford (whose bla~ to population never 15% of the total, eventually decrea7e1 b ' 0 • t • "racia a out 5%). The literalness of New River ~epo s ld the balance" was one of its distinctions. While blacks he 'ded bulk of the "blue collar" industrial jobs, they al~o.provia the community with most of its masons, both electriciansthe barber, one of the listed clergymen and at least one.of son the teachers. They also continued to hold a variety of Job railroad. Some, of course, remained primarily farmers. -Many of the "rural" blacks worked on nearby white ownedt f ft · ddition ° arms such as the Morgans' and Ingles' -- o en in a ff working some of their own land. The Wharton farm was sold,~ ' admittedly in fairly large chunks, thus ending that familY role as key to the community's economy. Jobs kept most people busy much of the day, but what could people do in New River when not at work? Most of the children went to school. In 1913, the white elementary school moved out of town, up Giles Road near the intersection with today's Route 11. The grounds now included a "Teacherage." Most of the faculty were trainees from Radford's newly opened Normal School, and theY lived in that building. A few teachers -- the Stone girls being cases in point -- were able to live at home. The black school remained in its original location until 1922, meaning that for about 10 years the two schools were literally within sight of each other. As of 1914 Misses Rosa Jones and Sadie Lewis taught 45 and 56 students respectivelY in the two room building and complained that the stove needed repair work. It was apparently common practice for these teachers to visit their students' homes on a regular basis -­suggesting an active parental involvement in the educational process even when many of the parents were themselves illiterate. White students wishing to attend high school usuallY went to Radford; blacks travelled to the Christiansburg Institute or even further away. Chapter Five 69 the Thyne Institute, had 45 students in class and reported the stove in very good condition. In 1920-21, Hattie Wood taught 34 1st through 3rd graders and Elizabeth Morrison 23 4th through 7th gr<;1ders · Both now complained that the entire building, after thirty years of hard use by hundreds of active children, needed repairs. The teachers got even more than they had asked for. In 1922 a new frame building, known as the William Gresham school, was built just behind the black Methodist church. (One of the Casey families bought the old school. The building later burned in a tragedy which took at least one person's life.) As of 1923-24 Mrs. Janie Bibbie taught 1st through 3rd grades and Mrs. Anna B. Norman handled grades four through seven. Bibbie earned $55 a month; as principal, Norman made $60. A virtual institution at the school, Mrs. Norman taught in New River for some thirty years. She made the trip from Pulaski with her husband on a daily basis or, when the weather necessitated, often stayed overnight with families like John and Teaney Morton. After the 1922 move, a small "teacherage" provided housing on the school property itself. Mrs. Norman was assisted, at various times, by Mrs. Lucy Clark of Dublin (remembered fondly) and Miss McNorton of Christiansburg (a strict disciplinarian) · Mrs. Laconia McDaniel Buckner, who lived very near the new school, may have taught there briefly, but spent most of her career in the Radford school system. According to one long-time resident, Mrs. Norman was so light skinned that, back when blacks were supposed to sit in the back of buses, she could regularly be seen riding right behind the driv~r. This could also, of course, have in a sign of the respect in which she was held. School bus service was not provided for blacks, making the daily journey quite a trek for children who lived two or three miles away. Odell Frazier, who later moved to New River as Mrs. Stonewall Jackson Green, grew up on "furnace row" in Radford· Sometimes when the Radford school system could provide no teachers -- she had to walk across the railroad trestle and all the way up Giles Road to the old school building. Enrollment figures for both white and black schools make it clear that not all eligible children attended. In general, "urban" children were more likely to go to school than their "rural" counterparts. Absenteeism could be a function of illness, weather, or the need for extra work hands at home. Adult illiteracy was on the decrease. In some cases, literate whites helped teach illiterate blacks to read and write. In other cases, children, black and white taught parents what they themselves had learned in school. The passage of time also meant ~_., ~-,-·~--·-·--------·. - . Chapter Five New River's Infrastructure and Economy Doctors for the living and hearses for the dead both had to deal wit~ road conditi?ns. New River's roads remained unpaved for a long time. One resident remembered that "the ruts in the road were s~ de.ep at times that if you did happen to own a car, you couldn t ride very comfortably. As you would ride, the car would boun?e and your head would constantly be hitting the ceiling.· .. "{l) Mud, of course, was a problem for cars, wagons, and pedestrians alike. The permanency of automobile transportation was reflected in the arrival of gas pumps -- at one or more stores in New River's business district and out Giles Road at Goad's. 73 Regular train service connected New River with Pulaski (a 25 cent trip) and points west as well as, of course, with Radford. But, as a sign of things to come, bus transportation (e.~. Greyhound) went from Radford along Route 11 to Dublin and Pulaski, by-passing New River. You could walk up to Route 11 and have it stop for you; the trip between Radford and Pulaski cost about 10 cents in the 1930s. For getting around New River, walking rema~ned the most common, and often most enjoyable, mode of transportation, while horses, buggies and wagons were still common sights. Some early "streets" - - like Taylor and Mason - - vanished through disuse and the consolidation of land-holdings; others were improved. A 1933 petition spearheaded by Sandy Casey got official county road status for the "20 foot alley" running from the black cemetery passed his house, the Methodist church, and down to the Crocketts. The new Hazel Hollow Road connected Ingles Ferry (and later Claytor Dam) to Route 11 and the traffic bridge across to Radford. While E. R. Boyd apparently had telephone service as of 1916 (his estate included two) as late as 1939 New River boasted a total of only 33 telephone, numbers several of which were i. n w h a t we would today call Fairlawn. Fo' r blacks, servi· ce was 1 a· rru·, ted primarily to stores and parsonages, and even the Carters, Ageesf and Divers apparently survived without telephones. (The number O phones actually decreased to 31 in 1944, while those owned by blacks increased to about one-third the total.) Appalachian. Power "wired" the town· but here again electricity was a benefit one enJ· oyed only i· f on' e could afford i· t. A pu bl·i c w ater system. hadd ntohte yet arrived so wells, cisterns, and septic systems ~em~ine lls order of th~ day. Fleming Williams earned a living diggin~ w~ld-and septic systems. "Outdoor plumbing" may have bee fashioned, but it was common for many houses. Alth h somewhat reduced in size, New River retained a business doiusgt rict and provided some "hometown" emp loymedn t ·h By the mi'd 1930s, the color and d Yn ami'cs of that downtown ha, owever, changed. 74 Chapter Five / or operated their John Munsey and G G Dudley still owned and. and clothing, mer h · · d ceries Mu c andising stores. While both hand~e gro and Dudley for the h i nsey was known for the variety of his goods , t one or both ~gh quality of his clothing selection. At some p~in ~ppetites of ~h them installed gas pumps to satisfy the growing orseless carriages." 1 remained a Like the Munsey and Dudley stores, the mil John Divers constant -- linking postwar New River with it~ pasts and the Agee and.w.w. Agee bought the mill from the Rhudys in 191. living at family "ran" it thereafter. Actually, the Boaz fami~yld Juanita the ~ill, probably ran day-to-day oper~tions. A~ a c ~d ;he Boazs C~usins, now Mrs. William Rollins, visited.New River a The water with her mother and "camped out" on the mill grounds. withstood wheel kept turning throughout the 1930s and the structure drop in the great flood of 194 o. (After World War I I'. hov.:eve:r: ~n~ of New ~~stomers forced this, one of the founding instituti iver Depot, out of business.) (2) . Ld i s converted to an The old Ransom/Einstein/Boyd bu i, ing wa nt for at !atery. The Lyons bought it in 1916 and ra~ a restau:athen and east part of their twenty year ownership .. Bot 1 urposes. afterward, the upstairs was probably used for residenta rued the The Lum Whitlocks bought the building in 1936 and cont~ncing. restaurant under black ownership and provided space for . . closed or Other of the early businesses, including the depot, or died drastically cut back their operations as people moved away d fewer and!or as demand for their services decrea~ed. . Fewer de d agents trains actually stopped at the station, but it still nee h the and a maintenance staff. Running as. they di~ right thr~ugast. center of "downtown," the trains remained reminders of th p . but still .wright's quarry reduced the scale of its operation~ company provided stone when needed. Wallace Hodge's const</a>" />
~ (() c: HO 'O (l) s ai:s: 'H (I) 'H J.l ~r:i ,J...i.:.;: '0- 0 (l) ,...; U) '+-I' U) (!) ,...; ~- '° .μ r-1 z0 ([) ..=o: ~E 0 .μ0 .μ ..(=[:) 0 ::t 'O .μ .μ ([) Q) ,.....; i:: (I) 'O ct, (I).μ c: CJ) .!tl o as HZ 'O C{l c: 'O (I) C{l II) ..J c: .!tl ::::: c: (I) Q) 0 ([) (I)..-= .μ0 .0 ~ H C) (I) a~s U) .μ C{l (I)..-= :.:.;-:=: ..c:: ..-= Q(J .μ ::::: 'O Ctl 'H C{l "tj r-1 0 O c: U) Has Pl Ctl !>-. +:> ....... ::E: +c:>: on !>-. (I) .....; ::::: .::: r-1 0) 0 (I) ..0 co o (I) E .....; ::t ::::: (I).μ..-= ..c:: (I)() E-t .0 - r-1 r··, f I i" i i i I I I. I' I' ,I I' ,j i ... .i LJ L..J j a: 1 0:: ~ ?; ~ ,j: u 7- 0 ; .. $> o ;: ci f ..; r.;::, ~f ';; • f ; () ~ .?, rl ,. J . ; . ~. .• Chapter Two 19 other reference), one old and one new railway station, and eleven unidentified structures -- all located along Morgan's Creek. A photograph, taken in the 1890s and looking across from Radford, shows a variety of buildings near the river. However, twenty years is a very long time, especially for a town in flux. Businesses undoubtedly came, went, and/or changed hands. Those operated out of rented properties may have left no record of their presence at all. Powered by a waterwheel, the grist mill was probably New River's oldest and most important commercial structure. Acquired by Wharton in 1869, it remained in his family's hands until 1906 and its continued operation guaranteed a stream of customers into New River. For every pound or bushel or sack of grain ground, the mill kept a set percentage thereof. No cash changed hands until, presumably, the mill sold its "earnings" -- perhaps to local grocers. (Mrs. Wharton had an account at a store in Radford wherein the store credited her for grain received and debited her for purchases made.) A mill race had been constructed at least by 1890 as had, perhaps, the water reservoir guaranteeing power. The 1891 map makes reference to another mill also run by water power -- perhaps the lumber mill referenced in church histories. A lumber mill would have fit nicely into W.A. Hodge's construction business. The geography of Hodge's landholding does make it possible. As of 1891 -- based on advertisements in the Radford ENTERPRISE -- at least three construction-related businesses had their headquarters in New River. From the land near the mouth of Morgan's Creek he purchased in 1888, Hodge ran a contracting operation that built new or moved existing structures. Some of the buildings visible near the river's edge in the old photograph may have been associated with his company. John Wright owned the New River Stone Company, which boasted quarries at New River, Morgan's Cut, and Belspring. He bought 5 acres of stone escarpment just up the river from the mill in 1887 and "mineral rights" on several properties in the area. W. N. Gilliam also provided "building stones." A large three story building is clearly visible in the old photograph a short ways back from the grist mill and the river. The Radford family sold this "Fremont House Hotel" to Mary Stone in 1886 -- by which time a projected relocation of the depot would have undercut some of its commercial attraction. That deed and those that followed later -- insisted that the mill race be kept open to guarantee adequate water flow to the mill. As of 1900 Stone listed her occupation as dressmaker, but she could have also been running a scaled down hotel-boardinghouse. · After the depot moved, the Browns bui 1 t a new hotel near it on land they then purchased from J.D. Noble in 1890. (Noble, in his turn, had bought the land from Wharton in 1878 Chapter Two 20 and this may have been the site of whatever the Scott and Noble partnership entailed.) One of these hotels had a wide wrap-around porch. One reputedly also had a plank board walk running all the way to the depot -- to protect passengers from the mud. They . undoubtedly served meals and may have provided rental office space. The Fremont House, if not the later Brown establishment, had a lobby large enough to accommodate dances and other gala occasions. "Near the hotels a restaurant was opened complete with a barber shop on the se~ond floor. Haircuts could be obtained for 15 cents and a shave for 10 cents."(2) Blacks could not stay in the hotels as long as they remained under white ownership, but a 1893-94 Virginia gazatteer made reference to several boarding houses in New River. As of 1900 Edward Jones (black) housed four boarders and thus may have run one such establishment. Under less formal arrangements, families supplemented their income by periodically taking in boarders. Wharton kept some of the land around the two hotels. The• rest of it became prime commercial property. The Chumbleys bought one acre to the west of the Noble/Brown hotel in 1885 and probably moved their store to the better location. Mrs. Wharton ran a credit account at the Chumbley store which she cleared only once a year and which, in 1890-91, ran to some $500 annually. The store served as a kind of bank, as well, with Mrs. Wharton sending employees to it for payments of anything from 25 cents in one time "wages" to regular monthly payments of several dollars. The Chumbleys also owned other lots on or near the railroad. Deed references put a blacksmith shop near, if not actually on, the Chumbley property. (At various times several other blacksmithies operated in various other parts of town.) G.C. Butler bought a lot right next to the Fremont House in 1890 but the purpose to which that land was put is unknown. G.G. Dudley first opened a general store near Morgan's Chapel and then moved nearer the depot. If the lot he bought in 1885 is the lot upon which that store -- the New River Racket Store -- stood, it was located north of the tracks just as the road begins to climb up into New River's residential area. "Scott's Store" dealt in general merchandise and was especially popular because of its candy. One resident recalled "He sold pieces of candy that sold for a penny. Some of the candy, instead of having prizes in them like today, contained another penny. In this way, if you were lucky, your candy would cost nothing. Mr. Scott must have liked me cause he Chapter Two 21 would take a pin and stick it in the candy to find the one with the penny so I could get it."(3) The 1890 map shows three small lots on the "new" Giles Road just across the tracks from the new depot. One housed the "Wharton store," which, like the Chumbley emporium, may have shifted location along with the depot. The other two soon belonged to W. H. Gilliam, grocer. (In 1901/02 John W. Munsey bought all three lots. His clothing and dry goods store doubled as a post office and Munsey also ran a lumber store.) Milliners worked to order and/or sold their wares at, for example, Chumbley's dry goods store. Various sales representatives, insurance agents, and perhaps even a lawyer or two worked out of the hotels, above the stores, or in buildings of which there is no surviving record. The early photograph shows several structures at the river's edge. This could have been the site(s) of: 1) the Brilheart wagon shop (which may, in fact, be the earlier Lyons wagon shop now under new management); 2) Jones' boarding house; 3) whatever outbuildings Hodge needed for his contracting business; and 4) various buildings for after hours relaxation. A 1891 newspaper made reference to a fight outside a "shack" on the river. Since the story also mentioned drunkenness as a contributing factor, perhaps the riverfront housed one or more "drinking establishments." Carpenters, plasterers, and stone masons worked in their homes or on the job. Seamstresses, and even undertakers, worked at home; blacksmiths set up shop near their homes; horse traders travelled around; salesmen went door to door. There was, of course, also the "new" depot and all of its adjunct operations. It employed telegraph operators, one or more yard bosses, and day labor. The temporary and permanent railroad workers (brakemen, construction labor, etc.) probably used the depot as their "home base" and it was the center of much activity with mail, passengers, freight, and livestock, for which it needed loading docks and nearby stockyards. On-going work up and down the line made for commotion, activity, and customers for the two hotels. H.T. Einstein, Robert Kirkwood, Newton Morgan and J.T. Whaling all shipped their livestock from the depot -- meaning that there must have been periodic cattle "drives" through town. (4) All this activity and all these people needed stables, barber shops, and eateries -- as well as the already referenced "social" establishments. The citizens of Radford complained about the profusion of saloons and alcohol on their side of the river. New River undoubtedly had similar "problems." Some New River residents worked or had their place of business in Radford. G. W. Groseclose had land in New River but ran a building and contracting company out of Radford. ---• -.-.·~~w. •• ·•··--·-··••··-·-· • •--·-• --·---·---• ·-- -·--- -• ..• . .. ·, ..... ,-·---- -- .. ---------·-·--·····-·-··-· '.;-,,-----..IL-- t.:; .IL~----11 . _ ~8~~ !~ ;'- ... .. : .. // ~- 1 // --- . -- - - -· - - ------- .... -· .·. -·- - ---· ·--·. ------- ·---- .... ·-·--- .---·---- ----------~--- -.----- 4~-5-. ~~-~- ·­?, i- ! Chapter Two 24 ·?·C, Kasey's general store was in Radford, while hi~ home was in New River. W.R. Wharton practiced law on both sides of the river; the Ransoms did the same with their machine shops. Medical services also spanned the river. Of the five or six doctors listed in 1891 and 1892 Radford papers, at least two -- Wilson and Farmer -- were familiar with New River and made house calls there. New River residents had to travel to Radford for dental services. The first approximation of a. hospital was closer to New River than to Radford. For a brief time, Dr. R. H. Cowan ran such an establishment for the railroad near today's Sunrise Burial Park. If General Wharton was the founder of New River, for many Years C.W. Scott acted as the community's unofficial "mayor." Scott first bought property in the late 1870s; he sold the last of that property, from Lynchburg, in 1916. In the interim, Scott acted as speculator, real estate agent, printer, businessman extraordinaire, and all around town booster. His name was linked, in business contexts, with Noble, Wilson, and Wharton. Of those, only the Wharton connection is 100% clear. The general owned a New River newspaper, the BULLETIN, and Scott edited it -- for about four years in the 1880s. As of 1885, the paper's motto was "Honesty, Energy, Pluck" and it served New River Depot, Central Depot (Radford), and both Pulaski and Montgomery counties. Scott listed himself as a 27 year old merchant in the 1880 census. He, his wife Rosa, and baby daughter boarded Joel Harper that year. (Harper clerked for C.W. before going into partnership with Chumbley.) The 1880 census is the only one in which Scott himself appeared, although he still owned land during both the 1900 and 1910 counts. The family may have simply been out of town or could have moved to Lynchburg. Robert Scott, "commercial salesman," lived in New River at least from 1896 through 1904. Undoubtedly a relative of C.W. 's, Robert may in fact have been the manager of the "Scott" store. C. W. Scott bought one commercial lot near the Brown hotel and another at or near the "old" depot. One probably housed his printing business -- where he published the paper and printed cards, notices, and whatever else was required -- and the other his store and its penny candy. He sold the "depot" lot in 1901 and the other in 1911. C.W. Scott had great plans for New River. He bought a big tract of residential property and, after reserving part for himself, subdivided much of the rest into sizeable residential tracts which -- unique in New River real estate -- he sold to whites only and with the proviso that purchasers were barred from resale to non-whites. Scott's masterplan must have been on paper at one time. Sales refer, for example, to Scott Section 4, lot 3, and one Chapter Two 25 can still see the symmetry of his design. New River failed to live up to his early expectations, which may explain the approximately 25 acres of Scott land which, to this day and under a variety of different owners, remains open farm land. In 1909, at age 55, C. W. Scott sold about 20 acres including his own house, to Samuel J. Carter. ' In 1891 the "Iron Highway" toll bridge was completed, down river toward the 900 acres in Pulaski recently acquired by the West Radford Land and Development Company. Intended to help "amalgamate" Montgomery and Pulaski counties' "intercourse and interests," the bridge was seen by Radfordians as an "invaluable" factor "in the building up of a city's commerce and suburban interests." The opening of this span was accompanied by much fanfare. Promoters set up a pavilion on the Pulaski side and, according to the Radford ENTERPRISE of September 9, 1891, over 10,000 people came to witness the ceremonies. (5) The completion of the toll bridge created the oft Photographed "three bridge" vista. The first of these was, of course, the original railroad trestle with its wide boardwalk connecting New River Depot and East Radford. The second span, branching off the first on the Radford side of the river, was the unique "curved" railroad bridge, completed in 1888, which bypassed New River on its way to the Pocahontas coal fields. For better or worse, and perhaps as a partial result of having been bypassed by the "Iron Highway," New River Depot never experienced either the run away growth or the grime that afflicted Radford. Along with listings of who had been sick and who had gone to visit whom, the "New River Notes" section of the 18 May 1891 Radford ENTERPRISE included the following promotional: "As a pleasant place to live -- barring an occasional breach of the peace -- New River is unexcelled; [with] its beautiful scenery, fresh air and some of the best hearted people on earth, it is an altogether desirable place to spend a month or two during the warm weather .... " In other words, while not completely staid and uneventful, New River offered relief and release from the hurly burly and air pollution of nearby Radford. The idea of New River as a place to spend time in the summer implied acceptance of another reality. The boom was over and New River was, quite literally, being by-passed by a wave of economic developments swirling around it. The "state of the art" technology involved in the curved and toll bridges reflected Radford's emergence as an industrial and transportational center of note. Maintenance problems on the New River Depot bridge symbolized that neearby community's inertia. The Radford ENTERPRISE of April 22, 1891, noted that "much needed repairs are being made on the New River bridge" apparently as a private and personal undertaking. "One who Chapter Two thinks more of humanity than he does of h' mself w~s seen repairing the bridge in the hot sun on We~nesday. There were problems of a different nature on.the Radfo~d side. In the same issue of the ENTERPRISE that discussed, in great detail, an on-going crisis over dead hogs in the city "which encumber the face of the earth" and endangered the health of the population, a New River resident compla~ned about the dead, and very odiferous, horse one could not avoid noticing on the Radford side when crossing over the bridge. 26 Scott's BULLETIN had folded in the 1880s. New River residents now relied on the Radford papers, which carried advertizements and sometimes even a column on news from New River. Latter day readers are left wondering just exactly how Thornton Taylor broke his arm in five places. Visiting from Roanoke in 1891, Taylor actually lived in New River as of 1894. The 18 June 1892 ENTERPRISE reported that a burglary at the depot had netted the culprits $75.80. A similar burglary in Radford the same night had used the identical modus operandi dynamite to blow open the safe. Depot Agent Bradshaw had seen some white men loitering nearby, and "Detective Baldwin [of the Felts-Baldwin security agency] has the case in hand ... [and] will no doubt not be long in capturing the trio of rascals." The reporter took the opportunity to complain about "the numerous tramps who infest" Radford -- and, by extension, New River Depot. That same issue also reported on a train accident just west of New River, near Morgan's Cut. The injured were taken to Cowan's "hospital." Another, much more tragic accident in that same decade left George Harris dead, hit by lightning while picking peas. On a less serious note, the 22 May 1896 ADVANCE informed its readers that T.D. Hudson was postmaster of New River, that I.W. Wilson was "cow hunting[??]," that R. 0. Scott was "rusticating" in Giles county that week, and that Robert English was recovering from an accidental gun shot wound. Despite its failure to boom, New River Depot did persevere. It had schools, streets, and churches. Despite, or perhaps even because of, the change in its status from boom town to suburb, it also continued to have an influx of people. Land sold actively during the 1890s: 17 sales to whites and 13 to blacks between 1891 and 1900. Although some of the original "settlers" left, many of the families which had arrived by 1895 stayed on. Blacks and whites alike, however self-sufficient they might try to be, had to buy some of their daily needs. Most ran credit accounts at local stores which they paid off with "notes" (records of salaries earned) from corporate employers (e.g. the railroad, the county board of supervisors) or cash earned in other ways. In addition to items of clothing and sewing needs, stores provided coffee, sugar, spices and salt. True "townees" -- i.e. those people who did not raise their own Chapter Two 27 feed stock -- also bought meat, eggs, flour, and the equivalent of what people go to grocery stores for today. Except for a few pages from Mrs. Wharton's account with Chumbley's store, store records for New River have proven elusive. The records for a Belspring (then Churchwood) store for the year 1891 are probably comparable. St. Albans, a private school for young men, opened in 1892. Whether as a school or, later, as a hospital, St. Albans provided employment for existing residents and attracted newcomers. Radford, enjoying the boom that had bypassed New River, offered a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs -- with the railroad and with several new industries, including the "iron furnace" and "pipe shop" foundry. And New River retained its own economic viability. Deeds only tell us about those who actually bought land. Many of the artisans and employees rented their living accommodations. The will of one black landowner, James Noel, made reference to at least six families living in rental property on his land. Merchants who operated businesses in New River Depot at one time or another during the 1880s and 1890s included: JHChumbley, JT and WB Ransom, Scott and Noble, RPGilliam and Sons, MCDudley, JTHarper, GW Painter, and Scott and Wilson. A Virginia gazeeteer for 1893-94 -- i.e. well after Radford had assumed dominance in the area -- credited New River Depot with four hotels and/or boarding houses, carpenters and builders, a lumber company, real estate agents, a wagon factory, a machine shop, a doctor, druggists, an undertaker, a florist, and a milliner. There was also a stove factory at one time. (6) Notes ( 1) Thomas Bruce, 5.QJ.J.:tbH~:LY..iuin1JL.~n.d_ghf.w.rulQJULY.all~_._ Richmond, 1891. (2) "New River: The forgotten community," New River Newspapers, February 25, 1979. ( 3) Ibid. (4) Smith, p. 338. (5) Radford News Journal, Progress '92, Sun, Feb 23, 1992. (6) Smith, pp. 337-39; "New River: The forgotten community." 28 MILLS RIPPY'S ACCOUNT AT THE BROWN/KIRKWOOD SiORE IN CHURCHWOOD JUNE-OCTOBER :891 bacon @ . 10 /lb flour sugar @ • 07 /lb beef oil (about 8 gallons) coffee tobacco products a stove a coat 7 pairs of shoes including $3.50 ::or boots clothes/material/sewing taxes road fine (?) washboard, tub, headboard, 2 buckets $ 68.30 12.63 Misc and/or unspecified Mills Rippy married Lizzie Black (daughter of Mills and Hannah Black). The Rippy family lived in Churchwood (now Belspring) and Mills worked day labor for the railroad. Sid Conner was either a boarder or a relative and the Rippy store account includes purchases for and payments by Conner. They had a revolving account and so total spent will not exactly match total paid. In the five months from June to actccer :891. we know, :rom the railroad's own account at the store. that Mills Rippy received at least $46. 00 :.n pay "orders" ( or ::.redi t notes) from t he railroad and Sid Conner at least $11.00. ?ayments: Notes from railroad $ 55.00 The family spent a total of $80.93 at the store in those five months and paid a total of $78.59 -- bro~en down as follcws: $ 13.04 8.74 4.46 1. 31 .72 .52 1. 29 8.00 6.00 13.50 4.75 1. 72 1. 50 2.75 $ 80.93 Cash 9.90 Combination notes/cash 13.69 -------- S 73.59 29 A Map of the New River Depot Area in about 1900 (includes old roads obtained from an aerial survey) CHAPTER III RESIDENTIAL PATTERNS IN NEW RIVER DEPOT New River Depot's business district(s) clustered around the depot(s), stream and roadways. The first residential land sales occurred with little apparent regard for city planning. Once elements of speculation and land development entered the picture, however, so too did a patterning in the lay out of a real "town." Both Wharton and Scott drew up blueprints for residential subdivisions. This helps explain why, long before it had all that many people, New River Depot had streets and alleys and uniform lot sizes. Once the Ransoms sectioned off part of their property, they added a further section of gridwork to the town's outlines. New River was, with only a few exceptions, a racially segregated community, although overt reference to residential segregation appears only in deeds for the core sections of Scott's subdivisions. (He promised not to lease, rent, or sell neighboring land to non-whites and those buying his land promised the same thing. Should they break the covenant, their land would revert back to Scott.) In general, blacks lived on the edges and/or high points of town: Fort Hill, King/Midkiff Hill, and the western end of Giles Road. White families tended to live more in the middle of town. Whites also dominated the business district. Segregation was more often than not denoted by roads, alleys, and even back yards -- i.e. nothing that precluded regular contact, communication, and even social interchange. The community was small enough that few if any areas would have been "off limits" to blacks. Children and adults of both races literally passed each other on a daily basis -- going to work, school, or the store. Despite the boom atmosphere that engulfed New River in the 1880s, most residential lots were actually sold in the 1890s. This suggests that the large, often speculative, land owners like Scott may have rented land, and possibly even built rental houses, before it became clear that Radford, not New River, would be the area's boom town. At that stage, with land not likely to appreciate significantly in value, they began selling off lots. 32 New River Depot Business District (Approximate reconstruction) 1. 2 . 3. 3a. 3b. 4. s. 6. 7. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Ransom - icehouse? machine shop GGDudley Kibler - stable, carpenter Waskey - shop? Slaughter house 8. 9 . 10. 11. a. b. c. d. First "new" depot Original depot Fremont House Chumbley old store Butler lot Mill Mill -- Hodges? Noble/Brown Hotel Wharton Store Haney/Gilliam Grocery Fleeman/Kasey/Gilliam/Munsey Jones Barbershop? Ransom/Einstein/Boyd Second "new" depot Scott store Chumbley new store Stone HBHaney Dunn/Stanley Birchfield ,·, ~· 33 Evolution of the Downtown District 4A depot, water driven grist mill, hotel, two general stores and possibly a lumber mill -- all there by the 1870s -- formed the core of New River Depot's original "water front" business district. The Whartons and Radfords owned the hotel, one store, and the grist mill. As of 1879, Mr. Yancey managed the "Cattle and Hog Scale Company of New River" -- which may have been associated with a slaughterhouse up the tracks from the depot -- and the Ransoms of~ered machinist services. Farmers came to grind their grain, ship and/or slaughter their livestock, repair their equipment and buy the clothes, cloth, and other goods not producible at home. Both the 1857 depot and a second one built just across the tracks from it sat due north of the hotel but not directly connected with it by road. The road coming up from the river forked, with the "main" branch going over the tracks past the depot and on along today's Church Street, then north toward Giles county. The left branch went past the hotel, out along the creek, up the hill, and on to the Wharton farm. A plank walkway allowed passengers to walk between hotel and depot without undue danger from mud and road traffic. The "Fremont nearby. Chumbleys opened their first store (1871) near the House" hotel. The first Wharton store probably stood The post office was in one of these establishments. In the 1880s Wallace Hodge started a construction company at the river's edge. Part of that operation may have been a lumber mill. A short way up the river, John Wright had opened his quarry by 1887, providing the community its rock foundation. About 1890, the railroad completed a new and expanded depot about a quarter mile down the tracks from the old. One result of this move, and of the town's growth in general, was a shift in "center." What had been just a track between Giles Road and the farm road now became one leg of a cross-roads of business activity. Years before the depot shifted its location, Wharton had sold adjoining lots -- at what now became the town center -- to Noble (1879) and CWScott (1881). The two men operated in partnership for some years -- the exact nature of their enterprise is unknown. Deeds place a blacksmithy on one of the properties. C.W. Scott probably operated his general merchandise store here. He owned a number of town properties, on one of which he ran a printing press. In 1885 the Chumbleys relocated their store next to Scott's, and the Wharton store soon followed suit. The shift was underway. The 1890 deed selling Noble's lot referred to a large structure which the Browns had already erected. Convenient to the depot, this Brown hotel must have eclipsed the Fremont House. For that, or some other, reason, in 1886 the Radfords and Whartons sold 34 the Fremont to Mary Stone. Al though referred to as the "hotel lot II for years thereafter, the property may already have .stopped functioning as such. There was no structure on the l?t in 1905. Perhaps the building had burned. The stone's deed promised to keep the mill race (which ran through the hotel property) open. For years thereafter deeds included the same guarantee of a water source for the ~ill. (The race had obviously been constructed pr~or to 1886. A masonry reservoir came int~ existence at some point on the mill property between road and railroad tracks.) Wharton sold G.C. Butler land next to the "hotel lot" in 1890 and the Stones sold a small piece of their original purchase to Melvina White in 1895. Given its size (20x20), the White sa~e mu~t have been for some commercial purpose. What Butler did with his land is unclear, but bear in mind that the mill would have kept people coming down the road. The Chumbley and Scott stores and the Brown hotel -- with all their various appendage enterprises -- now formed the b~se of the town's main intersection with other businesses extending out on both sides and up the 1road across the tracks. The railroad property west of the "new" Chumbley store and directly across the street from the relocated depot could have been used for warehousing, as a stock yard, or a variety of purposes. Three lots extended west of that. Dunn had bought one in 1887 and then immediately sold it to B.F. Stanley. H.B. Haney and George Stone bought the other two. All presumably housed business enterprises. On the other side of the road and sandwiched between it and the railroad tracks, w. Birchfield (1890) also probably ran a business of some kind. Heading back toward the "center, " next came the depot with its stockyards, waiting rooms, and attendant facilities -- and then the "cut through" road. ,Three stores faced that road on its eastern edge. One housed the Wharton general store and lumberyard. Another, with Morgan's Branch running through it, had originally been bought by N.L. Fleeman but then sold, in 1889, to C.C. Kasey. Kasey had the right to use water from the creek for his steam engine boiler as long as such use did not impede the flow of water to the mill. In 1891 CCKasey used his lot, the water rights, and his "stock of goods of every kind and description" then housed in Einstein's storehouse as collateral on a loan. The steam engine may have been an early generator of electricity used to power some form of machinery -­perhaps Hodge's machine driven woodworking equipment. H.B. Haney o~ne? the last of these three small lots. During the 1890s, the Gilliams bought and combined the Haney and Fleeman/Kasey lots erecting thereon their grocery store. ' North across the tracks but on the same side of the street t1:1e Ra?som.s had a "n~w" s.tore by 1887, which they sold to th~ Einsteins in 1890 and in which Kasey had stored his stock of goods. -- --------- 35 In summary, as of 1890 the commercial "cross-road" boasted a de~ot, ~ ~otel, at least five stores, a blacksmithy, and several unidentified structures. It seems unlikely that such commercial space was "wasted" on residential housing. All of the unsold land -- including much of the relatively flat terrain along Morgan's Creek -- still belonged to the Whartons. They could have rented it out, used part as a community park, or run stables, eateries, or even a saloon themselves. When New River Depot's economic future had still seemed bright, the Whartons sold a series of lots north of the tracks and east along a steep bank. With one exception, all of the original purchasers were white and all presumably had commercial or speculative expectations for the property. (The exception was an 1887 sale of the lot directly behind the Ransom/Einstein store to Coralie Lewis, black.) Other than the Ranson/Einstein establishment, there is no indication that any of these lots was actually put to commercial use and, beginning in the late 1890s, they were sold, often piece by piece, to black families. Before the depot moved, the "main" street had followed the course of what was soon (and still) called (east) Church Street. Although Church Street remained an integral part of the business district, there was more of a tendency for residential and business activities to merge here. The Ransoms, who had purchased several acres back when the original depot was their nearest neighbor, built at least one two story residence for themselves, constructed rental property, and also probably had a machine shop, "old" store, and an ice house on the road frontage. GG Dudley bought three adjoining pieces of property on Church Street between 1885 and 1903 and then, in 1907, bought a fourth lot across the street. Since two GG Dudleys lived in New River and both ran merchandise stores, it seems safe to place one of those stores on these three lots. And, since one of the lots had originally been owned by James Turner, stabler, it also seems safe to assume that Dudley continued that business. Mr. Waskey bought his Church Street lot for resident~al purposes but also had some kind of "shop" on the property. Like the Dudleys, Kibler owned land on both sfdes of Churc~ Street and, as a carpenter, may have had a woodworking shop on site. The rough triangle formed by east Church Street, the "Whart/, ., 15.- Lucy (Richard) Casey 1893 <, 16. George Austin 1892; Simon Burks 1909 (or 1919) 17. William Casey 1890-99; Robert Austin 1902 and/or Sandy Casey 1916 18. Thomas and Sandy Casey 1900; Sandy Casey 1900 Lucy and Richard Casey bought #15 in 1893 and built his first house there. In 1916 Richard bought a larger, one acre plot across "the street." (At the time, no street existed, but there was an alley leading to the cemetery.) Like his Claytor/Williams neighbors, Richard's acre lot was ref erred to by a separate designation. His 1935 will left the larger lot to his grandchildren, on proviso that they sell it to each other, not to an outsider. Charles and Lucile Casey Williams raised their family on that land. George Austin bought #16 (designated as such and located north 43 of the Richard Casey lot) in 1892. As of 1908 the land was occupied, but not owned, by John Williams. Austin sold it to Simon Burks in 1919 (or 1909). The history of Lot #17 is, to say the least, a little confusing. William Casey made the original purchase in 1890, but he relinquished all rights to the property in 1899. The land presumably thus transferred back to the Whartons. Robert A. Austin bought a lOOxlOO lot just north of Robert (really should be George?) in 1902 and then exchanged lots with his father, Robert J. Austin. The property was then inherited by Cloyd Austin. HOWEVER, when Sandy Casey (owner of #18) bought some land from Wharton in 1916, the deed clearly states the inclusion in that sale of Lot #17. The Austin purchase may actually refer to property near Morgan's Chapel, rather than to Midkiff Hill. Thomas and Sandy Casey bought Lot #18 as a joint effort in 1900 and it was this property that Thomas ceded to Sandy in exchange for Sandy's interest in the lot bought from Roy Bibbie. New River's black cemetery begins 500 feet or more down the road from #18. over two and a half acres in size, it was purchased, for that explicit purpose, in 1903. Lot #18 was the last in Wharton's numbering system, but it was just the beginning of Sandy Casey's acquisition of Midkiff Hill land. In 1916 he bought #17 AND the 462xlOO strip of land between #18 and the cemetery. In 1932 he acquired over 15 acres of land between Richard Casey• s acre lot and the top of the cemetery. Thus, he accumulated an estate of some 20 acres at the northern end of Midkiff Hill. A few early Midkiff Hill purchases were made, by blacks, that were not part of the planned symmetry. D. Thomas Mccraw bought property which may actually have been part of the one a~re Richa7d Casey acquired in 1916. Mccraw sold to Augustus Davis who, in turn, sold in 1913. George Williams also made an early purchase -­exact location unclear -- which he sold after buying a lot on King's Hill in 1912. It is very possible, however, that these Williams continued to live on Midkiff -- on property owned by Flem and Sally Ann Williams. 44 · · 1 "plan" Settlement of Fort Hill -- the origina k fortification, Fort Hill Named after a Civil war earthen wor s the old and the new rose rather steeply up to the north of both t h d laid it out :ailroad depot. Like Midkiff Hfll, General Whar onde:i nated it as into approximately equal lot sizes and apparently ·gtion in lot a black residential area. Geography dictated some var ra shape. Wharton sold the first Fort Hill land in 1887. Lot #1, at the bottom of the hill, went to Archie (F .A.) Mitchell, railroad brakeman. (Several other railroad employees would also buy property on the hill.) Lots #5 and 6 -- irregular in size and forming a triangle near the top of the hill -- went to Lewis Sheffey' s Baptist Church. Almost three years elapsed before a building was completed, but services were underway at least by 1890. Several of the Fort Hill families (and perhaps this was also true with Midkiff Hill) paid rent (i.e. lived in houses Wharton had constructed) for some time before they actually purchased the house and lot. Thus, actual date of purchase may not be an accurate reflection of when the family arrived in New River. Lots #1 through 10 were all sold between 1887 and 1891. The 45 numbering went up the hill and then back down in parallel with a "street" running up the middle until it arrived at the' church. Archie Mitchell's neighbor to the right, in Lot #10, was W. L. Clarke (on whom I have found no information). Two brothers, John and George Morton, bought adjoining Lots #2 and 9. J. carter (to whom no reference has been found) apparently rented Lot #3, with James Black (moved to town from Hazel Ridge) in Lot #8. Warren and Martha Saunders bought Lot #4; Joseph and Margaret Robinson bought Lot #6. Both of these bordered on church land. Thereafter, the numbering symmetry breaks down a little, although, in most cases, the same dates of purchase apply i.e. between 1887 and 1891. While there is land that could nave accommodated it, no sales were ever· specifically designated Lots #11 and 12. Malinda Hall bought Lot #13, less regular in size than most of the other lots and, at 3/8 of an acre, slightly larger. At some point, her daughter, Cora Hall Saunders, acquired Lot #14 -­which may actually have been a double lot. Lot #15, at the corner of two "alleys" went to the Gibsons and then, through inheritance, to Julia Montgomery. The numbering gets a little "strange" hereafter. Completing the core "block" of Fort Hill, we find Charles Brown due north of #15 and due east of #14 living on Lot #29! The land just above him was vacant (or rental) until 1916, at which time the Whartons gave it to Langhorne Ford, whose father, George, had earlier bought Lot #24 (!) which, like the Hall lot, was not symmetrical. It bordered the church land and completed the "core." Numerical logic reasserted itself on the outer edges. Lot #16 was across the alley (today a real street) from #15 and was bought by Andrew Sheffey. A Clark originally bought #17 but sold it to the Minters who, in turn, later sold it to Andrew Sheffey. The deeds refer to a street, or alley, running behind (to the east) these lots -- which alley seems to have been more a figment of Wharton's imagination than ever a real passageway. Lots #18-21 do not exist as such but may well have been intended to run down the "alley" in numerical sequence all the way through, perhaps, 23. An 1887 sale of 2. 5 acres (with reference to it containing 4 lots) to whites ended the downward sequence and marked the southern terminus of "black" Fort Hill. Andrew Sheffey eventually bought (in a two acre chunk) most of the land that would have comprised Lots 18-20. His original scheme now impossible, Wharton simply started the numbering over again, on the top of the hill and across from Lots #15 and 16. Two Charlton brothers bought Lots #22 and 23 and sold them to Andrew Sheffey fifteen years later. George Ford's #24 should have followed next (and in fact the next lot is, in one deed at least, referred to as "Ford's" lot) but, as we have seen, #24 is in the core "block." The lot next to #23 was not sold until the 1920s, at which time it was designated #25. The only remaining "original" Fort Hill lot was not sold until 1941 and has no 46 num eri· cal designation but fits right in as #26. Witne!:la~ives often bought adjoining or neighboring land. Ford a •d or example, the Charlton amd Morton brothers. George adjoini rargaret Robinson were brother and sister and bought Julia M ng t ots • The 1916 gift to Langhorne added a third Ford lot. marria on ~ornery eventually married John Morton. She came to the north g~ with Fort Hill land and later bought part of the lot due Kate R~ll~ohn's land. James Black sold his lot to the Rollins, saunde ins was Malinda Hall • s daughter -- as was ccra Hall rs. ~ 1 j 49 l'i\O lld'..D<1n,,\.&\ l'is'\'J ~,~~(!) \~II 0,<' 1i'l\ 11,-...., \ i'\ \ 1-\u,uo r-, ri.0.<1 ~ Rw.w\-s If\~~..,.-, \'l,:I.' q.-....n...< tqi,2,.Q.~n.a.c'° & f \'<\\ 1-\...r\..._,. G) 1rt2.~n 0 1l,,,.JL\rtl.n.....- ,J '1 \'i'>>~ @ \qo1-G_.-..._,,.._.-- ~·~~ .... tlr',u.,,l \.r ® L.>;"""' io.o,CC.~<..S. @ C Q'{~TR._ ,,q9~q.~ ~" "'··~ ~ /'"\<' (i.O~i:>ll,.".d\C~.. S. © Sc.ct\- !' S~cn d-. v) I.!.! J lb v 1: ,J rr: _j J: !j S=-tl- Se.c..\ion \ 50 Section 2, bordered by Giles, Locust, Scott, and ~rystal streets, is flat and, with only a small excep~ion, w~s .ultimately ~onsolidated into T.M. Greiner's ownership. It was original~y sold in nine separate transactions between 1890 and 1907. The Ricketts family had acquired about half of the section before thei~ land transferred (as the result of an estate division) to the Greiners. Section 3, bordered by Giles, Chapel, Scott, and Locust, was the most heavily subdivided section -- with at least 12 separate lots -- but here too original sales dates ranged from 18~0 to 1909. Between 1895 and 1911, WEKennedy acquired at least five of the lots. Section 4, bordered by Giles, Chapel, a hypothetical extension of Scott, and the northern edge of Scott's land, consisted of only two much larger than normal lots sold in 1891 and 1892. There are no deed references to Sections 5 and 6 but one assumes they would, if developed, have extended west of 4 and no:th of 7. Section 7 was bordered by Locust, Scott, Chapel and High streets. The western edge was never developed and thus High Street actually only runs about 150 feet north. In theory, High would h~v~ ~ontinued, intersected Chapel, and proceeded north as the dividing line between Sections 5 and 6. Scott made seven sales in Section 7, all between 1890 and 1892. On its settlement," nevertheless whites . western side, Section 1 bordered the "colored but its deeds -- like most of Sections 1 through 7 -­included covenants not to sell or lease land to non- . ~n 1909 C.W. Scott sold twenty plus acres to Samuel Carter. This included some 6 acres of presumably open land south of Locust, about. 15 undeveloped acres north of Locust, and a scattering of lots in Section 3 not already sold . . ~ome of the people who bought from Scott sold soon thereafter. Families who held their property for over ten years (between 1890 and 1925) included: Section 1 Heninger 1890-1924 Harless 1890-1900 Long 1916- 0linger 1893- Myers 1912- Section 2 Ricketts 1891-1908 McCormick 1890-1911 Greiner 1902- Brown 1892-1902 Caves 1905- Section 3 Dudley 1890-1926 WEKennedy 1895- Birchfield 1890-1911 Section 4 Sifford 1891- TJWhite 1892-1906 WEKennedy 1906-1925 Section 7 CWWhitt 1890-1922 WWPendleton 1892-1926 Mrs. CLAbell 1891-1923 51 Flanagan Land . Adam Flanagan acquired a triangular section of land across Giles Road from Morgan's Chapel. For all practical purposes, by 1890 that tract had become a black subdivision part residential and part agricultural. In 1883 Flanagan sold 1acre lots to Rush Floyd and to Charles McDaniel -- both of whom headed black families recently moved to New River from Rockford (i.e. near Flanagan's own home) · The year before, Joseph Parker (presumably black) had bought half an acre. A half acre lot behind these and off the road went through a series of sales to whites but by 1884 belonged to James Noel, also black. In 1896 Flanagan sold the two most westerly acres of the triangle to Charles Johnson, black. In 1890 Robert Austin, black, bought the rest of the land -­so~ e seven acres - - apparently with money borrowed from Cofer, white. He sold an acre to the county for a black school house. Then Austin apparently began having trouble making his payments to Cofer. Austin and Cofer sold one acre facing on Giles Road to Arthur McDaniel (who, in 1905, sold to Bocock, white). The Austins retained title to about half the remaining land but the rest reverted to Cofer, who sold it to Purdy. Ransom Land The Ransoms bought their first pieces of property, some from Abbott but most from Wharton, in 1872. They bought a large seven acre tract in 1878 and did not stop their acquisitions until 1889. Some of the property was scattered around town, but most became part of a consolidated whole, forming almost a square, bordered by Church Street, Fort Hill, and Barger land to the northeast. T~e Ransoms eventually subdivided off the western one-third of this land, forming a two-lot deep tier of ten plots bounded by Church street on the west and an alley on the east between this "subdivision" and the Ransom core holding. The earliest sale was in 1885, with the last in 1907. The Ransoms probably rented housing on these lots until they were purchased. The Munseys had bought one of the more southerly lots in 1898. In 1914 they bought out all of the remaining Ransom holdings, including the "core" homeplace. Other Large Landowners The Bargers and Chumbleys both owned sizeable multiacre tracts of land in New River Depot. Some of this may have been rented out but none was "developed" in the way Scott and Wharton land had done. The 16 acre Chumbley tract was sold to the Gilliams in 1907 and then to Samuel Carter in 1920. Assessment records for that property make reference to a defunct mill and a fou.ndary on it. Barger sold his land to the Brooks in 1908 and they, in turn, sold to the Divers in 1913. ', r : \ .). : ·\ Sc.oIT/ C..F;RTE.K tku.s(: CHAPTER FOUR ENTERING THE 20TH CENTURY 1900-1915 Disembarking from the 7:30 evening train, a visitor to New River Depot in 1910 might have seen a cluster of people playing croquet on a stretch of well maintained lawn bordering the creek. Other groups gossiped or courted, under pretense of watching the game or waiting for the train. Munsey's store sold soft drinks and G.G. Dudley's offered some particularly enticing candies. A few automobiles bumped along the dirt road but horses and wagons far outnumbered those noisy contraptions and the town still required more service of blacksmiths than of auto mechanics. People coming from work in Radford breathed sighs of relief once off the trestle boardwalk and walked toward home making plans for the weekend. Perhaps a church social was in the offing, or a picnic, or a trip to the racetrack over in Radford, or the lodge had a dance, with musicians coming from out of town. Perhaps cousin Bill, or brother Bob, was scheduled to visit from West Virginia. Or maybe there would be a wedding -- or a funeral -- with relatives from all around come to help in the celebration -- or the wake. Our visitor would have smiled at the friendly small town atmosphere. I As of 1910 New River Depot was no longer the boom town of twenty-five years earlier. But it was now much more of a community, complete with the fellowship that comes from long acquaintance and understanding of oneself and one's neighbors. "It was a leisurely life .... Back then people had time for each other .... The people in the community visited each other. They didn't call or ask if you were busy, they just dropped in." (1) They also intermarried, making it more than a little difficult for outsiders to keep track of who was related to whom but, at the same time, increasing the fact of "community." New River's 1900 population of about 600 could not com~ete with Radford's several thousand residents. Nor, however, did it represent a drop that might have been expected aftei::·the boom died. Unfortunately, the census takers that year ~eemed devoid of any sense of geographic logic. Greater New River Depot was divided between several canvasers, all of whom refused to follow straight lines in their travels. Ascertaining who actually lived where, based on that census, is impossible. Chapter Four t · " blank, Although the census also often left "occupa ion New River's residents included, at a minimum: 6 stone/brick masons 7 carpenter/plasterer/painters 4 blacksmiths 4 railroad brakemen 12 other skilled/unskilled railroad employees 25 iron furnace employees 8 clerks/salespersons/retailers/agents The number of iron furnace and railroad employee;estern reflected New River's continued links to Norfolk and d and a growing dependence on Radford -- but it still ha an economy of its own. •The community had its own shoe repairman, watch andg jewelry repairman, clergymen, school teacher, lawyer~ :~i~~ maker and repairer and even its own dentist. Peopl 1 bor owned farms, worked as farm labor, or did piecemeal d~Y a · William Ransom now listed himself as a retired mechanic-1 Gabriel Wharton's son apparently handled most of the rea. k estate work and kept the family accounts. Walter McCormic travelled the area as an agricultural machinery agent. Women who needed or wanted to earn a living had fewer options. Most were laundresses or servants. A few served live-in housekeepers. One made quilts, another made hats, taught, and one was a stenographer . as two . New River had become the residence of choice for blac~5 families. While the much larger community of Radford had 70 black property owners in 1905, the tax assessor noted ove~ lots owned by blacks in New River -- not counting Butchers Crossing or outlying farm land. . People came and went. By the turn of the centurY and increasingly thereafter the south in general witnessed an outmi•g ration I especially' among blacks I of people and fVa' mil• i~1sa seeking better opportunities. For many in southwest 1rgin ' "n th" 1 a short o: meant the coal fields of West Virginia -- on Y . 1 train ride away but offering higher wages better educationa fa · 1 · t · ' t The coal .ci i ies, and a less oppressive racial environmen · k fields attracted a significant percentage of New River's blac population -- especially among the younger generations. And from West Virginia it was easy then to keep going to Ohio, ~ichigan, or even New York. That as many people stayed as did ~s testimony to the countervailing attractions of New River itself and/or of the industrial jobs in Radford. W~ites, and especially those working for the railroad, also migrated. Thus New River Depot's population was fl~id .. even as part of it held stable. The town also remained home to people who left -- as witnessed by those who "came home" to be buried. ~----- Chapter Four 55 Although many of the outlying families had cemeteries on their own land, in 1903 five or six prominent blacks cosigned the purchase of about two and a half acres on the northwest edge of town to codify as such land already in use as a black cemetery. The earliest deaths recorded on tombstones there are three Caseys, all of whom died in 1882. Saley Brown, born in 1~18 and dead sometime in the nineteen teens, may be the olde7t s(tini ltle irnm su soef. Year born) of those buried there. The cemetery is Whites were often buried in Hickman Cemetery, up the road toward Belspring. Used by members of both communities, it contains family plots for the Chumbleys, Ricketts, Bargers, Long~, Harrisons and Carters, among other New River residents. Sallie Barger, wife of D.H. and dead in 1886, was among the very first New Riverians interred. .. But~her's Crossing remained an active and populated suburb. At least ten families owned land there at one time or another. Abram had died, but Edith Vaughn stayed on. Craig Sheffey died in 1903 but the family held on to the land. The Taylors and Butchers expanded their holdings. Tobias Hen~erson h1a88d8 ,b ought his "across the tracks" acre from the Vaughns in and sold it back to them in 1899. He was still living at the Crossing in 1910, however. Charles and William Saunders owned three acres of Crossing and Tobias Burks two (until a 1907 lawsuit forced its sale and Butcher bought the property at auction). Virginia Page acquired 1 1/2 acres -- probably as a gift for long time ssmearlvli cPel ottos t.h e Chumbley family. Minnix Hendricks owned two The 1900 census counted over 50 people at Butcher's. Crossing; the figure was only slightly lower in 1910. William Taylor and Charles Johnson (who owned land i~ to~n but apparently lived at the Crossing) both had live-in housekeepers. By 1910 the Minters, who would eventu~lly buy the Butcher land, were living at the Crossing on their ow~ 2 a 1/2 acres and Henry Burnett {whose family moved around 1r1:~ bit within "greater New River") was in residence. Of a ese People, only Abram Vaughn, Craig Sheffey, and Charles Saun~er~ listed themselves as farmers, although the landowners combine for a total of over 40 acres. Sometime after 1900 Butcher's Crossi~g acqui~ed_a.c~~t Pleasing attraction Minnix Hendricks built a child sizd h's fully operational m~del train and ran it on tr~ck~ a~o~niri~s" house. A blacksmith barber, and producer of ar en. Ph ea in addition to his b~ing a jeweller, Hendricks ma~e1~is ~m popular destination for blacks and white~, both~ uwa! ~~e next children. For many, a ride on the Hendri?ks train best thing to a trip to the carnival or circus. 56 Chapter Four A stop at that train, and perhaps a v~sit_with oth~:n to Crossing residents, might easily have fit.in with an ouui fhe the watercress pond cum swimming hole a little further P t tracks toward Morgan's Cut. "On Sunday afternoo~s we allw~~ld together and walked. It was more fun than anything. We th walk for miles, singing and talking .... We used to walk to b: cress lake." (2) Now overgrown and silted, the P?nd used to commercially harvested. One former New River r~sident remembers being warned to avoid the "cress men, who were probably migrant workers. Although some of New River's early black farming families stayed on their land, by 1900-1910 a trend away from those outlying areas and into town had begun. By 1910, for e~amp~eh Mills and Hannah Black, both approaching 80, had moved in wit their son Stewart -- himself a recent "town" resident. The Austins also bought in-town lots, although some continued to live on the "home place." George and Henry Walker stayed out at Morgan's Cut. In town, the business district underwent some changes but continued active. According to the 1905 tax assessors records, downtown New River had four buildings, presumably stores and hotel, appraised at between $400-500. As of that year C.W. Scott owned some kind of warehouse appraised at $1,200. The buildings on Barger's land (exact nature unclear) were assessed at $1,500. Given that houses apparently ranged in assessed value from $25 to about $200, anything over that amount presumably represented a commercial venture of some kind. The Fremont "hotel lot" had no structure listed that year. ·The Whartons sold their grist mill to David Fox in 1906 and the Rhudys bought it from Fox in 1907. Attracting farmers from the surrounding areas, the mill brought in customers for New River's other enterprises. ,For many years, the grocery remained under Gilliam ownership. John Munsey later bought and consolidated all three of the lots directly east of the depot. His main store building, which had been constructed so as to span the creek, had apartments upstairs and sometimes also housed the post office. A lumberyard occupied what had previously been the Wharton store site and, in 1905, was under the management of Mr. Harless. At some point one G.G. Dudley took over operation of the Chumbley store and another G.G. Dudley, known as "Hooligan," ran his own emporium. In 1920 "Hooligan" and his daughter listed themselves as postal employees. What with postal employment being a political reward, the post office changed location depending on the outcome of elections. The Einsteins sold their store to E.R. Boyd in 1912. Boyd undertook an ambitious -- and ultimately abortive -- attempt to - -·--~~·-. Chapter Four 57 refrigerate part of the structure in order to sell beef. (2) Boyd died in 1916. The real estate was bought by James Lyons and much of the store's contents was sold at auction. One of the general stores housed a dress shop on its second floor -- not a ready made clothing store but one where the customers went in for fittings on their made-to-order garments. Mrs. Headrick, dressmaker, may have worked both there and out of her house. C.W. Scott's store was probably still open at least through 1910, although he himself no longer ran it. The Haleys (or Haney's) acquired two adjoining lots between the creek and railroad tracks: from Wharton in 1903 and Birchfield in 1911. H.B. Haney listed himself as an "advertising agent" on the 1910 census. The Brown hotel (whether run by the Browns or by Mrs. Keister) may have continued to function as such for a brief time into the new century but, in 1910, Keister sold it to Martin and Nannie Williams. This black couple came to New River Depot from Giles County and reopened the "hotel" as a boarding house -- one which did accept black residents. They financed the purchase with the help of a consortium of 17 black New River Depot residents who extended a $285 loan. The Stones sold the old Fremont House lot to Tobias and Mary Henderson, black, in 1915. (Tobias was now yard boss for the railroad, and this location put him much closer to his work.) These two sales of New River's original hotel sites closed forever one chapter of the community's history. Blacks made other inroads into the business district. In 1904 Wharton sold the Oddfellows room for a lodge right behind the Gilliam/Munsey store and on the creek banks. In 1911 C.W. Scott sold his store lot to Nannie Smith. She in turn sold part to Ed Jones -- who probably operated his own barber shop at that location. Most of the land on the bank above the railroad tracks -- originally bought by whites, probably as business speculations -- had become a residential area for blacks at least some of whom worked for the railroad. J.E. Buckner took time off from his ministerial tasks to sell insurance. As of 1905 the Ransom "structures" (as opposed to land) were appraised at $825 -- which probably included rental housing, the Ransom home, and some kind of machine shop. For a while, New River was home to a stove factory of some sort, and very possibly this could have been on Ransom land. And the railroad kept running. The depot employed agents and telegraph operators in addition to the yard bo~ses and other less skilled labor. With as many as ten trains a day, the depot stayed busy and there was always work to do on the lines. ESTATE OF THE STORE, SOLD AT AUCTION IN 1916 E.R. BOYD, FROM 15 Haystacks \5'0. 00 1 Paper cutter/paper 2.35 1 stove 3.00 1 stove 3.25 1 stove 1. 00 1 typewriter 22.00 1 cash register 22.00 1 soda fountain 10.00 1 Mccaskey Register 7.50 1 show case 12.00 1 show case 6.75 1 telephone 23.00 1 telephone 10.00 1 biscuit stand 1.25 1 meat block 1. 30 1 oil tank 9.50 1 spool cannon case 1.10 1 peanut roaster 10.00 1 cheese knife 3.20 1 computing scale 7.75 58 EXCERPT FROM W.B. RANSOM'S WILL, PROBATED IN 1915 "I direct that my body be decently buried in a manner corresponding to my estate, but with as little expense as may be consistent therewith." IRENA CLAYTOR'S PERSONAL PROPERTY ESTATE, APPRAISAL THEREOF IN 1910 Cash Wardrobe Bureau Iron bedstead Sm. table Falling top dining table Washstand Clock Clothes chest Cot 14.65 6.00 5.00 3.00 1. 50 Safe Dishes Easel 2.00 3.00 .50 Lamps, vases, etc 1. 00 Complete bolster and strawtick 1.00 4 prs short pillows and hornernarj.e carpet 2.00 3.00 1. 00 2.50 1. 00 2.50 ========= $ 53.65 59 \"EW RIVER ~CHCOL HOCSE ----- 60 -·---··• w.•- • •• Chapter Four 61 Further up Giles Road, as of 1905 the Greiner property (probably.a combination of his house and a wood working shop) was a~praised ~t $475. Greiner was in the process both of starting a family of five and consolidating much of Scott's Section 2 plus some three acres due west of that under his ownership. New River Depot had lost four of its most prominent founding families by 1914 -- but had gained solid replacements. Already having moved to West Virginia, D.H. Barger sold his 20 plus acres, house and outbuildings in 1908. His son became a doctor and moved to Roanoke, although he -- like his mother but not his father -- is buried at Hickman cemetery. The family retained a small lot acquired from James Noel's heirs until 1918. Mr. Brooks, stone mason and house builder, bought the bulk of Barger's property. In 1913, at age 65, Brooks sold everything to Mary and JW Divers. Although the core Barger acreage remained intact, the Divers sometimes added to it as the opportunity arose and sometimes sold peripheral lots. The Divers paid the impressive sum of $3,900 for Barger's land (Brooks having made no changes in its dimensions) and whatever structures came with it. This compares with the $1091 Samuel J. Carter paid C.W. Scott for 21 acres, a house, and assorted outbuildings in 1909. Since there was no significant difference in acreage, this implies the presence of extensive structural property of some nature on the Barger land. The 1909 sale to Carter divested C. W. Scott of almost all of his New River property, although his very last sale (of the bottom of Section 1 to Carter's daughter Ida Carter Bowman) was not until 1916. Deeds suggest that C.W. and family spent a good deal of time in Lynchburg and, as of 1900, may already have moved back permanently. The Robert and Helen Scott who bought one of the lots in Scott Section 1 in 1900, for the grand total of $1, were probably related to C.W. and Robert, a salesman, may in fact have managed C.W.'s store. Living in New River at least by 1896, Robert and Helen sold their land in 1904 and do not appear on the 1910 census. Samuel J. Carter listed himself as a carpenter and must have been a rather successful one. He and his family apparently moved into the Scott house on Locust (now Carter) street. Two daughters married locally: as noted, Ida Carter Bowman bought the last piece of C.W. Scott's New River property in 1916. In 1920, Carter even expanded his land holdings. The Ransoms arrived in New River before either the Scotts or the Bargers (although Barger may have come from nearby) and stayed longer. They began selling off pieces of prope:ty along the western edges of their land as early as 1885 but did not make their last purchase until 1889. In 1914 Mrs. Ransom, now a widow, willed the remaining tract -- over three acres -- to 62 Chapter Four Al' h h d already bought ice Munsey, wife of the store owner, w O a 18905 other Parts of the Ransoms' land beginning in t~e. New.River Already well settled by 1914, the Munseys staye in for decades thereafter. Lewis and Mary Sheffey had been among the ~e~y f!~:tverY blacks to settle in New River with Lewis organizing · ent f' ' ·ng as a promin irst black congregation and undoubtedly servi b ght member of the community. In 1879 the childless couple ~~e land on what later became (east) Church Street and, for three Years prior to his death in 1893, Lewis served as F rt minister to the newly constructed black Baptist church ~n ° Hill. Lewis left his entire estate to his wife, in wha maY well be the first black will probated in New River. Mary stayed on for a while and then she remarried and moved ~wa~. She left her property in the care of Kibler, a white neigh ~r, who promised to forward any and all rent proceeds to her. n 1909, and apparently in conjunction with Mary's death, her heirs sold the land to Kibler. John Buckner followed in Lewis Sheffey's footsteps. ~ed arrived in New River as a bachelor but then, in 1909, ma:rie Laconia McDaniel. Laconia had been active in the shortlived black Episcopal choir, but redirected her attention to the Baptist church of which John became minister. John Buckner Probably had a'college degree and Laconia, at a minimum, had received teacher certification. Both played very active roles in the community. John sold insurance and would later serve 's several of the lodges as trustee. The heirs to Fred McDaniel land, they also acquired Louisa Anthony's property and bought several other adjoining lots. Like Lewis and Mary Sheffey, the Buckners were childless and, also like the Sheffeys, they were vibrant members of the community. Time, deaths, and frequent fires brought changes to New River. In 1907 the Chumbleys sold their large tract at the northeast edge of town to the Gilliams. Joseph, the original store owner, died in 1917 but his business district propertY remained in the family at least into the 1930s. One of the Dudleys took over operation of the store. Through marriage, death and inheritance, part of the Kasey and Ricketts land east of Giles Road merged and was then sold to the Stones. Branches of that family provided New River with several teachers and a dentist. W.H. Ricketts, farmer, had also bought several lots of Scott Section 2 and, although he died in 1903, that land stayed with the family until 1908. The Stinsons (employed bY the railroad) and Bucks, at the corner of Giles and what is today called Divers Street, sold out to AF Waddell. The several Owenses, who included carpenters, railroad employees, and merchants, bought and sold land but, in general, retained a sizeable tract bordered by Giles Road, the school lot and Barger/Divers land. By 1910, Andrew Sheffey and the Casey family had emerged Chapter Four 63 as the community's most active black members -- at least from a real estate perspective. Fred and Charles McDaniels' families were among the oldest continous black residents. ,As years passed, some of the faces of New River changed, if not always the names. More specifically, original members of the "first families" began to die. In the case of the Ransoms, death marked the end of the name. The elder Whartons died and, after about 1910, that name appears only as parties of the first part (i.e. sellers) on deeds. D.H. Barger's wife died in 1886; his 21 year old daughter in 1903. Barger himself moved to West Virginia and his son to Roanoke, thereby deleting the Barger name from New River rolls. But when Mills and Hannah Black died in the nineteen teens they left behind many descendants who continued the name and remained in New River. So too with the Sheffeys and Morgans and Owens. The 1910 census is notoriously inaccurate, with a tendency dramatically to undercount -- i.e. the canvasers left houses and even whole neighborhoods out. Even based on those questionable figures, between 1900 and 1910 the population of New River grew from about 600 to at least 650. Of those totals, the number of black residents increased from about 250 to about 320. According to the 1910 census, non-agricultural wage earners held the following jobs: 20 iron furnace 23 pipe shop 1 veneering plant 3 brickyard 5 railroad brakemen 15 skilled and unskilled railroad jobs 15 carpenters/painters/electricians/well drillers 6 brick or stone masons 3 black smiths 7 retail/commercial 8 teachers (public and private) 10 laundresses 6 seamstresses At least one-third of these jobs entailed work at factories across the river in Radford. While two of the blacksmiths worked for someone else (i.e. the railroad), Thornhill owned his own smithy (but apparently on rented land). W.A. Myers set up another blacksmith shop, in 1912, right across from the Owens homeplace and on land once owned by Robert and Helen Scott. Wallace Hodge now had competition from the Brooks family in the house contracting business. W.E. Kennedy had replaced Kasey as operator of the town's stationery boiler and had begun to build a mini-estate, consisting of several lots in Scott Sections 3, 4, and 7. 64 ~-------- ------ -----~ Chapter Four two bookkeepers, In addition, there were two clergymen, 1 ees a barber, two Radford hotel employees, three postal emP oy ts' a "h t monumen orse trader," an advertising agen' a t People maY (gravestones) salesman, and an insurance agen · . that this ~~11 have worked two jobs or moonlighted-~ me~ni~~tal talent ist is not necessarily inclusive of New Rivers 1 Greiner Pool. Nor were all carpenters, for example, equa · and Carter were affluent; others less so. B 50% f the community. Over . Y 1910 blacks comprised about O O utting it into time, that percentage actually increased, thus P 1 tion in sharp contrast with Belspring (where a 20% black popu a k 1900 had dwindled to 0% in 1925) and Radford (whose bla~ to population never 15% of the total, eventually decrea7e1 b ' 0 • t • "racia a out 5%). The literalness of New River ~epo s ld the balance" was one of its distinctions. While blacks he 'ded bulk of the "blue collar" industrial jobs, they al~o.provia the community with most of its masons, both electriciansthe barber, one of the listed clergymen and at least one.of son the teachers. They also continued to hold a variety of Job railroad. Some, of course, remained primarily farmers. -Many of the "rural" blacks worked on nearby white ownedt f ft · ddition ° arms such as the Morgans' and Ingles' -- o en in a ff working some of their own land. The Wharton farm was sold,~ ' admittedly in fairly large chunks, thus ending that familY role as key to the community's economy. Jobs kept most people busy much of the day, but what could people do in New River when not at work? Most of the children went to school. In 1913, the white elementary school moved out of town, up Giles Road near the intersection with today's Route 11. The grounds now included a "Teacherage." Most of the faculty were trainees from Radford's newly opened Normal School, and theY lived in that building. A few teachers -- the Stone girls being cases in point -- were able to live at home. The black school remained in its original location until 1922, meaning that for about 10 years the two schools were literally within sight of each other. As of 1914 Misses Rosa Jones and Sadie Lewis taught 45 and 56 students respectivelY in the two room building and complained that the stove needed repair work. It was apparently common practice for these teachers to visit their students' homes on a regular basis -­suggesting an active parental involvement in the educational process even when many of the parents were themselves illiterate. White students wishing to attend high school usuallY went to Radford; blacks travelled to the Christiansburg Institute or even further away. Chapter Five 69 the Thyne Institute, had 45 students in class and reported the stove in very good condition. In 1920-21, Hattie Wood taught 34 1st through 3rd graders and Elizabeth Morrison 23 4th through 7th gr<;1ders · Both now complained that the entire building, after thirty years of hard use by hundreds of active children, needed repairs. The teachers got even more than they had asked for. In 1922 a new frame building, known as the William Gresham school, was built just behind the black Methodist church. (One of the Casey families bought the old school. The building later burned in a tragedy which took at least one person's life.) As of 1923-24 Mrs. Janie Bibbie taught 1st through 3rd grades and Mrs. Anna B. Norman handled grades four through seven. Bibbie earned $55 a month; as principal, Norman made $60. A virtual institution at the school, Mrs. Norman taught in New River for some thirty years. She made the trip from Pulaski with her husband on a daily basis or, when the weather necessitated, often stayed overnight with families like John and Teaney Morton. After the 1922 move, a small "teacherage" provided housing on the school property itself. Mrs. Norman was assisted, at various times, by Mrs. Lucy Clark of Dublin (remembered fondly) and Miss McNorton of Christiansburg (a strict disciplinarian) · Mrs. Laconia McDaniel Buckner, who lived very near the new school, may have taught there briefly, but spent most of her career in the Radford school system. According to one long-time resident, Mrs. Norman was so light skinned that, back when blacks were supposed to sit in the back of buses, she could regularly be seen riding right behind the driv~r. This could also, of course, have in a sign of the respect in which she was held. School bus service was not provided for blacks, making the daily journey quite a trek for children who lived two or three miles away. Odell Frazier, who later moved to New River as Mrs. Stonewall Jackson Green, grew up on "furnace row" in Radford· Sometimes when the Radford school system could provide no teachers -- she had to walk across the railroad trestle and all the way up Giles Road to the old school building. Enrollment figures for both white and black schools make it clear that not all eligible children attended. In general, "urban" children were more likely to go to school than their "rural" counterparts. Absenteeism could be a function of illness, weather, or the need for extra work hands at home. Adult illiteracy was on the decrease. In some cases, literate whites helped teach illiterate blacks to read and write. In other cases, children, black and white taught parents what they themselves had learned in school. The passage of time also meant ~_., ~-,-·~--·-·--------·. - . Chapter Five New River's Infrastructure and Economy Doctors for the living and hearses for the dead both had to deal wit~ road conditi?ns. New River's roads remained unpaved for a long time. One resident remembered that "the ruts in the road were s~ de.ep at times that if you did happen to own a car, you couldn t ride very comfortably. As you would ride, the car would boun?e and your head would constantly be hitting the ceiling.· .. "{l) Mud, of course, was a problem for cars, wagons, and pedestrians alike. The permanency of automobile transportation was reflected in the arrival of gas pumps -- at one or more stores in New River's business district and out Giles Road at Goad's. 73 Regular train service connected New River with Pulaski (a 25 cent trip) and points west as well as, of course, with Radford. But, as a sign of things to come, bus transportation (e.~. Greyhound) went from Radford along Route 11 to Dublin and Pulaski, by-passing New River. You could walk up to Route 11 and have it stop for you; the trip between Radford and Pulaski cost about 10 cents in the 1930s. For getting around New River, walking rema~ned the most common, and often most enjoyable, mode of transportation, while horses, buggies and wagons were still common sights. Some early "streets" - - like Taylor and Mason - - vanished through disuse and the consolidation of land-holdings; others were improved. A 1933 petition spearheaded by Sandy Casey got official county road status for the "20 foot alley" running from the black cemetery passed his house, the Methodist church, and down to the Crocketts. The new Hazel Hollow Road connected Ingles Ferry (and later Claytor Dam) to Route 11 and the traffic bridge across to Radford. While E. R. Boyd apparently had telephone service as of 1916 (his estate included two) as late as 1939 New River boasted a total of only 33 telephone, numbers several of which were i. n w h a t we would today call Fairlawn. Fo' r blacks, servi· ce was 1 a· rru·, ted primarily to stores and parsonages, and even the Carters, Ageesf and Divers apparently survived without telephones. (The number O phones actually decreased to 31 in 1944, while those owned by blacks increased to about one-third the total.) Appalachian. Power "wired" the town· but here again electricity was a benefit one enJ· oyed only i· f on' e could afford i· t. A pu bl·i c w ater system. hadd ntohte yet arrived so wells, cisterns, and septic systems ~em~ine lls order of th~ day. Fleming Williams earned a living diggin~ w~ld-and septic systems. "Outdoor plumbing" may have bee fashioned, but it was common for many houses. Alth h somewhat reduced in size, New River retained a business doiusgt rict and provided some "hometown" emp loymedn t ·h By the mi'd 1930s, the color and d Yn ami'cs of that downtown ha, owever, changed. 74 Chapter Five / or operated their John Munsey and G G Dudley still owned and. and clothing, mer h · · d ceries Mu c andising stores. While both hand~e gro and Dudley for the h i nsey was known for the variety of his goods , t one or both ~gh quality of his clothing selection. At some p~in ~ppetites of ~h them installed gas pumps to satisfy the growing orseless carriages." 1 remained a Like the Munsey and Dudley stores, the mil John Divers constant -- linking postwar New River with it~ pasts and the Agee and.w.w. Agee bought the mill from the Rhudys in 191. living at family "ran" it thereafter. Actually, the Boaz fami~yld Juanita the ~ill, probably ran day-to-day oper~tions. A~ a c ~d ;he Boazs C~usins, now Mrs. William Rollins, visited.New River a The water with her mother and "camped out" on the mill grounds. withstood wheel kept turning throughout the 1930s and the structure drop in the great flood of 194 o. (After World War I I'. hov.:eve:r: ~n~ of New ~~stomers forced this, one of the founding instituti iver Depot, out of business.) (2) . Ld i s converted to an The old Ransom/Einstein/Boyd bu i, ing wa nt for at !atery. The Lyons bought it in 1916 and ra~ a restau:athen and east part of their twenty year ownership .. Bot 1 urposes. afterward, the upstairs was probably used for residenta rued the The Lum Whitlocks bought the building in 1936 and cont~ncing. restaurant under black ownership and provided space for . . closed or Other of the early businesses, including the depot, or died drastically cut back their operations as people moved away d fewer and!or as demand for their services decrea~ed. . Fewer de d agents trains actually stopped at the station, but it still nee h the and a maintenance staff. Running as. they di~ right thr~ugast. center of "downtown," the trains remained reminders of th p . but still .wright's quarry reduced the scale of its operation~ company provided stone when needed. Wallace Hodge's const</a>" />

Whartons' Town New River Depot, 1870-1940

THE WHARTONS' TOWN NEW RIVER DEPOT, 1870-1940 by LINDA KILLEN RADFORD UNIVERSITY 1993 COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES THE WHARTONS' TOWN NEW RIVER DEPOT, 1870-1940 by LINDA KILLEN RADFORD UNIVERSITY 1993 McCONNELL LIBRARY RADFORD UNIVERSITY Photograph credits Cover Page 4 Page 11 Page 52 Page 59 Page 60 Page 70 Linda Killen Stella Brown; Radford Public Library Wilderness Road Museum (Ann Bailey); Radford Public Library Linda Killen Radford Public Library; Linda Killen Ezra Sheffey; Georgia English Cara Lee Bondurant; Odell Green Other credits Pages 22-23 Page 28 Ken Bondurant Claude Giles INTRODUCTION I first became interested in New River Depot as the result of research I had done after buying a house in Belspring. Although now an entirely white community, Belspring had, at the turn of the century, been about twenty percent black. What happened to those people? I knew that New River, some five miles away, had a sizeable black population. Maybe black Belspringers moved to New River for some reason. The only way to find out was to research New River Depot. Black Belspringers did not move to New River. Theirs is a different story. But New River has its own intriguing history, part of which included (and continues to include) a pattern of race relations unusual for the south and even for southwest Virginia. This is not to say that blacks and whites lived together in perfect harmony or that there was a mass merging of bloodlines. But blacks and whites, young and old, all seem to agree that New River was a wonderful place to grow up in and that relations between its black and white residents were respectful, interdependent, and mutually supportive. An article published in a Radford newspaper in 1979 called New River Depot the "Forgotten Community." In many ways, that is true. People who have lived in and around Radford for ten or even twenty years may not even know of New River's existence, much less its precise location. But, whether forgotten or not, New River is well worth remembering. Research on New River has led in two directions: the community itself as a totality, and the black community within that totality. One volume in this series will present a history of the community; the other tries to start a kind of black community genealogy. I make no claims to have recorded everything there is to know about either. In fact, I hope my work will inspire others, and especially current or one-time residents, to add new material, correct any errors I have made, and continue the story into the present. Linda Killen Radford University December 1993 CHAPTER ONE THE ARRIVALS: FROM LEWIS SHEFFEY TO C.W.SCOTT The New River had been flowing west, through the Appalachian mountains, millennia before the coming of red, white, and black men. In the 1850s, the Virginia and Tennessee railroad built a bridge and a depot on tracks that proceeded west along Morgan's Branch Creek to Dublin and on into Tennessee. Two earthenwork forts, erected on the bluffs above Morgan's Branch, saw service during the Civil War. From them Union troops shelled Arnheim, Dr. John Radford's mansion across the river in what was then Lovely Mount, and from one of them comes the name Fort Hill. The first store and hotel near the depot opened before 1870. A post office (moved from Pepper's Ferry) arrived in 1868. (1) At some point, a grist mill and possibly a lumber mill were built, utilizing, at its mouth, Morgan's Branch. The emergence of New River Depot as a sizeable center of residential and commercial activity had to wait until the .1880s -- and the coming of a new and aggressive era of railroad development. In the interim, agriculture dominated the local economy and, in fact, would continue to play a major role thereafter. Many of the families who bought land and built houses within the "corporate" limits of New River Depot -- now shortened simply to New River -- came from surrounding farms, had family still living on nearby farms or retained both agricultural AND town landholdings. Before, during, and long after New River Depot's "boom years," many of the town's residents grew a garden, ran chickens owned a milk cow and/or raised pigs. But they couldn't grow ~verything. Whether with one store or four, New River Depot served as the closest commercial center for outlying farms for those commodities, like sugar, salt and coffee, which had to be purchased. The river divided Montgomery County from Pulaski County, but county lines did not limit land ownership. The Ingles and Taylor families owned property on both sides. So too did General Gabriel Wharton. From his Glencoe mansion on the Montgomery County (and then Radford) river bluffs, the general and his family could look directly across to the mouth of Morgan's Branch and watch, over time, the growth of New River Depot on land they had "developed." Lyon's and Dudley's ferries were the most convenient water crossings, flanked further up and down stream by the Ingles' and Pepper's ferries. At some point -- probably under Norfolk and Western auspices -- a pedestrian boardwalk allowed people to cross the river on the railroad trestle. Chapter One 2 U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MAP OF NEW RIVER DEPOT AREA SURVEY TAKEN IN 1884-86; MAP PRINTED IN 1906 (Note 1) the delay in changing Radford's name; 2) for Belspring; 3) the failure to include Giles the old name Road.) ;,,_;.. ·s.o1. ~·. c.-~,_;:._ _ .:_ -:'-'-·-· .aiu.. .• . ColllOW" ~ 1001-L . I:;· ... ,.,...· r:', :: ... ·. -,' :· 'J ·?: <: Chapter One 3 Like much of the south, the New River Valley was land poor after the Civil War. Once ,~osperous farmers had little money with which to work their h· -- much less with which to pay hired help. Blacks, freed from slavery, owned little but their own muscle, wits, and determination. The combination of landowners with no cash and labor with no land promoted share cropping and/or tenant farming. The 1860 census only listed by name free persons and, at that time, neither Montgomery nor Pulaski County had very many free black residents. In fact, of the 642 blacks in Pulaski County in 1850, only 10 were free. That same year the white population totalled 4,793. For census purposes, slaves were simply designated by owner, age, and sex. On the other hand, the prewar records of at least one nearby church (Belspring Presbyterian) listed its slave members by first and surnames, implying that slaves were dealt with as identifiable people and families. Thus, once freedom arrived, blacks did not all conveniently assume their last "owner's" name and thus identify themselves as such -­although some did. Names like Armstead Rollins or Mills Black do suggest that, over time, black families incorporated as Christian names the last names of white families with which they had, in one way or another, once been associated. By law, and well into the 20th century, anyone with even 1/16 black blood was deemed to be black -- which meant that movement across racial lines went in only one direction: whites could "become" black, but it was virtually impossible for blacks to "become" white. Everyone was aware that a significant mixing of the races was occurring. Even the census takers differentiated between white, "colored" or "black," and mulatto. American Indians added a third option to one's family bloodlines. While slavery has made it muchc~ore difficult to track back black families than is the case with white~, some of the blacks on the 1870 census of Pulaski and Montgomery counties had been slaves who, once freed, opted to remain in the area and to work the same jobs they had toiled over as slaves. For these people, still dependent upon the same white community, if not necessarily the same white individuals, the official end of slavery may not have marked any major changes in their life styles (nor perhaps in the way they were treated by whites). Some eventually purchased land -- perhaps from the same people who had once "owned" them -- and some retained close economic, if not personal, relations with former "masters." For former slaves and masters alike, the 1870s were not that much different from the 1850s (except that the whites had less money) . Chapter One Newton Morgan and family Top Row Leit to Right : S. C. Chumbley, H. H. Lowman. :\In. R. ~I. Chumbley, R. ~I. Chumbley; Lower Row Lett to Right: J. H. Chumbley, W .. \. Chumbley, Geo, H. Chumbley. 4 Chapter One Most of the thousands of acres of land around New River Depot were owned by whites. White landholders ranged from the very large to the non-existent since ·.;hi te farmers also included tenants and sharecroppers. s of 1870 several Morgan, Ingles, Chumbley and Burton houaeho l c; populated the New River depot's outlying areas. Most of these families could trace their Pulaski roots back to colonial days, as perhaps could their slaves. The Walker family may illustrate the long-time presence of blacks in Pulaski County. As of 1870, Randolph Walker and his father Henry both lived (but did not yet own land) near where the railroad joined up with the road to Dublin (i.e. Morgan's Cut). Their white "ties" were probably to Newton Morgan. In 1880 Randolph's daughter Lucy Walker Austin bought 20 acres not far from Morgan's Cut and in 1888 his sons George and Henry purchased 10 acres of land right at the railroad cut. The Walker family still own that land. George married Mary Charlotte Burnett, whose family had come to the area to work for General Gabriel Wharton. The wedding took place in the parlor of Glencoe, the Wharton mansion in Radford -- and George's daughter Gertrude worked for the Whartons in that same house in the 1920s. On the other hand, one of the striking features of New River Depot's population in the years between 1865 and 1900 black and white -- was its mobility. People did a good deal of moving around. The Burnett family had moved from Roanoke County to work for the Whartons. On the white side, Adam Flanagan moved from Mongtomery County and bought land in Pulaski. For most large landowners, of course, the norm was to stay with the land. But for those without land, or who had saleable skills, or who were in desperate need of work of any kind, the option of moving was available and was utilized. The railroad would attract members of both races, as would the rumor and reality of jobs "in town." Blacks may have had the added motivation of wanting to get away from where they had been slaves. In any case, people ~am~ to the New River Depot area -- as opposed simply to ~:t_ay_ing in that area. And they did so before work with the railroads seemed a likely option. For example, sometime between 1865 and 1870, Caswell Harvey left his family in Giles County and walked over the mountains in search of work. William Ingles was so impressed with his skill with horses that he, Ingles, took a wagon up to Giles and brought Caswell's whole family back. In 1877 Caswell purchased 8 acres of land from the Ingles and Morgans, and his family retained close ties with the Ingles, as share croppers and employees. In a less dramatic but more communal fashion, Hannah and Mills Black moved themselves and their sizeable family from Montgomery County to Hazel Hollow sometime between 1870 and 1880. The couple became the center of a large enclave which probably already sharecropped the 55 acres Mills bought from 5 Chapter One the Ingles in 1889 for $1,000 and immediately subdivided amongst himself, his children, and in-law families. The Black land also housed other families, presumably as renters or extended family members. 6 The Whartons owned most of the land relevant to New River Depot's "urban" development. General Gabriel Wharton first acquired a 559 acre tract from his father-in-law, John Radford, in 1869. (Radford had acquired much of bl.:;i land from b.i~ father-in-law, John Mc. Taylor.) Radford's death led to a partition of his estate in 1873 and more land to Wharton. Whether large or small, black or white, landholdings were merged and/or divided as a consequence of marriages and deaths. Family members sometimes left farming or combined it with other activities. The Dudleys, Gilliams, Chumbleys and Kirkwoods were or would become farmer-merchants. Other prominent white landowners included the Ingles, Whalings, Owens, Kirkners, Andersons, Hickmans, Glendys and Einsteins. Bishops, Vaughns, Purdys, Keisters, and Gofers also appeared as farmers in the 1880 census. The Midkiff Hill section of New River Depot got its name from land once farmed by Midkiff brothers. General Wharton was an active promoter of the New River Valley, of New River Depot, of Radford, and of rail, mining, and industrial growth in the area. He was also a farmer and a merchant. "G.C.Wharton" owned one of the very earliest stores which served New River's farmers. (Two of that store's signs hang today in Ken Farmer's office and Grandma's Memories store in Radford.) Mrs. Wharton and their son were both very active in the Episcopal church, Mrs. Wharton having started St. John's near the New River depot by 1876. The "Wharton Chapter" of the Masonic lodge met in New River from 1872 to 1885.- As the Wharton store suggests, New River depot (as opposed to a viably capitalized Depot) had a business district of sorts as early as 1870, including the Fremont House Hotel. Either the store or the hotel probably housed the post office. John and Jonathan Dunlap, apparently twin brothers in partnership, managed -- rather than owned -- the businesses. The hotel probably hosted Masonic lodge meetings (at least through 1885) and other local assemblages. On the day the 1870 census was taken, the hotel was home to 16 people: 10 Dunlaps ranging in age from 66 years to 4 months; 2 "house" and 2 "hotel" servants; and 2 businessmen. One of these last two may, in fact, have had offices in the hotel; Isaac Hudson, attorney at law, certainly had family nearby and had no reason to be spending the night at a hotel. Lewis Bane, merchant, seems more typical of a travelling salesman or "drummer." With only two "guests" however defined, one hopes that this was not a typical day for the Dunlaps! Chapter One 7 As of 1870 James Cecil ran the depot; Mayberry and William Owens also worked for the railroad. Charles Keiffer was a blacksmith. Drs. Jerry Farmer and Miles Wilson were the area physicians. None of these people owned land in New River; the railroad may have provided housing for its employees. While soon-to-be-landowner (1874) John Turner was listed simply as a farm laborer, Isaac Turner, who lived near John and Sarah just up from the depot, made shoes. James Lyons made wagons and some of his family may already have taken over operation of a ferry. S.R. Shepherd ran (but did not own) one of the two waterpowered mills. In 1871 Joseph Chumbley bought a three-quarter acre lot, very near the hotel, and opened his store. By 1880 he was the Depot's "most prominent merchant." (2) In 1872 William Band John T Ransom bought the first of several lots they eventually owned. When not at their jobs at the railroad's machine shop across the river, they provided machinist services in New River. The now abandoned two story frame house William built still stands as evidence of by-gone years. R.L. Shelton bought a .5 acre lot in 1871 but sold it back to Wharton in 1876 -­leaving the nature of his activities a mystery. The first blacks to acquire land as "town" residents (despite occupations listed as farmer) were Clayborne and Louisa Anthony (1871) and Fred (later to marry Cynthia) McDaniel (1872). Lewis and Mary Sheffey also arrived in 1872 and the three families formed a community on a combined two acres of land at the crest of Midkiff Hill. Claybourne Anthony and Fred McDaniel had both been born outside Pulaski and/or Montgomery counties and were thus New River Depot's first "outsider" blacks. Reverend Lewis Sheffey organized a black congregation immediately upon his arrival, thus creating the first black church in New River Depot. Living conditions for many whites and most blacks would have been very primitive in these early years. But the depot's existence made New River a logical center of activity. Thus, several years before there was any hint of a "boom," New River depot shared its location with a post office, a hotel, one and Probably two stores, one and probably two mills, and the beginning of a residential population. ;1 And then came word of a spurt in railroad activity -­first in terms of a New River Rail Road system and then as Norfolk and Western's planned expansion of southwest Virginia's rail system. Rumors circulated that the New River depot would become the center of regional operations, possibly even home to corporate general offices. A boom began. ~ General Wharton had been hoping for just such a development, buying and selling land to accommodate and also to take advantage of consequent growth. The first "residential" Wharton land sale occurred in 1878, to D. H. Barger of the Chapter One ~ railroad; others followed soon thereafter. In addition to many quarter acre lots, Wharton sold off some sizeable chunks to developers and/or speculators and more modest 1-3 ac;e tracts to people who would become the "first white families" of New River. 8 C. W. Scott qualified as a speculator -- as well as a businessman. Arriving shortly before 1880, from Lynchburg, he bought over 40 acres of land between 1880 and 1883, laying much of it out in a gridwork complete with section numbers, lot numbers, and a "block" system of roads. The future was still unclear as of 1880. Maybe New River would "take off," maybe not. That year's census made a specific, but nevertheless imprecise, reference to "the village of New River Depot" which will be defined, for our purposes, as extending approximately from Morgan's Chapel, which was constructed in the late 1870s, down a twisting Rt 624 (then Giles now New River Road). Following a slightly different path than its current course, the road went passed what soon became the "old" depot, over the tracks and on to the mill before ending at the river. If one turned right instead of left after crossing the tracks, a county road circled west over the creek and passed the hotel, up past what would later become .. Hendricksville, and through several miles of "the Wharton farm before reaching the Black and Harvey land surrounded by Ingles, Whaling, Morgan and Anderson farms, and probably intersecting with an old stage coach road running up to Newbern. In preparation for the boom, New River Depot began developing infrastructure. Roads, stores, residential areas, churches, schools, services, and expanded depot facilities sprang up. This transformation of depot into Depot -- i.e. into a population concentration named after the depot -- began in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Above and beyond whatever specific plans the railroads might have had, economic upswings and high expectations among local promoters made the existing depot/hotel complex a logical center of growth. People bought land, cleared it, and built houses. The network of streets and alleys expanded. Deeds refer to some "streets" which today no longer exist even as alleys. Everything was, of course, unpaved. ,~{ By 1876 three churches served the community. Founded in 1857, Morgan's Chapel was dedicated in 1876. Its Methodist congregation had moved from Page's Meeting House, one of the very first places of Christian worship west of the New River. The original building is still use, on an acre lot donated by the Flanagans and Einsteins. ~Mrs. Wharton opened an Episcopal church in 1876 as well. Chapter One 9 Lewis Sheffey had formed a black congregation in 1872 with the assistance Charles Schaeffer, a white Freedmen's Bureau officer with Philadephia Quaker ties who long served the New River Valley as church organizer, minister, and teacher. According to church records, "Families cut down trees, cleared brush, and made seats from tree stumps. The pulpit consisted of space between two trees with the bible resting on a slab placed between the trees." When Sheffey moved his home to a new location in 1879, he deeded his 1872 purchase to the "New River African Church" and services were probably held there at least through 1887. At that point the congregation split and formed two churches -- one Baptist and one Methodist. Rev. Sheffey definitely had a congregation. Originally part of the Rockford community, Joseph Bibbie, Robert Austin, Russell Floyd, and Charles McDaniel had moved their families to New River by 1880. The latter three bought property shortly thereafter near Morgan's Chapel. The Bibbies moved down toward the depot and bought land, near Fred McDaniel, from Joseph Parker. Parker, in turn, moved his family up Giles Road and near the black community there. As of 1880 the Caseys, Boothes, and Johnsons, none of whom yet owned land, had also moved into "town." When combined with the Sheffeys, Anthonys and Fred McDaniels, these families established the "founding" black population. Families from the surrounding farmlands also attended Sheffey's services. One such group, the residents of Butcher's Crossing, deserves some special attention. This black "suburb" less than a mile from New River proper had a white family as its first residents. Between 1875 and 1885, Abram and Edith Vaughn bought a total of 13 acres from the Whartons. The first recorded land purchase by blacks was not until 1886 but, according to the 1880 census, the Vaughns already had Richard H. Butcher, Tobias Henderson, Charles Saunders, John Burton, William H. Taylor and the Cole family, Henry Manns, Henry and Phillis Burnett, the Martins, the Minters, and more Burnetts -- all black as neighbors. Most of these people had moved to Pulaski County since 1870 and several had come from some distance -- probably in expectation of New River's growth. Stone masons by trade, Richard Butcher (from Blackstone) and William Taylor (from Danville) probably used material from John Wright's quarry down by the river to lay the stone foundations upon which many houses in and around New River Depot still rest. An 1891 map showed a "street" (the course of which can still be seen) running through the community up to the Dublin road. One could also get to town along the railroad tracks near the Butcher house or cross the tracks to the Henderson house -- hence "Butcher's Crossing." Butcher's Crossing differed from other outlying black communities in several ways. It was closer to town and had a Chapter One 10 larger number of non-farming, non-local, and more affluent residents. These included a railroad employee, two stone masons, a watch repairman who was also intrigued by and skilled in machinery, a blacksmith, and a seamstress. In "town," the black and white populations grew -- as did their need for civic services. Member of a local and prewar slave-owning family, D. H. Barger, with W. W. Pendleton as his assistant, served as railroad agent during the soon to begin spurt in building and modernization. Barger made his first of several land purchases in 1878; by 1885 he had accumulated some 20 acres. The Bargers erected a large and imposing house (today known as the Divers house) much of the material for which -- according to local legend -- came, through one means or another, from the railroad. Now vacant and dilapidated, his house is one of several "ghost" abodes which still speak of New River Depot's past. There were some old names and new. Miles A. Wilson, who served both New River Depot and Radford for many years, replaced Jerry Farmer as the local physician. (Farmer was practicing in Radford as of 1891.) Both must have watched in horror when an epidemic, perhaps small pox, swept through in 1882. Three members of the Casey family died that year, all at about the same time and presumably all from the disease. Jonathan S. Martin and James E Owens ran the grist and lumber mills. Owens first bought property in 1885 and the house he or his son built is still in Owens hands. By 1880 C. W. Scott had moved to town, started a store, and hired a clerk. Two years later he, as editor, and General Wharton, as owner, began publishing the New River BULLETIN, which served the community for at least four years.(3) By 1880 Joseph Chumbley's store near the depot was well established. William V. Birchfield clerked in a dry goods store and J. McLemore in a grocery store, either of which may have been owned by the Einsteins or Gilliams, both listed as merchants. As of 1880 the Ransoms were still machinists. Father and son Kibler ran a blacksmithy and W. H. Ricketts had replaced James Lyons as wagon maker. James Harkrider, engineer, presumably worked for the railroad. Of these people only the Ransoms and Ricketts already owned land "in town," although the Kiblers would buy property later and James Lyons had and/or would soon acquire holdings nearby. Chapter One 11 I ., _ e- .• Joseph Chumbley's store in New River Depot (date unknown) MR. W. C. HODGE, Contractor. Chapter One 12 No one claimed hotel keeper as an occupation in the 1880 census, but the hotel was still there. Meetings of the Wharton Chapter of the Masonic Lodge would, that year, have seen some or all of the following members in attendance: Wharton, Newton Morgan, R.R. Weisinger, R. P. Gilliam, S.C. Chumbley, two Ingles, both Ransoms, two Alberts, three Hoges, A. H. Flanagan, J. H. Grogg, Robert Kirkwood, E. D. Kirkner, R. M. Woolwine, W.T. Yancey, R. E. Frazier, and Charles Dent. Some were local; others had to travel some distance. An 1884 compilation of prominent residents of Pulaski County listed six men with New River as their post office address. (Others may well have been included under different post offices.) Illustrating the earlier point about mobility, of the six only Joseph Chumbley -- leading merchant, notary public, and magistrate -- had actually been born in the county. Andrew Ingles, farmer, was from Montgomery County; Robert Kirkwood, farmer [and also a dealer in fine buggies], had been born in Roanoke County. Miles A. Wilson, physician, and Musgrove Colgate Stone, farmer, were both from Lunenburg County. Wallace Hodge was the only non-Virginian. Born in Vermont, he had married a Swede and moved to the area in 1881. A building contractor, Hodge was "the first to introduce here wood-working machinery" and "also the first and to this time [1884] the only man to navigate the New River with steam for motive power."(4) White landowners in, but not necessarily residents of, New River Depot as of 1880 included Adam Flanagan, the Gilliams, and the Cressells. The Flanagan house was a few miles away near Pepper's Ferry. People who lived in New River Depot but did not own land might well have been relatives and/or renters and/or had housing provided them. Clerks may have lived in apartments above the store or boarded with the owner; the railroad probably provided housing. The Ransoms, who owned several acres in town, may have built rental property. Deed holders like the Ricketts and McDaniels could also have had several families on their property. Long before final decisions were made about where Norfolk and Western would locate its various central and regional offices, construction of new lines and the improvement of old ones was underway. ~Gabriel Wharton and George Abbott sold Norfolk and Western much of the land it used to up-grade the original Virginia and Tennessee facilities. For New River this ultimately meant two new depots, new yards, and new service facilities, plus a shift in the "Giles" road to accommodate those changes. One result was that the Fremont Hotel was now some distance from the station. Another was that the railroad hired lots of people. Chapter One 13 Above and beyond modernizing the depot facilities and the line running to Tennessee, Norfolk and Western also began construction of a new line to the West Virginia coal fields. In the beginning, this "Pocahantos" line shared the existing New River railroad bridge and then, once across, was rerouted through a complicated system of Y sections and switches. As long as that arrangement lasted -- until 1888 -- the New River depot staff was probably responsible for operating the switching system. Later on, the Pocahantos line first acquired its own curved bridge paralleling the old one and then, in 1900, was completely rerouted. A Cripple Creek extension of the original Virginia and Tennessee line also provided jobs, in addition to bringing more traffic into the New River Depot. As many as ten trains came through every day and allowed people from Dublin, or Pulaski, or Max Meadows to take day trips for shopping, entertainment, or simply to visit. All of this activity offering wage paying jobs -- however temporary some of them may have been. The jobs, and the railroad and depot itself, were the major contributors to New River Depot's early growth. And, as of 1880-1885, its residents could hope the railroad would provide even more good fortune in the future. In anticipation of continued growth, Wharton provided land for a white elementary school in 1881. The educational norm of the day, for public schools, was for students to begin at age 7 and go through grade 7. Blacks had to make do with classes held in homes or church facilities until the county built a school for them off Giles Road on the northern edge of town. That school was definitely in service by school year 1890-91. In the spring of 1891 the Radford ENTERPRISE reported preparations for thee year's closing ceremonies. John Floyd probably served as the school's first teacher. The number of school age children increased as the influx of adults continued. Between 1880 and 1890, Wharton made about 20 first time residential or commercial (i.e. not farm) land sales to whites. Flanagan, Ransom and Scott combined for another 7. Over that same period almost 20 first time sales were made to blacks. Assuming, very conservatively, an average of 2 school age children per household, landowners alone would, by 1890, have had almost 100 children eligible for public school. And that is not counting the renter families and the children from nearby farms. On the other hand, not all school aged children actually attended school. Unfortunately, no records of school enrollments exist prior to 1914. Most everyone, however, did attend church. By 1891 the number of such establishments had risen to five. Morgan's Chapel was joined by a Presbyterian church, some of whose members had transferred from Belspring Presbyterian. In addition, records from Radford's Grace Church indicate that St. John's (also known as "Mrs. Wharton's Church") was a "mission" branch of Central Depot's St. James Episcopal congregation and Chapter One 14 dated from 1876. The 1881 deed for church land does imply an already standing structure. Mrs. Wharton's son and family lawyer, ~'._R. Wharton_, conducted regular Sunday School classes. By 1891, Sheffey's New River African Church had split into two congregations -- one Methodist and one Baptist. Land for the Methodist church, still standing on Midkiff Hill, was purchased in 1890, with construction completed in 1891. The Baptists bought land on Fort Hill in 1887 and the building was under roof by 1890, with Lewis Sheffey serving as its first minister. This building (or perhaps its predecessor) "was constructed with lumber from the saw mills of Einstein, Morgan, and Christmas Woods." Until Lewis Sheffey died in 1893, the Baptist church probably held weekly services. Thereafter, it and all the other New River churches may only have held formal services bi-weekly, or even monthly. Ministers frequently had several congregations, travelling to each in turn on regular schedules. During the 1870s and on into the 1880s, New River Depot emerged as something more than just a dot on the railroad map. Men like Lewis Sheffey had plans dealing with the community's spiritual life. Men like C. W. Scott dreamed of enhancing its economic future. Notes (1) Smith, pp. 337-39. (2) Hardesty (3) Smith, pp. 337-339. (4) Hardesty CHAPTER TWO THE 18908 What had seemed so dynamic a future in 1880 settled, by 1890, into "stability." Roanoke, not New River, acquired Norfolk and w~stern's (N&W) general offices. Central Depot, renamed Radford and incorporated as an independent city with a population of approximately 5,000 in 1892, wangled most of the railroad's regional support facilities. Two new bridges across the river both bypassed New River Depot. A uniquely curved railroad bridge built in 1888 eliminated both the earlier complex switching maneuvers for the Pocahantos line and some of New River depot's responsibilities. The other, an "Iron Highway" toll road completed in 1891, followed the approximate course of today's Memorial Bridge. For a while in the 1890s, New River (and the portion of Pulaski County fed by the "Iron Highway") was referred to as "North Radford" and was included in plans for Radford's economic development and in listings of Radford's commercial and industrial services. In short, Radford was doing even more of what New River had begun just a few years previously: projecting dynamic growth and drawing up real estate development plans on both sides of the river. Writing about Radford's development, in 1891 Thomas Bruce noted that "In New River (the upper part of the town) live some persons who have been at the place for many years and know each and every step of its progress."(1) In point of fact, New River Depot progressed both as a part of Radford and, in its own way, apart from Radford. A relatively stable population of between 550 and 650 people, most of whom found gainful employment, allowed it to maintain a viable commercial center -- and its own identity -- long after hopes of major development had died. Loss of the original 1890 census sheets for Virginia creates a particular hardship in reconstructing New River Depot's history. The years between 1880 and 1900 were probably the community's most vibrant and dynamic, during which the "village" grew into a town before being overshadowed by Radford's emergence on the other side of the river. Two old maps and a photograph provide some sense of New River Depot, 1880-1900. One map, dated 1890 and detailing land sold by General Wharton to the New River Land and Development Company, pointed out lots, within the much larger land sale area, which had already been sold. Another, dated 1891, of land to be acquired by the N&W railroad, used some extant buildings as reference points. It depicted two mills (both near the river), a hotel, a store, a slaughter house (to which I have found no 16 A listing of the lots, already sold, specifically exempted but falling within Wharton's sale of scme 110 acres to the New River Land and Improvement Company, 1890. At Morgan's Cut: 1) Jacob Kessler 1.25 acre (could be the cress pond) At Butcher's Crossing (other, earlier sales were not included in the land being sold and thus not mentioned): 2) James Owens 1.50 acres 3) Flem Williams .25 acre (later exchanged for Midkiff Hill lot then sold to Hendricks) 4) Minnis Hendricks .25 acre 5) Stepheny Irvin .25 (at the corner of the road to Dublin) 20) John Holland 2.0 acres (no further record) 21) Tobias Burks 2.0 acres "Downtown" New River 6) L. Birchfield 11,711 sq ft - on track side of county road 7) George Stone 8) H.B. Haney 19,870 sq ft 9) W.L. Dunn 10) W.R. Wharton small lots fronting 11) H.B. Haney 1,500 sq ft on the road between tracks 12) N.L. Fleeman and county road 13) J.H. Chumbley 14) J.D. Noble a blacksmith shop in back becomes Brown Hotel 15) G.C. Butler 16) Mrs. Stone ("known as hotel lot") 17) Malinda Hall 18) W.A. Hodge -- ref to a submerged wall running into the river 19) A very long but narrow strip of land along the railroad tracks sold by Wharton to Norfolk and Western. Description includes ref to a slaughterhouse north of the tracks, to the railroad turntable, to Wharton's store, to the "hotel lot." ([) i:: J.l O O s::: ~.μ J.l .μ ti) .(μ[) C{l ~ ~ ti) .μ,-.. (() i:: +:> ~ (() c: HO 'O (l) s ai:s: 'H (I) 'H J.l ~r:i ,J...i.:.;: '0- 0 (l) ,...; U) '+-I' U) (!) ,...; ~- '° .μ r-1 z0 ([) ..=o: ~E 0 .μ0 .μ ..(=[:) 0 ::t 'O .μ .μ ([) Q) ,.....; i:: (I) 'O ct, (I).μ c: CJ) .!tl o as HZ 'O C{l c: 'O (I) C{l II) ..J c: .!tl ::::: c: (I) Q) 0 ([) (I)..-= .μ0 .0 ~ H C) (I) a~s U) .μ C{l (I)..-= :.:.;-:=: ..c:: ..-= Q(J .μ ::::: 'O Ctl 'H C{l "tj r-1 0 O c: U) Has Pl Ctl !>-. +:> ....... ::E: +c:>: on !>-. (I) .....; ::::: .::: r-1 0) 0 (I) ..0 co o (I) E .....; ::t ::::: (I).μ..-= ..c:: (I)() E-t .0 - r-1 r··, f I i" i i i I I I. I' I' ,I I' ,j i ... .i LJ L..J j a: 1 0:: ~ ?; ~ ,j: u 7- 0 ; .. $> o ;: ci f ..; r.;::, ~f ';; • f ; () ~ .?, rl ,. J . ; . ~. .• Chapter Two 19 other reference), one old and one new railway station, and eleven unidentified structures -- all located along Morgan's Creek. A photograph, taken in the 1890s and looking across from Radford, shows a variety of buildings near the river. However, twenty years is a very long time, especially for a town in flux. Businesses undoubtedly came, went, and/or changed hands. Those operated out of rented properties may have left no record of their presence at all. Powered by a waterwheel, the grist mill was probably New River's oldest and most important commercial structure. Acquired by Wharton in 1869, it remained in his family's hands until 1906 and its continued operation guaranteed a stream of customers into New River. For every pound or bushel or sack of grain ground, the mill kept a set percentage thereof. No cash changed hands until, presumably, the mill sold its "earnings" -- perhaps to local grocers. (Mrs. Wharton had an account at a store in Radford wherein the store credited her for grain received and debited her for purchases made.) A mill race had been constructed at least by 1890 as had, perhaps, the water reservoir guaranteeing power. The 1891 map makes reference to another mill also run by water power -- perhaps the lumber mill referenced in church histories. A lumber mill would have fit nicely into W.A. Hodge's construction business. The geography of Hodge's landholding does make it possible. As of 1891 -- based on advertisements in the Radford ENTERPRISE -- at least three construction-related businesses had their headquarters in New River. From the land near the mouth of Morgan's Creek he purchased in 1888, Hodge ran a contracting operation that built new or moved existing structures. Some of the buildings visible near the river's edge in the old photograph may have been associated with his company. John Wright owned the New River Stone Company, which boasted quarries at New River, Morgan's Cut, and Belspring. He bought 5 acres of stone escarpment just up the river from the mill in 1887 and "mineral rights" on several properties in the area. W. N. Gilliam also provided "building stones." A large three story building is clearly visible in the old photograph a short ways back from the grist mill and the river. The Radford family sold this "Fremont House Hotel" to Mary Stone in 1886 -- by which time a projected relocation of the depot would have undercut some of its commercial attraction. That deed and those that followed later -- insisted that the mill race be kept open to guarantee adequate water flow to the mill. As of 1900 Stone listed her occupation as dressmaker, but she could have also been running a scaled down hotel-boardinghouse. · After the depot moved, the Browns bui 1 t a new hotel near it on land they then purchased from J.D. Noble in 1890. (Noble, in his turn, had bought the land from Wharton in 1878 Chapter Two 20 and this may have been the site of whatever the Scott and Noble partnership entailed.) One of these hotels had a wide wrap-around porch. One reputedly also had a plank board walk running all the way to the depot -- to protect passengers from the mud. They . undoubtedly served meals and may have provided rental office space. The Fremont House, if not the later Brown establishment, had a lobby large enough to accommodate dances and other gala occasions. "Near the hotels a restaurant was opened complete with a barber shop on the se~ond floor. Haircuts could be obtained for 15 cents and a shave for 10 cents."(2) Blacks could not stay in the hotels as long as they remained under white ownership, but a 1893-94 Virginia gazatteer made reference to several boarding houses in New River. As of 1900 Edward Jones (black) housed four boarders and thus may have run one such establishment. Under less formal arrangements, families supplemented their income by periodically taking in boarders. Wharton kept some of the land around the two hotels. The• rest of it became prime commercial property. The Chumbleys bought one acre to the west of the Noble/Brown hotel in 1885 and probably moved their store to the better location. Mrs. Wharton ran a credit account at the Chumbley store which she cleared only once a year and which, in 1890-91, ran to some $500 annually. The store served as a kind of bank, as well, with Mrs. Wharton sending employees to it for payments of anything from 25 cents in one time "wages" to regular monthly payments of several dollars. The Chumbleys also owned other lots on or near the railroad. Deed references put a blacksmith shop near, if not actually on, the Chumbley property. (At various times several other blacksmithies operated in various other parts of town.) G.C. Butler bought a lot right next to the Fremont House in 1890 but the purpose to which that land was put is unknown. G.G. Dudley first opened a general store near Morgan's Chapel and then moved nearer the depot. If the lot he bought in 1885 is the lot upon which that store -- the New River Racket Store -- stood, it was located north of the tracks just as the road begins to climb up into New River's residential area. "Scott's Store" dealt in general merchandise and was especially popular because of its candy. One resident recalled "He sold pieces of candy that sold for a penny. Some of the candy, instead of having prizes in them like today, contained another penny. In this way, if you were lucky, your candy would cost nothing. Mr. Scott must have liked me cause he Chapter Two 21 would take a pin and stick it in the candy to find the one with the penny so I could get it."(3) The 1890 map shows three small lots on the "new" Giles Road just across the tracks from the new depot. One housed the "Wharton store," which, like the Chumbley emporium, may have shifted location along with the depot. The other two soon belonged to W. H. Gilliam, grocer. (In 1901/02 John W. Munsey bought all three lots. His clothing and dry goods store doubled as a post office and Munsey also ran a lumber store.) Milliners worked to order and/or sold their wares at, for example, Chumbley's dry goods store. Various sales representatives, insurance agents, and perhaps even a lawyer or two worked out of the hotels, above the stores, or in buildings of which there is no surviving record. The early photograph shows several structures at the river's edge. This could have been the site(s) of: 1) the Brilheart wagon shop (which may, in fact, be the earlier Lyons wagon shop now under new management); 2) Jones' boarding house; 3) whatever outbuildings Hodge needed for his contracting business; and 4) various buildings for after hours relaxation. A 1891 newspaper made reference to a fight outside a "shack" on the river. Since the story also mentioned drunkenness as a contributing factor, perhaps the riverfront housed one or more "drinking establishments." Carpenters, plasterers, and stone masons worked in their homes or on the job. Seamstresses, and even undertakers, worked at home; blacksmiths set up shop near their homes; horse traders travelled around; salesmen went door to door. There was, of course, also the "new" depot and all of its adjunct operations. It employed telegraph operators, one or more yard bosses, and day labor. The temporary and permanent railroad workers (brakemen, construction labor, etc.) probably used the depot as their "home base" and it was the center of much activity with mail, passengers, freight, and livestock, for which it needed loading docks and nearby stockyards. On-going work up and down the line made for commotion, activity, and customers for the two hotels. H.T. Einstein, Robert Kirkwood, Newton Morgan and J.T. Whaling all shipped their livestock from the depot -- meaning that there must have been periodic cattle "drives" through town. (4) All this activity and all these people needed stables, barber shops, and eateries -- as well as the already referenced "social" establishments. The citizens of Radford complained about the profusion of saloons and alcohol on their side of the river. New River undoubtedly had similar "problems." Some New River residents worked or had their place of business in Radford. G. W. Groseclose had land in New River but ran a building and contracting company out of Radford. ---• -.-.·~~w. •• ·•··--·-··••··-·-· • •--·-• --·---·---• ·-- -·--- -• ..• . .. ·, ..... ,-·---- -- .. ---------·-·--·····-·-··-· '.;-,,-----..IL-- t.:; .IL~----11 . _ ~8~~ !~ ;'- ... .. : .. // ~- 1 // --- . -- - - -· - - ------- .... -· .·. -·- - ---· ·--·. ------- ·---- .... ·-·--- .---·---- ----------~--- -.----- 4~-5-. ~~-~- ·­?, i- ! Chapter Two 24 ·?·C, Kasey's general store was in Radford, while hi~ home was in New River. W.R. Wharton practiced law on both sides of the river; the Ransoms did the same with their machine shops. Medical services also spanned the river. Of the five or six doctors listed in 1891 and 1892 Radford papers, at least two -- Wilson and Farmer -- were familiar with New River and made house calls there. New River residents had to travel to Radford for dental services. The first approximation of a. hospital was closer to New River than to Radford. For a brief time, Dr. R. H. Cowan ran such an establishment for the railroad near today's Sunrise Burial Park. If General Wharton was the founder of New River, for many Years C.W. Scott acted as the community's unofficial "mayor." Scott first bought property in the late 1870s; he sold the last of that property, from Lynchburg, in 1916. In the interim, Scott acted as speculator, real estate agent, printer, businessman extraordinaire, and all around town booster. His name was linked, in business contexts, with Noble, Wilson, and Wharton. Of those, only the Wharton connection is 100% clear. The general owned a New River newspaper, the BULLETIN, and Scott edited it -- for about four years in the 1880s. As of 1885, the paper's motto was "Honesty, Energy, Pluck" and it served New River Depot, Central Depot (Radford), and both Pulaski and Montgomery counties. Scott listed himself as a 27 year old merchant in the 1880 census. He, his wife Rosa, and baby daughter boarded Joel Harper that year. (Harper clerked for C.W. before going into partnership with Chumbley.) The 1880 census is the only one in which Scott himself appeared, although he still owned land during both the 1900 and 1910 counts. The family may have simply been out of town or could have moved to Lynchburg. Robert Scott, "commercial salesman," lived in New River at least from 1896 through 1904. Undoubtedly a relative of C.W. 's, Robert may in fact have been the manager of the "Scott" store. C. W. Scott bought one commercial lot near the Brown hotel and another at or near the "old" depot. One probably housed his printing business -- where he published the paper and printed cards, notices, and whatever else was required -- and the other his store and its penny candy. He sold the "depot" lot in 1901 and the other in 1911. C.W. Scott had great plans for New River. He bought a big tract of residential property and, after reserving part for himself, subdivided much of the rest into sizeable residential tracts which -- unique in New River real estate -- he sold to whites only and with the proviso that purchasers were barred from resale to non-whites. Scott's masterplan must have been on paper at one time. Sales refer, for example, to Scott Section 4, lot 3, and one Chapter Two 25 can still see the symmetry of his design. New River failed to live up to his early expectations, which may explain the approximately 25 acres of Scott land which, to this day and under a variety of different owners, remains open farm land. In 1909, at age 55, C. W. Scott sold about 20 acres including his own house, to Samuel J. Carter. ' In 1891 the "Iron Highway" toll bridge was completed, down river toward the 900 acres in Pulaski recently acquired by the West Radford Land and Development Company. Intended to help "amalgamate" Montgomery and Pulaski counties' "intercourse and interests," the bridge was seen by Radfordians as an "invaluable" factor "in the building up of a city's commerce and suburban interests." The opening of this span was accompanied by much fanfare. Promoters set up a pavilion on the Pulaski side and, according to the Radford ENTERPRISE of September 9, 1891, over 10,000 people came to witness the ceremonies. (5) The completion of the toll bridge created the oft Photographed "three bridge" vista. The first of these was, of course, the original railroad trestle with its wide boardwalk connecting New River Depot and East Radford. The second span, branching off the first on the Radford side of the river, was the unique "curved" railroad bridge, completed in 1888, which bypassed New River on its way to the Pocahontas coal fields. For better or worse, and perhaps as a partial result of having been bypassed by the "Iron Highway," New River Depot never experienced either the run away growth or the grime that afflicted Radford. Along with listings of who had been sick and who had gone to visit whom, the "New River Notes" section of the 18 May 1891 Radford ENTERPRISE included the following promotional: "As a pleasant place to live -- barring an occasional breach of the peace -- New River is unexcelled; [with] its beautiful scenery, fresh air and some of the best hearted people on earth, it is an altogether desirable place to spend a month or two during the warm weather .... " In other words, while not completely staid and uneventful, New River offered relief and release from the hurly burly and air pollution of nearby Radford. The idea of New River as a place to spend time in the summer implied acceptance of another reality. The boom was over and New River was, quite literally, being by-passed by a wave of economic developments swirling around it. The "state of the art" technology involved in the curved and toll bridges reflected Radford's emergence as an industrial and transportational center of note. Maintenance problems on the New River Depot bridge symbolized that neearby community's inertia. The Radford ENTERPRISE of April 22, 1891, noted that "much needed repairs are being made on the New River bridge" apparently as a private and personal undertaking. "One who Chapter Two thinks more of humanity than he does of h' mself w~s seen repairing the bridge in the hot sun on We~nesday. There were problems of a different nature on.the Radfo~d side. In the same issue of the ENTERPRISE that discussed, in great detail, an on-going crisis over dead hogs in the city "which encumber the face of the earth" and endangered the health of the population, a New River resident compla~ned about the dead, and very odiferous, horse one could not avoid noticing on the Radford side when crossing over the bridge. 26 Scott's BULLETIN had folded in the 1880s. New River residents now relied on the Radford papers, which carried advertizements and sometimes even a column on news from New River. Latter day readers are left wondering just exactly how Thornton Taylor broke his arm in five places. Visiting from Roanoke in 1891, Taylor actually lived in New River as of 1894. The 18 June 1892 ENTERPRISE reported that a burglary at the depot had netted the culprits $75.80. A similar burglary in Radford the same night had used the identical modus operandi dynamite to blow open the safe. Depot Agent Bradshaw had seen some white men loitering nearby, and "Detective Baldwin [of the Felts-Baldwin security agency] has the case in hand ... [and] will no doubt not be long in capturing the trio of rascals." The reporter took the opportunity to complain about "the numerous tramps who infest" Radford -- and, by extension, New River Depot. That same issue also reported on a train accident just west of New River, near Morgan's Cut. The injured were taken to Cowan's "hospital." Another, much more tragic accident in that same decade left George Harris dead, hit by lightning while picking peas. On a less serious note, the 22 May 1896 ADVANCE informed its readers that T.D. Hudson was postmaster of New River, that I.W. Wilson was "cow hunting[??]," that R. 0. Scott was "rusticating" in Giles county that week, and that Robert English was recovering from an accidental gun shot wound. Despite its failure to boom, New River Depot did persevere. It had schools, streets, and churches. Despite, or perhaps even because of, the change in its status from boom town to suburb, it also continued to have an influx of people. Land sold actively during the 1890s: 17 sales to whites and 13 to blacks between 1891 and 1900. Although some of the original "settlers" left, many of the families which had arrived by 1895 stayed on. Blacks and whites alike, however self-sufficient they might try to be, had to buy some of their daily needs. Most ran credit accounts at local stores which they paid off with "notes" (records of salaries earned) from corporate employers (e.g. the railroad, the county board of supervisors) or cash earned in other ways. In addition to items of clothing and sewing needs, stores provided coffee, sugar, spices and salt. True "townees" -- i.e. those people who did not raise their own Chapter Two 27 feed stock -- also bought meat, eggs, flour, and the equivalent of what people go to grocery stores for today. Except for a few pages from Mrs. Wharton's account with Chumbley's store, store records for New River have proven elusive. The records for a Belspring (then Churchwood) store for the year 1891 are probably comparable. St. Albans, a private school for young men, opened in 1892. Whether as a school or, later, as a hospital, St. Albans provided employment for existing residents and attracted newcomers. Radford, enjoying the boom that had bypassed New River, offered a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs -- with the railroad and with several new industries, including the "iron furnace" and "pipe shop" foundry. And New River retained its own economic viability. Deeds only tell us about those who actually bought land. Many of the artisans and employees rented their living accommodations. The will of one black landowner, James Noel, made reference to at least six families living in rental property on his land. Merchants who operated businesses in New River Depot at one time or another during the 1880s and 1890s included: JHChumbley, JT and WB Ransom, Scott and Noble, RPGilliam and Sons, MCDudley, JTHarper, GW Painter, and Scott and Wilson. A Virginia gazeeteer for 1893-94 -- i.e. well after Radford had assumed dominance in the area -- credited New River Depot with four hotels and/or boarding houses, carpenters and builders, a lumber company, real estate agents, a wagon factory, a machine shop, a doctor, druggists, an undertaker, a florist, and a milliner. There was also a stove factory at one time. (6) Notes ( 1) Thomas Bruce, 5.QJ.J.:tbH~:LY..iuin1JL.~n.d_ghf.w.rulQJULY.all~_._ Richmond, 1891. (2) "New River: The forgotten community," New River Newspapers, February 25, 1979. ( 3) Ibid. (4) Smith, p. 338. (5) Radford News Journal, Progress '92, Sun, Feb 23, 1992. (6) Smith, pp. 337-39; "New River: The forgotten community." 28 MILLS RIPPY'S ACCOUNT AT THE BROWN/KIRKWOOD SiORE IN CHURCHWOOD JUNE-OCTOBER :891 bacon @ . 10 /lb flour sugar @ • 07 /lb beef oil (about 8 gallons) coffee tobacco products a stove a coat 7 pairs of shoes including $3.50 ::or boots clothes/material/sewing taxes road fine (?) washboard, tub, headboard, 2 buckets $ 68.30 12.63 Misc and/or unspecified Mills Rippy married Lizzie Black (daughter of Mills and Hannah Black). The Rippy family lived in Churchwood (now Belspring) and Mills worked day labor for the railroad. Sid Conner was either a boarder or a relative and the Rippy store account includes purchases for and payments by Conner. They had a revolving account and so total spent will not exactly match total paid. In the five months from June to actccer :891. we know, :rom the railroad's own account at the store. that Mills Rippy received at least $46. 00 :.n pay "orders" ( or ::.redi t notes) from t he railroad and Sid Conner at least $11.00. ?ayments: Notes from railroad $ 55.00 The family spent a total of $80.93 at the store in those five months and paid a total of $78.59 -- bro~en down as follcws: $ 13.04 8.74 4.46 1. 31 .72 .52 1. 29 8.00 6.00 13.50 4.75 1. 72 1. 50 2.75 $ 80.93 Cash 9.90 Combination notes/cash 13.69 -------- S 73.59 29 A Map of the New River Depot Area in about 1900 (includes old roads obtained from an aerial survey) CHAPTER III RESIDENTIAL PATTERNS IN NEW RIVER DEPOT New River Depot's business district(s) clustered around the depot(s), stream and roadways. The first residential land sales occurred with little apparent regard for city planning. Once elements of speculation and land development entered the picture, however, so too did a patterning in the lay out of a real "town." Both Wharton and Scott drew up blueprints for residential subdivisions. This helps explain why, long before it had all that many people, New River Depot had streets and alleys and uniform lot sizes. Once the Ransoms sectioned off part of their property, they added a further section of gridwork to the town's outlines. New River was, with only a few exceptions, a racially segregated community, although overt reference to residential segregation appears only in deeds for the core sections of Scott's subdivisions. (He promised not to lease, rent, or sell neighboring land to non-whites and those buying his land promised the same thing. Should they break the covenant, their land would revert back to Scott.) In general, blacks lived on the edges and/or high points of town: Fort Hill, King/Midkiff Hill, and the western end of Giles Road. White families tended to live more in the middle of town. Whites also dominated the business district. Segregation was more often than not denoted by roads, alleys, and even back yards -- i.e. nothing that precluded regular contact, communication, and even social interchange. The community was small enough that few if any areas would have been "off limits" to blacks. Children and adults of both races literally passed each other on a daily basis -- going to work, school, or the store. Despite the boom atmosphere that engulfed New River in the 1880s, most residential lots were actually sold in the 1890s. This suggests that the large, often speculative, land owners like Scott may have rented land, and possibly even built rental houses, before it became clear that Radford, not New River, would be the area's boom town. At that stage, with land not likely to appreciate significantly in value, they began selling off lots. 32 New River Depot Business District (Approximate reconstruction) 1. 2 . 3. 3a. 3b. 4. s. 6. 7. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Ransom - icehouse? machine shop GGDudley Kibler - stable, carpenter Waskey - shop? Slaughter house 8. 9 . 10. 11. a. b. c. d. First "new" depot Original depot Fremont House Chumbley old store Butler lot Mill Mill -- Hodges? Noble/Brown Hotel Wharton Store Haney/Gilliam Grocery Fleeman/Kasey/Gilliam/Munsey Jones Barbershop? Ransom/Einstein/Boyd Second "new" depot Scott store Chumbley new store Stone HBHaney Dunn/Stanley Birchfield ,·, ~· 33 Evolution of the Downtown District 4A depot, water driven grist mill, hotel, two general stores and possibly a lumber mill -- all there by the 1870s -- formed the core of New River Depot's original "water front" business district. The Whartons and Radfords owned the hotel, one store, and the grist mill. As of 1879, Mr. Yancey managed the "Cattle and Hog Scale Company of New River" -- which may have been associated with a slaughterhouse up the tracks from the depot -- and the Ransoms of~ered machinist services. Farmers came to grind their grain, ship and/or slaughter their livestock, repair their equipment and buy the clothes, cloth, and other goods not producible at home. Both the 1857 depot and a second one built just across the tracks from it sat due north of the hotel but not directly connected with it by road. The road coming up from the river forked, with the "main" branch going over the tracks past the depot and on along today's Church Street, then north toward Giles county. The left branch went past the hotel, out along the creek, up the hill, and on to the Wharton farm. A plank walkway allowed passengers to walk between hotel and depot without undue danger from mud and road traffic. The "Fremont nearby. Chumbleys opened their first store (1871) near the House" hotel. The first Wharton store probably stood The post office was in one of these establishments. In the 1880s Wallace Hodge started a construction company at the river's edge. Part of that operation may have been a lumber mill. A short way up the river, John Wright had opened his quarry by 1887, providing the community its rock foundation. About 1890, the railroad completed a new and expanded depot about a quarter mile down the tracks from the old. One result of this move, and of the town's growth in general, was a shift in "center." What had been just a track between Giles Road and the farm road now became one leg of a cross-roads of business activity. Years before the depot shifted its location, Wharton had sold adjoining lots -- at what now became the town center -- to Noble (1879) and CWScott (1881). The two men operated in partnership for some years -- the exact nature of their enterprise is unknown. Deeds place a blacksmithy on one of the properties. C.W. Scott probably operated his general merchandise store here. He owned a number of town properties, on one of which he ran a printing press. In 1885 the Chumbleys relocated their store next to Scott's, and the Wharton store soon followed suit. The shift was underway. The 1890 deed selling Noble's lot referred to a large structure which the Browns had already erected. Convenient to the depot, this Brown hotel must have eclipsed the Fremont House. For that, or some other, reason, in 1886 the Radfords and Whartons sold 34 the Fremont to Mary Stone. Al though referred to as the "hotel lot II for years thereafter, the property may already have .stopped functioning as such. There was no structure on the l?t in 1905. Perhaps the building had burned. The stone's deed promised to keep the mill race (which ran through the hotel property) open. For years thereafter deeds included the same guarantee of a water source for the ~ill. (The race had obviously been constructed pr~or to 1886. A masonry reservoir came int~ existence at some point on the mill property between road and railroad tracks.) Wharton sold G.C. Butler land next to the "hotel lot" in 1890 and the Stones sold a small piece of their original purchase to Melvina White in 1895. Given its size (20x20), the White sa~e mu~t have been for some commercial purpose. What Butler did with his land is unclear, but bear in mind that the mill would have kept people coming down the road. The Chumbley and Scott stores and the Brown hotel -- with all their various appendage enterprises -- now formed the b~se of the town's main intersection with other businesses extending out on both sides and up the 1road across the tracks. The railroad property west of the "new" Chumbley store and directly across the street from the relocated depot could have been used for warehousing, as a stock yard, or a variety of purposes. Three lots extended west of that. Dunn had bought one in 1887 and then immediately sold it to B.F. Stanley. H.B. Haney and George Stone bought the other two. All presumably housed business enterprises. On the other side of the road and sandwiched between it and the railroad tracks, w. Birchfield (1890) also probably ran a business of some kind. Heading back toward the "center, " next came the depot with its stockyards, waiting rooms, and attendant facilities -- and then the "cut through" road. ,Three stores faced that road on its eastern edge. One housed the Wharton general store and lumberyard. Another, with Morgan's Branch running through it, had originally been bought by N.L. Fleeman but then sold, in 1889, to C.C. Kasey. Kasey had the right to use water from the creek for his steam engine boiler as long as such use did not impede the flow of water to the mill. In 1891 CCKasey used his lot, the water rights, and his "stock of goods of every kind and description" then housed in Einstein's storehouse as collateral on a loan. The steam engine may have been an early generator of electricity used to power some form of machinery -­perhaps Hodge's machine driven woodworking equipment. H.B. Haney o~ne? the last of these three small lots. During the 1890s, the Gilliams bought and combined the Haney and Fleeman/Kasey lots erecting thereon their grocery store. ' North across the tracks but on the same side of the street t1:1e Ra?som.s had a "n~w" s.tore by 1887, which they sold to th~ Einsteins in 1890 and in which Kasey had stored his stock of goods. -- --------- 35 In summary, as of 1890 the commercial "cross-road" boasted a de~ot, ~ ~otel, at least five stores, a blacksmithy, and several unidentified structures. It seems unlikely that such commercial space was "wasted" on residential housing. All of the unsold land -- including much of the relatively flat terrain along Morgan's Creek -- still belonged to the Whartons. They could have rented it out, used part as a community park, or run stables, eateries, or even a saloon themselves. When New River Depot's economic future had still seemed bright, the Whartons sold a series of lots north of the tracks and east along a steep bank. With one exception, all of the original purchasers were white and all presumably had commercial or speculative expectations for the property. (The exception was an 1887 sale of the lot directly behind the Ransom/Einstein store to Coralie Lewis, black.) Other than the Ranson/Einstein establishment, there is no indication that any of these lots was actually put to commercial use and, beginning in the late 1890s, they were sold, often piece by piece, to black families. Before the depot moved, the "main" street had followed the course of what was soon (and still) called (east) Church Street. Although Church Street remained an integral part of the business district, there was more of a tendency for residential and business activities to merge here. The Ransoms, who had purchased several acres back when the original depot was their nearest neighbor, built at least one two story residence for themselves, constructed rental property, and also probably had a machine shop, "old" store, and an ice house on the road frontage. GG Dudley bought three adjoining pieces of property on Church Street between 1885 and 1903 and then, in 1907, bought a fourth lot across the street. Since two GG Dudleys lived in New River and both ran merchandise stores, it seems safe to place one of those stores on these three lots. And, since one of the lots had originally been owned by James Turner, stabler, it also seems safe to assume that Dudley continued that business. Mr. Waskey bought his Church Street lot for resident~al purposes but also had some kind of "shop" on the property. Like the Dudleys, Kibler owned land on both sfdes of Churc~ Street and, as a carpenter, may have had a woodworking shop on site. The rough triangle formed by east Church Street, the "Whart/, ., 15.- Lucy (Richard) Casey 1893 <, 16. George Austin 1892; Simon Burks 1909 (or 1919) 17. William Casey 1890-99; Robert Austin 1902 and/or Sandy Casey 1916 18. Thomas and Sandy Casey 1900; Sandy Casey 1900 Lucy and Richard Casey bought #15 in 1893 and built his first house there. In 1916 Richard bought a larger, one acre plot across "the street." (At the time, no street existed, but there was an alley leading to the cemetery.) Like his Claytor/Williams neighbors, Richard's acre lot was ref erred to by a separate designation. His 1935 will left the larger lot to his grandchildren, on proviso that they sell it to each other, not to an outsider. Charles and Lucile Casey Williams raised their family on that land. George Austin bought #16 (designated as such and located north 43 of the Richard Casey lot) in 1892. As of 1908 the land was occupied, but not owned, by John Williams. Austin sold it to Simon Burks in 1919 (or 1909). The history of Lot #17 is, to say the least, a little confusing. William Casey made the original purchase in 1890, but he relinquished all rights to the property in 1899. The land presumably thus transferred back to the Whartons. Robert A. Austin bought a lOOxlOO lot just north of Robert (really should be George?) in 1902 and then exchanged lots with his father, Robert J. Austin. The property was then inherited by Cloyd Austin. HOWEVER, when Sandy Casey (owner of #18) bought some land from Wharton in 1916, the deed clearly states the inclusion in that sale of Lot #17. The Austin purchase may actually refer to property near Morgan's Chapel, rather than to Midkiff Hill. Thomas and Sandy Casey bought Lot #18 as a joint effort in 1900 and it was this property that Thomas ceded to Sandy in exchange for Sandy's interest in the lot bought from Roy Bibbie. New River's black cemetery begins 500 feet or more down the road from #18. over two and a half acres in size, it was purchased, for that explicit purpose, in 1903. Lot #18 was the last in Wharton's numbering system, but it was just the beginning of Sandy Casey's acquisition of Midkiff Hill land. In 1916 he bought #17 AND the 462xlOO strip of land between #18 and the cemetery. In 1932 he acquired over 15 acres of land between Richard Casey• s acre lot and the top of the cemetery. Thus, he accumulated an estate of some 20 acres at the northern end of Midkiff Hill. A few early Midkiff Hill purchases were made, by blacks, that were not part of the planned symmetry. D. Thomas Mccraw bought property which may actually have been part of the one a~re Richa7d Casey acquired in 1916. Mccraw sold to Augustus Davis who, in turn, sold in 1913. George Williams also made an early purchase -­exact location unclear -- which he sold after buying a lot on King's Hill in 1912. It is very possible, however, that these Williams continued to live on Midkiff -- on property owned by Flem and Sally Ann Williams. 44 · · 1 "plan" Settlement of Fort Hill -- the origina k fortification, Fort Hill Named after a Civil war earthen wor s the old and the new rose rather steeply up to the north of both t h d laid it out :ailroad depot. Like Midkiff Hfll, General Whar onde:i nated it as into approximately equal lot sizes and apparently ·gtion in lot a black residential area. Geography dictated some var ra shape. Wharton sold the first Fort Hill land in 1887. Lot #1, at the bottom of the hill, went to Archie (F .A.) Mitchell, railroad brakeman. (Several other railroad employees would also buy property on the hill.) Lots #5 and 6 -- irregular in size and forming a triangle near the top of the hill -- went to Lewis Sheffey' s Baptist Church. Almost three years elapsed before a building was completed, but services were underway at least by 1890. Several of the Fort Hill families (and perhaps this was also true with Midkiff Hill) paid rent (i.e. lived in houses Wharton had constructed) for some time before they actually purchased the house and lot. Thus, actual date of purchase may not be an accurate reflection of when the family arrived in New River. Lots #1 through 10 were all sold between 1887 and 1891. The 45 numbering went up the hill and then back down in parallel with a "street" running up the middle until it arrived at the' church. Archie Mitchell's neighbor to the right, in Lot #10, was W. L. Clarke (on whom I have found no information). Two brothers, John and George Morton, bought adjoining Lots #2 and 9. J. carter (to whom no reference has been found) apparently rented Lot #3, with James Black (moved to town from Hazel Ridge) in Lot #8. Warren and Martha Saunders bought Lot #4; Joseph and Margaret Robinson bought Lot #6. Both of these bordered on church land. Thereafter, the numbering symmetry breaks down a little, although, in most cases, the same dates of purchase apply i.e. between 1887 and 1891. While there is land that could nave accommodated it, no sales were ever· specifically designated Lots #11 and 12. Malinda Hall bought Lot #13, less regular in size than most of the other lots and, at 3/8 of an acre, slightly larger. At some point, her daughter, Cora Hall Saunders, acquired Lot #14 -­which may actually have been a double lot. Lot #15, at the corner of two "alleys" went to the Gibsons and then, through inheritance, to Julia Montgomery. The numbering gets a little "strange" hereafter. Completing the core "block" of Fort Hill, we find Charles Brown due north of #15 and due east of #14 living on Lot #29! The land just above him was vacant (or rental) until 1916, at which time the Whartons gave it to Langhorne Ford, whose father, George, had earlier bought Lot #24 (!) which, like the Hall lot, was not symmetrical. It bordered the church land and completed the "core." Numerical logic reasserted itself on the outer edges. Lot #16 was across the alley (today a real street) from #15 and was bought by Andrew Sheffey. A Clark originally bought #17 but sold it to the Minters who, in turn, later sold it to Andrew Sheffey. The deeds refer to a street, or alley, running behind (to the east) these lots -- which alley seems to have been more a figment of Wharton's imagination than ever a real passageway. Lots #18-21 do not exist as such but may well have been intended to run down the "alley" in numerical sequence all the way through, perhaps, 23. An 1887 sale of 2. 5 acres (with reference to it containing 4 lots) to whites ended the downward sequence and marked the southern terminus of "black" Fort Hill. Andrew Sheffey eventually bought (in a two acre chunk) most of the land that would have comprised Lots 18-20. His original scheme now impossible, Wharton simply started the numbering over again, on the top of the hill and across from Lots #15 and 16. Two Charlton brothers bought Lots #22 and 23 and sold them to Andrew Sheffey fifteen years later. George Ford's #24 should have followed next (and in fact the next lot is, in one deed at least, referred to as "Ford's" lot) but, as we have seen, #24 is in the core "block." The lot next to #23 was not sold until the 1920s, at which time it was designated #25. The only remaining "original" Fort Hill lot was not sold until 1941 and has no 46 num eri· cal designation but fits right in as #26. Witne!:la~ives often bought adjoining or neighboring land. Ford a •d or example, the Charlton amd Morton brothers. George adjoini rargaret Robinson were brother and sister and bought Julia M ng t ots • The 1916 gift to Langhorne added a third Ford lot. marria on ~ornery eventually married John Morton. She came to the north g~ with Fort Hill land and later bought part of the lot due Kate R~ll~ohn's land. James Black sold his lot to the Rollins, saunde ins was Malinda Hall • s daughter -- as was ccra Hall rs. ~ 1 j 49 l'i\O lld'..D<1n,,\.&\ l'is'\'J ~,~~(!) \~II 0,<' 1i'l\ 11,-...., \ i'\ \ 1-\u,uo r-, ri.0.<1 ~ Rw.w\-s If\~~..,.-, \'l,:I.' q.-....n...< tqi,2,.Q.~n.a.c'° & f \'<\\ 1-\...r\..._,. G) 1rt2.~n 0 1l,,,.JL\rtl.n.....- ,J '1 \'i'>>~ @ \qo1-G_.-..._,,.._.-- ~·~~ .... tlr',u.,,l \.r ® L.>;"""' io.o,CC.~<..S. @ C Q'{~TR._ ,,q9~q.~ ~" "'··~ ~ /'"\<' (i.O~i:>ll,.".d\C~.. S. © Sc.ct\- !' S~cn d-. v) I.!.! J lb v 1: ,J rr: _j J: !j S=-tl- Se.c..\ion \ 50 Section 2, bordered by Giles, Locust, Scott, and ~rystal streets, is flat and, with only a small excep~ion, w~s .ultimately ~onsolidated into T.M. Greiner's ownership. It was original~y sold in nine separate transactions between 1890 and 1907. The Ricketts family had acquired about half of the section before thei~ land transferred (as the result of an estate division) to the Greiners. Section 3, bordered by Giles, Chapel, Scott, and Locust, was the most heavily subdivided section -- with at least 12 separate lots -- but here too original sales dates ranged from 18~0 to 1909. Between 1895 and 1911, WEKennedy acquired at least five of the lots. Section 4, bordered by Giles, Chapel, a hypothetical extension of Scott, and the northern edge of Scott's land, consisted of only two much larger than normal lots sold in 1891 and 1892. There are no deed references to Sections 5 and 6 but one assumes they would, if developed, have extended west of 4 and no:th of 7. Section 7 was bordered by Locust, Scott, Chapel and High streets. The western edge was never developed and thus High Street actually only runs about 150 feet north. In theory, High would h~v~ ~ontinued, intersected Chapel, and proceeded north as the dividing line between Sections 5 and 6. Scott made seven sales in Section 7, all between 1890 and 1892. On its settlement," nevertheless whites . western side, Section 1 bordered the "colored but its deeds -- like most of Sections 1 through 7 -­included covenants not to sell or lease land to non- . ~n 1909 C.W. Scott sold twenty plus acres to Samuel Carter. This included some 6 acres of presumably open land south of Locust, about. 15 undeveloped acres north of Locust, and a scattering of lots in Section 3 not already sold . . ~ome of the people who bought from Scott sold soon thereafter. Families who held their property for over ten years (between 1890 and 1925) included: Section 1 Heninger 1890-1924 Harless 1890-1900 Long 1916- 0linger 1893- Myers 1912- Section 2 Ricketts 1891-1908 McCormick 1890-1911 Greiner 1902- Brown 1892-1902 Caves 1905- Section 3 Dudley 1890-1926 WEKennedy 1895- Birchfield 1890-1911 Section 4 Sifford 1891- TJWhite 1892-1906 WEKennedy 1906-1925 Section 7 CWWhitt 1890-1922 WWPendleton 1892-1926 Mrs. CLAbell 1891-1923 51 Flanagan Land . Adam Flanagan acquired a triangular section of land across Giles Road from Morgan's Chapel. For all practical purposes, by 1890 that tract had become a black subdivision part residential and part agricultural. In 1883 Flanagan sold 1acre lots to Rush Floyd and to Charles McDaniel -- both of whom headed black families recently moved to New River from Rockford (i.e. near Flanagan's own home) · The year before, Joseph Parker (presumably black) had bought half an acre. A half acre lot behind these and off the road went through a series of sales to whites but by 1884 belonged to James Noel, also black. In 1896 Flanagan sold the two most westerly acres of the triangle to Charles Johnson, black. In 1890 Robert Austin, black, bought the rest of the land -­so~ e seven acres - - apparently with money borrowed from Cofer, white. He sold an acre to the county for a black school house. Then Austin apparently began having trouble making his payments to Cofer. Austin and Cofer sold one acre facing on Giles Road to Arthur McDaniel (who, in 1905, sold to Bocock, white). The Austins retained title to about half the remaining land but the rest reverted to Cofer, who sold it to Purdy. Ransom Land The Ransoms bought their first pieces of property, some from Abbott but most from Wharton, in 1872. They bought a large seven acre tract in 1878 and did not stop their acquisitions until 1889. Some of the property was scattered around town, but most became part of a consolidated whole, forming almost a square, bordered by Church Street, Fort Hill, and Barger land to the northeast. T~e Ransoms eventually subdivided off the western one-third of this land, forming a two-lot deep tier of ten plots bounded by Church street on the west and an alley on the east between this "subdivision" and the Ransom core holding. The earliest sale was in 1885, with the last in 1907. The Ransoms probably rented housing on these lots until they were purchased. The Munseys had bought one of the more southerly lots in 1898. In 1914 they bought out all of the remaining Ransom holdings, including the "core" homeplace. Other Large Landowners The Bargers and Chumbleys both owned sizeable multiacre tracts of land in New River Depot. Some of this may have been rented out but none was "developed" in the way Scott and Wharton land had done. The 16 acre Chumbley tract was sold to the Gilliams in 1907 and then to Samuel Carter in 1920. Assessment records for that property make reference to a defunct mill and a fou.ndary on it. Barger sold his land to the Brooks in 1908 and they, in turn, sold to the Divers in 1913. ', r : \ .). : ·\ Sc.oIT/ C..F;RTE.K tku.s(: CHAPTER FOUR ENTERING THE 20TH CENTURY 1900-1915 Disembarking from the 7:30 evening train, a visitor to New River Depot in 1910 might have seen a cluster of people playing croquet on a stretch of well maintained lawn bordering the creek. Other groups gossiped or courted, under pretense of watching the game or waiting for the train. Munsey's store sold soft drinks and G.G. Dudley's offered some particularly enticing candies. A few automobiles bumped along the dirt road but horses and wagons far outnumbered those noisy contraptions and the town still required more service of blacksmiths than of auto mechanics. People coming from work in Radford breathed sighs of relief once off the trestle boardwalk and walked toward home making plans for the weekend. Perhaps a church social was in the offing, or a picnic, or a trip to the racetrack over in Radford, or the lodge had a dance, with musicians coming from out of town. Perhaps cousin Bill, or brother Bob, was scheduled to visit from West Virginia. Or maybe there would be a wedding -- or a funeral -- with relatives from all around come to help in the celebration -- or the wake. Our visitor would have smiled at the friendly small town atmosphere. I As of 1910 New River Depot was no longer the boom town of twenty-five years earlier. But it was now much more of a community, complete with the fellowship that comes from long acquaintance and understanding of oneself and one's neighbors. "It was a leisurely life .... Back then people had time for each other .... The people in the community visited each other. They didn't call or ask if you were busy, they just dropped in." (1) They also intermarried, making it more than a little difficult for outsiders to keep track of who was related to whom but, at the same time, increasing the fact of "community." New River's 1900 population of about 600 could not com~ete with Radford's several thousand residents. Nor, however, did it represent a drop that might have been expected aftei::·the boom died. Unfortunately, the census takers that year ~eemed devoid of any sense of geographic logic. Greater New River Depot was divided between several canvasers, all of whom refused to follow straight lines in their travels. Ascertaining who actually lived where, based on that census, is impossible. Chapter Four t · " blank, Although the census also often left "occupa ion New River's residents included, at a minimum: 6 stone/brick masons 7 carpenter/plasterer/painters 4 blacksmiths 4 railroad brakemen 12 other skilled/unskilled railroad employees 25 iron furnace employees 8 clerks/salespersons/retailers/agents The number of iron furnace and railroad employee;estern reflected New River's continued links to Norfolk and d and a growing dependence on Radford -- but it still ha an economy of its own. •The community had its own shoe repairman, watch andg jewelry repairman, clergymen, school teacher, lawyer~ :~i~~ maker and repairer and even its own dentist. Peopl 1 bor owned farms, worked as farm labor, or did piecemeal d~Y a · William Ransom now listed himself as a retired mechanic-1 Gabriel Wharton's son apparently handled most of the rea. k estate work and kept the family accounts. Walter McCormic travelled the area as an agricultural machinery agent. Women who needed or wanted to earn a living had fewer options. Most were laundresses or servants. A few served live-in housekeepers. One made quilts, another made hats, taught, and one was a stenographer . as two . New River had become the residence of choice for blac~5 families. While the much larger community of Radford had 70 black property owners in 1905, the tax assessor noted ove~ lots owned by blacks in New River -- not counting Butchers Crossing or outlying farm land. . People came and went. By the turn of the centurY and increasingly thereafter the south in general witnessed an outmi•g ration I especially' among blacks I of people and fVa' mil• i~1sa seeking better opportunities. For many in southwest 1rgin ' "n th" 1 a short o: meant the coal fields of West Virginia -- on Y . 1 train ride away but offering higher wages better educationa fa · 1 · t · ' t The coal .ci i ies, and a less oppressive racial environmen · k fields attracted a significant percentage of New River's blac population -- especially among the younger generations. And from West Virginia it was easy then to keep going to Ohio, ~ichigan, or even New York. That as many people stayed as did ~s testimony to the countervailing attractions of New River itself and/or of the industrial jobs in Radford. W~ites, and especially those working for the railroad, also migrated. Thus New River Depot's population was fl~id .. even as part of it held stable. The town also remained home to people who left -- as witnessed by those who "came home" to be buried. ~----- Chapter Four 55 Although many of the outlying families had cemeteries on their own land, in 1903 five or six prominent blacks cosigned the purchase of about two and a half acres on the northwest edge of town to codify as such land already in use as a black cemetery. The earliest deaths recorded on tombstones there are three Caseys, all of whom died in 1882. Saley Brown, born in 1~18 and dead sometime in the nineteen teens, may be the olde7t s(tini ltle irnm su soef. Year born) of those buried there. The cemetery is Whites were often buried in Hickman Cemetery, up the road toward Belspring. Used by members of both communities, it contains family plots for the Chumbleys, Ricketts, Bargers, Long~, Harrisons and Carters, among other New River residents. Sallie Barger, wife of D.H. and dead in 1886, was among the very first New Riverians interred. .. But~her's Crossing remained an active and populated suburb. At least ten families owned land there at one time or another. Abram had died, but Edith Vaughn stayed on. Craig Sheffey died in 1903 but the family held on to the land. The Taylors and Butchers expanded their holdings. Tobias Hen~erson h1a88d8 ,b ought his "across the tracks" acre from the Vaughns in and sold it back to them in 1899. He was still living at the Crossing in 1910, however. Charles and William Saunders owned three acres of Crossing and Tobias Burks two (until a 1907 lawsuit forced its sale and Butcher bought the property at auction). Virginia Page acquired 1 1/2 acres -- probably as a gift for long time ssmearlvli cPel ottos t.h e Chumbley family. Minnix Hendricks owned two The 1900 census counted over 50 people at Butcher's. Crossing; the figure was only slightly lower in 1910. William Taylor and Charles Johnson (who owned land i~ to~n but apparently lived at the Crossing) both had live-in housekeepers. By 1910 the Minters, who would eventu~lly buy the Butcher land, were living at the Crossing on their ow~ 2 a 1/2 acres and Henry Burnett {whose family moved around 1r1:~ bit within "greater New River") was in residence. Of a ese People, only Abram Vaughn, Craig Sheffey, and Charles Saun~er~ listed themselves as farmers, although the landowners combine for a total of over 40 acres. Sometime after 1900 Butcher's Crossi~g acqui~ed_a.c~~t Pleasing attraction Minnix Hendricks built a child sizd h's fully operational m~del train and ran it on tr~ck~ a~o~niri~s" house. A blacksmith barber, and producer of ar en. Ph ea in addition to his b~ing a jeweller, Hendricks ma~e1~is ~m popular destination for blacks and white~, both~ uwa! ~~e next children. For many, a ride on the Hendri?ks train best thing to a trip to the carnival or circus. 56 Chapter Four A stop at that train, and perhaps a v~sit_with oth~:n to Crossing residents, might easily have fit.in with an ouui fhe the watercress pond cum swimming hole a little further P t tracks toward Morgan's Cut. "On Sunday afternoo~s we allw~~ld together and walked. It was more fun than anything. We th walk for miles, singing and talking .... We used to walk to b: cress lake." (2) Now overgrown and silted, the P?nd used to commercially harvested. One former New River r~sident remembers being warned to avoid the "cress men, who were probably migrant workers. Although some of New River's early black farming families stayed on their land, by 1900-1910 a trend away from those outlying areas and into town had begun. By 1910, for e~amp~eh Mills and Hannah Black, both approaching 80, had moved in wit their son Stewart -- himself a recent "town" resident. The Austins also bought in-town lots, although some continued to live on the "home place." George and Henry Walker stayed out at Morgan's Cut. In town, the business district underwent some changes but continued active. According to the 1905 tax assessors records, downtown New River had four buildings, presumably stores and hotel, appraised at between $400-500. As of that year C.W. Scott owned some kind of warehouse appraised at $1,200. The buildings on Barger's land (exact nature unclear) were assessed at $1,500. Given that houses apparently ranged in assessed value from $25 to about $200, anything over that amount presumably represented a commercial venture of some kind. The Fremont "hotel lot" had no structure listed that year. ·The Whartons sold their grist mill to David Fox in 1906 and the Rhudys bought it from Fox in 1907. Attracting farmers from the surrounding areas, the mill brought in customers for New River's other enterprises. ,For many years, the grocery remained under Gilliam ownership. John Munsey later bought and consolidated all three of the lots directly east of the depot. His main store building, which had been constructed so as to span the creek, had apartments upstairs and sometimes also housed the post office. A lumberyard occupied what had previously been the Wharton store site and, in 1905, was under the management of Mr. Harless. At some point one G.G. Dudley took over operation of the Chumbley store and another G.G. Dudley, known as "Hooligan," ran his own emporium. In 1920 "Hooligan" and his daughter listed themselves as postal employees. What with postal employment being a political reward, the post office changed location depending on the outcome of elections. The Einsteins sold their store to E.R. Boyd in 1912. Boyd undertook an ambitious -- and ultimately abortive -- attempt to - -·--~~·-. Chapter Four 57 refrigerate part of the structure in order to sell beef. (2) Boyd died in 1916. The real estate was bought by James Lyons and much of the store's contents was sold at auction. One of the general stores housed a dress shop on its second floor -- not a ready made clothing store but one where the customers went in for fittings on their made-to-order garments. Mrs. Headrick, dressmaker, may have worked both there and out of her house. C.W. Scott's store was probably still open at least through 1910, although he himself no longer ran it. The Haleys (or Haney's) acquired two adjoining lots between the creek and railroad tracks: from Wharton in 1903 and Birchfield in 1911. H.B. Haney listed himself as an "advertising agent" on the 1910 census. The Brown hotel (whether run by the Browns or by Mrs. Keister) may have continued to function as such for a brief time into the new century but, in 1910, Keister sold it to Martin and Nannie Williams. This black couple came to New River Depot from Giles County and reopened the "hotel" as a boarding house -- one which did accept black residents. They financed the purchase with the help of a consortium of 17 black New River Depot residents who extended a $285 loan. The Stones sold the old Fremont House lot to Tobias and Mary Henderson, black, in 1915. (Tobias was now yard boss for the railroad, and this location put him much closer to his work.) These two sales of New River's original hotel sites closed forever one chapter of the community's history. Blacks made other inroads into the business district. In 1904 Wharton sold the Oddfellows room for a lodge right behind the Gilliam/Munsey store and on the creek banks. In 1911 C.W. Scott sold his store lot to Nannie Smith. She in turn sold part to Ed Jones -- who probably operated his own barber shop at that location. Most of the land on the bank above the railroad tracks -- originally bought by whites, probably as business speculations -- had become a residential area for blacks at least some of whom worked for the railroad. J.E. Buckner took time off from his ministerial tasks to sell insurance. As of 1905 the Ransom "structures" (as opposed to land) were appraised at $825 -- which probably included rental housing, the Ransom home, and some kind of machine shop. For a while, New River was home to a stove factory of some sort, and very possibly this could have been on Ransom land. And the railroad kept running. The depot employed agents and telegraph operators in addition to the yard bo~ses and other less skilled labor. With as many as ten trains a day, the depot stayed busy and there was always work to do on the lines. ESTATE OF THE STORE, SOLD AT AUCTION IN 1916 E.R. BOYD, FROM 15 Haystacks \5'0. 00 1 Paper cutter/paper 2.35 1 stove 3.00 1 stove 3.25 1 stove 1. 00 1 typewriter 22.00 1 cash register 22.00 1 soda fountain 10.00 1 Mccaskey Register 7.50 1 show case 12.00 1 show case 6.75 1 telephone 23.00 1 telephone 10.00 1 biscuit stand 1.25 1 meat block 1. 30 1 oil tank 9.50 1 spool cannon case 1.10 1 peanut roaster 10.00 1 cheese knife 3.20 1 computing scale 7.75 58 EXCERPT FROM W.B. RANSOM'S WILL, PROBATED IN 1915 "I direct that my body be decently buried in a manner corresponding to my estate, but with as little expense as may be consistent therewith." IRENA CLAYTOR'S PERSONAL PROPERTY ESTATE, APPRAISAL THEREOF IN 1910 Cash Wardrobe Bureau Iron bedstead Sm. table Falling top dining table Washstand Clock Clothes chest Cot 14.65 6.00 5.00 3.00 1. 50 Safe Dishes Easel 2.00 3.00 .50 Lamps, vases, etc 1. 00 Complete bolster and strawtick 1.00 4 prs short pillows and hornernarj.e carpet 2.00 3.00 1. 00 2.50 1. 00 2.50 ========= $ 53.65 59 \"EW RIVER ~CHCOL HOCSE ----- 60 -·---··• w.•- • •• Chapter Four 61 Further up Giles Road, as of 1905 the Greiner property (probably.a combination of his house and a wood working shop) was a~praised ~t $475. Greiner was in the process both of starting a family of five and consolidating much of Scott's Section 2 plus some three acres due west of that under his ownership. New River Depot had lost four of its most prominent founding families by 1914 -- but had gained solid replacements. Already having moved to West Virginia, D.H. Barger sold his 20 plus acres, house and outbuildings in 1908. His son became a doctor and moved to Roanoke, although he -- like his mother but not his father -- is buried at Hickman cemetery. The family retained a small lot acquired from James Noel's heirs until 1918. Mr. Brooks, stone mason and house builder, bought the bulk of Barger's property. In 1913, at age 65, Brooks sold everything to Mary and JW Divers. Although the core Barger acreage remained intact, the Divers sometimes added to it as the opportunity arose and sometimes sold peripheral lots. The Divers paid the impressive sum of $3,900 for Barger's land (Brooks having made no changes in its dimensions) and whatever structures came with it. This compares with the $1091 Samuel J. Carter paid C.W. Scott for 21 acres, a house, and assorted outbuildings in 1909. Since there was no significant difference in acreage, this implies the presence of extensive structural property of some nature on the Barger land. The 1909 sale to Carter divested C. W. Scott of almost all of his New River property, although his very last sale (of the bottom of Section 1 to Carter's daughter Ida Carter Bowman) was not until 1916. Deeds suggest that C.W. and family spent a good deal of time in Lynchburg and, as of 1900, may already have moved back permanently. The Robert and Helen Scott who bought one of the lots in Scott Section 1 in 1900, for the grand total of $1, were probably related to C.W. and Robert, a salesman, may in fact have managed C.W.'s store. Living in New River at least by 1896, Robert and Helen sold their land in 1904 and do not appear on the 1910 census. Samuel J. Carter listed himself as a carpenter and must have been a rather successful one. He and his family apparently moved into the Scott house on Locust (now Carter) street. Two daughters married locally: as noted, Ida Carter Bowman bought the last piece of C.W. Scott's New River property in 1916. In 1920, Carter even expanded his land holdings. The Ransoms arrived in New River before either the Scotts or the Bargers (although Barger may have come from nearby) and stayed longer. They began selling off pieces of prope:ty along the western edges of their land as early as 1885 but did not make their last purchase until 1889. In 1914 Mrs. Ransom, now a widow, willed the remaining tract -- over three acres -- to 62 Chapter Four Al' h h d already bought ice Munsey, wife of the store owner, w O a 18905 other Parts of the Ransoms' land beginning in t~e. New.River Already well settled by 1914, the Munseys staye in for decades thereafter. Lewis and Mary Sheffey had been among the ~e~y f!~:tverY blacks to settle in New River with Lewis organizing · ent f' ' ·ng as a promin irst black congregation and undoubtedly servi b ght member of the community. In 1879 the childless couple ~~e land on what later became (east) Church Street and, for three Years prior to his death in 1893, Lewis served as F rt minister to the newly constructed black Baptist church ~n ° Hill. Lewis left his entire estate to his wife, in wha maY well be the first black will probated in New River. Mary stayed on for a while and then she remarried and moved ~wa~. She left her property in the care of Kibler, a white neigh ~r, who promised to forward any and all rent proceeds to her. n 1909, and apparently in conjunction with Mary's death, her heirs sold the land to Kibler. John Buckner followed in Lewis Sheffey's footsteps. ~ed arrived in New River as a bachelor but then, in 1909, ma:rie Laconia McDaniel. Laconia had been active in the shortlived black Episcopal choir, but redirected her attention to the Baptist church of which John became minister. John Buckner Probably had a'college degree and Laconia, at a minimum, had received teacher certification. Both played very active roles in the community. John sold insurance and would later serve 's several of the lodges as trustee. The heirs to Fred McDaniel land, they also acquired Louisa Anthony's property and bought several other adjoining lots. Like Lewis and Mary Sheffey, the Buckners were childless and, also like the Sheffeys, they were vibrant members of the community. Time, deaths, and frequent fires brought changes to New River. In 1907 the Chumbleys sold their large tract at the northeast edge of town to the Gilliams. Joseph, the original store owner, died in 1917 but his business district propertY remained in the family at least into the 1930s. One of the Dudleys took over operation of the store. Through marriage, death and inheritance, part of the Kasey and Ricketts land east of Giles Road merged and was then sold to the Stones. Branches of that family provided New River with several teachers and a dentist. W.H. Ricketts, farmer, had also bought several lots of Scott Section 2 and, although he died in 1903, that land stayed with the family until 1908. The Stinsons (employed bY the railroad) and Bucks, at the corner of Giles and what is today called Divers Street, sold out to AF Waddell. The several Owenses, who included carpenters, railroad employees, and merchants, bought and sold land but, in general, retained a sizeable tract bordered by Giles Road, the school lot and Barger/Divers land. By 1910, Andrew Sheffey and the Casey family had emerged Chapter Four 63 as the community's most active black members -- at least from a real estate perspective. Fred and Charles McDaniels' families were among the oldest continous black residents. ,As years passed, some of the faces of New River changed, if not always the names. More specifically, original members of the "first families" began to die. In the case of the Ransoms, death marked the end of the name. The elder Whartons died and, after about 1910, that name appears only as parties of the first part (i.e. sellers) on deeds. D.H. Barger's wife died in 1886; his 21 year old daughter in 1903. Barger himself moved to West Virginia and his son to Roanoke, thereby deleting the Barger name from New River rolls. But when Mills and Hannah Black died in the nineteen teens they left behind many descendants who continued the name and remained in New River. So too with the Sheffeys and Morgans and Owens. The 1910 census is notoriously inaccurate, with a tendency dramatically to undercount -- i.e. the canvasers left houses and even whole neighborhoods out. Even based on those questionable figures, between 1900 and 1910 the population of New River grew from about 600 to at least 650. Of those totals, the number of black residents increased from about 250 to about 320. According to the 1910 census, non-agricultural wage earners held the following jobs: 20 iron furnace 23 pipe shop 1 veneering plant 3 brickyard 5 railroad brakemen 15 skilled and unskilled railroad jobs 15 carpenters/painters/electricians/well drillers 6 brick or stone masons 3 black smiths 7 retail/commercial 8 teachers (public and private) 10 laundresses 6 seamstresses At least one-third of these jobs entailed work at factories across the river in Radford. While two of the blacksmiths worked for someone else (i.e. the railroad), Thornhill owned his own smithy (but apparently on rented land). W.A. Myers set up another blacksmith shop, in 1912, right across from the Owens homeplace and on land once owned by Robert and Helen Scott. Wallace Hodge now had competition from the Brooks family in the house contracting business. W.E. Kennedy had replaced Kasey as operator of the town's stationery boiler and had begun to build a mini-estate, consisting of several lots in Scott Sections 3, 4, and 7. 64 ~-------- ------ -----~ Chapter Four two bookkeepers, In addition, there were two clergymen, 1 ees a barber, two Radford hotel employees, three postal emP oy ts' a "h t monumen orse trader," an advertising agen' a t People maY (gravestones) salesman, and an insurance agen · . that this ~~11 have worked two jobs or moonlighted-~ me~ni~~tal talent ist is not necessarily inclusive of New Rivers 1 Greiner Pool. Nor were all carpenters, for example, equa · and Carter were affluent; others less so. B 50% f the community. Over . Y 1910 blacks comprised about O O utting it into time, that percentage actually increased, thus P 1 tion in sharp contrast with Belspring (where a 20% black popu a k 1900 had dwindled to 0% in 1925) and Radford (whose bla~ to population never 15% of the total, eventually decrea7e1 b ' 0 • t • "racia a out 5%). The literalness of New River ~epo s ld the balance" was one of its distinctions. While blacks he 'ded bulk of the "blue collar" industrial jobs, they al~o.provia the community with most of its masons, both electriciansthe barber, one of the listed clergymen and at least one.of son the teachers. They also continued to hold a variety of Job railroad. Some, of course, remained primarily farmers. -Many of the "rural" blacks worked on nearby white ownedt f ft · ddition ° arms such as the Morgans' and Ingles' -- o en in a ff working some of their own land. The Wharton farm was sold,~ ' admittedly in fairly large chunks, thus ending that familY role as key to the community's economy. Jobs kept most people busy much of the day, but what could people do in New River when not at work? Most of the children went to school. In 1913, the white elementary school moved out of town, up Giles Road near the intersection with today's Route 11. The grounds now included a "Teacherage." Most of the faculty were trainees from Radford's newly opened Normal School, and theY lived in that building. A few teachers -- the Stone girls being cases in point -- were able to live at home. The black school remained in its original location until 1922, meaning that for about 10 years the two schools were literally within sight of each other. As of 1914 Misses Rosa Jones and Sadie Lewis taught 45 and 56 students respectivelY in the two room building and complained that the stove needed repair work. It was apparently common practice for these teachers to visit their students' homes on a regular basis -­suggesting an active parental involvement in the educational process even when many of the parents were themselves illiterate. White students wishing to attend high school usuallY went to Radford; blacks travelled to the Christiansburg Institute or even further away. Chapter Five 69 the Thyne Institute, had 45 students in class and reported the stove in very good condition. In 1920-21, Hattie Wood taught 34 1st through 3rd graders and Elizabeth Morrison 23 4th through 7th gr<;1ders · Both now complained that the entire building, after thirty years of hard use by hundreds of active children, needed repairs. The teachers got even more than they had asked for. In 1922 a new frame building, known as the William Gresham school, was built just behind the black Methodist church. (One of the Casey families bought the old school. The building later burned in a tragedy which took at least one person's life.) As of 1923-24 Mrs. Janie Bibbie taught 1st through 3rd grades and Mrs. Anna B. Norman handled grades four through seven. Bibbie earned $55 a month; as principal, Norman made $60. A virtual institution at the school, Mrs. Norman taught in New River for some thirty years. She made the trip from Pulaski with her husband on a daily basis or, when the weather necessitated, often stayed overnight with families like John and Teaney Morton. After the 1922 move, a small "teacherage" provided housing on the school property itself. Mrs. Norman was assisted, at various times, by Mrs. Lucy Clark of Dublin (remembered fondly) and Miss McNorton of Christiansburg (a strict disciplinarian) · Mrs. Laconia McDaniel Buckner, who lived very near the new school, may have taught there briefly, but spent most of her career in the Radford school system. According to one long-time resident, Mrs. Norman was so light skinned that, back when blacks were supposed to sit in the back of buses, she could regularly be seen riding right behind the driv~r. This could also, of course, have in a sign of the respect in which she was held. School bus service was not provided for blacks, making the daily journey quite a trek for children who lived two or three miles away. Odell Frazier, who later moved to New River as Mrs. Stonewall Jackson Green, grew up on "furnace row" in Radford· Sometimes when the Radford school system could provide no teachers -- she had to walk across the railroad trestle and all the way up Giles Road to the old school building. Enrollment figures for both white and black schools make it clear that not all eligible children attended. In general, "urban" children were more likely to go to school than their "rural" counterparts. Absenteeism could be a function of illness, weather, or the need for extra work hands at home. Adult illiteracy was on the decrease. In some cases, literate whites helped teach illiterate blacks to read and write. In other cases, children, black and white taught parents what they themselves had learned in school. The passage of time also meant ~_., ~-,-·~--·-·--------·. - . Chapter Five New River's Infrastructure and Economy Doctors for the living and hearses for the dead both had to deal wit~ road conditi?ns. New River's roads remained unpaved for a long time. One resident remembered that "the ruts in the road were s~ de.ep at times that if you did happen to own a car, you couldn t ride very comfortably. As you would ride, the car would boun?e and your head would constantly be hitting the ceiling.· .. "{l) Mud, of course, was a problem for cars, wagons, and pedestrians alike. The permanency of automobile transportation was reflected in the arrival of gas pumps -- at one or more stores in New River's business district and out Giles Road at Goad's. 73 Regular train service connected New River with Pulaski (a 25 cent trip) and points west as well as, of course, with Radford. But, as a sign of things to come, bus transportation (e.~. Greyhound) went from Radford along Route 11 to Dublin and Pulaski, by-passing New River. You could walk up to Route 11 and have it stop for you; the trip between Radford and Pulaski cost about 10 cents in the 1930s. For getting around New River, walking rema~ned the most common, and often most enjoyable, mode of transportation, while horses, buggies and wagons were still common sights. Some early "streets" - - like Taylor and Mason - - vanished through disuse and the consolidation of land-holdings; others were improved. A 1933 petition spearheaded by Sandy Casey got official county road status for the "20 foot alley" running from the black cemetery passed his house, the Methodist church, and down to the Crocketts. The new Hazel Hollow Road connected Ingles Ferry (and later Claytor Dam) to Route 11 and the traffic bridge across to Radford. While E. R. Boyd apparently had telephone service as of 1916 (his estate included two) as late as 1939 New River boasted a total of only 33 telephone, numbers several of which were i. n w h a t we would today call Fairlawn. Fo' r blacks, servi· ce was 1 a· rru·, ted primarily to stores and parsonages, and even the Carters, Ageesf and Divers apparently survived without telephones. (The number O phones actually decreased to 31 in 1944, while those owned by blacks increased to about one-third the total.) Appalachian. Power "wired" the town· but here again electricity was a benefit one enJ· oyed only i· f on' e could afford i· t. A pu bl·i c w ater system. hadd ntohte yet arrived so wells, cisterns, and septic systems ~em~ine lls order of th~ day. Fleming Williams earned a living diggin~ w~ld-and septic systems. "Outdoor plumbing" may have bee fashioned, but it was common for many houses. Alth h somewhat reduced in size, New River retained a business doiusgt rict and provided some "hometown" emp loymedn t ·h By the mi'd 1930s, the color and d Yn ami'cs of that downtown ha, owever, changed. 74 Chapter Five / or operated their John Munsey and G G Dudley still owned and. and clothing, mer h · · d ceries Mu c andising stores. While both hand~e gro and Dudley for the h i nsey was known for the variety of his goods , t one or both ~gh quality of his clothing selection. At some p~in ~ppetites of ~h them installed gas pumps to satisfy the growing orseless carriages." 1 remained a Like the Munsey and Dudley stores, the mil John Divers constant -- linking postwar New River with it~ pasts and the Agee and.w.w. Agee bought the mill from the Rhudys in 191. living at family "ran" it thereafter. Actually, the Boaz fami~yld Juanita the ~ill, probably ran day-to-day oper~tions. A~ a c ~d ;he Boazs C~usins, now Mrs. William Rollins, visited.New River a The water with her mother and "camped out" on the mill grounds. withstood wheel kept turning throughout the 1930s and the structure drop in the great flood of 194 o. (After World War I I'. hov.:eve:r: ~n~ of New ~~stomers forced this, one of the founding instituti iver Depot, out of business.) (2) . Ld i s converted to an The old Ransom/Einstein/Boyd bu i, ing wa nt for at !atery. The Lyons bought it in 1916 and ra~ a restau:athen and east part of their twenty year ownership .. Bot 1 urposes. afterward, the upstairs was probably used for residenta rued the The Lum Whitlocks bought the building in 1936 and cont~ncing. restaurant under black ownership and provided space for . . closed or Other of the early businesses, including the depot, or died drastically cut back their operations as people moved away d fewer and!or as demand for their services decrea~ed. . Fewer de d agents trains actually stopped at the station, but it still nee h the and a maintenance staff. Running as. they di~ right thr~ugast. center of "downtown," the trains remained reminders of th p . but still .wright's quarry reduced the scale of its operation~ company provided stone when needed. Wallace Hodge's const

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~ (() c: HO 'O (l) s ai:s: 'H (I) 'H J.l ~r:i ,J...i.:.;: '0- 0 (l) ,...; U) '+-I' U) (!) ,...; ~- '° .μ r-1 z0 ([) ..=o: ~E 0 .μ0 .μ ..(=[:) 0 ::t 'O .μ .μ ([) Q) ,.....; i:: (I) 'O ct, (I).μ c: CJ) .!tl o as HZ 'O C{l c: 'O (I) C{l II) ..J c: .!tl ::::: c: (I) Q) 0 ([) (I)..-= .μ0 .0 ~ H C) (I) a~s U) .μ C{l (I)..-= :.:.;-:=: ..c:: ..-= Q(J .μ ::::: 'O Ctl 'H C{l "tj r-1 0 O c: U) Has Pl Ctl !>-. +:> ....... ::E: +c:>: on !>-. (I) .....; ::::: .::: r-1 0) 0 (I) ..0 co o (I) E .....; ::t ::::: (I).μ..-= ..c:: (I)() E-t .0 - r-1 r··, f I i" i i i I I I. I' I' ,I I' ,j i ... .i LJ L..J j a: 1 0:: ~ ?; ~ ,j: u 7- 0 ; .. $> o ;: ci f ..; r.;::, ~f ';; • f ; () ~ .?, rl ,. J . ; . ~. .• Chapter Two 19 other reference), one old and one new railway station, and eleven unidentified structures -- all located along Morgan's Creek. A photograph, taken in the 1890s and looking across from Radford, shows a variety of buildings near the river. However, twenty years is a very long time, especially for a town in flux. Businesses undoubtedly came, went, and/or changed hands. Those operated out of rented properties may have left no record of their presence at all. Powered by a waterwheel, the grist mill was probably New River's oldest and most important commercial structure. Acquired by Wharton in 1869, it remained in his family's hands until 1906 and its continued operation guaranteed a stream of customers into New River. For every pound or bushel or sack of grain ground, the mill kept a set percentage thereof. No cash changed hands until, presumably, the mill sold its "earnings" -- perhaps to local grocers. (Mrs. Wharton had an account at a store in Radford wherein the store credited her for grain received and debited her for purchases made.) A mill race had been constructed at least by 1890 as had, perhaps, the water reservoir guaranteeing power. The 1891 map makes reference to another mill also run by water power -- perhaps the lumber mill referenced in church histories. A lumber mill would have fit nicely into W.A. Hodge's construction business. The geography of Hodge's landholding does make it possible. As of 1891 -- based on advertisements in the Radford ENTERPRISE -- at least three construction-related businesses had their headquarters in New River. From the land near the mouth of Morgan's Creek he purchased in 1888, Hodge ran a contracting operation that built new or moved existing structures. Some of the buildings visible near the river's edge in the old photograph may have been associated with his company. John Wright owned the New River Stone Company, which boasted quarries at New River, Morgan's Cut, and Belspring. He bought 5 acres of stone escarpment just up the river from the mill in 1887 and "mineral rights" on several properties in the area. W. N. Gilliam also provided "building stones." A large three story building is clearly visible in the old photograph a short ways back from the grist mill and the river. The Radford family sold this "Fremont House Hotel" to Mary Stone in 1886 -- by which time a projected relocation of the depot would have undercut some of its commercial attraction. That deed and those that followed later -- insisted that the mill race be kept open to guarantee adequate water flow to the mill. As of 1900 Stone listed her occupation as dressmaker, but she could have also been running a scaled down hotel-boardinghouse. · After the depot moved, the Browns bui 1 t a new hotel near it on land they then purchased from J.D. Noble in 1890. (Noble, in his turn, had bought the land from Wharton in 1878 Chapter Two 20 and this may have been the site of whatever the Scott and Noble partnership entailed.) One of these hotels had a wide wrap-around porch. One reputedly also had a plank board walk running all the way to the depot -- to protect passengers from the mud. They . undoubtedly served meals and may have provided rental office space. The Fremont House, if not the later Brown establishment, had a lobby large enough to accommodate dances and other gala occasions. "Near the hotels a restaurant was opened complete with a barber shop on the se~ond floor. Haircuts could be obtained for 15 cents and a shave for 10 cents."(2) Blacks could not stay in the hotels as long as they remained under white ownership, but a 1893-94 Virginia gazatteer made reference to several boarding houses in New River. As of 1900 Edward Jones (black) housed four boarders and thus may have run one such establishment. Under less formal arrangements, families supplemented their income by periodically taking in boarders. Wharton kept some of the land around the two hotels. The• rest of it became prime commercial property. The Chumbleys bought one acre to the west of the Noble/Brown hotel in 1885 and probably moved their store to the better location. Mrs. Wharton ran a credit account at the Chumbley store which she cleared only once a year and which, in 1890-91, ran to some $500 annually. The store served as a kind of bank, as well, with Mrs. Wharton sending employees to it for payments of anything from 25 cents in one time "wages" to regular monthly payments of several dollars. The Chumbleys also owned other lots on or near the railroad. Deed references put a blacksmith shop near, if not actually on, the Chumbley property. (At various times several other blacksmithies operated in various other parts of town.) G.C. Butler bought a lot right next to the Fremont House in 1890 but the purpose to which that land was put is unknown. G.G. Dudley first opened a general store near Morgan's Chapel and then moved nearer the depot. If the lot he bought in 1885 is the lot upon which that store -- the New River Racket Store -- stood, it was located north of the tracks just as the road begins to climb up into New River's residential area. "Scott's Store" dealt in general merchandise and was especially popular because of its candy. One resident recalled "He sold pieces of candy that sold for a penny. Some of the candy, instead of having prizes in them like today, contained another penny. In this way, if you were lucky, your candy would cost nothing. Mr. Scott must have liked me cause he Chapter Two 21 would take a pin and stick it in the candy to find the one with the penny so I could get it."(3) The 1890 map shows three small lots on the "new" Giles Road just across the tracks from the new depot. One housed the "Wharton store," which, like the Chumbley emporium, may have shifted location along with the depot. The other two soon belonged to W. H. Gilliam, grocer. (In 1901/02 John W. Munsey bought all three lots. His clothing and dry goods store doubled as a post office and Munsey also ran a lumber store.) Milliners worked to order and/or sold their wares at, for example, Chumbley's dry goods store. Various sales representatives, insurance agents, and perhaps even a lawyer or two worked out of the hotels, above the stores, or in buildings of which there is no surviving record. The early photograph shows several structures at the river's edge. This could have been the site(s) of: 1) the Brilheart wagon shop (which may, in fact, be the earlier Lyons wagon shop now under new management); 2) Jones' boarding house; 3) whatever outbuildings Hodge needed for his contracting business; and 4) various buildings for after hours relaxation. A 1891 newspaper made reference to a fight outside a "shack" on the river. Since the story also mentioned drunkenness as a contributing factor, perhaps the riverfront housed one or more "drinking establishments." Carpenters, plasterers, and stone masons worked in their homes or on the job. Seamstresses, and even undertakers, worked at home; blacksmiths set up shop near their homes; horse traders travelled around; salesmen went door to door. There was, of course, also the "new" depot and all of its adjunct operations. It employed telegraph operators, one or more yard bosses, and day labor. The temporary and permanent railroad workers (brakemen, construction labor, etc.) probably used the depot as their "home base" and it was the center of much activity with mail, passengers, freight, and livestock, for which it needed loading docks and nearby stockyards. On-going work up and down the line made for commotion, activity, and customers for the two hotels. H.T. Einstein, Robert Kirkwood, Newton Morgan and J.T. Whaling all shipped their livestock from the depot -- meaning that there must have been periodic cattle "drives" through town. (4) All this activity and all these people needed stables, barber shops, and eateries -- as well as the already referenced "social" establishments. The citizens of Radford complained about the profusion of saloons and alcohol on their side of the river. New River undoubtedly had similar "problems." Some New River residents worked or had their place of business in Radford. G. W. Groseclose had land in New River but ran a building and contracting company out of Radford. ---• -.-.·~~w. •• ·•··--·-··••··-·-· • •--·-• --·---·---• ·-- -·--- -• ..• . .. ·, ..... ,-·---- -- .. ---------·-·--·····-·-··-· '.;-,,-----..IL-- t.:; .IL~----11 . _ ~8~~ !~ ;'- ... .. : .. // ~- 1 // --- . -- - - -· - - ------- .... -· .·. -·- - ---· ·--·. ------- ·---- .... ·-·--- .---·---- ----------~--- -.----- 4~-5-. ~~-~- ·­?, i- ! Chapter Two 24 ·?·C, Kasey's general store was in Radford, while hi~ home was in New River. W.R. Wharton practiced law on both sides of the river; the Ransoms did the same with their machine shops. Medical services also spanned the river. Of the five or six doctors listed in 1891 and 1892 Radford papers, at least two -- Wilson and Farmer -- were familiar with New River and made house calls there. New River residents had to travel to Radford for dental services. The first approximation of a. hospital was closer to New River than to Radford. For a brief time, Dr. R. H. Cowan ran such an establishment for the railroad near today's Sunrise Burial Park. If General Wharton was the founder of New River, for many Years C.W. Scott acted as the community's unofficial "mayor." Scott first bought property in the late 1870s; he sold the last of that property, from Lynchburg, in 1916. In the interim, Scott acted as speculator, real estate agent, printer, businessman extraordinaire, and all around town booster. His name was linked, in business contexts, with Noble, Wilson, and Wharton. Of those, only the Wharton connection is 100% clear. The general owned a New River newspaper, the BULLETIN, and Scott edited it -- for about four years in the 1880s. As of 1885, the paper's motto was "Honesty, Energy, Pluck" and it served New River Depot, Central Depot (Radford), and both Pulaski and Montgomery counties. Scott listed himself as a 27 year old merchant in the 1880 census. He, his wife Rosa, and baby daughter boarded Joel Harper that year. (Harper clerked for C.W. before going into partnership with Chumbley.) The 1880 census is the only one in which Scott himself appeared, although he still owned land during both the 1900 and 1910 counts. The family may have simply been out of town or could have moved to Lynchburg. Robert Scott, "commercial salesman," lived in New River at least from 1896 through 1904. Undoubtedly a relative of C.W. 's, Robert may in fact have been the manager of the "Scott" store. C. W. Scott bought one commercial lot near the Brown hotel and another at or near the "old" depot. One probably housed his printing business -- where he published the paper and printed cards, notices, and whatever else was required -- and the other his store and its penny candy. He sold the "depot" lot in 1901 and the other in 1911. C.W. Scott had great plans for New River. He bought a big tract of residential property and, after reserving part for himself, subdivided much of the rest into sizeable residential tracts which -- unique in New River real estate -- he sold to whites only and with the proviso that purchasers were barred from resale to non-whites. Scott's masterplan must have been on paper at one time. Sales refer, for example, to Scott Section 4, lot 3, and one Chapter Two 25 can still see the symmetry of his design. New River failed to live up to his early expectations, which may explain the approximately 25 acres of Scott land which, to this day and under a variety of different owners, remains open farm land. In 1909, at age 55, C. W. Scott sold about 20 acres including his own house, to Samuel J. Carter. ' In 1891 the "Iron Highway" toll bridge was completed, down river toward the 900 acres in Pulaski recently acquired by the West Radford Land and Development Company. Intended to help "amalgamate" Montgomery and Pulaski counties' "intercourse and interests," the bridge was seen by Radfordians as an "invaluable" factor "in the building up of a city's commerce and suburban interests." The opening of this span was accompanied by much fanfare. Promoters set up a pavilion on the Pulaski side and, according to the Radford ENTERPRISE of September 9, 1891, over 10,000 people came to witness the ceremonies. (5) The completion of the toll bridge created the oft Photographed "three bridge" vista. The first of these was, of course, the original railroad trestle with its wide boardwalk connecting New River Depot and East Radford. The second span, branching off the first on the Radford side of the river, was the unique "curved" railroad bridge, completed in 1888, which bypassed New River on its way to the Pocahontas coal fields. For better or worse, and perhaps as a partial result of having been bypassed by the "Iron Highway," New River Depot never experienced either the run away growth or the grime that afflicted Radford. Along with listings of who had been sick and who had gone to visit whom, the "New River Notes" section of the 18 May 1891 Radford ENTERPRISE included the following promotional: "As a pleasant place to live -- barring an occasional breach of the peace -- New River is unexcelled; [with] its beautiful scenery, fresh air and some of the best hearted people on earth, it is an altogether desirable place to spend a month or two during the warm weather .... " In other words, while not completely staid and uneventful, New River offered relief and release from the hurly burly and air pollution of nearby Radford. The idea of New River as a place to spend time in the summer implied acceptance of another reality. The boom was over and New River was, quite literally, being by-passed by a wave of economic developments swirling around it. The "state of the art" technology involved in the curved and toll bridges reflected Radford's emergence as an industrial and transportational center of note. Maintenance problems on the New River Depot bridge symbolized that neearby community's inertia. The Radford ENTERPRISE of April 22, 1891, noted that "much needed repairs are being made on the New River bridge" apparently as a private and personal undertaking. "One who Chapter Two thinks more of humanity than he does of h' mself w~s seen repairing the bridge in the hot sun on We~nesday. There were problems of a different nature on.the Radfo~d side. In the same issue of the ENTERPRISE that discussed, in great detail, an on-going crisis over dead hogs in the city "which encumber the face of the earth" and endangered the health of the population, a New River resident compla~ned about the dead, and very odiferous, horse one could not avoid noticing on the Radford side when crossing over the bridge. 26 Scott's BULLETIN had folded in the 1880s. New River residents now relied on the Radford papers, which carried advertizements and sometimes even a column on news from New River. Latter day readers are left wondering just exactly how Thornton Taylor broke his arm in five places. Visiting from Roanoke in 1891, Taylor actually lived in New River as of 1894. The 18 June 1892 ENTERPRISE reported that a burglary at the depot had netted the culprits $75.80. A similar burglary in Radford the same night had used the identical modus operandi dynamite to blow open the safe. Depot Agent Bradshaw had seen some white men loitering nearby, and "Detective Baldwin [of the Felts-Baldwin security agency] has the case in hand ... [and] will no doubt not be long in capturing the trio of rascals." The reporter took the opportunity to complain about "the numerous tramps who infest" Radford -- and, by extension, New River Depot. That same issue also reported on a train accident just west of New River, near Morgan's Cut. The injured were taken to Cowan's "hospital." Another, much more tragic accident in that same decade left George Harris dead, hit by lightning while picking peas. On a less serious note, the 22 May 1896 ADVANCE informed its readers that T.D. Hudson was postmaster of New River, that I.W. Wilson was "cow hunting[??]," that R. 0. Scott was "rusticating" in Giles county that week, and that Robert English was recovering from an accidental gun shot wound. Despite its failure to boom, New River Depot did persevere. It had schools, streets, and churches. Despite, or perhaps even because of, the change in its status from boom town to suburb, it also continued to have an influx of people. Land sold actively during the 1890s: 17 sales to whites and 13 to blacks between 1891 and 1900. Although some of the original "settlers" left, many of the families which had arrived by 1895 stayed on. Blacks and whites alike, however self-sufficient they might try to be, had to buy some of their daily needs. Most ran credit accounts at local stores which they paid off with "notes" (records of salaries earned) from corporate employers (e.g. the railroad, the county board of supervisors) or cash earned in other ways. In addition to items of clothing and sewing needs, stores provided coffee, sugar, spices and salt. True "townees" -- i.e. those people who did not raise their own Chapter Two 27 feed stock -- also bought meat, eggs, flour, and the equivalent of what people go to grocery stores for today. Except for a few pages from Mrs. Wharton's account with Chumbley's store, store records for New River have proven elusive. The records for a Belspring (then Churchwood) store for the year 1891 are probably comparable. St. Albans, a private school for young men, opened in 1892. Whether as a school or, later, as a hospital, St. Albans provided employment for existing residents and attracted newcomers. Radford, enjoying the boom that had bypassed New River, offered a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs -- with the railroad and with several new industries, including the "iron furnace" and "pipe shop" foundry. And New River retained its own economic viability. Deeds only tell us about those who actually bought land. Many of the artisans and employees rented their living accommodations. The will of one black landowner, James Noel, made reference to at least six families living in rental property on his land. Merchants who operated businesses in New River Depot at one time or another during the 1880s and 1890s included: JHChumbley, JT and WB Ransom, Scott and Noble, RPGilliam and Sons, MCDudley, JTHarper, GW Painter, and Scott and Wilson. A Virginia gazeeteer for 1893-94 -- i.e. well after Radford had assumed dominance in the area -- credited New River Depot with four hotels and/or boarding houses, carpenters and builders, a lumber company, real estate agents, a wagon factory, a machine shop, a doctor, druggists, an undertaker, a florist, and a milliner. There was also a stove factory at one time. (6) Notes ( 1) Thomas Bruce, 5.QJ.J.:tbH~:LY..iuin1JL.~n.d_ghf.w.rulQJULY.all~_._ Richmond, 1891. (2) "New River: The forgotten community," New River Newspapers, February 25, 1979. ( 3) Ibid. (4) Smith, p. 338. (5) Radford News Journal, Progress '92, Sun, Feb 23, 1992. (6) Smith, pp. 337-39; "New River: The forgotten community." 28 MILLS RIPPY'S ACCOUNT AT THE BROWN/KIRKWOOD SiORE IN CHURCHWOOD JUNE-OCTOBER :891 bacon @ . 10 /lb flour sugar @ • 07 /lb beef oil (about 8 gallons) coffee tobacco products a stove a coat 7 pairs of shoes including $3.50 ::or boots clothes/material/sewing taxes road fine (?) washboard, tub, headboard, 2 buckets $ 68.30 12.63 Misc and/or unspecified Mills Rippy married Lizzie Black (daughter of Mills and Hannah Black). The Rippy family lived in Churchwood (now Belspring) and Mills worked day labor for the railroad. Sid Conner was either a boarder or a relative and the Rippy store account includes purchases for and payments by Conner. They had a revolving account and so total spent will not exactly match total paid. In the five months from June to actccer :891. we know, :rom the railroad's own account at the store. that Mills Rippy received at least $46. 00 :.n pay "orders" ( or ::.redi t notes) from t he railroad and Sid Conner at least $11.00. ?ayments: Notes from railroad $ 55.00 The family spent a total of $80.93 at the store in those five months and paid a total of $78.59 -- bro~en down as follcws: $ 13.04 8.74 4.46 1. 31 .72 .52 1. 29 8.00 6.00 13.50 4.75 1. 72 1. 50 2.75 $ 80.93 Cash 9.90 Combination notes/cash 13.69 -------- S 73.59 29 A Map of the New River Depot Area in about 1900 (includes old roads obtained from an aerial survey) CHAPTER III RESIDENTIAL PATTERNS IN NEW RIVER DEPOT New River Depot's business district(s) clustered around the depot(s), stream and roadways. The first residential land sales occurred with little apparent regard for city planning. Once elements of speculation and land development entered the picture, however, so too did a patterning in the lay out of a real "town." Both Wharton and Scott drew up blueprints for residential subdivisions. This helps explain why, long before it had all that many people, New River Depot had streets and alleys and uniform lot sizes. Once the Ransoms sectioned off part of their property, they added a further section of gridwork to the town's outlines. New River was, with only a few exceptions, a racially segregated community, although overt reference to residential segregation appears only in deeds for the core sections of Scott's subdivisions. (He promised not to lease, rent, or sell neighboring land to non-whites and those buying his land promised the same thing. Should they break the covenant, their land would revert back to Scott.) In general, blacks lived on the edges and/or high points of town: Fort Hill, King/Midkiff Hill, and the western end of Giles Road. White families tended to live more in the middle of town. Whites also dominated the business district. Segregation was more often than not denoted by roads, alleys, and even back yards -- i.e. nothing that precluded regular contact, communication, and even social interchange. The community was small enough that few if any areas would have been "off limits" to blacks. Children and adults of both races literally passed each other on a daily basis -- going to work, school, or the store. Despite the boom atmosphere that engulfed New River in the 1880s, most residential lots were actually sold in the 1890s. This suggests that the large, often speculative, land owners like Scott may have rented land, and possibly even built rental houses, before it became clear that Radford, not New River, would be the area's boom town. At that stage, with land not likely to appreciate significantly in value, they began selling off lots. 32 New River Depot Business District (Approximate reconstruction) 1. 2 . 3. 3a. 3b. 4. s. 6. 7. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Ransom - icehouse? machine shop GGDudley Kibler - stable, carpenter Waskey - shop? Slaughter house 8. 9 . 10. 11. a. b. c. d. First "new" depot Original depot Fremont House Chumbley old store Butler lot Mill Mill -- Hodges? Noble/Brown Hotel Wharton Store Haney/Gilliam Grocery Fleeman/Kasey/Gilliam/Munsey Jones Barbershop? Ransom/Einstein/Boyd Second "new" depot Scott store Chumbley new store Stone HBHaney Dunn/Stanley Birchfield ,·, ~· 33 Evolution of the Downtown District 4A depot, water driven grist mill, hotel, two general stores and possibly a lumber mill -- all there by the 1870s -- formed the core of New River Depot's original "water front" business district. The Whartons and Radfords owned the hotel, one store, and the grist mill. As of 1879, Mr. Yancey managed the "Cattle and Hog Scale Company of New River" -- which may have been associated with a slaughterhouse up the tracks from the depot -- and the Ransoms of~ered machinist services. Farmers came to grind their grain, ship and/or slaughter their livestock, repair their equipment and buy the clothes, cloth, and other goods not producible at home. Both the 1857 depot and a second one built just across the tracks from it sat due north of the hotel but not directly connected with it by road. The road coming up from the river forked, with the "main" branch going over the tracks past the depot and on along today's Church Street, then north toward Giles county. The left branch went past the hotel, out along the creek, up the hill, and on to the Wharton farm. A plank walkway allowed passengers to walk between hotel and depot without undue danger from mud and road traffic. The "Fremont nearby. Chumbleys opened their first store (1871) near the House" hotel. The first Wharton store probably stood The post office was in one of these establishments. In the 1880s Wallace Hodge started a construction company at the river's edge. Part of that operation may have been a lumber mill. A short way up the river, John Wright had opened his quarry by 1887, providing the community its rock foundation. About 1890, the railroad completed a new and expanded depot about a quarter mile down the tracks from the old. One result of this move, and of the town's growth in general, was a shift in "center." What had been just a track between Giles Road and the farm road now became one leg of a cross-roads of business activity. Years before the depot shifted its location, Wharton had sold adjoining lots -- at what now became the town center -- to Noble (1879) and CWScott (1881). The two men operated in partnership for some years -- the exact nature of their enterprise is unknown. Deeds place a blacksmithy on one of the properties. C.W. Scott probably operated his general merchandise store here. He owned a number of town properties, on one of which he ran a printing press. In 1885 the Chumbleys relocated their store next to Scott's, and the Wharton store soon followed suit. The shift was underway. The 1890 deed selling Noble's lot referred to a large structure which the Browns had already erected. Convenient to the depot, this Brown hotel must have eclipsed the Fremont House. For that, or some other, reason, in 1886 the Radfords and Whartons sold 34 the Fremont to Mary Stone. Al though referred to as the "hotel lot II for years thereafter, the property may already have .stopped functioning as such. There was no structure on the l?t in 1905. Perhaps the building had burned. The stone's deed promised to keep the mill race (which ran through the hotel property) open. For years thereafter deeds included the same guarantee of a water source for the ~ill. (The race had obviously been constructed pr~or to 1886. A masonry reservoir came int~ existence at some point on the mill property between road and railroad tracks.) Wharton sold G.C. Butler land next to the "hotel lot" in 1890 and the Stones sold a small piece of their original purchase to Melvina White in 1895. Given its size (20x20), the White sa~e mu~t have been for some commercial purpose. What Butler did with his land is unclear, but bear in mind that the mill would have kept people coming down the road. The Chumbley and Scott stores and the Brown hotel -- with all their various appendage enterprises -- now formed the b~se of the town's main intersection with other businesses extending out on both sides and up the 1road across the tracks. The railroad property west of the "new" Chumbley store and directly across the street from the relocated depot could have been used for warehousing, as a stock yard, or a variety of purposes. Three lots extended west of that. Dunn had bought one in 1887 and then immediately sold it to B.F. Stanley. H.B. Haney and George Stone bought the other two. All presumably housed business enterprises. On the other side of the road and sandwiched between it and the railroad tracks, w. Birchfield (1890) also probably ran a business of some kind. Heading back toward the "center, " next came the depot with its stockyards, waiting rooms, and attendant facilities -- and then the "cut through" road. ,Three stores faced that road on its eastern edge. One housed the Wharton general store and lumberyard. Another, with Morgan's Branch running through it, had originally been bought by N.L. Fleeman but then sold, in 1889, to C.C. Kasey. Kasey had the right to use water from the creek for his steam engine boiler as long as such use did not impede the flow of water to the mill. In 1891 CCKasey used his lot, the water rights, and his "stock of goods of every kind and description" then housed in Einstein's storehouse as collateral on a loan. The steam engine may have been an early generator of electricity used to power some form of machinery -­perhaps Hodge's machine driven woodworking equipment. H.B. Haney o~ne? the last of these three small lots. During the 1890s, the Gilliams bought and combined the Haney and Fleeman/Kasey lots erecting thereon their grocery store. ' North across the tracks but on the same side of the street t1:1e Ra?som.s had a "n~w" s.tore by 1887, which they sold to th~ Einsteins in 1890 and in which Kasey had stored his stock of goods. -- --------- 35 In summary, as of 1890 the commercial "cross-road" boasted a de~ot, ~ ~otel, at least five stores, a blacksmithy, and several unidentified structures. It seems unlikely that such commercial space was "wasted" on residential housing. All of the unsold land -- including much of the relatively flat terrain along Morgan's Creek -- still belonged to the Whartons. They could have rented it out, used part as a community park, or run stables, eateries, or even a saloon themselves. When New River Depot's economic future had still seemed bright, the Whartons sold a series of lots north of the tracks and east along a steep bank. With one exception, all of the original purchasers were white and all presumably had commercial or speculative expectations for the property. (The exception was an 1887 sale of the lot directly behind the Ransom/Einstein store to Coralie Lewis, black.) Other than the Ranson/Einstein establishment, there is no indication that any of these lots was actually put to commercial use and, beginning in the late 1890s, they were sold, often piece by piece, to black families. Before the depot moved, the "main" street had followed the course of what was soon (and still) called (east) Church Street. Although Church Street remained an integral part of the business district, there was more of a tendency for residential and business activities to merge here. The Ransoms, who had purchased several acres back when the original depot was their nearest neighbor, built at least one two story residence for themselves, constructed rental property, and also probably had a machine shop, "old" store, and an ice house on the road frontage. GG Dudley bought three adjoining pieces of property on Church Street between 1885 and 1903 and then, in 1907, bought a fourth lot across the street. Since two GG Dudleys lived in New River and both ran merchandise stores, it seems safe to place one of those stores on these three lots. And, since one of the lots had originally been owned by James Turner, stabler, it also seems safe to assume that Dudley continued that business. Mr. Waskey bought his Church Street lot for resident~al purposes but also had some kind of "shop" on the property. Like the Dudleys, Kibler owned land on both sfdes of Churc~ Street and, as a carpenter, may have had a woodworking shop on site. The rough triangle formed by east Church Street, the "Whart/, ., 15.- Lucy (Richard) Casey 1893 <, 16. George Austin 1892; Simon Burks 1909 (or 1919) 17. William Casey 1890-99; Robert Austin 1902 and/or Sandy Casey 1916 18. Thomas and Sandy Casey 1900; Sandy Casey 1900 Lucy and Richard Casey bought #15 in 1893 and built his first house there. In 1916 Richard bought a larger, one acre plot across "the street." (At the time, no street existed, but there was an alley leading to the cemetery.) Like his Claytor/Williams neighbors, Richard's acre lot was ref erred to by a separate designation. His 1935 will left the larger lot to his grandchildren, on proviso that they sell it to each other, not to an outsider. Charles and Lucile Casey Williams raised their family on that land. George Austin bought #16 (designated as such and located north 43 of the Richard Casey lot) in 1892. As of 1908 the land was occupied, but not owned, by John Williams. Austin sold it to Simon Burks in 1919 (or 1909). The history of Lot #17 is, to say the least, a little confusing. William Casey made the original purchase in 1890, but he relinquished all rights to the property in 1899. The land presumably thus transferred back to the Whartons. Robert A. Austin bought a lOOxlOO lot just north of Robert (really should be George?) in 1902 and then exchanged lots with his father, Robert J. Austin. The property was then inherited by Cloyd Austin. HOWEVER, when Sandy Casey (owner of #18) bought some land from Wharton in 1916, the deed clearly states the inclusion in that sale of Lot #17. The Austin purchase may actually refer to property near Morgan's Chapel, rather than to Midkiff Hill. Thomas and Sandy Casey bought Lot #18 as a joint effort in 1900 and it was this property that Thomas ceded to Sandy in exchange for Sandy's interest in the lot bought from Roy Bibbie. New River's black cemetery begins 500 feet or more down the road from #18. over two and a half acres in size, it was purchased, for that explicit purpose, in 1903. Lot #18 was the last in Wharton's numbering system, but it was just the beginning of Sandy Casey's acquisition of Midkiff Hill land. In 1916 he bought #17 AND the 462xlOO strip of land between #18 and the cemetery. In 1932 he acquired over 15 acres of land between Richard Casey• s acre lot and the top of the cemetery. Thus, he accumulated an estate of some 20 acres at the northern end of Midkiff Hill. A few early Midkiff Hill purchases were made, by blacks, that were not part of the planned symmetry. D. Thomas Mccraw bought property which may actually have been part of the one a~re Richa7d Casey acquired in 1916. Mccraw sold to Augustus Davis who, in turn, sold in 1913. George Williams also made an early purchase -­exact location unclear -- which he sold after buying a lot on King's Hill in 1912. It is very possible, however, that these Williams continued to live on Midkiff -- on property owned by Flem and Sally Ann Williams. 44 · · 1 "plan" Settlement of Fort Hill -- the origina k fortification, Fort Hill Named after a Civil war earthen wor s the old and the new rose rather steeply up to the north of both t h d laid it out :ailroad depot. Like Midkiff Hfll, General Whar onde:i nated it as into approximately equal lot sizes and apparently ·gtion in lot a black residential area. Geography dictated some var ra shape. Wharton sold the first Fort Hill land in 1887. Lot #1, at the bottom of the hill, went to Archie (F .A.) Mitchell, railroad brakeman. (Several other railroad employees would also buy property on the hill.) Lots #5 and 6 -- irregular in size and forming a triangle near the top of the hill -- went to Lewis Sheffey' s Baptist Church. Almost three years elapsed before a building was completed, but services were underway at least by 1890. Several of the Fort Hill families (and perhaps this was also true with Midkiff Hill) paid rent (i.e. lived in houses Wharton had constructed) for some time before they actually purchased the house and lot. Thus, actual date of purchase may not be an accurate reflection of when the family arrived in New River. Lots #1 through 10 were all sold between 1887 and 1891. The 45 numbering went up the hill and then back down in parallel with a "street" running up the middle until it arrived at the' church. Archie Mitchell's neighbor to the right, in Lot #10, was W. L. Clarke (on whom I have found no information). Two brothers, John and George Morton, bought adjoining Lots #2 and 9. J. carter (to whom no reference has been found) apparently rented Lot #3, with James Black (moved to town from Hazel Ridge) in Lot #8. Warren and Martha Saunders bought Lot #4; Joseph and Margaret Robinson bought Lot #6. Both of these bordered on church land. Thereafter, the numbering symmetry breaks down a little, although, in most cases, the same dates of purchase apply i.e. between 1887 and 1891. While there is land that could nave accommodated it, no sales were ever· specifically designated Lots #11 and 12. Malinda Hall bought Lot #13, less regular in size than most of the other lots and, at 3/8 of an acre, slightly larger. At some point, her daughter, Cora Hall Saunders, acquired Lot #14 -­which may actually have been a double lot. Lot #15, at the corner of two "alleys" went to the Gibsons and then, through inheritance, to Julia Montgomery. The numbering gets a little "strange" hereafter. Completing the core "block" of Fort Hill, we find Charles Brown due north of #15 and due east of #14 living on Lot #29! The land just above him was vacant (or rental) until 1916, at which time the Whartons gave it to Langhorne Ford, whose father, George, had earlier bought Lot #24 (!) which, like the Hall lot, was not symmetrical. It bordered the church land and completed the "core." Numerical logic reasserted itself on the outer edges. Lot #16 was across the alley (today a real street) from #15 and was bought by Andrew Sheffey. A Clark originally bought #17 but sold it to the Minters who, in turn, later sold it to Andrew Sheffey. The deeds refer to a street, or alley, running behind (to the east) these lots -- which alley seems to have been more a figment of Wharton's imagination than ever a real passageway. Lots #18-21 do not exist as such but may well have been intended to run down the "alley" in numerical sequence all the way through, perhaps, 23. An 1887 sale of 2. 5 acres (with reference to it containing 4 lots) to whites ended the downward sequence and marked the southern terminus of "black" Fort Hill. Andrew Sheffey eventually bought (in a two acre chunk) most of the land that would have comprised Lots 18-20. His original scheme now impossible, Wharton simply started the numbering over again, on the top of the hill and across from Lots #15 and 16. Two Charlton brothers bought Lots #22 and 23 and sold them to Andrew Sheffey fifteen years later. George Ford's #24 should have followed next (and in fact the next lot is, in one deed at least, referred to as "Ford's" lot) but, as we have seen, #24 is in the core "block." The lot next to #23 was not sold until the 1920s, at which time it was designated #25. The only remaining "original" Fort Hill lot was not sold until 1941 and has no 46 num eri· cal designation but fits right in as #26. Witne!:la~ives often bought adjoining or neighboring land. Ford a •d or example, the Charlton amd Morton brothers. George adjoini rargaret Robinson were brother and sister and bought Julia M ng t ots • The 1916 gift to Langhorne added a third Ford lot. marria on ~ornery eventually married John Morton. She came to the north g~ with Fort Hill land and later bought part of the lot due Kate R~ll~ohn's land. James Black sold his lot to the Rollins, saunde ins was Malinda Hall • s daughter -- as was ccra Hall rs. ~ 1 j 49 l'i\O lld'..D<1n,,\.&\ l'is'\'J ~,~~(!) \~II 0,<' 1i'l\ 11,-...., \ i'\ \ 1-\u,uo r-, ri.0.<1 ~ Rw.w\-s If\~~..,.-, \'l,:I.' q.-....n...< tqi,2,.Q.~n.a.c'° & f \'<\\ 1-\...r\..._,. G) 1rt2.~n 0 1l,,,.JL\rtl.n.....- ,J '1 \'i'>>~ @ \qo1-G_.-..._,,.._.-- ~·~~ .... tlr',u.,,l \.r ® L.>;"""' io.o,CC.~<..S. @ C Q'{~TR._ ,,q9~q.~ ~" "'··~ ~ /'"\<' (i.O~i:>ll,.".d\C~.. S. © Sc.ct\- !' S~cn d-. v) I.!.! J lb v 1: ,J rr: _j J: !j S=-tl- Se.c..\ion \ 50 Section 2, bordered by Giles, Locust, Scott, and ~rystal streets, is flat and, with only a small excep~ion, w~s .ultimately ~onsolidated into T.M. Greiner's ownership. It was original~y sold in nine separate transactions between 1890 and 1907. The Ricketts family had acquired about half of the section before thei~ land transferred (as the result of an estate division) to the Greiners. Section 3, bordered by Giles, Chapel, Scott, and Locust, was the most heavily subdivided section -- with at least 12 separate lots -- but here too original sales dates ranged from 18~0 to 1909. Between 1895 and 1911, WEKennedy acquired at least five of the lots. Section 4, bordered by Giles, Chapel, a hypothetical extension of Scott, and the northern edge of Scott's land, consisted of only two much larger than normal lots sold in 1891 and 1892. There are no deed references to Sections 5 and 6 but one assumes they would, if developed, have extended west of 4 and no:th of 7. Section 7 was bordered by Locust, Scott, Chapel and High streets. The western edge was never developed and thus High Street actually only runs about 150 feet north. In theory, High would h~v~ ~ontinued, intersected Chapel, and proceeded north as the dividing line between Sections 5 and 6. Scott made seven sales in Section 7, all between 1890 and 1892. On its settlement," nevertheless whites . western side, Section 1 bordered the "colored but its deeds -- like most of Sections 1 through 7 -­included covenants not to sell or lease land to non- . ~n 1909 C.W. Scott sold twenty plus acres to Samuel Carter. This included some 6 acres of presumably open land south of Locust, about. 15 undeveloped acres north of Locust, and a scattering of lots in Section 3 not already sold . . ~ome of the people who bought from Scott sold soon thereafter. Families who held their property for over ten years (between 1890 and 1925) included: Section 1 Heninger 1890-1924 Harless 1890-1900 Long 1916- 0linger 1893- Myers 1912- Section 2 Ricketts 1891-1908 McCormick 1890-1911 Greiner 1902- Brown 1892-1902 Caves 1905- Section 3 Dudley 1890-1926 WEKennedy 1895- Birchfield 1890-1911 Section 4 Sifford 1891- TJWhite 1892-1906 WEKennedy 1906-1925 Section 7 CWWhitt 1890-1922 WWPendleton 1892-1926 Mrs. CLAbell 1891-1923 51 Flanagan Land . Adam Flanagan acquired a triangular section of land across Giles Road from Morgan's Chapel. For all practical purposes, by 1890 that tract had become a black subdivision part residential and part agricultural. In 1883 Flanagan sold 1acre lots to Rush Floyd and to Charles McDaniel -- both of whom headed black families recently moved to New River from Rockford (i.e. near Flanagan's own home) · The year before, Joseph Parker (presumably black) had bought half an acre. A half acre lot behind these and off the road went through a series of sales to whites but by 1884 belonged to James Noel, also black. In 1896 Flanagan sold the two most westerly acres of the triangle to Charles Johnson, black. In 1890 Robert Austin, black, bought the rest of the land -­so~ e seven acres - - apparently with money borrowed from Cofer, white. He sold an acre to the county for a black school house. Then Austin apparently began having trouble making his payments to Cofer. Austin and Cofer sold one acre facing on Giles Road to Arthur McDaniel (who, in 1905, sold to Bocock, white). The Austins retained title to about half the remaining land but the rest reverted to Cofer, who sold it to Purdy. Ransom Land The Ransoms bought their first pieces of property, some from Abbott but most from Wharton, in 1872. They bought a large seven acre tract in 1878 and did not stop their acquisitions until 1889. Some of the property was scattered around town, but most became part of a consolidated whole, forming almost a square, bordered by Church Street, Fort Hill, and Barger land to the northeast. T~e Ransoms eventually subdivided off the western one-third of this land, forming a two-lot deep tier of ten plots bounded by Church street on the west and an alley on the east between this "subdivision" and the Ransom core holding. The earliest sale was in 1885, with the last in 1907. The Ransoms probably rented housing on these lots until they were purchased. The Munseys had bought one of the more southerly lots in 1898. In 1914 they bought out all of the remaining Ransom holdings, including the "core" homeplace. Other Large Landowners The Bargers and Chumbleys both owned sizeable multiacre tracts of land in New River Depot. Some of this may have been rented out but none was "developed" in the way Scott and Wharton land had done. The 16 acre Chumbley tract was sold to the Gilliams in 1907 and then to Samuel Carter in 1920. Assessment records for that property make reference to a defunct mill and a fou.ndary on it. Barger sold his land to the Brooks in 1908 and they, in turn, sold to the Divers in 1913. ', r : \ .). : ·\ Sc.oIT/ C..F;RTE.K tku.s(: CHAPTER FOUR ENTERING THE 20TH CENTURY 1900-1915 Disembarking from the 7:30 evening train, a visitor to New River Depot in 1910 might have seen a cluster of people playing croquet on a stretch of well maintained lawn bordering the creek. Other groups gossiped or courted, under pretense of watching the game or waiting for the train. Munsey's store sold soft drinks and G.G. Dudley's offered some particularly enticing candies. A few automobiles bumped along the dirt road but horses and wagons far outnumbered those noisy contraptions and the town still required more service of blacksmiths than of auto mechanics. People coming from work in Radford breathed sighs of relief once off the trestle boardwalk and walked toward home making plans for the weekend. Perhaps a church social was in the offing, or a picnic, or a trip to the racetrack over in Radford, or the lodge had a dance, with musicians coming from out of town. Perhaps cousin Bill, or brother Bob, was scheduled to visit from West Virginia. Or maybe there would be a wedding -- or a funeral -- with relatives from all around come to help in the celebration -- or the wake. Our visitor would have smiled at the friendly small town atmosphere. I As of 1910 New River Depot was no longer the boom town of twenty-five years earlier. But it was now much more of a community, complete with the fellowship that comes from long acquaintance and understanding of oneself and one's neighbors. "It was a leisurely life .... Back then people had time for each other .... The people in the community visited each other. They didn't call or ask if you were busy, they just dropped in." (1) They also intermarried, making it more than a little difficult for outsiders to keep track of who was related to whom but, at the same time, increasing the fact of "community." New River's 1900 population of about 600 could not com~ete with Radford's several thousand residents. Nor, however, did it represent a drop that might have been expected aftei::·the boom died. Unfortunately, the census takers that year ~eemed devoid of any sense of geographic logic. Greater New River Depot was divided between several canvasers, all of whom refused to follow straight lines in their travels. Ascertaining who actually lived where, based on that census, is impossible. Chapter Four t · " blank, Although the census also often left "occupa ion New River's residents included, at a minimum: 6 stone/brick masons 7 carpenter/plasterer/painters 4 blacksmiths 4 railroad brakemen 12 other skilled/unskilled railroad employees 25 iron furnace employees 8 clerks/salespersons/retailers/agents The number of iron furnace and railroad employee;estern reflected New River's continued links to Norfolk and d and a growing dependence on Radford -- but it still ha an economy of its own. •The community had its own shoe repairman, watch andg jewelry repairman, clergymen, school teacher, lawyer~ :~i~~ maker and repairer and even its own dentist. Peopl 1 bor owned farms, worked as farm labor, or did piecemeal d~Y a · William Ransom now listed himself as a retired mechanic-1 Gabriel Wharton's son apparently handled most of the rea. k estate work and kept the family accounts. Walter McCormic travelled the area as an agricultural machinery agent. Women who needed or wanted to earn a living had fewer options. Most were laundresses or servants. A few served live-in housekeepers. One made quilts, another made hats, taught, and one was a stenographer . as two . New River had become the residence of choice for blac~5 families. While the much larger community of Radford had 70 black property owners in 1905, the tax assessor noted ove~ lots owned by blacks in New River -- not counting Butchers Crossing or outlying farm land. . People came and went. By the turn of the centurY and increasingly thereafter the south in general witnessed an outmi•g ration I especially' among blacks I of people and fVa' mil• i~1sa seeking better opportunities. For many in southwest 1rgin ' "n th" 1 a short o: meant the coal fields of West Virginia -- on Y . 1 train ride away but offering higher wages better educationa fa · 1 · t · ' t The coal .ci i ies, and a less oppressive racial environmen · k fields attracted a significant percentage of New River's blac population -- especially among the younger generations. And from West Virginia it was easy then to keep going to Ohio, ~ichigan, or even New York. That as many people stayed as did ~s testimony to the countervailing attractions of New River itself and/or of the industrial jobs in Radford. W~ites, and especially those working for the railroad, also migrated. Thus New River Depot's population was fl~id .. even as part of it held stable. The town also remained home to people who left -- as witnessed by those who "came home" to be buried. ~----- Chapter Four 55 Although many of the outlying families had cemeteries on their own land, in 1903 five or six prominent blacks cosigned the purchase of about two and a half acres on the northwest edge of town to codify as such land already in use as a black cemetery. The earliest deaths recorded on tombstones there are three Caseys, all of whom died in 1882. Saley Brown, born in 1~18 and dead sometime in the nineteen teens, may be the olde7t s(tini ltle irnm su soef. Year born) of those buried there. The cemetery is Whites were often buried in Hickman Cemetery, up the road toward Belspring. Used by members of both communities, it contains family plots for the Chumbleys, Ricketts, Bargers, Long~, Harrisons and Carters, among other New River residents. Sallie Barger, wife of D.H. and dead in 1886, was among the very first New Riverians interred. .. But~her's Crossing remained an active and populated suburb. At least ten families owned land there at one time or another. Abram had died, but Edith Vaughn stayed on. Craig Sheffey died in 1903 but the family held on to the land. The Taylors and Butchers expanded their holdings. Tobias Hen~erson h1a88d8 ,b ought his "across the tracks" acre from the Vaughns in and sold it back to them in 1899. He was still living at the Crossing in 1910, however. Charles and William Saunders owned three acres of Crossing and Tobias Burks two (until a 1907 lawsuit forced its sale and Butcher bought the property at auction). Virginia Page acquired 1 1/2 acres -- probably as a gift for long time ssmearlvli cPel ottos t.h e Chumbley family. Minnix Hendricks owned two The 1900 census counted over 50 people at Butcher's. Crossing; the figure was only slightly lower in 1910. William Taylor and Charles Johnson (who owned land i~ to~n but apparently lived at the Crossing) both had live-in housekeepers. By 1910 the Minters, who would eventu~lly buy the Butcher land, were living at the Crossing on their ow~ 2 a 1/2 acres and Henry Burnett {whose family moved around 1r1:~ bit within "greater New River") was in residence. Of a ese People, only Abram Vaughn, Craig Sheffey, and Charles Saun~er~ listed themselves as farmers, although the landowners combine for a total of over 40 acres. Sometime after 1900 Butcher's Crossi~g acqui~ed_a.c~~t Pleasing attraction Minnix Hendricks built a child sizd h's fully operational m~del train and ran it on tr~ck~ a~o~niri~s" house. A blacksmith barber, and producer of ar en. Ph ea in addition to his b~ing a jeweller, Hendricks ma~e1~is ~m popular destination for blacks and white~, both~ uwa! ~~e next children. For many, a ride on the Hendri?ks train best thing to a trip to the carnival or circus. 56 Chapter Four A stop at that train, and perhaps a v~sit_with oth~:n to Crossing residents, might easily have fit.in with an ouui fhe the watercress pond cum swimming hole a little further P t tracks toward Morgan's Cut. "On Sunday afternoo~s we allw~~ld together and walked. It was more fun than anything. We th walk for miles, singing and talking .... We used to walk to b: cress lake." (2) Now overgrown and silted, the P?nd used to commercially harvested. One former New River r~sident remembers being warned to avoid the "cress men, who were probably migrant workers. Although some of New River's early black farming families stayed on their land, by 1900-1910 a trend away from those outlying areas and into town had begun. By 1910, for e~amp~eh Mills and Hannah Black, both approaching 80, had moved in wit their son Stewart -- himself a recent "town" resident. The Austins also bought in-town lots, although some continued to live on the "home place." George and Henry Walker stayed out at Morgan's Cut. In town, the business district underwent some changes but continued active. According to the 1905 tax assessors records, downtown New River had four buildings, presumably stores and hotel, appraised at between $400-500. As of that year C.W. Scott owned some kind of warehouse appraised at $1,200. The buildings on Barger's land (exact nature unclear) were assessed at $1,500. Given that houses apparently ranged in assessed value from $25 to about $200, anything over that amount presumably represented a commercial venture of some kind. The Fremont "hotel lot" had no structure listed that year. ·The Whartons sold their grist mill to David Fox in 1906 and the Rhudys bought it from Fox in 1907. Attracting farmers from the surrounding areas, the mill brought in customers for New River's other enterprises. ,For many years, the grocery remained under Gilliam ownership. John Munsey later bought and consolidated all three of the lots directly east of the depot. His main store building, which had been constructed so as to span the creek, had apartments upstairs and sometimes also housed the post office. A lumberyard occupied what had previously been the Wharton store site and, in 1905, was under the management of Mr. Harless. At some point one G.G. Dudley took over operation of the Chumbley store and another G.G. Dudley, known as "Hooligan," ran his own emporium. In 1920 "Hooligan" and his daughter listed themselves as postal employees. What with postal employment being a political reward, the post office changed location depending on the outcome of elections. The Einsteins sold their store to E.R. Boyd in 1912. Boyd undertook an ambitious -- and ultimately abortive -- attempt to - -·--~~·-. Chapter Four 57 refrigerate part of the structure in order to sell beef. (2) Boyd died in 1916. The real estate was bought by James Lyons and much of the store's contents was sold at auction. One of the general stores housed a dress shop on its second floor -- not a ready made clothing store but one where the customers went in for fittings on their made-to-order garments. Mrs. Headrick, dressmaker, may have worked both there and out of her house. C.W. Scott's store was probably still open at least through 1910, although he himself no longer ran it. The Haleys (or Haney's) acquired two adjoining lots between the creek and railroad tracks: from Wharton in 1903 and Birchfield in 1911. H.B. Haney listed himself as an "advertising agent" on the 1910 census. The Brown hotel (whether run by the Browns or by Mrs. Keister) may have continued to function as such for a brief time into the new century but, in 1910, Keister sold it to Martin and Nannie Williams. This black couple came to New River Depot from Giles County and reopened the "hotel" as a boarding house -- one which did accept black residents. They financed the purchase with the help of a consortium of 17 black New River Depot residents who extended a $285 loan. The Stones sold the old Fremont House lot to Tobias and Mary Henderson, black, in 1915. (Tobias was now yard boss for the railroad, and this location put him much closer to his work.) These two sales of New River's original hotel sites closed forever one chapter of the community's history. Blacks made other inroads into the business district. In 1904 Wharton sold the Oddfellows room for a lodge right behind the Gilliam/Munsey store and on the creek banks. In 1911 C.W. Scott sold his store lot to Nannie Smith. She in turn sold part to Ed Jones -- who probably operated his own barber shop at that location. Most of the land on the bank above the railroad tracks -- originally bought by whites, probably as business speculations -- had become a residential area for blacks at least some of whom worked for the railroad. J.E. Buckner took time off from his ministerial tasks to sell insurance. As of 1905 the Ransom "structures" (as opposed to land) were appraised at $825 -- which probably included rental housing, the Ransom home, and some kind of machine shop. For a while, New River was home to a stove factory of some sort, and very possibly this could have been on Ransom land. And the railroad kept running. The depot employed agents and telegraph operators in addition to the yard bo~ses and other less skilled labor. With as many as ten trains a day, the depot stayed busy and there was always work to do on the lines. ESTATE OF THE STORE, SOLD AT AUCTION IN 1916 E.R. BOYD, FROM 15 Haystacks \5'0. 00 1 Paper cutter/paper 2.35 1 stove 3.00 1 stove 3.25 1 stove 1. 00 1 typewriter 22.00 1 cash register 22.00 1 soda fountain 10.00 1 Mccaskey Register 7.50 1 show case 12.00 1 show case 6.75 1 telephone 23.00 1 telephone 10.00 1 biscuit stand 1.25 1 meat block 1. 30 1 oil tank 9.50 1 spool cannon case 1.10 1 peanut roaster 10.00 1 cheese knife 3.20 1 computing scale 7.75 58 EXCERPT FROM W.B. RANSOM'S WILL, PROBATED IN 1915 "I direct that my body be decently buried in a manner corresponding to my estate, but with as little expense as may be consistent therewith." IRENA CLAYTOR'S PERSONAL PROPERTY ESTATE, APPRAISAL THEREOF IN 1910 Cash Wardrobe Bureau Iron bedstead Sm. table Falling top dining table Washstand Clock Clothes chest Cot 14.65 6.00 5.00 3.00 1. 50 Safe Dishes Easel 2.00 3.00 .50 Lamps, vases, etc 1. 00 Complete bolster and strawtick 1.00 4 prs short pillows and hornernarj.e carpet 2.00 3.00 1. 00 2.50 1. 00 2.50 ========= $ 53.65 59 \"EW RIVER ~CHCOL HOCSE ----- 60 -·---··• w.•- • •• Chapter Four 61 Further up Giles Road, as of 1905 the Greiner property (probably.a combination of his house and a wood working shop) was a~praised ~t $475. Greiner was in the process both of starting a family of five and consolidating much of Scott's Section 2 plus some three acres due west of that under his ownership. New River Depot had lost four of its most prominent founding families by 1914 -- but had gained solid replacements. Already having moved to West Virginia, D.H. Barger sold his 20 plus acres, house and outbuildings in 1908. His son became a doctor and moved to Roanoke, although he -- like his mother but not his father -- is buried at Hickman cemetery. The family retained a small lot acquired from James Noel's heirs until 1918. Mr. Brooks, stone mason and house builder, bought the bulk of Barger's property. In 1913, at age 65, Brooks sold everything to Mary and JW Divers. Although the core Barger acreage remained intact, the Divers sometimes added to it as the opportunity arose and sometimes sold peripheral lots. The Divers paid the impressive sum of $3,900 for Barger's land (Brooks having made no changes in its dimensions) and whatever structures came with it. This compares with the $1091 Samuel J. Carter paid C.W. Scott for 21 acres, a house, and assorted outbuildings in 1909. Since there was no significant difference in acreage, this implies the presence of extensive structural property of some nature on the Barger land. The 1909 sale to Carter divested C. W. Scott of almost all of his New River property, although his very last sale (of the bottom of Section 1 to Carter's daughter Ida Carter Bowman) was not until 1916. Deeds suggest that C.W. and family spent a good deal of time in Lynchburg and, as of 1900, may already have moved back permanently. The Robert and Helen Scott who bought one of the lots in Scott Section 1 in 1900, for the grand total of $1, were probably related to C.W. and Robert, a salesman, may in fact have managed C.W.'s store. Living in New River at least by 1896, Robert and Helen sold their land in 1904 and do not appear on the 1910 census. Samuel J. Carter listed himself as a carpenter and must have been a rather successful one. He and his family apparently moved into the Scott house on Locust (now Carter) street. Two daughters married locally: as noted, Ida Carter Bowman bought the last piece of C.W. Scott's New River property in 1916. In 1920, Carter even expanded his land holdings. The Ransoms arrived in New River before either the Scotts or the Bargers (although Barger may have come from nearby) and stayed longer. They began selling off pieces of prope:ty along the western edges of their land as early as 1885 but did not make their last purchase until 1889. In 1914 Mrs. Ransom, now a widow, willed the remaining tract -- over three acres -- to 62 Chapter Four Al' h h d already bought ice Munsey, wife of the store owner, w O a 18905 other Parts of the Ransoms' land beginning in t~e. New.River Already well settled by 1914, the Munseys staye in for decades thereafter. Lewis and Mary Sheffey had been among the ~e~y f!~:tverY blacks to settle in New River with Lewis organizing · ent f' ' ·ng as a promin irst black congregation and undoubtedly servi b ght member of the community. In 1879 the childless couple ~~e land on what later became (east) Church Street and, for three Years prior to his death in 1893, Lewis served as F rt minister to the newly constructed black Baptist church ~n ° Hill. Lewis left his entire estate to his wife, in wha maY well be the first black will probated in New River. Mary stayed on for a while and then she remarried and moved ~wa~. She left her property in the care of Kibler, a white neigh ~r, who promised to forward any and all rent proceeds to her. n 1909, and apparently in conjunction with Mary's death, her heirs sold the land to Kibler. John Buckner followed in Lewis Sheffey's footsteps. ~ed arrived in New River as a bachelor but then, in 1909, ma:rie Laconia McDaniel. Laconia had been active in the shortlived black Episcopal choir, but redirected her attention to the Baptist church of which John became minister. John Buckner Probably had a'college degree and Laconia, at a minimum, had received teacher certification. Both played very active roles in the community. John sold insurance and would later serve 's several of the lodges as trustee. The heirs to Fred McDaniel land, they also acquired Louisa Anthony's property and bought several other adjoining lots. Like Lewis and Mary Sheffey, the Buckners were childless and, also like the Sheffeys, they were vibrant members of the community. Time, deaths, and frequent fires brought changes to New River. In 1907 the Chumbleys sold their large tract at the northeast edge of town to the Gilliams. Joseph, the original store owner, died in 1917 but his business district propertY remained in the family at least into the 1930s. One of the Dudleys took over operation of the store. Through marriage, death and inheritance, part of the Kasey and Ricketts land east of Giles Road merged and was then sold to the Stones. Branches of that family provided New River with several teachers and a dentist. W.H. Ricketts, farmer, had also bought several lots of Scott Section 2 and, although he died in 1903, that land stayed with the family until 1908. The Stinsons (employed bY the railroad) and Bucks, at the corner of Giles and what is today called Divers Street, sold out to AF Waddell. The several Owenses, who included carpenters, railroad employees, and merchants, bought and sold land but, in general, retained a sizeable tract bordered by Giles Road, the school lot and Barger/Divers land. By 1910, Andrew Sheffey and the Casey family had emerged Chapter Four 63 as the community's most active black members -- at least from a real estate perspective. Fred and Charles McDaniels' families were among the oldest continous black residents. ,As years passed, some of the faces of New River changed, if not always the names. More specifically, original members of the "first families" began to die. In the case of the Ransoms, death marked the end of the name. The elder Whartons died and, after about 1910, that name appears only as parties of the first part (i.e. sellers) on deeds. D.H. Barger's wife died in 1886; his 21 year old daughter in 1903. Barger himself moved to West Virginia and his son to Roanoke, thereby deleting the Barger name from New River rolls. But when Mills and Hannah Black died in the nineteen teens they left behind many descendants who continued the name and remained in New River. So too with the Sheffeys and Morgans and Owens. The 1910 census is notoriously inaccurate, with a tendency dramatically to undercount -- i.e. the canvasers left houses and even whole neighborhoods out. Even based on those questionable figures, between 1900 and 1910 the population of New River grew from about 600 to at least 650. Of those totals, the number of black residents increased from about 250 to about 320. According to the 1910 census, non-agricultural wage earners held the following jobs: 20 iron furnace 23 pipe shop 1 veneering plant 3 brickyard 5 railroad brakemen 15 skilled and unskilled railroad jobs 15 carpenters/painters/electricians/well drillers 6 brick or stone masons 3 black smiths 7 retail/commercial 8 teachers (public and private) 10 laundresses 6 seamstresses At least one-third of these jobs entailed work at factories across the river in Radford. While two of the blacksmiths worked for someone else (i.e. the railroad), Thornhill owned his own smithy (but apparently on rented land). W.A. Myers set up another blacksmith shop, in 1912, right across from the Owens homeplace and on land once owned by Robert and Helen Scott. Wallace Hodge now had competition from the Brooks family in the house contracting business. W.E. Kennedy had replaced Kasey as operator of the town's stationery boiler and had begun to build a mini-estate, consisting of several lots in Scott Sections 3, 4, and 7. 64 ~-------- ------ -----~ Chapter Four two bookkeepers, In addition, there were two clergymen, 1 ees a barber, two Radford hotel employees, three postal emP oy ts' a "h t monumen orse trader," an advertising agen' a t People maY (gravestones) salesman, and an insurance agen · . that this ~~11 have worked two jobs or moonlighted-~ me~ni~~tal talent ist is not necessarily inclusive of New Rivers 1 Greiner Pool. Nor were all carpenters, for example, equa · and Carter were affluent; others less so. B 50% f the community. Over . Y 1910 blacks comprised about O O utting it into time, that percentage actually increased, thus P 1 tion in sharp contrast with Belspring (where a 20% black popu a k 1900 had dwindled to 0% in 1925) and Radford (whose bla~ to population never 15% of the total, eventually decrea7e1 b ' 0 • t • "racia a out 5%). The literalness of New River ~epo s ld the balance" was one of its distinctions. While blacks he 'ded bulk of the "blue collar" industrial jobs, they al~o.provia the community with most of its masons, both electriciansthe barber, one of the listed clergymen and at least one.of son the teachers. They also continued to hold a variety of Job railroad. Some, of course, remained primarily farmers. -Many of the "rural" blacks worked on nearby white ownedt f ft · ddition ° arms such as the Morgans' and Ingles' -- o en in a ff working some of their own land. The Wharton farm was sold,~ ' admittedly in fairly large chunks, thus ending that familY role as key to the community's economy. Jobs kept most people busy much of the day, but what could people do in New River when not at work? Most of the children went to school. In 1913, the white elementary school moved out of town, up Giles Road near the intersection with today's Route 11. The grounds now included a "Teacherage." Most of the faculty were trainees from Radford's newly opened Normal School, and theY lived in that building. A few teachers -- the Stone girls being cases in point -- were able to live at home. The black school remained in its original location until 1922, meaning that for about 10 years the two schools were literally within sight of each other. As of 1914 Misses Rosa Jones and Sadie Lewis taught 45 and 56 students respectivelY in the two room building and complained that the stove needed repair work. It was apparently common practice for these teachers to visit their students' homes on a regular basis -­suggesting an active parental involvement in the educational process even when many of the parents were themselves illiterate. White students wishing to attend high school usuallY went to Radford; blacks travelled to the Christiansburg Institute or even further away. Chapter Five 69 the Thyne Institute, had 45 students in class and reported the stove in very good condition. In 1920-21, Hattie Wood taught 34 1st through 3rd graders and Elizabeth Morrison 23 4th through 7th gr<;1ders · Both now complained that the entire building, after thirty years of hard use by hundreds of active children, needed repairs. The teachers got even more than they had asked for. In 1922 a new frame building, known as the William Gresham school, was built just behind the black Methodist church. (One of the Casey families bought the old school. The building later burned in a tragedy which took at least one person's life.) As of 1923-24 Mrs. Janie Bibbie taught 1st through 3rd grades and Mrs. Anna B. Norman handled grades four through seven. Bibbie earned $55 a month; as principal, Norman made $60. A virtual institution at the school, Mrs. Norman taught in New River for some thirty years. She made the trip from Pulaski with her husband on a daily basis or, when the weather necessitated, often stayed overnight with families like John and Teaney Morton. After the 1922 move, a small "teacherage" provided housing on the school property itself. Mrs. Norman was assisted, at various times, by Mrs. Lucy Clark of Dublin (remembered fondly) and Miss McNorton of Christiansburg (a strict disciplinarian) · Mrs. Laconia McDaniel Buckner, who lived very near the new school, may have taught there briefly, but spent most of her career in the Radford school system. According to one long-time resident, Mrs. Norman was so light skinned that, back when blacks were supposed to sit in the back of buses, she could regularly be seen riding right behind the driv~r. This could also, of course, have in a sign of the respect in which she was held. School bus service was not provided for blacks, making the daily journey quite a trek for children who lived two or three miles away. Odell Frazier, who later moved to New River as Mrs. Stonewall Jackson Green, grew up on "furnace row" in Radford· Sometimes when the Radford school system could provide no teachers -- she had to walk across the railroad trestle and all the way up Giles Road to the old school building. Enrollment figures for both white and black schools make it clear that not all eligible children attended. In general, "urban" children were more likely to go to school than their "rural" counterparts. Absenteeism could be a function of illness, weather, or the need for extra work hands at home. Adult illiteracy was on the decrease. In some cases, literate whites helped teach illiterate blacks to read and write. In other cases, children, black and white taught parents what they themselves had learned in school. The passage of time also meant ~_., ~-,-·~--·-·--------·. - . Chapter Five New River's Infrastructure and Economy Doctors for the living and hearses for the dead both had to deal wit~ road conditi?ns. New River's roads remained unpaved for a long time. One resident remembered that "the ruts in the road were s~ de.ep at times that if you did happen to own a car, you couldn t ride very comfortably. As you would ride, the car would boun?e and your head would constantly be hitting the ceiling.· .. "{l) Mud, of course, was a problem for cars, wagons, and pedestrians alike. The permanency of automobile transportation was reflected in the arrival of gas pumps -- at one or more stores in New River's business district and out Giles Road at Goad's. 73 Regular train service connected New River with Pulaski (a 25 cent trip) and points west as well as, of course, with Radford. But, as a sign of things to come, bus transportation (e.~. Greyhound) went from Radford along Route 11 to Dublin and Pulaski, by-passing New River. You could walk up to Route 11 and have it stop for you; the trip between Radford and Pulaski cost about 10 cents in the 1930s. For getting around New River, walking rema~ned the most common, and often most enjoyable, mode of transportation, while horses, buggies and wagons were still common sights. Some early "streets" - - like Taylor and Mason - - vanished through disuse and the consolidation of land-holdings; others were improved. A 1933 petition spearheaded by Sandy Casey got official county road status for the "20 foot alley" running from the black cemetery passed his house, the Methodist church, and down to the Crocketts. The new Hazel Hollow Road connected Ingles Ferry (and later Claytor Dam) to Route 11 and the traffic bridge across to Radford. While E. R. Boyd apparently had telephone service as of 1916 (his estate included two) as late as 1939 New River boasted a total of only 33 telephone, numbers several of which were i. n w h a t we would today call Fairlawn. Fo' r blacks, servi· ce was 1 a· rru·, ted primarily to stores and parsonages, and even the Carters, Ageesf and Divers apparently survived without telephones. (The number O phones actually decreased to 31 in 1944, while those owned by blacks increased to about one-third the total.) Appalachian. Power "wired" the town· but here again electricity was a benefit one enJ· oyed only i· f on' e could afford i· t. A pu bl·i c w ater system. hadd ntohte yet arrived so wells, cisterns, and septic systems ~em~ine lls order of th~ day. Fleming Williams earned a living diggin~ w~ld-and septic systems. "Outdoor plumbing" may have bee fashioned, but it was common for many houses. Alth h somewhat reduced in size, New River retained a business doiusgt rict and provided some "hometown" emp loymedn t ·h By the mi'd 1930s, the color and d Yn ami'cs of that downtown ha, owever, changed. 74 Chapter Five / or operated their John Munsey and G G Dudley still owned and. and clothing, mer h · · d ceries Mu c andising stores. While both hand~e gro and Dudley for the h i nsey was known for the variety of his goods , t one or both ~gh quality of his clothing selection. At some p~in ~ppetites of ~h them installed gas pumps to satisfy the growing orseless carriages." 1 remained a Like the Munsey and Dudley stores, the mil John Divers constant -- linking postwar New River with it~ pasts and the Agee and.w.w. Agee bought the mill from the Rhudys in 191. living at family "ran" it thereafter. Actually, the Boaz fami~yld Juanita the ~ill, probably ran day-to-day oper~tions. A~ a c ~d ;he Boazs C~usins, now Mrs. William Rollins, visited.New River a The water with her mother and "camped out" on the mill grounds. withstood wheel kept turning throughout the 1930s and the structure drop in the great flood of 194 o. (After World War I I'. hov.:eve:r: ~n~ of New ~~stomers forced this, one of the founding instituti iver Depot, out of business.) (2) . Ld i s converted to an The old Ransom/Einstein/Boyd bu i, ing wa nt for at !atery. The Lyons bought it in 1916 and ra~ a restau:athen and east part of their twenty year ownership .. Bot 1 urposes. afterward, the upstairs was probably used for residenta rued the The Lum Whitlocks bought the building in 1936 and cont~ncing. restaurant under black ownership and provided space for . . closed or Other of the early businesses, including the depot, or died drastically cut back their operations as people moved away d fewer and!or as demand for their services decrea~ed. . Fewer de d agents trains actually stopped at the station, but it still nee h the and a maintenance staff. Running as. they di~ right thr~ugast. center of "downtown," the trains remained reminders of th p . but still .wright's quarry reduced the scale of its operation~ company provided stone when needed. Wallace Hodge's const" />
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