Scott County Historical
Scott County, Virginia
Mildred McConnell's Scrapbook Articles
Scott County;Wednesday, July9,2002
Going, Going, Going, Gone
Omer C. Addington
Robert Ingersoll said in a speech in 1876, "The past arises before like a dream." Like Ingersoll the past arises before all people especially those who have lived through a period of changes in their lifetime.
It has often been noted that many things change through a period oftime, and most of them for the better, and make life easier for the present generation. We do not have to endure many of the hardships our forefathers did.
Things mentioned in the article did not get gone in one week, one month, one year, but over a period of many years.
One and two room schools are gone. As the school population decreases some of the schools merged. Others held on until bus routes were established.
Games played at the one and two room schools were Dare Base, Stink Base, Drop the Switch, London Bridge, Over the River to Charlie's, Anty Over, Red Rover, Jump the Rope, Straight Town, Marbles and Ball.
Six high schools are gone, Fairview, Midway, Hiltons, Dungannon, Nickelsville, Shoemaker and Cleveland, and two junior high schools Fraleys and Manville.
Gone are the one horse hill side plows-turn the point over and plow both ways. Harrows with wooden spikes.
Wagons with iron tires to haul lumber and timber. A log wagon was built low to make loading easier. Gone are the blacksmiths and their shops. Blacksmiths made horse shoes, mule shoes, oxen shoes, wagon tires of iron, plow points. He could weld two pieces of iron together by heating both pieces together red hot and beating them together.
Gone are the tan yards where people took their steer, cow and bull hides and had them tanned. . The hides were tanned with the bark of the tan oak tree. Today a place where hides are tanned is called tannery.
The tanned hides became leather. Some of the leather was taken to a cobbler and made into shoes. He put the soles on with wooden pegs made of ash wood. The leather had many other uses.
A cooper made barrels, tubs, and pails. A cooper shop was called a cooperage. Staves were made from white oak for barrels, tubs and pails.
Gone are the stile blocks which was a platform with steps for mounting horses, mules and maybe oxen. Most homes and the old churches had stile blocks.
Gone are the side saddles that women used when they rode a horse. The horse was led to the stile block for easy mounting. It was considered bad manners for women to ride astride a horse with one leg on each side. People would say she is a riding astraddle.
Steam engines that ran saw mills and sometimes thrashing machines.
Gone are the steam locomotive that pulled the trains, both , freight and passenger trains. At , one time were four passenger trains on the Southern line and four on the CC&O in Scott County. They went down to two per day and then down to one per day, and then after a few years, they were gone. Also, all the depots are gone. So never I again will we near the lonesome whistle blow.
Gone are the Justice of the Peace and Constables. Each district in the county elected their own Justice and Constables.
Gone are the mode of transportation people used such as horseback, buggies or hack. A hack had four seats and was pulled by two horses. They were used to haul people to church and sometimes were used to transport school children. Also some were used to haul freight.
The fourth class post offices are gone. Some had family names, McConnells, Hales Mill, Cornsville and Estillville. The shortest name was Ka and the coldest name was Snowflake and the hardest name was Flat Rock.
Gone are the days when one could mail a first class letter for two cents and post card for one cent.
Gone are the ferries that carried people across the Holston and Clinch Rivers. A ferry was a large boat.
Gone are the patent medicine peddlers who traveled over . the county in buggies with his salves, liniments, pills and other nostrums.
Gone are the fur buyers that traveled from house to house buying fur.
In the community, people cut their hay with a sickle or scythe and raked it up with a wooden pitch fork. The pitch fork was a small limb of a tree with two, three or four prongs. The hay was hauled to a barn loft or stacked.
When our pioneer forefathers built their log houses they hewed the logs with a broad ax. A broad ax had a much wider blade than a regular ax. An expert hewing man was called a hewer. A regu1ar ax was called a felling ax. This was the one used to cut the trees down.
Gone are the piggins with a gourd dipper. A piggin was a wooden pail with one stave longer than the rest for a handle.
Wagons had wooden wheels. Wheel makers are gone. One of the last wagon makers in Scott County was a Kilgore man near Nickelsville. He heated the tires before he put them on the wooden wheels. When they cooled they contracted making them fit tighter.
Candles were made from beef, sheep tallow and bees wax. Several candles were made at one time in a candle mold.
The pioneers cooked in the fireplace. Pot hooks made of iron were fastened to the sides of the fireplace and the pots hung on the pot hooks. The pot hooks had chains, so the pot could be raised or lowered depending how much fire was in the fireplace and what they were cooking.
Gone are the butter paddles that were used to beat the milk and water out of the butter. After this the butter was put in molds. Some of the molds were oblong and some were round. They held a pound.
Gone are the flour mills called rolling mills, because the grain was crushed with rollers instead of stone. Most of the corn mills are gone. Corn was ground with stone.
When free delivery of mail on routes in the county was begun, the he carrier rode horseback. If you had seen pictures of mailboxes that are much higher than they are today that is the reason. If he had packages to deliver he used a buggy. If the creeks were up and out of their banks, there wasn't any mail.
In the early days of Scott County and before it was a county, there wee not any churches. Church services were held in the summer under brush arbors when the Circuit Rider came. It is said that some of the greatest revivals ever held in the county were held under the brush arbors. To build a brush arbor a frame was built of poles and brush was piled on top. The brush arbors became extinct after church houses were built.
The old stone masons are gone. They cut stone for foundations for homes, schools, churches. The old jail house in Gate City was made of stone. They were especially good at building chimneys. They could cut the jam and arch rock at an angle that fit perfectly. There is a house up in Clinch Mountain that has chimney of stone that was built in 1880. It looks to be as plumb as when it was built. The top rock has the date it was built and the initial of the builder. Some stone masons made tomb stones. After they had carved them out they were smoothed with sand rocks. Then the name of the deceased and birth date and death date were carved on the rock. Some carved bowls in rock where there was running water. If you walk down the street in Gate City you can see some of the old stone work.
Quilting bees were held during the winter in someone's home. The women in the community would gather at someone's home bring their needles and thimble. The quilt to be quilted was put up on frames and hung up to the ceiling. The frames were usually made from poplar lumber and were three inches wide and about an inch thick. Three or four women sat on each side of the frame. They quilted as far over as they could reach. When this was completed the quilt was rolled up and the women started quilting again. When the two sides met, the quilt was completely finished.
In the fall of the year when the corn was gathered some of the farmers would make a great pile of their corn and have a corn shucking. Some prize was placed in the center of the pile and the first person who reached the center got the prize. In the early days it was a jug of brandy or a bottle of malt whiskey. Remember this was before days of hybrid corn. In open pollination there was always some red ears, and the person who found the most red ears got a prize. While the men were shucking corn, the wives were busy preparing a delicious meal of fried chicken, country ham, with red eye gravy, biscuit, potatoes, beans, corn, sweet potatoes, cabbage, apple pie, cake, homemade candy, and old time ginger bread. Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to make you hungry.
Gone are the days when mining timbers were hauled out of the county by the truck load; mining timber in size from four, inches to 8 inches in diameter. They were used to hold up the mine roof. Today metal props are used.
Gone are the court days in Gate City when vendors sold cakes, pies, maple sugar, fruit and other goodies out in front of the court house, and ardent spirits were sold in the back alleys.
Gone are the Motel T Fords which people called "Tin Lizzies" that rocked and bounced and raised the dust on the dirt roads.
Gone are cranks on cars. The compression is so great one could not turn the engine over with a crank.
Gone are the days when people hewed cross ties and sold them to the railroad. The Southern or the CC&O. The cross ties were hewed usually from chestnut.
American Chestnuts are gone, they are about extinct. Maybe like the dinosaur, gone forever.
Gone is the only college we ever had, Shoemaker College, named for Col. James L. Shoemaker. It didn't have an endowment to keep it growing.
Gone are the carbide lights. Gone are the charcoal burners. The blacksmith used charcoal.