Mildred McConnell's Scrapbook Articles
Rufus Ayers Estate
(Hand written in margin – July 1980)
Sites of two elegant homes owned by prominent Scott Countians during the late 1800's were chosen because of giant sulfur springs nearby. The springs were recognized for their medicinal qualities.
The majestic Rufus Ayers home, owned by the famous Southwest Virginia developer in the 1870's.
Time and weather are catching up with the monuments of one of Scott County's famous families. The worn monuments, those of the Rufus AyersFamily are found in the historic Estill Cemetery.
Estill Cemetery, with its graceful iron archway, is situated on a gently rolling knoll on Walnut Street in Gate City, once known as Estillville.
Rufus Ayers, a lawyer of renown, was a Commonwealth's Attorney, a member of the House of Delegates, and Attorney General of Virginia. He rejected strong encouragements to run for governor, choosing to return to the area to further his development of the Southwest.
Ayers, born in Bedford County May 20, 1849, was the eldest child of Maston J. and Susan Lewis Wingfield Ayers. His ancestry included General Andrew Lewis, commander of the American forces at the Battle of Point Pleasant, and John Lewis, first settler of Augusta County.
In 1855, his father set out with the family to Texas. At Goodson, now Bristol, however, he stopped to visit relatives and liked the area so well that he gave up the idea of going farther.
Rufus started to school at the Goodson Academy, and not long afterward, in 1858, came the death of his father, leaving his mother with six small children. The War between the States brought on the next misfortune, closing the academy and ending his days in school.
In April, 1864, before he was 15 years old, he ran away from home and joined the army, serving with a detached command of scouts in East Tennessee. After the surrender, he came back with a horse and
(Excerpted from the original article. The portion of the article on Rufus Ayers ended in Mildred McConnell’s scrapbook as above.)