Scott County Historical Society

Scott County, Virginia

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Weber City

 

Kingsport Times-News August 14, 1965

Ex-Mailman Credits Radio

Show With Naming Town

     Frank M. Parker, credited with founding and naming Weber City, is still an active man at 81.

     Parker tells the story of how he came upon the name from a radio show, and gave it to a small service station and grocery store he owned within the present limits of Weber City.

     Parker said there was much discussion for some time about the name of this small community. It was called "Midway" by some people, mainly because it was located between Gate City and Kingsport.

     According to Parker, this name was not very suitable since there was another "Midway" about five miles north of Gate City.

     The search for a new name was temporarily forgotten until one night when Parker and his family were gathered around the radio listening to the "Amos and Andy Show."

     "Some character in the show was promoting a real estate development which he called Weber City. I looked over at my wife and asked her why we couldn't have a Weber City since they seemed to be having such a whiz of a time with theirs," Parker said.

     So the town of Weber City was officially born.

     Parker was born in Scott County in 1884 and has lived there all his life. He begun carrying mail on horseback in 1905 and for 29 years delivered mail in the saddle to residents in the Hiltons area.

     Parker recalls that the Holston River probably gave him more trouble than anything else during his mail-carrying days. The big problem was fording the river twice each day, in all weather conditions.

     After an extremely cold spell one winter, a heavy rain broke up the ice and pushed the river out of its banks. When Parker reached the river, he decided the current was too strong to attempt a straight crossing, but thought he would be all right if he went upstream and allowed the current to drift.

     "What I didn't know was that the river carried huge blocks of submerged ice." After what seemed an eternity horse and rider reached the opposite bank.

     On another occasion, Parker's horse stumbled just after entering the swollen river, throwing him head-first into the water. The large mail pouch which he always carried around his neck quickly filled with water and dragged him to the bottom.

     After a desperate struggle, Parker reached the surface and swam to shore. "When I reached the bank, I pulled all the soggy mail out of the pouch and laid it out on the grass to dry before, taking it to the post office in Hiltons."

     In 1933, after 29 years of carrying the mail on horseback, Parker purchased an automobile for his route. The route was then increased from 28 miles to 67 miles and it still took from 9-10 hours to complete.

     With his new form of transportation, Parker became the area daredevil. People would gather from miles around to see him splash through the river.

     Parker said he decided if could ford the river with his car, it would cut over 12 miles off his route.

     The first time he attempted a crossing, the river was frozen about half way across. "I made it fine on the ice, but when I reached the end of it, the front wheels of the car dropped info the water leaving the rear wheels suspended on the ice," Parker said.

     A farmer came to the rescue, and with his hefty team of horses pulled Parker's car out of the water.

     Parker was not lo be defeated, however, and on the next attempt, he got a running start at the river. Upon reaching the edge of the ice this time, his car sailed through the air and landed with a big splash in the shallow water and chugged out on the opposite bank.

     Word of Parker's feat spread quickly and each day as he crossed the river in the same manner, people would gather on the banks to witness the "big splash."

     "I have done about everything. I've been a veterinarian, carpenter, a blacksmith, a cabinet maker, a farmer, and I always mended all my children's shoes".


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