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Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc.
P. O. Box 262, Surry, VA 23883   Phone (757) 294-0404
E-mail address: surryhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.
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Newsletter and December 2003 Meeting Notice


Please note that the meeting will be held Monday, December 8, 2003, at 7:00 P. M. at the Surry County, Va. Recreation Center.

Our Speaker will be Barbara Hopper, member and past secretary of the Society, and author of an upcoming book, Cabin Point, The Forgotten Village. This village has played a most important part in the history of Surry County, yet little has been written about it. Most people are not aware of its importance. From our early days until the Civil War it was our largest village. Barbara and her husband Laurie have collected information on Cabin Point for many decades. Don't miss this opportunity to see displays of and hear about this part of our Hidden History.
President's Report.

In 1970, Galt MacDermott, the composer of the rock musical "Hair" wrote a far lesser known musical, "Isabel's a Jezebel" for the London stage. Isabel was a wayward young girl of the reactionary late 1960's. For a third of a century, the name "Isabel" was not part of my consciousness. Then the name reappeared in 2003 as a hurricane. This Isabel was much more than "wayward". She was downright dangerous.

Our community suffered ten straight hours of fifty to ninety mile an hour wind gusts. This seemingly endless hurricane had all of us on high alert, wondering what destruction awaited us the next morning.

Even though Isabel did blow down about seventy trees on our lot, and we did have water and wind damage both to our home and riverbank, we count ourselves extremely fortunate. Our house withstood the temper of Isabel and no one was hurt. Of course, like everyone else, we were without electricity for nearly two weeks. As you read from Jim Atkins' review of the hurricane, many houses on the beach in Surry County were completely destroyed.

We have witnessed several hurricanes from our vantage point on the beautiful James River during the last twenty-five years that we have lived here, and as an adult I have always "respected" the potential force of such a storm. This concern, however, has not always been the case. As a boy spending summers on the river near Crouch's Creek, hurricanes were exciting. During the mid 1950's, I can remember my sister Suzanne and me swimming during a hurricane. The waves were rough and fun, for we were teen-agers and indestructible. We would run against the wind and pretend we were Superman or Wonder Woman. I am sure these hurricanes were much calmer than Isabel, because any sane person would not try to stand up against Isabel.

I remember one hurricane during the late 1950's that did some minor damage along the river. The day after a hurricane was always fun for me. At the time, a friend of mine was staying with me. We went beach combing hoping to come up with a treasure. Our idea of salvage laws was that anything one found on the beach was fair game to keep. Between our cottage and Pleasant Point we found a boat. It was a nice wooden fishing boat. Although we thought we were legally entitled to it, we knew my father would make us surrender it anyway. Therefore, we hid the boat in the marshes of Crouch's Creek. Our plan was that we would pick it up several days later. A couple of days later a man in uniform came to our cottage. He said that the Coast Guard was missing a boat. Someone had seen my friend and me with the boat. We showed the Coast Guardsman where the boat was hidden. My father was very upset that we had taken the boat. This act scared both me and my friend.

This shows that a child's idea of a hurricane is different from an adult's. Adult responsibility is stronger than the carefree existence of childhood. Still, when we have a "northeaster", I look back with fond remembrance of riding with and against the wind.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Rogers' Store Open House.

open house1 open house2

We had a very successful open house showcasing Rogers' Store on September 13th and 14th. Approximately 130 visitors toured the store and nearby Carsley Methodist Church.

Roger Atkins has completed a very successful and excellent restoration of Rogers Store. He was presented a plaque commending his excellent work. While our grant did not allow everything to be done that we hoped for, the store is in excellent shape and secure for decades in the future.

open house3 open house4

The help of many members and friends was necessary to prepare and hold this open house. We thank Kenneth Holmes for painting our new signs, and Roger Atkins for putting them up. Clarence Fields and friends cut the grass and trimmed the bushes around the store. We thank Carsley Methodist Church and Jerusalem Baptist Church for having refreshments available. Laura Sheffield and a number of ladies from the Carsley community and beyond helped clean out 50 years of dirt, debris and junk. They set up displays of fixtures, records and inventory.

Many plaques explaining the construction of Gwaltneys' Store, ca. 1820, were posted. These explained the many changes and additions made to our oldest building.

gwaltneys store

Overall it was a very successful open house. We expect to have more soon. If your family has roots in Carsley, contact us and we will have one for your family.

Watt Rogers Herbert Rogers


Students' Visit to Rogers' Store.

students1 students2

On Friday October 24th, 2003, Rogers' Store Museum hosted the second grade students from Surry Elementary School. Approximately 72 students plus their teachers toured the store. Society president Bo Bohannan, his wife Hannah and Laura Sheffield showed them the store, explained the displays and answered hundreds of questions from inquisitive young minds. Practically everything in the store was new to these young kids. A teacher said the visit was perfect for their SOL's.

~~~oo0oo~~~

The Lewis and Clark expedition.

Much publicity and numerous TV programs are being aired about this exploration in 1804 that opened up the west to the Pacific Ocean. Led by Meriweather Lewis and William Clark, this multi-year expedition opened the way for settlement of our country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

All of the publicity seen tells of President Thomas Jefferson promoting and authorizing this expedition. It tells of it starting at Jefferson's home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Va.

No earlier background of Meriweather Lewis is given. Of interest is the fact that his ancestor, Major Nicholas Meriwether, was Clerk of Court in Surry County in 1652. He patented 430 acres of land [Indian Springs] in Surry County, Virginia in 1666.

Again, America's roots take you back to Surry County, Virginia.

Isabel.

Hurricane Isabel wreaked havoc in Surry County. Many of our members from far away may not be aware of the extent of the damage. The beachfront on the James River suffered the heaviest damage. Claremont Beach and Sunken Meadow Beach were largely destroyed. Other beachfront areas were also hit hard. Much erosion on the high banks of the river threatened homes and cottages. The storm surge at high tide was responsible for much of this damage.

Throughout the county thousands of trees fell, some hitting homes, many hitting roads and power and phone lines. The wind damaged many roofs. The forests lost many trees. Thanks to help from everyone, power companies, phone companies, farmers, loggers and citizens, much of the damage has been mitigated. Most roads were opened quickly. Surry is a county of survivors, always has been and is today.

Historically speaking, the loss was minimal. The worst damage was to the remains of the 1754 lower Southwarke Church at Bacon's Castle. The remaining walls were hit by trees and largely fell. While already ruins, we lament this further damage.

The Historical Society's office suffered no damage. Rogers' Store Museum survived without damage other than some tree limbs, which fell, and a half fallen old barn on the property, which is now completely fallen down.

Surry as it was.

I have met many people who say they are interested in history, and of course there are those who call themselves historians. The real historians I enjoy chatting with are those who enjoy reading old court records. The estate accounts in the old records reveal what life was like when people sustained themselves and their families. The Justices of the Peace kept the monthly court minutes, which were eventually incorporated into court order books by the Clerk of the Court. Court sessions in the old days were totally different from those we now see depicted on Court TV. Here are a few selected entries from a Surry County Court Order Book.
Dennis Ray Hudgins

Library of Virginia Microfilm Reel #35 Surry County Order Book (23 May 1804 - 26 March 1807) pp. 1-523

[p.363]    At a Court held for Surry County April 22nd 1806.
Present. William Boyce, Lemuel Bailey, William Allen, Nicholas Sebrell, John Newsum, James S. Lane, Archibald Davis, John Judkins, and William Scammell Gentlemen Justices

Walter and wife Complts against Marriotts admr. & others Defts} In chancery.

This day came the parties by their attornies and the Commissioner appointed to carry the Interlocutory decree made in this cause, made their report, on motion of the said parties the same is ordered to be filed and the cause continued until the next term.

On motion of John Stiles who produced the sheriffs receipt for the sum of twelve dollars and fifty cents leave is granted him to renew his ordinary Licence for one year next ensuing

[p.364]    Absent William Boyce, John Newsum & James S Lane Gent.

Moses a negroe man liberated by Thomas Clary having been registered in the Office of this court appeared before the Court and he having been Viewed by the court and the said Register examined the same is ordered to be certified as duly made.

The Commonwealth Pltff against Richard Mason & Edwards Butts Defts} Upon a Recognizance entered into by the defendants before John Judkins Gent. a Justice of the peace for their appearance before the Court this day (they being charged with an intention to fight a duell.

The said Richard Mason and Edwards Butts appeared in discharge of the said Recognizance, And John Judkins Gent. Reuben Butler and Charles Butts having been sworn and examined, on consideration of the evidence it is the opinion of the Court that the said defendants have intended to fight a Duel: It is therefore ordred that the said Richard Mason and Edwards Butts be bound in Recognizance repectively in the sum of four hundred dollars each, with two securties each, in the sum of two hundred dollars for each Security, conditioned that the said Richard Mason and Edwards Butts, do keep the peace towards all the Citizens of this Commonwealth, more especially each towards the other, for and during the full term of twelve months from and after this day.

[p.365]    Whereupon the said Richard Mason in compliance with the said order of court, with William Edwards and Josiah Savedge his securities, acknowledged themselves to be indebted to his excellency William H. Cabell esquire Governor of this commonwealth and to his successors (for the use of the Commonwealth) the said Richard Mason in the sum of four hundred dollars and the said William Edwards and Josiah Savedge in the sum of two hundred dollars each, to be levied of their own proper goods and chattels, lands and Credits and to our said Commonwealth rendered. Yet upon this Condition that if the said Richard Mason shall keep the peace towards the citizens of this Commonwealth, but more especially towards the said Edwards Butts, for and during the said sum [sic term] of twelve months, then the recognizance to be voide or else to remain in full force and Virtue. And in Complyance with the aforesaid order of Court the said Edwards Butts, with Reuben Butler and Charles Butts his securities acknowledged themselves to be indebted to his excellency William H. Cabell esquire, Governor of this Commonwealth and to his successors (for the use of the Commonwealth) the said Edwards Butts in the sum of four hundred dollars, and the said Reuben and Charles Butts in the sum of two hundred dollars each, to be levied of their own proper goods and chattels lands and Credits and to our said Commonwealth rendered. Yet upon the Condition that the said Edwards Butts, shall keep the peace towards all the Citizens of this Commonwealth, but more especially towards the said Richard Mason, for and during the said term of twelve months, then the Recognizance to be voide or else to remain in full force and Virtue.

The Commonwealth Pltff against Richard Fagget Deft} Upon a Recognizance for his personal appearance before the Court this day (he being Charged with having begotten on the body of Lucy Goodrich single woman of the County of Isle of Wight, a female Bastard Child. - The said Richard Fagget appeared in discharge of
[p.366]    his Recognizance, And the said Lucy Goodrich being summoned and failing to appear although solemnly called, and there being no evidence before the Court to establish the said charge, it is ordered that the said Richard Fagget be discharged out of Custody.

Present James Simpson Gent and Absent William Scammell Gent.

Ordered that James Bruice administrator &c. of James Bruice deceased do pay to James S. Lane Gent. three dollars and eighteen cents for six days attendance as a Witness for him at the Petition of Sinclairs administrator
Present Archibald Cocke Gent.

In conformity to a Circular letter from his excellency William H. Cabell esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia addressed to this court, dated 16th January last past, it is ordered that the clerk of this court do make out and forward to the executive, a list of persons Commissioned Magistrates for this County making such notes opposite their names as is required by the said letter.-It is also ordered that the clerk apply to the Clerk of the Court Martial in this county for a statement of all Militia fines imposed from the year 1794, that he also furnish the executive with the head of the minutes of each day the Court has set for the last twelve months passed, that the executive may the better judge who are the acting magistrates within this County.

Joel Newsum having been summoned to court to say whether he will administer on the estate of John Ealy deceased personally appeared in court and refused to qualify. It is therefore ordered that Thomas Peter Sheriff of this county do administer the said decedents estate, with his will annexed agreeably to Law.

On motion of Thomas Peter Gent. he is appointed guardian to Fanny alias Fanny Gilchrist daughter of Fanny Gilchrist [a free negro] the said guardian gave bond with John Peter his security in the sum of five hundred dollars conditioned as the law directs.

On motion of Thomas Peter Gent. he is appointed guardian to Patsey and Archer children of Nancy, alias Nancy Jones deceased [a free negro] The said guardian gave Bond with John Peter his security in the penal sum of five hundred dollars conditioned as the law directs.

[p.367]    There being a Majority of the acting Magistrates present the Court proceeded to the Recommendation of a Captain to the Light Infantry attached to the 71st Regiment of Virginia Militia in the room of John Faulcon who has resigned. Ordered that James D. Edwards be recommended to his excellency the Governor and council as a fit and proper person to be commissioned Captain in the said Company.

Ordered that John Warren senr: Joseph Warren, John Davis and John Pyland or any three of them being first sworn as the law directs do appraise in current money the personal estate of John Ealey deceased and that they return an account of the appraisement to the next court.

Ordered that the Court be adjourned to the Court in Course.

The minutes of the foregoing proceedings being read, were signed. Archd. Cocke

Truly Recorded, teste John Faulcon Clk.

[p.368 p398]...

[p.399]    At a Court held for Surry County, June the 24th 1806. Present. Robert Mc.Intosh, Nicholas Sebrell, John H. Cocke & Archibald Davis Gentlemen Justices.

Ordered that John Holt, Reuben Butler and William Scammell Gentlemen or any two of them do audit state and settle an additional account current of the estate of William Browne deceased, administered by Edward Faulcon, one of the executors, and to the court report stating any matter specially thought pertinent by themselves or required by any person interested to be so stated.

John Newsum admr. &c. of Robert Cocke deceased Pltff against Patrick H Adams & Jas. Simpson Defts) Motion for an award of execution on a Bond executed by the defendants to the plaintiff for the forth-coming & delivery of certain property on the day appointed for the sale thereof.

Legal notice of this motion having been proved to have been given to the defendants by the oath of John Bartle junior, and the said defendants being solemnly called and not appearing it is considered by the Court that the plaintiff have execution against the defendants for the Bond aforesaid amounting to the sum of forty five pounds five shillings and five pence half penny, And also for the Costs of this motion. But the same may be discharged by the payment of twenty two pounds twelve shillings and eight pence three farthings with interest thereon at the rate of six per centum per annum from the twenty first day of December One thousand eight hundred and five until the time of payment and the Costs. Note - Satisfaction is acknowledged for the sum of thirty dollars paid March Court 1806 in part.

Present Lemuel Bailey, & William Scammell, John Newsum and Beverly Booth Gentlemen Justices

There being a majority of the acting Magistrates present the court proceeded to the recommendations of Militia Officers and recommend as follows to wit, [p.400] James Clinch to be commissioned Lieutenant in a Company of Light Infantry attached to the 1st. Bat. of the 71st Regiment of Virginia Militia in the room of Blanks Moody who has resigned, Thomas Purkins Ensign in the same Company in the room of William Jones who has resigned, And Thomas Hunnicutt Cornet in a Troop of Cavalry in the fourth Regiment and fourth division in the room of James Jones who has resigned.

Ordered that William Spratley be appointed Surveyor of the road in Cypress Church precinct in the room of John Cockes who is discharged, and that he with the hands subject to work on the same do keep the said Road in constant lawful repair.

Ordered that George Judkins be appointed Surveyor of the Road in Galloways precinct in the room of Sampson Grantham who is discharged, and that he with the hands subject to work thereon do keep the said Road in constant lawful repair.

Absent John Newsum, Robert Mc.Intosh, William Scammell, Nicholas Sebrell & Lemuel Bailey Gent & Present Archibald Cocke Gent.

Upon the petition of Stephen Lucas for leave to open a new Road, the persons appointed to view the way proposed returned their report in these words to wit, "Agreeably to an order of the worshipful Court of Surry County hereto annexed We Edward Marks, Robert Booth, Thomas Bishop and Herman Bishop hath viewed the way proposed to open a Road from the Otterdam meeting house in the Huntington road opposite to Stephen Lucas's plantation, and we find that no inconvenience can result in consequence of opening the said Road, and believe that the publick will be much benefitted by the same" (signed) "Edward Marks, Robert Booth, Thomas Bishop, Herman Bishop" The same being read and considered it is ordered that leave be granted to open the said Road from the Otterdam meeting house to the Huntington Road, that the same compose a District to be denominated the Otterdam Meeting house Road, that Robert Booth be surveyor thereof and that he, with the male labouring tithables of himself, Stephen Lucas, Nicholas Hite, Thomas Bishop, Robert Davis, James Bishop, Jonathan Richards, and
[p.401]    Abraham Freeland do keep the said Road in constant good repair.

Ordered that Littleberry Chappell be appointed Surveyor of the Road in [blank] precinct in the room of Stephen Lucas who is discharged to work thereon do keep the said Road in constant lawful repair. [The Otterdam Meeting house Road/District/Precinct?]

Ordered that Thomas G. Tillott be appointed Surveyor of the Road in [blank] precinct in the room of John Tillott who is dead, and that he with the hands subjct to work on the said Road do keep the same in constant lawful repair. [Bowing Green Precinct?]

Ordered that Augustin Carseley be appointed Surveyor of the Road in [blank] precinct in the room of James Bishop who is discharged and that he with the hands subject to work on the said Road do keep the same in constant lawful repair. [Bowling Alley Precinct?]

Ordered that William Boshaw be appointed Surveyor of the Road in Chipoax precinct in the room of James Jones who is removed, and that he with the hands subject to work thereon do keep the said Road in Constant lawful repair.

Whereas the court at their Sitting in October last omitted to include in the County Levy, assessed in that month an allowance of nine hundred and forty nine dollars for rebuilding Walls bridge before the time undertaken by John White for the said sum, by reason of which the Levy was struck at 25 cents per tithe: and Whereas the Commissioners appointed by the court do lett the rebuilding the said Bridge contracted with the said undertaker, that the sum for which the Bridge should be built, shoud be paid during the present year: It is therefore ordered by the court that the sheriff of this county do collect for each tithable person in this County the sum of sixty three cents, instead of twenty five cents, as stated in the Levy assessed in October last, that after collecting the same he pay the several allowances as stated in the said Levy, and that he retain the sum of nine hundred and forty nine dollars in hand subject to the future order of this Court.

Ordered that James Milby pay to William Bailey one dollar and six cents for two days attendance as a Witness for him against Major.

John B. Lane Complt. against Sally Lane widow and relict of John Lane decd., James S. Lane Gent. William Lane, Judkins Lane, Sally Lane, Anne Lane, Lemuel Warren & Patsey his wife, and Joseph Lane, Polley Lane and Wyatt Lane, orphans of John Lane deceased, by the said James S. Lane Gent. specially appoited to defend them in this cause, Timothy Allen, and Lucy his wife, Betsey, John and Henry Batts, children of Elizabeth Batts deceased late Elizabeth Lane by the sd. James S. Lane Defts} In chancery.

By consent of the parties the Bill and Answer in this cause was this day filed and came on to be heard, on consideration had by the court it is decreed, ordered and adjudged that William Spratley, Benjamin Cockes, John Cockes and Henry Lane or any three of the do allott and set apart unto the defendant Sally Widow &c. One third part of the lands whereof the decedent John Lane died seized and possessed, as mentioned in the complainants Bill, as and for her dower for life, and that they divide the whole of the said Land, into eleven equal parts, subject to the dower aforesaid, and that they allott three parts thereof to the Complainant, one part thereof to the defendant James S. Lane Gent. one to the defendant Sally Lane, the daughter, one part to the defendant Anne Lane, one other part to the defendant Lemuel Warren and Patsey his wife in right of his said wife, one to each of the defendants Joseph, Polly and Wyatt Lane, and the remaining eleventh part equally between Timothy Allen, in right of his wife Betsey, John and Henry Batts. And that the said Commissioners make report of their proceedings herein to this court in order to a final decree in this cause.

Ordered that Caufield Seward Gent. pay to John Bartle, four dollars and twenty four cents for eight days attendance as a witness for him at the suit of Hopkins assee &c.

Edwards Butts presented in court a Commission appointing him second Leiutenant in a Troop of Cavalry in the fourth Regt. & 4th division and took the oaths prescribed by Law.

Ordered that William Spratley, John Spratley, and Hartwell Savedge, or any two of them do audit, state and settle an Account current of the estate of William Cocks deceased, administered by Benjamin and William Cockes, and to the court report stating any matter specially thought pertinent by themselves or required by any person interested to be so stated.

The Court adjourned until the court in course.

The minutes of the foregoing proceedings being read, were signed, Leml. Bailey
Truly Recorded, teste, John Faulcon Clk.

~~~oo0oo~~~


Recent Gifts.

The Society has recently received significant gifts. Roger Atkins has given the Society a ledger book beginning in 1888 of the Commissary of the Surry Lumber Company at Dendron. It is the only one found to date. If you think it is important to our Society, you should see the reaction of the Dendron Historical Society. Within 24 hours Bill Richardson had made two copies of the ledger.

Roger Atkins also gave us a large formal picture of a unit of approximately 300 Negro soldiers from World War I. Unfortunately, there is no name of the unit or the soldiers. It is in front of a YMCA building, showing an early truck on the side. We will show it at our December meeting. Hopefully, someone can identify the unit and some of the soldiers.

We have also received from Mr. Ed and B. Buchanan, members living in the state of Maine, the original graduation certificate from Dendron High School in 1914 of David Lewis Steele, son of the founder of the Surry Lumber Company and the Surry, Sussex and Southampton Railroad. Included in the gift is a color plaque of the certificate of Honor, with a flag of stars, and names of the World War 1 Soldiers from Dendron, Va. Color copies are being made for both our office and those of the Dendron Historical Society. The fragile originals will be safely stored. These will also be on display at our December meeting.

Anne Dunlop Sheldon of Richmond, Va., has given the Society J. J. Parker's Chinese Snake Stone Brochure, a sure cure for Hydrophia from Cabin Point, Va. in 1848. It will be on display at our meeting. Quite interesting with many local certificates of success.

Doris Stone continues to bring us more of her genealogical work on Surry County families.

doris stone


Surry County Elections.

For our members who live away from Surry County, this is a very brief synopsis of the county elections held November 4, 2003. These were the heaviest contested elections Surry County has seen since the 1970s. Every seat on the Board of Supervisors and the School Board was contested. Two of five Board of Supervisors and four of five seats on the School Board changed hands.

Events in Surry County, especially the plans to enlarge the Courthouse from approx. 5,000 sq. feet to approximately 29,000 feet, which would cause it to lose its State and National Historical Designation, helped create the intense interest. It was not racial, but management, and the desire for more open and economical government that caused the upheaval.

The coming year will be interesting as the newly elected Board of Supervisors and School Board strive to address the concerns of county residents expressed through their votes this fall.

The recent elections also leave unknown the location of the Historical Society's future offices. Three possibilities are:

  1. Our offices remain in the old Jail, with the possible use of other adjacent out-buildings.
  2. Move of some Courthouse Square buildings to the Society's adjacent property if the decision is upheld to expand the present Courthouse.
  3. Move our offices into the present Courthouse if the decision is to build a new courthouse on the site of the Surry County Administrative offices.
All possibilities are just speculation at this time.

old jail

Meanwhile, The Society will continue to do what we do best - History. JEA

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