Snowville by Rev. James T. Taylor
by Rev. James T. Taylor (ca 1912)
About a hundred years ago [ca 1812], a village called Snowville on Little River, Pulaski County, Va. miles south of Radford, was started. This village was called “The Foundry” at first, with the post office named Humility. In those days there were no postage stamps nor envelopes; the letters were folded up, a small quantity of sealing wax held them together; the money, ten cents, was paid to the postmaster. Not many persons received letters, and newspapers were hardly heard of. I never saw a newspaper until 1852.
Snowville was named after the Snow family who were Northern people, and were among the first settlers, whose touch gave life to the many enterprises that followed. The New Englanders who settled here introduced churches, school houses, Sunday schools, singing classes, debating societies, etc.
Before the war Snowville was a great iron center. The charcoal furnace was one of the largest enterprises in the county. Then there was the foundry, where all kinds of castings were made; then the wood-shop with its facilities for making all sorts of farming implements; then the flour mills, saw mills, woolen mills.
Back in those days, before railroads and macadam roads, our village was an inland emporium.
Saturday was always a great day in Snowville; everybody around about had to go to town once a week and get the news. The mails were carried weekly from Christiansburg to this place. I can see old Dan Aker, sixty years ago, coming with the mail. The sturdy yeomanry would come in from the country and exchange ideas, crack jokes, buy something from Capt. Bill’s big store. This gentleman was from New York, and had the push of an A.T. Stewart. The Captain was a polished gentleman, a great thinker, and a genuine friend.
Let us name a few of the men who used to be seen on the streets of Snowville: Rubin Roop, Big Jim Simpkins, John Hawley, Creed Taylor, Dr. Pepper, Gordon Hall, Dan (Ben?) Ridpath, Lewis Roop, John Meredith, Gordon Dobbins, Thos. Hall, Thos. Crandall, Rev. Mat. Smith, et als. All these and many of the younger generation have vanished, and their names are almost forgotten.
There were a number of citizens of the village that I cannot forget. These people lived there before the war, viz: The Bullards, the Snows, the Stones, the Ammonses, the Sangers, the Hamakers, the Baxters, the Bills, the Hundleys, the Palmers, the Taylors, the Shelors, the Godbeys.
In 1861 Snowville passed under the war-cloud. Many of her noble sons rallied to the call of the Southern bugles. “Fall in” was heard all over the country. As it were, men dropped their plows in the field, laid down the hammer and the saw, kissed dear ones and started to the front. I can see the boys marching — Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! I can see Albert Bridges, J.P. Hamaker , William Sanger, John Baxter, William Shelor, going toward the valley of death! The writer saw the courage of those boys tried in the “Queen Battle” of the war– Chancelorsville—where blood flowed like water. Not a waver in the ranks, although half our company fell in the fight where Jackson was killed. Col. Vandeventer led the 50th regiment in this great battle, and Capt. Stone, Lieut. Bridges and Lieut. Worrell led Company I, and Meeker’s (?) legions vanished like leaves of the forest. I here draw a curtain over that dreadful scene, and when “the last roll is called” I may meet my comrades from Snowville on the beautiful camping ground, where war is forgotten.
This was written by the Rev. James T. Taylor about the year of 1912. He died in 1919. Contributed by Amelia E Palmer, 1211 Grosscup Ave., Dunbar, WV 25604. She said that this document was found among papers purchased at an auction.
Published in the Virginia Appalachian Notes, August, 1984.
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