Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Suffolk-Emporia-South Hill-BoydtonDanville-Martinsville--Marion-Bristol-Gate City (Cumberland Gap, Tenn.) US 58, State 88, US 58. Virginia Beach to Tennessee Line; 536.7 m.
Hard-surfaced roadbed throughout, chiefly asphalt, with three-lane concrete east of Suffolk. Southern Ry. roughly parallels route between Norfolk and Danville; Danville & Western R.R. between Danville and Stuart; Southern Ry. between Bristol and Clinchport; Louisville & Nashville R.R. between Jonesville and Tennessee Line. All types of accommodations throughout, chiefly in towns.
US 58, called the J.E.B.Stuart Memorial Highway to honor the Confederate cavalry leader killed during the War between the States, roughly parallels the southern State boundary, passing from the broad Tidewater region through the Southside tobacco country and across the Blue Ridge into the valleys and mountains of Southwest Virginia.
Section a. VIRGINIA BEACH to EMPORIA; 97.3 m. US 58
This section Of US 58 crosses fertile lowlands where truck gardening prospers. Weathered frame buildings, including the inevitable garish filling station, mark the crossroads, but in byways are old houses that have survived the centuries. Here and there, as the highway pushes toward the tobacco belt, are occasional cotton fields.
SEA TACK, 1.1 m., a handful of frame houses, has a name that is an abbreviated form of 'sea attack ~-reminder of the time during the War of 1812 when cannon balls from guns of the British fleet fell here in an attack on the coast.
At 2.7 m. is a junction with County 615.
1. Right here to the HORATIO CORNICK HOUSE (R), 3.7 m., a weathered frame building built about 1773. Originally a rectangle with a gambrel roof pierced by three shallow dormers, it was early enlarged. Outside end chimneys were then paired by smaller ones that serve the additions.
BROAD BAY MANOR (R), 4.4 m., is a group of brick houses on a close-cropped lawn descending to Broad Bay. It is approached through a vast trucking field hemmed in by pine trees, against which the oxblood red of evenly-spaced tenant houses stands out in bold relief.
The nucleus and oldest of this series of houses is a diminutive building that has become a mere hyphen linking a new brick unit on the right with a Georgian dwelling. The thick brick walls form only one room. The two-and-a-half-story Georgian unit has recessed windows, high ceilings, and a fine stairway. The modem part of this multiple house is comparable to the Georgian structure in size but not in style.
Behind this group is a rectangular building with a gambrel roof, end chimneys, and two doors, side by side, overlooking the water. On the west end an open stairway glistens white against pink brick speckled with weathered blue headers.
In 1636, when this section was a part of New Norfolk County, Governor John West granted 550 acres to an enterprising bachelor, Thomas Allen, who spent most of his time transporting tobacco to England and had small need for a spacious domicile. It was he, perhaps, who built the small house and also the later gambrel-roof building, which were on the land when James Kempe conveyed the plantation in 1770 to Lemuel Comick L
Brick columns at 4.8 m. mark the entrance-lane (R) to GREEN HILL, a two-story house of brick laid in Flemish bond with blue headers. The date '1791' is cut in one of the bricks. The front of this rectangular house looks out past huge live oaks, while the rear faces a former kitchen at the head of a greensward that descends to sand-circled Broad Bay.
At 5.6 m. is the sandy entrance-lane (L) to the KEELING HOUSE, overlooking shimmering Lynnhaven River. Built late in the seventeenth century, the walls of this story and-a-half house are notable for their fine Colonial brick work. In the gable ends, pierced by small windows that were apparently casement openings, the Flemish bonding gives way above the eave level to a striped pattern picked out in blue-glazed headers. End chimneys give height, and dormers relieve the severity of the steep-pitched roof. Enlarged by a modem brick kitchen wing, this substantial old house surveys flat truck fields that stretch to distant walls of pine.
When Adam Keeling I made his will in 1683, he left to his son Thomas land I commonly known by ye name of Dudlies . . . beinge near four hundred acres.' Thomas Keeling evidently built the house.
2. Left from, US 58 on County 615 to SALISBURY PLAINS (L), 0.5 tn., a weathered house that looms against pine trees, across a field green with vegetables. It has one solid brick end-wall containing a chimney, while the rest is frame. The 6o-foot facade is relieved by a porch and five dormers in the gambrel roof. The walls of the spacious hall are broken by wide doors and a graceful stairway. There is full paneling in the parlor.
William Comick, son of 'Simond Cornix' of Salisbury, England, gave his sandy acres, patented in 1659 the name of his father's birthplace. The will of his son Joel, dated 1727, left part of the plantation to a son of the same name, with the responsibility of it house I am now building.'
EASTERN SHORE CHAPEL (L), 0.9 m., built in 1754 as a chapel of Lynnhaven parish, is a story-and-a-half rectangle of mellow red brick, its steep-pitched roof forming deep Victorian gables with slight returns. The openings are round-arched with brick. The original silver communion service, dated 1759, is still in use.
LONDON BRIDGE, 4.2 m., is a scattered collection of bungalows, tourist cabins, and filling stations.
1. Right from London Bridge on County 632 to the lengthy entrance-lane (R), 0.4 m., that runs arrowlike through a wide field of vegetables to the JACOB HUNTER HOUSE. This steep-pitched gambrel-roofed structure, covered with pinkish whitewash through which the Flemish bond of the old brick walls is visible, sits on a high foundation. The shallow dormers piercing the lower roof-surface have counterparts flanking the two slender outside chimneys that not only balance but give height to the rectangular building. In 1714 Adam Keeling sold to John Pallet I this plantation, called Wolf's Snare. Five years later, John Pallet II came into possession of the estate. It was doubtless he who built the house, for, in 1777, when he divided the plantation, he specified that he was giving his son Matthew the part containing a dwelling subject to his mother's use during her widowhood.
2. Left from London Bridge on County 632 to the BUTTS HOUSE (L), 6.2 m. the, Jonathan Woodhouse Plantation Home-a compact, gambrel-roofed building so pleasingly designed that not even the dilapidated frame kitchen wing at right angles detracts from its proportions. The old delicately pink brick walls taper at the ends be neath a roof so gently pitched as to seem curving. The entry door is between narrow windows topped with flat brick arches, and three dormers cast their shadows on the lower roof. Several Jonathan Woodhouses have lived in this house, all descended from 61 Captain William Woodhouse,Sr., and his wife Pembroke, who are doubtless the people referred to by the initials 'W.W.P. 1760' cut on each side of the facade.
In a garden sheltered by huge oaks is the FRANCIS THOROWGOOD LAND HOUSE (L), 5.9 m., a large brick gambrel-roofed building with five gabled : dormers piercing the green shingles of the lower roof. The cellar is divided into two rooms, each with a fireplace. Much of the structure has been altered, including the roof, windows, and doors.
In 1753, sometime after Francis Thorowgood Land (born in 1736) had come into possession of this land, he added to the tract, and then, doubtless, built the house.
At 10.4 m. is a junction with County 647.
Right on this road to DONATION CHURCH (R), 2.4 m., in a grass plot among pine and oak trees. The restored building is rectangular, of red brick with high-pitched roof. It was built in 1736 and succeeded a predecessor, erected in 1692, and Lynnhaven Parish's first church, completed by 1640 on another site. The Reverend Thomas Dickson in 1776 left his farm in trust to the vestry, the income to be used to employ 'an able and discreet teacher in the Latin and Greek languages and mixed mathematics' for the instruction of male orphans of the parish. This, according to tradition, led to the church's being called 'Dickson's Donation Church' and later 'Donation Church.' The old building was gutted by a forest fire in 1882, and only the walls were standing when restoration was begun in 1916. The old silver communion service, pewter collection plate, and marble font, recovered from the river, have survived.
Beside Donation Church is a private road (R) leading across flat fields to FERRY FARM in a wood. The house, its whitewashed brick walls rising in three sections to gabled roofs, overlooks an arm of Lynnhaven River. Anthony Walke II directed that if he 'should depart this life 'before erecting' a decent Dwelling House,' then '1000L current money' should be 'laid out ... in building on the Land ... called "Ferry" Plantation at the old Court House.' The duty doubtless fell to his son William Walke (1762-95). This was the site of Princess Anne's second courthouse (c-1735-c1751).
Close by Donation Church stood Princess Anne County's first courthouse. Soon after the county was formed in 16gi a courthouse was ordered built 'in Jno. Keelings old field by London Bridge,' but the courthouse was not erected until about 1696 and then here on 'land belonging to the Brick Church.' In this building one of Virginia's two witch trials was held. Early 1706 Mrs.Grace Sherwood, a widow and mother of a family, having plagued the community with petty lawsuits, was haled before the county court on the charge of having bewitched the wife of Luke Hill. A jury of women examined Grace's body and declared they found physical signs by which witches were identified. The court stopped the proceedings. Whereupon Hill took the case before the Council of State, which evaded a decision and sent the case back to the county court. A second jury of women refused to act and was promptly fined for contempt of court. On July 7, Grace Sherwood agreed to be 'tried in the water by ducking,' but the 'weather being very rainy and bad so that it might possible endanger her health,' the trial was postponed until July 10. On the afternoon of that day, near 'William Harper's Plantation,' she was subjected to the test. Her hands were bound, and she was thrown into water 'above a man's depth.' To swim was proof of occult powers; to sink, a sign of innocence. Grace Sherwood swam-disregarding the boat provided to rescue her. Afterwards, she was searched by 'five ancient and knowing women' who 'all declared on oath' that 'she was not like them, or no other woman that they knew of . . .' Thus convicted, she was committed to the 'common gaol.' A land grant issued in Grace Sherwood's name in 1714 indicated that the jail term ended her legal punishment.
At 12.6 m. on US 58 is a junction with State 165.
Left on this road to the JAMES BARRY ROBINSON HOME FOR Boys (R), 0.5 m., a Roman Catholic institution, housed in a group of modem three-story brick buildings on a farm.
At 1 m. is a junction with County 654; R. here 1.5 m. on a poor road to the SITE OF NEW TOWN, in Colonial days a livey little port, established in 1697 and made the county seat in 1751. Near by lived Colonel Edward Hack Moseley, who, when Lord Dunmore was entertained Norfolk in 1774, was summoned by an express 'to come to town with his famous wig and shining buckles, he being the finest gentleman we had, to dance the minuet with Lady Dunmore, the Mayor of Norfolk, Captain Abyvon, not being equal to the occasion.' In 1778 the county court was moved to Kempsville.
On State 165 is KEMPSVILLE, 3.2 m. (100 pop.), a village of old houses under arching trees. A severe moral note is frequently injected by the presence of traditionally garbed Dunkards from farms near by. With tobacco warehouses by the canal and a deep water landing, flourishing Kemp's Landing, as the place was called before its incorporation as Kempsville in 1783, reached the pinnacle of its importance during the Revolution.
In 1775 Lord Dunmore, persisting in his hunt for rebel 'Shirtmen,' came on foot to Kemp's Landing, where, on the night of November 14, a skirmish took place between his troops and the Colonial militia. 'They fire one Gun at our flanking partee & two at our advance Guard....'wrote John Brown, one of the British soldiers. 'This was returned with a heavee fire from the Grandeers, which instantly put the Villians to flight. We killed a few of them on the spott, drove them into a river where two of them drowned, took ninetten prisoners.' The victorious Dunmore immediately set up his standard at the home of George Logan, a Scotch Tory, where, says a local historian, 'those who could not conveniently run away came at once, took the oath of allegiance and had the red badge pinned on their breasts.'
EMMANUAL EPISCOPAL CHURCH, an ivy-covered brick building, with pillared facade, a square, white belfry, and pointed arches above the windows, was consecrated by a frame building with four dormers in ts gambrel roof. Its oldest part was built before 1762, probably by John Michael Kenline.
PLEASANT HALL, opposite the church, a two-story brick house, stands on a shaded lawn. Of the elaborate woodwork on the interior, the most notable is in the parlor, where white-painted paneling extends from wainscoting to rich cornice. Cut in a brick above a basement window is the date 'April 19, 1779,' which seems to indicate tat the house was built by wealthy Peter Singleto , an extravagant in dress as he was reckless at cards.
Behind Pleasant Hall is the former COURTHOUSE, now abandoned. When the court was moved to Kemp's Landing in 1778, a levy was laid'for fixing up and making convenient [George] Logan's dry good store for use as a court house, and a part of the wet goods store for the jail to be used until such places should be built.' The courthouse was built Prior to 1789. The brick JAIL adjacent, erected in 1787, has been used as a school, and finally as a private residence.
PRINCESS ANNE, 11.2 m. (150 pop.), in flat, truck-farming country, has been since 1824 seat of Princess Anne County, created in 1691 from lower Norfolk County; its name is that of the princess who later became queen. The first county seat was at Lynnhaven; second (1751) at New Town; third (1778) at Kemp's Landing; and since 1824 at Princess Anne.
NORFOLK, 18.8 m. (11 alt., 129,710 pop.) (see Norfolk). US 58 westward leaves Norfolk by way of the Norfolk-Portsmouth Ferry from the foot of Commerce St.
PORTSMOUTH, 19.1 m. (33 alt., 45,704 pop.) (see Portsmouth). In Portsmouth is a junction with US 17 (see Tour 6b). At 28 m. the highway, bordered by a deep ditch, begins to skirt the gray upper reaches of Dismal Swamp (see Tour 6b).
West of Suffolk the fields along US 58 have a rather pleasant monotony with their long rows of growing vegetables. Gray farm buildings and patches of swampland break the pattern.
At HOLLAND, 50.6 m. (371 pop.), in 1928, under the leadership of J.J. Gwaltney and T.V.Downing, the Ruritan National was organized as a service club for civic improvement in rural communities. Chartered as a National organization in 1929, it now has a membership Of 2,500 farmers and business men in Virginia and the Carolinas.
FRANKLIN, 61.1 m. (20 alt., 2,930 pop.), is a flourishing town by the Blackwater River. Business places and pleasant residence streets are along the south side of the river; while on the north bank rise the tall chimneys of the mills, drying sheds, and yards of a large lumber company.
Left from Franklin on US 258 to the North Carolina line, 11 m. (see North Carolina Guide).
COURTLAND, 70.4 m. (355 pop.), a scattered village with a courthouse, stores, and homes deep on shady lawns along the highway, is the seat of Southampton County. Until 1888 the town was called Jerusalem.
The SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE, of brick, painted gray, with tall front portico, is on a narrow strip lying between the highway and the Nottoway River. The one-story CLERK'S OFFICE, at the rear section of the building was built as the second county courthouse in 1749. Alterations made in 1825 included removal of a fence put up in 1751 to keep horse traders from using the courthouse steps as an auction block. Southampton County, created in 1748 from Isle of Wight, was named for the Earl of Southampton, treasurer of the London Company.
Right from Courtland on State 35 to CHARLM'S HOPE PLANTATION (L), 7.7 m., approached between broken rows of aged cedars. The L-shaped house was built in 1825 by Charles Fox Urquhart. The neglected interior has elaborately carved high mantels, wainscoting, and paneled doors. Behind the house are the former workshops and slave cabins.
The highway crosses the Nottoway River, 70.7 m., bordered on both sides by swampland covered with gum, juniper, and high-kneed cypress trees.
At 72.5 m. is a junction with State 35. Plantations bordering this road (L) from Boykins to Courtland (at that time called Jerusalem) were in August 1831 the scene of the greatest slave uprising in the history of the United States. Leader of the uprising was one Nat Turner, who had taught himself to read the Bible and had impressed upon his followers that he had Divine guidance to free the slaves of the neighborhood and 'go into Jerusalem.' The county seat was the only Jerusalem known to Turner. Negroes at a Sunday camp meeting, exhorted to frenzy by Turner, armed themselves with corn knives, axes, and scythes and followed him in an orgy of butchery. They went first to the Travis plantation, home of Nat's master, near Cross Keys, where they killed the entire family. The slaves continued across the country, plundering and gathering recruits as they went. Fifty-five whites, including 12 pupils of a girls' school, were killed before troops summoned from Richmond and Norfolk arrived. Many slaves were killed by the soldiers, and of those captured 19 were later hanged. Turner escaped and for two months eluded hundreds of searchers. He was captured on October 30, 1831, in a cave under a fence near his old home, tried, and hanged.
Left on State 35 to State 194, 4.4 in., and L. to County 671, 7.2 M.; L. again to the BIRTHPLACE OF MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE H. THOMAS (L), 9.6 m., a plain white frame farmhouse, shaded by a magnificent oak tree. Here Thomas, one of the few Virginians to serve in the Union army during the War between the States, was born July 31 1816. When General Thomas, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican War, made his choice in 1861, it is said that his family turned his portrait to the wall. After the Battle of Chickamauga, September 1863, when his division held the Union line at a vital point, Thomas was called 'the Rock of Chickamauga.'
At 88.6 m. is a junction with County 615.
Right on County 615 to County 612, 2.6 m., and L. to the MASON HOUSE (L), 4.2 m., white frame, on a hill. Here, on April 18, 1799, was born John Y. Mason, member of Congress 1831-37, Secretary of the Navy 1844-45, Attorney-General 1845-46, Secretary of the Navy 1846-49, and minister to France until his death in 1859. Mason was one of the three diplomats who in 1854 met unofficially at Ostend, Belgium, and wrote the Ostend Manifesto, which called on the United States to take possession of Cuba. In 1846 Spain, refusing President Polk's offer of purchase, had said that she would rather sink the island than let the United States have it. The Ostend document, therefore, caused a diplomatic sensation. At EMPORIA, 97.3 m. (2,144 POP.), is a junction with US 301 (see Tour 14).
Section b. EMPORIA to DANVILLE; 117.3 m. US 58
West of Emporia the highway cuts its way through vast tobacco fields chiefly cultivated by sharecroppers and other tenant farmers. Soil and climate combine here for the production of 'bright' tobacco, mainstay of the world's cigarette business. On farms where log curing-barns, chinked with red clay, dominate the fields, farmers grow, cure, and sell tobacco. The all-important event of the farm year is the late summer tobacco market, when high-piled trucks and farm wagons roll into town night and day, carrying the crop and the farmer's fortunes for the year. In this one-crop country, the singsong jargon of the warehouse auctioneer determines whether the grower will get a new automobile or an extension on the mortgage. In this world given over to tobacco, even the county fair of more diversified agricultural sections has been supplanted by an all-tobacco festival, a dressed-up, carnival-like affair of ceremonies, balls, and a big parade wi h bands and ornate floats dripping tobacco leaves, all presided over by a tobacco 'queen' and her court.
I , US 58 continues westward from the junction with US 301 in EMPORIA, 0 m.
LAWRENCEVILLE, 20 m. (1,629 POP.), on hills sloping gently to the! Meherrin River, is the business center and seat of Brunswick County. The, town's name honors Lawrence, a favorite horse of Colonel James Rice, who in 1814 gave land for the townsite and was granted the privilege of,, naming the settlement.
South of the business district is ST.PAUL's NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR NEGROES, which was founded in 1888 by the Reverend James Solomon Russell. It now cares for 1,000 pupils in a group of modem red brick buildings, on a landscaped campus, and on a 1,600-acre farm. James Russell, born a slave, was educated at Hampton Institute and, through the efforts of Mrs. Pattie Buford, was enabled to study for the Protestant Episcopal priesthood. At Lawrenceville, in the heart of Virginia's five county belt containing 60,000 Negroes, Dr.Russell opened St.Paul's Protestant Episcopal Chapel and acquired three acres of land and a dilapidated cabin for a school. Incorporated in 1890, the school three years later came under the supervision of the Protestant Episcopal Church Institute for Negroes.
The BRUNSWICK COUNTY COURTHOUSE, of red brick with tall white; Ionic portico, was built about 1854. As Union troops approached Lawrenceville during the War between the States, the county clerk, realizing the hopelessness of trying to hide huge books, spread his Masonic apron on his desk and left the office door open. The records were not molested. Brunswick County was formed in 1720 from Prince George and named for the ducal lands of the House of Hanover. In 1733 Surry and Isle of Wight contributed territory, and in 1745 Lunenburg was cut from Brunswick.
Native to this county is Brunswick Stew, a flavorous brew first concocted by a group of hunters. One of the party, who had been detailed to stay in camp as cook, lazily threw all the supplies into a pot, it is said, and cooked the mixture over a slow fire. When his companions returned, cold and exhausted, they found the concoction a most appetizing dish. The time-honored directions for making this luscious meal are: boil about 9 pounds of game-squirrels are preferred- in 2 gallons of water until tender; add to the rich stock 6 pounds of tomatoes, I pound of butterbeans, 6 slices of bacon, I red pepper; salt to taste; cook 6 hours and add 6 ears of corn cut from the cob; boil for 8 minutes.
At 20.8 m. is a junction with State 34.
Left here to County 686, 0.9 m., and R. to the SITE OF FORT CHRISTANNA (R), 3.1 m., a stockade built by Governor Spotswood in 1714. An ancient unmounted cannon, one of five that guarded the palisades, marks the place. Spotswood persuaded the peaceful Saponi to move their village 'within musket shot' of Fort Christanna-the name combining the Savior's and the British queen's-and to patrol the country between the Appomattox and the Roanoke, favorite hunting ground of savage Tuscarora. He also set up a school for Indian children, regarding these youths as valuable hostages against Indian attacks. The Virginia Indian Company built the school, and the governor paid the salary of 'the worthy Mr. Charles Griffin,' the teacher. In 1722, the Fort Christanna school was merged with the one at Williamsburg.
At 22.1 m. on US 58 is a junction with County 647.
Right here to a group of white-painted frame buildings (R), 0.2 m., the CHURCH HOME FOR DISABLED AND INFIRM NEGROES, known as 'Mrs. Buford's Hospital.' In 1875 Mrs.Pattie Buford used a building on the family plantation as a refuge or homeless and bewildered Negroes. After Mrs.Buford's personal funds were exhausted, the Protestant Episcopal Church Institute for Negroes financed the home until the last inmate died in 1912.
LA CROSSE, 35.6 m. (427 pop.), rambles away from a railroad junction. SOUTH HILL, 38.4 m. (1,405 POP.) (see Tour 1c), is at a junction with US 1, which unites with US 58 to a junction at 44.6 m.
BOYDTON, 55 m. (500 alt., 493 pop.), a pleasant town built around the shady courthouse square, was named for Alexander Boyd, a county judge who died in 1801 while holding court. BOYD'S GRAVE, on the lawn of a private home in the village, is marked by a curiously-worded epitaph giving in detail the circumstances of his death. Noteworthy among buildings in the town is ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH, built about 1840 a simple red brick rectangle with graceful white cupola, and the METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, with modillioned cornice, cupola,. and slender spire. The MECKLENBURG COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a handsome, well-proportioned red brick structure with tall white Ionic columns in its pedimented portico, was built about 1842. The county was created in 1764 from Lunenburg County and its name honors Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen of George III.
The FIRST HOME OF RANDOLPH-MACON COLLEGE (R), 56.1 m., two red brick buildings, was given up in 1868 when the institution was moved to Ashland (see Tour 1b). This first Methodist Episcopal college in the United States was chartered in 1830, sponsored by the Virginia and North Carolina conferences, and named for John Randolph of Roanoke and Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. From 1879 until 1916 the buildings here were occupied by the Boydton Academic and Bible Institute for Negroes.
At 64 m. is a junction with US 15 (see Tour 3) which unites with US 58 for I mile.
OCCANEECHEE ISLAND (private) lies (R) as US 58 crosses the Roanoke River, 64.7 m., formed above the island by the union of the Dan and Staunton Rivers. Now a stock farm, the island was once a village of the peaceful and industrious Occaneechee, who traded with other Indians of a broad area. These shrewd Indians, having established a fur monopoly, saw the white man not as a new enemy but as a new customer. On the trail of the marauding Susquehannock, who had fled here, Nathaniel Bacon brought his militia to the island in 1676 and persuaded the Occaneechee to join in expelling the visitors. This accomplished, trouble flared up between the whites and their Indian allies, ending in a two-day battle in which Occaneechee village was destroyed.
In CLARKSVILLE, 64.9 m. (800 pop.), on a hill above the river, a bustling little main street stretches toward a group of comfortable homes. The town is a market for flue-cured tobacco.
At 71.9 m. is a junction with County 732.
Right here to BUFFALO MINERAL SPRINGS, 0.3 m., where frame boarding houses and cottages are reminders that the Springs have been popular since horse and buggy days. William Byrd II, in 1727 the Springs' first white visitor, is said to have so named the place because of the buffalo grazing near by.
At 86 m. is a junction with US 501 (see Tour 11 b).
West of Danville US 58 follows the north bank of the Dan River through a fringe of steel-fenced cotton mills, neighborhood stores, and workers' homes, and then swings across open farm country. The terrain gradually becomes more rugged as the highway rises to wind through foothills, and soon the Blue Ridge appears, first as a misty blue line against the horizon westward, then as blue-veiled peaks and sloping wilderness.
US 58 continues westward from Main St., 0 m., in DANVILLE.
At 8.8 m. is a junction with County 863.
Left here to OAK HILL (L), 6.1 m., a handsome brick house built in 1823 by Samuel Hairston. A wide flagstone path between English box leads to the pillared front entrance, and at the rear is a formal garden flanked by slave cabins. In large rooms with high ceilings are paneled wainscoting and elaborately carved mantels.
MARTINSVILLE, 29.2 m. (1,025 alt., 7,705 POP.) (see Tour 21b), is at a junction with US 220.
SMITH RIVER DAM (R), 31.3 m., furnishes electric power for Martinsville.
PATRICK SPRINGS, 55.4 m., is a cluster of frame dwellings, a garage, and a railroad station below No Business Mountain (R).
STUART, 60.4 m. (1,450 alt., 588 pop.), in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, is a trading center and seat of Patrick County. Its one industrial venture, a silk mill, is no more. First called Taylorsville, the town in 1884 changed its name to honor the Confederate general, J.E.B. Stuart, born in the county February 6, 1833.
The PATRICK COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a red brick structure on a fenced in green, was built in 1852 and remodeled in 1928. A weathered STATUE OF GENERAL STUART is near it. Patrick County was sliced from Henry County in 1790 and took the first name of the Revolutionary orator.
Westward US 58 runs through the shadowed, mountain gorge formed by the Mayo River in its swift descent from the mountains and then sweeps upward in long curves. All around are views of clouded peaks towering above valleys checkered with red plowed fields and green patches of pine woods.
From LOVERS' LEAP (R), 70.2 m. (3,300 alt.), a beautiful setting for the well-worn tale of lovers who chose death rather than separation, is a far reaching view across miles of mountains to sunny valleys.
At 76.1 m. is a junction with County 602.
Left here to County 607, 3.1 m., and L. to County 614, 3.5 m.; R. here to the PINNACLES OF THE DAN (L), 5.1 m., a deep gorge through which the Dan drops in a series of cascades. In the canyon is the PINNACLES HYDROELECTRIC DEVELOPMENT, a system of dams and reservoirs creating power for Danville. This P.W.A. project cost $3,400,000 and was completed in 1938.
At 76.2 m. is a junction with the Blue Ridge Parkway, an isolated section of a proposed 480-mile parked highway system that will follow the summit of the Appalachian Mountain ranges and connect the Shenandoah and the Great Smokies National Parks. Another completed section is the Skyline Drive (see Tour 4a).
In HILLSVILLE, 97.3 m. (2,570 alt., 485 POP.), seat of Carroll County, the highway widens to become the main street, bordered by spic-and-span cottages with flowery front yards, general stores, the neon-signed drugstore, the new buff brick school, and the county courthouse.
In the CARROLL COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a red brick building with white columned entrance, the mountain clan of Allen ran amok on March 12, 1912, during the trial of Floyd Allen, arraigned for freeing two youthful members of the clan who had been arrested for disturbing a church meeting. Trouble was expected when the mountaineers rode into town and the courtroom was crowded. After the jury's verdict of guilty and the refusal of a new trial, judge Thornton L. Massie imposed sentence of a year in jail. As the prisoner stood up and shouted, 'I ain't a-goin'!' a volley blazed 'like the crackle of mountain laurel,' a witness said. The judge, the commonwealth attorney, the sheriff, the jury foreman, and a witness for the prosecution were killed, and the clerk of court was wounded. Then the Allens rode off into the hills. Subsequently caught, two were sentenced to death and four to prison. Of these, two were pardoned by Governor E.Lee Trinkle in 1924 and two by Governor Harry F. Byrd in 1926. In the mountains the shooting is remembered in the doleful ballad 'Claude Allen.'
Carroll County was cut from Grayson County in 1842 and named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who died in that year.
Right from Hillsville on US 52, which by-passes an old COVERED BRIDGE, 2.1 m., that once carried it across Reed Island Creek.
At 11 m. is a junction with State 91; L. here 3.5 m. to County 636 and R. to AUSTINVILLE, 4.2 m., successor to The Lead Mines, on the western side of the river, seat of old Fincastle County. The lead mines along New River were first developed by Colonel John Chiswell, who discovered deposits here in 1756. By the end of the eight eenth century numerous small industrial developments, including, lead and zinc mines, furnaces and forges, had sprung up in the area, which became particularly important during the Revolution. In July 1775 the assembly directed the Fincastle Committee of Safety to contract with the mines for 'such quantities of lead as may be judged necessary,' and, should the owners be uncooperative I to operate the mines 'at the charge of the colony.' Both the Lead Mines and Fort Chiswell near by were later garrisoned for the protection of the mines. Production seems to have lagged, for, in October 1776, the assembly empowered the governor to engage 'slaves, servants or others' to work the mines 'to greater advantage! When more serious difficulties threatened in 1780 Colonel Charles Lynch, superintendent of the mines, resorted to extra-legal methods to suppress Tory activities seeking to stop production. For his harsh actions he was later exonerated by the legislature (see Tour 4).
Fincastle County was created in 1772 from part of Botetourt County as government kept pace with the tide of settlement pushing the frontier toward the southwest. Its boundaries embraced all Southwest Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and part of Tennessee. But Fincastle County disappeared from the map of Virginia in December 1776, when its territory was divided into the 'County of Kentucky' and the counties of Montgomery and Washington.
The farmhouse on the lead mine's land was the birthplace on November 3, 1793, of Stephen Fuller Austin (1793-1836), son of Moses Austin, a Connecticut Yankee who came to Virginia in 1784 and, with his brother Stephen, developed the village of Austinville as headquarters of their mining operations in this vicinity. In 1797 Moses Austin journeyed to southwestern Missouri, then a Spanish province, where he bought mining properties and established a home for his family. Later Stephen Fuller Austin planted the first Yankee settlement in Texas and played a leading part in Texas history
OLD SHOT TOWER (L), 12.6 m., on US 52, rising like a lighthouse on the south bank of New River, was built by Thomas Jackson about 1820. The grim fortresslike stone shaft is 75 feet above ground and 20 feet square, and its walls are 3 feet thick. Below ground it sinks 75 feet to a water tank at the bottom. Shot was made by pouring molten lead through sheetiron colanders at the top of the tower. During the 150 foot fall to the water at the bottom the drops of lead would assume a globular form. These pellets were then rolled down an inclined plane, as a sorting process: good shot rolled straight to waiting boxes; poor ones zigzagged off to another melting.
The highway crosses New River, first called Wood's River for Abraham Wood, a trader, whose couriers discovered the stream in 1671, and continues to FORT CHISWELL, 20.4 m., at a junction with US 11 (see Tour 5b).
On US 58 is GALAX, 110.4 m. (2,341 alt., 2,544 POP.), with four furniture factories, two weekly newspapers, a hosiery mill, and a mirror factory. An unusual enterprise is the shipping of galax-a decorative mountain evergreen for which the town is named. This plant, with round, cordate leaves and tiny white blossoms, covers the surrounding mountain slopes, is gathered in the blooming season, and is held in cold storage for the higher-priced winter market. The town, which sits astride the Grayson-Carroll County line, sprang up in 1904, when a spur of the Norfolk and Western Railway opened up the timber regions. For a year it was called Bonaparte.
INDEPENDENCE, 127.8 m. (2,432 alt., 400 pop.), high on the slopes of the Blue Ridge, is busy only with county administration and farmtrade. In 1842 the county seat was moved here from Old Town, where it has been since Grayson County was created in 1792. Its name honored William Grayson one of Virginia's first United States senators.
The GRAYSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE, of massive red brick with cusped gables and peaked turrets, was built in 1907-08.
US 58 continues to wind westward, passing MOUTH OF WILSON, 140.8 m. (125 pop.), a small settlement close to the North Carolina line where Wilson Creek joins New River, then swings northward.
At 144.8 m. is a junction with State 16; L. here on State 16.
TROUTDALE, 151.9 m. (357 pop.), shadowed (L) by MOUNT ROGERS (5,719 alt.) (see Tour 5), is a small boom town that never grew up though its corporate limits have not been contracted.
After climbing Brushy Mountain, the highway zigzags down to MARION, 170.3 m. (see Tour 5), at a junction with US 11, with which US 58 unites below Abingdon.
Section d. BRISTOL to TENNESSEE-KENTUCKY LINE, 108.5 m. US 58
This section of US 58 sweeps in great curves, roughly paralleling the Southern Railway line. Through hilly farmland and broken foothills it crosses outlying ridges of the Alleghenies and passes through broad Powell's Valley toward Cumberland Gap. For the greater part of its way the road follows the easy levels of watercourses, skirting the mountains through shadowy gorges with glimpses of open gaps, tumbling waterfalls, and hilly corn patches beside gray, weathered cabins. West of Moccasin Gap the road traces the Indian path taken by Daniel Boone in 1769. Westward on State St. from Piedmont St., 0 m., in BRISTOL.
The highway climbs out of the valley to WALKER MOUNTAIN, 5.7 m., named for Dr.Thomas Walker, who in 175o explored this area while leading a party to survey the 800,000-acre Loyal Land Company grant.
HILTON (R), 23.1 m., is a random gathering of houses along a railroad track. At 27.2 m. is the line surveyed in 1772 under the treaty made at Lochaber, South Carolina, between representatives of the colony and Cherokee Nation chiefs. This line, defining the boundary between Colonial lands and those of the Cherokee, did not prevent whites from usurping native lands.
MOCCASIN GAP, 27.8 m., is a pass in Clinch Mountain, used by Boone in 1769.
GATE CITY, 29.3 m. (1,342 alt., 1,216 pop.), rambling along the highway, is the seat of Scott County. An early tavern kept here by Elisha Faris was frequented by most travelers on the Boone trail. The Faris family was slain in 1791 by the notorious half-breed Benge, who led his red brothers in an attempt to drive out the intruding whites.
The SCOTT COUNTY COURTHOUSE is a substantial two-story red brick building in which are incorporated parts of an earlier structure. The county was created in 1814 from Lee, Washington, and Russell and named for General Winfield Scott, then being hailed for his exploits in the War of 1812. Court sessions were held in private homes throughout the county until 1817.
The highway follows Clinch River through a narrow, two-mile-long gorge, 40 m., between Moccasin Ridge and Big Ridge. The tracks of two railroads pass through the mountain by means of tunnels, one about 100 feet above the other.
At 45.1 m. is an unobstructed view of the western end of NATURAL TUNNEL, a giant hole in Purchase Ridge, through which railway tracks and the waters of Stock Creek run. The tunnel is about 900 feet in diameter and nearly goo in length.
PATTONSVILLE, 53.2 m., a handful of frame houses and a crossroads store, was an old stagecoach service station.
Westward the highway begins long, swirling loops up the side of Powell Mountain and reveals inspiring views of primitive mountain country.
STICKLEYVILLE, 58.8 m., a cluster of houses at the foot of the ridge, is near the spot where in 1795 Archibald Scott and four children were killed and Mrs.Scott and another child were taken captive by Indians led by 'Chief' Benge.
The highway traverses a narrow valley, where hilly rock-strewn pastures are netted with cowpaths, and ascends WALLEN'S RIDGE (2,100 alt.), 60.3 m., which affords broad views of rolling country towards the Cumberlands.
JONESVILLE, 72.8 m. (1,300 alt., 384 POP.), with courthouse, hotel, bank, and general stores, is the seat of Lee County. In November 178T Jonesville, a collection of log cabins, witnessed the arrival of a body of dissenters from upper Spotsylvania County on their way to Kentucky. These Separate Baptists had long defied the Colonial law requiring that ministers be licensed. Led by the Reverend Lewis Craig, about 200 church members left Spotsylvania County with their children, slaves, and earthly possessions. Along the pioneer trail they were joined by other westbound pioneers anxious for company on the journey through the Indian country. By the time it left Jonesville the caravan of staid religious folk, shepherded by a dozen preachers who held daily prayer services, had been augmented by soldiers, adventurers, land grabbers, Indian traders, backwoodsmen, and homeseekers (600 in all) and was trailed by droves of domestic animals.
The LEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, of buff brick, was built in 1933. The county was organized in 1792 from Russell County and named for General Henry ('Lighthorse Harry') Lee, then governor.
At 74 m. is a junction with County 662.
Left here to a footpath, 2 m., that leads Q down a steep incline to NATURAL BRIDGE, an immense arch of limestone spanning Beatty Creek.
The highway at 89.2 m. passes near the SITE OF MARTIN'S FORT, built in 1768 by settlers whose leader was Joseph Martin, born in Albemarle County in 1740. Martin had run away at 16 and become a trader at Fort Pitt on the Ohio. By 1763, with a wild reputation as a gambler, he was again in Virginia. As an officer of militia he fought up and down the frontier from Virginia to Georgia. In ROSE HILL, 89.6 m. (1,445 alt.), small homes and stores hug the road.
Two INDIAN BURIAL MOUNDS (R), 92.1 m., in a field beyond the railroad tracks have never been explored. Lack of digging enthusiasm is attributed to a legend concerning a prying early settler who was killed by a cave-in while attempting to uncover their secrets.
EWING, 94.3 m. (1,388 alt., 500 POP.), is a farm trading center.
The highway at 98.5 m. passes near the spot where on October 10, 1773, Daniel Boone's oldest son, James, Henry Russell, and a son of Captain Drake were killed by Indians. In September 1773 the Boones-Daniel, his wife, and eight children-with five other families had left North Carolina. Along the way they were joined by 40 more homeseekers. Near this spot camp was made for the night. The boys left the party, lost their way, and spent the night in the woods, where they were surprised by Indians. The Boones abandoned the journey and spent the winter in a cabin near Russell's Fort (see Tour 15).
US 58 runs through a valley that narrows and is darkened by mountains to a junction at 108.5 m. with US 25, Close to the Kentucky-Tennessee line and 0.8 miles north of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee (see Tennessee and Kentucky Guides).