Doors to the Past


Among the first preachers were Burwell Spurlock, Roland Bias, Sandy 
McCane, Claughton, Kelly, Shearer, Lancaster Reece, Ball, Chambers 
Hawkins, Elijah Adkins, and others. A great many of these local preachers 
were farmers. Some were eloquent preachers, their salary ran from $200 to 
$400 per year. The Baptists worshipped at Blue Sulphur and Bloomingdale. 
This church was on the hill back of Bailey Wertz's house, in a cedar 
grove, overlooking the Martha church. It was moved to Heath Creek. The 
Methodists worshipped at a church on Water Street, near where Mr. May 
lives. Also at Bethesda Church. All of these churches had better 
congregations than they have today. 
I can't help coming to the defense of our old time people some modern 
writers and speakers tell us our old people did not have any education or 
did not want any, and that the aristocracy of Virginia did not want to be 
taxed to educate the people west of the mountains. Thomas Jefferson one of 
the greatest statesmen of his day was a great advocate of free schools. He 
succeeded in having a law passed providing for the education of all 
children whose parents were not able to educate them. Such children were 
certified by a board to the teacher who got an order on the sheriff for 
his pay at $.50 per month. This law worked all right in the cities and 
towns, but the country population was so thin they could not support 
schools. Town schools were good; our teachers were generally graduates of 
colleges, and taught all the higher branches and many of our boys and 
girls were sent off to colleges. I can name you grandmothers and mothers 
who have long passed away, who received their education at Mrs. Levis 
School at Shelbyville, Kentucky; Ohio Wesleyan, Cincinnati, Ohio; 
Steubenville, Ohio; and Staunton, Virginia. I can name the old boys who 
went to Marshall soon after it was made an academy and continued up to the 
Civil War frequently walking home in all kinds of weather, and as a result 
our community furnished a Lieutenant Governor of Virginia; two Adjutant 
Generals, one of state and one on General Military Staff; one Brigadier 
General, several Captains and Lieutenants, several fine lawyers, two 
judges, several doctors, financiers, a Vice President of the American 
Trust and Bonded Company, New York, and Commissioners of Internal Revenue, 
both terms under Grover Cleveland. We came to the conclusion that our boys 
needed education and got some of it. 
Old time people were more patriotic than they are today, people from all 
parts of the county would meet here every Fourth of July, march out to 
some suburban grove, listen to addresses by speakers chosen for the 
occasion and then feast on barbecued beef prepared by expert Nego cooks, 
who commenced to prepare it the day before. 

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