Monthly Archives: June 2014

New Exhibit at Salem Museum celebrates D-Day

A new exhibit at southwest Virginia’s Salem Museum commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion with a unique look at one World War II troop transport, the USAT General George W. Goethals, and its role in that epic campaign.

Used to ferry men and equipment in the Atlantic during and after WWII, the Goethals was operated by the United States Army and for the most part carried out routine and uneventful voyages during the war. In June 1944, however, the Goethals took part in the D-Day invasion, one of the most dramatic and well-remembered moments in the war.

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Claytor Lake: what’s in a name?

As the colonial relationship with England disintegrated, in 1775 and 1776, William Christian supported the revolutionary policies that his brother-in-law, Patrick Henry, advocated. In January 1775, Christian was one of 15 men selected by the freeholders of Fincastle County, which had been created in 1772 from Botetourt County, to represent the county‘s interests.

This committee, of which Christian was elected chairman, drafted a written address to Virginia‘s delegates to the Continental Congress, which was adopted on January 20, 1775, and came to be known as the Fincastle Resolutions. Many of the signers of these resolutions, including Christian, had at least distant family ties to Patrick Henry and his influence on the document is evident.

Although not calling specifically for war, the Fincastle Resolutions clearly stated that the men ―by no means desire[d] to shake off our duty or allegiance to our lawful sovereign…but if no pacifick [sic] measures shall be proposed or adopted by Britain, and our enemies will attempt to dragoon us out of these inestimable privileges which we are entitled to…we are deliberately and resolutely determined never to surrender them to any power upon this earth, but at the expense of our lives ‖ (The Fincastle Resolutions, in Glanville 2010:102–103).

Christian‘s political activities continued in 1776, when he was part of the Convention that adopted the Constitution of Virginia and elected Patrick Henry as the first governor of the new Commonwealth.

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Popcorn Sutton: The Last Moonshiner

The following article ran May 22 on the Twisted South site. It is re-posted here with permission.   Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton was a living legend. The day he committed suicide, he launched himself into the pages of American lore. Since his death he’s become the Paul Bunyan of moonshine. Both men had impressive beards and […]

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Book Excerpt: ‘African American Railroad Workers of Roanoke: Oral Histories of the Norfolk & Western’

African Americans have played an important role in the history of the N&W Railway and NS as well. That role has evolved over time as laws have changed and doors of opportunity have opened. This book endeavors to tell the stories of some of these railroaders, “in their own words,” whose careers spanned the years from Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement to today’s institutional diversity programs. Some of the stories are the stories of pioneers who paved the way to today’s more level playing field, and some are the stories of their children and grandchildren who have become the engineers, conductors, and corporate managers, positions that were denied to earlier generations. And, in many cases, in telling their own stories, they tell the stories of their father or grandfather who worked for the railroad and their mother or grandmother who urged them on and supported them. It is a multi-voiced, multi-generational tapestry of voices that tells the story of struggle, resilience, and triumph.

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Revitalizing a once forgotten cemetery in Lumpkin County, GA

Since 2008, family members have been fighting the battle to get ownership of Shady Grove away from The United Methodist Conference of Gainesville, Ga. This was accomplished after 5 years of fighting The Conference, neighbors, and lots of other people who stuck their nose where it should not have gone. Family members had to form an LLC in order to get the deed changed, but it was accomplished on March 6, 2013.

It has still not been without some neighborly problems but all has been resolved now. We are working towards bringing Shady Grove into the future, which includes having a cleared cemetery with a nice fence to prevent further encroachment, as the property is now down to 1 acre.

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