Washington column for Sept. 17

Aileen reunion

To the attentive eye, each movement of the year has its own beauty, and in the fame field it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before and which shall never be seen again.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Forty-two factory alums attended the Aileen Reunion Saturday in Front Royal.Jessie Wines
Forty-two factory alums attended the Aileen Reunion Saturday in Front Royal.
Cloudy skies and passing showers did not put a damper on the 21st Aileen reunion last Saturday (Sept. 12) at the Cracker Barrel in Front Royal. The Aileen factory closed its doors in 1994, a sad time for lots of people — considering it was the only factory in Rappahannock for people to work.

Ever since, a group of the workers gets together each year for a reunion to catch up on news. According to Joyce Pullen, there were about 42 at this year’s reunion.

When I saw the photo, I asked myself where have the years gone? Time doesn’t wait for anyone. I was told that everyone enjoyed the good food and fellowship and they are looking forward to next year.

Thanks to Joyce Pullen and Wayne Walker for keeping this reunion alive.

A new artist’s studio on Gay Street

Artist Kevin H. Adams has returned to Washington with a new studio (and soon, gallery) on Gay Street.Kevin H. Adams
Artist Kevin H. Adams has returned to Washington with a new studio (and soon, gallery) on Gay Street.
Artist Kevin H. Adams has returned to Washington after a temporary stay in Sperryville, opening his new studio on Gay Street. In what for most of its existence was known as Jones’s Store, most recently home to Stonyman Gourmet Farmer, Kevin will be at his easel most weekdays and welcomes visitors to the renovated space. Well-known for his landscape paintings of Rappahannock, the country’s national parks and other scenic wonders, Kevin has worked locally since moving to the county in 2005.

Kevin and his spouse, Jay Brown, will be opening a gallery in the main part of the building in few weeks. The first exhibition, part of RAAC’s annual artist studio and gallery tour in November, will include not only Kevin’s work but also paintings by former county resident June Jordan and sculptor Robert Bouquet.

Civil War Trails marker dedication

More Rappahannock Historical Society news from RHS executive director July Tole:

The old Rappahannock Jail has a story with a different twist representing an example of the reverse Underground Railroad. The narrative of Kitty Payne, a slave born circa 1816 in Rappahannock County, is a poignant account of anticipation and trepidation.

Kitty and her four children were once owned by Samuel and Mary Maddox of Rappahannock County. Upon Samuel Sr.’s death in 1837, his wife Mary inherited “my whole estate to do and use as she may see proper during her natural life. If there should be anything left at the death of my wife Mary Maddox it is then my wish and desire that my nephew Samuel Maddox, Jr. shall have the remainder.” After Samuel’s death, Mary freed the slaves in Rappahannock County and moved with them to Adams County, Pennsylvania, an area that was home to many Quakers, many of whom were active in the Underground Railroad. Later, Mary returned to Virginia, remarried and sold her farm to her nephew, Samuel Jr.

Nephew Samuel was unreconciled to the emancipation, deep in debt and feeling he was entitled to ownership of the Maddox slaves. He arranged to have Kitty Payne and her children kidnapped from freedom in Pennsylvania in 1845 and returned to Rappahannock. Samuel Jr. was preparing to sell Kitty and her children south.

A friend and neighbor of Mary Maddox, Fannie, invited Kitty and her children to her home where she kept them hidden. Samuel found Kitty missing, went to the Fannie’s house to retrieve them and was told they were sleeping and he could have them in the morning. In the meantime, Fannie alerted the sheriff, who met Samuel in the morning and took Kitty and her family to the Rappahannock County Jail for safekeeping until the issue of ownership was decided.

Supported by Quaker friends and other abolitionists, Kitty dared to challenge Samuel in court while confined in the jail. During the lengthy court proceeding, which would decide the fate of both the captors and captives, Kitty and the children spent a year in the jail.

This is a real human-interest drama that has many interesting twists and covers events and locations in both Rappahannock County and in Pennsylvania.

On the grounds of the Rappahannock County Courthouse on Saturday, Sept. 26, the Rappahannock Historical Society invites the public to the dedication of the Kitty Payne Civil War Trails Marker and acceptance of the Kitty Payne Site/Rappahannock County Jail into the National Park Service’s “Network to Freedom” Underground Railroad Program The program begins at 1 p.m. Please bring a chair. Refreshments will be served.

A fond farewell for now

On a sad note for bank customers (although a happy note for him), Bayard “Toby” Waterbury, financial service advisor at Union Bank and Trust’s branch in Washington, got a promotion to assistant manager at Union’s branch on Broadview Avenue in Warrenton. His last day at the Rappahannock branch was Friday (Sept. 11).

He will be missed by so many people. Every time I would go into the bank, Toby always had a smile on his face and was friendly to all, always willing to help anyone who came through the door. He was a pleasure to talk with.

He emailed me Friday to let me know that he was transferring to Warrenton. “I have enjoyed my time working at the Rappahannock Branch of Union,” he said. “I will miss assisting the clients and working side by side with an amazing staff.”

Toby has been with Union since March 2013. He and his family will continue to call Sperryville home.

I wish you the best, Toby, and when I am in Warrenton, I will surely drop by for a chat.

Tanya Hunt will be taking his position. Tanya, I wish you the best.

Condolences

Condolences go out to Ellie Clark on the death of her husband, James Stevenson Clark III, who passed away peacefully at his home in Washington on Thursday, Aug. 13.

Congratulations

Congratulations to James and Sheila Walker on their wedding last Saturday (Sept. 12). Sheila is the daughter of Melvin and Mary Gochenour of Front Royal and the granddaughter of Anna Clatterbuck of Washington.

James and Sheila, I wish you both the best!

WVFR breakfast

A reminder that Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue has its all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 at the station this Saturday (Sept. 19). Adults and kids 11 and older, $8; kids 10 and younger eat free. All proceeds will be used to fund WVFR’s daily operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615 and speak with one of the volunteers.

Have a great week, everyone.

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