Down Memory Lane for Jan. 30

June 14, 1973

A dance hall near Amissville was raided about midnight Saturday by state investigators, troopers and ABC agents and resulted in the arrest of four people, one of whom was a juvenile. William I. Morgan, proprietor of Cross Creek Dance Hall, located on U.S. 211 east of Amissville, was charged with operating a common nuisance. Alvin Augustus Jackson of Hume was charged with six counts of illegal sale of alcoholic beverages. Some bottled whiskey was also confiscated.

Mrs. L.J. Turner of Washington has retired from the Rappahannock County Public School system, where she has been an elementary teacher for a number of years. Her professional career began in 1933 but was interrupted in the ’40s and ’50s for time as a wife, housekeeper and mother. A heart condition which resulted in her marriage to Lewis John Turner in 1934 spaced out her career. Mr. Turner was extension agent in Rappahannock at the time. She took an extended leave while she reared a family of two — a son Lewis John, Jr., now a radiologist living at Warrenton, and a daughter, now Mrs. Carolyn Dewhirst of Richmond. Mrs. Turner resumed her profession in 1956; when the elementary facilities were consolidated, she came to Washington. Her career ended in the same school she taught since in it opened in 1967.

Two persons connected with the Selective Service office in Rappahannock County will retire this month with a total of 39.5 years of service to the county. They are Mrs. Mary R. Miller and Herbert Foster, both of Flint Hill.

April 22, 1982

In a letter dated March 18, Ernest Douglas noted his appeal of a felonious shooting verdict handed down by a Rappahannock jury on Jan. 5. Douglas was found guilty of maliciously shooting Peter Marx in an incident near Washington in November 1979. In March, Circuit Court Judge Shore Robertson sentenced Douglas to 15 years in the penitentiary. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Robertson relieved Dudley Payne, his court-appointed attorney, of his position.

Rappahannock people are long-time boosters of their county as the Virginia champion in just about everything, but now they have documentation for their claim, at least as far as sassafras trees are concerned. The Virginia Forestry Association has declared an old giant on Billy Wayland’s farm to be the state champion sassafras, according to county foresters Buck Kline and Tippy Jenkins. The tree, located off U.S. 211 between Washington and Sperryville, was discovered by Jenkins while he was evaluating pine planting sites for an adjoining landowner. It stands 54 feet tall with a crown spread of 54 feet at its widest point, a circumference of 144.5 inches and a diameter of 46 inches. Around 15 or 16 inches in diameter is about average for a large sassafras, according to Kline.

Rappahannock County Sheriff’s deputy Mark Wittl scored high marks, both academically and with a gun, at the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Center. Wittl, who graduated from the center on March 26, received certificated in basic law enforcement training, a required course, and in courtroom security training, an elective. Chosen vice-president of the center’s 33rd basic class, he graduated second in the class with an average of 97.36. In addition, Wittl received a police expert marksman certificate through the National Rifle Association.

Feb. 17, 1993

Lucy Catherine Bowie is flanked by her brother Bruce (left) and printer’s devil Jack Barber.
Lucy Catherine Bowie is flanked by her brother Bruce (left) and printer’s devil Jack Barber. Photo courtesy of Lucy Bowie

In spite of the claim on the masthead, the Rappahannock News has not been in continuous operation since 1877. In fact, when Lucy Catherine Bowie and her brother Bruce Bowie came to Washington to start the modern Rappahannock News in 1949, the county has been without a newspaper for 15 years. According to ““Rappahannock County, Virginia: A History,” by Elizabeth B. and C.E. Johnson Jr., the News was given a contract to print the minutes of the Board of Supervisors in 1877. The book explains that this paper was succeeded by The Blue Ridge Echo from 1878 to 1883; The Call from 1883 to 1885; The Blue Ridge again from 1885 to 1888; and The Blue Ridge Guide, starting in 1889. In 1934, that paper was sold and condensed to one page included in the Culpeper Star. The Bowies started out in a former gas station where the parking lot for Trinity Episcopal Church is now. The press was right in the big front window. “We nearly froze to death that first year,” Miss Bowie said. They had pot bellied stoves, but still couldn’t really heat the building. “You’ve got to get a linotype up to 70 degrees or it isn’t safe,” she explained. “We managed that first winter, but the next year we built the building,” she said. Paul Walker built the building where the present Rappahannock News is located [or was, in 1993].