Down Memory Lane for April 30

Oct. 2, 1975

At breakfast, lunch and dinner time both sides of Route 522 through Flint Hill are lined with cars. The reason for all the activity is the new Bradford’s Restaurant, an extension of Bradford’s General Store.

Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Bradford say they’d been wanting to open a restaurant for several years, and finally on June 31 of this year, they did. M. R. Bradford has been running the general store since 1946. His father had run it from 1931 until 1946. M. R. Bradford’s father ran the general store from 1931 to 1946, when Bradford himself took over.

With the opening of Bradford’s Restaurant, it looks as though Bradford’s General Store will become even more of a community center where residents can gather to learn the latest news, pick up a paper or buy groceries.

Mrs. Lucille Cameron of Washington raised luffa squash in her garden. These are used for sponges after they are ripe and harvested. When the squash are peeled and the seeds cleaned out they dry out to form a rough textured sponge that can be used as a pan scratcher when dry or as a sponge when dampened.

A new weekly Culpeper County weekly newspaper is scheduled for publication Oct. 30. The newspaper, which is going to be called the Culpeper News, will be published by Washington radio and television commentator Joseph F. McCaffrey. McCaffrey reported that “about 40” Culpeper County businessmen, professionals and farmers own stock in the new newspaper.

Former Fauquier Democrat editor Henry Cristner has been hired as editor of the new weekly, McCaffrey said. Also on the staff will be David Allen, who is leaving the Fauquier Democrat as a reporter. Christner left the Democrat last spring for The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.

Feb. 9, 1984

Former Rappahannock County Commonwealth’s Attorney Douglas K. Baumgardner has been named substitute judge and special justice for the 20th judicial district.

The appointment made by Chief Judge Carleton Penn on Feb. 6 fills the unexpired term of Peter H. Luke which ends on June 9, 1986. Baumgardner quipped that he and Luke were “swapping jobs”; the vacancy was created when Luke was elected commonwealth’s attorney.

Bill Oliver of Woodville is the new representative from Stonewall — Hawthorne District on the county’s school board, replacing Nelson Lane who resigned following his election to the Board of Supervisors in December.

Oliver, a native of Tidewater who has lived in Rappahannock County since 1979, said on Tuesday that his major concern as a school board member will be “the quality of education.”

On Monday, the Rappahannock supervisors adopted a resolution recognizing the county’s Fire and Rescue Association as the official liaison between local government and local emergency service units. However, they emphasized that their action will not preclude individual fire or rescue companies from coming directly to the board with requests.

Donald Gore, president of the association, explained that the move was being proposed in the interests of eliminating the need for representatives from the separate companies to “bother” the board with funding requests. According to Gore, emergency service units will be directed to the association first and then the association will relay petitions to the Board of Supervisors.

“If the association as a whole doesn’t support their request, the company can take it directly to the Board of Supervisors and the association won’t speak against them,” Gore added. “The association will either speak for the request or won’t speak at all.

May 4, 1994

Rayner Snead’s “Hollow Boy: Remembrance of Life in the Gid Brown Hollow” is selling well at the Rappahannock News and Cabin Fever Books.

This small volume is crammed all of tales of Rappahannock in the ’20s and ’30s.

Retired Judge Snead said he began writing about his family and youth when he took a course in creative writing taught by Evelyn Minshull at an Elderhostel in Cook Forest, Pennsylvania. It covered such topics as overcoming writer’s block and developing character, he said. It was “an intense seminar” that lasted for a week from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. each day.

There were only 500 copies of this book printed, and they are likely to be gone soon. The book is crammed with tales of the sort of Rappahannock characters who are fast disappearing. There are chapters on education, hunting, the many jobs to be done on a farm and his first experience with a 4-H steer.

Looks like a decrepit shed that someone might tear down one of these days. But it’s really an old man’s life and a son’s love for his daddy. It’s the oldest sawmill in Rappahannock County, and it’s not for sale, if you should ask. It’s Charlie Hitt’s sawmill on Route 626, three and a half miles northeast of Scrabble. He bought it second-hand in 1948 and worked it until his health gave out in the 1970s.

But Mr. Hitt’s sawmill still runs every week. It’s runs when Jim Hitt, Charlie’s son, cranks it up.

“We don’t do it for money,” continues Jim. “We were taught how to saw right by the best people in Luray. I really admired the people out of Luray who did millwork — you’ll never find more all-around perfect people. Real professionals.”

Jim Hitt now earns his living mowing grass in the medians of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 66. The sawmill is a spare-time occupation, done for people who live nearby or who hear about him word-of-mouth.

The only sawmill in the county that runs full time is John Dove’s mill on Route 522, four miles north of Flint Hill.

Following some heated campaigning during the last few weeks, the townspeople of Washington elected a new mayor and treasurer Tuesday. Seventy-eight percent of the eligible voters in town voted, which was down from the 94 percent who voted in the 1990 election. Stewart Willis was elected as mayor, receiving 64 percent of the votes and ousting two-term mayor Dean Morehouse.

Tom Zumwalt garnered 55 percent of the votes to earn him the position of Treasurer of the town. He ran against Louise van Dort. Both were vying for the position left by Brad Fisher, who decided not to run for re-election.