Down Memory Lane for Feb. 25

May 7, 1981  

It was “This is your life, Darlene Jett Green” last Friday night at Macedonia Baptist Church. Friends, admirers and co-workers staged a surprise awards ceremony in recognition of Darlene’s contributions to the continuing series of educational programs on cancer aimed at the county’s black community.

“Nationally, one out of three persons stricken by cancer survives. I’m sure it is one out of two in Rappahannock County because of your work in promoting education,” Marsha Nenno, director of public education for the American Cancer Society’s state headquarters in Richmond, told Darlene.

Nenno presented the guest of honor with a letter of commendation for her distinguished service in delivering a series on early detection of cancer. She acknowledged the generous amount of time Darlene contributed in preparing programs that were factual, informal and easily understood.

The Washington Fire Company siren has been moved from the former firehouse to the newly acquired town hall. The combined efforts of Mayor Newbill Miller, Potomac Edison servicemen, electrician Thurmon Whorton, fire personnel, Steve Critzer and others were responsible for the move. The siren now rests in the town hall belfry and tested satisfactorily after the job was completed.

After a two-member budget work session and private consultations, the Rappahannock supervisors on Monday took a knife to expenditures proposed for 1981-82 and cut away $143,486, suggesting that the biggest chunk come from raises and fringe benefits for school employees. The surgery left the county budget for next year at just over $3 million and brought the proposed tax rate down from $6.80 per $100 on the old assessments to $5.70.

Last Friday at the session, supervisor Clarence Baldwin proposed slashing the school budget by $100.000. “People are just raising hell about the tax increase (to $6.80) and this looks like the only place where we can do something about it.” Baldwin said.

April, 28, 1983

Rufus and Calvin Pendleton remember the nights when Mr. Hank Young used to serve as D. J. at the Flatwood Inn near Washington.

“Mr. Timbers set them up and bands came in from D.C.” Calvin said. “Everyone came. At first it was just black folks but then white folks started coming.” Calvin was well qualified to judge the quality of Mr. Young’s selections; she had a collection of thousands of 45-rpm records, including everything from Pat Boone to Creedence Clearwater, from Bobby Blue Bland to Aretha Franklin.

“There used to be three record stores in Front Royal,” Calvin said, “I saved up all my dimes, nickels and quarters to buy records.”

Rufus and Calvin live at Bethany House, soon to be a retreat center. Formerly, it belonged to the Dawson family, and before that to the Harrises and before that to the Yeats.

Owners have come and gone at the Huntly estate, but the Pendletons will remain in their pretty home by the pond. “We’re here to stay,” they say.

Fourteen years ago, folklorist Chuck Perdue met with one of Rappahannock’s most famous sons, John Jackson and his wife, Cora, to attempt to write down some of the black folktales of the region. They were collected in the Keystone Folklore Quarterly under the title “I swear to God it’s the truth if I ever told it.”

Purdue records that there were 4,423 whites and 945 negroes here at that time. He also makes an interesting commentary on Rappahannock’s blacks between the time of the Civil War and the Second World War, saying that little changed during the years.

There was a paternalistic system which gave the black man a house to live in, food to eat and a little money with which to buy sugar, coffee, clothing material, tobacco, and such.

Jackson said that were was a lot of socializing: a party almost every weekend, church with preaching, praying and singing, traveling musicians and minstrel shows.

Rappahannock students did very well in the Virginia State Leadership and Skills Competition held April 15 and 16 in Roanoke. Piedmont Vocational Education students winning state-wide awards were Margaret Smoot, 1st place in needle trades for the state, and Brent Wilson, who won 2nd place for small engine repair.     

Oct. 9, 1996

Another of Rappahannock’s post offices has closed.

For 28 years and nine months Minnie Williams Goranson kept the Chester Gap Post Office in her home. Last week, she closed it down and retired.

Now Chester Gap residents have clusters of boxes set outside, some at the entrance to Chester Gap, others on Fire Hall grounds near Mrs. Goranson’s home.

The office was open from 8:30 a.m. until noon and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Now the boxes set up in groups of 16 are available 24 hours a day, but there is nowhere to buy stamps, and getting parcels too large to fit into the boxes is problematic.

“I didn’t want it in my house any more,” Mrs. Goranson said. “I don’t have any privacy here, and I wanted that bedroom back. There is no one here but me and my husband. We needed some leisure time for ourselves. After all, I am 73 years old.”

Helen Smith told the members of the Board of Supervisors Monday afternoon she will be leaving her position as Extension Agent responsible for home economics and sharing responsibility for 4-H by mid November.

Mrs. Smith is taking a position as home economics agent in Bedford County. With the transfer, she will be able to join her husband, David Smith, who is principal of Liberty High School, one of three high schools in that county.

Sheriff Gary T. Settle completed the National Sheriff’s Institute (NSI) executive development program conducted at the National Institute of Corrections Center, Longmont, Colorado. The NSI, now in its twenty-fourth year, is co-sponsored by the National Sheriffs Association and the National Institute of Corrections.

Sheriff Settle attended session of the NSI with 21 other sheriffs from twelve states. He was selected by his classmates to serve as class vice president, representing them at the closing ceremonies and a future NSI functions.

“I want to be the best sheriff I can be for the citizens of Rappahannock County. I believe it is crucial to maintain a high training level to afford the citizens the highest degree of leadership, especially when the demands for professional law enforcement are progressively increasing.”