Down Memory Lane for March 16

Feb. 24, 1983

Medicine in the Mountains:

Even something as tragic as a flu epidemic has its humorous side. Pauline Bruce’s memories still bring a smile to her face. Her entire family was down with the sickness. As in so many times of disaster, neighbors and friends extended a helping hand. “People were so afraid of the flu that they wouldn’t come in. They’d bring food and leave it on the porch. Going through one basket, my brother and I found what we thought were the biggest oranges we’d ever seen. We peeled one and took a bite. It was so sour, we threw it away, thinking it was bad. We tried another one and it was bad, too. We kept looking for a good one.” She laughed. “It was our introduction to grapefruit!”

The flu-epidemic marked a milestone in the life of Mattie Ball Fletcher. “Jim Bill (her son, Sperryville attorney James W. Fletcher) was born in the middle of it. I was going to the hospital but all the beds were full so I stayed at home. I remember that we all thought everybody was going to die.”

Mrs Fletcher’s family was one of the lucky ones in the county. They escaped from the epidemic unscathed. “We all wore asafetida, little bags of smelly stuff, around our necks. Everytime my husband coughed, he’d take a whiff of his asafetida. I don’t known what modern medical doctors would say about it,” she added, chuckling. “But it must have done some good because we didn’t get sick.

County Doctor Founded Front Royal Hospital:

A murderer’s bullet in 1967 ended the life of a local doctor who had practiced in Rappahannock, Fauquier and Warren counties since the age of 21.

Dr. William E. Lynn died in the driveway of his Huntly home in a case that had never been solved.

He is remembered in all three counties as a doctor who cheerfully made house calls, accepted produce for payment, and treated migrant workers free of charge.

Dr. Lynn embarked on his medical career in 1929 at the age of 15, when he went off to the University of Virginia. By 1935 he had graduated and set up an office in Front Royal.

A child’s death on the way to the hospital in Winchester troubled him greatly and he became convinced of the need for hospital facilities closer to his rural patients.

By 1939 he had founded and built the Front Royal Hospital. He was 25 years old. He later sold the hospital to the town of Front Royal

Dec. 3, 1997

Like last month’s Rappahannock County Planning Commission meeting, it was standing room only as the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors heard the application by the Korean Central Presbyterian Church for a special use permit to build Pine Ridge Retreat Center on Route 662.

The application was forwarded to the supervisors by the commission which recommended denial based on conflict with county code standards for road access for such a facility.

The facility would have been located at the end of Route 662, a dead end, and this was also viewed as a potential problem during bad weather.

County Administrator John McCarthy told the supervisors that he never got to the point of answering questions on the other issues because he couldn’t get past the “getting the bodies to the property” to make it a go. He had recommended to the commission that the application be denied based on “the use’s impact on the transportation infrastructure that serves the property.”

Charles K. “Pete” Estes, county supervisor representing Piedmont District and vice chairman of the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors, strongly supports good hard-surfaced secondary roads that are safe for school buses, U. S. mail delivery, and will be more accessible to the rescue squads, fire departments and the sheriff’s office.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six Year Plan for secondary roads in the county evolved in response to requests made by citizens voicing their concerns directly to VDOT in public hearings, or through the supervisors.

Estes and many of his fellow supervisors see problems with the condition of many of the county’s secondary roads.

According to Estes, property owner James Russell requested that Woodward Road be paved. “I remember riding horses on it when I was a kid,” Estes explained. “It goes back to a deed in 1750 and is the boundary line to an original land grant. I hate to see it (paved), but there is hardly any place to go. It’s barely 10 feet wide,. But, (Russell) is right, of course.

The county’s “Pave in Places” program, where the road is paved but not widened or ditched, is not necessarily the right thing, either, says Estes. While it does help preserve the scenic beauty of the road, it doesn’t solve many of the safety problems. All scenic byways in the county are already paved.