Down Memory Lane for Oct. 5

Jan. 6, 1999

The dusting of snow and a few sprinkles of rain recently did nothing to ease the drought that has gripped Rappahannock and the rest of Virginia for the past six months. First pond levels dropped while streams shrank to a trickle or disappeared completely; now residential wells are starting to fail.

“It’s nerve racking. The last thing I want to do is have my well go dry,” Thomas Mullany of Flint Hill complained. His well went dry and then slowly came back. Meanwhile, he said, the family of four stopped using the well and instead trucked water from town and washed their laundry in Warrenton or Front Royal. The well is working again, but the family rations baths and still does their laundry elsewhere.

The county Health Department issued permits for residential replacement wells at a considerably higher rate in 1998 than in 1997, Charles Shepherd, district environmental health manager, said. “August, September and October were the three highest months for permits in 1998 with 10 replacement wells being drilled in October. Typically only one or two are drilled in a month.”

A crowd packed in the courthouse celebrated their victory Monday night when the Board of Supervisors gave their approval for the Sperryville Gateway Proposal.

“This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in this room in favor of a project,” John McCarthy, county administrator, said. “We’re use to crowds this large being against something not for something. It takes much more energy to be for anything.”

Most of the smiling faces could be recognized from the monthly committee meeting, and 17 stood to speak praising the project, which aimed at improving pedestrian traffic and the main road in the village of Sperryville. Only three county residents expressed their reservations about applying for the grant, and none of them were from Sperryville.

Jan. 10, 1980

Completing a string of judicial retirements, Judge William F. Moffett Jr. of Juvenile and Domestic Court has announced that he will leave the bench Feb. 1.

Judge Moffett follows Circuit Court Judge Rayner V. Snead and District Court Judge William W. Carson Jr. in their retirements. Judge Carson left the bench in December; Judge Snead will leave it this month.

Judge Moffett, 59, has presided over juvenile and domestic relations cases since 1973 in Fauquier, Loudoun and Rappahannock counties. He is a resident of Washington in Rappahannock.

Lately the judge has been suffering ill health. He underwent an operation on Tuesday.

Before his present judgeship he was a county judge in Rappahannock, appointed to that position in 1968. He served as Commonwealth’s Attorney in Rappahannock from 1953 to 1955.

Moffett was graduated from Washington and Lee University and began law studies there before he entered the Coast Guard in 1942. He earned the rank of lieutenant before leaving the service in 1946.

He then returned to Washington and Lee to finish law school, earning his degree (and top honors) and passing the bar in 1947.

Eighty pigs and three brood sows were burned to death and a large barn with farrowing quarters was completely destroyed by fire Friday at the John Sheffield property in Viewtown. Origin of the fire was unknown.

According to Mrs. Sheffield, she had fed and watered the animals in the morning and checked the barn that afternoon. She had looked out from the house about a half an hour before Mrs. Margaret Barron called on the phone to say the barn was burning and she had called the fire department., Mrs Sheffield said. The Barrons live across the road at the Viewtown Store.

Fireman Everett Smith of Amissville said he knocked boards off of the back part of the barn and was able to free some of the hogs that were saved. “It was really a pathetic sight,” said /Smith. “One of the animals has been burned and was lying down. I thought it was gone, but when I got the board off the barn, the hog was able to get up and run for it.”