Down Memory Lane for Nov. 30

May 26, 1999

Imagine that today is July 6, 1862, and you are standing at the top of Chester Gap, looking toward Front Royal, and you see a long column of soldiers, horses, wagons and cannons winding slowly up the mountain road. You hear the creaking of wagon wheels, the clank of metal, the whinnying of horses, and the tramping of thousands of feet in the dust. At the head of the column, the stars and stripes wave in the breeze. The soldiers all wear blue.

It is the dreaded Yankee army, and this is the beginning of the invasion of Rappahannock County. The troops crossing Chester Gap are General Nathaniel P. Banks’ Second Corps of the Union Army of Virginia — two divisions of more than 10,000 men.

Another Union troop column is approaching the county from the west, crossing the blue Ridge at Thornton’s Gap, on the road to Sperryville. This is the First Corps of the Army of Virginia, under command of General Franz Sigel. Sigel’s Banks — 250 wagons, 57 cannons, and three infantry division totaling over 14,000 men. By July 11, all would be encamped in and around Sperryville and Woodville.

And so it was in 1862, when Major General John Pope decided to assemble his newly formed Army of Virginia in Rappahannock County. Pope’s army remained encamped in Rappahannock County for more than a month in 1862, disrupting life here as officers took over homes for their headquarters, soldiers camped in farm fields, and the Yankees enraged the local population by seizing horses, crops, and occasionally plundering homes.

A grand birthday party marked the 50th anniversary of the Rappahannock County garden Club. More than a 100 members, former members and friends gathered at the Fauquier Springs Country Club to celebrate the occasion at a bountiful luncheon.

Clubs from neighboring communities were well represented and Shenandoah District president and past president, Mrs. K. L. Chapman and Mrs Ronald F. Sturm, were honored guests.

Betty Wood introduced special and honored guests and the former club presidents in attendance. Members of 20 years were recognized and the one charter member of the club who could not attend, Mrs. C. E. Johnson (Elizabeth), was toasted with enthusiasm. Lucia Kilby and Florence Nordone reviewed highlights of the club’s history with remembered anecdotes.

June 19, 2003

The Washington Town Council has unanimously voted that the Rappahannock National Bank building can allow retail sales in an area greater than 1,000 square feet.

Retail use of up to 1,000 square feet is permitted “by right” in the Town of Washington.

Building owner and attorney Sharon Luke briefed the council at its June 11 meeting on plans she and her husband, County Attorney Peter Luke, have for the building once the bank has moved to its new location on Route 211 in early September.

Luke said they are not requesting any exterior changes and will continue to lease the second floor space for business and professional office use, but wish to lease the first floor’s 1,100 to 1,200 square feet to one or more retail operations.

Nick Norman, a native of Rappahannock County, has been promoted to the position of manager of the Rappahannock Farmers’ Cooperative.