Changing demographics

When I took over the family farm 40 years ago at age 30, I remember reading in the Rappahannock News that 40 percent of the houses in the county did not have indoor plumbing. This did not strike me as particularly odd, as the elementary school that my sisters and I had attended also did not have indoor plumbing.

Back then the newcomers to the county were mostly retired military and hippies. Some of the military notables were Colonel Luke who served as chairman of the BOS, Colonel McNear who was the county’s first zoning administrator, Colonel Kneupfer who was emergency coordinator and magistrate, and the feisty Admiral Gardner on the BZA.

Meanwhile, the hippies moved into the aforementioned houses. They are mostly still here and are responsible citizens.

Things have changed in the last couple of decades. The current influx from the D.C. area seems to be highly educated and interested in politics. I personally think they are an asset to the county, as many volunteer for good causes and also make sizable donations. They also pay real estate taxes on valuable houses and at the same time do not demand much in the way of services.

I miss the old days when everybody knew everybody else and you never passed anybody without waving. Those days are gone, but we still have 2,000 less people than we had at the first census in 1890.

Chris Parrish,
Viewtown

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2 Comments

  1. Chris – thank you for the reminder to slow down and get to know our neighbors. We sometimes forget that a simple wave may be just the trick to brighten someone’s day.

    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Socrates

  2. Hey Chris,

    Two things: The “first census” was not in 1890, but in 1790. That one was burned by the British
    in the War of 1812. In the 1860 census, by the way, there were more than four thousand more citizens
    in Rappahannock. Lot of mills everywhere, and tanneries. And plenty of shine up in the hollers…..

    As for your statement, “Things have changed in the last couple of decades. The current influx from the D.C. area seems to be highly educated and interested in politics. I personally think they are an asset to the county, as many volunteer for good causes and also make sizable donations. They also pay real estate taxes on valuable houses and at the same time do not demand much in the way of services,” I would just posit that the latest “influx” is a cultural
    tsunami, that threatens to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, some are “highly educated.” Mark Twain
    once remarked that some people are “educated beyond their intelligence.” Their “political interest” has led us
    to committing to a “bike path” that is the single most unneeded waste of money in the history of boondoggles.

    The Rappahannock County I came to in the 1940’s may not have had folks who made “sizable donations”, but
    they were the salt of the earth. God bless the old-timers here.

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