Down Memory Lane for April 19

Nov. 1, 1990

When Dr. John P. Snead III died on Oct. 7, Rappahannock didn’t lose one of the last of the old-time country doctors. That the county lost 19 years ago when Dr. Snead gave up his practice just outside Sperryville.

What the county lost was one of the last of its old-time characters.

John Snead was born and raised in Gid Brown Hollow. So was his widow, Mary Miller Quaintance Snead. She remembers that one Sunday the MIllers would visit the Sneads and the next the Sneads would visit the Millers.

They set up a practice in Sperryville in the office that had been Dr. William Smith’s. Dr. Smith had died the year before. They rented rooms across the street from Dr. Smith’s widow.

Also living in the house was Mrs. Smith’s granddaughter, 12 year old Frances Brown. She is retired public health nurse Frances Thornton now. Her other grandfather was Dr. Brown, nearing the end of his years of practice in Woodville.

Much of Dr. Snead’s practice was in the hollows where moonshiners worked and were suspicious of outsiders. Judge Snead reported that one night his brother went to answer a medical call for someone who had been shot. He went as far as he could in his car and started walking. “A man was standing in the middle of the road with a shotgun trained on him,” Judge Snead said. “He said, ‘If you come any further I’m going to shoot.’ John said, ‘Well, shoot away, but I got a call that somebody had been shot up here and I’m going in to treat him.’ The man let him pass.”

Virginia State Police Trooper John Vincent Facchina received the 1990 Bronze Medal of Valor from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

The award was bestowed on Trooper Facchina for his actions during a hostage situation in Sterling on Feb. 24, 1989. Trooper Fachina responded to a report of a distraught, intoxicated and armed employee of a fast food restaurant who had taken a hostage and barricaded herself in the building.

Trooper Facchina was the first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene and confronted the armed assailant. Meanwhile, several deputies and members, several deputies and members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Team had been called to the scene.

Trooper Facchina is a Rappahannock County native who grew up in Amissville. He served as a deputy with the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Department, and is presently assigned by the Virginia State Police to Loudoun County.

Dec. 29, 1999

Debbie Roark bought the Appetite Repair Shop back in October not intending to change the operation one iota. She enlisted help from the previous owners, Cindy and Greg Gillies, to ensure a smooth transition. And regulars are just now finding out about the new woman behind the scenes.

Three years ago, Roark was living in Fairfax and working at a mortgage company when she decided to buy property in Culpeper. Initially intending to buy ten acres so she could have a horse, she purchased 58 acres. Now she owns a farm with horses, cattle and chickens.

Up until she purchased the restaurant, Roark had been commuting to the mortgage company. One day, this past September, she realized she could not do the mortgage business any longer.

Just over a month later in October, Roark was the owner of the restaurant at the busiest time of year with all the “leaf peepers.” She says, “it was just like a roller coaster. I was thrown into it never having done it before. It was trial by fire.”

And now that Roark has become acclimated to her new enterprise, she has thought about small growth and change. She says, “I want my business to grow, but I don’t want it to get ruined. I don’t want anything out here to look like (Route) 234 in Manassas.”

Rappahannock County is a place blessed not only with a landscape that embraces those who find solace and serenity, but also with individuals and families with characteristics that are the epitome of the spirit of this place. The inexorable movement of our world to Twenty-first Century gives us the opportunity to reflect upon ourselves and upon the people who have contributed so much toward making Rappahannock a community that, once found, can never be left.

The fortuitous convergence of the right people in the right place at the right time has made Rappahannock a unique and superlative place to live. The settling of the Fletchers here in the mid-Eighteenth century, from Georgia some say, began the process of community-building that continues today, and that is reflected in the contributions of their descendants in the century.

The Fletcher family had contributed time, money, energy and goodwill to the wellbeing of Rappahannock and its residents. The Fletchers have stood out through the Twentieth Century for their good works, kind words, and stature in the community and in Virginia, and are The Rappahannock News “Citizens of the Century.”

Noteworthy amongst the Fletchers are three family members who made lasting contributions and who will be remembered: William Meade Fletcher, his wife Martha Ball Buckner “Mattie Ball” Fletcher, and their son James William “Jim Bill” Fletcher.