Down Memory Lane for Oct. 18

May 25, 1978

Mt. Salem’s church pews came home on Sunday. After months of work by the Restoration Association and Commonwealth Attorney George Davis, the 154-year old benches were returned from a church near Virginia Beach where they had been “on loan” for almost eight years.

Members of the Restoration Association traced the missing pews to “a man by the name of Granstaff,” reported Rev. Gale Titchenell.

According to Titchenell, Granstaff supposedly took up a petition several years ago to borrow the pews with the understanding that they would be returned if requested. Once restoration work on the old church began, Granstaff was written and asked to bring the pews back to Rappahannock. But he ignored the request. “Why, he wouldn’t even respond,” Titchenell recalled.

Last fall Granstaff was in the county to conduct revival services. He was approached by members of the Mt. Salem Restoration Association about returning the pews, according to Rev. Titchenell, who added that Granstaff insisted nothing could be done without action from the trustees of his church.

“Later Mr. Davis discovered that this Mr. Granstaff was one of the trustees and could have released the pews at that time,” said Titchenell.

Davis went to Virginia Beach, Titchenell continued, and found that Granstaff’s church had reneged on a loan, and as a result, the church was locked up with the pews inside. Davis talked to a lawyer representing the church and to a lawyer from the company that had purchased the building, and the rest is history.

The Rappahannock Girls Track Team closed out a brilliant season on Saturday with a second place finish in the state meet at Charlottesville. A small army of fans from the county saw the lady panthers proudly capture the runner-up trophy wish 44 points, losing out on the championship to Cumberland by only two points.

Luray was third with 38 points and Stuarts Draft, last year’s champion, was fourth with 23 points. Fifty-two schools competed in the meet. However, many failed to score.

Seven girls raced for Rappahannock. Jamelle Prudhum was a standout competitor, racking up 22 points for wins in the 220 and 440 yard dashes. She also anchored the mile relay team which placed second.

Jan. 18, 1979

On Friday, Jan. 12, Washington lawyer Douglas Baumgardner announced his intention to run for the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rappahannock County in the November 1979 elections.

Baumgardner noted that he’d left the law from of Lea, Davies, Crigler and Barrell, effective Jan. 1, 1979, and would continue with a general practice from his office in the old theater building in Washington.

“Although it is my understanding that our incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney, Mr. George Davis, is not seeking re-election, it is my expectation that I will have opposition,” said Baumgardner. “I would encourage other potential candidates to announce their intentions at the earliest opportunity so that the people of this county will have ample time to assess the qualifications of all candidates.”

Baumgardner noted that an early announcement of his candidacy was imperative if he wa to effectively represent his views on the issues to county voters.

Since 1976, Baumgardner has practiced law in Rappahannock, Culpeper and Madison Counties. He is married to the former Margaret Averill DeJarnette of Culpeper. Active in county affairs, Baumgardner is chairman of the Rappahannock County Recreation Association, president of the Rappahannock Jaycees and a member of the Rappahannock Lions Club, Trinity Episcopal Church and the advisory committee for the Valley of Virginia Consortium for Highest Education.

The Rappahannock Chapter of the Izaak Walton League lawsuit against the county Board of Supervisors was thrown out of court by Circuit Court Judge Carlton Penn on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

In filing for a declaratory judgement on Nov. 29 the League sought to overturn recently adopted amendments to the Rappahannock Zoning Ordinance. The amendments, enacted in September, allow “outdoor recreation, including, but not limited to skiing, swimming pools, tennis courts and gravity slides” as a use permitted by right in all areas of the county where slopes are greater than 14 percent and in all areas zoned general business or commercial.

The League chapter, represented by attorney Allen Olson, argued in its suit that the amendments directly conflict with the zoning ordinance intent to protect steep slopes; that they are vague, indefinite and uncertain — thus void and legally unenforceable.

Penn, however, upheld arguments from Commonwealth Attorney George Davis filed in response to the League’s request for a declaratory judgement.