By Kay Wilson
Special to the Rappahannock News
Elizabeth “Betty” Buntin celebrated her 102nd birthday on All Saints Day, November 1st. Betty and her daughter Nancy, were joined by friends for a festive lunch at Tula’s Restaurant in Washington, the town where Betty has lived since 1946.
After the Rev. Miller Hunter gave a birthday blessing, friends of the Buntins were able to enjoy not only good dining, but also listen to reminiscences of four notable Rappahannock families — the Buntins (represented by Betty and Nancy); the Sneads (represented by Lois); the Moffetts (represented by Carter “Cartie” Moffett Welling); and the Baumgardners (represented by Ruth, Doug and Margaret).
Others present were Trinity Episcopal Church friends Carol Hunter, Carolyn Emerick, Louise Ellis, and Kay Wilson.
There was the tale that errant teenage boys, driving without a license and having managed to acquire a beer from the back door of a country store, were spotted by Sheriff W.A. Buntin. The teenagers took flight, and thought that they had eluded the sheriff by speeding and taking numerous back roads in the county.
A few hours later, believing that they were safe, the boys arrived home, only to find Sheriff Buntin waiting for them on their front porches. Some Rappahannock men recall that their worst fear of their miscreant youth was to be apprehended by Sheriff Buntin, and then be hauled before Judge Rayner Snead at the courthouse.
Betty met her Southern Gentleman in 1943, while he was serving in the U.S. Army during WWII. She was glamorous, a high school English teacher, and clad in a shimmering white bathing suit. William Buntin hailed from Danville, and exuded the notorious Southern charm. They were married a few months later.
Betty followed her new husband to his various army posts, including one in Florida, where Betty was hired to teach Army officers on how to instruct new recruits. After the war, her husband became a state trooper, and he was assigned to Rappahannock County, where they initially set up home on Piedmont Avenue, later moving to the current home on Main Street. Daughter Nancy was born, raised, and schooled in Rappahannock County, and has lived here for much of her life.
Betty is blessed with a high intellect and superb analytical skills. Besides some years as a teacher, she spent thirty-three years as a social worker, and was director of the county’s social services. She served Trinity Church as Registrar, Sunday School teacher, and all around volunteer. A gifted writer, Betty wrote the scripts for all three houses on the Trinity-sponsored House Tours for many years, and the articles on the tour and houses which used to be published in the Rappahannock News.
Not many years ago, her book, “The History of Bromfield Parish,” was published. It is a product of incredible research, and takes the reader from early colonial days, the formation of Culpeper County, through to modern times at Trinity Episcopal Church. A must read for anyone interested in Rappahannock County.