Down Memory Lane for Dec. 6

Oct. 12, 1978

Hans Mullikin is spending the week touring Rappahannock but much of the county’s lovely autumn scenery will be wasted on him. Mullikin spends most his time on his hands and knees, crawling along Rappahannock roads as part of his effort to dramatize what he sees as the need for prayer and greater reliance on God on the part of this country.

Mullikin, a logger and lay minister in the Southern Baptist church, began his pilgrimage two years ago in Marshall, Texas. He started crawling in March 1976, heading for Washington, D.C. He made it to Radford last November before abandoning the trek for the winter and didn’t resume his crawl over the mountains until August.

During his crawl across country, Mullikin said he’d been subjected to only a little harassment. He had problems in Rappahannock — not with verbal taunts or sticks and stones but with sightseeing traffic on the highway. “I’m sure glad to get to this two-lane,” he said as he dropped the shafts to his cart and paused for a moment at the beginning of double-laned Route 211.

The shafts of the cart are attached to a rod with wheels at both ends. Mullikin slips between the shafts and on his padded knees with his hands on the bar, pushes the cart along. It has a little American flag flying at the rear and is decorated with signatures of well wishes that he’s met on his journey.

Meanwhile, despite notice received last November, the Rappahannock Supervisors have failed to correct a violation of the state fire code at the courthouse and have neglected to follow up on suggestions from the state Fire Marshal to improve unsafe conditions at the jail and the courthouse complex.

At last Thursday’s Board meeting, Chairman E. P. Luke informed the rest of the Supervisors that the State Fire Marshal wanted a plan for a second exit from the upstairs courtroom within 60 days. In a November 1977 letter to the Board, the Fire Marshal offered several fire safety improvement suggestions but cited only the courthouse for an actual fire code violation.

Luke asked the Board members if they wanted to “deface the building” by putting in a door and an outside fire escape or instead consult an architect to see if it’s feasible to cut through a front jury room for an inside front stairway and exit.

“Tell them we’ve got a bunch of ropes,” interjected Supervisor H. B. Wood, only partly in jest.

May 10, 1979

Whoever said that the dog is man’s best friend never checked with the Rappahannock Supervisors after they’ve been presented with the bill for livestock killed by strays.

May’s price tag of $540 for ten animals was up substantially over the winter months. This animal jump in the number of livestock claims brought before the board by dog warden Jack Bruce has become as sure a sign of Spring in Rappahannock County as apple blossoms or the first robin.

At last Tuesday’s board meeting, Bruce reported that Tom Lee had lost three lambs and a calf. Bruce said he’d seen the remains of two lambs — “a hide and a leg or two” — and another lamb lying up against a fence, dead but without a mark on the animal. He added that the dead calf “had his ears clipped off right by the head, the tail bitten off at the end of the backbone, the entire stomach gone and the eyes gone also.”

“I hope nobody here has a weak stomach,” interjected supervisor chairman E. P. Luke.

Bruce said there was no way he could determine positively what had killed the livestock but noted that Lee’s men had seen two dogs chasing the lambs before they found the dead animals.

Lee added that he’d found dogs eating the calf.

“I talked to the man that Mr. Lee figured owned the dogs eating on the calf,” Bruce continued. “He said his daughter owned the dogs and that they’d be gone soon.”

Fifty years ago — May 2, 1929 — a tornado ripped through Rappahannock. Coming from the west, it followed a path around the base of Red Oak Mountain from Woodville. The tornado passed below Washington, near the junction of the Rush and Covington Rivers at the end of Route 674. Still at full force, it demolished homes and farms buildings around Rock Mills, Laurel Mills and Ben Venue as it passed across Long Mountain.

Four persons were killed. Many animals, horses, cattle and chickens also fell victim to the violent storm. Fury still in its winds, the storm left Rappahannock. Areas of Fauquier County received the brutal touch of this same tornado later that day.

Walter Kilby, general science teacher at the Sperryville School, commented to other teachers that morning, “The barometer has really dropped. Something is going to happen.” Mrs. H. B. Kilby’s comment, “The sky became really dark and it poured rain,” The decision was made to close school early that day.

Miss Mary Starks decided to release her first through fourth grade students early. She knew that many of the children would be walking home and the wind was now furious.

Five year old Dorothy Kline usually waited on the school porch for her aunt, student Elizabeth Browning, to walk home with her. This day, “Miss Mary” pushed little Dorothy through the gate, telling her, “Dorothy, run and run for your life.

Others from Miss Mary’s class were blown and scattered by the wind.

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