Tracing Our Roots—a Guided Tour*

            Primarily focusing upon sites along Laurel Branch Road NW (Road 729 / 719), some sites on Floyd Hwy S (221 S) to complete a circle, and a few sites on intersecting roads                     

*See accompanying map with site numbers corresponding to text.      Repetition of some information and notes to [See #_ ] are intended to add to the convenience of the reader in making connections among the families included in this “guided tour tracing our roots.”

The 19th century American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once said, “The past travels in us to the future.”  He stressed that we, in the present, must make the effort to remember, record, and share what we learn/know of the past in order that those in the future may know it. In that spirit, I share with you.               –Janet Slusher Keith

           Names highlighted in  green indicate children of the settler, Christopher Slusher, Sr., & wife, Eva             (Hancock) Slusher who settled and developed farms along what is now Laurel Branch Road.




32. Site of George Wm. & Clemmie’s first home/log cabin at "the beech tree"  nearby is the site of Burwell & Mary Ann (Slusher) Hylton’s first home /log cabin; access through private land with permission from Kevin Keith

George William Slusher (b.1/10/1866  d.8/1/1939)  m. 10/16/1884  Dicie Clementine "Clemmie" Permelia Jane Corn (b.2/5/1867  d.9/28/1924 d/o Eld. Peter Corn {s/o Jesse Corn, Jr.} m. Nancy Clementine "Tinie" Jane Turner {d/o Shadrach & Judith (Burnett) Turner} of Franklin County). [Dicie is a family name; first recorded in Jesse Corn, Sr.'s Bible: his dau. Dicea--from Laodicea (where an early Christian church was established). The Corn family often used earlier generations' names.]

George Wm.& Clemmie’s first home was a log cabin he built by the beech tree on the back side of the “S” Farm. The huge beech tree is alive (more than 200 years old) with the initials of many family members carved into its bark. Some of the cabin’s foundation stones are still visible. George Wm. & Clemmie’s first three children (Claude, Peter, and Romney) were born there.

The first family reunion of all of George Wm. & Clemmie’s 13 living (of 14) children and grandchildren was held at the beech tree in 1918. [See pic in 250 Years...]  Reunions of their descendants (from 50 grandchildren) have been held yearly (at other sites) since that time: in recent years at Slusher Park on the Slusher Century Farm on Rush Fork. The 100th consecutive reunion of George Wm. & Clemmie's descendants was held July 15, 2017 at the River Place, near their second home.

33. George Wm. & Clemmie (Corn) Slusher’s 2nd home: “the River house”                             access through private land with permission from Kevin Keith

This two-story house was built by George Wm. Slusher in 1889. With the help of only one other man, George Wm. logged the timber, set up his own sawmill in the bend of West Fork below their cabin, sawed the lumber and built "the River house" across West Fork. He was warned that he was “fixing to kill Elder Peter Corn’s daughter”—implying that the house would fall because he was using 2 x 4 studs and nails rather than mortise-and-tenon joined logs for the frame. [This was the first home that the concerned older neighbors had seen constructed in this manner, so they feared it would not stand. It still stands in 2018.] George Wm. & Clemmie’s fourth child, Mary Clementine (m. Edgar Allen Harmon s/o Elijah {m.Senora Young} s/o John s/o Jacob m.Christina (Mock), was born in this house. Water supply for the house was from a well dug on the south side of the house (in front of the walnut tree that is still there).  The house, nearby barn and corncrib still stand on the back side of the “S” Farm [so named by Freeman Slusher because of the S shape formed by West Fork flowing through the farm]. The barn (still in use) had been built years earlier (for Perry Slusher) by “a Mr. Moses.”

Desiring to have more land for his growing family, George Wm. bought Maj. Austin {s/o John s/o  Jacob & Christina (Mock)} & Sarah (Harter) Harman’s [See Harter Connections in #3] home and farm on Rush Fork in 1892 and moved there from “the River house.” [He may have learned that it was for sale from his Aunt Lile (Delilah, sister of Mary Jane Wood Slusher). Lile m. Richard H. "Dickie" Hatcher from Woolwine, and their home/farm was adjacent to the Harman farm which Austin explained he had sold because it had "two rocks to every dirt."] From 1900 to 1905, George Wm. was postmaster of  Santos Post Office [name was assigned by U.S. Postal Service, not one of three names offered for consideration]  located in the home. [See pic of home in Images...: Floyd County, p. 15]  By 1910 he had built a barn and store building and had doubled the size of the Rush Fork home in which their ten youngest children were born. The family lived there until George Wm., Clemmie, and the six youngest children moved to Floyd in late 1913 to the house, now 166 Penn Ave.[See #42], built by George Wm.'s first cousin, Lather A. Hylton {2nd s/o Abram and Louisa Jane "Lou" (Slusher) Hylton}. [See #28]

34. Oliver Perry Slusher /“Little Peter” Cemetery  [All dates below are taken from the stones]                        access through private land with permission from Kevin Keith

Oliver Perry Slusher b.4/8/1831 d.4/26/1899 s/o Jacob. Both of his wives, son Asa L., grandson Asa E. Hylton, and grandson Peter Asa Slusher are buried in this small cemetery (located at the back side of the “S” Farm) on the knoll just beyond the beech tree.  D.J. and Janet Keith secured and placed the foot marker: “Oliver Perry Slusher Pvt. Co. D, 30 Batt, Va Sharp Shooters Confederate States Army Apr 8, 1831   Apr 26, 1899”

Perry’s 1st m. 4/22/1852 to Mary Jane Wood b.6/11/1832 d.9/16/1892 d/o John Richard & Lucinda (DeHart) Wood); 2nd m. 1892 to Letha A. Jones {d/o Costillo & Cynthia (Slusher) Jones d/o David}, d/oPerry’s 1st cousin and 17 years younger than Perry.  

Asa L. Slusher b.9/12/1856 d.5/6/1878 died of a fever a few days before he was to marry Julia Bishop d/o Asa & Elizabeth (Dodd) Bishop who lived on the adjoining farm; in 1888 Julia Bishop married Harvey Slusher s/o Hamilton s/o David. [See #25]  Perry & Mary’s home was on the hill to the east (on land now owned by Charles Conner. Current gate entrance to reach site is beside 810 Penn Road; see # 35). Perry was so grieved after Asa’s death that he had Asa buried on the knoll just below and in sight of his home (and thus started the cemetery).

Perry & Mary’s grandson Asa E. Hylton was the first child of their daughter, Louisa Jane “Lou” & Abram Hylton s/o Riley {m. Hannah Wade} s/o Burwell & Mary Ann. The inscription on his gravestone: “Asa E Hylton born Nov 25 1880 Aged 1 mo Sleep on, sweet babe and take thy rest. God called thee home, He thought best.”

Peter Asa Slusher b.1/26/1887 d.6/17/1890 was named after Clemmie’s father (Elder Peter Corn) and George Wm.’s brother Asa. “Little Peter” died at the age of 3½ from injuries sustained from a fall from a fence. Freeman promised his mother that he would see to it that “Little Peter’s” grave/cemetery would "always be taken care of."  Janet and Kevin continue to honor that promise, and in July 2012 (in 100+ degree heat) Kevin built a new plank (salt-treated pine) fence around it and later also had its metal cemetery sign made.

Years after Perry’s death in 1899, Letha m.1917 John A. Weeks; her gravestone: “Our sister Letha A. wife of John A. Weeks born Sept 10, 1848 died June 27, 1923 She’s safe at home.” Freeman recalled driving his father, mother and Sheriff [for 12 yrs] David Slusher (s/o Ananias s/o David) to Letha’s burial. George Wm. had expressed some hesitation about going in a car (rather than by horse and buggy), but “Sheriff  Dave said he wasn’t afraid to ride” with Freeman. Then 13 years old, Freeman drove the T-model Ford on the road continuing into the valley from Penn Ave., passed the Spencer place [formerly Penn's, later George Wm.'s, then Kerry & Lelia (Slusher) Wade's, and finally George Willie & Arva Conner's] and crossed Dodd’s Creek, turned left past the Smith home [home of Arva (Conner) & Bill Coleman, 801 Penn Rd; see frontispiece & pic on p.7 Floyd County, Va Heritage. The Smiths built that house for $7000, and years later, when Mr. Smith died, his widow sold it and the 190-acre farm to George Willie Conner's father for $7000 and the promise that it would always be farmed.],continued on the plantation road through the fields previously owned by his grandfather Perry and passed the sites of Perry & Mary’s home(s). Freeman said he did get some help with the steering wheel around the steep banks. He also vividly recalled Elder Elijah Nester preaching at the cemetery after tying his bay horse with white hind legs to the lower limbs of the big white oak (still alive and 200+ years old) near the branch. Across that little branch was the site of Burwell & Mary Ann Hylton's first log cabin,[See #9] later owned by Oliver Perry, and then daughter, Louisa Jane “Lou” (b.9/23/1861 d.2/4/1949) m. 6/23/1879 Abram Hylton (b.1/6/1856 d.8/1/1939 s/o Riley s/o Burwell & Mary Ann). Abram and Lou lived in this cabin which was in sight of her parents' home (no trees then to block the view) and the cemetery in which their 1st child, Asa E Hylton (b.11/25/1880  d. “Aged 1 mo”) was buried. [See #33]

35. Sites of Oliver Perry & Mary (Wood) Slusher homes       current access via Penn Road      out of Floyd, then through private land with permission from Charles Conner

After Jacob’s son, Oliver Perry Slusher, served as a private in the 30th Battalion, Company D, of the Virginia Sharpshooters in the Civil War (as did his brother Francis Marion [See #31]), he came back home to the farm. The section of land upon which Perry & Mary's homes were located is presently owned by Charles (s/o George William & Arva {d/o Martin Conner & Minnie Hylton d/o Solomon s/o John William s/o George s/o Archelaus s/o Elijah Hylton})& Beulah (Harris d/o Henry) Conner [who live in the Amos/David/Hattie Dickerson home; see #43]. Alongside the faint remains of the plantation road on the Conner property, remains of the cellar (rocks & indentation in the bank) indicate the site of their first log home (built @ 1852 where Mary & children Asa, Flurnoy and Lou lived while Perry was away during Civil War.)

A few hundred yards to the west (near the present line fence), Perry and Mary built their second home; a few foundation stones are visible at the sites of it and their nearby barn.  That home was in sight of the cemetery where Perry buried his son Asa L., of the first cabin of Burwell & Mary Ann Hylton (later home of his daughter Lou m. Abram Hylton), and of the first cabin of his son George Wm. & Clemmie. Conceivably, if there were no trees in the line of sight at the time, Perry & Mary could have seen Jacob & Telitha’s first home, by then the home of Jacob's son Jeremiah, Perry's brother.  Perry’s grandson Freeman recalled harvesting crops in the large field between the two home sites during the time George Wm. owned the property after Perry’s death in 1899.  When he rode his horse from Floyd to work at “the River place,” Freeman followed what is now Penn Road, passed "the Spencer house," turned through the gate (to left past present 801 Penn Road) onto the plantation road (still discernible) up the hill, then to the right past these home sites, the cemetery and beech tree, and forded West Fork to reach the barn and "the River house"  built by George Wm.

According to his grandson Freeman, Perry “was a big wheat raiser…who tried out new kinds of wheat and was a supplier of seed to neighbors.” He also did fruit tree experimentation; in 250 Years... is a 1962 picture of an apple tree that Perry had grafted, a hundred or so years earlier, onto an existing crabapple tree growing in the rail-fence boundary line between him and Asa Bishop [See #52]. It continued to produce apples until it was uprooted by a hurricane in the 1980s;Freeman gave Janet a part of its root(still in JSK's backyard rock/memory garden). Some locust trees that grew in that fence line remain today.

36. Home and dairy barn built by Freeman & Ruth (Gardner) Slusher / "S" Century Farm                present home/farm of Kevin & Melissa “Missy” (Sowers) Keith / 837 Laurel Branch Rd

Recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Century Farm, this land on West Fork has been “owned and farmed by members of the same family for more than one hundred years”—actually more than two hundred years. Freeman named it the “S” Farm since the West Fork of Little River flows in an S shape through the farm, and he had the distinctive S painted on the eaves of the dairy barn. Kevin is the seventh generation to own and farm it: 1-Christopher,Sr.,     2-Jacob, 3-Perry, 4-George Wm., 5-Freeman Maurice,Sr., 6- F.M.,Jr., then Janet, and 7-Kevin. Kevin’s farming operation, “Twin Forks Farm,” derives its name from this farm on West Fork and the Keith Century Farm on Burks Fork. [A Century Farm is a Virginia farm that has been owned, and continues to be lived on or farmed, by a descendant of the original owner. The farm must gross over $2500 annually from the sale of farm products. Application can be secured from <>  No application fee is required; a certificate and a metal sign for outdoor display are sent free of charge when proof of eligibility is accepted.]

The nucleus of this farm, “the River Place,” is land (bought by Freeman from George Wm. in 1927) which Christopher, Sr., had passed to his son Jacob in 1837; other portions of his land were deeded to others of his children [as noted in 250 Years...]. Jacob passed this portion to his son Perry who passed it to George Wm.  The original copy of Jacob's 1837 deed (signed Jan.1, 1838 by Va. Gov. David Campbell for “the within granted land…to Jacob Slusher and his heirs, forever”) is proudly displayed in his gr-gr-gr-grandson Kevin Keith’s home.

Freeman Maurice Slusher (b.4/18/1910 d.9/3/1998) m. 6/5/1937 Malissa Ruth Gardner             (b.12/29/1911 d.3/6/1999 d/o Martin Albert & Margaret Lillie {d/o Joseph Helms s/o Mary Weddle d/o David s/o Benjamin} Gardner)  of Willis. [See #3,20,68 and see genealogy section of  250 Years... for Freeman’s and Ruth’s ancestors, descendants and relatives. The book of family history and stories, and pictures of family, homes and farms, was written as their daughters’ gift honoring Freeman & Ruth in celebration of their golden wedding anniversary.]

The brick house, cinderblock barn and chicken house were constructed in 1949 by Freeman’s first cousin, Arnton Perry Snead s/o Angeline d/o Perry s/o Jacob,[See #42] upon land that has been owned, in turn, by 1-Charles Turman  [See #37],2-Asa Bishop/Harvey Bishop [See #41,38]3-George Wm. Slusher, 4-Freeman M. Slusher, Sr. , 5-F.M. Slusher, Jr., 6-Janet Slusher Keith, and now 7-Kevin L. Keith.   JSK Note: I farmed this land with my parents, sister Nancy and brother F.M., Jr.  I have always felt a close connection to Grandmother Clemmie although she died in 1924 when Daddy was only fourteen. I know that all who knew Clemmie had unqualified admiration, respect, and love for her. She, too, had lived and worked on this land. When Daddy talked about her raking hay with horses and dump rake, I realized she and I had raked hay in the same meadows, although I learned, and continue to rake, using a tractor. I remember Mother raking with horses and dump rake even after Daddy bought his first Ferguson tractor in 1951, for we still stacked the hay in a meadow down a hill too dangerous to take the big New Holland baler (fearing it might "jack-knife" behind the tractor), so I can "see" Clemmie raking.

Family members have shared stories of Clemmie facing great adversities: While she milked in a lot nearby, she saw a bear peer into their log cabin "at the beech tree" where infant Romney lay sleeping; thankfully, the bear turned and left. After a snowstorm that lasted three days and drifted badly, she looked after all the livestock as George Wm. lay sick in bed in their cabin. Searching for their flock of sheep, she saw little air holes that their breaths had melted as they huddled by a rail fence in the deeply drifted snow; with help from their nearest downstream neighbor, "Cousin Jerry" Hylton, she saved them all! [ See #26] While living in the River house, she endured the death of her beloved "little Peter."[See #34] As a loving mother, she traded eggs, butter, dried apples, etc., in George Wm.’s store(s) to provide clothing and other special things her children needed or confided to her that they wanted very badly. By example, she taught her children to work hard and waste nothing. [See pp. 45-46 of 250 Years...] Through knowing how her teachings, and Daddy’s tremendous love and respect for his mother, shaped his life, I have come to clearly recognize how she and her example shaped my own upbringing and family values.

37. Site of first cabin of Charles & Lucy Charlotte (Hylton) Turman /                                                     Matthew & Sarah (Cox) Turman                                                                                                   on land owned after them by Asa Bishop, Harvey/Julia Bishop, George Wm.Slusher, Freeman M. Slusher, Sr., F.M. Slusher, Jr., Janet Slusher Keith, and Kevin L.Keith   

Freeman Slusher: “In regard to my homeplace being where the Turmans first settled: The old log house stood on a little rise beside my house. I can remember it being there. The story goes that the men who tore it down found $150 hidden between the logs…. My father bought this 32 acres that my house and barn are on from Harvey Bishop’s wife.”  The outline of the foundation is still discernible on the rise just outside the yard fence. [See p. 136 of 250 Years...]   

Charles (b.2/6/1763  d.12/16/1848 s/o Benjamin,Sr.{b.1716  d.10/12/1784} & Frances)Turman m.11/14/1786 Lucy Charlotte (Hylton) b.1765 d.1858, 1st child of Elijah & Susannah Hylton. Charlotte was sister of Archelaus Hylton and John Bryant Hylton (father of Telithe m. Jacoband Burwell m. Mary Ann).[See #28,65]  Like Christopher Slusher, Sr.,Charles Turman served in the Revolutionary War, pension file S018074.  Charles Turman was a farmer and a miller whose mill (later Francis Marion Slusher’s, then Winfield Callahill Lester’s) was located on West Fork over half a mile [approx. 4150 ft.] upstream from his home.                                       

An interesting fact about Charles Turman [See Water-Powered Mills... p.217]: “Charles Turman, who is thought to have built the first mill on this site, left the executors of his estate specific instructions regarding the fates of his slaves. Following the death of his widow, they were to be hired out and their wages set aside until the youngest turned 21. At that point all were to be freed and removed to ‘some free and non-slaveholding state or country’ and their transportation paid for with money they had earned. Any money that remained was to be used to purchase land for them in ‘the state or country to which they may be sent.’ Considering that his widow, who was 84 years old in 1850, could have lived on for several more years, and that the youngest of his slaves could have been an infant in 1847 (or at the time of his wife’s death, depending upon how the will was interpreted), Turman’s slaves may not have benefited from his intentions for many years, if ever. But considering that neither the Civil War nor its consequences were a foregone conclusion in 1847, his plan was, in the context of its time, commendable, in spite of the built-in delays….The last man to run this mill, Winfield Callahill Lester, may have been of similarly compassionate disposition, having been the superintendent of a poor house, and his wife  [Texas (Snead) Lester] the matron, before they bought the mill in 1881.”

Charles & Charlotte’s first child Elijah (b. 4/28/1790 d. 11/9/1868) m. 8/20/1812  Barbara Slusher (b.1/14/1789 d. 6/2/1856). In 1834 Christopher, Sr. deeded to Elijah & Barbara200 acres “on the Miry Fork of Greasey Creek,” part of a 670-acre survey. [See #65] The mound where Elijah & Barbara’s log cabin stood is located beyond the front yard of the home of their gr-gr-granddaughter, Willie Helen Cruise. [The Willie Homer & Tabitha Alice (Turman) Cruise farm/home is off Floyd Hwy S near the Floyd County line at the intersection of Dickerson and Brannon roads in Carroll County.] Both Elijah and Barbara are buried in Turman Cemetery (site chosen by Elijah) high on the hill above their home on the “lower part of Burks Fork Creek in Carroll Co.”  Original markers are roughly hewn soapstone with BT and ET deeply cut. New stones were erected about 1980; name is spelled Eliga on Elijah's stone. Many more of the Turman family were buried there; there are also 25 unmarked stones.

Charles & Charlotte Turman’s 2nd child Matthew (b.11/26/1793 d.11/6/1874) m. 4/1/1820 Sarah Cox (d/o Carter & Ann Cox; Sarah was sister of Nancy Cox m. DavidSlusher)[See #22]. After bequeathing in his will “one dollar” each to seven of his heirs, Carter Cox’s will “equally divided” the remainder of his estate to his daughters Nancy Slusher and Sarah Turman. He appointed his “friend, Jacob S. Harman” (s/o Elizabeth) as executor of his will.

From Deed Book K, p.213 : “…deed..15th of September 1859…in the cause of Asa L. Howard heirs vs Matthew Turman…hereby conveys to Matthew Turman…all the interest in and title to that JacobSlusher and Asa L. Howard’s heirs have in and to the… tract of land…containing 136 acres, it being part of the Charles Turman home tract of land and adjoins the lands of Harvey Deskins, Jacob Slusher and others…(bounds the same as given in Deed Book U, p.43)…thence up the [West Fork of Little] river as it meanders 251 poles [abt.4150 ft.] to a rock at the abutment of the Old Mill Dam….”   This deed suggests that Matthew & Sarah Turman lived in Charles & Charlotte Turman’s home, at least for a time. Matthew & Sarah’s daughter Lucy Turman (b.6/8/1825 d.6/7/1890) m. Francis Marion Slusher s/o Jacob.  Marion & Lucy built their home diagonally across West Fork from this home site. [See #31] Jacob’s home was then the only other home in view in the mid 1800s.

A note in Essie Shockey Stallings’ Slusher-Turman-Shockey Family Records: “The Turman Cemetery, located across West Fork on a high knoll is where many of the early settlers were buried, including the Turman families.” [Essie was d/o Charles Madison Shockey m. Dollie Ann (Slusher) d/o Francis Marion m. Lucy (Turman); see #31] According to Fannie Jones in 1973,  Marion and Lucy were also buried in this cemetery. [See #31]  In Nov. 2016 Thornton Turman and son Lee visited the cemetery near two tall pine trees by the fence line. About 40 grave sites mostly marked with field stones have no markings. Many were likely victims of the 1862 black diphtheria epidemic (probably brought home by soldiers). Stones with markings include George d.1839 and Sarah Turman d.1840; Robert d.1908? and Sallie Weeks d.1891, and Floyd Akers d.1862. More stones with markings may lie covered in dirt since there is no fence around it.

38. Site of Harvey & Julia (Clay) Bishop home                                                                                         (on farm now owned by Kevin L.Keith)

In his will Asa Bishop left “in trust for the use and benefit of my son Harvey Bishop, for his lifetime then to his children…that part of my land known as the Turman tract…adjoining the lands of Asa L. Howard…Oliver Perry Slusher and others, containing 136 acres.”

The grassed-over roadbed, which Harvey Slusher and Harvey Bishop started [See #6 &# 31, road building info] to bring wagons down to Harvey & Julia's home, may be seen on the left of the hillside; current Laurel Branch Road is on right side of the hill. Foundation stones for Harvey & Julia's home are still visible in front of the line of walnut trees in the pasture field. The walnut trees took root along the lower fence of Freeman & Ruth Slusher’s garden. The large stump is all that now remains of a beautiful walnut tree (“parent” to the present ones) destroyed by a hurricane in the late 1970s.  Just below the Bishops' homesite was their barn, and a pig pen was next to the branch formed by overflow from the spring used by Harvey & Julia. [Still used by Kevin & Melissa "Missy" Keith, the spring provides water for their home (built in 1949 by Freeman & Ruth) and five watering troughs/fountains for cattle on the farm.]

39.   Asa Bishop Barn/ now “Agee Barn”                                                                                                   (on farm now owned by Steven Agee)

Local timber framer Al Anderson, of Timber Works of Interest, LLC, describes the barn as a “wonderful example of a finely crafted mid-19th century agricultural building. I use the term finely crafted with a knowledgeable eye. It’s the best example I have seen in either Floyd or Montgomery County. The cribs have been protected well over time and many of the notches still show their lay-out lines. The framing of the purlins [is] unique to my experience as are the cantilevered carrying logs.  I sincerely hope this barn will receive the recognition it deserves as a testimony to the people who built it.  They were not unskilled people.” [See "Architectural Description of...The Agee Barn " ] This double-crib log barn with roof extensions on all sides has crib logs of hewn white oak, measuring 7 x 12 inches in cross section, that are V-notched at the corners. The date “AD 1854” is carved into a log on the outer west side of the east crib. Each crib has 13 courses of logs; resting on the top plate logs are 12 x 12 inch hewn “carrying logs” which are cantilevered and mortised into square-hewn roof purlins measuring 50 feet in length.

After Asa Bishop’s son Burdine, the farm was owned by Sheriff Cephas Hylton; between 1939 and 1942 it changed hands seven times. Moyer Edgar Agee purchased the present 150-acre tract containing the barn in 1942; later it was owned by Moyer’s son, Marvin Agee, whose son Steven Agee received it from his parents in 1992.  Another portion of the old roadbed for Road 719 may be seen in the wooded area to the left of Steven Agee’s driveway entrance (549 Laurel Branch Rd) just beyond the section of plank fence.

40. “Old Dodd Burying Ground” across the road from the Asa Bishop barn and beyond the      fence on the ridge in the adjoining field. An ingress-egress easement to the burial          ground             exists along the boundary line between Shelor/Dillard property and Rose Hill property.                                                    

The unfenced "old Dodd Burying Ground" is near the middle of the pasture field now owned by Bonnie (Shelor) Dillard d/o Frances & Charles Keller s/o Brewster E. s/o George Wm. s/o James Floyd s/o Thomas Bonaparte s/o Daniel,Jr. s/o Daniel Shelor. Graves there are those of Benjamin and Mary Dodd, son Caleb d.8/9/1824, "age11 yr 8 mo 10 d"; son Alfred R.; Rebecca Dodd d.3/10/1844 "age 78 yr"; Emily Bishop d.2/29/1852 "age 3 yr 3 mo 10 d"; and other descendants, as well as neighbors (Weavers, Prices, Howells) and slaves (whose birth and death dates were recorded in the Bishop Bible, according to Fannie Slusher Jones who had examined the Bible). Fannie said the remains of Asa & Elizabeth Bishop, and of Burdine & Mary Bishop, were removed from the cemetery on the hill near the Dodd/Bishop home and were re-interred in Jacksonville Burial Ground. Their stones are in the front rows of the "old section."

According to Calohill M. Stigleman, portions of the Dodd farm were purchased from "a Mr. Price and Joshua Howell, who were among the very first settlers of this section of the county.... They with their wives...are buried on this farm"[ Amos Wood's Floyd County..., p.57]  (In 1973, Fannie Jones shared that her "husband [Flem] offered to furnish and have posts planted for a fence as the old rail fence gave way, if the others would buy the wire--no one agreed. It is a shame....") As of October 2007, there were no standing stones, and Benjamin's and Caleb's stones were almost covered with grass.

41. Farm & site of home of Benjamin & Mary Dodd / Asa & Elizabeth (Dodd) Bishop /                    Burdine & Mary (Scott) Bishop                                                                           

Benjamin b.7/18/1780  d.9/8/1856 m. Mary (Prosize) b.12/30/1780  d. 6/22/1844 Dodd ( both from Franklin County) settled near the creek which later became known as Dodd’s Creek/South Fork of Little River. This farm, located one mile west of Jacksonville (later Floyd), was one of the finest early farms in the county; it extended from Dodd's Creek to the Turman homesite on West Fork of Little River [See #37] and was bordered on either side by Jacob Helms' and Christopher Slusher, Sr.'s land.  Sue Jefferson Shelor [See Pioneers...of Floyd, Co. p.48] described Benjamin Dodd as "one of the...wealthiest men in Floyd County" in his time.   Fannie (Slusher) Jones d/o Harvey {m.Julia Bishop} s/o Hamilton s/o David) wrote in 1973 that the "first Dodd house was on a high hill above [Slaughters'] Food Market."

Asa Bishop, eldest s/o Dr. John, Jr.{m. Dicey Cox d/o Ambrose & Sallie (Reed)} s/o John Bishop,Sr., m. Mary Elizabeth Dodd d/o Benjamin & Mary Dodd. From an account [See Floyd County, Virginia Heritage, p.82] by Anne (Jones) Murphy {d/o Flem & Fannie (Slusher) Jones}: "It is believed that all of the Bishops in Floyd County are descendants of John Bischoff/Bishop, [Sr.], who came from England and settled in the Indian Creek section in 1777."  John Bishop, Sr., & Mary had four children; Mary/Margaretha drowned while trying to cross the New River on horseback.              

Asa and Elizabeth Bishop inherited this farm and had nine children. Elizabeth b.6/4/1823 "lived all her life on her old parental homestead." The farm was later owned by oldest son Burdine b.10/9/1845 m. Mary L. Scott d/o Mathew & Mary Ann (Strickler) Scott and they lived in the Dodd/Bishop home. Burdine was a member of the Va. Legislature 1883-84; he died 11/26/1927, age 82 and was "buried in the Dodd family burial ground on his farm." [Remains of Asa & Burdine and their wives were removed and re-interred in the Jacksonville Burial Ground.]  Asa & Elizabeth's daughter Angelina m. Samuel Harter (s/o Adam s/o Frantz [See #3,62]); their daughter Julia m. Harvey Slusher (gr.s/o David); Harvey Bishop  m. Julia Clay was their youngest child. [See pp.18,56-58, 78, Amos Wood’s Floyd County...]

JSK Note: Bonnie Dillard, present land owner, is aware of the old Dodd family burial ground in the pasture field. However, she indicates that she does not know of remains of the Dodd/Bishop home/foundation on her property. However, indications are strong that the house (which burned in the late 1920s) was near the location of the burial ground. [An ingress-egress easement to the burial ground follows the boundary line between Shelor/Dillard and Smith/"Rose Hill" property. See #48] After the Dodd/Bishop home burned, Burdine then built the home in the field in clear sight of the barn (and now a rental home owned by Steven Agee). Beulah Harmon Shelor, Burdine's niece, recorded [on back of a picture of Alice Winifred "Allie" Bishop Muncy, only child of Burdine] that her Uncle Burdine's home was "first house on right" after turning onto the road at Slaughters' Store). Burdine & Mary later owned & lived in the former home of "Alvin & Sarah (Simmons) Graham on lower Main Street" in Floyd. [See p.78, Wood’s Floyd County...]

Anne Jones Murphy: “During the 1920s I would visit this beautiful place [the Benjamin Dodd/ Asa Bishop home] with my grandmother Julia (Bishop) Slusher  [See #25]. It was her birthplace, then owned by her brother Burdine. The beautiful colonial house had tall white pillars supporting the porch.  The kitchen was behind the big house (separate to keep the heat and odors from the dining room). Formerly, slaves had prepared meals in the kitchen, then served them in the dining room. The slaves’ houses were back behind the kitchen. This [main] house and its contents burned in the late 1920s."  The loom which Asa Bishop made for Elizabeth survived the fire since it had been set up in a building behind the house. [Donated by the family of Beulah Mae Harmon Shelor, the loom is on permanent display in the Old Church Gallery, 110 Wilson St.SE, Floyd. Beulah (d/o Emily Bishop {9th child, youngest d/o Asa Bishop} m. Harvey Thompson Harmon) m. Harmon B. Shelor. Years after Emily's death, Beulah set up the loom in a building at her home and made many rugs/carpets for her home; her daughter Opal Shelor Hylton donated one of Beulah's rugs made on the loom to OCG. Katherine Jones Nester has her grandmother Julia Bishop {sis/o Emily} Slusher's spinning wheel, and she donated two shuttles that were used on the loom to OCG. The rug and shuttles are on display with the loom.]

“Grandmother Julia would tell wonderful stories, including this one: ‘During the Civil War, my father Asa and brothers Burdine and Wesley were away at war. Harvey [b. 4/4/1858], too young to fight, was keeping the livestock in the woods because Yankee soldiers were taking all the food. A Yankee officer came to the door and asked Mother for the keys to the meat and springhouse; she told him that she had lost them. He replied that he would just tear the doors down, so she gave the keys to him. The soldiers took all the meat, milk and other foods we had. They camped in the meadows by [Dodd's] creek [both upstream and downstream near Slaughters’ Nursery]. At night they [had] camp fires and sang late into the night. They destroyed everything they could before they left.'” [These Union cavalry were a contingent of Gen. George Stoneman’s raiders (estimated to have been approximately 3,500 strong when coming down the Floyd-Carroll Turnpike) who arrived in the Jacksonville area April 3-4, 1865. See #20,51]

The arrival of Stoneman's Union raiders outside Jacksonville was recounted by Waitman Stigleman. Waitman was six years old in April 1865; his father, Dr. Calohill Minnis Stigleman, was the highest ranking officer then in Jacksonville; he had served as captain of  Co. A of the 24th Va. in 1861.  On the morning of April 4,"the great army was first seen two miles west of town, coming down Bishop's hill..." on the Dug Spur Road past Asa Bishop's home (near current Laurel Branch Road's path) to ford Dodd's Creek and proceed into Jacksonville. [See Waitman Stigleman's account in Stoneman's Raid: 1865, pp.121-122. Note: Author Chris Hartley incorrectly identified Capt. C.M. Stigleman as "Colonel William Stigleman."] In an interview recounted on p. 204 in Floyd County Historical Inventory 1937-38 WPA of Va., very old "Uncle" [former slave] Wise Headen shared his still vivid memory of the Yankee raiders' arrival: "They stopped at Bishop's Hill... planted their guns and cannons there....[T]he cannons were large enough to crawl in and it took about eight or ten horses to pull one. The Yankees stayed on the hill until two men of Jacksonville...waved a stick with a white handkerchief on it....That night the men stayed in the fields and left before day the next morning" [continuing north toward Christiansburg with orders to tear up the railroad tracks there]. Gen. Stoneman and his staff  had their evening meal in Capt. Stigleman's home where they briefly set up head- quarters. [This home of Capt./Dr. Calohill Minnis Stigleman is on East Main St. beside Hardee's and across the street from Circle K.]

Anne Jones Murphy: “During my childhood (the 1920s) all of the area from the top of the hill[at the home & cemetery] almost to the Freeman Slusher place was in virgin oak timber. The Harvey Bishop house was on the old road above [what later became] Freeman Slusher’s house. It was the only house between Burdine’s house and the [Callahill & Texas (Snead)] Lester farm" (Reference is to the portion of the farm with Jacob Slusher's second  home in which the Lesters lived for a time).

Asa Bishop’s sister Mary d/o Dr.John,Jr.{m.Dicey Cox d/o Ambrose & Sallie (Reed)} s/o John Bishop,Sr., m. John Harman s/o Solomon & Elizabeth(Slusher) Harman; they lived at the Harman home which they inherited along with the Solomon Harman mill. [See #4] Asa and Mary’s sister Margaret “Peggy” m. Sparrel Slusher s/o David; their sister Lucy m. Charles L. Simmons, oldest of Cary & Caty Simmons' nine children.[See #61] Charles & Lucy's 8th/youngest child was Homer Luther Simmons b.12/30/1867  m. Eliza Ellen Slusher d/o Archelaus. [See Floyd...Heritage, pp.146-147]  The seventh of Homer & Eliza Simmons' 13 children was Ellis Monroe Simmons b.3/7/1900 d.3/20/1968 m. Clyde (Keith); their home was just off  the section of Rose Hill Road that is now without VDOT maintenance.                                 

JSK Note: One of my vivid memories of the Feb.-March 1960 snowstorms that brought about 55 inches of snow involves Ellis Simmons'  home on the ridge southeast of us. Their home was connected to a utility line which had electricity restored at least five days before our line was restored. Beginning our morning milkings at 4 a.m. by kerosene lamplight, we were having to milk by hand 35 cows (that were used to milking machines) and then pour all of the milk down the drain since there was no electricity to run the electric motor on the bulk milk tank/cooler. Of course, we couldn't have saved all of the milk even with electricity since deep snowdrifts meant many secondary roads were closed for weeks, and the milk truck could not reach us. However, as a 13-year-old whose arm muscles were cramping as I helped with the milking, I admit I was envious of the electricity I saw shining from Ellis Simmons' home. Also, Mother had received her box of 50 baby chicks in the mail just before the first snow hit. We had to keep the chicks in the house  near the wood stove and kerosene lamplight since there was no electricity to run the heat lamps Mother used for them in the chicken house. They were starting to develop pin feathers by the time our electricity was restored! (Neighbors on Laurel Branch Rd walked to Floyd and brought mail, newspapers, etc., that they put into our mailbox. We had dug down at least four feet through the drifted snow to uncover the mailbox. Schools were closed 21 days.)

**** For additional sites (42-47) directly related to the Laurel Branch Road tour: Turn left at end of Laurel Branch Road onto Floyd Hwy N into Floyd. Turn sharp left from W Main St. onto Nira St. beside the Howard home, "The Maples" [See #61]; proceed to the intersection with Penn Avenue and turn right.

42. George Wm. & Clemmie Slusher home   now 166 Penn Ave.                                    

After leaving the farm on Rush Fork in December 1913, George Wm., Clemmie, and their six youngest children lived in this home. [See pic in 250 Years...] The catalpas/"bean trees" in the front yard were likely from starts brought from the catalpas at Rush Fork. This house was built by his nephew, Lather Alvin Hylton s/o Abram Hylton & Lou d/o Perry s/o Jacob, next to the present Nazarene Church and across Penn Ave. from Schoolhouse Fabrics, originally Floyd High School built in 1913. FHS replaced the 1846 Jacksonville Male Academy, a.k.a. "Old Brick Academy" which was "a noted institution for learning...surpassing the surrounding counties."  [Amos Wood's Floyd County, p. 358, said "...among its students were J.E.B. Stuart and his brother John Dabney Stuart"; however, other sources question if J.E.B. actually attended there for any length of time. Certainly, "Jeb" visited Floyd/Glenanna since their sister Mary Stuart m. Dr. Tazewell Headen. Tazewell and his brother, James Bennett Headen, were both trustees of the Academy. While he was in Floyd, John Dabney Stuart had his doctor's office in "Glenanna," home built by Mary and Tazewell.] Lather  Hylton (m. Annie Whitlow) was a master builder responsible for numerous Floyd buildings [See "Floyd Historic Walking Tour"]. Arnton Perry Snead, Sr. (s/o Abraham/Abe Snead & Angeline d/o Perry s/o Jacob; thus, Lather’s first cousin) worked with Lather in his early years, and then Arnton went on to establish his own reputation as a master builder. Among 100+ Floyd homes and buildings that Arnton built were Freeman & Ruth’s brick home and dairy barn in 1949. Dr. F. Clyde Bedsaul wrote “Arnton Perry Snead—the Builder” a four-page account praising not only the work but the man. [See pic of Arnton, p. 45 and pic of Floyd High School, p.56 in Images...: Floyd County]           

About a year after Clemmie’s death in 1924 in their home on Oxford Street (James & Leta High’s home was built on the site) [See #44], George Wm. moved back to this house and in 1926married his cousin Ardella “Della” Turner Howery d/o Samuel & Rachel (Wood)Turner {sister of Mary Jane Wood, George Wm.’s mother}. Many of George Wm.'s children continued to call her “Cousin Della.” [See early pic of Della in Floyd County, Virginia Heritage, p.8] George Wm. lived here until his death in 1939 and left the home to Della who died in 1966.

Freeman b.4/18/1910 d.9/3/1998 was 13th child and youngest son, and after the death of his mother, Clemmie, he determined to live with his father and “help him in any way” he could while going to Floyd High School. [Graduating in 1926, he was offered a teaching position in a one-room school but declined. He said that he knew that many of the boys who would be students there the next year were "bigger and meaner" than he was.] During the '20s & '30s, Freeman was the main one operating the farm at “the River Place.” He would leave from the Penn Ave. house on horseback “to go to feed several bunches of cattle and sheep on the farm, a six-mile trip crossing two creeks” and to do planting, harvesting, etc., depending on the season.

After Freeman m. 6/5/1937 Malissa Ruth (Gardner) d/o Martin Albert & Lillie (Helms) Gardner, they lived in the upstairs rooms until George Wm.’s death. They then moved to "the Bishop house" two doors down on Penn Ave. (replaced by current home on the site) and lived there while Freeman was assistant Floyd postmaster, under Archa Vaughan, Sr.   [See #59, and see pic of Floyd Post Office in the A.T. Howard Building in Images...: Floyd County, p.25]  In 1943 Freeman left the assistant postmaster position to farm full time, and he, Ruth & Nancy (then two) moved to the “old Jacob Slusher house” on the farm. There Freeman & Ruth milked cows for six years in an outdoor milk lot and cooled the milk cans (eight gallons each) in the nearby springhouse at the bottom of the hill from the house. Freeman transported the milk cans by horse and sled to meet the “milk truck” which stopped at Flem Jones’ house to collect the filled cans and leave the empty ones (bearing identification--usually numbers). [See # 26] The "milk money" which they earned and saved from selling Grade C milk in those six years (1943-49) paid for their brick home, chicken house, and cinderblock dairy barn which met the strict sanitation specifications required to sell Grade A milk (which earned more money per gallon).

      Site of Geo. W. Slusher Store #1 in Floyd   on Penn Ave./present Nazarene Church location

By 1914 George Wm. Slusher had built his general merchandise store beside their home. His sons regularly made the four-days & three-nights, covered-wagon trip via the Christiansburg Pike to the railroad station in Cambria/Christiansburg. They left Floyd hauling butter, eggs, dried apples, chestnuts, cured pork hams and shoulders, live chickens and turkeys, and other goods traded in by customers and returned with hardware, dry goods and merchandise for the Penn Avenue store. [See pic of store in Images..: Floyd County, p.87 & in 2016 FCHS calendar; see #21: info about trip to & from Christiansburg before Route 8/ Webbs Mill Road N was built.]                                         

  ****   Turn around in Nazarene Church parking lot; head west on Penn Ave. which becomes                             Penn Road; continue about two miles to intersection at 150 Valley Drive                          43. Amos & Polly Dickerson / David & Amanda Dickerson / Hattie Dickerson home                       Amos (1832-1920); David (1857-1945); Hattie (1895-1986); present home of Charles &           Beulah (Harris) Conner [See #26; turn left on Valley Drive to reach former home of     Jerry & Kate Hylton and footbridge over West Fork--to reach Slusher Grant Lane;     Tanager Lane (Abundant Dawn Community) left off Valley Drive also reaches West Fork]

David & Nancy (Cox) Slusher’s6th child Mary Ann “Polly(b.10/10/1827 d.5/10/1898) m. Amos Dickerson (b.5/16/1831 d.3/6/1920).  Polly was the mother of all of Amos’s children. She became ill and died at the homesite of daughter Lydia & Monroe Simmons while Monroe was building their house.[See #50] Amos 2nd m. Martha E. Wilson (d.5/5/1911).

Amos & Polly’s6th child,Lydia Darrow, was named by a minister who was visiting in the home at the time of her birth. Lydia (b.3/15/1871 d.7/7/1938) m.James Monroe Simmons s/o Cary & Caty[See #22,50,61].   Monroe & Lydia’s 7th child James Hugh Simmons m. Neva Dell Slusher d/o Roger s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob).

In Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States:“Elder Amos Dickerson…is of a sturdy stock of citizenship characterized by their industry, honesty, and unswerving integrity. His early opportunities were limited so that he grew to manhood with but little or no education, and with only muscle and brain with which to wage the battle of life. In 1850 he married Miss Mary Slusher, who…was a companion indeed, entering with full sympathy into the struggles of life with her husband and like thousands of Southern wives and mothers, while the husband and father was in the army she went to the field and by the sweat of her face supplied her children with bread….Elder Dickerson joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1852…he enlisted in Co. A, 54th Va. Infantry Regiment and served for more than three years….Having returned from Civil strife in 1865, he began to exercise a gift in the ministry, and in 1867 was ordained….For 55 years he served from three to five churches…which required travel on horseback a distance of 128 miles a month to serve the churches in his charge….He also was favored to baptize his aged father at the age of 87….He served his county [Floyd] in the legislature for six successive years.”    [Sarah Simmons d/o Hugh & Neva (Slusher) Simmons has the sturdy walnut desk which he took with him while serving in the Virginia legislature.]

Amos played the fife and was the drummer for his company during the Civil War. Dickerson family history recounts that when Amos returned from the war, all the family had to eat that winter were turnips planted by his wife Polly. If it had not been for the turnips, the family would have starved. A farmer, Amos also later ran a sawmill. [See pic of Amos: 2012 FCHS calendar]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Jacob S. & Sophia (Weddle) Harman’s 5th child Ananias m. Mary Ann Hylton d/o Riley Harrison s/o Mary Ann.   Ananias & Mary Ann's 2nd child Amanda Etta m. David Dickerson (s/o Amos m. Mary Ann “Polly”Slusher d/o David) [Note: Ananias Harman was the first Elder elected by the Laurel Branch Church of the Brethren after its organization in 1917; see #19]

Freeman Slusher recalled that neighbors who raised hogs would trade work and go from farm to farm to do butchering when the weather got cold enough in the fall. He recalled the time when they went to butcher at “Cousin Dave Dickerson’s.”  The men arrived there, but David was not well and begged the men not to butcher that day, for he was “going to die” that night. He did not want his wife, Amanda, and daughters, Hattie and Mattie, to have to deal with all the work of “putting up the meat” and with his death and funeral (which would be held at the home). The men shrugged off his plea and proceeded to do the butchering. The next day they learned that David did, in fact, die that very night.

David & Amanda (Harman) Dickerson had three children: Percy, Hattie and Mattie. Neither Hattie Etta Dickerson (b.4/14/1895 d.10/23/1986) nor her sister Mattieever married. Hattie was the last surviving member of her family to live in this home. Hugh and Neva (Slusher) Simmons were executors of Hattie’s estate. A particular focus on the estate of Hattie Dickerson involves a corner cupboard sold at her estate sale. Hattie recalled that as a child she had first seen the corner cupboard in her great-grandfather Jacob S. Harman’s home which we know had been Christopher Slusher, Sr.’s, home.

In 2012 Robert Leath, curator at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in Winston Salem, NC, spoke at the Slusher Family Organization Reunion (held on the third Sunday in July in even-numbered years at Floyd’s VFW Hall). He explained how he had been able to prove that Christopher Slusher, Sr., was “absolutely one of western Virginia’s most important cabinetmakers,” and that "it was Christopher who made the corner cupboard initially purchased at Hattie Dickerson’s estate sale" by a Williamsburg antiques dealer and subsequently purchased by MESDA for $18,000.00.  Robert Leath emphasized the following points:

Christopher’s father, Peter Schlosser, was listed in 1769 as “a carpenter”; Christopher was part of a family that valued wood-working skills and appreciated art in the early 19th century.  The cabinet maker had to be German as evidenced by the motifs/carvings on the cupboard.  Christopher lived in southern Frederick County, Va., in the Middletown area near Strasburg in Shenandoah County in 1789. Features on the cupboard’s glass doors are in the "same style seen on the demilune (half-moon shape) windows above the main entry door and pediment of Belle Grove, Isaac Hite, Jr.,’s beautiful manor house in Frederick Co. built from 1794-1797. When Christopher sold his land to come down to Montgomery/ Floyd County area of Virginia, his next-farm neighbor was that same Isaac Hite, Jr.!" [See #11] The cupboard’s maker was "familiar with neoclassical designs—like those which can be seen today at Belle Grove." The maker "had to have lived in both Frederick Co., Va., and what became Floyd County." The inventory of Christopher’s estate included “the entire kit required to make this cupboard.” The cupboard was made around 1810. Numerous of Christopher's direct descendants are known to have been master carpenters—following the tradition of fathers teaching sons.  Robert Leath’s conclusion: “Put all those facts together and only one person fits all criteria as maker of this corner cupboard: Christopher Slusher, Sr."   JSK note: The identical features seen on the demilune windows of Belle Grove (completed in 1797 before Christopher Slusher, Sr., came to Floyd County) and in the doors of the corner cupboard lead me to believe that Christopher may have been one of the skilled woodworkers who built Belle Grove! He most certainly would have seen the house and its feature windows. I also suggest that he might have used money earned from work at Belle Grove to purchase his land here. [At my request, historians at Belle Grove are researching to determine if names of its skilled woodworkers exist in records there.]

*** Return on Penn Rd/Ave to intersection with N Locust St, turn right; turn left onto Oxford St.           44. Site of George Wm. & Clemmie’s home on Oxford Street                                                      James & Leta High’s brick home (212 E Oxford St.) was built on the site.

By1920 George Wm. had traded the Penn Ave. house and his store for land and the large, two-story brick house with wrap-around porch on Oxford Street.During this time, he served as mayor of Floyd. [See pictures in 250 Years…]

After 1918 (the reunion by the beech tree), the yearly reunion of all their large family was held at this home until after Clemmie’s death (9/28/1924). After Clemmie’s funeral, 14th/youngest child Dotte (then 12) recalled being “able to see the flowers on Mother’s grave” near the gazebo in Jacksonville Burial Ground from the porch of their Oxford Street home. (Obviously, buildings and trees were not then in the line of sight.)  About a year after Clemmie’s death in the Oxford Street house, George Wm. traded back for the house on Penn Avenue and lived there until his death in 1939.

Note:  The most recent reunion of George Wm. & Clemmie's descendants, held at Slusher Park on the Rush Fork Century Farm, 21 July 2018, was the 101st consecutive reunion. Eleven of George Wm. and Clemmie's 50 grandchildren survive them as of January 2019.


45. Geo. W. Slusher Store #2, #3  and Mill in Floyd                    

After moving to the Oxford Street house, George Wm. rented a building on E.Main Street (below the old Floyd County Bank next to the Rose Guthrie Hotel) and ran store #2 there until the hotel and store burned down a short time later. He then bought a lot and in 1922 constructed another store building, [Now owned by Dirk Davis, it is site of his Nationwide Insurance Agency office (118 N Locust St.) Dirk’s wife Jennifer is d/o Janet d/o Freeman s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob.] Freeman was 12 when his father built this store building #3, and remembered helping “to drive some nails into the building.” Close examination of the walls between this building and what is now Bell’s Gallery reveals a fire wall (wood planks that are "dead packed"/stacked directly upon one another to hopefully prevent a fire from spreading.) There had been a number of disastrous fires that destroyed many wooden buildings in Floyd since fire would spread quickly from one to the next. The back right wall of Bell’s Gallery exhibits this method; looking through the door on the store's right wall reveals the fire wall which rises from the ground to roof level. Freeman said that planks from the second Perry Slusher home and from the Burwell & Mary Ann Hylton cabin were used during the building of store #3 in Floyd. The planks likely formed part of the fire wall as well.

The building at 114 S. Locust St. was built for George Wm.'s roller mill powered by a 10 h.p. engine rather than by water power. The 6/27/1919 deed for the lot [See Floyd Co.Deed Book 43, p.474] was from W.A. Sowers to George William Slusher  and [Dr.] Will G. Hylton. [See The Water-Powered Mills..., p.283]  Run by Will Poff , it did daily grinding and selling of cornmeal, buckwheat flour and cattle feed; it was in operation for less than a year.  After the mill was sold and removed, the building was sold, and in 1920s held undertaker C.M. Graham's displays. W.J. Ayers' general store operated there 1938-70; New Mountain Mercantile now occupies the site.

     At intersection of Oxford St & E.Main, turn left; turn left off E Main onto Christiansburg Pike 46. Zion Lutheran Church / Zion Lutheran Cemetery  635 Needmore Lane

In the 1790s the first wave of German-American pioneer settlers came into the Floyd area from Frederick Co., Maryland. This group formed the nucleus of the German-Lutheran congregation; church records indicate that services were held as early as 1790. Land for the Zion Lutheran and Reformed Church, chartered in 1813, was given by George Sowers and George Phlegar.

George Fredrick Phlegar is listed as a deacon with nine in his family in the list of 24 charter member families. The records written in German list “Christofel Shlosser” (Christopher Slusher, Sr.) and wife as charter members with seven in family (children not named).  David s/o George F. Phlegar m. Nancy d/o Christopher, Jr.; Joseph s/o George F. Phlegar m. Nancy Boone, d/o John Boone b.@1756  who came to Floyd Co. 1807 and gr.d/o Johann Diel Bohne/Boone who was born in Germany and came to America in 1741 on the ship Marlborough and settled in Frederick (now Carroll) Co., Md. [See #3, and for more on these Boones and discussion of any relation to Daniel Boone, see Kate Weddle Ratliff’s Climb Your Family Tree, pp.159-165]

In addition, four of George F. Phlegar’s grandchildren married grandchildren of Christopher, Sr.: Isaac s/o Joseph m. Margaret Harman d/o Solomon & Elizabeth; John s/o Joseph m. Mary Harman d/o Solomon & Elizabeth; Margaret d/o Joseph m. Ananias Slusher s/o David;  Eliza m. Noah Simmon s/o Cary & Caty.  [See pic of the George Phlegar home dating to 1816, p.12, and pic of Zion Lutheran Church, p. 55, in Images...: Floyd County]

Church records list “Kasper Schmidt” (Casper Smith) & wife [Catherine (Shlosser/Slusher)]. Their daughter Elizabeth b. 2/1/1805, baptized 4/30/1805, had as sponsors Christofel Shlosser and wife. The records also list Cara/Cary Simmons & wife [Catherine/Caty], daughter Eva, b. 4/9/1816, baptized 10/10/1816, sponsors Christofel Shlosser and wife.

 ***Return to Main St., turn right. See Dr. C.M.Stigleman home beside Hardee's; turn left at        stoplight. See New Mtn. Mercantile on right of S Locust St.; pass 178 Parkway Lane S                                   47. Jacksonville Burial Ground   

At the time of the formation of Floyd County in 1831, the John Kitterman home was the only home in what became Jacksonville. In 1852, David Kitterman's family cemetery was sold to the town for one dollar. (It is now the “Old Jacksonville Cemetery” in the center of the town of Floyd; among those buried here are Harvey Deskins, signer of the Articles of Secession; master builder and brick mason Henry Dillon; Patrick Henry's son Nathaniel; a War of 1812 soldier; Civil War veterans; and unmarked graves of antebellum slaves). Later, land was given for the present Jacksonville Burial Ground.  An 1800s hand-drawn map, (on cardboard) naming owners of the plots in what is now "the old section" surrounding the pavilion/gazebo, may be examined in the History Room of Maberry Funeral Home.

George William Slusher (b.1/10/1866  d.8/1/1939), Dicie Clementine "Clemmie" Permelia Jane Corn Slusher (b.2/5/1867  d.9/28/1924)  and their 12th child Winnie Kate Slusher (b.9/6/1907 d.10/13/1925) are buried here near the pavilion/gazebo. After Clemmie’s death, Dotte (then 12) said she was “able to see Mother’s grave” from the porch of their Oxford Street home.

Eight of George Wm. & Clemmie’s 14 children and their family members are buried here. Exceptions are Claude (Hylton Cemetery, Burks Fork), Peter (Oliver Perry Slusher/”Little Peter” Cemetery), Romney (Topeco Cemetery), Nola (Blue Ridge Cemetery), Martha (Willis Cemetery), and Lelia (Sherwood Memorial Garden, Salem, Va.)

Obediah & Eliza Simmons’ first child, Minnie Ella (b.6/19/1870 d.7/18/1940) m. Albert Tappe Howard (b.5/4/1862 d. 7/9/1934). Minnie (gr.d/o Caty), Tappe, and son Joseph are buried next to the pavilion/gazebo; in line with them are the graves of George Wm.(gr.s/o Jacob), Clemmie & dau. Kate, and the grave of Janet Slusher Keith's husband, David Joel “D.J.” Keith, Sr. s/o Dewey & Weeda {d/o Weldon s/o John Wm. s/o George s/o Archelaus s/o Elijah Hylton} Keith, and gr.s/o John William "Peg-leg John"{so-called after losing the lower part of his right leg while working on the railroad in West Virginia during the Depression years} & Naomah {d/o Joel s/o Levi s/o Andrew s/o Benjamin Weddle} Keith. 

 ***Return to stoplight; turn left onto W Main St./ Floyd Hwy S to Rose Hill Road @1.5 mi.                         48. Jacob & Elizabeth (Smith) Helms home, “Rose Hill”                                                            home of Constance "Connie" Smith (descendant of Jacob Helms through Cannadays)

“Rose Hill,” on present Rose Hill Road/part of the "old Dugspur Road," was the home of Jacob & Eliza Helms. Known to loan money to many (often with their land as collateral), Helms served as “the bank” for the area before the formation of Floyd County. Tax records show him to be the county’s largest slaveholder. Jacob was a member of the Legislature of Virginia from Montgomery County in 1831 when the bill forming Floyd County (separating from Montgomery) was passed and became law on January 15, 1831.

Jacob Helms (b.1791 d.6/9/1835 s/o Adam Helm) m. 12/24/1812 Elizabeth Smith (b.@ 1792 d.12/23/ 1855).  Jacob & Eliza Helms had four children: 1- Madison “Mat” S. Helms m. Sarah Amanda Howard d/o Major & Sarah “Sally” (Shelor) {d/o William and gr.d/o Captain Daniel Shelor};    2-Ellen 1st m. Dr. John W. Headen; Ellen’s 2nd m. Asa L. Howard;   3-Harriet m. Henry Dillon, master builder and brick mason who built the Jacksonville Academy, the 2nd Floyd County Court House in 1851, the 1850 Presbyterian Church and most of the brick buildings in Floyd in the mid 1850s;  and  4-Malinda m. James Bennett Headen, bro/o Dr. John W. and bro/o Tazewell Headen  {m. Mary, sister of J.E.B. Stuart and Dr. John Dabney Stuart; Tazewell built “Glenanna"}.[See #59: West Fork Church's first trustees, and see 2014 FCHS calendar] Jacob & Eliza’s dau. Ellen M. Helms (b.12/4/1815 d. 12/13/ 1891) 1st m. 10/8/1833 Dr. John W. Headen  s/o Thomas B. Headen.  Dr. John & Ellen’s son, Capt. John Williams Headen m. Ann Eliza "Addie" Hylton [See #53]; their daughter Rosabelle m. Major Henry Lane [Co.B,42nd Va.] After Dr. John W. Headen’s death, Ellen 2nd m. 12/28/1843 Asa L. Howard (b.3/12/1819 d.8/18/1858 s/o Ira Howard & Permelia Lester) and they lived at “Rose Hill.”  [See #11; Asa L. Howard was Jacob S. Harman’s business partner.] Asa & Ellen had five children: 4th was Ellen Adaline Howard  b.2/2/1857 d.10/29/1918 m. William Dennis Vaughan, Judge (s/o Rev. C.R. Vaughan & Elvira A.) Their son Archibald "Archa" Vaughan, Sr. (b.6/17/1889 d.7/11/1969) m.10/18/1916  Beulah Margaret (Slusher) (b.3/14/1896 d/o Dr. Lafayette {s/o Ananias s/o David} & Cordelia "Dilly" Slusher). [See #59] JSK Note: At the 2018 Slusher Family Organization reunion, June Capps Norris (gr.d/o Lafayette) officially announced donation of Dr. Lafayette Slusher's 1905 diary to the Floyd County Historical Society. In 1905 Lafayette moved his family to Willis--to the house that later was home of Cline m. Effie (d/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob) Sowers and is current home of Tuff m. Angie (Harmon) Nichols}.

Jacob Helms was one of the first ten justices who met March 21, 1831 to hold Floyd County’s first monthly County Court after  its formation. The justices met “at the residence of Daniel Spangler, deceased”; the home was a log house located near the Pine Creek Primitive Baptist Church. Helms used his influence to try to locate the county seat at Falling Branch near “Rose Hill” rather than near George Sowers on Pine Creek.  Finally, with the Circuit Court's deadline for a decision on a site drawing near, Manesseh Tice and Abraham Phlegar conveyed a total of six acres for the county seat; the location split the difference between the two disputed locations.

At the time, only the John Kitterman family had a home in the county seat location; when the town of Jacksonville was laid out, his line joined Main Street (to a point near the present stoplight) and his land extended south including all of the southern portion of town and Storker’s/Stocker’s Knob. John's son David and wife Sarah Kitterman donated land for an African-American school in 1868.  A bronze marker was put up by the Public Service Authority noting the location of the Armstrong School when the town's water tower (no longer standing) was erected. The Kitterman family cemetery became the Jacksonsville Cemetery [now the “Old Jacksonville Cemetery” in the center of the town of Floyd.]  The first Floyd Court House was built on the land conveyed by Abraham Phlegar {son-in-law of Andrew Weddle s/o Benjamin} [in the county seat called Jacksonville for Andrew Jackson, U.S. President in 1831. The town of Jacksonville was first incorporated in 1858; an Act of the Va. General Assembly officially changed the name of the town to Floyd on Jan. 23,1896.] The first court housestood at the location of the present [third] Floyd Court House. [See Curtis A. Sumpter’s “The Beginnings of Floyd County” in Floyd County, Va. History, pp.7-11]  Jacob Helms represented  Floyd County in the House of Delegates. [See  pix of above-mentioned people and places in Images...: Floyd County, pp.9,10,30,52]                                                                                                

            Helms Cemetery                                                                                                           Jacob Helms, members of his family, and community members including Elder Elijah Nester, Primitive Baptist preacher at West Fork Church, are buried in this cemetery across Rose Hill Road from “Rose Hill.” The family name was Helm until Jacob's 1st child, Madison "Mat" S. Helms was the first to add the "s." Jacob's tombstone bears the Helms spelling.

Rose Hill Road formerly was a through road intersecting with Laurel Branch Road (by the home of Tom & Loretta Higgins, 528 Laurel Branch Rd); however, just beyond the cemetery and “Rose Hill,” state (VDOT) maintenance currently ends. Through passage is now blocked by a gate on private land.

49. Falling Branch United Methodist Church                                                                                           at intersection of Floyd Hwy S & Falling Branch Road

The nucleus of the Falling Branch United Methodist Church building was originally the Bethel Church, which “complete with its Bible and crystal water pitcher,” was moved from “the Washington Goodykoontz farm on the Dugspur Road” to land given by Charles & Elizabeth Howard in 1891.  Captain John Williams Headen {s/o Dr. John W. & Ellen (Helms) Headen } and his wife Ann Eliza "Addie" {d/o Bryant A. & Nancy Ellen (Wade) Hylton} had been holding prayer meetings, Sunday School and a Temperance Union in the Falling Branch School. [See #53] Realizing that the school was the only place of worship for the community, Washington Goodykoontz gave the Bethel Church building which was dismantled, moved to the site, and rebuilt there.

The Falling Branch Church derived its name from the area’s “miniature Niagara Waterfalls” or “the Falls” on Falling Branch, a tributary of West Fork.Through the generosity of members and friends, the building “evolved into a facility which accommodates its members and community.” [See Floyd County, Va. Heritage, pp. 59-60; see pic of "the Falls" in 2008 FCHS calendar]

George Wm. Slusher had a store at corner of Falling Branch Rd. directly across from the church which he ceased operating after moving to Floyd in 1913 and building his store on Penn Ave.

50. Monroe & Lydia (Dickerson) Simmons / Percy & Geneva (Harris) Simmons home                      to right of Falling Branch Rd as it becomes a gravel road; currently a rental home

James Monroe Simmons (b.6/1/1865 d.1/8/1938 s/o Cary & Caty) [See #4,34] m. LydiaDarrow Dickerson (d/o Amos & Mary Ann (Slusher {d/o David}) Dickerson). Lydia (b.3/15/1871 d. 1/7/1938) died after a long illness; less than 16 hours later, her husband of 42 years died. He had accompanied family members to the cemetery and assisted their children in making the necessary preparations for the funeral and burial of their mother. Upon returning to his home, he remarked to his son, Harman, “I am all through now,” and died. A double funeral was held in the West Fork Primitive Baptist Church, the first (and only) double funeral to be held at the church [See #59]; Monroe & Lydia were buried in Topeco Cemetery.

Monroe built the two-story, white frame home with two-story portico "on the Dugspur Road" in 1898. Their son Percy Amos Simmons m. Geneva (Harris d/o Clarence m. Lura Alderman ) bought it at his parents’ estate auction. Percy and his family made their home there.

Note: In the field behind the Monroe Simmons home is the Finney Cemetery. Surrounding property, home site and buildings beyond the fence were formerly owned by "Preacher Joe" Finney and family. [This location is described in Simmons family history as having been "the slave quarters" prior to the Civil War. Considering its proximity to Rose Hill, Jacob Helms' slaves likely had their quarters here.] In his later years, "Preacher Joe" attended evening services at Falling Branch Church; a black gentleman, he chose to sit in the back on the firewood box when he visited. Maurice Trent Slusher (s/o George L. s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob)  recalls that "Preacher Joe" was often asked to lead the congregation in prayer. This is the family of Juanita Finney, longtime friend and employee of Vernon & Cornelia Harris at Harris Cleaners in Floyd.Buried in this cemetery are Rev. Joe H. Finney b.3/2/1860 d.10/6/1946 (one of the teachers of the Armstrong School in Floyd); Emma Finney b.10/25/1867 d.3/20/1931; Miles G. Finney b. 6/17/1923 Va.PVT 351 Field Art'y; Carrie Lee Finney b.11/16/1904 d.3/24/1908; and E.L. Finney b.8/28/1901 d.11/17/1918.

 51. “The Falls” on Falling Branch  access is with permission through fields (private property)

Incorporating a Delco generator, Monroe Simmons had electricity in his home from his own early electric power plant run by the power of water flowing over wooden wheels at “the Falls.” The plant and wiring to the home was installed by Olie Warren Shelor m. Lillian Monroe Simmons (d/o Monroe & Lydia). Olie & Lillian's son, Winton Shelor, mentions it as the "first type of electricity in Floyd County...." Because of the distance from the generator to the house, there was "electric the use of lights was all that was available"[See p.14, The Hills Touch Heaven: The Shelor Book, comp. by Leslie Shelor]. A popular destination for people of all ages until well into the 20th century, the area around “the Falls” was used by school and church groups for picnics and other activities. For over 25 years, Presbyterians had conducted Easter service at “the Falls” before Monroe's & Lydia’s deaths. Part of Gen. George C. Stoneman’s Union cavalry is known to have camped nearby in April 1865. [See #20,41;also see pic of "the Falls" in 2008 FCHS calendar] Currently, access is impeded by fallen trees and undergrowth.

52. Gentry Harter home      continue on Falling Branch Road, bearing left & going about a mile            (no VDOT maint.); his two-story home across Howell Creek is now reached via a       covered foot bridgebuilt by current owners, Bruce and Gwen Goepel, who purchased     about 200 acres at his estate sale in 1999.[See #21; bearing to right will pass homesite of            Wesley (b.12/19/1848 s/o Asa Bishop) & Lydia (Caldwell) Bishop's home. [Their only     child, Ruby, was teacher and elementary education supervisor in Floyd County. Late in             life, she married George West, judge of Floyd County Court. Ruby amassed a great deal of Floyd County's history which is now located in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech.]     Continue to the right to  reach the private    drive (gated entrance) to home of Craig  &   Patricia Knapp, 887 Falling Branch Road--orig. home of Ennis & Lena (Harris d/o       Jonas) Gardner; sign at gate says "West Fork Fox Farm, Box 149"]

Wallace Gentry Harter b.4/13/1907 d.1998 s/o Adam L. s/o John s/o Adam s/o Frantz was never married and was locally known as the owner of Floyd's taxi service. He owned much original Frantz and Adam Harter property: his property boundaries eventually encompassed one square mile; much land was on Will's Ridge. Years ago, Kate Weddle Ratliff told of walking, with Marguerite Tise and at least one other friend, on Wildwood Road ("old Dugspur Road"; see # 60) entering at Midway Grocery & Oil Co. and turning right onto an old abandoned roadbed "on the old Harter property." They eventually reached Gentry's home and said that he graciously "gave them a lift back." Freeman Slusher recalled that he was once walking home to Penn Ave. from the Floyd Post Office on Main Street when Gentry stopped his taxi and asked if he could give him a lift. When they reached the house, Freeman got out, thanked Gentry, and was about to close the taxi door when Gentry said, "You know I can't start this car for less than a quarter." Freeman gave him the quarter but determined he would continue to just walk the short distance home in the future. Gino Williams recalls being awakened very early one morning by a phone call from Gentry which began with the question: "Have you ever wanted to own everything there is of something?"  It seems that Gentry was excited to share with someone the fact that he had made a land purchase which finally completed the one-square-mile boundary.

***Return to Falling Branch Church; turn right on Floyd Hwy S. At right in the level mowing/ pasture field was the location of the community's drive-in theater in the mid 1900s. The second home to the right (near the pond) was the home of Elijah Nester, an Elder of West Fork Primitive Baptist Church, and his family.

 53. 2nd Falling Branch School on left/1st Falling Branch School  on right @100 yards past 1572 Floyd Hwy S; sign identifies the first school. The second two-room Falling Branch School originally had a bell tower above a front cloakroom entrance (since removed); having two chimneys, each room was heated by a stove.  After the school closed, the building was used for Sunday School, a Grange Hall, site of square dances and American Legion picnics. During WWII, mattresses were made there [Edna (Keith) Weddle recalls that her parents, Kerry and Bula (King) Keith were among those who made mattresses], and later a rock-crushing operation was managed on the premises. After renovations, it became the Henry B. & Maude (Boyd) Shelor home at 1503 Floyd Hwy S and is now owned by their son, Allen Shelor.  

This restored one-room Falling Branch School house originally stood at the site of the Henry B. & Maude (Boyd) Shelor home.  Nola Shelor Albert told of it having been moved (pulled with George and Carl Shelor's traction steam engine) to its present location when a larger school was needed; a survey had been taken of community families who planned to send their children to the school the following year. The "new" school was completed in time for the next school term.

Individuals in the community established what became Falling Branch United Methodist Church after first meeting in this one-room school building. One such person was Captain John Williams Headen s/o Dr. John W. Headen m. Ellen  d/o Jacob Helms of “Rose Hill.”[See #48,49] A Civil War veteran (who lost one eye in battle at Gettysburg), he taught for 16 years in this school. Captain Headen and his wife Addie (d/o Bryant Hylton who ran the hotel later known as Lee’s Hotel in Jacksonville/Floyd) held prayer meetings, Sunday School, and a Temperance Union in Falling Branch School. [See “Memories of Robert Goodykoontz” published in The Floyd Press, July 1, 1976, in which he gave his impression of a temperance meeting held in the school house.]     

 54."Sylvan Hill," home of Sue Jefferson Shelor / Raymond & Beulah Harmon                                  on left through field; new owner, George Altis, in 2015                                          

Sue Jefferson (Shelor) Shelor b. 4/22/1873 d.Dec.1973 was d/o William Marion & Nannie Luvenia (Jefferson) Shelor.  From an April 1969 Floyd Press article: “Her father was a member of Capt. John Pelham’s company of J.E.B. Stuart’s Horse Artillery during the Civil War.  He witnessed the tragic wounding of the famous General 'Stonewall' Jackson, and fired the first shot at the battle of Malvern Hill…. Mrs. Shelor’s mother, was a descendant of John Jefferson…also the ancestor of President Thomas Jefferson…. Mrs. Sue Shelor was a teacher in the public schools of Floyd County…and enjoyed delving into the history of Floyd County pioneer families. She married Ballard Preston Shelor in 1922…He died within a few years…and Mrs. Shelor and her brother Edward resided at her… home ["Sylvan Hill"] in the Falling Branch community. Mrs. Shelor has no children of her own, but has a foster son, Raymond Harman, who resides with her and has managed the farm since the death of her brother….Her book, Pioneers and Their Coat of Arms of Floyd, County, Virginia, published in 1938 and with extensive additions in 1961, is the most complete reference work on genealogy for many early families of Floyd Co.” [See ref. in #48] In Pioneers..., p.204, Sue Shelor had shared, "Raymond Lewis Harman, son of Stuart & Etta Harris Harman [They had seven children; Etta died of tuberculosis], is a descendant of the first Harman settlers. After his mother's death, he came to live with my brother Edward and myself." After Sue Shelor’s death, the house was the home of Raymond & Beulah (Keith) Harman/ Harmon until their deaths. For many years, the Harmons operated the cattle scales beside the highway (now no longer in use) as a service (charging a nominal fee per head of cattle weighed) for local farmers; Beulah continued the service for many years after Raymond died.

            On the right of Floyd Hwy S before the intersection with Canning Factory Rd                           55. Home of Jim & Louisa (Jefferson) Shelor / Luther & Ella (Rakes) Shelor /                  Curtis & Nola (Shelor) Albert     [sign placed after Nola's death: Palmetto Glen Farm]  

While a bachelor, James Floyd "Jim"  Shelor (b.11/12/1833 d.6/19/1914 s/o Thomas Bonaparte {s/o Daniel Shelor, Jr., s/o Capt. Daniel Shelor} m. Sarah (Goodson) Shelor) purchased the "Ben Howell" land in1855, relocated a log cabin called "Howell's cabin" which he hauled from an adjacent hill, and built a stone chimney onto it; he cooked and ate in an old log slave cabin nearby. When he m. 8/25/1859 Louisa Elizabeth (Jefferson) and started a family (eventually six children), he built onto the house and expanded the chimney by putting three sides to the existing chimney to furnish heat for the new addition, but the family continued to cook and eat in the nearby cabin. After their four surviving children were grown, Jim & Louisa took in a foster son, Blaine Hungate, who grew up like a brother to Jim’s grandsons. Blaine was a carpenter and built a kitchen onto the house. Jim & Louisa’s daughter, Ella Malinda Shelor, acquired the homeplace after they died. [They had deeded 40 acres to Blaine and his wife (whom he married after she came to the Shelors to help Louisa after the births of the children). Their land and home were directly across Floyd Hwy S from Archa Vaughan's "Zionia."] After Ella’s death, the home passed to her sister Lillian who sold it to her nephew Luther Shelor s/o George William in 1930. Luther and his wife, Ella (Rakes) Shelor, added bay windows and made needed repairs. In 1945 three bedrooms, a bathroom and a hall were constructed over the one-story kitchen, and a downstairs bathroom was added.

In 1967, Luther’s daughter Nola (b.6/10/1927 d.5/5/2012) and her husband, Curtis Albert [See pic of Nola & Curtis, p.137, in The Hills Touch Heaven], added a basement and a one-story 12 x 73 ft. addition on the back of the house and lived in this home until their deaths. A Floyd County educator for four decades, Nola valued her home’s history. As “matriarch of the family” in her last years, she worked to preserve her family’s history. The Captain Daniel Shelor Furnace Memorial honors her Revolutionary War ancestor who came to Floyd County, started an iron furnace, and made and sold iron kettles, pots and pans widely known for their resilience. The Shelor Park on Old Furnace Road assured a gathering place for Shelor family reunions. Nola also worked with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the New River Land Trust to finalize in 2010 a conservation easement “to protect this land…so it can be farmed for generations to come.”  Nola proudly displayed the sign identifying the farm as a Century Farm. [See #36] The Floyd County High School Farm (on part of Nola’s land across the highway) is one aspect of fulfilling Nola’s strongly held and expressed desire that her land would continue to be farmed. [See more information on the Shelors and pic of the Shelor home, p.86, in The Hills Touch Heaven]

Diagonally across the highway is the sawmill and wood planer that shaped wood (particularly tongue-and-groove bead board) used in building many Floyd County homes. Power was from a steam boiler operated by Luther Shelor.

Nola (Shelor) Albert: “My father, Luther Shelor, was fourth of the eleven sons; he had a unique occupation. He had attended a saw hammering school, became quite proficient at hammering circular saws, and drew customers from several states. He also sharpened crosscut saws. His workshop was an open shed: his rationale being that when it was too cold to hammer in an open shed, it was too cold to work on a metal saw.”

       Site of Amos Post Office    in the Jim/Luther/Nola Shelor home

Ella Malinda Shelor, the oldest daughter of Jim & Louis, was known to be a very hard-working, businesslike woman. She owned other parcels of land and became postmistress of the Amos Post Office which was located in the home which she acquired after her parents' deaths. The post office had been first operated at another location by William T. Williams before being moved to the Jim Shelor home; it later was moved and run by William & Polly Boone.

56. George William & Laura (Jenkins) Shelor home      on the left at the intersection                               present home of Lenna (Trail) Shelor

George was Jim & Louisa’s only surviving son. He and his wife Laura (Jenkins) Shelor had 11 sons and one daughter to reach adulthood. They raised their family in their home on the left at the intersection.  [See pix of the family in Images...: Floyd County, p.34]  It became the home of George & Laura’s grandson, Herbert Harman Shelor s/o Carl Ernest & Henrietta (Dillon {d/o Henry}) m. Lenna Mae Trail, and their family.

57. Huff Cannery    faded sign is still visible on the building

Portions of the Huff Cannery, a rambling wooden structure that once straddled Howell Creek, remain at the intersection of Canning Factory Road and Floyd Highway S.  George Shelor (b. 1926 s/o Carl & Henrietta Dillon) shared that his father was influential "in getting the canning factory going.... Bill Cherry had operated it at one time, but had left it. S.D. Huff who owned a Nehi Bottling Company [in Roanoke]...saw the potential of it.... During the war...Huff gave [Carl Shelor] pound bags of seeds [for a dollar per bag] and contracts [agreement to raise a crop for the cannery].... A dollar, a pound of seeds, and the contract  was binding."  Carl Shelor's efforts surpassed Huff's expectations about getting people involved. The cannery provided employment for many. George shared in 1985 that "a lot of housewives...wouldn't be drawing social security today if it hadn't been for that cannery." [See Sept.1985Mountain Laurel]

Many area farmers grew produce for the cannery. Lois (Bowman) Slusher (b.1922 d/o Luther & Carsie Bowman)[See #17] recalls helping her family and neighbors pick beans they had grown and sold by the bushel to the cannery. She also recalled earning ten cents per bushel there to string and break the beans to prepare them for canning. Edna (Keith d/o Kerry) Weddle was also among the many individuals who found jobs there. Romney Slusher (s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob) recalled his job of “bruising” the cabbage to make sauerkraut. He used a new pair of gum boots, furnished by the management, which he wore while “stomping around in a vat of cabbage.” The boots were used only for this purpose. The Huff Cannery processed, canned, and shipped green beans, pinto beans, pork and beans, tomatoes, peaches, and sauerkraut under various trade names. [See pix in Image...: Floyd County, top, p.80 & bottom, p.81] After WWII ended, government regulations tightened, and the cost of meeting sanitation requirements forced most small canneries out of business, including Huff’s.                                        

*** Left off Floyd Hwy S onto Canning Factory Rd., then right onto Black Ridge Road:                           The Howell home (first house on right) where children of Cal Howell grew up is the                            large, two-story built by Josiah Howell @1895.                                                                      58. Noah & Eliza (Phlegar) Simmons Farm   around the curve past 341 Black Ridge Road SW

Just past the turn for Rush Fork Road, the first structures on the right on Black Ridge Road were Noah Simmons’ barn and buildings; his home no longer exists. [See 1895 description of the farm in The Hills Touch Heaven: The Shelor Book, p.88]

Noah (b.7/9/1827 d.3/29/1901 s/o Cary Simmons & Susan Catherine (CatySlusher) m. 2/19/ 1857 Eliza Phlegar (b. 9/17/1831 d.10/31/1910 d/o Joseph I. & Nancy (Boone) Phlegar). Noah & Eliza’s son James Monroe m. Lydia Darrow (Dickerson) (b.3/15/1871  d.1/7/1938 d/o Amos & Mary Ann d/o David);  Monroe & Lydia’s son James Hugh Simmons m. Neva Dell (Slusher) (d/o Roger Oliver, Sr. s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob)  [See #43,50,61]        

Note: Continue on Black Ridge Road about four miles to 2526 Black Ridge Rd., site of home of    John Harter (b.3/26/1825 d.6/15/1909) m. Harriet Howell.[See #3] At the location is     present home of Buel "Butch" & Sherry Hallman Hylton.

* * * Return to intersection with Rush Fork Road, turn left:                                                                                Noah’s grandson Troy Simmons’(s/o Calvin Lewis) two-story home is still standing (although not habitable)  by Rush Fork Road in the meadow owned by John & Danah Howell. It is the first house on the right after entering from Black Ridge Road. Past the house, the plantation road which fords Furnace Creek (and continues through private property) eventually passes the site of Cary & Caty Simmons' grist mill and their homeplace on present Mill Pond Road. [See #61]  Beyond Troy's house, approx. halfway along the far side of the mowing meadow's fenceline, are the gravestones of Catherine b.1800 d.1873 and Gabriel Bowling b.3/17/1789 d.3/21/1868; the Bowlings' land joined Cary Simmons' place and in 1856, the Bowlings sold some land to Obediah Simmons s/o Cary and Caty.                                 

* * *  Return to intersection with Floyd Hwy S and turn left:                                                                        On right side of Floyd Hwy S past intersection with Canning Factory Road SW:                    59. Site of West Fork Primitive Baptist Church                                                                                            Its two native-rock chimneys among the trees are visible from Floyd Hwy S.

Excerpts from August 5, 1971 The Floyd Press article and Amos Wood’s Floyd County: West Fork Primitive Baptist Church “was constituted in 1803”[Amos Wood]. The first church, a building of hewn logs, was erected on land sold by Asa L. Howard for one dollar, the least possible amount to make a deed valid. The seats for the 28-member congregation were made of split saplings with pegs driven in augered holes at each end for legs.  A simple platform for the elders was erected at one end of the building.

In 1847 a larger church building was erected on the same site: “a meeting house of good material 32 x 42 ft., one story high, 11 ft. in the clear, with five 18-light windows; three in front and two in the rear; one in the center rear of 12 lights; all of 10 x 12 in. glass; with two front doors of ordinary size.”  The building’s architecture was unique in that the room was heated by two fireplaces in native-rock chimneys, one at each end, and the pulpit was placed in the center.  The two front doors were separate entrances for women and men.  Inside, the women and men sat on separate sides. The middle section was reserved for visitors, children, and young people. [See p. 59 in Do You Remember When? (compiled in 1988 by the Folklore Committee of Patrick-Henry Allied Families of Va.,Inc.) for pictures of the pulpit and the exterior. A caption for a picture of the pulpit shows the “Bible box” that protected the Bible “from being damaged by rats.” Note: Virginia Simpkins of Christiansburg created the color painting of it in the FCHS Museum.]

Recording the deed to the new church building in 1848 were the church’s first trustees: David Howell and Samuel Agnew. Signers included Asa Howard, Henry Dillon, James Headen and their wives, and Madison Helms [See #48]. (In 1969 the closest living relatives of these signers were Mrs. Henry Shelor, Mrs. O.T.Wright, Mrs. Howard Cannaday and Archa Vaughn, Sr..)

The 1847 building was a regular meeting house for Primitive Baptists. Its first Elder was Jesse Jones. Other Elders included James Dickerson, Jethro Harris, Quinn Weeks, Elijah Nester and Henry Dodd. Many others preached [sometimes from an outdoor platform] at all-day Associations, three-day preachings with “dinner on the ground.” These Associations were attended by people from throughout Floyd and neighboring counties. [Multiple references may be found in The Floyd Press archives.] Communion service, held the third weekend in August, was a homecoming event for many. This church, like others in the 19th century, was both a religious and social center, a gathering place for local residents where many met their future spouses. [See Climb Your Family Tree pp.123-124, and  Images...: Floyd County, p.51: picture showing a different church's congregation having “dinner on the ground.”] JSK Note: My great-grandfather, Elder Peter Corn, was a visiting Elder who preached at West Fork. My great-grandparents, Perry & Mary (Wood) Slusher, and my grandparents, George Wm. & Clemmie (Corn) Slusher, and many others of their family were at one time among the members there.

Located behind the West Fork Church was a rock about 6 x 6 ft. that came to be known as “the peeing rock.” The sons of George William & Laura Shelor pooled their imaginations and came up with a game. However, they used their father’s newly sharpened tools without his permission to accomplish the key component: a map of the county on the rock with chiseled-out holes for Floyd, Willis, Check, and Christiansburg and chiseled channels between them. Each “contestant” would pee in the first hole; the winner was the one who could “run” to the most locations. The Shelor boys chiseled their initials all around the rock. This story of “the peeing rock” became a part of Shelor family history; the rock itself was moved to the Shelor Park on Old Furnace Rd.

Note: Archibald "Archa" Vaughan, Sr.(s/o Ellen Adelaide  d/o Asa L. Howard & Ellen (Helms) [See #48]) m. Beulah Margaret (Slusher) d/o Dr. Lafayette s/o Ananias s/o David; their large two-story, white wood-frame home, "Zionia," (2nd house on right) borders the property to the west. Archa's father, Judge William Dennis Vaughan (s/o Rev. C.R. Vaughan & Elvira A.), had his law books and office in the small white building at the rear of the house. In later years, it became the sleeping quarters (mainly for the boys) when grandchildren and great-grandchildren visited. One descendant recalls her disappointment when she was told that she was then a "big girl" and could "no longer sleep there" on family visits.

60. Wildwood Service Station/presently Midway Grocery & Oil Co.

In 1933, John Thompson  & Lelia (Akers) Harmon bought land and built the home to the right beside present Wildwood Road. By 1934 John began building Wildwood Service Station by  Highway 221 in front of the home; its exterior with wide white chinking between red logs matched the house, and its roof extended forward over three Esso gas pumps. Gasoline and groceries were sold there, and a Delco system provided lighting for the store and the Harmons' home. Highway 221 was still unpaved at that time, but John also built a motel that eventually consisted of ten small cabins with log exteriors matching the house and business. Wildwood's name was appropriate since its little log cabins (with no indoor plumbing) were located in the "wild woods" directly behind the business. All of the logs were cut from their property.

The two older Harmon children, Margaret Edna and twin brother Marvin Thompson, kept the old hand-pumped gas tanks pumped up. In an article appearing in the Oct. 1983 issue of The Mountain Laurel, Margaret shared that the store was open from 7 a.m. until 8, 9, 10 at night, depending on whether or not there were still customers. "There was a radio at the store....Lots of people came by and sat on nail kegs to listen to the 'Joe Lewis' fight....Most of the people that came, 90% of them, walked there and traded eggs and butter for what they needed....We had a big glass container... that held great big sugar cookies. Some people would...get two of those sugar cookies and a slice of hoop cheese and make a sandwich....In the mid 1930s, a new bread company brought around free samples, tiny loaves of Rainbow bread, for people to try....[If] customers came in for a can of kerosene and didn't have the little cap for their can, [my father] would plug the hole with a gumdrop to keep it from spilling as they walked back home."  During the early 1940s two of the young men who "pumped gas"  were W.J. Boone and Hugh Simmons. [See # 61-W.J.;#43-Hugh; pic of Wildwood in 2016 FCHS calendar]

Since John Harmon also had a sawmill, Lelia ran the store most of the time. A shed was built onto both sides of the store, and John's lumber trucks were parked there. In 1939, he enclosed the garage ends and square dances were held there on Saturday nights. Margaret shared that "young children, older people, everyone came. Archa Vaughan, Jr., did the calling as Rom Slusher played harmonica and [his son] Waldo played guitar. Alton Weddle played banjo; Albert and Ivan Weddle played guitar and fiddle....The dances were continued until WWII when most of the young men were away in the service. The store was closed for a period of about two years then."  John Harmon had a franchise for a bus route that ran from Roanoke to Hillsville. During the war, many Floyd citizens worked at the Radford Arsenal, so he ran bus service for all three shifts from Floyd to Radford. Hugh Simmons drove a bus to the Arsenal for a time.

In August 1947, Robert "Bob" Nester and Talmadge T. "Tap" Weddle (s/o Tom s/o Elkanah s/o Levi s/o Andrew s/o Benjamin; see #31) bought the store's stock goods from John's son, Marvin Thompson Harmon, who had been running the business. About five months later, Tap sold his half to Bob who continued to run the business as Wildwood Service Station. When Bob moved to Roanoke to attend college, he sold the stock to Wadie Ratliff.

After the death of his son Marvin Thompson Harmon (b.3/29/1926 d.9/11/1948 m. Glendola Bowling) in an automobile accident, John sold Wildwood (business, cabins and house) to Henry M. (b.5/24/1910 d. 3/27/1975) and Avis L. (b.5/24/1910 d. 3/27/1975) Salyer in 1949. At that time, there were three of the original ten cabins; two cabins remain today (although in 2018 one of them fell in). Avis, Henry, and children, Joyce and Jim, lived in the former Harmon home to the right of Wildwood.

Avis was d/o Walter Belcher (b.1885-1969) m. Lula Harriet Weddle b.9/10/1889 {d/o William L. Weddle (b.1865 d.1908) m. Isabel G. Harter d/o John s/o Adam s/o Frantz}. [See Harter Connections in #3] In 1946 Walter & Lula bought the farm and large two-story home (to left at 2439 Floyd Hwy S just before reaching Wildwood/Midway Grocery)  from Arnton P. & Canary (Slusher d/o Samuel s/o Millard Fillmore {& 1st m. Sarah Jane Fayne} s/o Jeremiah s/o Jacob)  Snead. [From the age of eight, Canary had been raised by the home's original owners, Ira & Amanda "Mandy" {Hylton d/o Charley Hylton} Davis who had no children of their own. Arnton & Canary lived there after their marriage in 1927; by 1946 they moved to the brick home Arnton had built across from 413 Webbs Mill Rd; see #42]

Coolidge Huff and his wife, and later Tony Boothe and his wife, ran Wildwood Service Station for Henry & Avis Salyer for a number of years in the 1950s & '60s. Fred Turman also ran it for a short time in the late 1960s. By 1968, the building's log exterior had been replaced with walls of cinderblock. For a time before 1969, when the business was run by Don Henley, its name was Don's Cash and Carry. After October 1969, Ralph & Shirley Duncan and Harold & Peggy Alderman owned the stock and changed the business name to Midway Grocery

After Avis's death in 1987, the business, home, and 15 acres of property were sold to Ralph & Shirley (Keith d/o Kerry m. Bula (King) Duncan and Harold & Peggy (Keith, Shirley's sister) Alderman. [Shirley & Peggy are sisters of Edna m. Tap Weddle; after Dec.1951, Kerry & Bula lived in the home they built directly across Floyd Hwy S from the business.] When Ralph started the oil business, the name was changed to Midway Grocery & Oil Company. After Harold's death, Peggy, Ralph and Shirley and various family members have had roles in the operation of the business. In 1980 Shirley began selling her homemade ham biscuits and started the count of hot dogs sold in the store; some years later, the current deli with expanded offerings was added. After Ralph's & Shirley's deaths, their son Eugene now owns the business and runs the Midway Oil Company; Peggy is the Midway Grocery store manager.  In April 2016, the hot dog count reached one million!

John & Lelia (Akers d/o John Akers) Harmon's 1949 brick home, 2672 Floyd Hwy S, is now home of Terry & Anna (Goad) Reed, owners of Reed Construction and Floyd Self Storage.  

Note: Margaret Edna Harmon m. Charles Wesley "C.W." Harman (s/o Olin s/o Arthur T. s/o Dennis s/o Jacob,Jr. s/o Jacob s/o Mathias Harman; Olin m. Harriet Alderman {d/o Jacob Barringer Alderman m. Laura Frances Harter d/o John s/o Adam s/o Frantz Harter}) C.W., with son Allen Wesley Harman, established C.W. Harman & Son Farm Center. Marvin & Margaret's sister, Marjorie Hope (b.3/29/1926) m. Archa Vaughan, Jr. [See Note in #59]

John Thompson Harmon's father Gordon Benjamine (b.2.13.1870 d.5/29/1954 s/o Christopher s/o Benjamin s/o Jacob s/o Mathias Harman) m. Margaret "Maggie" E. Thompson (b.8/26/1872 d.3/17/1956) d/o James J. Thompson m. Nancy C. Weddle 15th child of  David Weddle, Sr. (6th child born to his 2nd m. Catherine Stigleman d/o Philip Stigleman) David, Sr., s/o Benjamin settled (log cabin no longer standing) at this location, later to be known as "the Mollie Thompson place."[See #3, 67]  David Weddle, Sr., was one of 47 Floyd County residents (and one of four Weddle farmers) who could submit claims for goods and livestock confiscated by Stoneman's Union cavalry [approx. 3500 in April 3-4, 1865 as they passed by his home]. They submitted claims to the Southern Claims Commission set up by President U.S. Grant; David Weddle, Sr., was allowed $125 for a gray mare. [See Weddle Newsletter, Vol.XXI.#3]

Mollie C. Thompson (b.7/25/1866 d.1/6/1964) was the first of five children and sister of Maggie E. (Thompson) Harman. Mollie never married and was a respected and beloved teacher/  "schoolmarm" who ran a school for girls in her home here.  Mollie's niece, Nancy Katherine Harman (Gordon & Maggie's daughter & also a teacher) m. Walter S. Gillespie. After Mollie's death, Nancy & Walter continued to live in the white, two-story home [on the left at 2787 Floyd Hwy S between Midway Grocery and C.W. Harman & Son Farm Center. The home has since passed out of family ownership.]

***Left off Floyd Hwy S to 388 Mill Pond Road:                                                                                     61. 1st: Home of Cary & Caty (Slusher) Simmons / Obediah & Eliza (Wade) Simmons /                     Tappe & Minnie (Simmons) Howard         (now uninhabited)                                                      2nd: Home of Maston & Mae (Graham) Conner; presently John & Danah Howell                                                                                 

Cary (or Cara) Simmons (b.4/11/1793 d.1/5/1868) m. Susan Catherine “Caty” (Slusher b.7/26/1792 d.12/11/1880) Caty was a charter member of Zion Lutheran Church (1813). In the 1850 census Cary was a miller on West Fork with 2500 acres of land.In May 1833 Cary petitioned the court of Floyd County to build a dam and gristmill on 144 acres bought from Jacob Goodykoontz  [See #6]  that was previously owned by David Weddle, Sr., and before that by Benjamin Weddle. Cary’s mill was below where Rush Fork joins Furnace Creek. (Reeds Creek joins Furnace Creek just above the bridge on Floyd Hwy S to form West Fork of Little River.) [See #3; also see The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia, p.245]

Cary & Caty’s dau. Louanna (b.1/18/1826 d.12/8/1870) m. John B. Weddle (b.1/7/1824 d.3/2/1871 s/o Andrew s/o Benjamin); their oldest child Charles L. m. Lucy Bishop, sister of Asa Bishop. [See # 41] Cary & Caty’s sonNoah m. Eliza (Phlegar). Their dau. Mary m. William Joseph Boone (s/o Benjamin): Mary & Wm.'s son Elmer m. Chloe (Weddle) and grandson William Joseph "W.J." m. Kate (Hylton) (d/o George & Nola (Slusher) d/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob). Cary & Caty’s dau. Mary Ann (b.2/22/1832 d.11/26/1897) m. Joshua Weddle (b.10/4/1830 d.6/25/1914 s/o Andrew s/o Benjamin). Orlena Frances (Weddle) d/o Mary Ann & Joshua m. Daniel Bowman. [See #17]

Cary & Caty are buried in the Cary Simmons Cemetery on the hill behind their home on the Rush Fork/Furnace Creek tributary of West Fork. Remains of a picket fence and a lone cedar tree direct visitors to its location [on private property of Maurice & Janet Harman.]  Several small unmarked graves may be of Simmons children (diphtheria epidemic a possible cause of death).

Cary & Caty's home was later home of their son Obediah and then of Obediah's dau. Minnie m. Albert Tappe Howard. In recent memory it has been called "the Howard house" (standing, but no longer habitable). Minnie and Tappe were members at West Fork Primitive Baptist Church. Their later home, "The Maples," (overlooking Food Lion)  is bordered by Nira Street and Maple Street in the town of Floyd. He commissioned Floyd's first machine-made bricks from H.H. Earles; they were fired in the meadow that is now the Food Lion lot. The building known as the A.T. Howard Building (109 E. Main St.) was built in 1914 by Tappe. From 1915-57, the A.T. Howard Building housed the Floyd Post Office, Western Auto from 1948-83, later law offices, and now the offices of the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, the Howard family provided the text for a bronze plaque on the side of the remains of a building at the edge of Floyd on Floyd Hwy S. Text on the plaque: "Albert Tappe Howard's Milk House  This location was a former Milk House built in the late 1800's by Albert Tappe Howard. Farmers brought their dairy products to the Milk House and kept them cold in the spring-fed creek routed through the Milk House. Town and county residents came to purchase these products. Later in the 1900's, the Milk House was used as a residence for farm hands. " [See #26]                         

John Burwell Hylton  b.6/4/1899 d.2/2/1972 s/o Gilbert {m. Salena Bowman} Hylton s/o Ira s/o Burwell & Mary Ann and his wife Melissa Ellen "Lissie" Weeks (d/o James D. Weeks s/o Talitha Slusher {m. William H. Weeks} d/o Jeremiah s/o Jacob) Hylton moved to Floyd in 1928 and John ran a creamery/holding station for Carnation Milk Company at the Howard Milk House for a few years. [See# 26]

         Obediah & Eliza (Wade) Simmons

Obediah m. 1869 Eliza A.Wade d/o Isaac & Martha (Slusher)Wade. Martha was d/o Peterwhowas the first postmaster of Greasy Creek Post Office; he was deeded 200 acres on “Miry Fork” of Greasy Creek in 1834 by Christopher, Sr.

After Cary’s & Caty’s deaths, Obediah continued to run the mill, and live in the homeplace just downstream from the mill, until his death. Obediah & Eliza’s first child, Minnie Ella m. Albert Tappe Howard. Minnie & Tappe’s 1st son Lamar (b.& d.1889) is buried in the Cary Simmons Cemetery. Minnie, Tappe and son Joseph are buried in Jacksonville Burial Ground [See #47].

Ibra Mae Graham (d/o Maggie (Boone) Graham d/o Mary (Simmons) Boone d/o Noah s/o Cary & Caty) m. Maston Conner  (s/o Martin & Minnie Hylton {d/o Solomon s/o John William Hylton} Conner); they built their home about 1/4 mile to the right beyond the Simmons/Howard homeplace. The Simmons Mill was reached by bearing left at the "Y" intersection on Mill Pond Road; that plantation road, no longer passable, eventually intersected with Rush Fork Road.

62. Weddle Cemetery    on right just past 2894 Floyd Hwy S /C.W.Harman & Son Farm Center

Anna Maria Eiler Weddle (b.1752 d.1834) widow of Benjamin Weddle is buried here; her stone says Annie Mary Weddle. A stone beside hers is for Benjamin (b.8/21/1742 d. April 1807) who died on Bent Mountain when returning from Richmond (or possibly Lynchburg ) in his loaded wagon with six-horse team; he went there twice yearly to buy staple provisions. He is buried on Bent Mountain, gravesite no longer known. His young (@16 yrs-old) grandson JacobWeddle s/o Elizabeth Weddle m. Jesse Hylton was with him, had him buried there, and brought the team and loaded wagon home. [See # 3]

Among those buried here are Adam & Margaret (Stigleman) Harter and five of their children: Catherine m. Levi Weddle, John m. Harriet (Howell); Francis d.7/18/1863 in Civil War; Samuel m. Angelina (Bishop d/o Asa); Elizabeth m. Francis Slusher.  Byron E.Harter, p. 105 in The "Frantz Harter" Story written in the early 1970s, acknowledged Tolliver Harter (b.2/11/1916 s/o Hiram Mack s/o John s/o Adam s/o Frantz) for the "several years...he provided out of his own pocket the maintenance for the care of the old Weddle Cemetery, where so many of our Harter kin are buried."  Between 1964 and 1979 work was done by Kate Ratliff, son Wayne & others, to build a new fence, clear out bushes and old trees, build a road around the exterior, set out new shrubbery and erect the Weddle Cemetery sign. [See Climb Your Family Tree, pp.82-84]

About 25 of the graves here are marked only with rocks (no dates shown); oldest date on a marker is 1824. Because of several large chestnut trees there when it first became "Weddle Graveyard,"  it was hard to dig graves because of the tree roots. This was partly responsible for the unevenness of the graves’ alignment. Also, during the Civil War, when women had to dig graves, some found it hard to keep graves in line. During an epidemic of black diphtheria, grieving families (wives and children) had to put family members into graves they had dug and partially filled with dirt; later, others would come and finish filling the graves.

Slavery did not emerge in Appalachia as the dominant controversy of the Civil War era. Of the 4453 citizens in the 1840 Floyd County Census, there was a total of 320 slaves (or about 7% of the county's population). Six individuals owned over 30% of the slaves, and those individuals were in positions of political influence. Of the families mentioned in the Topeco Community, Archelaus Hylton (English/Welsh origin) owned slaves that he had inherited from his uncle, George Hylton. Most German families opposed slavery on moral, ethical, and religious grounds.

Kate Weddle Ratliff shared her understanding of the dilemma which many in the Church of the Brethren found themselves at the time of the Civil War: “Since the church was at first made up [mainly] of Germans, one can understand their bitterness concerning war and bearing arms…. One of their reasons for coming to America was to get away from the numerous wars and being persecuted by state and church…. The Germans here were opposed to slavery for more than one reason.  They thought it was not…in obedience to God’s will, and slave labor was not needed on their farms operated by their own family…. So when the Civil War started,…many young men refused when they were called to service [conscripted]...for a cause they did not consider of their own doing….  Some hid in the mountains or in caves…. One story is of some men hiding…on the Alexander Weddle place, a hillside that extended from West Fork Creek upward toward the cemetery. The place is in sight of Highway 221, if one knows which way to look.” [Kate told Janet to look downstream, from the bridge on Floyd Hwy S below the cemetery, to the bend in the creek; the hiding place was near there to the right. Kate’s son Wayne said that, at the time, the field was “very poor land with gullies” and that where the men hid was not a true “cave” as we usually think of caves.]  Kate in Climb Your Family Tree, pp.97-99: “It looked like a gully, a sandy place with chinquapin bushes and other bushes. Now (1991) it is grown up with trees and larger bushes. The men who hid in the 'caves' made baskets and shoes while there. The women would take food to them in baskets and cover the top with ears of corn or chop, so if they were seen, it would appear they were taking feed to the horses at a nearby barn.  The men would cut fresh brush/foliage every day to cover the entrance…. Some descendants of these men have some of the baskets they made in the cave…. I don’t have names of the men who spent time in the 'caves.'  Some were Weddles, but first names escape me, if I ever knew them…. According to family tradition, the Union soldiers finally found out about the hiding place, took the good horses from their farms and left some old, worn-out ones…and threatened to burn their parents’ homes if they didn’t come out of hiding. So they gave up; some went west; some went into Service; and some were allowed to do other things such as work in the Salt Mines, or be teamsters in the Army.”

Note: A few conscientious objectors from Floyd County who had been conscripted into service were given the epithet "the salt peter boys":  Knowing of their strongly held beliefs, some commander(s) gave them the assignment of gathering salt peter (niter/potassium nitrate, an ingredient of black powder/gunpowder) from under old buildings, outhouses, chicken coops, and other sites having human or animal urine waste and/or bird or bat droppings. (While it kept them from being in infantry ranks and receiving orders to take a life, it was actually a filthy, very unpleasant, punishment kind of assignment.)

 63. Mt. Sterling School     on right of Floyd Hwy S at intersection with Union School Rd is        brick home built by Jerry Harman; old roadbed within the trees led to location of Jerry           Harman's sawmill and the school; make sharp right turn into dirt drive to reach school

The first school at the site was a log structure.  According to Elder Abie Hylton, Cornelia Jones was the first teacher when the school opened in 1865, and he attended at age six. In 1915 a new two-room school was built at the site with J.A.L. Sutphin and Myrtle Harman as teachers. The name Mt. Sterling School was given by J.A.L. Sutphin. (However, at least one source credits Floyd's first superintendent of schools, C.M. Stigleman, for its name.) Some of the children lived so far from school that they rode to school on horses or in buggies. A small barn near the school house had stalls for their horses and a small loft that held hay to feed the horses at noon. A rope swing that hung from the loft in the  passageway between the stalls "provided many happy hours' recreation." [For other memories about the school, see Climb Your Family Tree, pp.140-142.]

 Its last year in service was 1924-25 when a decision was made to consolidate area schools.  The 5th, 6th and 7th grade students met the bus at the schoolhouse and went to Willis; first through fourth grades had Lena Cannaday as teacher that last year. The central portion of the large red building with a chimney is the “new 1915” school which had seven grades and two teachers for its five-month-long sessions. Additions now facilitate its use as a farm building.

Full circle: back to Topeco Church of the Brethren! You may choose to continue on Floyd Hwy S for a few other closely related locations.

 ***After passing 3617 Floyd Hwy S, the cemetery is on the right behind the “green boxes”:         64.  Old Topeco Cemetery/ “the old Hylton Burying Ground”

This one-acre plot with periwinkle ground cover was carved from the over 1000-acre Elijah Hylton Plantation. E. Gary Marshall directed the cemetery's renovation and presided at its rededication on Dec. 10, 2015, the 150th anniversary of  the death of Archelaus Hylton, Elijah's son. In his remarks, Marshall suggested that Elijah's first home possibly had been at the lower eastern corner of the cemetery. As grief visited the community that came to be known as Topeco, members of the Hylton family, as well as Harmans, Canadays, Howells, Weddles, Quesenberrys, and others who lived in the nineteenth century were buried here. Although no monument survives for Elijah Hylton, he was likely buried here in 1798.

The last known burial was in 1923 for "Uncle Creed" Hylton, a free black [formerly a slave on the Hylton plantation] who had returned to the area in his last years; students from nearby Mt. Sterling School were released to attend his burial. Among the former slaves who had been owned by the Hylton family were “Uncle Creed” [See pic in Images...: Floyd County, p.30] and the cook Candace, who had stayed with the family after the Civil War, and who were dearly loved by the family and community. Locations of four former slave houses are in close proximity to the second Hylton home; remnants of those "slave houses" are still identifiable. [See hand-drawn map in Jack Hylton files.] “The Hylton Negroes were instructed in religion, included in family worship, and were buried with rites in the Hylton Cemetery” (from Hazel Sutphin Moore’s Hylton Genealogy: From Castle to Cottage). According to family tradition, they attended church services at the Brick Church, sitting in the loft/balcony.

Immigrant to Floyd County, Jacob Harman, Sr., (b.8/11/1769  d.3/12/1843) is buried in “the old Hylton burying ground” as early records call this cemetery, now known as the Old Topeco Cemetery. The nearby post office and the community were called Topeco. The pine trees, now mature, were closely planted here at the suggestion of Alvin Harman “to smother out and control briars and brambles.” (This was also done, following Alvin Harman's advice, in Goodykoontz and Burwell Hylton Cemeteries.) Flags have been placed at depressions that suggest the presence of graves. Ornately carved monuments of soapstone or limestone are interspersed among unmarked fieldstones. Under the 300+ year-old cedar tree in the cemetery's center is a mailbox holding both a logbook for visitors to sign and a notebook containing pictures of all stones bearing inscriptions, the names and dates on the stones, and additional information about the individuals buried here. As a result of the Dec. 2015 rededication ceremony and program which followed, a new board of trustees was elected, and donations were received for the purchase of the new granite monument installed near the cemetery entrance in 2016. Additional donations are needed for continuing maintenance and improvements. [Checks made out to "Old Topeco Cemetery" may sent to Margaret Hubbard at 1543 Floyd Hwy S, Floyd, VA 24091.]

            Original and current home at site is to right of Floyd Hwy S past Indigo Mtn Rd:                                                         65. Site of Elijah & Susannah Hylton /Archelaus & Katherine (Weddle) Hylton home                        Home of Eld. Abraham Naff  & Maggie Ursula (Slusher) Hylton,                                                         Later the home of Alvin T. & Macie (Marshall) Harman

Hylton Family Background: Elijah’s line can be traced to John Hilton, Sexton of St. Peter’s Parish of the Established Church of England in the Petersburg,Va., area around the 1690s. Elijahthe pioneer” came to Floyd among the very earliest settlers. Elijah Hilton/Hylton (b.abt.1735 d.1798) m. Susannah (b.abt. 1736 d.1815) in Fluvanna Co. From Elijah Hylton Family Group Sheet, “Some researchers (e.g., Elza Cox) identify Elijah’s wife as ‘Susannah Slusher,’ supposedly a sister of Christopher Slusher, Sr.  This identification has now been propagated widely on family trees submitted to However, the attribution is purely ‘by tradition’; primary sources name Elijah’s wife only as Susannah. In the early 1760’s when Elijah Hylton was first married, the Hylton family was in Goochland Co., Va., and Bedford, Co.,Va., while the Slusher family was still in Pennsylvania at the same period and did not migrate to Maryland until about 1782-1783 nor to Virginia until after 1787. So despite tradition, it does not seem likely that Elijah Hylton’s wife was closely related to Christopher Slusher, Sr.”

Four of Elijah Hylton's grandchildren married children of Christopher Slusher, Sr.   Elijah & Susannah’s 1st child Lucy Charlotte (b.1765 d.1858) m. 11/14/1786 Charles Turman (d.1849 s/o Benjamin Turman, Sr.). Charles was a farmer and a miller whose mill was located on West Fork of Little River. [See The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia, p. 217] The foundation for their cabin is still visible on a rise just outside the yard of the two-story brick home built in 1949 by Freeman Slusher gr-gr.s/o Jacob. Charles & Charlotte’s first child Elijah Turman m. Barbara Slusher d/o Christopher,Sr. [See #37]

Elijah Hylton’s son John Bryant Hylton m. Nancy Howell; their first child Telitha (b.2/8/1800 d.3/26/1875) m.Jacob Slusher. John Bryant & Nancy’s second child Burwell (b.12/28/1801 d.8/30/1883) m. Mary Ann Slusher. Both Jacob & Telitha’s and Mary Ann & Burwell’s first log homes were on the Century Farm now owned by Kevin Keith. [See #36]                        

Elijah’s son Archelaus Hylton (b.4/13/1779  d.12/10/1865)  m. 11/24/1803 Catherine “Caty” Weddle (b.3/7/1784  d.9/26/1863 d/o Benjamin). Their first [of 12] child Charlotte (b.5/19/1804 d.1894) m. Stephen Slusher (b.abt.1800) who moved his family to Indiana in 1834; he died there about 1841. Charlotte married Jackson Harris there about1842, and they returned (between 1844 and 1849) to the Burk’s Fork section of Floyd Co. [See Jack Hylton files]

 Stephen & Charlotte’s first child Henry Slusher (b.3/19/1829 d.6/12/1898) m. Nancy Harter (b.6/15/1833 d.11/15/1922 d/o Adam {s/o Frantz} & Margaret {d/o Philip Stigleman} Harter [See #3]. Henry Slusher resigned as captain of Co.D, 54th Virginia Regiment  2/11/1862 but later re-enlisted as a private in Co. H, 51st Va. Inf. Regt. By 3/4/1865 he was POW at Fort Delaware. While in prison, Henry carved small Testament covers of wood and gave one to each of his daughters. After coming home from the war, Henry Slusher had the mill on Burk’s Fork (later site of the Andy Alderman mill) across from Thistle Hill Rd.; mud logs forming the base of its dam as well as the mill race may still be seen just downstream from the bridge at the intersection of Union School Rd., Conner Grove Rd. and Moles Rd. The mill pond formed by the dam at times covered much of the valley above the present intersection; the old roadbed can still be seen on the hillside across from Union School. [See pic in Images of America: Floyd County, p.73, and see pic and information, pp.249-252, in The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia by Franklin F. Webb and Ricky L. Cox; Franklin F. Webb s/o Luther Hayden s/o Thorburn Webb m. Emmazetta d/o Henry s/o Stephen]

Henry Slusher was said to have “never turned away any of the poor of the county who asked for his help.”  He deeded one acre of land “to the trustees of Burk's Fork school district” for the first Union School (at first called Huckle Back, then Union in 1876, it burned and was replaced by the current building in 1931). Later, Zebrum Keith gave the land, and Henry Slusher donated the lumber and helped to build “the Brethren Church known as the Union Church” in 1892. The congregation had held meetings in the nearby Union School, as did a Primitive Baptist congregation on alternate Sundays, so at first it was called Union Church. In 1900 the name was changed to Burk's Fork Church of the Brethren. The indoor baptistry at the front of the church was built by Thomas Tazewell “Tom” Weddle (s/o Elkanah s/o Levi s/o Andrew s/o Benjamin). He built the baptistry in time for the baptism of his siblings, Lemon, Lillian, and  Emma and five others in 1914. (While in Girard, IL, Tom had been baptized in an indoor baptistry.) [For 12 years, Tom was postmaster at Floyd Post Office. He bought the farm and home of Francis Marion Slusher on Laurel Branch Rd. See #31] Three of Levi Weddle’s sons (Harvey, Joel and Andrew) were Elders in the Burk's Fork Church for many years, and Elkanah (Tom's father) was deacon, treasurer, song leader and janitor until his death in 1926. Elkanah was recognized as a skilled practical nurse by his neighbors and was often called to nurse the sick. [See The Genealogy of Elkanah Weddle and pix in Images...: Floyd County, pp.18, 41]

Henry & Nancy Slusher are buried on the hillside just behind their home (house at intersection of Conner Grove Rd. and Thistle Hill Rd.) Their home was later the home of Henry & Nancy’s grandson Posie m. Lala Weddle {d/o William L.& Isabel Harter Weddle} Harman. [See pic in Images...: Floyd County, bottom of p.73:  Its caption incorrectly identified individuals as “Hodge family.” Instead, from left: Lala Weddle Harman is standing; Nancy (Harter d/o Adam) Slusher is seated; Henry & Nancy’s daughter Mary Elizabeth (Slusher) Harman mother/o Posie is at the loom; Mildred, Grace, and Buren are children of Posie & Lala Harman. Lala d/o William m. Isabel Harter d/o John s/o Adam; Lala was great-niece of Nancy Harter Slusher.]

Elijah & Susannah Hylton'sfirstloghomestead was built @ 1772. Family history tells that  roses & lilacs there were from starts originally brought from Wales. The log home was on "a rolling meadow near a large stream, in the vicinity of what was later to be known as 'Old Brick Church'...and their next home was a double-pen log house built about a mile west, at a bold spring among oak trees, bordering on the Pike."  On each side of an almost square rock chimney, two story-and-a-half rooms (with low ceilings and small windows) were constructed of heavy, roughly hewn logs. A wide porch extended across the entire front of the house; outside in the center of the porch was an open stairway without railing which led to a landing that was securely fastened to the side of the rock chimney. From the landing two or three steps on right and left led to the half-story sleeping rooms; very small windows were high in the gables to give light.  The slanting wooden-shingle roof came straight down to cover the porch. A small room was enclosed on one end of the front porch, ceiled with 30-inch boards. Placed around this room were large wooden pegs on which saddles and bridles were hung. Inside the first-floor rooms were large fireplaces, six feet wide. [See Anderson's "Home of Elijah Hylton"  and  pic of the “old Hylton homestead" on p. 33 of Hylton Genealogy: From Castle to Cottage.] Elijah Hylton’s land adjoined that of Benjamin Weddle.

Brethren Elder Abraham Naff "Abie" Hylton b. 8/15/1865 s/o Elijah Weddle Hylton m. Hannah (Bowman) d/o Christian & Hannah (Rhinehart) Bowman [both buried in Red Oak Grove Cemetery] 1st m.1890 Magdalene “Maggie” Ursula Slusher b.4/14/1868 d.7/11/1939 d/o Floyd {s/o Ananias s/o David} & Martha (Pratt) Slusher; 2nd m. Lillie Hatcher. “Elder Abie” & Maggielivedin the Elijah/Archelaus/Elijah W. homestead, then later built a new home directly in front of the site. Elder Abie Hylton was the "most sought-after minister in Floyd County to officiate at weddings and funerals" up to the end of his long life. He died 8/1/1963 at age 97; his obituary in Aug.1963 Floyd Press reported that  he had "married 650 couples, baptized 625, and held over 800 funerals." [Although his obituary and other sources respectfully referred to him as Rev. A.N. Hylton, the Brethren choose not to use the designation of Reverend.]

The home has more recently been referred to as “the Alvin Taylor & Macie (Marshall) Harman place.” Macie {d/o Thomas E.& Lora Phillips Marshall} was a great-niece of Elder Abie Hylton. Thomas E. was s/o Isabella Hylton m. Levi S. Marshall; Isabella was Abie’s sister.          

66. “Narrowdale,” home of J.A.L. & Eliza Ann (Hylton) Sutphin          3991 Floyd Hwy S,                                        at left at the “foot of Little Mountain” in sight of the Elijah/Archelaus Hylton home.

James Abraham Lincoln J.A.L./“Jim” Sutphin b.3/17/1862 d.12/29/1950 s/o Eli Sutphin m. Sarah Ann (Martin) m.11/28/1888 Eliza Ann (Hylton) b.10/20/1867 d.9/16/1950 d/o Elijah Weddle Hylton {s/o Archelaus} m. Hannah (Bowman) d/o Christian m. Hannah (Rineheart) Bowman.[See pic of Elijah W. & Hannah's children, p.41, Images...: Floyd County]  J.A.L. later in life indicated that the spelling, Sutphen, was “more nearly correct for the anglicized form” of the original Dutch name Van Zutphen;  his gravestone has the Sutphin spelling.

J.A.L.’s earliest schooling was from his mother; she cut capital letters from her Bible and formed the alphabet which she pasted onto a paddle which she used to teach her children. She then taught them to spell and to read the Bible, her only book. He was able to enter Mountain Normal School in about 1882 in Hylton (now Willis) and took courses which prepared him for a teaching career. (His daughter Pearl also attended Mountain Normal and became a teacher; Pearl m. Roger Slusher s/o George Wm. s/o Perry s/o Jacob). J.A.L. was teacher/principal for 32 school sessions and also ran a country store. He also had established (& suggested the name—an Indian word he knew meaning “smoky hills”) of Topeco Post Office where he served as postmaster, located near the site of the Brick Church and successor at its site, the Topeco Church.  In 1890 against some adverse sentiment of the time, he and Amanda Spangler Wade (later Mitchell) [See #3], organized and taught Topeco Church of the Brethren's first Sunday School (which first met in the Mount Sterling School. "Any time they had a program, they would ask the church to borrow benches, and the men hauled them to the school. Finally, a wise old brother suggested that they bring the children to the benches rather than take the benches to the children, so Sunday School became part of the church" [See Margaret H. Hubbard's "A Brief History of Topeco Church..."] J.A.L. served in the Va. House of Delegates from 1910-14.           

J.A.L.’s family used a unique “flushing toilet”: Their outhouse was positioned over the stream below their home. A grandson, Carl Sutphin, Jr., carried a picture of it in his wallet during his military service in WWII as a connection/reminder of happy times at "Narrowdale."               

 67. Christopher Harman Cemetery  on "Gordon Harman farm"/now owned by David Harman

Christopher C. Harman (b.3/14/1834 d.9/11/914 s/o Benjamin & Patsy (Hylton) Harman)  and wife, Nancy J.( Hylton) Harman  b.7/29/1830 d.4/5/1919 d/o Gordon C. s/o John Bryant Hylton m. Nancy (Howell) are buried at top of “Little Mountain” off  Floyd Hwy S: turn left onto dirt drive (with gate across it) through the trees before reaching Alum Ridge Road. The five gravesites are reached by following the drive past the sometimes chained drive entrance through woods and into an open field; cemetery is at its far center. This Christopher Harman b.1834 is son of Benjamin Harman b.1805 s/o Jacob (b.1769 d.1829) s/o Mathias/Matthias (who served in Rev. War,d.1812)[See #4] m. Patsy Hyltond/o Archibald Hylton. [See #65]

Children of Christopher C. & Nancy J. (Hylton) Harman:                                                                       1-Lydia m. J.H. Murray Terry;                                                                                                    2-Martha Ann m. Monroe Wade;                                                                                                            3-Liona/Leona m.Henry Quesenberry: their  dau. Liona/Lyona m. Oscar Ames                                              Webb s/o Thorburn & Emmazetta (Slusher ){d/o Henry s/o Stephen} Webb;      

 4-Jabez M. m.Marcella Elgin: Jabez was medical doctor in Floyd [See Images of...: Floyd County                       p.12], Jabez's son Christopher Columbus Harman was a veterinarian in Floyd. [See pix in                         2014 FCHS Calendar]                                                                                                                     5-Gordon m. Margaret Thompson: 7 children: Nova, Arlie, John Thompson, Jabez Ray,       Nancy                           m. Walter Gillespie [See #29], Annie & Norma.        

Christopher and Nancy's log cabin still stands (not visible from Floyd Hwy S.) on Woodpecker Ridge between "Narrowdale" and the Christopher Harman Cemetery. Two anecdotes have been shared by family members regarding Nancy's resourcefulness during the time her husband was away during the Civil War. One recalls that Nancy needed to take corn to the mill for cornmeal, but she could not take the corn, her three young daughters and herself on their one horse. Thus, she tucked/tied the girls' dresstails under the heavy legs of the kitchen/dining table (such that they could not pull themselves loose) and left them at home (likely napping) while she took the (likely already shelled) corn to the mill (most likely the Solomon Harman mill [then run by John s/o Solomon]on West Fork, where she probably exchanged her corn for the amount of cornmeal it would produce, and hurried home). A second anecdote is prefaced with the statement that Nancy was an imposing figure: she was about six feet tall. It seems that when she learned of raiders in the area (possibly Stoneman's or ones like those who attempted to raid the Goodykoontz plantation), she put her daughters and food supplies in the loft, then climbed up to the loft with a pot of boiling hot water. When soldiers entered, she threatened to pour the hot water on them if they dared to come up. They left her alone.  

To the southwest of the Christopher Harman Cemetery, at left in the fence line on the ridge,  is a cemetery (large pines within it) on land that was the homesite of the settler, James Keith, Sr.(b.abt. 1720 & ancestor of Janet's husband, David Joel "D.J." Keith.) Now referred to as Poff Cemetery, it may be accessed  from Kyle Weeks Road off Floyd Hwy S via the gate entry to the plantation road on the left just before the brick home of Mrs. Lois Poff.   [See p.75 Harman;  pp.94-95 Poff  in Cemeteries: Floyd...Burk's Fork District: Vol. II]  D.J. and Janet's son Kevin L. Keith leases his ancestors' property, pastures cattle there, and harvests hay in the mowing fields .

Continuing south on Floyd Hwy S, the small building which served as Nasturtium Post Office  [so named because nasturtium was the favorite flower of the postmaster's wife. See pic in 2009 FCHS calendar] is on the right beside Floyd Hwy S across from the two-story, wood-frame home (built 1904) of Jabez Ray Harman s/o Gordon; it is now home of Ray's granddaughter Laura d/o David Harman LeRoy and her family.The post office originally was located just beyond David Harman's current home on the right.                          

68. Village of Willis, originally Greasy Creek, then Hylton, is about one mile further south. The home of Dr. Lafayette Slusher and his family [They came there in 1905.] was the first home on the left, 132 Firehouse Road. In Willis near the top of the hill, on the right just past the present business, was the site of the Mountain Normal School [See pic, p.6, Images...: Floyd County ]. Continue on Floyd Hwy S: on the left just before the intersection with Rd 787/IndianValley Rd is the home and barn built about1840 by Hardin Price Hylton. He was postmaster of Hylton Post Office which was then located across the road/turnpike from the house. By 1905 the house was bought by Albert (s/o Alexander 2nd m. Delphia Wade) & Margaret Lillie (Helms d/o Joseph m. Malissa Earles) Gardner who added the back wing. It was not only home for their children [Ruth Gardner Slusher and her five siblings], but in it they also ran a boarding house for eight to ten Willis High School students, most of whom arrived on Sunday evening and went back to their homes on Friday; Albert also boarded some of the students' horses during the week.  One boarder was Freeda Bolt who secretly slipped away from this home 12/12/1929 to elope with Buren Harman; he was convicted of  murdering her on Bent Mountain. [See Thompson,"Tragic Family History..."]

In sight to the south is Pleasant Hill Cemetery on the right. To return to the starting point at Topeco Church of the Brethren; turn around at the intersection with Indian Valley Road.


                                                                    * * * * *


I chose to use [See __ ] as the means of directing the reader to connections within the text as well as to the sources referenced (rather than using parenthetical citations). As noted at the beginning of this narrative, repetition of some information and the inclusion of [See __ ] are intended to aid the reader in understanding the close connections among the early families of the Topeco, Laurel Branch and Falling Branch communities. Notes and background information were included to provide greater awareness of the circumstances of individuals and families included in this “guided tour tracing our roots.” 

In preparing this tour, I have come to better know and appreciate my ancestors and their neighbors. I hope the information compiled here also helps my descendants, relatives, neighbors, and all other individuals who care about Floyd County's history, to know and appreciate them.

Please share any corrections, additions, and/or deletions to make this "tour" as complete and accurate as possible for future generations tracing their roots.

                                                                                                 --Janet Slusher Keith                                                                                                                  










                                            Referenced Print and Online Sources

Akers, Dr. Roley Tazewell Akers. "Old Wills Ridge." (Poem; JSK personal files)

Alderman, John Perry. Carroll 1765-1815: The Settlements. Hillsville, Va.: Alderman Books,      Box 1255, 1985.

Anderson, Al, of Timber Works of Interest, LLC, qtd. in "Architectural Description of...The         Agee Barn."  Virginia Department of Historic Resources: DHR ID# 031-5035.

Anderson, Genevieve P. "Home of Elijah Hylton" (Prepared for 1938 W.P.A. Project; JSK           personal files)

Armstrong, Jean Bowman. Homage to the Past. Ironside Press,1992. (Has articles from The         Gospel Messenger including Christian "Chrisley" Darias Hylton's Sept.1933 article about Christian Bowman, pp. 36-39)       03/1111774187 (Book is accessible in Genealogy Room, Jessie Peterman Mem. Library,          321 W. Main St., Floyd)

Bedsaul, F. Clyde. “Arnton Perry Snead—the Builder.” (Five-page tribute; JSK personal files)

"Belle Grove Historic Plantation: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia."

Bishop, Michelle Weeks Carr.“The Daniel Spangler Homeplace: A Project in Historic      Preservation.” 9 May 2001.  (Accessible in Genealogy Room, Jessie Peterman Mem.           Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)

Brock, Ginny and Sarah Scott, transcribed and comp. Blue Ridge Devotion: Diary of a Country   Doctor. 2018.(Brock and Scott are gr-gr-granddaughters of Dr. Lafayette Slusher. Hard-   cover copy may be ordered from Sarah Scott   Cost is $100)

Brown, Katharine L. and Nancy T. Sorrells. Into the Wilderness. Staunton, Va.: Lot's Wife           Publishing for the Wilderness Road Regional Museum, Newbern , Va., 2013.

A Country Church: Laurel Branch Church 1903-2003. (Church's booklet chronicling the founding and growth of Laurel Branch Church of the Brethren)

Cox, Elza B. The Genealogy of William Tobias Phillips nee Alice (Elsie) B. Henson c 1770-         1989: Plus Fourteen Generations 1653-1989. Jefferson City, Mo.: Brown, 1989.                     (Accessible in Genealogy Room, Jessie Peterman Mem. Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)

Deed Books for Floyd Co. and Montgomery Co. (Accessible in Clerks' Offices in Courthouses.)

"A Floyd County Family in Wartime: The Civil War Letters of Lorenzo and Barbara Hylton."      James Robertson, ed. The Smithfield Review 16 (2012): 27-44.

Floyd County Historical Inventory 1937-38 WPA of Va.: 203-05. (Accessible in Genealogy          Room, Jessie Peterman Memorial Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)

Floyd County Historical Society, Inc., Calendars (Series with pictures of Floyd sites and people):             2008-Sites: Falling Branch; 2009-Postcard pix: Asa Harman mill, Nasturtium P.O.; 2010-             Floyd Co. mills: Harman mill; 2011-Schools: Harman School;  2012-Civil War pix:                                   A. Harman, L. D. Hylton, C.M. Stigleman, J.M.Howard, Amos Dickerson, Samuel           Weddle, Henry Slusher, Samuel Slusher, Riley Hylton, George Sowers, John Harter,           Aaron Kitterman; 2014-Doctors: Amos Wood, Jabez Harman, C.C. Harman, F. Clyde         Bedsaul,Tazewell Headen/"Glenanna," Lather Hylton--builder of Ridgemont Hospital;         2016-Wildwood   (Limited # of calendars available for purchase at FCHS Museum);              2018-George Phlegar home, Winter Sun Building, Floyd Grange; 2019-Churches: Zion           Lutheran Church; Topeco Church of the Brethren, Laurel Branch CoB, Burks Fork CoB,    Pine Creek CoB, Falling Branch United Methodist, West Fork Primitive Baptist Church

Floyd County Historical Society, Inc. "Floyd Historic Walking Tour: A Virginia Crossroads        Town."  (Copies of pamphlet available for purchase at FCHS Museum)

 ---. Images of America: Floyd County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2012.  (Copies          available for purchase at FCHS Museum)

"The Floyd Co.,VA Diphtheria Epidemic of 1862."

Floyd Heritage Book Committee. Floyd County, Virginia Heritage. Summersville, WV: S.E.       Grose & Assoc., Inc., 2001.  (Copies available for purchase at Old Church Gallery)

The Floyd Press.  9 March 1933; 3Nov.1933;  11 June 1936;11 Nov. 1936; et al. (Accessible                 on microfilm in Jessie Peterman Memorial Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)

Folklore Committee of Patrick-Henry Allied Families of Va., Inc., comp. Do You Remember        When? 1988. (JSK personal files)

Goodykoontz, Wells. Historical Sketch of the Goodykoontz--(Gutekunst) Families. 182 pp.           (Copy shared by Myra Grim)

Hanley, Nancy Slusher and Janet Slusher Keith. 250 Years in the Blue Ridge: The Legacy of the Slushers and Other Settlers in Floyd County.  Radford: Commonwealth Press, 1993.      (Copies available for purchase at FCHS Museum, Old Church Gallery, and from Janet S.       Keith, 2341 Union School Rd, Willis  Cost is $25)

Harman, John Newton, Sr. Harman Genealogy (Southern Branch) with Biographical                    Sketches. Radford: Commonwealth Press, 1925. (Copy shared by Chris Harman, Jr.)

Harter, Byron E. The "Frantz Harter" Story. Fort Lauderdale, FL:  Byron Harter, 1973.                            (No longer in print; copy in JSK personal files)

Hartley, Chris J. Stoneman's Raid: 1865. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 2010. 121-25.

Hubbard, Margaret Harman. Pictures and identification of Solomon & Elizabeth Harman home    from Freeda Harman Harter files. (Copies in JSK personal files)

---. "A Brief History of Topeco Church of the Brethren: Presented to the 300th Anniversary         Celebration of the Church of the Brethren," June 14, 2008. Compiled from histories      written by Edna Harman Smith, Kate Weddle Ratliff, Almeda Alderman, Zigler's History     of the Brethren in Virginia," and recollections of ancestors and older members." (Copy is        accessible in Topeco Church Heritage Room; copy in JSK personal files)

Hylton, Jack. Personal history and genealogy files--transferred to Janet Slusher Keith in 2012.

Hylton, Maynard. John B. & Nancy Howell Hylton: Descendants and Ancestors 1690-1995.         (Copies available for purchase from Donald  Hylton, 200 Wills Ridge Rd, Floyd)

Ingoldsby, Kathleen.“The Stonecarver [Mahlon Whitlock]" in Remember Me: Grave Art in the   Blue Ridge.1 May 1999. (JSK personal files)

Jones, Silas Ward. "The Jones Brickyard-1935."  July 2005. (Three-page narrative; JSK personal             files)

Keith, Janet. "Floyd's Creamery Holding Station."  The Floyd Press 28 June 2018.

Loope, Carol Conner. "Remembering Julina Slusher Conner Whitby." (JSK personal files)

Marshall, E. Gary. "Old Topeco Cemetery Recovered." The Floyd Press 31 Dec. 2015 : 2A.

"Memories of Robert Goodykoontz.” The Floyd Press 1 July 1976 : 14B.

Moore , Hazel Sutphin. Hylton Genealogy: From Castle to Cottage.1978 (Originally available     from Hazel Moore; no longer in print; JSK personal files)

“Mrs.[Magdalene]Spangler, One of Floyd’s Oldest Ladies, Age 87, Still Active.”  The Floyd        Press 1937. (Copy in JSK personal files)

Patch, Carol. "What Do We Need to Carry? Functionality & Floyd County Heritage Baskets        Exhibit." National Basketry Organization Magazine  Fall 2018. (Focus upon Old Church     Gallery's 2018 exhibit including John Harter's baskets.)

Phillips, Phyllis Goad and Genevieve Cochran Starkey, comps. Cemeteries: Floyd (Montgomery)             County, Va; Burk's Fork District: Vol. II. 1992. (Copies available for purchase at FCHS   Museum)

Pittman, R.H., ed. Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the                        United States. Stone Mountain, Ga.: Primitive Baptist Publications, 1984.

Ratliff, Kate Ruth Weddle. Climb Your Family Tree. 1991. (Printed by Kate, no longer in print;   accessible in Genealogy Room, Jessie Peterman Mem. Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)

"Remembrances of Virginia Pitzer Williams Peterman as Told to her Daughter, Jessie                   Peterman." The Floyd Press Jan.1951.

"Rev. A.N. Hylton Passes Away at 97; Hundreds Pay Respects at Topeco Services." The Floyd    Press Aug. 1963.

Shelor, Leslie, comp. The Hills Touch Heaven: The Shelor Book. Meadows of Dan, Va.:  Shelor Book Publications, 2010.    (Available for purchase at

Shelor, Sue Jefferson. Pioneers and Their Coat of Arms of Floyd, County, Virginia: Genealogies             of Prominent Early Settlers of the Blue Ridge Plateau of Virginia. Winston Salem:                Hunter Publishing Co.,1938: pp.3-163; 1961: pp.164-217. (No longer  in print; accessible                   in Genealogy Room, Jessie Peterman Memorial Library, 321 W. Main St., Floyd)            

Slusher Family Organization Newsletters.  Ed. Marguerite Slusher. Available for download to     SFO members; $5 dues for family membership  

Slusher, Lafayette. Diary of Lafayette Slusher, M.D.  Willis, Floyd, Virginia  1905. (Typed copy,             transcribed by  Nancy Virginia "Ginny" Brock, in JSK personal files)

Stallings, Essie. Slusher-Turman-Shockey Family Records.1966. (Printed by Essie; JSK                personal files)

Stigleman, Waitman, qtd. in Stoneman's Raid, 1865 by Chris J. Hartley.Winston Salem: John F.  Blair, 2010. 122.

"Sue Jefferson (Shelor) Shelor ." The Floyd Press April 1969.  

Sumpter, Curtis A. “The Beginnings of Floyd County.” Floyd County, Virginia History.   Summersville, WV: S.E. Grose & Assoc., Inc., 2001. (Copies of book available for        purchase at Old Church Gallery)

Thigpen, Susan M. "Floyd County, Virginia Roads-How They Were Built, as Told by George      Shelor." The Mountain Laurel Aug. 1985.

 ---. "George Shelor's Steam Tractor and Memories of the Old Huff Cannery." The Mountain        Laurel Sept.1985.

---.  "The Old Wildwood Store - Floyd County, Virginia." The Mountain Laurel    Oct. 1983.

Thompson, Doug. "Tragic Family History: Freeda Bolt." 5 Jan. 2015.

Tise, Marguerite. “Early History of Floyd County.” Journal of the New River Historical Society               8. 1 (1995).

---. "Main Thoroughfares Figured in Founding Fathers' Decision." The Floyd Press 18 Nov.1999.

---. "Memories of Early Willis Days: Memories of Mrs. Lura Conduff Akers Phlegar." 8 May      1970.

---. "Store's History Traced to 1902." The Floyd Press. (JSK personal files)

Virginia Century Farm. 

Webb, Franklin F. and Ricky L. Cox. The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia:          Illustrated Histories, 1770-2010. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012. (Copies available for purchase at FCHS Museum)

Weddle, Calvin. "The Weddle Family History As I Know It."

Weddle, Ethel H. "The Adventures of Benjamin Weddle." The Genealogy of Elkanah Weddle:     1856-1926. (Printed by Ethel in 1975; JSK personal files)

Weddle Newsletters. Ed. Ben Weddle.

Weddle, Ollie Ruth Harman. Benjamin-Andrew- Levi Weddle Line. (Printed by Ruth; JSK            personal files)

Weddle Reunion Program. 12 Oct. 2002.(JSK personal files)

"West Fork Primitive Baptist Church." The Floyd Press 5 Aug. 1971.

"Will's Ridge Family Roots" (Prepared by Sharon Reed Cox and shared by Janet Turner)              Floyd Virginia Magazine  8.1 (2015): 10.

Wood, Amos D. Floyd County: A History of its People and Places. Ed. Ann Scott Swain.             Radford: Commonwealth Press, 1981. (Limited number of copies available for purchase                  at Old Church Gallery)

Zion Lutheran Church Records.