New Exhibit for 2019, Opening Reception, Upcoming Events and more
A Year in Tribute to the Churches of Floyd County
By Shielah Elwardani
(Originally printed in Floyd Virginia Magazine, Spring Summer 2019 Edition, Volume 11 Issue 1)
The Floyd County Historical Society has designated 2019 as a year to pay tribute to the vital role Floyd County churches have played in the history of the county. During the 1790’s, early settlers established congregations of Brethren, Lutheran, and Baptist immediately upon arrival in the area. Methodists and Presbyterians arrived a couple of decades after with the Second Great Awakening. These congregations became the backbone of community organization and growth during the 1800’s. It would be impossible to separate the history of Floyd County from church history. These local congregations to which each family belonged were the heart of local community. They were the center for social, political, and even economic organization. Political and family ties usually ran deep within each church, providing the social strength and strong sense of identity which has come to be a key characteristic of Floyd County till today.
In recognition of Floyd County church history, the Floyd County Historical Society Museum Exhibit for 2019 features the history of county churches established prior to 1950. For this exhibit, individual churches have contributed a fascinating variety of items from throughout their individual histories. The exhibit includes iconic images of previous church buildings and congregations, as well as items which illustrate the unique and vibrant nature of each congregation. Items ranging from bibles and hymnals, to beautiful quilts, roll books, crosses and communion tables are but a few of the items on display.
The exhibit encompasses unique aspects of worship in the distinctive denominations. Visitors will learn interesting facets of worship such as foot-washing, which is part of the communion services in both the Church of the Brethren and Primitive Baptist churches. Floyd County is home to the largest concentration of Church of the Brethren congregations in the nation. Church of the Brethren has been the most dominant denomination in Floyd County since the early 1800’s, rivaled only by the Primitive Baptist congregations prior to 1900. This exhibit brings the rich history of Floyd County churches vibrantly to life.
Admission to this exciting tribute exhibit is free and will run through November 2019. We invite community and visitors to come and experience the inspirational history of Floyd County churches at the Floyd County Historical Society Museum, located at 217 N. Locust Street in Floyd, Virginia. For more information, visit online at www.floydhistoricalsociety.com.
WWI Signal Guidon of Henry Hamilton Layman
On Display in the Museum’s Ongoing WWI Exhibit
Henry H. Layman was born May 24, 1889 in Indian Valley and died in a hospital in France on November 30, 1918. His death was believed to be a result of injuries received in a German gas attack prior to the Armistice. Layman entered service with 38 other Floyd County men in June 1918. His group traveled in part by foot to Camp Lee near Petersburg, Virginia. Layman was a member of Co. F. 11th Infantry, 5th Division at the time of his death.
The guidon encased here was sent from France by Pvt. Layman to his family prior to his death. It is a signal corps guidon from the 5th Division.
The guidon was presented to the Historical Society by his niece, Elizabeth Vaughan Adkins. The case was donated by another niece, Carolyn Keith Shockley and framed by Ron Campbell at Maggie Gallery.
The guidon is presented here in memory of Pvt. Layman who is interred in the Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris, France.
2019 Museum Opening Reception
Museum hours are Thurs & Fri – 12pm to 4pm & Sat. – 11am to 3pm
Thank you to everyone who made it out to our Opening Reception on April 27th. If you missed the opening, this year’s exhibit will be on display now through November.
The Reverend Dr. R. Gamble See
Our tribute to the Churches of Floyd County would not be complete without mention and honor to the Rev. Dr. R. Gamble See. Dr. See was a noted, respected, energetic missionary and Presbyterian pastor. He came to Floyd in 1912 after being a Missionary in Brazil. He was a leader in the establishment of the Harvestwood Church in 1916. Dr. See was pastor for many Floyd County Presbyterian churches, both part-time and fulltime. Countless marriages were performed of many still living.
He is also remembered for his great concern for the Floyd community and was involved in a variety of civic activities and groups. He was honored with many religious and civic awards. His last year as interim pastor for the Floyd Presbyterian Church was 1953.
A Little History from within History
2019 Historical Society Calendars featuring the Zion Lutheran Church and many more, are still available for $10 a piece at the Historical Society Museum and in our online shop.
Floyd County Mills Driving Tour Brochures Now Available!
The Historical Society’s new driving tour brochure – Standing Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County – is now available for sale at the Museum and the Floyd County Tourism Office downtown as well as in free downloadable PDF form on our website.
The tour includes brief descriptions, addresses and driving directions for 13 of Floyd’s historic water-powered mills: Jack’s Mill Wheel, J.J. Poff Wheel, Simpson Mill, Flint Mill, Ezra Wimmer Mill, Nolen/Pine Mill, Roberson Mill, Webb/Dodd Creek Mill, Epperly Mill, George Shelor Mill, Greasy Creek Mill, Vaughn’s Mill, and Mabry Mill.
The brochure was based heavily on the book by Ricky L. Cox, The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia: Illustrated Histories, also available for sale online or in the Society’s Museum.
“Tracing our roots” Bus Tour of Laurel Branch Road
2 Saturdays, June 8 & 15, 1-4pm
$20 per person, pre-registration required
Exploring the scenic loop of Laurel Branch Road and Floyd Highway South, this bus tour explores the history of the Topeco and Laurel Branch communities. The influence of Hylton, Harman, Sutphin, Weddle, Harter, Goodykoontz, Slusher, Turman, Bishop, Dodd, Helms, and Shelor families is shared as discussion centers on their homes, farms, mills, churches and schools. Janet Keith also retells stories of the last Indians, of work done by slaves, of raids and epidemics during the Civil War, and of Gen. George Stoneman’s march and encampment in the area.
Contact Janet Keith at (540) 789-7552 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register or for more information. Please register early as space is limited.
UPDATE ON DUE DATES FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
The Floyd County Historical Society is partnering with Floyd Tourism and VA Tourism in celebrating 50 years since the launching of the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand in 1969. Floyd will have a local partnered celebration with VA Tourism for 50-days this summer, July 27- September 14. This includes special events, special products and promotions – 50 Years of Love coffee at Red Rooster, Chocolates at Cocoa Mia, Special Red Cherry craft beer at Buffalo Mountain Brewery and the Historical Society’s special event on Sept 14—the last day of the 50-day celebration. Over 35 businesses will be participating in the celebrations.
During our 50 days, we will also be celebrating Floyd 50 Years ago – and planning to have photos of Floyd from 50 years ago at various business sites throughout the town and a display of Floyd 50 Years ago at the Floyd Visitor Center. This opens on July 27 and continues through Sept 14 when the historical society has their event.
We are looking for photos from that era (around 1969) to use in the display and throughout town (and county) during our 50-day celebration. The Historical Society will host at the museum several days for folks to bring in photos to have them scanned: Friday, May 17, 12-4pm and Saturday, May 18, 11am-3pm.
More information on the 50th Anniversary Celebration can be found on the Floyd Tourism website: www.visitfloydva.com.
The Historical Society at Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Crooked Road Program
Sunday, June 9, 3:30pm-7:00pm
The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an annual festival celebrating the music and culture of Southwest Virginia. This year, the Historical Society will be set up at Slate Mountain Church for the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Homecoming event on June 9th.
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have been at the forefront of both the bluegrass world and the world of bluegrass gospel. As reigning IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, they will present their soaring harmonies and brilliant arrangements of a cappella and instrument-accompanied gospel songs in a perfect setting – Slate Mt. Evangelical Presbyterian Church just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Slate Mt. Church is one of six rock churches on the National Historic Registry built in the early 1900s by the congregations of Pastor Bob Childress, whose remarkable ministry was chronicled in the book “The Man Who Moved A Mountain.”
This event includes the 10:00 am service at the Church, a pot-luck lunch at noon provided by the Church members, presentations by Church historians, and musical entertainment presented by the Church. Those wishing to partake of the pot-luck lunch should contact Pastor Jeff Dalton at (540) 789-7324. Donations for the pot-luck are welcome.
Up-Dating Our Technology
After receiving a grant last year from the Larry Woodrow Vest Fund of the Foundation for Roanoke, the Historical Society has purchased new computer equipment. This will enable volunteers to better record information about the historic items the Society has received.
Two new volunteers, Paul Kitchen and Jim Slusher, have contributed their high-level computer skills to creating a smoothly running up-to-date system of connected computers, monitors, scanners and printers. Now we look forward to training additional volunteers to enter the computer data. If you would like to be part of this team, please contact Ann Shank at email@example.com.
Thank you for a Great Appalachian Chair Making Presentation
The presentation, offered by Mike Ryan on March 8th, was very interesting and deeply appreciated. Pictured here are Mike Ryan with Allen Nester and Alice Slusher examining the details in the caning of the chairs.
How Can I Help?
We always need additional help assisting with research, finding and writing grants, helping with displaying exhibits, museum housekeeping, yard beautification, preparing newsletters, assisting with correspondence, and serving as docents. Please help us continue our momentum to share and celebrate our history. For more details, please call Becky Weeks at 745-4256 or Connie Mitchell at 745-2316
Becky Weeks – President Gerald Via – 1st Vice President John Graham – 2nd Vice President Connie Mitchell – Secretary Fran Helms – Treasurer Ann Shank – Archivist Margaret Smith – Parliamentarian
May 11 Tribute to Floyd County Church History Floyd Center for the Arts Meeting @ 10am Presentation from 10:30am-12:00pm
June 8 & 15 Tracing Our Roots Tour of Laurel Branch Road/ Topeco Community
June 9 FCHS at Slate Mountain Church for Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming
September 14 Celebrating 50 years of “Virginia is for Lovers” Floyd Center for the Arts Meeting @ 10am Presentation from 10:30am-12:00pm
November 9 Shaped Note Singing Floyd Center for the Arts Meeting @ 10am Presentation from 10:30am-12:00pm
DONATIONS IN HONOR OF / IN MEMORY OF
A donation to the Floyd County Historical Society in Honor or in Memory of a loved one is a meaningful gift that can make a lasting difference. Every dollar you donate goes directly to support the Floyd County Historical Society Museum. Your gift will be acknowledged, and a card will be mailed to the recipient or the recipient’s family to let them know of your kindness. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
To make a donation, visit our website and donate here, or send donations and the name of the individual you would like to honor as well as the name, address and phone number of those you would like to receive our acknowledgement card to Floyd County Historical Society, P.O. Box 292, Floyd, VA 24091-0292
BECOME A MEMBER, RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP OR MAKE A DONATION TO THE MUSEUM FUND
You can help preserve the history of Floyd County. Our programs include lectures, publications, community outreach and exhibits. The Society maintains an archive of historic artifacts, documents and photographs.
Annual dues are $20.00 single or $30.00 family. Become a member or renew your membership online (here) or via snail mail. Please send checks, along with your current full name, address, phone number and email address to Floyd County Historical Society, P.O. Box 292, Floyd, VA 24091-0292. Don’t forget to indicate if this is a New Membership, Renewal, or donation for our Museum Fund.
This is a 501(c)3 organization and your donation may be tax deductible.
ALL DUES ARE PAYABLE YEARLY ON JANUARY 1
Thank you to everyone who has already renewed their membership!
• Due to the Covid-19 health emergency, the museum will be closed to the public until April 2021.
• All Floyd County Historical programs are canceled until our annual meeting on November 21st, 2020, at the Floyd Center for the Arts. Please check our website for further details on our November program.
• During this time we will continue to monitor phone messages and emails as well as our Facebook page and website.