History of Bland County Virginia

The History of Bland County was compiled in 1961 and published to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the formation of Bland County. Largely comprised of interesting anecdotes concerning early settlers, it is one of the most valuable secondary source available for researchers of Bland County Virginia ancestry. Free to read and download.

In “History of Bland County,” published by the Bland County Centennial Corporation in 1961, readers are invited to embark on a comprehensive journey through the rich tapestry of Bland County, Virginia’s past. This meticulously written manuscript offers an in-depth exploration of the county’s evolution from its earliest days of settlement to the mid-20th century. The opening chapters delve into the era of the white man’s arrival, highlighting significant events such as the Indian Massacre at Drapers Valley, the captivating story of Mrs. Mary Ingles’ capture and escape, and the pioneering spirit of the county’s first European settlers. Through narratives of hardship, resilience, and community building, these sections paint a vivid picture of the challenges and triumphs faced by early inhabitants.

Subsequent chapters chronicle the development of Bland County through the lens of its people, land, and culture. The detailed accounts of early explorations, pioneering families, and old homesteads offer readers a glimpse into the lives of those who shaped the county’s destiny. Fascinating stories of families such as the Justices, the Wilsons, and the Neels, among others, provide a personal connection to the past, revealing the social fabric and familial lineages that have contributed to the county’s heritage.

The narrative continues with an exploration of Bland County’s civic and social institutions, including its churches, schools, and medical practitioners, highlighting the community’s growth and its commitment to education, healthcare, and spiritual life. The manuscript also pays homage to the county’s military history, detailing its participation in conflicts from the Civil War through to World Wars I and II, and honoring the valor and sacrifice of its veterans.

Further, the book addresses the economic and infrastructural development of Bland County, examining its agricultural history, the establishment of banks, the evolution of transportation and communication networks, and the impact of civic and fraternal organizations on the community’s progress. Each of these aspects is meticulously researched, providing a comprehensive overview of the county’s advancements over the years.

Table of Contents

Chapter I

TitlePage #
The Coming of the White Man11
The Indian Massacre at Drapers Valley and Capture of Mrs. Mary Ingles12
Excerpts from History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia20
Bettie Draper — Ransomed by Husband24
First Settlements West of the New River25
George Ingles Ransomed by Father25
The Life and Adventures of Wilburn Waters28
Captivity of the Davidson Family31
The Capture and Escape of Jennie Wiley33
The Massacre of the Sluss Family53
John Goolman Davidson56

Chapter II

TitlePage #
Early Explorations — Walkers Creek and Walkers Mountain61
Christopher Gist63
Joseph Hicks64
Phillip Gose66
Thomas Witten66
Samuel Shannon — Thomas Shannon67
Betsy Davis — Daughter of James Burke, First Settler67
Land Grants and Surveys70
Early Pioneer Trails and Routes71
Dress, Furniture and Customs of Bland County74

Chapter III

TitlePage #
Families and Old Homesteads81
Robinett History82
The Justices82
The Wilson Family83
The Neels84
The Walkers84
Green Meadows85
Holly Brook86
The Dunns87
The Muncys88
The Bruces89
The Townley Family91
The Groseclose Family92
The Spangler Family95
Finley Family and Land Warrant95
Ambrose Grayson Homestead96
The Newberry Family97
Henley Chapman Newberry103
Albert Lake Newberry104
The Hudsons104
Mountain Glen105
Munsey Family History107
The Davidsons108
The Allens109
The Will Davidson – Wright Thompson Home112
Rev. Adam Quinn Harman114
The Stowers Family115
Mustard Family History116
James Wayne Grayson and Emily Steel Grayson118
The Crabtrees119
Crabtree Home120
The McNeil Family120
The Frenches121
The Staffords122
Colonel John Compton Home at Holly Brook122
The W. J. Bruce Home123
The Bane Home124
The J. M. Scott Home125
Morgan House126
The Wessendonck House126
The Raymond Repass House127
The John Kinser Home128
The Morehead Family129
Bird Family130
The D. Woodrow Bird Residence131
Mrs. J. S. Ashworth’s Residence132
The Tickle Family132
The Hornbargers133
The Sallie Honaker Home133
The Powers Family134
Allen Taylor Newberry Home136
The Updykes136
Early Settlers of Dry Fork138
The Harman History139
William Neal Harman142
Capt. Isaac Hudson144
Capt. H. C. Groseclose144
Alexander Suiter145
Fulton Kegley146
Judge Martin Williams147
Ballard Preston Brown148
William Lockhart Yost149
Rev. A. A. Ashworth149
Major Elias Repass150
Samuel H. Bernard151
Rev. James T. Taylor151
Robt. N. French152
Judge Samuel W. Williams153
Berkley Dodd154
William W. Compton155
John Crowe Shannon156
Hon. John A. Davidson156
James Thompson157
Thomas Wohlford158
J. Newton Johnston159
Henry G. Hicks159
John Hoge Thompson160
Charles Peery Muncy, Sr.161
Thomas Jackson Muncy162
John Wm. Shufflebarger163
Raymond Clinton Repass164
A. N. Thompson164
John A. Barnitz165
John Burton166
W. A. Newberry167
Gilbert Raymond Repass168

Chapter IV

TitlePage #
Doctors of Bland County171
Dr. Stephen A. Repass172
Dr. William Groseclose173
Dr. John H. Hoge174
Dr. William Edward Hoge175
Dr. William M. Bishop177
Dr. Lorenzo John Miller178
Dr. Mitchell Kegley179
Dr. A. J. Nye179
Dr. Daniel Alexander Miller180
Dr. James Washington Harman181
Dr. Jacob Adam Wagner182
Dr. Jasper Newton Walker185
Dr. Andrew Bane Woolwine187
Dr. James Joseph Davidson189
Dr. George Barnard Kegley190
Dr. James Lovell Muncy191
Dr. Orrin King Phlegar192
Dr. James Franklin Repass193
Dr. P. P. Hayes194
Dr. James Harvey Bogle194
Dr. James H. Hare194
Dr. James M. Hamilton194
Dr. Albert Sibold195
Dr. James Moore195
Dr. Thomas Jefferson Hughes195
Dr. Wilbur Hale195
Dr. Fred Thomas Hoosier196
Dr. P. P. Ferraraccio196
Dr. James Lovell196
Dr. Zeb Vance Sherrill196
Dr. Robert F. Gillespie196
Dr. Harry Steinberg197
Dr. Karl E. Weier197
Dr. S. C. Warner197
Dr. L. W. Bryan197
Dr. E. A. Holmes197
Dr. Wilmer Johnson198
Dr. James E. Tarter198
Dr. John Chandler Darst198
Dr. Heath A. Dalton199
Dr. Cary D. Allen199
Dr. Miller Shannon Allen199
Dr. Andrew Muncy Groseclose199
Dentists of Bland County200
Walter Robert Dillow, Jr., D.D.S.201
William C. Berry, D.D.S.201

Chapter V

TitlePage #
Birth of Bland County203
Bland County Named for Revolutionary Patriot, Richard E. Bland211
James Alexander Seddon212
Organizational Meeting of County Officials, Aug. 15, 1861213
Pleas Before the County Court of Bland, Sept. 12, 1861214
Court House214
County Jail217
Bland County Officials, 1861-1961218
Residents of Bland County in the House of Delegates224
Residents of Bland County in the Senate225
George Thomas Bird225
D. Woodrow Bird226
Governing Board — Welfare Dept.226

Chapter VI

TitlePage #
Towns and Villages235

Chapter VII

TitlePage #
Bland County and The Civil War249
Molly Tynes, the Heroine of the Battle of Wytheville254
Toland’s Raid255
Communications Between Wives and Their Confederate Husbands259
Rosters of Confederate Soldiers from Bland County264
Listing of Civil War Soldiers and Companies275
Interesting Incidents of the Civil War277
Last Surviving Bland County Spanish American War Veteran278
Deceased Veterans of World War I and II279

Chapter VIII

TitlePage #
Churches and Ministers of Bland County283
Byrnes Chapel285
Deeds for Churches286
Methodist Churches in the Bland Area289
Background of Churches of Ceres294
Nebo Church History301
Pine Grove Church304
Rocky Gap Methodist304
Mechanicsburg Christian Church306
Hornbarger Chapel307
Church of God309
St. Mathews Lutheran Church309
Sharon Presbyterian Church311
Kimberlin Presbyterian Church314
Bland Presbyterian Church316
Leyburn Presbyterian Church317
The Blue Grass Trail Larger Parish320
Negro Churches321
Ministers – Robert Sawyers Sheffey323
Dr. William Elbert Munsey325
Rev. Jacob Smith328
Rev. Robert L. Newberry329
James Edward Bruce330
Erastus Harris Bogle331
Margaret Geneva Morris333

Chapter IX

TitlePage #
Establishment of Public Schools338
A Bland Native Recalls School Days347
James Samuel Ashworth349
George W. Penley350
Timothy Elijah Mitchell350
James Thomas Dunn351
R. Lee Millirons352
Marion Radford352
Mark Hager353
Miss Naomi and Effie Wagner353
Mrs. W. S. Waddell354
Haynes Hoge Bruce355
Teachers Institute356
Mechanicsburg District Schools356
Lower Little Creek Schools358
Crandon Community Schools359
Hollybrook Area Schools360
Point Pleasant and Walkers Creek Schools364
Bogle School365
Point Pleasant Academy365
Valley View School366
The Slide School366
Rocky Gap District Schools367
Rocky Gap Schools369
Lower Wolf Creek Schools370
Upper Wolf Creek Schools370
Clear Fork Valley School371
Dry Fork Valley School371
Schools in the Hicksville Community372
Seddon District Schools374
Little Creek’s-Davis School377
Hunting Camp Valley Schools377
Bastian School378
Sharon District Schools and Ceres
Sharon College School381
Ceres High School382
Enrollment Bland County Schools383
County School Teachers 1871-1910384
Schools in Operation in 1960-61385
Bland County School Directory 1960-61388
Bland County School Board390

Chapter X

TitlePage #
The Banks of Bland County393
Bank of Mechanicsburg395
The Bank of Rocky Gap396
Eulogy to John R. Stafford398
History of Postal Service in Bland County399

Chapter XI

TitlePage #
1861 — Bland County Roads — 1961403
History of the New River-Holston and Western Railroad Company406

Chapter XII

TitlePage #
Early Telephones in Bland County409
Newspaper in Bland County (1872-1961)412

Chapter XIII

TitlePage #
Bland County Agriculture History417
The County Agricultural Extension Service Program421
Home Demonstration Clubs423
Agricultural Adjustment and Conservation Program425
Skyline Soil Conservation District426

Chapter XIV

TitlePage #
Civic Clubs and Fraternal Organizations427
Masonic Lodges427
Henry C. Groseclose and the F. F. A. in Bland County428
Twenty-Two Years of Progress with the F. F. A. in Bland County438
Bland County Fair Association, Inc.444
American Legion Post No. 20445
Veterans of Foreign Wars447
Eastern Star447
Fire Departments448

Chapter XV

TitlePage #
Miscellaneous History of Bland County449
The Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1388 P-53-Va., Bastian, Va.451
Bland Correctional Farm454
Aunt Emma Clay455
Griffin Page456
Jimmie Surat457
Contents History of Bland County459


Bland County Centennial Corporation, History of Bland County, Bland County Va.: Bland County Centennial Corporation, 1961.


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